Monday, 24 December 2012

My Top Albums of 2012

5) - Jack White - Blunderbuss

Jack White's first solo outing post-White Stripes simultaneously took him back to his roots of being a straight-up, rock n' roll/country artist as well as succeeding in being an album that traversed many different sounds without alienating any of his fans. 

From the gentle tinkling opening to 'Missing Pieces', to the hip-swaying and catchy groove of 'Freedom At 21'  ("Cut the bottoms off my feet, make me walk on salt, take me down to the police, charge me with assault"), White struck out on his own with confidence and vigour.

His over-arching story was one of unquenchable heartbreak however, a theme that made for some truly brilliant ballads like 'Love Interruption', 'Hypocritical Kiss' and 'Take Me With You When You Go'.

4) - The Rubens - The Rubens

A brilliant d├ębut record from one of Melbourne's newest indie rock outfits, The Rubens' burst onto the scene in 2012. With some serious rotation on triple J, the Rubens' won me over seriously fast with assured and soulful tracks such as 'Never Be The Same', 'My Gun' and 'I'll Surely Die'. 

Always fantastic to see great promise bursting forth (especially when said promise is so brilliantly laden with catchy and unshakeable melodies), The Rubens' have no doubt got their eyes set squarely on the target of becoming one Australia's biggest indie rock bands alongside The Temper Trap and Tame Impala. 

3) The Vaccines - Come of Age

Another round of the Vaccines doing what the Vaccines do best; solid, catchy, fun, brash and unashamedly simplistic indie pop songs that knock the socks off of anyone listening along. Try listening to 'Teenage Icon' without a the energy and fun causing your feet to tap and head to bob, I dare you. 

However, like I mentioned in my review earlier in the year, the frantic minute-and-a-half ode's to Danish models are absent on record No. 2, instead a host of mid-tempo ballads that introduce some darker and gloomier sounds to the pallet; 'Ghost Town' and 'Weirdo' best show off this slightly new direction for the English quartet. 

2) Richard Hawley - Standing At The Sky's Edge

Richard Hawley's seventh studio album was my first taster of any of his work and I must admit, Standing At The Sky's Edge made a great first impression.

The reverb-laden guitar and vocals on brilliantly psychedelic tracks such as 'She Brings The Sun' and 'Down In The Woods' set this record apart from a lot else that I listened to this year; they stretch on and on, recalling images of a sun-drenched summer's day. In fact, the 50 minute run time is amazingly split across a mere 9 songs, only one track dipping below the 4-minute mark. 

Hawley's latest record also has its quieter moments, 'Seek It' and 'Don't Stare At The Sun' dropping the tempo down to the pace of a gentle swaying hammock.

1) The Maccabees - Given To The Wild

Some albums come along and not only take you by surprise, but fully knock you for six. Given To The Wild is one of these albums.

The Maccabees changed tac entirely here, their third record swapping the trademark sound of indie guitar plucking and jitteryness found on 2007's Colour It In and 2009's Wall of Arms for a new-found sense of serene and calm.

'Feel To Follow' stands out as a particularly strong track, as do the pulsating and shifting 'Go' and 'Unknow'.

From the opening instrumental that feeds into the soaring 'Child' to the closing track 'Grew Up At Midnight', this record is quality from wall to wall and fails to have any one track that stands out as a misstep. Simply, it effortlessly flows from each track to the next, the soaring highs and choir-like vocals punctuated by hushed pauses and deathly stills, some beautifully restrained moments of calm.

For me then, The Maccabees third record is my musical highlight of the year. For more on my year in music, make sure you check out my Ultimate 2012 Spotify Playlist. Thanks for reading and let me know what you thought in the comments section below!

Honourable Mentions

Bloc Party - Four, Two Door Cinema Club - Beacon, The xx - Coexist, Grimes - Visions, Maximo Park - The National Health, Passion Pit - Gossamer, Tame Impala - Lonerism, Jake Bugg - Jake Bugg, Howler - America Give Up, Lana Del Rey - Born To Die, Lucy Rose - Like I Used To

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...