Guest Post: Johnny Feeney on 3 Albums of 2012

TOY-album

The ever reliable Johnny Feeney returns with another guest post, this time around he’s sharing three of his favourite albums of 2012 (one’s mainly missed or overlooked on here). Anyway, take it away Johnny.

Pond – Beard, Wives, Denim

In Lonerism, Tame Impala may have released the finest psychedelic rock album of the year, but this album gives it a good run for its money. Upon listening to this, it’s not surprising to learn that Tame Impala members form the core of Pond – frontman Kevin Parker, taking a back seat on this project, playing drums and handling production duties, Jay Watson and Nick Albrook writing the majority of the songs and sharing lead vocals throughout. Joseph Ryan (Mink Mussel Creek) also pitches in with lead vocals and song writing.

Moments of genuine brilliance are frequent throughout from the jangling, opening guitar lines of ‘Fantastic Explosion of Time’ to the glam funk of ‘Elegant Design’ to the space rock of ‘Sun and Sea and You’ to the mind-blowing, slow burner ‘Eye Pattern Blindness’. Clocking in at over 54 minutes, it feels a touch overlong and could probably have been reined in for the greater good but that’s only a small criticism. A fantastic album in its own right.

TOY – TOY

The debut album from London five-piece TOY takes a bit of listening before you get under its many layers but when you do it’s a real joy. Comparisons with fellow countrymen, The Horrors, are inevitable as they both have a very similar sound. With almost ever-present motorik beats propelling the songs forward, spacey guitars weaving and meshing, the occasional electronic flourish, and singer Tom Dougall’s low-toned vocals, this is an album to get well and truly lost in.

There are some gems in here. ‘Dead & Gone’ is a psychedelic rock treat. ‘Heart Skips A Beat’, an almost pop song, shows the band’s tender side. The menacing instrumental ‘Drifting Deeper’ is an album highlight. The standout track, however, is album closer ‘Kopter’ – an epic, relentless, pulsating beast of a song, ten minutes of unbridled excellence. An assured debut with hopefully a lot more to come from these guys.

Rival Sons – Head Down

This third album from the California rockers sees them continue to wear their Led Zeppelin influence on their sleeves. Pounding drums and powerful riffs abound. Vocalist Jay Buchanan has the Robert Plant wail down. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, it’s just an awful lot of fun. Cracking, opening track Keep on Swinging kicks off proceedings with intent and there’s very little let off after that.

Primarily a blues-rock album, the band also dip in to soulful territory with the delightful Jordan. The sleazy ‘Run From Rock’ is a blues-rock treat with its sliding guitars. The amusing ‘All the Way’ tells the story of a young child learning to play the guitar to pick up girls and live the rock’n’roll dream (‘I couldn’t get the chicks, ‘til I picked up a guitar and learned a couple licks’). A really solid rock album.

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