We are, shockingly, now into the middle third of the year 2017. That means that one in three of your favourite albums of 2017 has already come and gone. Scary, huh. If you’re anything like me, you’re at something like 65 albums so far for the year. What’s that? Oh, that’s too many and I’m nuts? Yeah, I guess you’re right.
My favourite album of the month of April and sure to be one of my top debuts of 2017 is by London quartet The Big Moon. They’ve been kicking around for a couple of years now, making waves as one of the most sought-after support bands in the country, but this is their moment. Love in the 4th Dimension is the album, a star-spangled medley of deceptively sweet melodies, punk attitude and carpe diem zest. It’s up there with the best statements of intent by a new British band in years: Wolf Alice, Fat White Family, Sleaford Mods, Menace Beach, Sauna Youth and now The Big Moon.
Elsewhere, the new record from Kendrick Lamar was unavoidable. Where To Pimp a Butterfly was a historical landmark in popular music, a brave new world where jazz and vintage funk mingled with the vanguard of contemporary hip-hop production. It is, then, at least somewhat disappointing that new album DAMN. is considerably less interest in bursting down conventions than its predecessor. That said, it is still a major statement, a heavyweight entry in the ongoing story of mainstream art and a more incisive snapshot of social and racial tension in the US right now than Joey Bada$$ managed with his more straightforward and predictable record, also released this month.
The other album that screamed IMPORTANT this month was Father John Misty‘s Pure Comedy. It is an old-fashioned epic, an indulgent passion project, full of extravagant and frequently hilarious teardowns of social media, art and everything else that’s wrong. It is preachy but if you get the joke, you’ll love it. Feist returned with an altogether more understated, mature record, a quiet statement that makes you to lean in to feast on its riches.
For the changing season, Columbia’s Ondatropica are here with Baile Bucanero, a latin smorgasbord of dance and energy. Speaking of smorgasbords, Gorillaz‘ new one Humanz is somewhat hit and miss, but the first half is more or less great. The Moonlandingz‘ debut finally arrived and delivered on the promise: a debauched, disgraceful, decadent mess. Two of the 00’s most enjoyable indie bands, The New Pornographers and British Sea Power, both updated themselves with strong new records.
On the slightly weirder end of things, jazz saxophone master Colin Stetson took time out from helping the crème de la crème of indie bands with their arrangements to make an explorative, diverse new collection. Meanwhile, Chicago experimental hip-hop musician Nnamdi Ogbonnaya is back with a beguiling, in-categorisable album by the name of Drool.
TOP 10 ALBUMS OF APRIL
- The Big Moon – Love in the 4th Dimension
- Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
- Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
- Feist – Pleasure
- Ondatropica – Baile Bucanero
- Colin Stetson – All This I Do For Glory
- The Moonlandingz – Interplanetary Class Classics
- Nnamdi Ogbonnaya – Drool
- Gorillaz – Humanz
- The New Pornographers – Whiteout Conditions