Sunday, 22 January 2012

My Top 5 Albums of 2011

2011 was a stellar year for music. Big names returning and new ones emerging, 2011 saw some brilliant records released by some incredible talents. Here is my pick of the best.

5) Skying - The Horrors

Almost universally critically acclaimed The Horrors third record achieved something amazing in topping it's 2009 predecessor, Primary Colours.  Picking up where they left off with lead single Still Life, the English quintet produced their most complete record to date. 

Other tracks such as I Can See Through You and Moving Further Away are great examples of how far this band has come since their hit-and-miss debut as well as showing the promise they hold for the future.

4) What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? - The Vaccines

2011 saw The Vaccines burst onto the scene with a record bursting with catchy riff-laden indie-pop hits. If You WannaWetsuit and Norgaard to name but a few weren't trying to be big or clever; just a whole lot of fun and a little cheeky at the same time. 

With comparisons to The Strokes being drawn from the get-go, it's fair to say that The Vaccines will be one's to watch when the time for album No.2 rolls by.

3) Pala - Friendly Fires

For me, Pala by Friendly Fires was a unexpected surprise and one was not at all unpleasant. Whilst I could never get on board fully with the bands 2009 self-titled album, Pala provided me with the essential 'sound of summer'. 

From the gentle shutter-clicks at the start of the title track and the impossibly dancey chorus in Live Those Days Tonight to "watching a film with a talking dog" in festival favourite Hawaiian Air, Friendly Fires had me won over and smiling from ear to ear.

2) Suck It And See - Arctic Monkeys

Four albums in and most bands might be running out of road. But not the Arctic Monkeys. 2011 saw a new direction for the Sheffield group and a departure from the "desert rock" style seen in the Josh Homme produced third record Humbug

From the poetic Piledriver Waltz to the ridiculously silly Brick by Brick, the Monkeys play with convention and mix up the styles from start to finish. Now if only I could forgive them for that album cover...

1) A Different Kind Of Fix - Bombay Bicycle Club

Moving onwards and upwards from 2010's Flaws, the Bombay Bicycle Club showed us all what they're really worth by melding into something rather special. 

Kicking off with oddly-dancey track How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep, the North London quartet knocks out incredibly catchy riff-laden songs such as Shuffle as well as laid-back and spirited tracks like Your Eyes and Lights Out, Words Gone before jolting back to a close with the mournful and teary-eyed Still

The whole album flows from start to finish with not one track feeling out of place or a let-down. Album centre-piece Beggars draws from the acoustic sound of last year's record whilst Take the Right One is in essence a big rock anthem. 

Definitely my album of 2011 and maybe the one's to watch in the future.

Honorary Mentions: Colour of the Trap - Miles Kane, Velociraptor! - Kasabian, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Blood Pressures - The Kills, El Camino - The Black Keys, Angles - The Strokes, Mylo Xyloto - Coldplay, Portomento - The Drums and The King of Limbs - Radiohead.

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