Sean McVerry makes sultry blue-eyed soul, a more emphatic and instrumental take on Sam Smith’s chart-topping material. Hourglass Switchboard 2 is about halfway between Smith and The 1975’s energetic pop-rock, part downtempo electronic pop and part crisp guitars. It’s a surprisingly underexplored combination, given the popularity and quality of the two styles, but given McVerry’s adept take it’s nearly inevitable more musicians will follow in the future. If you’re looking for suave, serene pop-rock to carry you through the rest of your Monday, Hourglass Switchboard 2 is your best bet.
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Minor Soul‘s “One Chance” is sheet-smooth bedroom pop, acoustic guitars and plinking synths soaring under the vocals. It’s of a fairly polarizing genre, but the genre is pristine when done right, and “One Chance” is a good example of what happens when every facet gleams. Its hopeful, upward-facing ethos is a pleasant reminder that music doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, a sugar-intensive shot of positivity in a style best known for that kind of purity.
Cheshires’ draw is the way they put their own spins on tried-and-true classic rock, tweaking psychedelic and rootsy music into their own versions. “Love This Feelin’” skews closer to the former, rambling psych dustiness taking center stage. Guitars wail, voice meanders, and the song ambles along the path of synth-heavy psychedelic goodness. It’s a style that’s been done a lot, but it’s also one that still hasn’t gotten old, and “Love This Feelin’” is proof enough of that.
Wrinkles make rootsy psychedelic rock with a revivalist kick, the kind of exquisitely-produced jams that have been bursting forth ever since Tame Impala broke through to mainstream consciousness. Separation Anxiety is an impressive collection of synthy goodness from the young band, synth twists and echoing guitar played straight for immediate effect. It lifts satisfying elements from the major trends in indie of late — Young the Giant’s pop savvy, Future Islands’ propensity for the anthemic, LCD Soundsystem’s spare misanthropy — and the result is an album well-studied and well-executed. It refines the wheel instead of reinventing it — and given the result, refining is plenty good.