Adriane Pontecorvo: Rarely has isolation been so full-bodied in music as in Moses Sumney’s “Lonely World”, a song that gives melancholy voice to the poetry of alienation. It opens with lonesome guitar and slowly rising vocals before picking up fantastic momentum. From that point forward, a rush of increasingly frenzied beats back Sumney’s dizzying lyrics, and the sonic layers build and build to paint a full portrait, detailed with light and shadow, both intimate and vast. “Lonely World” has the scope of an epic, but a spirit laid totally, beautifully bare. [10/10]
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The Trouble With Teeth may be Little Coyote‘s debut release, but it’s been a long time coming. The band’s frontwoman, Teagan Johnston, began writing the album in 2013. Together with bandmates Byron Patterson and Mike Poisson, they’ve been collectively chipping away at gaining steam with live performances and single releases since their coming together in 2015.
Adriane Pontecorvo: Belle and Sebastian juggles Stuart Murdoch’s signature featherweight vocals with frenetic rhythms, power synths, and a little country twang—and the result is surprisingly well-balanced. This is a modern, sophisticated side of Belle and Sebastian, proving the band can be grounded, living in the moment without sacrificing the ethereal loveliness that once set them so far apart from the world. [8/10]
John Garratt: I’m familiar with the drill by this point—cultists and apologists insist that, when their favorite act releases new material, one must not gauge it against their old material. I think this is fair enough. U2 paid their dues a long time ago and are entitled to some critical peace (they can also stop feeling the need to ingratiate themselves to New York City). But try as I might, I simply can’t forget that time between 1991 and 1995 when the future seemed absurdly wide open for this band. Yes, “You’re the Best Thing About Me” is catchy and can get stuck in your brain. It’s also a band on autopilot. It’s vanilla ice cream with none of the toppings, which has been U2’s musical direction for the last 13 years. “The Fly” has been swatted away. “Zooropa” is now just a funny made-up word. “Your Blue Room” has been erroneously filed away as a b-side. What’s left is this, and it’ll likely be good enough for the cultists and apologists. [6/10]