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Best Album Of 2012 So Far? Crybaby.

Much has been said of Crybaby, and all of it is generally obvious, as will be my brief remarks here, no doubt.  The band, comprised of one bearded, bespectacled, balding Bristol-based singer-songwriter, is not seemingly a very promising proposition - the world hardly needs any more hairy singers.  What makes this eponymous album so brilliant, even wonderful (and endlessly rewarding on replay) is how it manages to convey several vital strands of music history to the present, despite and because of its evident elements of pastiche and homage.


Crybaby is an album of 10 slow, and mid-tempo songs - torch-songs, mostly, crooned with precisely the same passionate intensity, glottal warble, and leapfrog inflection as Morrissey - indeed, this is a missing Smiths album, if The Smiths had used more piano, organ and reverb.  Crybaby is as flamboyant and heroic as Gene Pitney, as Orbison - it swoons with heartache, wearing sorrow like its panache.  The lyrics move the songs beyond 50s/80s genuflections, since they are all so perfectly and cleverly crafted that they appear, fully-formed, as new standards.  Imagine ten songs as good and uplifting and melancholy as 'Every Day Is Like Sunday'.  A major musical moment.  I feel a certain kind of English indie pop song has just got its mojo back.


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