At risk of sounding like a beauty haul Youtube star, I thought I’d try a new thing in compiling a list of my favourite albums from this month. August is always a good month for music, especially with the sheer amount of music festivals happening at this time of the summer, and this year hasn’t disappointed.
What Went Down / Foals (Transgressive)
I think I can speak for everyone when I say that Foals’ fourth album What Went Down was heavily anticipated. From the minute the band debuted the title track on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show, it was clear they had evolved yet again. Featuring some of Yannis Philippakis’ strongest vocals, What Went Down is another step up from the math rock group and could potentially be their ‘heaviest’ album yet. The album is a collection of more stadium-ready rock anthems, from the drama of the title track, the sheer force of aptly-titled ‘Albatross’ and the undeniably funky ‘Birch Tree’. Other highlights on the album include ‘Snake Oil’ and ‘London Thunder’, proving that the band are still making music at its brooding best.
Moth Boys / Spector (Fiction Records)
There is always that worry when a band release a decent debut album that their second won’t live up to expectation and flop. However, Spector seem to have bucked the trend, with Moth Boys being a solid effort both in an evolution of synth-style sound and lyrical brilliance. Spector are known for their lyrics, thanks to the sharp wit of lead singer Fred MacPherson, and their second album far surpasses this, mainly commenting on the modern values of love in a way that everyone can completely understand (“One socket left, I let you charge your phone / These are the ways that we show our love”). My personal favourites come in the shape of ‘West End’ in which MacPherson sings of an old flame’s new boyfriend and exclaiming “Well, fuck him” and probably the most poppy song on the record, the emphatic ‘Stay High’.
Little Victories / The Strypes (Virgin EMI)
After their first album was perhaps a tad too stuck in the past for their own good, the Irish 4-piece are back with their second album Little Victories. The album demonstrates an evolution in their maturity, especially in a lyrical sense and sees their usual rock and roll style and influences joined by more of a Kasabian and Arctic Monkeys’ spark. Signs of brilliance are evident throughout, especially on track ‘A Good Night’s Sleep and a Cab Fare Home’ which is perhaps their best effort in terms of a more indie/alternative sound (and probably one of my favourite songs from this list).
BADLANDS / Halsey (Astralwerks)
The most unique artist on this list has to be Halsey. Her debut album BADLANDS, a concept album, features extensive imagery and songs full of character(s) of which she told Complex Magazine that “the idea of BADLANDS was creating a space with sound”. The themes she explores on this debut, singing of issues regarding the mind, body and soul are reminiscent of Lorde’s Pure Heroine and it is not hard to see how she has already amassed such a large fanbase, her sass and fiery attitude coming across not only on her social media accounts but also through her lyric and vocal abilities. Highlights come in the form of ‘New Americana’ with an anthemic chorus claiming “we are the new Americana / high on legal marijuana”, as well as gem ‘Hold Me Down’ in which she sings of seeking solace from her demons.
Another One / Mac DeMarco (Captured Tracks)
Following on from his 2014 album Salad Days, Mac is back with a mini-album in the form of Another One (nicely titled). The LP is a collection of eight simple tracks of love that are unmistakably Mac DeMarco-esque down to their very core, with The Guardian aptly describing his style and approach to both song-writing and composition as “slackerish geniality”. Another One is whimsical and laidback, making it the perfect album to listen to in the evening sun (if there is any left of it now we’re approaching September) and will see him playing a series of live dates in September.
Other albums out this month included releases from The Bohicas, Frank Turner, Jess Glynne, The Fratellis, Beach House, Hooton Tennis Club and The Weeknd (each link takes you to that artist’s album on Spotify)
Words by Kirstie Sutherland