1.Hormon Sreće by Brkovi
Let’s open this list with one probably most of you did not hear and mainly because of its language barrier. If you know anything about me then you know that I am not a native English speaker and that I am actually Croatian. So, here I am with this pretty good Balkan folk punk album called Hormon Sreće by Croatian punk band Brkovi. You may be wondering what is Balkan folk punk? Well, imagine it like this. Straightforward punk but with a lot of influences from Balkan folk. I am talking very playful guitar work, a lot of vibrato singing(not very typical punk sounding), melodies in thirds. If you want to actually hear how Balkan Folk sounds like there is actually a song on this album like that. It’s pretty much how would Brkovi sound if you strip down their punk influences. It’s called Ljubavni Rat. It’s very accordion-heavy song, an instrument which is the most used instrument in the whole genre. What guitar is to rock accordion is to Balkan Folk.
This is an insanely fun album to listen to and you can tell that they have had a shit ton of fun making it. It’s 36 minutes album full of bangers for the very big part. Guitar work is great, very playful as already mentioned. Few more dad rocky solos might not be your thing but there is a lot of to like about this album and I hope you will check it out
2. Semicircle by The Go! Team
Admittedly, I did not fall in love with this album on first few listens, but when it clicked it was such a great thing that I ended up loving this even more. This album is such a big bag of positivity that I am surprised that I did not end up loving it right from the start, to be honest. Everything about the sound of this album screams happiness.
Semicircle is an album full of fantastic hooks, which are the best weapon this album possesses. She’s Got Guns, All The Way Live, Mayday, Hey etc will be stuck in your head for days. Their blend of hip hop and indie pop is executed best on song She’s Got Guns. Horn sections on this album are probably the best part of the album especially little solo part of the opening song. Another thing that album did right is its closing track Getting Back Up is a great closer and it has that sound of a closer. Its musical equivalent of someone saying “Goodbye”. I haven’t heard stuff their did for Little Big Planet but Chico’s Radical Decade sounds like something like that.
I totally see how someone can find this album to be very obnoxious, I mean I thought the same after first listen, but once you get used to its sound and vibe it will click with you.
3. Starfire by Caitlyn Smith
Now, this is something great. Caitlyn Smith is a singer/songwriter from Minnesota, USA. Before this album got released, she has written for artists like Garth Brooks, Doly Parton and she wrote only good Meghan Trainor song, ” Like I’m Gonna Lose You”.
Caitlyn is a fantastic songwriter and she shows that on this album. Her ability to craft great hooks is amazing. Listen to the songs like Starfire or Contact High and your mind will be blown away.
Everything about Starfire feels very genuine and sincere in both lyrical and musical department. Every note is in its place.
On this album, Caitlyn shows what a powerhouse of a vocalist she is and how she knows how to use it. She is not oversinging on this album at all, unlike many other vocalists who possess very good vocal talents. In songs that require from her to let her vocals go wilder, like Contact High, she does it and when songs require calmer and down to Earth vocal performance she recognizes it and sings that way, Do You Think About Me is great examples of that. Do You Think About Me is pretty much Ed Sheeran song, but good. Little things in this album help to evolve a lot of songs. Like for example strings in East Side Restaurant give that heavenly feel to already great song.
Starfire is an example of a very basic and simplistic song with great execution that is enhanced by great and captivating Caitlyn’s vocal performance. The best thing about this song is how every simple part of it adds up one on another creating this amazing atmosphere. Very simplistic drum groove is helped by fantastic and very soulful guitar work which makes this song sound so great alongside already mentioned fantastic Caitlyn’s vocal performance. The whole song is rounded by a great, short but sweet guitar solo and that bridge which leads into final chorus is absolutely majestic.
Production on this album is really good too. Songs that need the punch, like Starfire, Contact High etc, got it and those that are much subtle and laid back are not oversaturated by a bunch of unnecessary effects.
Overall this is a fantastic album and my favorite album of the month and I highly recommend you to check it out.
What are some of the most underrated album of this year in your opinion? Let me know in the comments
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