Apex Manor The Year of Magical Drinking

Apex Manor The Year of Magical Drinking
Despite making two solid, although admittedly overlooked, albums for Merge, the Broken West decided to call it a day back in 2009. It hit singer Ross Flournoy hard, with an accompanying case of writer's block that was eventually overcome thanks to Sleater Kinney's Carrie Brownstein. She challenged readers of her NPR blog to write and record a song in just a weekend, and that motivated Flournoy to write the majority of the songs that ended up on The Year of Magical Drinking. Musically, Apex Manor aren't terribly far away from the neighbourhood the Broken West lived in, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. He's still got a knack for the concise, slow-building pop songs driven by fuzzy guitars and vocal harmonies, and those are the best tracks, such as opener "Southern Decline." He might not be expanding his horizons, but he's definitely back on track. And when coupled with his usual consistency, The Year of Magical Drinking is his third rather good album in a row; he can consider himself completely unblocked. (Merge)