The 5 Best Albums of April 2016

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The 5 Best Albums of April 2016

April albums didn’t get many ratings above an 8, but the ones that did received rave reviews from our writers. From country singers going sentimental to sidemen going center-stage, we’ve rounded up the five highest rated albums that Paste reviewed in April.

5. The Gloaming: The Gloaming
Rating: 8.2
In the history of modern pop music, there have been many fusions and combinations of music genres. This mixture of different genres is what makes a band like The Gloaming and their most recent self-titled album so appealing. A synthesis of traditional Irish music and post-rock, The Gloaming’s second album is a tour de force of this unique and fascinating combination. Although the lyrics are entirely in Gaelic, their melodic content translates into a language universally understood. The tracks on The Gloaming seem to reflect the band’s sense of pride and patriotism. This nationalistic tactic is not only existent in the style of music and the language, but in the song titles as well. “The Pilgrim’s Song” and “Repeal Of The Union,” the latter of which is an established indigenous Gaelic tune, both convey the pride that the act has for their home nation, without being egotistic. This is an act that truly wants to share the sound of their homeland with the world, while keeping a modern approach to performing. —Ben Rosner

Read his full review here.

4. Deakin: Sleep Cycle
Rating: 8.5
It turns out that Panda Bear, the side project of Noah Lennox, is a great reference point for the solo debut from Josh Dibb, who also happens to be one of the puzzle pieces in Animal Collective. Known by his stage name of Deakin (or Deacon), his first collection of songs is a varied mix of ambient rocks concoctions, acoustic ballads that channel Elliott Smith, and weird soundscapes that make you want to shoot, edit, and release an accompanying science-fiction film. It’s six years in the making, funded by Kickstarter, really bizarre at times, and surprisingly adept.

Dibb has a way of bringing you into his world. Fortunately, it’s not quite a house of mirrors or a psych ward; the song structures hold tightly together. As a songwriter, it’s obvious Dibb was trying to parse out some difficult subjects in his life, perhaps related to the discovery that 21M people are held in slavery around the world, according to the International Labour Organization. In fact, this entire project was meant to help fund the fight against slavery in Mali and involved a music festival. —John Brandon

Read his full review here.

3. Frightened Rabbit: Painting of a Panic Attack
Rating: 8.5
Even after frayed internal relationships within the band, general fatigue, and a solo album, Frightened Rabbit’s Painting of a Panic Attack is a triumph for a veteran band that represents one of their best efforts to date. Yes, there are elements of electronic music here, but they’re more understated than expected. From the first piano chords of album opener “Death Dream” to its horn-filled conclusion, it’s clear that the Scottish band is using more instruments to their advantage, not weighing down their trademark morbid lyrics with extra baggage. But where the album does part ways with the last couple of Frightened Rabbit releases is in its lyrics. Still gloomy and morbid as ever, frontman Scott Hutchison uses first person more often than in any release since the band’s 2006 breakout record, Midnight Organ Fight. While “evolution” is a word that gets thrown around a lot in the music industry;, Frightened Rabbit evolve the right way with this release—changing its sound, but not so much that they lose their trademark sound. This is still the Frightened Rabbit we all know and love, as gloomy as we last heard from them. —Steven Edelstron

Read his full review here.

2. Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Rating: 8.5
Following his 2014 breakthrough, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth is more ambitious by an order of magnitude than anything the Kentucky-born singer has done before. It’s a country album at its core, but there’s a whole lot more happening here besides. Simpson dips into the sound of vintage soul with horns courtesy of the Dap-Kings. He often evokes the countrypolitan flipside to the outlaw movement with lush string charts and full-throated vocals that suggest there’s a “Rhinestone Cowboy” for every generation. And he indulges his moody inner teen with a cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom” that swells from spare and brooding to full-on rhapsodic by the end. But as an album of songs that he mostly wrote for his son, Simpson captures the passion, joy, anguish and exhaustion that are part of first-time parenthood. It makes the album a powerful tribute to his son, while establishing Simpson as an artist who, despite his country heart, simply won’t be confined by notions of genre or, for that matter, anyone else’s expectations. —Eric R. Danton

Read his full review here.

1. Go Cozy: Glaziao
Rating: 8.6
With their new release, D.C. outfit Go Cozy sets the bar very high for albums that leave you inclined to indulge in life’s beauties. So it’s only fitting that in Puerto Rico, where lead vocalist/guitarist Homero Salazar Andrujovich spent his childhood, the word “glaziao” is used to describe perfect surfing conditions. Glaziao is a poised album that puts as much emphasis on creating space to breathe as it does being physical. In fact, there’s a kind of freedom to Glaziao, and it’s that freedom that makes it physical and gives it a real type of soul. The band keeps its sound humble, but low-key flex in ways that are challenging and thoughtful. Embracing a different point of view can be liberating, and Go Cozy proves that with this album where each song is genuinely a stand-out. Each track has it’s own thing going for it, so it’s impossible to understate the coolness or importance of that musical mindset. —Raz Robinson

Read his full review here.

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