When I decided to try and summarise a month of music into ten albums I didn’t know how hard it would be to even come close to showing the quality of music we have been blessed with over the past 30 days. From powerful punching debuts to more thought-provoking relaxed records, this month has been amazing for music, and honestly, I could have put another 10 albums on this list and still struggled to do it justice. If you don’t have time to read the article or listen to the albums, feel free to check out my “Best of April” playlist at the bottom of the page!

10. Social Cues – Cage the Elephant  

It’s heartbreaking to put an album like this at the bottom of the list, but if anything it’s a testament to the quality of the albums released. The vintage, fuzzy-rock sound that Cage the Elephant have managed to cultivate is reaping its rewards in Social Cues, the fourth album from the Kentucky-born group, with Shultz’ trademark vocal drawl gliding effortlessly over some truly wonderful instrumentation. Instantly recognisable and incredibly enjoyable.

Oh, and adding a collaborative track with Beck was pure genius.

Standout Track: House of Glass

9. Love and Fear – Marina

From questioning the concept of love to the very nature of existence and life itself, Love & Fear is a rollercoaster ride from start to finish. A wonderful creation from one of Wales’ most unique artists, it more than delivers on her first release under her new moniker of just “Marina”, a decision made to focus more on herself as a person than her identity as an artist. The decision has definitely paid off, with a much more thought-provoking lyrical approach, utilising subtle and effective imagery over powerful melodies.

Standout Track: To Be Human

8. Not Waving, But Drowning – Loyle Carner

The emotion of this album is plain to see in every track. Slower, deeper and more thought-provoking than ever before, Loyle Carner produces a very strong follow-up. It’s a fairly long album, displaying the number of thoughts that Loyle wants to get off his chest, and the inclusion of “behind-the-scenes” chats and sound effects in the tracks adds a pleasant, homemade vibe to the album. The opening track as a letter to his mum, and the closing track being a response from his mum is a heartwarmingly emotional touch, and really makes the album complete.

Standout Track: Loose Ends

7. Morbid Stuff – Pup

PUP expose a raw, truthful message within this album, presenting topics such as mental health, relationships and mortality throughout; all the while combined with a fantastic musical performance as well. The third album from the Canadian rockers hits like a bullet from the offset, in typical fashion, and keeps you forcibly gripped until the very last note. PUP aren’t asking to be heard, but rather demanding it, and honestly if you’re still resisting at this point, just give in and enjoy.   

Standout Track: Scorpion Hill

6. Dogrel – Fontaines DC

Powerful, Irish punk rock at its raw, passionate finest. Fontaines DC pull no punches with their smash debut, defiantly displaying that punk is by no means dead. The Dublin-based group have created an electrifyingly beautiful sound, completely capturing the essence of punk rock almost with ease, yet with “Dublin City Sky” showing that they have a sensitive side capable of writing emotional ballads that nearly bring a tear to the eye. A wonderful creation from start to finish.

Standout Track: Liberty Belle

5. Designer – Aldous Harding

“What am I doing in Dubai?” muses Aldous Harding on the third track of her new album, somehow perfectly summarising the apparent randomness of her lyrical genius. The third album from the obscure New Zealand singer-songwriter is a bafflingly brilliant musical journey that will have you questioning what you hear. Refreshingly relaxing to listen to, the beauty of simplicity again on show for the world to see.  

Strange? Potentially.

Confusing? Absolutely.

Genius? Unequivocally.

Standout Track: Designer

4. In The End – The Cranberries

This album is heartbreakingly beautiful, especially when considering the tragic loss of lead singer Dolores O’Riordan last year, who died just after finishing the recording for the album. The rest of the band carried on the recording and production of the album, almost as a tribute to O’Riordan, and it is a fitting tribute to say the least. Beautifully poetic, raw, powerful and emotional in equal measures, with strong instrumentals to counter O’Riordan’s haunting vocals, it is a sublime swansong for this fantastic group.  

Standout Track: Lost

3. Fishing for Fishies – King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard

A bluesy/rocky/funky amalgamation of fantastic toe-tapping tunes combined with a strong and important message regarding our treatment of the environment. On their new musical adventure, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard pack a lyrical punch hidden within surreal soundscapes and complex obscure metaphors. A wonderfully different creation; almost indescribable, and by far the most unpolitical-sounding political album I’ve ever heard.  

Standout Track: Real’s Not Real

2. LSD – Labrinth, Sia, Diplo

A dream-like hallucinogenic exploration of what can occur when three impressively creative artists are given a blank canvas for an album. A surprisingly delightful mix of unique, alternative sounds juxtaposed with tracks that will undoubtedly appeal to the modern-pop fans. An album that if cut open would bleed fun and colour, it highlights the freedom that these artists had when creating this collaboration, and will have you dancing along in no time.     

Standout Track: Mountains

1. Titanic Rising – Weyes Blood

In the current age of flashing lights, short attention spans and constantly evolving technology, albums such as this could easily go unnoticed. Its beauty lies in its quiet simplicity. Weyes Blood doesn’t scream or demand attention, but rather produces such surreal, almost enchanting music that once you sit down and listen, you wonder how you lived without it. A masterstroke of an album, reminiscent of The Carpenters but with a modern enough spin to sound distinctly beautiful and unique. An underappreciated gem of the modern age.   

Standout Track: Everyday

Shortlist

10. Social Cues – Cage the Elephant

9. Love & Fear – MARINA

8. Not Waving, But Drowning – Loyle Carner

7. Morbid Stuff – PUP

6. Dogrel – Fontaines DC

5. Designer – Aldous Harding

4. In The End – The Cranberries

3. Fishing for Fishies – King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

2. LSD – Labrinth, Sia, Diplo 

1. Titanic Rising – Weyes Blood

 

Charlie Abbott

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