Over the past decade or so, the number of duos making the rounds appears to have skyrocketed. For a little while you just had The White Stripes. Then there was Death From Above 1979 and The Black Keys. Pretty soon you had Blood Red Shoes, MGMT and The Kills. With this in mind, in 2014 being a two-piece is not such a huge gimmick anymore. It is a good job then that We Cut Corners - and this, their second album 'Think Nothing' - are so good that they do not need to rely on gimmicks.
Consisting of a pair of primary school teachers from Ireland, We Cut Corners are an interesting proposition. They blend together a number of styles and genres to create a sound which is entirely their own and, over the 10 songs on offer here, they get to exploring that sound. The old adage goes that you should always leave the people wanting more and, clocking in at a sniff over 27 minutes, 'Think Nothing' demonstrates that to a tee.
The album begins with the stark and delicate folk whisper of 'Wallflowers'. To begin with, this appears to be a fairly bog standard acoustic work-out before it transitions with some inspired blues chords into a dramatic, string laden finale. This is the work of a band who refuse to sit still.
Curtain well and truly raised, over the next few songs We Cut Corners get to torching the place to the ground with the grungy, fuzzed up guitar work-out of 'Blue' and the more restrained recent single 'Best Friend'. What is clear from the first three tracks alone is that these guys make an incredibly full sound for a two piece and that whether they are dabbling in folk or bringing the alt. rock revival to town, We Cut Corners have an incredibly apparent pop sensibility, overloading all of their work with massive, undeniable hooks. This is never more blatantly on show than on two of the album's highlights: the summery, indie-pop-punk bounce-along anthem 'YKK', and the loud/quiet/loud barnstormer of a tune which is 'This Is Then'. The latter is probably the best song on the album, if not of any album released so far this year.
Elsewhere on the album, you get 'Every Thief', which fuses together both the delicate acoustic elements and the more direct rock parts of their sound, and 'Overtures', which is the closest the band come to making clear and obvious pop punk. The album closes with the sleepy, orchestrated 'Hunger' and it is a perfect end to an album that is packed wall to wall with highlights and is over all too soon. 'Think Nothing' is one of those rare albums that you can discover again and again. This is album of the year type stuff.
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10) Grant Nicholas - Yorktown HeightsFeeder's Grant Nicholas went down the familiar lead-singer-does-a-solo-album route this year, and the results weren't too bad in the end....