Drowned in Sound's 50 Favorite Albums of 2012
There’s a awe-inducing majesty to the moments when all the subtly introduced parts coalesce and then ebb away but there’s also a sense of feeling completely lost
The Seer is the culmination of Gira’s 30-year-journey; his finest two hours, if you will.
These opening six songs are as good as it gets, and if there were four or five more, this would be the album of the year, for sure.
The project is pulled off with an integrity and passion that never feels like bandwagon jumping
It’s a wonderful record, a colossal achievement, and features some of the most breathtaking, moving and downright beautiful music you’ll hear all year.
For now, though, they’ve made a modestly magnificent record that entirely validates this reformation.
It’s everything School of Seven Bells' swooping/swirling debut promised, and all the things the follow-up wasn’t to be.
Aesop Rock's recent turmoil is very much our gain.
Ekstasis revels in the ‘open-ear decisions’ of its architect, winding its way along paths both sepulchral and ascendant, often in the same song.
Beyond genre lines, racial lines, sexuality lines, any lines you can think of, it's that all-too-rare gem: a universal story you'll come back to long after the hype's been and gone.
With Something, Chairlift haven't so much redefined their sound as papered over the cracks with an added coat of emulsion for good measure.
No One Can Ever Know’s skill is in wielding bleak nostalgia with subtlety; boyish confusion and fear is tempered with the vague uplift of a reassuringly avuncular narrator.
There's something happenin' here and I'm not totally sure what it is but it's exciting, intoxicating and unique, and has me wondering if people will be writing post-Poliça before the year is out
These compositions, from Hadreas' distinctive, fragile vocal through to the orchestration behind the compositions themselves represents a significant progression from the bolt-from-the-blue that was Learning.
She captures the emotion, without the shmaltz and in doing so, she neatly elevates her work above that of countless other mainstream pop singers.
This is jazz, this is funk, this is soul, this is gospel… but most importantly, R.A.P. Music is rap music, as fresh as it comes.
Keepers of the Light is a rarity for a double album: its indulgence (seriously, 144 minutes?) rarely grates, and its individuality doesn’t cramp its funkiness.
Confess isn’t just steeped in the sounds of an era, but in its films, feel, stories and sense of aspiration.
Even peering through the gauze of the back-story, Cat Power’s ninth album is a feat of musical and emotional maturity.
A stomach-turning twist through corridors of riffs, around every corner another punishing progression or triumphant refrain.
Somehow, amidst all the rigid architecture, Errors have conjured up something utterly organic in nature, but skin-tight in direction.
Fin is a body of work that has brought into focus and solidified the musical expression Talabot has been toying with for the last three years.
Whatever happens next, she can rest assured safe in the knowledge that together with her beau they've conjured up one of 2012's - or any other year in recent memory - finest debuts.
Attack On Memory might be on surface a pretty routine blast of crashing percussion, throaty vocals and biting guitars but repeated listens reveal a more nuanced affair full of charisma and spark.
Piramida is undoubtedly the band’s most immediate work to date and it might be strange to be writing it, but nearly each and every track would work standing on its own.
R.I.P. is the most fully realised, ambitious and rewarding project that Cunningham has yet put to record
I still can’t make up my mind whether Crystal Castles peaked too early and are now coasting, or if this is their new peak.
That we’ve got a band asking such questions of themselves, whilst making some of the most thoughtful, intelligent pop in the country, should be celebrated.
Everything on Visions smells crisp and clean, doused in eco-friendly laundry detergent; there is no stench of compromise here.
This is an album so texturally complex that there is simply no space to consider what it might, or might not, be missing.
Whole thing sounds like a poppy Bond soundtrack remixed for the clubs, although even her faster songs sound slow.
Deadly serious even at its most eccentric, wilfully awkward even at its most accessible, dense and intricate even at its most freewheeling.
The sheer energy pouring from this record is breathtaking: not until the very final song (‘Continuous Thunder’) does Celebration Rock’s sense of acceleration cease.
Somewhat uneasy listening in places, yet sublime in others, Given To The Wild should rid The Maccabees of those 'landfill' jibes once and for all.
Any mention of Shields being slightly more up front and rougher around the edges is not to say that isn't still beautiful.
This is less an album, and more like a mixtape filled with mini meditations of musical movements.
This is a record of adventure and texture, an attempt, musically, to conjure up a future we may never actually have.
Wild Peace sighs and soars; melts and merges with you and ultimately, delivers many times more than the mere sum of its parts.
Total Loss isn’t weaker in any single sense, but I’m not sure it if it builds on its predecessor either.
Not since Silent Alarm have Bloc Party sustained such vision, ideas and indeed quality over an entire record.
MORE 2012 YEAR END LISTS:
MORE YEAR END LISTS FROM DROWNED IN SOUND: