Albums of the year – April 2016
April was a strong month for diverse music.
Beyonce made the biggest noise with an album as surprising as its release. Tim Heckler invented new ambient tones to get lost to. Colin Stetson reimagined the classical works of Gorecki. And Sturgill Simpson reshaped country music for those that didn’t particularly like, well, country music. So it was rather amusing that April’s finest output came from a relatively straightforward rock outfit.
Having released eight albums since forming in 2010, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have proven they have a pretty relentless work ethic with no real signs of slowing down. This sense of energy continued with Nonagon Infinity, a muscular body of work where all nine songs (including the closing and opening tracks) merged into each other. You could have listened to it on a non-stop loop for days if you felt brave enough.
It was perhaps less exhausting to enjoy it in shorter bursts. Robot Stop immediately kicked things to life, instructing us to: ‘Loosen up, tighten up, fuck shit up, don’t forget about it.’ Capturing the live vigour they’ve built a reputation on, many of the songs were built around the same structure and guitar riff to create a sense of fluidity. Only Mr. Beat took its foot off the gas a little in order to nag us with one of the album’s catchiest tunes.
Drawing influences from early Metallica, seventies prog rock and (dare it be said) Kula Shaker, KG&TLW created an album that waved the flag high for exhilarating rock music in a year where it’s been somewhat lacking.
Yes it’s straightforward. Yes it’s a bit silly. But it’s also seriously good.
PJ Harvey: The Hope Six Demolition Project
Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor’s Guide to Earth