Album Reviews News

TLMT Reader’s Top 10 Album of the Year 2021

After two weeks of voting The Last Mixed Tape Reader's Top 10 Albums of the Year 2021 is announced.

10. FEARS – OÍCHE

self-confrontation through sonic brutalism. Fears’ Oíche is an album that delves deep into its creator while never leaving the listener feeling stranded or apart from the meaning. A challenging album where everything is laid bare, Fears adds enough to the music and the words to create a sense of artistic catharsis. Indeed, this is a record where the music and the artist is one and the same. Fears is OícheOíche is Fears.  

TLMT REVIEW

Oíche by Fears is out now.

9. DAVID KEENAN – “WHAT THEN?”

David Keenan went away to dream it all up again and returns every bit the vagabond artist. What Then? is a whirlwind of ideas that come from all directions. Much like Pollock’s paintings, What Then? is an album where performance, words, and sound all rush and blur into one primal expression. While Keenan resides at its core, our charismatic unreliable narrator is interested only in telling the tales he’s collected since our last meeting. 

TLMT REVIEW

What Then? by David Keenan is out now

8. SAINT SISTER – WHERE I SHOULD END

Where I Should End is the sound of Saint Sister working on a larger canvas with a more extraordinary colour palette. Threading the needle from Shape Of Silence to now, Where I Should End highlights the duo’s ambition to add layers to their music. As I said initially, colour isn’t my strong point, but Where I Should End alludes to a more vivid world through the medium of sound.  

TLMT REVIEW

Where I Should End by Saint Sister is out now.

7. NEW PAGANS – THE SEED, THE VESSEL, THE ROOTS AND ALL

The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots And All is an album that demands nothing less than your complete attention. With their debut, New Pagans make a statement of what type of band they are, do they just want to be here, or do they have no fucking choice? This album suggests the latter. 

TLMT REVIEW

The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots And All by New Pagans is out now.

6. KOJAQUE – TOWN’S DEAD

Heads are gonna roll soon, no warning. This town’s not dead. It’s just dormant.”

For a society trampled by the greed-driven machinations of others and asked to pay the price. For the potential that still thrives within and the fear of that potential not being realized. For a génération perdue, scarred and no longer willing to maintain the status quo. With Town’s Dead, Kojaque has captured not just the sound of a city but its mood. 

TLMT REVIEW

Town’s Dead by Kojaque is out now.

5. ORLA GARTLAND – WOMAN ON THE INTERNET

Woman On The Internet is an album about Orla Gartland but one that can be transposed to being about everyone who has felt lost, directionless or less-than. It’s a relatable record, wrapped in pop sensibilities and moments of emotional subtlety. Woman On The Internet is a self-portrait of Gartland as well as a mirror for the listener.

TLMT REVIEW

Woman On The Internet by Orla Gartland

4. A RITUAL SEA – A RITUAL SEA

 A Ritual Sea raises soundscapes from deep atmospheric tides. All too often, albums that aim for nuanced moods and tones end up becoming engulfed by them. Their debut, A Ritual Sea, finds the right balance and never isolate the listener; instead, they compel us to follow. A the beginning of this review, I said music has the singular ability to create shared worlds between artist and audience. A Ritual Sea is one such place. 

TLMT REVIEW

A Ritual Sea by A Ritual Sea is out now.

Home album Elaine Mai

3. ELAINE MAI – HOME

Home is an album of artistic catharsis. Elaine Mai’s debut is perfectly tempered. Showing that as attractive as the journey may be, the destination is the reason you’re travelling in the first place. Home is where Elaine Mai is now, and it’s the right place at the right time.

TLMT REVIEW

Home by Elaine Mai is out.

2. FOR THOSE I LOVE – FOR THOSE I LOVE

Music is about creating a voice. How an artist uses that voice is what draws us in. On his self-titled debut album, For Those I Love shouts so the world can hear, and in turn, gives us the listener the license to view the world through his different perspective. And, that’s something that lasts, that’s something great. 

TLMT REVIEW

For Those I Love by For Those I Love is out now.

TLMT Readers Album of the Year

Dark Tropics – Ink

Ink is an album that doesn’t forget the pop part of dream-pop. Dark Tropics weave a spellbinding record, where both the noir and pop elements are amplified with subtlety. Most importantly, the album understands how to add enough musically and lyrical mystery to invite repeated listens. Stylistically and atmospherically weighty, Ink is the perfect opening act for Dark Tropics.

TLMT REVIEW

Ink by Dark Tropics is out now.

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