Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Top 10 Albums of 2011

10. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues 
Helplessness Blues' melancholic harmonies and gentle guitar strumming makes for a perfect blend of mellow folking greatness. The album's simplicity is raw and honest, and an impressive progression from their eponymous debut album. 

9. Beirut - The Rip Tide
 Known for their rich sound and variety of instruments, Beirut definitely didn't let fans down with their third album. With a distinctly European feel, The Rip Tide's vibrancy and colourful music is like none other, and the dulcet symposium of the brass section combined with an accordion, ukulele and Zach Condon's powerful voice ensures that the magic of Beirut isn't lost on anyone. 

8. Ben Howard - Every Kingdom
Newcomer, Ben Howard's debut album has received critical acclaim from music critics - and rightly so. Although singer-songwriter guitarists are far from rare, Howard shines out from the crowd with a certain uniqueness and his sincere lyrics really do seem to stem from the heart. With beautiful background harmonies and catchy hooks, the surfer from Devon has found a niche sufficiently different from the many clichéd acoustic guitar acts of today.
7. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Noel Gallagher's High  Flying Birds
Since Oasis split in 2009 it seems like Noel Gallagher has been rolling around like a tumbleweed in the desert, not really going anywhere,  and his very public feud with his brother has been hard to escape; however his debut album under Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, demonstrates his triumphant return to music. Whilst not having strayed far from the distinctive sounds of Oasis, Gallagher combines exhilarating guitars and jazzy trumpets for a truly uplifting rock album.

6. tUnE-yArDs - W H O K I L L 
Beyond doubt there is no one quite like Merrill Garbus, and once you've gotten over the annoyance of having to type out tUnE-yArDs, her kooky, dreamy looping is mesmerising. The sheer range in her voice is extraordinarily impressive, and W H O K I L L showcases her ability to create such intriguing and exciting music from the simplest of hooks and riffs.
5. Cults - Cults 
The Manhattan duo broke onto the music scene this year with their eponymous debut album bringing the perfect soundtrack of shimmering pop to the summer. With infectious tunes, and the flawless mix of Madeleine Follin and Brian Oblivion's contrasting voices, the sugary-sweet tones of Cults are refreshing and upbeat - a melodic triumph. 

4. The Vaccines - What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
After receiving praise for their music in 2010, it was with much anticipation that their debut album was released in 2011, and well, what other did we expect from The Vaccines than a fantastic album? Over the past few years it seems that Britain has been slightly lacking in good guitar bands, but The Vaccines seem to have brought rock back to Britain with great gusto. With most of the songs on the album under the three minute mark, it's a quick listen but with a lasting impact. 

3. Noah & The Whale - Last Night On Earth
Despite the success of their first single Five Years Time, their debut album Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down and it's follow up The First Days of Spring were slightly disappointing. However with their third album Last Night On Earth, it seems that Noah & The Whale have really found themselves now. Although the upbeat tunes seem to drift more into the indie-pop category than the folk genre which Noah & The Whale are so associated with, Last Night on Earth sparkles with harmonies and a new found sense of fun. Where the songs on their previous albums drifted into the background, their newest album stands out proudly and makes for a perfect mix of simple, honest lyrics, and catchy tunes. 
2. Cloud Control - Bliss Release
The easy-breezy pop of Cloud Control's debut album Bliss Release combines the beautiful harmonies of Alister Wright and Heidi Lenffer with jangly guitars and driving drum beats. Meditation Song #2 is perhaps the stand out song on the album - a summery mixture of electric and acoustic guitar accompanied by a cheerful tambourine. With such a strong first album, we can be sure that an equally good follow up will be on the cards shortly.
1. The Antlers - Burst Apart
Having featured on the majority of 'best albums of 2011' lists, it's safe to say that this year has been a great one for The Antlers. Despite the underlying dark melancholy of the lyrics (only marginally lighter than the abusive relationships and cancer explored in their last album, Hospice), lead singer, Peter Silberman's soothing voice accompanied by a relaxed beat and background electronica makes a harmonious sound that is carried throughout the album. Tiptoe gives a feeling of floating under water, and is perfectly juxtaposed with the slightly more frantic Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out to create an album full of variation and exciting new songs. 


  1. That's quite an interesting list. Many different genres, that's great. 'Burst Apart' really is great and Fleet Foxes sure are amazing. I'm only missing Wild Beasts but other than that, perfect choices! ;)

  2. Woo, so glad to see that Cloud Control made it onto your list, and so high up too :D Really going to have to listen to more Fleet Foxes I think - and Beirut!

    Looking forward to your 2012 reviews :)

  3. Well Cloud Control definitely deserve to be so high up on the list - an amazing album, and having seen them twice this year I'm pretty much in love with all their music.
    Flora x

  4. we have verrrry similar music taste! fleet foxes are divine! they're coming to Southbound this weekend! woooo xxx

  5. ah I'm jealous! Tried to get Fleet Foxes tickets back in April but they all sold out before I could get my hands on them! Hopefully they'll stop by London again soon - definitely top of the list of bands I want to see.
    Flora x


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