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Daveyboy's Top 40 Albums Of 2013

Remember 2013? Nah, me neither. It seems I'm getting later & later with this list, even if it was finalized quite a few weeks back. Due to the reduction in my reviewing output, I actually listened to - and rated - more current year albums than usual in 2013... I think it was around 200 releases all up, if you include EPs. Everything you see on this page, I rated a 3.8 or higher. And no, #16 is not a misprint... It just wouldn't be a Davey list had I not included something like that LP.
Full of War

Recalling heavier Anberlin, under-rated Virginian band Conditions step up on their 2nd LP 'Full of War'. Losing nothing for guitarist Jason Marshall's departure, the quartet deliver more explosive & passionate rock that contains impressive vocals & relatable lyrics. Hard-hitting drums & soaring guitar lines punctuate consistently anthemic choruses, and while some excursions into mainstream-rock need work, they are still strong & add variety. Considering that Conditions raised funds to have this LP released, one can only hope that 'Full of War' solidifies the band's future. Recommended Tracks: Skeleton, Love Elusive, Every Day Is a New Life, Descent of Man & Walking Separate Ways.
2Captain, We're Sinking
The Future Is Cancelled

The biggest surprise of 2013 comes in the form of 'The Future Is Cancelled'; the 2nd LP from Pennsylvanian quartet Captain, We're Sinking. Best described as punk with flourishes of emo & post-hardcore, the technically accomplished music is not only intense & emotional, but deceptively melodic. This is despite the captivating lyrics which contain lashings of melancholy, as delivered by the dual vocal attack of Bob Barnett & Leo Vergnetti. Containing no filler, this powerful album not only builds well to individual climaxes, but progresses cohesively as a whole. Recommended Tracks: A Bitter Divorce, Annina We Will Miss You, You Have Flaws, Here's To Forever & Brother.
3Local Natives

Following their superb critically acclaimed debut, LA indie-rockers Local Natives do not disappoint on 2nd LP 'Hummingbird'. Produced by The National's Aaron Dessner, this album is less vivacious & immediate than its predecessor, instead choosing to be introspective & emotional. While the dynamic instrumentation returns, it's performed in a deft & subtle manner that compels & rewards further listening. Furthermore, the dual vocal harmonies of Kelcey Ayer & Taylor Rice take a step up here, providing a handful of spine-chilling moments that are worth the price of admission alone. Recommended Tracks: Breakers, Black Balloons, Wooly Mammoth, You & I and Heavy Feet.
4K Sera
Collisions and Near Misses

Following 3 impressive EPs, Sacramento rockers K Sera further evolve on their debut LP 'Collisions and Near Misses'. Expertly produced by The Dear Hunter's Casey Crescenzo, this meticulously crafted record is both immediate & a grower. Epic & ambitious - yet refined & controlled - this theatrical album is delivered so cohesively that it's difficult not to fall engrossed. Guitars, piano & a dynamic rhythm section coalesce with Mike Caswell's strong vocals to result in a melodically hooky mix of indie & progressive rock. K Sera could very well be as big as Muse one day! Recommended Tracks: Dream Like I Do, Near Misses, Ambien, St. Peter & True Enough To Be Interesting.
5Streetlight Manifesto
The Hands That Thieve

'The Hands That Thieve', the much-anticipated - & delayed - new LP from New Jersey ska punk ensemble Streetlight Manifesto is thankfully worth the wait. The septet don't mess with their winning formula, only subtly adding extra influences & slowing down tempos. While 2 or 3 tunes seem composed for nothing but a sing-along (both a pro & a con), the mid-section highlights are worth the price of admission alone. It may well be the least effective of the band's 3 LPs of original material, but that's not a slight for this talented & consistent outfit. Recommended Tracks: The Littlest Things, If Only For Memories, With Any Sort of Certainty, The Three of Us & Your Day Will Come.
6Hands Like Houses

Just 16 months after their debut LP, Aussie post-hardcore act Hands Like Houses step up on 'Unimagine'. Showcasing greater diversity, this James Paul Wisner produced album is consistent & contains no filler. Trenton Woodley's soaring vocals return, as do the subtle electronics, hooky guitar melodies & catchy choruses. Musically, the sextet are undoubtedly tighter, even if the intricacy of their playing has been toned down a little. Pleasingly, Hands Like Houses have successfully evolved by refining their weaknesses, while maintaining their strengths. Recommended Tracks: Shapeshifters, A Tale of Outer Suburbia, Introduced Species, A Fire on a Hill & No Parallels.
7The Wonder Years
The Greatest Generation

Any doubts concerning The Wonder Years are laid to rest on their 4th LP 'The Greatest Generation'. Improving every aspect of their craft, the Philadelphian sextet mature to be a force as a rock band, without losing any of their efficacious pop-punk attributes. Containing many lyrical nuggets, Dan Campbell's poignant & passionate vocals deliver personal themes that many will relate to. Excellently produced by Steve Evetts, The Wonder Years' songwriting continues to evolve for the better, with more detail & diversity than ever before. Recommended Tracks: I Just Want to Sell Out My Funeral, Passing Through a Screen Door, We Could Die Like This & Dismantling Summer.
8London Grammar
If You Wait

'If You Wait', the debut LP from English trio London Grammar, is a captivating album that stops you in your tracks. Predominantly down-tempo, the masterfully restrained sparse instrumentation is well-layered & has a knack for melody that not only enhances accessibility, but also replay value. This provides a fitting back-drop for the timeless, sophisticated & spine-tingling vocals of 23 year old Hannah Reid, whose range is as adept at tackling lows as it is highs. As cohesive as it is consistent, this engaging LP not only promises future greatness & influence, but is a tremendous listen itself. Recommended Tracks: Metal & Dust, Hey Now, Wasting My Young Years & Strong.
9Alter Bridge

Against the trend, Alter Bridge get slightly heavier on their Michael Baskette produced 4th LP 'Fortress'. Bordering on metal, the modern hard-rock on show here is a nice combination of aggressive, progressive & melodic. Technically accomplished, tight & cohesive musicianship holds the album together, with Mark Tremonti's adventurous & blistering guitar-work continuing to grow in versatility. Containing epic book-ends, 'Fortress' may not quite match up to 'Blackbird', but will not disappoint fans & includes enough quality song-writing to look past the overlong 63 minute duration. Recommended Tracks: Cry of Achilles, Calm the Fire, Addicted to Pain & Cry a River.
10State Champs
The Finer Things

Of all the strong 2013 pop-punk releases, Albany quintet State Champs achieve the best combination of pop & punk on their debut LP 'The Finer Things'. Produced by New Found Glory's Steve Klein, this up-tempo album sees tight musicianship & memorable melodies fuse to result in a barrage of infectious hooks. Derek DiScanio's passionate vocals deliver numerous sing-along refrains & above-average lyrics, while propulsive drumming & melodic guitar-leads capture attention. It's not ground-breaking by any means, but this consistent LP displays a well-crafted song-writing nous that is sure to please. Recommended Tracks: Remedy, Elevated, Over the Line & Critical.
11Farewell Fighter

Following an excellent EP, Nashville rockers Farewell Fighter continue to impress on debut LP 'Challenges'. While it helps that 6 EP tracks re-appear here, this is still a cohesive album which displays the quartet's mature song-writing. Strong vocals are backed by tremendous - extremely relatable - lyrics, while there is an occasional foray into pop-punk, both musically & via gang vocals. Deceptive depth to the musicianship exists, with the melodic guitar lines especially impressing. Energetic, containing hooks galore 7 with little filler, 'Challenges' deserves to break Farewell Fighter big time. Recommended Tracks: Golden, The Bend, Growing Pains & Where I Belong.
12Los Campesinos!
No Blues

With their 5th LP in 6 years, prolific Welsh indie pop-rockers Los Campesinos! deliver their best album yet in 'No Blues'. Maturing in all the right ways, this is the now sextet's most focused - & consistent - release to date. The wry, witty lyrics return better than ever, as do the lively melodies which brilliantly coalesce with the often dark subject matter. Apart from the ever-improving vocals, the prevailing upgrade here comes in the form of the expansive sonic textures. So much so, that Arcade Fire is now more of a comparison than any underdog British band! Recommended Tracks: What Death Leaves Behind, Avocado Baby, Cemetery Gaits & For Flotsam.
13Biffy Clyro

Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro go large on their Garth Richardson produced 6th LP 'Opposites'. A conceptual double album filled with anthemic sing-alongs, this release is flawed but ultimately satisfying. Simon Neil's brogue & wacky lyrics return; riffs move from crunchy to angular; the rhythm section from funky to hard-hitting & there's many a twist thrown in. It's overlong at 78 minutes, but there's surprisingly little filler here. While their discography suggests they are capable of more technicality, this LP still proves that the trio are quirkier & more dynamic than their peers. Recommended Tracks: Sounds Like Balloons, Biblical, Stingin' Belle & Spanish Radio.
14Justin Timberlake
The 20/20 Experience

Almost 7 years after his previous release, Grammy award winning singer Justin Timberlake returns with his 3rd LP 'The 20/20 Experience'. Meticulously produced by Timbaland, JT himself & J-Roc, this audacious album can be broadly classified as neo-soul. The lyrics are predictable & the sprawling length (10 tracks at 70 minutes) recalls early 90s extended mixes, but it's hard not to be won over by the lavishness & charisma on show here. As modern as it is retro, as intimate as it is busy & as cohesive as it is varied, this admittedly flawed LP is undoubtedly captivating & ultimately rewarding. Recommended Tracks: Mirrors, Tunnel Vision, Don't Hold the Wall & That Girl.
15I The Mighty

Unwilling to stagnate, San Franciscan quartet I The Mighty add some post-hardcore to their already interesting mix of alternative & progressive rock on 2nd LP 'Satori'. Again looking to find that difficult balance of accessibility & technicality, the musicianship & production here is accomplished, with Blake Dahlinger's explosive drumming deserving of special praise. Meanwhile, out front, engaging lyrics serve to emphasize Brent Walsh's versatile vocal range. At 13 tracks & 51 minutes, it's a tad overlong & could do with a home run hit, but otherwise this consistent LP is quite the achievement. Recommended Tracks: Failures, Between the Lines, Four Letter Words & Ivy.
16Black Veil Brides
Wretched And Divine: The Story Of The Wild Ones

The ever-divisive Black Veil Brides get ambitious with a concept album on their John Feldmann produced 3rd LP 'Wretched And Divine: The Story Of The Wild Ones'. The flamboyant & bombastic quintet surge ever closer to mainstream hard-rock here, with one huge anthemic sing-along after another. The predictable narrative keeps the band focused & naturally adds a symphonic element, even if Wil Francis' 'F.E.A.R Transmission' interludes are very cheesy. It's cliched, 1-2 tracks overlong & not quite 'The Black Parade', but BVB know their target audience & deliver a fun & gratifying release. Recommended Tracks: I Am Bulletproof, New Year's Day, In the End & We Don't Belong.
Bad Blood

Fusing pop, indie & electro, English quartet Bastille impress on their debut LP 'Bad Blood'. There is an understated diversity to many of these tracks, with the musical intricacies - both programmed & organic - shining amongst the hooky choruses. Fantastic percussion & rhythms add an uplifting vibe, despite the often dark tone of the simple - yet incisive - lyrics. Effectively backed by choral harmonies, lead singer Dan Smith not only has a way with words, but distinctively restrained vocals which enthrall. Accessible & grand, yet somehow intimate, more pop music should be like this! Recommended Tracks: Pompeii, Laura Palmer, Flaws & Things We Lost in the Fire.
Holy Fire

Logically refining the style which made predecessor 'Total Life Forever' an album of 2010 contender, English indie-rockers Foals continue to mature on 3rd LP 'Holy Fire'. From the surprisingly effective aggression of 'Inhaler' to the catchiness of 'My Number', this may be the quintet's most diverse - yet cohesive - set of songs. Occasionally funky, regularly poppy, often tense & almost always satisfyingly rhythmic, 'Holy Fire' is meticulously crafted & expansive in scope. So while it doesn't top 'TLF' (not everything works & it's rather front-loaded), it comes mighty close. Recommended Tracks: Inhaler, My Number, Bad Habit & Late Night.
19 Stone Sour
House of Gold & Bones Part 2

As promised, Iowan alt-metal outfit Stone Sour return to complete the 2nd half of their ambitious double concept album 'House of Gold and Bones'. Effectively recycling some snippets from 'Part 1', the entire band continue to evolve; adding a foreboding atmosphere on top of their ever-growing versatility. Melodic & hard-hitting, the balance between accessibility & aggression here is masterfully achieved. Nothing is as good as 'Absolute Zero' & it might not be as immediate as its predecessor, but 'Part 2' retains more interest to the very end, ultimately making it the superior LP. Recommended Tracks: The House of Gold & Bones, Sadist, Stalemate & The Conflagration.
20Mallory Knox

Following in the footsteps of Young Guns, We Are the Ocean & Deaf Havana, English rockers Mallory Knox put their hands up for Lostprophets' crown on their debut LP 'Signals'. As with the aforementioned bands, this quintet don't exactly innovate, but provide satisfyingly catchy sing-along anthems on a consistent basis. Infusing their brand of accessible melodic rock with a tinge of energetic post-hardcore, each member contributes passionate vocals to the mix, resulting in an interesting & diverse dynamic. At the very least, there is a lot to work with moving forward for this promising young band. Recommended Tracks: Wake Up, Lighthouse, Signals & 1949.
21The Story So Far
What You Don't See

On their ultra-consistent 2nd LP 'What You Don't See', California's The Story So Far don't deviate too much from the formula which made their debut such a hit. Every track is a short, passionate & relentlessy energetic tune containing fantastic drumming, dual guitars & a shout-along chorus. The refined production - courtesy of New Found Glory's Steve Klein - effectively highlights the quintet's musical intricacies & hooky vocal melodies. So while they keep within their comfort zone over these 30 minutes, The Story So Far take another step towards the top of the pop-punk pack. Recommended Tracks: Small Talk, The Glass, Right Here & Playing the Victim.
22Vampire Weekend
Modern Vampires of the City

Predominantly forgoing their globetrotting influences, NYC indie-rockers Vampire Weekend find their natural sound on 3rd LP 'Modern Vampires of the City'. Despite a jarring opener, this is easily their most cohesive & consistent record, with the band getting the balance of old & new just right. Furthermore, the way in which the quartet deftly juxtapose quirky & vibrant melodies with thoughtful lyrics concerning serious subject matter is expertly handled. Pianos, organs, harpsichords & strings are all used well on this elegant LP which suggests that Vampire Weekend are anything but a flash in the pan. Recommended Tracks: Step, Unbelievers, Finger Back & Don't Lie.
23The 1975
The 1975

Following 4 EPs, the wait for the self-titled debut LP of hyped English quartet The 1975 was well worth it. Displaying a wide array of influences, the album is synth-heavy, but has plenty of funky guitar. The atmospherics of many EP tracks have been dialed down here in favor of massive pop hooks that produce some of the catchiest singles of the year. Mike Crossey's slick production & Matthew Healy's distinctive vocals will prove divisive, while the LP does get a little repetitive over its 51 minutes. Ultimately, however, this is a dazzling & surprisingly cohesive debut that bodes well for the future. Recommended Tracks: The City, Chocolate, Sex & Girls.
24Cinema Sleep
Truth For The Seeker

Following the excellent 'Make Your Way' EP, Ohio rockers Cinema Sleep return a year later with their debut LP 'Truth For The Seeker'. Looking to create something distinctive within well-worn genres, the quintet's sound takes in post-hardcore, alt-metal & radio-rock. Passionate vocalist Brady Reis has a diverse range, and while there are still some awkward transitions, the musicianship is impressive - especially the propulsive drumming & melodic guitar leads. 1 or 2 tracks fall a little short, but ultimately this is an exciting debut LP from a talented band. Recommended Tracks: Judging Glances, Inside My Hands, Empty Words & Collapse.
25Janelle Monae
The Electric Lady

Comprising the 4th & 5th suites of her audacious 7 part conceptual series, 'The Electric Lady' is another dazzling display of talent from Janelle Monae. While more focused than its predecessor, this album still genre hops between soul, r&b, funk, pop & hip-hop. Recalling Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson & Prince, the latter is even included as one of a number of value-adding guest vocal spots. There's a few too many ballads & it's over-long at 67 minutes, but Monae is as creative & versatile as ever here, with the attention to detail very high. Hell, even the skits are worth a listen! Recommended Tracks: Ghetto Woman, Electric Lady, Q.U.E.E.N. & Dorothy Dandridge Eyes.
26My Chemical Romance
Conventional Weapons

Initially released as 5 separate 2 track EPs, 'Conventional Weapons' compiles all 10 songs into what is essentially My Chemical Romance's 5th (even if it was recorded before their 4th) studio LP. Surprisingly cohesive considering those circumstances, this so-called scrapped album was far too good not to see the light of day. Containing the energy of 'Three Cheers...', dramatics of 'The Black Parade' & fun of 'Danger Days...', this is an intriguing listen which fans will undoubtedly enjoy. And yes, the scrapped LP is better than the officially released one! Recommended Tracks: Boy Division, The World Is Ugly, The Light Behind Your Eyes & Ambulance.
27Arcane Roots
Blood & Chemistry

Following raw mini-album 'Left Fire', progressive Brits Arcane Roots return with debut LP 'Blood & Chemistry'. Polishing up their alt-rock/post-hardcore sound, the trio lose none of their raucousness, nor any of their tempo-switching dynamics. Andrew Groves' versatile vocals continue to improve, while some atmosphere is added musically to make this a real grower. Their ambition does get the better of them, with many tunes containing too many ideas & 58 minutes being overlong, but if Arcane Roots can hone their pop sensibilities, then they could equal the success of Biffy Clyro & Muse one day! Recommended Tracks: Belief, Triptych, You Keep Me Here & Sacred Shapes.
28Arctic Monkeys

Prolific indie-rockers Arctic Monkeys evolve naturally & return to somewhere near their best on their James Ford produced 5th LP 'AM'. As instrumentally tight as ever, the English quartet place more reliance on rhythms, although some terrific riffs still exist. Witty, compelling & rather seductive, Alex Turner's vocals sound assured, the usual lyrical nuggets are abundant & harmonies are enhanced by falsetto backing vocals. The enhanced diversity does have a flip-side & there are some track ordering issues, but 'AM' is ultimately a satisfying combination of old & new. Recommended Tracks: Do I Wanna Know?, R U Mine?, Snap Out of It & Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?
29Super Water Sympathy
Hydrogen Child

Self-labeled as "water pop", female-led pop-rock act Super Water Sympathy impress on their 2nd LP 'Hydrogen Child'. Delivering quirkiness, power & range, lead vocalist Ansley Hughes gives the Louisianan quintet a true point of difference. With proficiently textured & diverse musicianship, as well as beguiling, image-rich lyrics, the group's sound is accessible, yet far from cookie-cutter; and familiar, yet difficult to pinpoint comparisons. It ultimately casts Super Water Sympathy as a rare beast: a unique, creative & consistent band with genuine pop smarts & mainstream potential. Recommended Tracks: Uh Oh!, Pipe Dream, Avalon & Sunday School Dress.
Pure Heroine

While listening to Lorde's debut LP 'Pure Heroine', it's almost impossible to ignore that New Zealand singer/songwriter Ella Yelich-O'Connor is just 16 years of age. Co-writing all 10 tracks with producer Joel Little, the young kiwi matches her alluring voice with a sparse & restrained style of pop. The barometer will be her lyrics, which are a teenager's satirical thoughts on pop culture. While surprisngly cohesive, not every tune here is memorable, but the highlights are superb... And that's enough to make 'Pure Heroine' a very exciting debut from a talent that should be around for quite a while yet. Recommended Tracks: Tennis Court, Royals, Team & A World Alone.
31Deaf Havana
Old Souls

Having already made a significant stylistic change from albums 1 to 2, English rockers Deaf Havana do so again on 3rd LP 'Old Souls'. Now a sextet, an Americana style often shines through, with Springsteen & Gaslight Anthem influences apparent. A wide array of instrumentation brings greater diversity, although it is still front-man James Veck-Gilodi who stands out; both with his enthralling vocals & emotionally honest lyrics. The change of direction is initially jarring & it may lack a home run hit, but the song-writing on this admirably ambitious LP is simply too exceptional too ignore. Recommended Tracks: Everybody's Dancing..., Speeding Cars, Boston Square & Caro Padre.
32Arcade Fire

There's no quelling Arcade Fire's ambition, with the Grammy award winners' 4th LP 'Reflektor' aiming higher than ever. Co-produced with James Murphy & Markus Dravs, this sprawling 76 minute double album continues the sextet's evolution & is packed with intriguing diversity. More danceable than prior releases, the insistent rhythms & melodies re-appear, but are more complex than usual. It's grand, lush sound sees it reach many heights, yet it's ultimately front-loaded & over-long, with the more solemn & experimental 2nd disc being hit & miss. Their worst LP is still captivating! Recommended Tracks: Reflektor, Normal Person, Here Comes the Night Time & You Already Know.
33We Still Dream
Something to Smile About

Under-rated pop-punk act We Still Dream take an admirable step forward on their catchy & consistent 2nd LP 'Something to Smile About'. Overcoming predictable nostalgic themes by adding satisfying twists, the quintet utilize a proficient use of dual, backing & gang vocals. Extremely comfortable - & more suited - to performing short, sharp & heavy tunes, the Jacksonville band bravely integrate a more pronounced alt-rock aesthetic on the album's 2nd half. It is this willingness to mature, without sacrificing what got them to the big dance in the 1st place, which makes this LP a resounding success. Recommended Tracks: So Much Worse, Dissipate, Back To Then & Tendencies.
34The Dangerous Summer
Golden Record

Despite a couple of line-up changes, Maryland natives The Dangerous Summer don't stray too far from their trademark sound on 3rd LP 'Golden Record'. If anything, this album is a little darker & less immediate than its predecessors, with AJ Perdomo's distinctively passionate rasp being more emotional & aggressive than ever. Another consistent release, lack of diversity is unfortunately once more an issue, with the quartet too unwilling to go outside of their comfort zone. Thankfully, Perdomo's always relatable lyrics do return, which still makes 'Golden Record' a captivating listen. Recommended Tracks: Miles Apart, Knives, Honesty & Drowning.
35City and Colour
The Hurry And The Harm

Under the City and Colour moniker, Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green just keeps on keeping on with 'The Hurry and the Harm'. While continuing with a full band sound, Green pulls it back a little here, allowing his dreamy, majestic voice to take center stage. There are some lovely melodies on this consistent album, but it's the interesting lyrics evident within the vividly involving storytelling that is its true strength. A touch overlong at 51 minutes, a case could be made that this is the worst of the act's 4 LPs, but that's not all that denigrating an argument! Recommended Tracks: The Lonely Life, The Hurry and the Harm, The Golden State & Commentators.
36Dead Letter Circus
The Catalyst Fire

Following a couple of line-up changes, Australian alt-rockers Dead Letter Circus refine - rather than reinvent - their atmospheric sound on 2nd LP 'The Catalyst Fire'. With textured electronic flourishes being much subtler this time around, this is a progressive - yet accessible - album which has been slickly produced. The soaring vocal melodies of Kim Benzie once more captivate, as does Luke Williams' thumping drums. It may not reach the individual heights of its predecessor, but 'The Catalyst Fire' is another satisfying grower that should contain something for everyone. Recommended Tracks: Alone Awake, The Cure, Insider & Lodestar.
37Mayday Parade
Monsters In The Closet

Floridian rockers Mayday Parade settle into a comfortable sweet spot on their 4th LP 'Monsters In The Closet'. Simply refining the dramatic style which the quintet showcased on their self-titled predecessor, this consistent & cohesive album could sound a little too familiar for some. The gimmicks are actually pared down here, yet it remains likeable & engaging for the most part, with the emotionally vulnerable vocals of Derek Sanders being nicely backed up by dual vocal spots & many catchy sing-alongs. And boy, do Mayday Parade know their way around a lovelorn ballad. Recommended Tracks: Angels, The Torment of Existence..., Even Robots Need Blankets & Ghosts.
38The Darien Venture
A Kite, A Key and A Storm

They may not be prolific, but Scottish rockers The Darien Venture continue to improve on their 3rd release 'A Kite, A Key and A Storm'. Delivering more tempo-switching math-rock, the angular dual guitar work is once more a strength on this 7 track, 26 minute release. Pleasingly, the quartet strike a balance between their raw past work & a new streamlined approach which does away with filler. The biggest upgrade comes with the vocals, as all 4 members provide surprisingly memorable harmonies & backing chants on an album which deserves to see The Darien Venture receive more exposure. Recommended Tracks: Ho! Criminal Face, 1.21 Gigawatts, Bones & Catapult.
39Miles Kane
Don't Forget Who You Are

Liverpudlian Miles Kane aims his retro 60s influences more towards rock than pop on his 2nd LP 'Don't Forget Who You Are'. Urgently produced by Ian Broudie, this lean & very consistent 33 minutes worth almost sounds like a live recording, with its relentless intensity shining through the often familiar material. It's simplistic & fairly derivative stuff which also has its fair share of lazy lyrics, but with next to no filler & a likable energy evident throughout, 'Don?t Forget Who You Are' is a genuinely fun experience. Recommended Tracks: Give Up, Taking Over, Darkness In Our Hearts & Don't Forget Who You Are.
40Off With Their Heads

Hard-working punk rockers Off With Their Heads succeed again on their 3rd LP 'Home'. Having perfected their balance of melody & aggression, the reliable quartet look to grow, with Bill Stevenson's production seeing them take a sonic step up. The song-writing also shows greater diversity, with a few mid-tempo numbers allowing the passionately raspy Ryan Young some room for versatility. All of the bands strengths return; blazing guitars, tight rhythm section, self-deprecating lyrics & shout-along refrains. Basically, it's another excellent 30 minutes of gimmick-free punk. Recommended Tracks: Nightlife, Shirts, Janie & Take Me Out.
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