Album Reviews

Reviews of albums by Bill Fay, Teengirl Fantasy, and Yeasayer

Bill Fay
Life Is People
(Dead Oceans)
Last year's reissue of Bill Fay's 1971 album Time of the Last Persecution was a revelation. Although championed recently by artists as diverse as Current 93 and Wilco, Fay's early work was nearly impossible to find; finally being able to hear Time validated the emphatic praise of how unique and emotionally devastating this singer-songwriter's work was. Life Is People is Fay's first real full-length since Time, and although it doesn't pack the same outsider-y vibe as his early '70s work, it's an arresting, evocative and deeply personal listen. – Jason Ferguson

Teengirl Fantasy
(True Panther Sounds)
With Tracer, the Google-unfriendly duo known as Teengirl Fantasy have evolved from making beautiful, natural-sounding house music into making ambitious and textured electronic compositions that are both ethereal and energized. Tracer is most definitely a pop album, and the vocalists that are onboard (Panda Bear, Romanthony) help drive that point home. However, the complex arrangements and clear sense of purposeful artistry behind these well-crafted numbers are evidence of a sophisticated and forward-looking perspective on the possibilities of electronic music. – JF

Fragrant World
(Secretly Canadian)
For all the fuss over the difficulty of sophomore efforts, the mark of a truly great band is its third outing. Allowing for overcorrection and exhaustion, a threequel's success depends on whether the artists accumulated enough momentum to get them across the finish line relatively intact. To that end, Fragrant World is a smash, a fast-paced, alternately intriguing (the majesty of "Henrietta"; synth-drenched pop contender "Damaged Goods") and eye-rolling ("Reagan's Skeleton" verges on camp) mood-setter that doesn't coast so much as glide on listener goodwill. – Justin Strout


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