Pants Yell! - Alison Statton (Soft Abuse)
This is about as perfect of an indie pop album as you can hope for. There's nothing really radical about it, it's just an incredibly solid, tuneful, and personable record. Some of the songs, like "More Purple" and "Tried to be Good" sound like a slightly more reserved Love is All, with jangling guitars and bubbly, perfect horn and sax sections. "Tried to be Good" also serves as a great example of songwriting that is very specific but somehow feels like it could apply to a situation anyone has found themselves in: singer Andrew Churchman reminisces, "Remember at graduation / when the guy in that suit said that thing? / Ryan just laughed but to me / It really took out the sting." For some reason I really like this line. Moving on: "Evan's Way" swoons along with rainy-day slide-guitar and a darling glockenspiel accompaniment. "Magenta and Green" and "Reject, Reject" are would-be radio hits in a parallel universe with extremely sing-alongable refrains. The title track expands the group's sound a bit further to great effect, with piano and chimes. Throughout the album sophisticated stylistic touches like electric keyboards and faux-strings give many of the songs additional body and interest. Since the release of last year's Recent Drama, Pants Yell! have had to replace their drummer, but their sound and style has not suffered for it in the least. If anything, the songwriting and song construction seems more focused, relaxed and sure of itself. As I said, to my knowledge, you would be hard-pressed to find a better pure indie pop / twee album this year.