Ten albums you cannot miss this month – August 2012
Minus the Bear are back with their fifth album Infinity Overhead. Released on 28th August, the ten-track effort thrives on its fuzzy shoe-gaze edges. The album is bigger and bolder than previous efforts and is a succinct collection of tracks. The appearance of vocals on Diamond Lightening feels superfluous against the hypnotic ambient electronics. Infinity Overhead is an album of cloudy ambience that is simultaneously blissful and unsettling.
Alanis Morissette shows off her lyrical prowess with latest album Havoc and Bright Lights. It starts in stadium rock territory with Guardian, though that takes a neat turn towards dreamy paradise with Empathy. Only occasional moments – the classic power pop riffs of Woman Down – sound outdated, proving that when done well, a little nostalgia doesn’t hurt.
Lots of thunderous drums and Rita Ora’s canyon-spanning vocals ensure that O.R.A is a tempestuous affair. O.R.A is full of blazing choruses and upbeat melodies. Here, slick and hooky synth pop is laced with sass. Overall, this is a dynamic, daring and dramatic debut.
Bloc Party’s fourth studio effort Four proves that the band is still as rough and ragged as ever. Although Four sees sharper guitars and immaculate harmonies, Bloc Party are still covering much of the same territory. It’s an album that reels you in, from the emotive Real Talk to the surging intensity of 3X3. Bloc Party’s desire to keep pushing themselves is clear. Four is audible and utterly thrilling.
Southern Air has a real lyrical bite to it. Jolty pop-punk riffs paired with drooping violins create something genuinely unique. Awakening stands out as a ramshackle track which veers off the straight-forward pop territory that Yellowcard are all too familiar with. Much of Southern Air is energetic, but much too easily forgettable. Energetic amateurism can only get you so far, and with a few glimmers of hope on Southern Air, it’s clear that Yellowcard are capable of much more.
Adam Young aka Owl City is back with yet more one-man band virtual music. It’s an album decorated with uplifting synths and guitar riffs. Dementia is a track different to Owl City’s usual electro-pop. Featuring vocals from Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus, Dementia proves to be more rock-reliant with dominating drums signalling a possible new direction for Owl City.
Yeasayer return this month with their new album Fragrant World. Standout track Longevity is one of Fragrant World’s high points. Driven by angular synths, the track sums up Yeasayer’s art-pop genre. High points, however, are generally absent, despite the development of Yeasayer’s icy synth sounds. Fragrant World falls back far too often on samey flourishes, and there’s scant evidence of imagination.
It has been two years since Schulz has released an album and now highly anticipated fourth album Scream is set to be released on 31st August. Released on Armada’s label, this 19-track album will certainly generate a reaction on the dance floor. It features a multitude of diverse and impressive vocalists with melodies to match.
Cut the World features re-worked versions of Antony & the Johnson’s past efforts. Antony Hegarty’s flawless vocals are chillingly fragile, showcased best in the album’s title track. The collection as a whole is sorrow-laden, but is an impressive and enchanting soundscape.
Sun Devoured Earth have honed their strand of ethereal shoe-gaze into something intricate. Swathed in reverb, Sounds of Desolation exists in the hazy and blissful end of the shoe gaze spectrum. As the album goes on, the band splinter off into deceptively complex directions. Sun Devoured Earth have created a truly refreshing album if you have the patience to see it through to the end.