December tends to be a quiet month for music, a time for those End Of Year lists to dominate the headlines.
That said, there were still a number of high profile releases in December, with streaming evening out the traditional peaks and crevices of the music schedule.
Clash rounds up some gems from the final month of 2018...
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Ex:Re - Ex:Re
For the past six odd years, 4AD's Daughter has made a name for themselves with their brand of melancholic indie folk. Thanks to their expansive instrumentation and Elena Tonra's unflinching lyrics, the three-piece have gone from strength to strength, even bagging a video game soundtrack for Deck Nine's acclaimed 'Life Is Strange: Before The Storm'.
Now Tonra has struck it out alone to do what all real artists must. The breakup album. Like any of us suddenly left adrift post-relationship, these songs are looking for answers, reasons, and are painfully over analysing the past. However, this isn’t your usual he/she said affair. On 'Ex:Re' the lost love acts as an almost spectral presence, colouring the song's themes. - REVIEW
AMOR - Sinking Into A Miracle
At only five tracks but forty minutes in length, the album oozes a confidence rarely found in electronic music releases of this kind. There is zero filler and the unconventional structure of the project is both a testament to their artistic vision as well as being a brave move in the streaming-era of short tracks and baggy albums.
This confidence is evident from the opening track 'Phantoms of the Sun', which begins with a solitary thudding drumbeat, before eerie synths and an entrancing baseline capture the attention. Richard Youngs' ghostly vocals provide a brilliant juxtaposition here, and from the very start of this project you can sense a plethora of influences becoming a cohesive whole. - REVIEW
Bruce Springsteen - Springsteen On Broadway
‘Springsteen On Broadway’ is a snapshot of a man comfortable with his past, present and future. He is a man who has seen it all and done everything, at least twice. If you aren’t a fan of Springsteen before watching ‘Springsteen on Broadway’ you either will be at the end of this almost three hour performance, or it’ll fortify all the reasons you don’t.
That is because for the whole duration it’s just Bruce. Either delivering monologues that tell his life story or playing the songs that defined it. Yes Patti Scialfa joins him for ‘Tougher Than The Rest’ and ‘Brilliant Disguise’, but other than that it’s just The Boss doing what he does best, “To provide an entertaining evening and to communicate something of value”. And in all honesty that’s all we could ask for. - REVIEW
ZAYN - Icarus Falls
Collaborations make an appearance toward the tail end of the production as 'No Candle No Light' featuring Nicki Minaj and final track 'Too Much' featuring Timbaland play out the last notes of this mosaic of emotions and talent. The name Icarus of course comes from the Greek myth of the optimist that flew too close to the sun and met his end as a result.
But with 'Icarus Falls', the 25-year-old singer of past teen adulation manages to fly high without burning out. The story of Icarus is one of tragedy, but there’s only signs of success within this offering as ZAYN begins the journey to realising his full potential. - REVIEW
Aidan Moffat, RM Hubbert - Ghost Stories For Christmas
A festive antidote to carols and Cliff, ‘Ghost Stories’, is a gift-wrapped Christmas miracle, delivered by two big indie Santas, Scotland’s unofficial Makar, Aidan Moffat, and its finest flamenco export, RM Hubbert. Their second collaboration this year, it examines the other side of the holiday– exposing the darker bits, the lonely parts and tiny vulnerabilities magnified by this time of the year.
It’s the Gaviscon after the turkey dinner; the strategic nap to escape the family. Like the best sort of present, I didn’t know I needed it until it arrived. - REVIEW
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