17 Albums of 2017 we missed – the records that slipped under the radar

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Phew

Phew

With 2017 becoming a distant memory Getintothis’ writers travel back in time and pick a selection of the best albums that slipped through our net.

Hindsight, it is said, is a wonderful thing.

How often in life, do we look back and say to ourselves “If only we’d…” or “I shouldn’t have had that one more drink”, or “Why on earth did I say that? What was I thinking of?”

We’ve all done it and although Mr Sinatra may have had too few regrets to mention, there’s not many of us who haven’t got long lists of them.

There aren’t too many instances where we can nip back in time and reverse decisions we’ve made or choices we’ve picked. Make things better or different once we’ve had a bit of time to ponder.

Yet there is one way where we at Getintothis can step into our musical wormhole and travel back through space and time and that’s with our hotly contested and vehemently debated Top 100 Albums of the Year picks as well as our lovingly created monthly Album Club choices.

It’s this time of the year where we can look back somewhat wistfully at the year gone by and with the benefit of hindsight realise that not only are there a number of albums that we missed out on month-by-month but there are some that were cruelly overlooked for our Top 100 Albums of the Year as well.

Getintothis’  2017 Year in Review featuring best gigs,event, albums, festival, hero & more

It should be stressed that these omissions are not through any wilful act or with a critically malevolent mindset on our part; it’s largely down to the fact that there’s so much music out there that things are bound to pass us by. We’re not infallible after all.

Furthermore-and this is a constant that doesn’t seem to change year-on-year, however much we try- some albums that washed over us, unseen, unnoticed and therefore unloved.

It’s simply that sometimes with what appears to be a never-ending deluge of new albums that it’s inevitable some fall through the gaps. We miss them-blink your eyes and they’re gone.

On top of that there are those that we do manage to half catch, but only in passing. Snatched aural glimpses, stray and momentary wisps of music and then like the early mist on a summer day, they disappear; evaporated before we realise and lost in the ether.

The final bunch of albums that we miss are not really those we’ve missed. These are one’s that we’ve heard and we’ve listened to on their release, yet for whatever reason we’ve dismissed them. Not out-of-hand but more with that admittedly short-sighted view we’re all guilty of at times.

Yeah, I heard that album by so-and-so and it’s not very good.”

“Oh, you listened to it all the way through?”

“Yeah. Sort of. Once. It’s rubbish.”

And on that basis, it’s damned and we’ve all done it. Rushed to judgement.

But with the benefit of hindsight, and with the luxury of a bit of time passing, we can allow ourselves to cast our critical eyes and ears back to January 2017 and reassess not only those albums we never spent enough time with but those we forgot about and those that we really did miss.

The Getintothis team have therefore sat down with the last of the mince pies by our side, swept up the stray bits of tinsel, furrowed our brows very tightly and come up with a carefully judged selection of  albums from 2017 we missed, for whatever reason.

There’s a wide variety of picks below, which we suppose goes to show the depth of music we cover. We hope you enjoy them and hope there may be some surprises in there for you as well.

We’re sure however, that there still some we overlooked, so please get in touch and let us know yours.

And however much we try, we sure we’re going to be back here in January 2019 doing exactly the same thing once again, picking up all the lost treasures from this year! Rick Leach

big moon

The Big Moon: Love In The 4th Dimension

Fiction

Having circled the festival circuit a few times, 2017 was the perfect year for The Big Moon to unleash their debut album, Love In The 4th Dimension.

Released in April, the album brought with it all the fan favourites that had been rocketing around small venues including Cupid, Formidable and The Road. Meanwhile slower cosmic songs such as The End and Zeds take the pace a step back, allowing everyone to enjoy the distinctive basslines, Pixies-like sound and soothing harmonies.

These are interspersed with vibrancy and energy with songs such as Bonfire bursting into our eardrums. Its vigour and rawness remind us of what it is the band do best – provide pure moxie to any live show.

However, the best track on the album has to remain their debut single, released in 2015, Sucker. With its hypnotic guitar chug throughout and dreamy lead, it’s impossible for it not to become love at first listen. Along with releasing their Mercury-nominated debut album, 2017 also saw the four-piece tour the UK as well as North America with Marika Hackman, which they chatted to us about when they came to visit Liverpool. All in all, 2017 was definitely the year of The Big Moon. Lauren Wise

converge

Converge: The Dusk In Us

Epitaph

The end of any year is a perennially tricky time to put an album out.

Everyone is so busy casting their minds back over the previous twelve months to cobble together their ‘best of’ lists that many take their eyes off the release schedule. It takes something special for music from the final months of a thinning calendar to capture the imagination of an industry increasingly obsessed with parcelling years up neatly.

Enter then Massachusetts metalcore mob Converge, who released their ninth studio album The Dusk In Us back in November. Their first offering since 2012’s fiery and technical All We Love We Leave Behind, we find Converge a maturing entity on this latest release.

While the fury that lit a pipe bomb beneath seminal albums like Jane Doe has mellowed slightly, the four-piece still muster an impressive rawness at times, such as on opener A Single Tear or in the sawing riff of Under Duress.

Although heavy enough to peel the skin off your face in a single spin, repeated listens reveal The Dusk In Us‘ subtlety, particularly in the closing couplet of the yearning, wrought Thousands Of Miles Between Us and Reptilian, which ushers out the album in – whisper it – pretty style. An incendiary album that mixes the bloody-mindedness of metal with a dissonant punk jugular-leap, we enjoyed another career high from Converge who evolved their sound in thrillingly unforeseen ways last year. David Hall

ken

Destroyer: ken

Merge Records

Since the late ‘90s, under his Destroyer project, Daniel Bejar has been creating art through the lens of his own musical heroes, overtly using derivative sonic templates to mould around his grandiose lyrical ruminations.

The latest instalment is ken and unlike the heartland-rock inspired Poison Season, ken meanders in the direction of ’80s new wave. Look no further than In the Morning which almost sounds as if Peter Hook is making an appearance on bass.

Although many thought the Roxy Music inspired Kaputt was Bejar’s closest shot at making a pop record, ken is closer to that very parish.

As producer, Black Mountain’s Josh Wells provides the right amount of sonic sheen from behind the studio glass, creating a sonic cushioning for Bejar’s cynical piss-taking views of the world and obscure one liners: ‘strike an empty pose’ in the pop-drone inspired A Light Travels Down the Catwalk and ‘I can’t pay for this/all I’ve got is money’ crops up in Something in the World. All these are vintage Bejar and are merely the tip of the lyrical iceberg.

Bejar has used Destroyer as a muse where sonically, he pulls at your heart strings, while lyrically he’s pulling your leg.

The contrast is fierce and on ken it continues to be Bejar’s greatest asset. A chameleon in every sense, Bejar is truly an artist who follows his nose. If only there were more like him. Simon Kirk

drab majesty

Drab Majesty: The Demonstration

DIAS

Drab Majesty is the solo project of Deb DeMure – the androgynous alter-ego of L.A.-based musician Andrew Clinco. Reverb-drenched guitars, swept synth lines, sombre bass, rhythmic mechanical beats and commanding vocals creates the gothic-tinged swirlers being dubbed “Tragic Wave” or “Mid-Fi”.

2017’s release The Demonstration is a fully-immersive, darkgaze journey into the shadowy and imposing forest of Clinco’s fog-shrouded harmonic palette.

Tracks like 39 by Design, Cold Souls and Forget Tomorrow are huge, majestic and sweeping, like a long and grandiose staircase in a lightening-lit gothic mansion; the windows flash and shadows jump and curl. Echoing drums, spectral guitars and voluptuous yet ethereal melodies and arrangements evoke a sense of a disquieting ritual.

The album blends complexity with melodic hooks, depth of insight with a brooding, coiling meditation on the nature of the cult and the nature of death.

Death is investigated in Behind the Wall, a song about the ascension of the metaphysical brought about by the passing of his grandmother, Clinco considers the tangible elements of mortality and his context within this.

The Demonstration is an album of great depth and textures, bleak in parts and almost euphoric in others. There is a strong nod to the 1980’s with retro-synths and nods to The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen. There are shoegaze elements combined with dreamy electronics to create a sometimes woozy trip through the Badlands of Clinco’s psyche. It’s a heady trip and one well-worth taking.

If you are looking to exit this reality clutching onto a comet’s tail then let this be your soundtrack. Mike Stanton

drury

Baxter Dury: Prince of Tears

Heavenly

As one of Britain’s most underrated artists Baxter Dury seems to be finally emerging from his late father’s shadows.  Although there are tinges of Ian Dury’s spoken Cockney twang, Baxter’s latest opus, Prince of Tears, gathers further speed that has made him somewhat of a household name in France – ironically a country where his father failed to break into the big time.

Prince of Tears comprises of Gainsbourg crossover vibes, but instead of that overt French pop pastiche which dominated his last album It’s A Pleasure, the new one displays interpretations of slow-motion, hooping bass-led funk which lies halfway between those aforementioned French pop leanings and the psychedelic meanderings of Baxter’s first two albums, Len Parrot’s Memorial Lift and Floor Show.

It’s a midlife crisis album, which begins with the flooring first single, Miami and ends with the forlorn title track.

Baxter Dury always seems to be in a crisis of some sort and that’s what separates him from his fellow modern-day minstrels. He needs crisis to make music of this calibre and Prince of Tears is undoubtedly a Polaroid of a man on the edge, providing an earnest milieu to accompany the oddly disturbing yet humorous moments that he’s always been renowned for. Simon Kirk 

euro

Euros Childs: House Arrest  

National Elf

House Arrest is a true Euros Childs solo effort; recorded in Childs’ front room in Cardiff with a dozen or so keyboards procured from all manner of places (‘I got this one for £2.65 at a car boot sale,’ he quipped at a recent Manchester show), occasional band member Stephen Black/Sweet Baboo nipping in for a cuppa tea and a bit of light dusting on production duties.

This, Childs’ thirteenth solo album is hysterical with melody, briskly carried along with buzzing, cheeky keys and clicking drum machine.

The former Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci front man pulls off the Del Shannon/Max Crook-esque magical formula – synth sounds of the fairground and rose tinted good times but with true melancholy, dark humour and spikes of anger poking into our consciousness.

The zippy opener, My Colander, is the story of a man falling out of loneliness and into a love that isn’t going to work.  Or maybe it will. There’s a lid for every pot and a colander for every man, surely?

We’re reminded of the tedium of the production line in Life In A Jar, and stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off reality in the witty yet terrifically bleak Happy Coma. The sin of gluttony in Crystal and Misty is worthy of a Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected classic, its conclusion sticky with blood.

In House Arrest we get Euros Childs as his always unique and hugely entertaining self with many hidden levels, which are as ever, a total pleasure to unpick and explore. Cath Bore

delia

Delia Gonzalez: Horse Follows Darkness

DFA

If you’re looking for albums that tick every available aesthetic box, then search no further.

Grim, creepily atmospheric LP cover depicting the mournful progress of a mother and son in 19th century dress? Check.

Released via a well-established, bone-achingly hip record label like DFA? Gotcha.

An album concept that centres upon an electronic score of unsettling pitch and tone for a gothic Western that was never made and (probably) will never be made? Pretentiously brilliant.

In the current zeitgeist of vinyl indulgence and music excess, as artists strive ever more desperately to break moulds which have already been cracked a thousand times before, the description above may well cause your eyes to roll and your wallet to stay firmly closed.

That would be a mistake. Delia Gonzalez is an original electronic voice in a world where the paths of composition are already well-trodden. The music here may have familiar hues and tenors, from the pulsating drama of Motorik,  to the staccato beats of Techno minimalism and right through to the acid haze of a day lost to contemplation, but its marriage to engaging ideas and febrile imagination helps it rise above the mediocre.

Unlike many an electronic album that simply descends into irretrievable abstraction, Horse Follows Darkness summons potent imagery and vivid emotions, clearly connecting with the listener and encouraging a ‘complete’ aural experience that lingers beyond the LP’s conclusion. Gonzalez also ensures that the LP does not outstay its welcome, coming in at a breezy 31 minutes and only consisting of 5 tracks, a pitfall that many an electronic album fails to avoid.

In Horse Follows Darkness, Delia Gonzalez manages to construct an album of both thematic brilliance and essential immediacy, bridging the gap between Art and commercial hooks. That is no mean feat and something that we should all celebrate. Chris Leathley

wesley

Wesley Gonzalez: Excellent Musician

Moshi Moshi

Wesley Gonzalez’s debut solo album last summer came as somewhat a surprise.

A bloody great departure from the pop punk of his previous band Let’s Wrestle, Excellent Musician might be a tongue-in-cheek title (or maybe not, who knows), but on it Gonzalez fully embraces his love of obvious pop with no shame, lashing classic soul and funk in there to throw one heck of a party.

Gonzalez’ buzzy and whirling keyboards, and bawdy saxophone courtesy of Euan Hinshelwood (Younghusband), help make this collection a set of celebratory and charmingly addictive songs.

He leans on the 1970s songbook, that’s clear, the delicious humour of Randy Newman and contemporaries bleeding through; an always welcome thing on any record.

The set of Danny Nellis-directed videos aside – I Am A Telescope finds Wesley in a bookies in a surgical collar, In Amsterdam sees him indulge in laddish larks in Ibiza, and let’s not forget the I Spoke To Euan chat show fun – Excellent Musician is an album recorded in a mere four days over a periods of some months, but made in glorious, brazen, and bold technicolour. Cath Bore

king woman

King Woman: Created In the Image of Suffering

Relapse

After the excellent Doubt EP, it was destined that King Woman would make something as monolithic as Created in the Imagine of Suffering – their debut long-player. Former member of Whirr and undoubtedly the centrepiece of King Woman, Kristina Esfandiari provides a performance worthy of underground eminence, facing her demons head-on in a performance that ranks as one of the finest debuts in the doom-metal genre.

Created in the Imagine of Suffering is an album laced with brooding religious diatribes underpinned by druggy low-end drone, snarling riffs and internal-organ crushing chords.

Esfandiari provides a chemical heat that melts everything around it. The song-craft is spell-binding and not only continues the run of excellent doom-laden bands that are eternally conceived in the United States.

While very much immersed in doom, there’s so much more to this album. On the face of it there’s a nod to shoegaze, and in an odd way it also conveys a purity of American gospel, too. …Suffering is a fantastic debut that puts King Woman on the map of everything that is good with music. Simon Kirk

moon diagram

Moon DiagramsLifetime of Love

Sonic Cathedral

If you’re after washing away the blues with a mid-January pick-me-up turn away now.

Written following the breakdown of his marriage, Lifetime of Love is the debut album by Moses John Archuleta, drummer and founding member of Deerhunter.

While this is far from an atypical break-up record, amid the fizzing, discordant ambience, Lifetime of Love reveals itself as a deeply moving, melancholic listen which is both seductive yet drowning in sadness.

The centre piece for the album are two weighty numbers, the 11-minute Blue Ring heavy in woozy shimmering synths and breaks before gently erupting into an ever-so-slightly euphoric keyboard mantra followed by the 14-minute claustrophobic techno of The Ghost and the Host; a spidery mechanoid of rampant malevolent beats.

Not unlike Deerhunter, but perhaps closer to frontman Bradford Cox‘s spin-off Atlas Sound, Moon Diagrams allows Archuleta to take pop melodies before distorting and twisting, enveloping in all manner of textures and chaotic noises before spitting them out into new, tangled structures.

Magic Killer is a chugging slice of minimal techno, Moon Diagrams a dream-pop ballad and closer End of Heartache as close to cathartic disco-pop as you can get. Wallow in the weirdness. Peter Guy

mark peters

Mark Peters: Innerland

Sonic Cathedral

It’s a wonder any albums are released in December anymore. With out of offices on and end of year ‘best of’ lists compiled, the UK music industry seemingly shuts down in November with records released in the final month of the year barely warranting a footnote in the critical calendar.

Spare a thought then for Innerland, the debut solo album for ex-Engineers founder Mark Peters – for this is a piece which truly deserves close inspection.

With just six songs and clocking in at just under 30 minutes, Innerland is a mini album yet its emotional investment and quite remarkable beautify mark this as a special listen. Having returned to his home in the North West, Peters combines old demos and the inspiration of his former surroundings resulting in gloriously expansive instrumentals which have the power to beguile and lose oneself in completely.

Much like Magnetic North‘s The Prospect of Skelmersdale, Peters cites the near mythical, folkloric nature of local landmarks like Ashurst’s Beacon, Shaley Brow and Twenty Bridges using them as song titles while conveying their timelessness, atmosphere and otherworldliness. The effect can be one of reflective calm or transportative meditative hypnosis.

The strident riffs of Mann Island bring a steely metallic edge to proceedings marrying shimmering snared effects and cyclical dark riffs while Cabin Hill is contrasts divine Michael Rother guitar interplay with driving rhythms. While Shaley Brow, a part of Billinge Hill from which you can see the Welsh mountains, conveys exactly that – an expansive vista of plaintive pianos amid tranquil electronica and wouldn’t appear out of place on Sigur Ros‘ Ágætis byrjun.

Much like Eno or on the Talk Talk-infused Windy Arbour it is in the space and subtlety that Innerland truly succeeds for this is a record to bathe and bask in its rich wondrous beauty. Peter Guy

phew

Phew: Voice Hardcore

BeReKet

Voice Hardcore is the second of two albums released by Japanese punk pioneer Phew in 2017.

The first, Light Sleep dropped at the beginning of the year and showcased her continued move in the realms of avant-garde analogue electronics with a creative career spanning back over 37 years. Over those nearly four decades she’s worked with the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Holger Czukay, Jaki Liebezeit, Otomo Yohsihide, Jim O’Rourke and many more, building up a canon of always fascinating and consistently innovative music.

Voice Hardcore is possibly one of the most far reaching albums she’s made. And that’s going some.

Using no instruments save for her voice, treated and manipulated, reworked and stretched with effects pedals, Phew has come up with something unsettling, disconcerting yet oddly comforting.

It’s a woozy affair, with her voice drifting in and out of your consciousness as you listen to it. It’s similar to being in a dream or rather, and more appropriately when you’re in that half-asleep/half-wake moment as sleep falls over you like the softest of blankets. You hear stray fragments of her voice, repeated phrases looped over and over again, echoes and dub-like reverberations burrowing their way into to a point where it’s difficult to tell exactly how long each track lasts for. Phew seems to do something with time.

In White Lounge, So Bright the twisted drones and chants lull you into memories of a horror film you’ve never seen – or maybe half-remember – and the hissing words and distant squeals she produces in Let’s Dance, Let’s Go sounds nothing like the good party times the title of the song would suggest.

Overall however, and despite the other-worldly sounds she’s conjured up, this is not an album filled with terror and dread. There’s something about it that’s ultimately life-affirming and soothing and it’s a quite astonishing piece of art. Rick Leach

spinning coin

Spinning Coin: Permo

Geographic

Glasgow’s Spinning Coin, newest protégées of The Pastels and signed to the band’s Geographic label, flashed a coy ankle at us at first, with 100 carat gold slices of pop joy in the form of singles Albany and Raining on Hope Street, both Sean Armstrong-penned songs, on the run up to Permo’s release.

B-sides Sides and Tin respectively, written by Jack Mellin, showed a bit more leg (a terrible metaphor, I know, but please stay with me) hinting at what was to greet us alongside them on the album.

Happily, Armstrong’s gentler, more reflective songs, contrast cleverly with the tougher alternating punches. You can hear – and feel – Spinning Coin’s Glaswegian musical ancestry in it all, it’s be daft to pretend otherwise, but this isn’t an exercise in nostalgia; far from it.

It all works pretty marvellously actually, and in a world where indie rock-pop is becoming a derided term, too. Fancy that. Cath Bore

sir Was

sir Was: Digging A Tunnel

City Slang

There was a time in the mid-90s when sitting off to Mo’ Wax records seemed a career option.

It wouldn’t surprise us if some lost friends are still sat stoned on bean bags in their Evisu jeans with blimp-ridden sweatshirts as Building Steam with a Grain of Salt blurts out a busted-up beat box.

Listening to sir Was‘ blissed-out dusty rhythms and nonchalantly swaggering, jazz-inflected debut can’t help but recall those days when Money Mark‘s organ tones were near ubiquitous.

But there’s a fine between atmospheric ambience and wallpaper musak; sir Was aka Gothenburg’s Joel Wästberg is pretty much on point throughout his debut Digging A Tunnel ensuring this is a languid yet rarely-if-ever laboured listen. Quite the opposite, playing almost every instrument available, Wästberg has created an album which is vastly layered and peels slowly yet richly.

With hints of David Axelrod, Avalanches, hefty dollops of jazz, West Coast psychedelia, and a sumptuous multi-tracked summer-haze of a vocal there’s oodles to get lost in.

A Minor Life is an understated flute-loop day-dream, Falcon a melancholy Beck-aping grind while opener In The Midst is a killer combination of hip hop breaks and sunny pop. Best of all is the slow-build centre-piece Revoke which snakes into your system via a tripped out infectious groove. Peter Guy

petrenko

Vasily Petrenko/ Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra: Tchaikovsky Symphonies Nos 3, 4 & 6

Onyx Classics

Local bands and local artists. That’s what we at Getintothis  support to a large degree and for very good reasons.

It could be argued that Vasily Petrenko and The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra are the ultimate local artist and local band.

Now it might be stretching it a bit calling Vasily Petrenko an artist in the context of what we normally term artists-after all he’s the Chief Conductor of the RLPO and has been for over a decade, winning acclaim throughout his career in Liverpool, including this year nabbing the highly coveted Artist of the Year award by Gramophone Magazine – but an artist he certainly is.

As for the Orchestra themselves, well, surely being the UK’s oldest surviving symphony orchestra, having formed back in 1840 and the only one who has their own hall, has to count for something doesn’t it?

You can call them a band or you can call them an orchestra, but what they have in common with (some of) the musicians we write about on these pages, is they make music along with Petrenko that causes you to stand back in awe and delight and wonder exactly how they manage to do it. How they manage to produce something so special and moving?

Yet that’s exactly what they done with this recording of three of Tchaikovsky Symphonies.

We realise that this is not the usual fare for Getintothis but when a record this excellent comes along- and especially from someone on our own doorstep really- it would be remiss of us not to recognise it for what it is. This is a record that rightly already has been acclaimed as one of the most innovative and definitive interpretations of these Tchaikovsky Symphonies.

Petrenko and the RLPO had already recorded and released a complete set of Shostakovich Symphonies between 2009 and 2013 which set the bar very high and are well worth investigating, but with this second set of Tchaikovsky released in 2017 (the other three came out in 2016), they’ve produced a knockout piece of work.

We’ve included in our Spotify playlist in this piece the 4th movement of the 3rd Symphony. Now this may not be the way classical music is generally advised to be taken, but give it just 10 minutes of your time, crank the volume up as high as it can go and blast it out. We promise you will be blown away.

It doesn’t matter really whether the music we love is classical, rock, death metal, grime, psych or whatever. All that matters is whether the music does something to you and this record by our most local of acts will surely do that. Rick Leach

trampo

Trampolene: Swansea to Hornsey

Banquet

There was a debut album that finally appeared after much live promise in September last year.

Cardiff band Trampolene are headed by spoken word artist Jack Jones, a friend of The Libertines and someone who has made more friends with his rogue charm last year than you’d expect when you catch the foul-mouthed slander of Artwork of Youth.

It’s the opening track of Swansea To Hornsey, which was the product of no short-term experiment but a sustained level of material in the form of single and EP releases. The material on this record embodies the variation they’ve shown through these early stages but shows signs of a number of different directions this band may choose to take.

Imagine Something Yesterday for example, is a melodic, guitar-driven tune that is impossible to dislike. Set up a contrast then to Poundland, a love story to Britain’s budget high street haven where Jones will walk you aisle by aisle through the wonders of such a store.

Ketamine is grimmer and sets up a view from the gutter with a rock star attitude – perhaps that’s why they joined Liam Gallagher on tour during the back end of last year, perhaps that’s why Doherty is so keen, too.

Many people learned to love these characters, and that may be a case for some with this album, but for me it settled quickly and slotted itself into my top five. The excitement now lies not in £1 dog treats or hard drugs but in where Trampolene may travel from this foundation of diverse social commentary and representation of, indeed, the artwork of youth. Lewis Ridley

vessels

Vessels: The Great Distraction

Different Recordings / PIAS

A pub conversation this writer has quite regularly revolves around loyalties in music: or lack of. How come we support blindly our football team, but when it comes to bands or artists we’re far more fickle?

I’m not entirely sure, there’s a feature in this, but it has remained dormant for about three years and will once again have to wait. It’s applicable in this case to Leeds avant-rock heads Vessels who’ve been championed on these pages since they emerged with a quite startlingly good debut album White Fields and Open Devices  in 2008. So much so, it was number 6 in our 100 albums of that year.

Flash forward ten years and three albums later, and we’d almost forgotten about them. Why does that happen?

Living up to its name, The Great Distraction is too good ignore – and sets its case out from the outset with the quite astonishing opener, Mobilise, a torrent of breakneck beats, warped rhythms and discombobulated pounding which builds to a thrilling seven-minute finale.

The impressive roster of guests includes The Flaming LipsWayne Coyne who lends his vocals to the dreamy psychedelia of Deflect The Light while the closing Erase The Tapes finds John Grant in desolate mode feeding his baritone through a mix of claustrophobia.

Better still is Sky Larkin’s Katie Harkin, who steals the show on the bracing Deeper in the Sky which can’t help but recall the melodic sci-fi pop of M83.

Sure there’s some electronic post-rock by numbers here – the mid-point of the album sags with the dull glitchy stomp of GlowerDjango Django‘s Vincent Neff‘s vocals fail to rescue the 80s retro feel of Trust Me and Everyone Is Falling fizzes by rather inconsequentially.

However, for the most part The Great Distraction finds Vessels in winning form – and we’re still not quite sure why we forgot about them. All apologies. Peter Guy

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