Welcome to DU music's album of the week section. Weekly updates will happen right here so be sure to check in as often as you can! If you're new, be sure to scroll down to find previous Album of the Weeks
Throughout the entirety of Process, Sampha infuses electronic instruments, rhythm and poetic lyricism to create a pathway exploring his most inner thoughts. Nobody Knows Me Like the Piano is a story about how he feel in love with the piano as a childhood escape, but also about his mother.
Sampha also explores mortality and suffering on a persoal level. Losing both his parents to cancer, and also enduring his own scare, Plastic 100c references his revelations as he sings 'I didn't know what that lump was'.
The entire album is a journey of self exploration for Sampha, his lyrics are thought provoking, his melodies are hauntingly sweet and his style is radical! Enjoy it, you only get to discover once!
Tracks to Listen to; Timmy's Prayer
Blood On Me
- Eoin Hand
Not Even Happiness, the second studio album from the contemporary folk singer Julie Byrne is an exploration of both internal and external landscapes as she maps her cross country tour of America. Byrne’s style grows from the last fifty years of folk music, drawing influence from Joni Mitchell, Sandy Denny and Laura Marling. An album of self-exploration, doubt and solitary discovery Not Even Happiness paints Julie Byrne as a kind of lonesome nomad and as listeners; we enjoy partaking in her journey.
The interest in the natural world and its relationship to our own internal existence makes this album an outlet for personal meditation. It is something that evokes intense emotion from Byrne’s simplicity of voice and delicate guitar playing alone. With the occasional addition of Flute or String accompaniment, this album invites us to question the complexities of the simple both in terms of lyrics and in instrumentation.
Byrne’s words can sit on the surface and out of context they can read like cliché love poetry. However when performed to us with such profound emotion of character each word becomes increasingly interesting, and increasingly meaningful. Noted for having a voice “like balm” perhaps similar to a balm that soothes and heals the skin, it is Julie Byrne’s low, enchanting voice in this album that mends something inside all that hear it.
A subtle and introspective work.
Tracks to enjoy: ‘Sleep walker,’ ‘Melting Grid.’
- Michael McCartan
Lost in the Dream, The War on Drug’s third studio album, marks a devastatingly beautiful loss of identity and direction within the ruination of a long-term relationship. The album draws significant influence from artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, with reminiscent undertones of 1980’s rock and Americana anthems. Lost in the Dream underwent a gruelling 1-year recording process in which bandleader Adam Granduciel’s perfectionist tendencies resulted in his performance of over half of the instruments heard throughout.
Dreamy synthesizers and ambient guitar permeate each track, highlighting the continuous themes of suffering and anxiety present in Granduciel’s lyrics. Though each track underwent endless stages of recycling and refurbishment, the result is an album that truly deserves its merit. Upon its release, Lost in the Dream received universal acclaim, marking itself as The War on Drugs’ most harrowing yet stunningly intricate record to date.
The inaugurate track on the album, “Under the Pressure,” makes effective use of blurry guitar ripples accompanied by a steady, yet understated Americana drum beat. Anxiety is the predominant theme present here in which Granduciel paints a vague yet meticulously thought-out picture of a man falling apart.
Overall, the album provides its listeners with an Alice in Wonderland-esque view into Granduciel’s world; you find yourself looking through a key-hole into his mind, slowly being fed information as though you are stumbling through the darkness alongside him. I think that perhaps that was his intention; he delicately introduces you to his world and enables you to discover your own personal connection, however, you can’t quite pinpoint how this happens. Inexplicable bliss.
Tracks to check out: ‘Under the Pressure’, ‘Suffering’, ‘In Reverse’.
- Aoife O'Shea
This is the second studio album from the Nottingham based electroacoustic trio ‘London Grammar’, released in June a mere three months ago. Between it’s harrowingly beautiful melodies and intriguing electronic production techniques, it combines the beauty of raw acoustic music with the possibilities of modern production, creating the most beautiful musical marriage. Lead woman Hannah Reid’s vocals create the most enchanting atmosphere of any music I’ve heard in a long time, with the rich reverb enveloping the listener, making you feel like you're a part of the song, rather than an outsider listening in. The beats, when used, are incredibly well crafted and delicately chosen to suit the sound of the song perfectly, and the effected piano, echoed guitar and gorgeous electronic sounds create an inescapably aesthetic environment. Although I have only become a fan in the last month, I now cannot get enough of their music, and would encourage you all to listen and let me know what you think!
Tracks to check out; Wild Eyed, Trials (Demo) and Everyone Else.
- Sam Hardiman
The discovery of this album was one of the happiest accidents that has ever happened to me. This album oozes a retro ‘60’s psychedelic pop feel. The album, by Italian duo Dumbo Gets Mad is, goofy, cheesy, and weird, but nonetheless it is a fantastic album. From the first track ‘Before Kiddos Bath’, we are introduced to the world of Dumbo Gets Mad, a world that includes mega-funky basslines, wacky sounds, and incredible production. There is always something to turn your attention to with this album, be it the jazzy basslines, extremely well written chord progressions, or the exploration of timbre that abounds throughout, especially on many of the drum sounds used. Every little detail of the sonic landscape is considered, and from the get-go you will feel the ‘60’s vibe reverberate. In my opinion it is one of the best psych-pop albums to come out in the last number of years.
Tracks to check out: ‘Before Kiddos Bath’, ‘Indian Food’, ‘Crystal Balls on Roll (South Africa), ‘Future Sun’.
- Cormac Fitz