Apex Manor, ‘The Year of Magical Drinking’ (Merge)

Battling writer’s block after his band the Broken West split, singer-guitarist Ross Flournoy knocked out a tune over a weekend for an NPR songwriting contest. Next thing he knew, songs were coming in waves. Ten eventually washed up on The Year of Magical Drinking — which feels less composed by Flournoy than thrust upon him. “Year” whipsaws between pure-pop jingle-jangle, lo-fi droning, and pensive acoustics, all of it as catchy as it is manic. What thealbum lacks in focus, it makes up for in sheer listenability.

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