Sourhouse’s Tunes of the Year 2021
JESSIE WARE – PLEASE
When! Will! She! Stop! That’s right folks, it’s another incredibly, exceptionally, inexplicably good hit from Britain’s reigning disco queen Jessie Ware! Every second of ‘Please’ is filled with ear-worm riffs, deftly combining cheesiness with serious boogie energy. The whole song has a properly loose, go-anywhere vibe, unafraid of throwing in all manner of sounds to create a textureful, supremely detailed cut. The cheekier feel is a great contrast to the seriousness that made her What’s Your Pleasure? material from last year the Sourhouse Album of the Year.
DISCLOSURE – IN MY ARMS
One wonders how a House duo can continue to come up with so much catchy material, and the near-10 year odyssey that has been Disclosure simply continues to define just what this genre is capable of. ‘In My Arms’ is another venture into the worldbeat territory of last year’s ENERGY, fueled by a hint of carnival spice and Afrobeat instrumentation. Everything about it begs to be played loud as hell on a blisteringly hot day, with the rise to that chorus bringing so much damn power every damn time.
WORKING MEN’S CLUB – X
A band I refuse to hide my bias for, Working Men’s Club continued to rise in 2021, and ‘X’ was a big help on that front. Massive and blaring right from the get go, its guitars jostle with its synths for centre stage amidst an amalgamation of gorgeously catchy riffs. Its booming nature rockets off on that chorus, racing sky-high with a torrent of energy, before coming down under the guidance of Rob Graham’s guitars. Of the many great cuts in their growing catalogue, the power-rock feel of this one is a stunning addition.
PORIJ – EGO
While not apparent on first take, ‘Ego’ is actually a break-up song. Or rather, a post-break-up song, one where the resentment of someone formerly in your life is hard to escape. In truly majestic contradiction, Porij do not turn their song into an angry rant, but rather something that hints at warmer feelings still lingering below. Its instrumentation blooms every time that chorus comes around, that guitar riff bursting out of the song beautifully, whilst that swirling final third truly shines. Aside from being supremely catchy, its the depth of ‘Ego’ that makes it a gem of a track.
JACK WHITE – TAKING ME BACK
‘Taking Me Back’ is the definition of phat. Everything goes hard. The guitars are so damn gnarly, showing off their swagger in complete self-absorption. One wonders if White is still trying to prove a point anymore, or if he’s happy to just noodle out muscly alternative rock for the sake of seeing what noise he can produce. Who cares if it doesn’t have purpose though when it sounds this much fun?
JOY ORBISON, LÉA SAN – BETTER
Joy Orbison’s collaboration with Léa San immediately conjures up images of cool urban living, evoking the feel of late night house parties and drinking tinnies in the garden. Its mellow core comes from those muted synths, mixed in with the lush vocals of San to effortless success. As its gentle-yet-addictive beat gradually has more and more instruments added to it, the energy builds with it, before those rising synths that arrive halfway through soak your speakers.
SURFJAN STEVENS, ANGELO DE AUGUSTINE – BACK TO OZ
Trust Mr Stevens to give us beautifully realised emotion. ‘Back To Oz’ has finality to it, a sound that aches in your heart, totally lost in the thoughts of its protagonist. Some of the best riffs he’s ever written are to be found here, particularly on that chorus that just does the numbers. Life feels fluid around it, our main character unable to fight against the currents of what is being done against him, the music twinkling around his personal downfall. A superbly cool soundtrack to admitting defeat.
IDLES – THE BEACHLAND BALLROOM
Hurrah! Idles are back! And they’re feeling extra sad and moody! Following what has appearadly been a very reflective period of the band, Talbot & Co dropped this bruising ballad, and it seems almost to clear the air over what happened with their previous album. Not only does it advance the band’s sound significantly, you sense their confidence in it; the vocals share the poetic rawness of the lyrics, whilst that organ helps bridge the gap between the band’s usual rabid style and the desire to be more soulful in their work. It is without a doubt destined to become one of their all-time greatest moments.
THE GOON SAX – IN THE STONE
Aside from being one of my favourite bands on earth, The Goon Sax truly possess one of the greatest wells of talent in modern indie. ‘In The Stone’ is an example of incredible song writing, brooding in its build up to that guitar-defined chorus. The quaintness of the romance in their past material evaporates here; now, the Aussie trio feel antagonistic in their love, trying to put an explanation to being screwed over. That outro verse only goes to smack home the smokey defeatism of the cut, as well as how talented they are as songwriters.
CAROLINE POLACHEK – BUNNY IS A RIDER
Polachek’s most arresting single to date starts with instant drama; that apprehensive bass lick, the spooky whistle hook, and the unwavering affirmations in her lyrics. Wrestling with how her romantic side defines the rest of her has a serious power to it. But, it’s the way that she turns that into a self-assessment of herself that packs the biggest punch; a mysterious, detaching energy lingers everywhere on ‘Bunny’, begging you to run off into the night and redefine your life for the sheer thrill of it.