There's two incredible things on Islah: Gates' unflinching honesty and his melodic ability. Almost every single hook is good, some are stellar. He sells so many copies because he's liked by women. They don't like to debase, they want a relatable, honest, open man. That's Gates. He may be a violent ex-felon, but he will rub your feet.
Best song:Two Phones
New View (2016)
Thanks to the amazing music she and her brother have given us as The Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger has earned our attention to anything she releases. This record, however, is a letdown. Where 'Personal Record' at least had some standout tracks, New View's generic soft rock floats by largely unnoticed. She's saved by her extraordinary voice.
Best song:Because I Asked You
At over 2 hours, Prydz takes the DeadMau5 route of eschewing the EDM gravy train in favour of a mature look into the wealth of history dance music has to offer. Opus is aptly titled: this is Prydz at his most complete. He could've mangled a bunch of samples and chased that lucrative number 1 again. Instead, he treats long-suffering day 1 EDM fans.
Best song:Black Dyce
Not being a marijuana smoker, Khalifa is foreign to me. It sounds like a stoned guy sing/rapping about being stoned, being rich, and being real. Over. And over. And over. Since Future, everyone thinks they need to drop projects constantly. This one needed a bit more time in the oven and a bit less weed in the studio. Bring back Trap Wiz!
Best song:Bake Sale
Third Law (2016)
If they used this record to score "Frozen," it would be rated R. And there's no lyrics... It's just scary! Menacing, aggressive, an assault. The tension is allowed to build, complacency sets in, then all of a sudden a tidal wave of misery appears and you're in pain again. It's a psychiatric ward torn down and plastered on wax.
Nine Track Mind (2016)
On first listen I thought: "Adele would cringe at this". Yet Puth's unwavering voice sneaks its way in. Where it makes landfall is up to you. The heart? You've been duped, but beautifully so. The ear? You're hearing a popstar at the height of his powers. The brain? He wrote and produced 90% of the album. The loins? Well just look at him...
Best song:Marvin Gaye
Adore Life (2016)
Savages deserve the benefit of the doubt. They have the cool, the styling, balls, artwork and something to say too. This all-girl wave band has been exciting from day one. An intense act averting all compromise. But they have trouble to deliver a full album, despite the variety; from Pumpkins grunge to balladry, all bass driven, they fail to hold a true grip.
Best song:The Answer
Big Black Coat (2016)
The infectious groove of their youth (think Double Shadow) is absent, replaced by a unique trick. They've turned the 90s dancefloor sound into elevator music. The effect is stunning. Also quite dull. Love Is A Fire is Scooter on valium, and the Boys rarely get out of 2nd gear. It's mildly enjoyable background music, certainly not floor filling.
Best song:Love is a Fire
A follow-up to the impressive Tempest, Chasms explores the same territory with similar outcome. Proving the darker side of funeral doom metal can be a place to thrive by tapping into death metal, Lycus captains the underbelly of metal's choice resurgent subgenre.. Tempest and Chasms are now two chapters in a very engrossing story, one to watch for.
Best song:Solar Chamber
Human Ceremony (2016)
Despite their age, these cool kids know the classics, and they know their instruments: the guitar rules on this debut. They appropriate all kinds of sounds from the 60s up until the 90s, but they forget to add their own signature. The undeniable chemistry between the vocalists makes up for a lot. Style over substance, but it's a pretty good style.
Best song:Space Exploration Disaster
Don't You (2016)
If music must affect you, Don't You probably won't suffice. Wet are wildly popular (by non-radio standards), and rainy Sunday afternoons are never going to be safe from a quick Deadwater spin. The female equivalent of James Blunt - inoffensive, calm, warm, lovely if you identify with this demographic. Otherwise? Avoid.
Best song:All The Ways
Is The Is Are (2016)
After a long time of absence, now there's this double album. Soundwise, not much has changed: lush wave rock, hazy singing, lots of reverb. DIIV turn it up a notch at the end with bigger riffs and a heavier guitar sound. A welcome addition to the variety. They sound focused for over an hour, grab and hold your attention and unleash their potential.
Best song:Waste Of Breath