First published in The Ocelot Magazine.
Bit of an lighter feeling selection this month. Album of the month is obviously the stunning début from Bastille. A near perfect indie-pop record without flaw. Doughnut of the month was a surprise, as I expected a lot more from Delphic, having really liked their début a few years ago. A special mention in dispatches to Suede who would have had comeback album of the year so far if it wasn’t (ironically) for David Bowie. But, their first album in a long time is a vintage Suede effort and well worth getting a copy.
Maiden album from Dan Smith’s Bastille, and there will not be many better debut indie-pop records that you will ever hear. Full to bursting with accomplished and polished songs all of which are jam packed with interesting twists and turns. The lush melodies, intelligent lyrics and infectious beats really elevate this into an astonishingly good record. And it is immensely varied, keeping interest levels high all through, which is often an issue with this style of music.
Comeback album of the year? Possibly. Certainly a return to some core Suede values, the trademark sound is intact, as is Brett Andersons vocal style. The song-writing is as strong as you would expect after this long a break, and with a weightier sound this turns out to be worth the wait. The Bowie influence still runs strong, but this sounds more grown-up and considered. It certainly shows some of the newer bands that filled their void how it should be done.
Listening to this debut by Londoners Theme Park actually encourages certain words to pop unbidden into your mind; lush, funky, poppy, melodic, eighties, electro, groove. It is like the record is writing its own review conveniently. Taking cues from the mid-eighties output of Talking Heads and influenced by producer Luke Smith’s other projects The Maccabees and Foals as well as Friendly Fires (whose singer Ed Macfarlane produced single “Tonight”) it is a fantastic indie-pop creation.
The title makes this sound like a greatest hits compilation, which would be weird as Delphic have only one previous release. This is the “difficult” second album for the Mancunian band, and never was that a truer concept. Sadly not as strong as their cracking debut, it suffers from an over-abundance of ideas that lack cohesion. It does have glorious moments of their trademark indie-electronica (“Atlas” is majestic) but these are all too infrequent and it lacks the fizz of its predecessor.