Well, hello there! It’s been a while since there’s been any action from The Garden Statement, particularly from me. It’s such a fickle thing, this idea of writing about music. There’s so many websites, why would you choose ours? It’s a question I constantly asked myself, which made me wonder if I needed to do this anymore. When all the talk of whether I neededto do this, I forgot about one very, very important fact: I want to do this. This site has always been about discussing the music we love, and I think I lost sight of that, for a lot of different reasons. While I may never shake the anxiety and self-doubt of doing this, it’s something I need to handle better, and I intend to do that, starting now. It seems that there’s only one question left now: when you haven’t posted anything on your music blog in a while, what should you start with? My answer, for whatever reason, is to do something really, really time-consuming.
I’m going to get caught up on all the albums I should have done proper reviews for this year.
So, here it is. Please remember taht this is only a way to relay information on albums that you should check out from this year, and is in no way any indication of what our “Best of 2016” lists will look like come the end of the year. If you notice something I miss, please feel free to overreact to it by blasting me about it on Twitter. Enjoy!
Panic! at the Disco – Death of a Bachelor
It blows my mind, to me, that a Panic! at the Disco album released in 2016 is still subject to comparisons to A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. The band’s one-man show Brendan Urie didn’t make matters better for himself, saying that this was the “closest” the band has come to replicating that sound to date (side note: that title is still held by the largely overlooked, heavily underrated Vices and Virtures). Still, Death of a Bachelor continues to show off the songwriting swagger Urie has accumulated over the years, and the album is clearly focused on appealing to a pop music audience, which means that the singles are good, but the rest is rather forgettable. Get ready, “Victorious” is going to be on every sports montage for the rest of the year.
Basement – Promise Everything
For a band that called it quits just a few years ago, it sure feels like Basement never really left us. To be able to put together an album that seems like it mixes one part Citizen’s Youth and another part Title Fight’s Floral Green means that you have something special as a band. Basement combines their obvious muscial talent with poignant, relatable songwriting in a way that cuts right through you, which makes it a very memorable record.
Pinegrove – Cardinal
Sounding like an alt-emo band at one point and then like a seasoned indie rock band at another, Pinegrove are certainly a band that can keep a listener guessing. They try a lot of different things on their new album Cardinal, and while that does show both their talent and ambition, it gives the album a very disjointed feel. There are certainly enough interesting moments to make Cardinal an interesting listen for anyone, but it will be very interesting to see where Pinegrove are able to take their sound from here.
Somos – First Day Back
On their debut Temple of Plenty, Somos showed flashes of being a very talented emo/rock band, along the veins of Bayside or Saves the Day. Now, on their Hopeless Records debut, they’ve unexpectedly switched things up. While there is still some of the signature energy found on Temple of Plenty, but it is used sparingly, as the band make way for more layered, textured songs this time around. Though it may be a disappointment to those hoping simply for a more refined version of their already distinguishable sound, First Day Back is an album that will grow on you with each listen.
Hands Like Houses – Dissonants
When we last saw a new album from Hands Like Houses, Unimagine proved they could rise from the slop of the Rise Recrods metalcore-heavy lineup and carve out a sound all their own. Now, we find them releasing Dissonants, an album that shows that they’re not just creating their own sound; they’re perfecting it. With driving anthems at nearly every turn, monster singles like “I Am” and “Colourblind,” and a plethora of crushing breakdowns and soaring choruses, Hands Like Houses may just be the band in this scene with the most potential. And the best part is, now they’re starting to reach it.
The 1975 – I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it
Speaking of bands with seemingly limitless potential, The 1975’s sophomore album is currently taking up a timeshare in my headphones, and it doesn’t look like they’re leaving any time soon. Their new album, whose title is so long I will only refer to it from this point forth as the “pink album,” is loaded with even more catchy pop tunes that embrace their genre classification, only to turn the concept on its head entirely. Struggling with the band’s newfound fame, Matty Healy uses his platform to write a very critical album about the trouble with fame, what it’s done to his relationships, and how he seems to be mishandling it. Intertwined throughout are more stories of heartbreak and anguish, all with the mystery and gloss you’ve come to expect from the British band. While the debate between which album from them is better will likely rage on for years, The 1975 have unequivically proven that they will be a force to be reckoned with in music for years to come.
Brian Fallon – Painkillers
Let’s face it: it’s been a rough couple of months for fans of The Gaslight Anthem. A surprise hiatus announced at the end of a B-market tour left many fans wondering if they’d get the chance to say goodbye to a band that likely provided the soundtrack for their lives over the last few years. With literally no idea when Gaslight would be doing anything of note, frontman Brian Fallon recorded Painkillers, an album that allowed him to explore the sounds of his idols in a more intense way than ever before. The result is a set of timeless tracks that offer something a little different (even though a few songs come from his previous project Mollie and the Zombies) than anything else we’ve heard from him. There are a few tracks that will harken back to Fallon’s work with Gaslight (like “A Wonderful Life” and “Rosemary”), but the highlights are the tracks that we’ve never heard anything like from him before, like the especially melancholy “Nobody Wins” and “Open All Night.” While we wait for The Gaslight Anthem to make its triumphant and (hopefully) inevitable return, Painkillers will be more than enough to hold us over until that day.
Well, that wasn’t so bad, was it! Again, please let me know what you’ve been listening to this year either in the comments or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/whysoserious. Until next time, gardeners!