Wednesday, 23 December 2020

20 for 2020 #3

Another five of my faves of the year, all of these have been played a lot. This is probably the most stylistically diverse selection of this run of articles.

YOUNG KNIVES 'Barbarians'
Young Knives' fifth album was their first in seven years, and if you were expecting anything along the lines of classics like Weekdays And Bleak Days, Here Comes The Rumour Mill and Turn Tail, you were in for a shock. For 'Barbarians' is completely bonkers, a turbulent masterclass in off-the-wall experimentation rooted in chaos and nihilism. They ask the question: "What if cruelty to others is just part of who we are? How do we live with that?” 'Barbarians' is the rather disconcerting answer.

WILL BUTLER 'Generations'
If you want to know who the real brains behind Arcade Fire's best moments is, just listen to 'Generations', the second solo record by the Canadian band's keyboard player Will Butler. In complete contrast to the Young Knives, Butler offers hope and optimism wrapped in terrific melodies and exhuberant delivery. The closing track does sound like that song from Toy Story (it really does!), but the rest is good enough to let that slide.

WIRE 'Mind Hive'
Once again, Wire hit the mark. 43 years after making one of the greatest, most influential debut albums of all time, they delivered their 17th album and they somehow still sound fresh. It met with some of the highest critical acclaim of their recent career too.

THE KILLERS 'Imploding The Mirage'
Now, this one was a bit of a surprise. Ever since their brilliant debut, The Killers have got worse and worse. I personally lost them when they released the dire Human and hadn't gone back since, until I heard some of the tracks from 'Imploding The Mirage'. I know I risk losing whatever crdibility I have left, and it doesn't reach the heights of 'Hot Fuss' - not a lot does - but it reminded me that, on their day, The Killers can be such a good band.

TORRES 'Silver Tongue'
Another one I featured back in my Lockdown posts, and I still haven't lost any of my love for what is by far Torres' best record to date. After an acrimonious split from her record label 4AD, she refocused her energy into writing an album of songs about love and relationships. But, as you'd expect, these aren't typical soppy ballads, and it's difficult to pin a genre on it. It's just beautiful.

Next Wednesday, the final five.


  1. Another fine selection Robster. I have to admit, that The Knives are the only one I know. So I have to investigate for the others during the next days. Merry Christmas ans stay safe.

  2. Enjoyed this series Robster
    A few I was familiar with and a lot more to explore
    Merry Christmas to you and yours

  3. I'll never get over how good Wire has been in recent years. My best wishes to you and your family during the holiday season.