Records of the Week: Arcade Fire, Warpaint, Ibeyi, The Stroppies, Hater, Sharon Van Etten and Belle and Sebastian.

An absolute monster of a week for releases both new and old.


Well, it really is salad days over here at Drift this week; with a handful of albums we've been waiting on and some massive returns from artists we admire hugely.

Radiate Like This is the first album in some six years from Warpaint and it's both fantastic and totally worth the wait. Retains all of their spooky and extramundane energy, but it's the band's most in focus album yet and they sound absolutely amazing in unison. The vocals especially are just brilliantly structured. A really glorious return and so much to find on repeat listens. Record of the Week.

+ Available on Translucent Yellow Vinyl.

And this week's BIGGEST RETURN™ is definitely WE, the epic new long-player from Canadian indie-rock collective Arcade Fire. The grandiosity is simply massive. Some of the biggest layers of synth since Bruce Hornsby and the Range, but their sincerity powers it through hackneyed imitation and just launches into full euphoric flight. Anyone else singing, "we can make it, don't quit on me", or "a lifetime of skinned knees" could very quickly be very lame, but it's just all part of the rich tapestry that makes them so enduring. Can't see this winning over new fans necessarily, but if you've ever appreciated their charms, you'll bloody love this.

Question, do you like jangle pop? Oh boy, you're gonna flip. Melbourne's The Stroppies  return with the tight and focused Levity LP and it is an absolute joy. The pacing is brilliant, each track hooks you in and keeps you there with lush guitar tones, stacks of effortless harmonies, great hooks and just great songs. This in the sun is a proper euphoric experience. 

+ Indie LPs are pressed on Clear vinyl. 

Spell 31 is the brilliant third LP from Afro-Cuban French twins Lisa-Kainde and Naomi Diaz as Ibeyi. It is a masterclass in vocal tone, the way their voices wrap around each other is so evocative. Snapping production from Richard Russell and the guests (Pa Salieu, Jorja Smith, BERWYN, Dave Okumu, Ben Reed and Owen Pallett) really add to the journey. Great stuff.

Warpaint - Radiate Like This

Sharon Van Etten returns with the impressive and quite magnificent We've Been Going About This All Wrong. Vocally she is just incredible, her control over what her voice can do is really unparalleled. She manages to sing about such universally relatable themes, it's like she's singing to you, about you. A rare talent. We wont spoil it for you, but pretty sure that she makes a Seinfeld reference. As if we didn't love her already, eh?!

Sincere is the return of Malmö's Hater and they have captured such a vibe here. Big, hazing guitar pop, but the colours are so richly dark. Bittersweet hooks and whispered vocals through (sometimes gnarled) walls of sound. One of the week's most sonically impressive albums, we love this.

A Bit of Previous is the tenth studio album by Belle and Sebastian and their first full-length in seven years. Has to be said, it's a little bit of a classic, even after only a few spins. Lush energy, great drive, often funny, always poignant and anywhere between twee, ornate and rocking. 

+ Indie LP edition includes a bonus 7"
+ Available in one of four randomised artworks.


Belle and Sebastian - A Bit of Previous

There is still so much more...

World Full of Worry is the very good fun debut from the naughtily-named Peaness. Really great pop songs and there is a real freshness to the production. Available on limited Blue vinyl.

Headful of Sugar is the long-awaited third album from New York trio Sunflower Bean. It's not a total reinvention, but they've really taken what they do somewhere totally new. It's often quite complicated, but it all sounds carefree and almost ramshackle in its off-kilter delivery. Really highly recommended, this one. Available on (get this)... "Transparent Orange & Blue Cornetto" colour vinyl. 

Let It Be Blue is the ninth studio LP from !!! ("Chk Chk Chk"). Really crisp production, dance-floor beats that click ("chk"), pop and remain ever propulsive. An energising listen and The Man On The Moon cover is just bonkers. Available on limited Blue vinyl.

The Garden gathers fourteen string arrangements by three different arrangers (Owen Pallett, Paul Frith, and Zou Zou Robidoux), revisiting material from all five of Basia Bulat's studio albums. Really striking music and she sings them beautifully.

I Can't Let Go is the debut LP from actor and musician Suki Waterhouse and it's another really big vocal performance. I've worked some of the week at home and I am reliably informed that "she's in Detective Pikachu". So you know.

Just this minute in the building is Michelle Zauner's (a.k.a. Japanese Breakfast) soundtrack to 2021 video game Sable. 

Were expecting Vega Trails and Emeli Sandé to both land shortly, keep an eye on the racks. The week's reissues are equally epic, with; Richard Thompson, Daft Punk, The Staples Jr. Singers, Def Leppard, The Who, Terry Allen and Neil Young. We'll talk all about it on Monday.

Couple of books to flag up too, with Rocking Bob Stanley's Let's Do It: The Birth of Pop and Jude Rogers' exceptional The Sound of Being Human both in the shop.

Told you... Salad days!

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