I’m only human, and despite my best efforts to provide frequent and diverse reviews unfortunately sometimes good albums fall through the cracks. Here’s a couple of gems from earlier in the year that I wanted to share with you.
Americana | Indie Rock
Former Fleet Foxes drummer Josh Tillman has created something truly magical for his second album under his Father John Misty pseudonym. It may not be the most instrumentally impressive album in the world, but Honeybear simply oozes character. The lyrics, and Tillman’s expression of them, is what makes this a truly great album. At times they can be a bit hard to follow, but they are introspective and witty and are thoroughly intoxicating. It’s full of droll moments, not least of which the song titles themselves such as ‘Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)’ and ‘Nothing Good Ever Happens At The Goddamn Thirsty Crow’. The dry humour and the somber pensive moments are present in equal measures and can be found scattered throughout. Some lines leave you smirking and others hit you like a brick wall.
Even putting the lyrics aside, Honeybear still stuns with it’s gorgeous melodies. For an album that’s steeped in tales of excess, the music takes a step back. There’s no wailing guitars or intricate drum fills, they simply aren’t necessary. The title track has a likeable country twang, ‘True Affection’ has a dancing interplay of synths and electronics and ‘Bored in the USA’ is a good old fashioned piano ballad with an added laugh track because… well, why not? The rest of the band know exactly what Tillman’s maniacal autobiography needs to make each song just right. I’m not sure how much of this album is Tillman and how much is the persona he’s created around himself, but whether this album was created by Jekyll or by Hyde doesn’t matter so long as he gets the recognition he deserves for such a wonderful creation.
Indie Rock | Alternative | Baroque Pop
Josh Scott has been at the heart of the Indie scene in Eau Claire, Wisconsin that has given the world bands such as Bon Iver. Up until now he has been waiting in the shadows. His friends in the scene argue that he is the most talented amongst them and that he simply has avoided the limelight. Thankfully he has finally embraced the wider world and released his music under the moniker Aero Flynn. I am pleased to say that this album lives up to the big build-up. There’s so much going on; I’ve spent plenty of time listening to it and I still don’t feel like I have the true measure of it. The gorgeous atmosphere of ‘Plates2’ sets things off to a great start before the sparse guitar and clattering rhythm of ‘Crisp’, the electronic shuffle of ‘Tree’ and the uplifting instrumental coda of ‘Floating’.
My personal highlight is the oddly titled ‘Dk/Pi’ which has a driving synth pattern keeping the beat in a Baba O’Riley-esque style, with Scott’s haunting vocals flowing above it. The album is the perfect blend of old and new, with the folk side and the electronic side complimenting each other perfectly. My only criticism is that to me it feels unfinished. The bizarre abrupt song titles, the equally bizarre band name, the hastily scribbled artwork all point to Scott spooking last minute about being centre stage. There are odd moments where I feel like more layers of sound could have been added to add a bit more colour to the soundscape that he’s created. I think those few untrimmed edges are what kept this album quiet and under the radar, which is a terrible shame as it’s a wonderful album which you can spend a lot of time exploring it’s many faceted splendour.