The sound of San Francisco band Girls is one both familiar and refreshingly new. It’s one of those records that harkens back to older influences (Pink Floyd, Elvis Costello, Spiritualized, British Invasion era Pop) while retaining a bright and contemporary energy that comes through these well written songs. There are plenty of beautiful ballads full of melodic tunefulness sutured together with a variety of instrumentation (flutes, acoustic guitar, keyboards, back up singers), not to mention the occasional, soaring guitar solo. But there are also a few up-tempo, catchy pop songs to contrast with the more contemplative numbers. This record will definitely be on my best of the year list.
Father, son, holy ghost
For her latest album, Night of Hunters, Tori Amos delved into the world of classical music to find inspiration. There are no guitars or drums here and no radio-friendly singles; the piano is paired with strings and woodwinds to create a whole-album experience where one song flows into the next. It is to me, in a word, beautiful. Night of Hunters is highly conceptualized; it uses the story of a dissolving relationship to discuss themes of creation and destruction, the hunter and the hunted, within everyone. The lyrics are full of natural imagery and references to Celtic mythology, both of which fit very well with the classically-inspired music. It may not be for the casual listener, but for anyone interested in spending some time with Night of Hunters, I believe there is a lot to find here.
I’m completely biased when it comes to Tori Amos. I’ve been a fan of hers since I was twelve, and I’ve continued to be a fan even though her last few albums have felt bloated and a bit self-indulgent to me. But Night of Hunters showcases some of her best piano compositions and vocal work in years, and I recommend it to anyone willing to give it a try.
Night of Hunters