Top 50 Albums Of 2011: 20-11 [Part Three]

on Monday, January 09, 2012
Words: Saam Das

Our top fifty albums of the past year continues in this penultimate post. We'll wrap this up tomorrow.

Links to the other parts: 50-31 // 30-21 // 20-11 // 10-1

20) White Russia - 'O Jerusalem'

Enthralling, dark, and above all, consistent. "Layered harmonies weave images of impending apocalypse with dark overdriven synths and uncompromising bass lines, making for a not always comfortable sensory experience." (Jack Thomson, full review of 'O Jerusalem' here)

19) Will Haven - 'Voir Dire'

Not a male solo singer-songwriter as you may presume but instead a noise metal quintet from Sacramento, who split for three years before returning in 2005. "Quite simply a masterpiece. There is life after death." (Simon Opie, more words here on his #1 album of the year)

18) The Vaccines - 'What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?'

I noted my apprehension of The Vaccines in October 2010 but while they proceeded to suffer from a severe backlash, they actually exceeded not just my own expectations. Other FG writers also enjoyed their brand of rousing, uncomplicated guitar pop enough to place this album in their respective albums of the year lists.

17) Mogwai - 'Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will'

The (mostly) instrumental Scottish outfit's latest breathtaking album showed they were "still making vital and innovative music and kicking Radiohead's collective arses." (Simon Opie, read full review of the album here)

16) Kate Bush - '50 Words For Snow'

Returning from six years (perhaps literally) in the cold, '50 Words For Snow' is a supremely absorbing, quietly orchestral offering. Packing just the seven songs into its 65 minute running time, this is truly an album to envelope yourself in. Kieran's #1 album of the year.

15) EMA - 'Past Life Martyred Saints'

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The debut of former Gowns frontwoman Erika M Anderson. "'Past Life, Martyred Souls' pulls you in to its murky, uneasy depths, and then spits you out with crystal clear passages that make everything seem so understandably normal. It’s seriously challenging and highly entertaining – just how great rock music ought to be." (Simon Opie, full review of 'Past Life Martyred Saints' here)

14) Girls - 'Father, Son And The Holy Ghost'

The acclaimed "sophomore" effort from San Francisco's Girls, led by main songwriter Christopher Owens. "Even though the melodies feel instantly familiar, it’s to Owens’ credit that 'Father, Son, Holy Ghost' is by no means derivative and sounds like nothing else in the current alternative rock scene." (Rajan Lakhani, full review of the album here, his #1 album of the year)

13) Noah & The Whale - 'Last Night On Earth'

Another sonic re-invention from the London five-piece. Their debut album's folk beginnings and the heartbreak of excellent second album, 'First Days Of Spring' seem to have brushed away in favour of glorious, anthemic pop. Complete with hat-tip to stadium rock.

12) Big Deal - 'Lights Out'

Alice Costello, one half of Big Deal, used to be a member of FG faves Pull In Emergency, who sadly never quite made it. Her new project seems to be swimming along nicely, with an accomplished debut album already under the belt. "Considering Big Deal only formed in 2010, have already conquered the sub-genre of the boy girl duo in 2011, 2012 can only bring bigger and better things, though right now that hardly seems possible." (Emily Arc, full review of 'Lights Out' here)

11) Benjamin Francis Leftwich - 'Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm'

Enchanting folk-pop from this York singer-songwriter, who took his time to win us over before we succumbed to his magic. Always heartfelt, and often heart-warming, 'Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm' deserves to be recognised as one of the debut records of the year. Or of any year, for that matter.

Our top fifty albums of 2011 concludes tomorrow.

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