Thursday, December 18, 2014

STN Top 50 Albums Of 2014: 35-31

35 Ace Bushy Striptease - Slurpt
And it's goodbye from them, as the prolific pint-sized-piece punk-pop perennials went their separate ways straight after this sixth album. A shame, really, as having reined most of their more shambolic traits they became the sort of band who could have picked up a proper widespread cult following. In other words: not as much shouting and/or thrashing, definitely more instant melodies, without sacrificing the vocal interchanging, the ability to all clatter full throttle towards the same goal, a very good trick to pull off if you can. A bundle of smarter than they'd let on energy, we might never see their like again.

34 Fashoda Crisis - Almost Everyone Is Entirely Average At Almost Everything
Yes! Angry, politicised, thrashy post-hardcore! Fashoda Crisis' first proper full-length (even though they made last year's list – it's a long story) comes on like an ever more muscular juggernaut, Jawbreaker via Future Of The Left to the power of Pixies at their most full-on, Sim Ralph baiting right wingers, little Englanders and the narrow-minded in general, more pinpoint precision than the previous one-remove wryness. It's an album that sounds entirely like a sledgehammer, and in confident hands such as these that's a very good thing.
[Bandcamp] [Spotify]

33 Cosines - Oscillations
The “mathematical pop” Cosines claim for themselves has its roots in the early electronic bands, introducing Joe Meek's studio to new wave smarts by way of motorik rhythms and scrappy indiepop. So far so Stereolab, but their lyrical interest is more bedsit than nouvelle vague, Alice Hubley addressing the significant other who broke her heart. Space disco and glam beats get mixed in with synthpop swells, feeling overall like the sort of base level from which a lot more interesting things are bound to emerge.
[iTunes] [Amazon] [Spotify]

32 Comet Gain - Paperback Ghosts
This time around, Comet Gain are for the lovers. They've always been romantics but there's more of an emphasis on countrified melancholia this time around, a Go-Betweens striped sunlight sound relocated to a north London park in autumnal tints. Measured and matured without ever quite seeming adult as such. They can sound like a great lost Britpop-era band, or a ye-ye 45, or even lo-fi psych-pop, without sounding like a compilation album made flesh. The heart remains consistent throughout, and twenty years on that's why they're increasingly cherishable.
[iTunes] [Amazon] [Spotify]

31 Elephant - Sky Swimming
The duo's long gestating debut is a bright pop album about utter heartbreak. As synths glacially force the pace, the melancholia comes from classic girl group settings, the aching sway perfect for Amelia Rivas' twilit, fundamentally affecting assertions. It could easily become maudlin over the course of a full record, and that it doesn't is testament to the careful hand at the tiller that arranges swaying backdrops, moments that sound second hand but may not be, and the sort of luxuriant Instagram-filtered shared memory everyone thought Lana Del Rey was going to provide. Instead it's come from a London back room and a £10 Casio. Ah, pop's unpredictability.
[iTunes] [Amazon] [Spotify]

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