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DaveyBoy's Top 40 Albums Of 2012

Better late than never, huh? I know how to make an entrance! In comparison to 2011, I did not think 2012 was as strong a year for album releases. A couple of 3.5s snuck into my top 25 this year, whereas no LP with that rating made my top 30 last year. Again, there was no record which I rated the "classic" 5, although there were four albums which I eventually granted the prestigious 4.5 rating to.
1The Classic Crime
Phoenix


'Phoenix', the 4th LP from Seattle alt-rockers The Classic Crime, is undoubtedly their magnum opus. Opening up the band's sonic palette, the sheer growth in the depth & variety of both the musicianship & songwriting is exemplary. The album's mid-section is absolutely gorgeous, as the near-seamless juxtaposition of old & new works a treat. You can hear the blood, sweat & tears dripping out in every meticulously layered piece of instrumentation; every emotional heart-on-sleeve climax; and in every dark & brooding - yet uplifting & relatable - lyric. 'Phoenix' is the album of 2012! Recommended Tracks: Heaven & Hell, Beautiful Darkside, Let Me Die, The Precipice & You and Me Both.
2Lana Del Rey
Born to Die


Under the pseudonym of Lana Del Rey, 25 year-old Elizabeth Grant makes a huge impact on her heavily hyped LP 'Born To Die'. Owning an alluring lower register, the dramatic singer-songwriter finds a captivating middle ground between modern & retro, as samples add a hip-hop flavor, while string arrangements give off a lush & cinematic baroque vibe. Both accessible & unique, the album may be front-loaded & contain some dubious lyrics, but it's just best to ignore the flaws & hype, and allow yourself to be drawn in by this magnetically sensual New Yorker. Recommended Tracks: Off To The Races, Born To Die, Video Games, National Anthem & Radio.
3Yellowcard
Southern Air


A combination of all of their previous releases, the fact that there is something for everyone on Yellowcard's 8th LP 'Southern Air', makes it their best album yet! Every one of the Floridian pop-punk quintet's signature elements are here: The abundant hooks, exquisite violin melodies, endearing vocals & hard-hitting drumming. It results in an immediate LP that is packed with catchy & upbeat summer anthems; whose mature, relatable & poignant lyrics will prove to be timeless. Nostalgic in an uplifting fashion, there is absolutely no filler on this superb release. Recommended Tracks: Awakening, Always Summer, Ten, Surface of the Sun & A Vicious Kind.
4Anberlin
Vital


'Vital' is Anberlin's aptly titled 6th LP, where the dependable Floridian quintet return to producer Aaron Sprinkle to successfully capture the essence of their live sound on record. Explosive, energetic & passionate, this is heavy without sacrificing any of the band's melodic hooks. Stephen Christian's majestic vocals are matched by the blazing guitars & pounding drums, while the infusion of synth flourishes not only adds depth, but somehow assists the aggressive tone. From the tremendous opening one-two punch to the epic closer, this consistent LP is a supremely rewarding listen. Recommended Tracks: Little Tyrants, Self-Starter, Desires, Someone Anyone & Type Three.
5Of Monsters and Men
My Head is an Animal


Playing an accessible brand of indie-folk, Of Monsters and Men deliver an excellent debut LP with 'My Head is an Animal'. Combining the folkiness of Fleet Foxes, the catchiness of Mumford & Sons, and the baroque instrumentation & build-ups of Arcade Fire, the Icelandic sextet have genuine mainstream potential. While the fantastic boy/girl vocals capture your initial attention, the superb musical arrangements keep you coming back. And while there are a few too many "Hey Heys" & "La La La's", the joyous method in which the often emotional lyrics are produced is borderline brilliant. Recommended Tracks: Little Talks, Lakehouse, Mountain Sound & King and Lionheart.
6We Are The Ocean
Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow


Following the lead of Alexisonfire & Deaf Havana, promising Essex outfit We Are The Ocean drop screamer Dan Brown & head towards an alt-rock sound on 3rd LP 'Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow'. While the musicians step up their game, the quartet would be defined as nothing more than "solid", were it not for the superlative vocals of Liam Cromby. Delivering emotion, sincerity & an ability to smoothly transition through ranges, Cromby is arguably the world's best rock vocalist at present! This album may not be perfect, but the room for improvement encouragingly makes the band an extremely exciting prospect. Recommended Tracks: Machine, Young Heart, Golden Gate & Pass Me By.
7Passion Pit
Gossamer


After releasing what may have been the most euphoric album ever, electro indie-pop outfit Passion Pit stage the perfect return with 2nd LP 'Gossamer'. Once again, the lack of filler on this arguably front-loaded album is impressive, as are the meticulously crafted layers of sound which result in more infectious & hyperactive body-moving hooks. Also returning is the divisive falsetto of Michael Angelakos, but this time the lyrics of the bipolar front-man are affectingly open, personal & emotional confessions. Adding to the LP's diversity, this fascinating juxtaposition is borderline genius! Recommended Tracks: Take a Walk, I'll Be Alright, Mirrored Sea & Carried Away.
8The Gaslight Anthem
Handwritten


On their their 4th LP 'Handwritten', New Jersey natives The Gaslight Anthem continue producing assured, consistent & cohesive rock'n'roll. Producer Brendan O'Brien assists the old-fashioned quartet in carving out huge, soaring anthems which lose little of the band's endearing sincerity. The accomplished musicianship takes in every corner of rock; Brian Fallon's vocals continue to improve; and his surprisingly introspective lyrics make the storytelling no less captivating. 'Handwritten' may be too familiar for some, but is ultimately another excellent LP from a band at the top of their craft. Recommended Tracks: "45", Biloxi Parish, Handwritten & Mulholland Drive.
9The Maccabees
Given to the Wild


While 'Wall of Arms' was the uncomfortable maturing of indie-rockers The Maccabees, their 3rd LP 'Given to the Wild' sees the English quintet creep ever so close to their natural sweet spot. Using a wide variety of instrumentation, the dynamically arranged soundscapes are intricate, yet subtle; epic, yet intimate; & tense, yet restrained. A testament to the band's expansive & exquisitely crafted song-writing, this bold & ambitious album may be a track overlong, but is undoubtedly a satisfyingly cohesive listen. The fact that The Maccabees continue to evolve is an exciting prospect. Recommended Tracks: Child, Feel to Follow, Pelican & Ayla.
10Sharks
No Gods


Following 2 solid EPs, British punk-rockers Sharks deliver on their promise with debut LP 'No Gods'. Brian McTernan's slicker production sees the quartet lean more towards Gaslight Anthem than Social Distortion, but a Clash-like working-class ethos satisfyingly grounds tunes. The infectious nature of the intricately melodic guitar-work is sublime, while the song-writing is well-crafted beyond the bands years. 'No Gods' does get a little samey as it goes on, but is otherwise a consistent, cohesive & sincere album that capitalizes on Sharks' trans-Atlantic & trans-generational appeal. Recommended Tracks: Patient Spider, 'Til the Wonders Rise, Matthew's Baby & Luck.
11 The Tallest Man on Earth
There's No Leaving Now


Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson (The Tallest Man on Earth) returns with more wonderfully raw folk on his 3rd LP 'There's No Leaving Now'. Following the lead of his previous EP, a comparitively fuller sound thankfully has little effect on the authenticity, emotion or vivid lyrical imagery of these 10 concise tracks. Whether it's the finger-picking acoustic work of 'Leading me Now', the electric guitar infused 'Revelation Blues', the piano-driven title track or the beautiful closer, this time around it is the sublime melodies which make this LP a joy to behold. Recommended Tracks: On Every Page, Leading Me Now, There's No Leaving Now & Revelation Blues.
12Abel (NY)
Make It Right


Fan-funded through Kickstarter, 'Make It Right' is the 2nd LP from promising New York quartet Abel. Playing an indie'ish brand of alt-rock, this is a much more assured album than their debut 'Lesser Men', with the band's trademark contrasting dynamics being captivatingly performed. There is a simmering tension constantly beneath the surface & the controlled aggression of lead vocalist Kevin Kneifel especially impresses. While the religious themes of their previous releases have been toned down a little, the passionate lyrics most definitely have not on this excellent LP. Recommended Tracks: Fire Walk With Me, Come Home, An Ultimatum & Fine Lines.
13Gallows
Gallows


While the jury was out following the 'Death Is Birth' EP, a positive verdict has been returned for the now Wade MacNeil fronted hardcore punk outfit Gallows. On their self-titled 3rd LP, the quintet deliver another relentless barrage of ferocious energy; with snarling & angry vocals atop gritty & hard-hitting musicianship. Littered with gang vocals, the surprises here are the anthemic nature of the melodic hooks & the removal of any filler. It may be a less distinctive Gallows but it is one more universal in scope, on what is their most consistent release to date. Recommended Tracks: Depravers, Cross of Lorraine, Victim Culture & Odessa.
14Japandroids
Celebration Rock


On their aptly titled 2nd LP 'Celebration Rock', garage rockers Japandroids follow the template of their exuberant debut, but this time perform as true professionals. While the duo's youthful abandon, hooky riffs & propulsive drums remain, the cleaner production suits & makes the music sound even louder! Furthermore, the lyrics & song-writing both improve. Maybe too consistent over its efficient 35 minutes, the relentless up-tempo onslaught gets a little samey & exhausting, but there is ultimately something so exhiliratingly enjoyable about 'Celebration Rock'. Recommended Tracks: The House That Heaven Built, Adrenaline Nightshift, Fire's Highway & Evil's Sway.
15Make Do and Mend
Everything You Ever Loved


Connecticut quartet Make Do and Mend continue to develop their sound on 2nd LP 'Everything You Ever Loved'. Toning down their aggressive tendencies, this Matt Bayles produced album isn't slick, but does focus on melody more than any of their prior releases. Containing some gorgeous guitar tones, all components of the musicianship come together to craft an even, versatile & expansive record. Meanwhile, James Carroll's gruff vocals continue to improve, as do his fantastic lyrics which are heartfelt, introspective & relateable. The fact that MD&M are still a work in progress is strangely encouraging. Recommended Tracks: Desert Lily, Blur, Lucky & St. Anne.
16Pierce the Veil
Collide With the Sky


Sticking to the tried & true, post-hardcore outfit Pierce The Veil take everything that was good about their previous album & turn it up a notch. Their 3rd LP 'Collide With The Sky' is arguably heavier, catchier & more technical than 'Selfish Machines', if not quite as cohesive. Vic Fuentes refines his high-pitched vocals well, while a trio of guest spots are also effective. This diverse & accessible LP often feels as if it will fall into the trap of over-production, but the San Diego quartet always pull themselves up with an earnest dose of energy, aggression and/or creativity. Recommended Tracks: King For a Day, Hell Above, Bulls in The Bronx & The First Punch.
17I Call Fives
I Call Fives


Following the release of 2 solid EPs & a confusing 3rd, New Jersey's I Call Fives deliver an energetic & up-tempo brand of throwback pop-punk on their self-titled debut LP. Splitting the difference between the slicker poppier acts of the genre & the heavier punk-leaning outfits, the quintet deliver a consistent & cohesive album with more than subtle diversity. While undoubtedly simple & familiar, there is a minimal gap between the best & worst tunes here, meaning that those looking for nostalgic pop-punk can look no further than this fun debut which is perfect for summer-time listening. Recommended Tracks: Stuck in '03, Late Nights, Sleep Well & The Fall Guy.
18Icarus the Owl
Love Always, Leviathan


Delivering an intricately mathy approach to pop-punk, Oregon-based outfit Icarus The Owl continue to amaze on their 2nd LP 'Love Always, Leviathan'. With finger-tapping quirky time signatures around every corner, the band definitely won't be for everyone due to the complexity of some of the song structures. If anything though, the quartet are more focused here, meaning this is still a relatively accessible album, even if it doesn't quite match the peaks of their debut. Either way, it's difficult to disagree that these are 4 technically skilled musicians. Recommended Tracks: What We Had Was Never Love, Nuclear Towns, Love Always Leviathan & Tear Down the Mountain.
19 P.O.S.
We Don't Even Live Here


Talented Minneapolis rapper P.O.S impressively continues to evolve & show his versatility on 4th LP 'We Don't Even Live Here'. Instilling his original fusion of punky hip-hop with much more glitchy electronica, the undoubtedly complex song structures & production are brilliantly efficient. Witty, thoughtful lyrics are delivered with the tense aggressive edge of his rapid - yet crystal-clear - vocal flow, which is always passionate & engrossing. Strangely reminiscent of mid-90?s hip-hop, the balance achieved here is borderline genius, meaning that there should be something for everyone. Recommended Tracks: Wanted Wasted, Fuck Your Stuff, Bumper & Piano Hits.
20House Of Heroes
Cold Hard Want


Commercially neglected Ohio rockers House of Heroes tone down their conceptual ambition, yet refuse to stagnate on new LP 'Cold Hard Want'. Making a case to be assessed as either the heaviest, most straight-forward or sonically varied album of their career, 'Cold Hard Want' fits in nicely to House of Heroes' superlative & under-rated discography. Both a natural evolution for the band, as well as a summation of their career to date, this record is performed with such passion, craft & proficiency, that this talented outfit should look back upon it with nothing but pride. Recommended Tracks: Touch This Light, Remember The Empire, Comfort Trap & Dance (Blow It All Away).
21Forever Came Calling
Contender


Promising Californian pop-punk outfit Forever Came Calling hit the ground running with their debut LP 'Contender'. Kicking off with 2 short filler cuts, the album soon hits its stride with an energetic New Found Glory influenced style that throws hooks at the listener from every direction. Originality & diversity may not be priorities here, while the 24 minute duration does raise some eyebrows. Yet, these youngsters perform with a confidence & convinction that produces tremendous results... And they should only get better when they learn to fill out their sound & experiment with dynamics. Recommended Tracks: Ides, Front Porch Sunrise, Dead Poets Honor & Contender.
22Motion City Soundtrack
Go


Minnesotan quintet Motion City Soundtrack continue on their merry way & quietly deliver yet another consistent & excellent LP with their 5th album 'Go'. Dialing down both their pop & punk extremes, MCS instill an almost indie influence here, without losing any of their characteristic quirks. The catchiness remains, as do the vocal harmonies, hooky melodies & thought-provoking lyrics. And while the outfit may not reach any of their previous heights, these personal & interesting songs not only exhibit genuine maturity, but also a natural evolution for this talented band. Recommended Tracks: Timelines, True Romance, The Worst Is Yet to Come & Bad Idea.
23Last Dinosaurs
In A Million Years


On their debut LP 'In a Million Years', Brisbane quartet Last Dinosaurs have wisely taken in the sounds of practically every continent to craft a satisfying release. The well-executed, toe-tapping indie-pop tunes have some African percussion here, a hint of the Caribbean there, while mainland Europe (Phoenix), the U.K (Franz Ferdinand) & America (Vampire Weekend) are all represented. The front half of this hook-laden debut is especially consistent & immediate, and while there are a couple of mis-fires, this is ultimately a fun, enjoyable & crowd-pleasing record which should appeal to a wide audience. Recommended Tracks: Honolulu, Weekend, Time and Place & Zoom.
24The Menzingers
On the Impossible Past


The next step in the fascinating progression of Pennsylvania's The Menzingers is laid bare on their 3rd LP 'On the Impossible Past'. Following the nostalgic, Americana themed template set down by The Gaslight Anthem, this is a compelling album which is rich in immersive storytelling. The matured song-writing is clearly the focus, with the LP being a little more difficult to penetrate from a musical standpoint. Not as strikingly immediate as predecessor 'Chamberlain Waits', this grower of an album is exactly what the quartet needed to record to progress towards a potential future classic! Recommended Tracks: The Obituaries, Gates, I Can't Seem To Tell & Casey.
25 First Aid Kit
The Lion's Roar


Swedes are talking over folk music... First, it was The Tallest Man on Earth & now we have Swedish sisters First Aid Kit with their 2nd LP 'The Lion's Roar'. Mature beyond their ages (19 & 21), the siblings continue to improve their song-writing, providing sufficient variety by adding Americana, country & even indie-pop to their folk arsenal. There is also a nice balance between upbeat & melancholy, thanks to a fuller band sound & Mike Mogis' rich production. The siblings are the stars though; their compelling, gorgeous vocal harmonies always taking center stage. Recommended Tracks: King of the World, To a Poet, Dance to Another Tune & The Lion's Roar.
26Dead Sara
Dead Sara


As raw as it is polished, the self-titled debut LP from LA alt-rockers Dead Sara is a promising beginning to their career. Playing loud guitar-driven rock, there is a strong classic rock influence here, as well as a bluesy southern feel. Front & center is the strong voice of Emily Armstrong, whose distinctive wail may take a little getting used to. Backing her is an accomplished rhythm section & lead guitarist Siouxsie Medley, whose playing is adventurous, yet fitting. There's some work to do on variety & subtlety, but this is still a rather consistent album. Recommended Tracks: Lemon Scent, Weatherman, Monumental Holiday & Test On My Patience.
27Emeli Sande
Our Version Of Events


Following in the footsteps of Adele & Jessie J, Scottish born 24 year old singer-songwriter Emeli Sande follows up her Brits' Critics Choice Award with a promising, if inconsistent, debut LP. Beginning with 2 of its highlight singles, 'Our Version of Events' occasionally plays it too safe with accessible, heartbreak-themed soul-pop ballads. At 49 minutes, tracks 11 through 13 could easily have been edited out without forsaking diversity or failing to showcase Sande-s phenomenally controlled vocals. Thankfully, the many special moments here make up for the album's flaws. Recommended Tracks: Read All About It (Part III), Heaven, My Kind of Love & Next To Me
28Walk the Moon
Walk the Moon


Like the similar 2012 album from Imagine Dragons, what one thinks of Walk The Moon's self-titled 2nd LP may come down to prior exposure. With 6 tracks re-recorded from their debut LP & 2 others from a teaser EP, there isn't much new here for existing fans. Those new to the Cincinnati quartet, however, are sure to be impressed by the contagious hooks, infectious rhythms & killer choruses on offer here. The album is undeniably front-loaded & there's some dubious lyrics included, but this vibrantly playful LP is not only fun, youthful & eminently danceable, but also sufficiently quirky & diverse. Recommended Tracks: Anna Sun, Tightrope, Jenny & Lisa Baby.
29Future Of The Left
The Plot Against Common Sense


After adding a 2nd guitarist, Welsh rockers Future of the Left concerned fans with a haphazard teaser EP in late 2011... Thankfully, only 1 of those tracks has made it to the quartet's strong 3rd LP 'The Plot Against Common Sense'. Carrying a fuller sound with an infusion of synths, this is the band's most diverse record, if a little unfocused for it. The throbbing riffs & bass-lines return, as does Andy Falkous' cynical & humorous battering of pop culture. Unfortunately, the relentless intensity gets a little exhausting over the 50 minute duration. Recommended Tracks: Notes on Achieving Orbit, I Am the Least of Your Problems, Polymers Are Forever & Failed Olympic Bid.
30Ellie Goulding
Halcyon


Loaded with strings, harps, choirs & multi-tracked vocals, Ellie Goulding follows Florence Welch's lead on her grand 2nd LP 'Halcyon'. Adding a touch of Robyn with ubiquitous icy synths that yield mixed results, the 25 year old mainly ditches the nu-folk of her charming debut & ambitiously aims big here with some huge arrangements. While Goulding's sweet voice occasionally gets lost in the clutter, strong storytelling nous & some ethereal atmospherics keep the album grounded, even if it doesn't hold up to the very end. It may be no 'Ceremonials', but 'Halcyon' is a satisfying progression. Recommended Tracks: Anything Could Happen, Figure 8, My Blood & Only You.
31 All Time Low
Don't Panic


Following unsuccessful attempts to infiltrate the mainstream, All Time Low ditch the major label & return to crunchy pop-punk on their 5th LP 'Don't Panic'. Containing many sing-along anthems, the Maryland quartet load this upbeat album with infectious radio-worthy hooks, without forsaking relatable lyrics & hard-hitting musicianship. So focused & consistent is the LP that it is maybe too much so, meaning the relatively formulaic song structures result in no true home run. 'Don't Panic' isn't anything you haven't heard before, but it is undoubtedly a welcome return to form. Recommended Tracks: Somewhere in Neverland, To Live and Let Go, If These Sheets Were States & Outlines.
32Jessie Ware
Devotion


Following a handful of guest spots, English singer-songwriter Jessie Ware takes center stage on her debut LP 'Devotion'. Delivering an enchanting take on pop-soul, the 28 year old infuses just enough contemporary R&B into the mix to keep her sound from straying into facile 80s radio territory. Her restrained vocals are elegantly sophisticated, lending an intimate honesty to her romantic tales. Not so much simple, as succinct, this predominantly down-tempo album will be too laid-back for some, yet contains under-stated variety. At the very least, it's a well-sequenced & promising debut. Recommended Tracks: Wildest Moments, Taking in Water, Night Light & 110%.
33Little Comets
Life Is Elsewhere


While their debut LP was enjoyable, English indie-pop outfit Little Comets have well & truly hit their stride on 2nd LP 'Life Is Elsewhere'. As always, distinctive vocalist Robert Coles is occasionally difficult to decipher, but the refined song-writing is worth delving into as darker social & political lyrics are interestingly juxtaposed with captivating percussion-heavy rhythms & spiky, jangly guitar melodies. Apart from 'Worry', it may not reach the individual heights of their debut, but this album is the more diverse & consistent release. Recommended Tracks: Worry, Waiting In The Shadows In The Dead Of Night, Tense/Empty & In Blue Music We Trust.
34Halestorm
The Strange Case Of...


Pennsylvanian hard-rockers Halestorm showcase their split personality on 2nd LP 'The Strange Case Of...'. Once more playing mainstream-leaning hard-rock, Howard Benson's production may be too polished this time around, slickening up Lzzy Hale's vocals to the point of detracting from her raw power. Conversely, one cannot deny the sheer catchiness evident here, as well as the band's admirable attempts to diversify their theoretically dated & generic sound. What made the band/label place 3 ballads consecutively mid-album - & exclude bonus track duet 'Private Parts' - will remain a mystery. Recommended Tracks: I Miss the Misery, Beautiful With You, Love Bites & Mz. Hyde.
35Marina and The Diamonds
Electra Heart


Following her excellent debut, Welsh singer-songwriter Marina Diamandis tackles a concept album with her 2nd LP 'Electra Heart'. Using a multitude of producers & session musicians, the catchy pop hooks remain, but this time they're laid over the top of electro-pop synths & beats. Thankfully, Marina's vocals are again terrific, even if the impressive vulnerable moments are too few & far between. Ultimately, 'Electra Heart' is a fun & catchy listen, although - just like the pop of Madonna, Perry & Gaga which it is influenced by - an uneven one that is too obvious in its commercial ambitions. Recommended Tracks: Fear and Loathing, Primadonna, Teen Idle & Bubblegum Bitch.
36Van Halen
A Different Kind of Truth


'A Different Kind Of Truth', the 12th & comeback studio LP from Californian hard-rock icons Van Halen, may just be the most unexpected pleasant surprise of 2012. Ferociously up-tempo & with hardly a keyboard to be heard, the quartet wisely construct many of these tunes by reworking unreleased demos from their storied past. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen pleasingly returns to form, while showman David Lee Roth adds some trademark pizzazz. The album is far from ground-breaking & 1-3 tracks too long, but this amazingly consistent LP is an inspired comeback. The extremely long wait has been rewarded. Recommended Tracks: China Town, As Is, Blood and Fire & Big River.
37Lostprophets
Weapons


Following the defiant & excellent 'The Betrayed', Welsh rockers Lostprophets settle into a fan-friendly comfort zone on their 5th LP 'Weapons'. As consistent & anthemic as ever, the sextet keep within their boundaries, assuredly delivering 10 fist-pumping sing-alongs. With nothing reaching their previous heights this may be familiar & predictable, but the slick production effectively highlights a fuller sound here. It isn't deep or innovative, but 'Weapons' is catchy, energetic & sounds huge, meaning these tunes are likely to go down a treat live. Recommended Tracks: We Bring an Arsenal, Bring 'Em Down, Another Shot & Jesus Walks.
38fun.
Some Nights


With primary producer Jeff Bhasker, NYC-based trio fun. boldly push their theatrical indie-pop into an unashamedly commercial direction on 2nd LP 'Some Nights'. As erratic & polarizing as it is, the album is sure to be their mainstream breakthrough, with even the weaker tracks containing memorably hooky choruses. While the over-use of auto-tune is puzzling, Nate Ruess' vocal harmonies are ever-present, while his optimistically uplifting lyrics shine through the over-production. 'Some Nights' is an inconsistent step down, but there's enough here to make it an admirable evolution. Recommended Tracks: Some Nights, We Are Young, All Alright & Carry On.
39Don Broco
Priorities


English alt-rockers Don Broco look to add a unique element to what is otherwise a well-worn sound on their debut LP 'Priorities'. And they don't do a bad job, with infectious melodies that are bouncy, spiky & quirky throughout these 36 minutes. While the quartet's tongue-in-cheek lyrics straddle the line between immaturity & downright fun, it is simply another ingeredient which adds to the band's idiosyncratic personality. There is real mainstream potential here, but at the very least, the tunes contained on this promising - if a little front-loaded - debut will definitely go down a treat live. Recommended Tracks: Yeah Man, Hold On, Fancy Dress & Priorities.
40Fang Island
Major


Rhode Island formed - Brooklyn based - outfit Fang Island shed 2 members & become a trio for their new LP 'Major'. While much of this album once more lives & dies by its tremendous guitar-work, the piano-driven bookends indicate a clear want to grow & experiment. Such refinement doesn't always work in the band's favor, with the increased use of vocals placing a greater dependence on their often too simplistic lyrics. However, Fang Island undoubtedly have a knack for a catchy melody, making 'Major' such a fun & enjoyable record that it is difficult to dislike. Recommended Tracks: Never Understand, Make Me, Regalia & Asunder.
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