Friday, December 30, 2011

Best Albums of 2011 - Three Sophomore Releases I Loved

Sophomore releases are notorious stumbling blocks. You want to branch out, but you don't want to be too different. It's tough to balance all that. There were three sophomore albums from three bands that I absolutely loved this year. I wore digital grooves on my digital files I played them so much.

First you have Pains of Being Pure at Heart's Belong, a magnificent tribute to 90s Smashing Pumpkins excess rock. It still feels like their self titled debut, but fuller, richer. They've grown into this sound and they relish it.

Next is Telekinesis' 12 Desperate Straight Lines . Here we have Michael Benjamin Lerner going a bit harder than his self titled debut. It's not all sweet lyrics about being in love anymore. "I never loved you, I never loved any one." Yeah, he's a hurt dude. But this is a guy who knows how to craft a perfect pop song, and makes you hit repeat again and again.

Finally, one of my must own albums of the year, Rural Alberta Advantage's Departing . This album is stark and melodic, like the Alberta province where the band is from and takes their name. But where their debut Hometowns spoke of that isolation, Departing is about the world outside and leaving your love and family. All the tracks are phenomenal, but standouts include the driving drum of Stamp, the beauty of North Star, the powerful opener of Two Lovers and the equally poignant and bare closer Good Night. I saw the band close out their show with this number and they brought the house down.

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