January 20, 2020

Yeasayer – Fragrant World – Secretly Canadian

By Kristi Kates | Nov. 9, 2019

There’s a lot of machinery on Yeasayer’s latest, as the experimental indie-popsters dig into more eclectic, diverse sounds and steer away from classic indie-rock guitars. Piling layers of synths and drum machine tracks atop each other would seem to result in disorder, but the band is deft enough to use restraint on lushly appealing songs, like the spacey “Blue Paper,” the thought experiment that is “Longevity, or “Henrietta,” where an unexpected bass line holds down a beautiful background melody.” ***

Bent Knee – You Know What They Mean – RCA

Five albums in, Boston outfit Bent Knee is still keeping things interesting with its avant-garde blend of art-rock, minimalist music, and outright pop. It’s tough to put the band in any of the above categories, because they move so seamlessly between each; the catchiest tunes are probably “Give Us the Gold,” with its venue-ready chorus, and “Hold Me In,” with its replayability. But also of note is the echoey, ambitious first single “Catch Light” and the pretty “Golden Hour.” ***

Dream State – Primrose Path – UNFD
Frontwoman CJ Gilpin crafts some heavy lyrics for the Welsh band’s tracks, in stark contrast to the carefully written, inimitable instrumental compositions that roll underneath. This is the band’s official debut set, with opener “Made Up Smile” poised to introduce you to their confident sound: pointy guitar riffs, hurtling drums, and masses of interchangeably icy and dark synth sounds, all supporting Gilpin’s darkly honest translations of her own personal challenges through music. ***

Floating Points – Crush – Ninja Tune
Back after four years away from the charts, Floating Points, aka Sam Shepherd, is offering up this set on all the usual mediums, plus a special vinyl LP. The electronica artist is only on his sophomore album but is already a critical fave for his take on ’90s dance floor sounds mixed with English club music and experimental electronica ventures. Anchored primarily in breakbeat, the album careens through impressive tracks like the melodramatic “Falaise,” the deceptively pretty “Last Bloom,” and the piano-graced “Sea Watch” before winding up the set the nicely grooving double closer, “Apoptose Pt. 1 and Pt. 2.” ***


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