musicOMH's Top 50 Albums of 2011
Loose and sparse as it is, Let England Shake serves much the same function, lingering in the mind long after its engrossing runtime.
Smother is touching and majestic, a surprise of juxtaposition that is at once both plaintive and emotional, strident and libidinous.
There's an energy and atmosphere to w h o k i l l which seems to just pour off the record.
Those who approach Bon Iver with open minds and open ears will with repeated listens find that Vernon has not strayed too far from his original raison d'etre.
Skying has a new swagger and panache, but it also possesses that lightness of touch which was first audible in Primary Colours.
There is a sense of individuality in its thematic concerns and in its use of specially constructed instruments, but in essence it feels like a synthesis of Björk’s work thus far (albeit a brilliant one).
It may not be leaps and bounds ahead of previous St Vincent releases, but this is a rich and multi-faceted album to pay close attention to.
King Of Limbs is a subtle, muti-layered affair - surprisingly low-key in places, and it certainly won't win back any fans who checked out in the late '90s.
It's certainly among his most concentrated and well crafted works - the best since Harmony In Ultraviolet and arguably the most successful of them all.
In the space of just over half an hour it has been possible to experience a full gamut of feelings, our sympathies firmly siding with our nameless host.
It’s absorbing and enchanting without having to resort to formulaic song structures, pop thrills or radio-friendly catchiness.
They've recorded another Elbow album, full of quiet introspection, subtly life-affirming melodies and the usual brilliant lyrical sketches of Northern life.
This is another intriguing evolution for one of the country's great bands, and a shot in the arm for Britain's rather moribund 'indie guitar' scene.
Some of the experiments here may work better than others in the long term, but it is far better that Beam is an artist prepared to take risks.
Each listen reveals another layer, and the album wears incredibly well over obsessive revisiting.
This is the most consistently impressive Beirut record yet.
This album will inevitably disappoint those who had their hopes pinned on Blake producing the definitive instrumental dubstep masterpiece.
Individual elements don't feel complex, but their composition is astoundingly swallowing, and there are clever, attentive niblets of sound that add intrigue.
It seems Pala is Friendly Fires' successful attempt to translate their positivity-injected carnival live performances into a record.
The hooky riffs and unforgiving pace make it a fantastic rock album in itself.
At other times, the album works magnificently; more so than anything on her breakthrough debut.
The album overall is wholly inconsistent, with weak raps and weak productions poking holes through the greatness that's present.
They’ve succeeded in making an album that does well to second-guess its listener, whilst never disowning the sound that first brought Greene to the foreground.
Dedication is an outstanding example of the possible emotional depth and breadth of electronic music.
Mogwai are eager to showcase their new ideas within the first few tracks of this release, eager to prove they are still a band with plenty of fresh concepts.
Where past albums touched upon all manners of influences and genres, Smoke Ring For My Halo seems content to plant its flag into barren soil.
This is one of the most defiantly traditional, non-radical and deceptively simple albums in recent memory.
It is, all in, absolute genius.
It's another step nearer the masterpiece this band are increasingly capable of delivering.
MORE 2011 YEAR END LISTS:
MORE YEAR END LISTS FROM MUSICOMH: