Sunday, December 22, 2013

STN Top 50 Albums Of 2013: 8-7

8 Haiku Salut - Tricolore
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"Baroque-Pop-Folktronic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other", the Derbyshire multi-instrumentalist trio call this sound, which does this bit out of a job. You might also add a twisted about version of post-rock's use of slow build, repetition and instrumental flourishes, deployed here so seemingly clashing parts - a fingerpicked acoustic, an accordion, an 8-bit electronic sample - gradually coalesce into form fitted shape, complex layers developing layers ande depth that can be as much floating and euphoric as pinpricks in existing melodic structure. Often incapable of sitting still, the loops and flourishes serve to both develop its baroque nature and then pull it apart. It's an album that knows its touchstones, whether Yann Tiersen, Haruki Murakami or Wes Anderson, but really sounds like nobody else.

7 Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires Of The City
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The hi-life records may have been put away but Vampire Weekend's third album is just as studded with borrowed moves: R&B and gospel, pastoral synths and torch song languidness. This is their real world album, still any number of too-clever-by-half allusions but deployed not as self-aware signifiers but as collateral in the process of maturing. Death and its eventual inevitability without prior achievement is a semi-regular visitor. The studio becomes another instrument, as befits a band who now know how to use space and when to actually flood the aural spectrum, and if Rostam Batmanglij still too readily goes for the harpsichord setting it's less novelty, more scene-setting. This is VW's New York post-grad album, what happens when the socialites have to set up home for themselves.

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