Words: Saam Das
Our top 50 albums of 2011 list continues....
Links to the other parts: 50-31 // 30-21 // 20-11 // 10-1
30) PJ Harvey - 'Let England Shake'
Surprisingly low in this list considering its universal acclaim, including winning the Mercury Music Prize and more importantly, gaining a 9.5/10 review from Simon. Ahem. Perhaps its resonance has been soured by an over-saturation? Nonetheless, one of the year's most solid offerings.
29) Kurt Vile - 'Smoke Ring For My Halo'
'Smoke Ring For My Halo' has been something of a breakthrough for this solo artist from Philadelphia. His fourth album, and second on Matador Records, saw his "epic folk" garner favourable comparisons to the likes of Tom Petty and Bob Dylan.
28) Justice - 'Audio, Video, Disco'
The French electronic music duo took on a less aggressive tone for the studio follow-up to their well-received debut album, '†'. The latest album also received favourable reviews, with their nod to arena rock proving to be popular.
27) Nils Frahm - 'Felt'
"It’s like the record has its own special space and time. The intimacy of the record is heightened by the poignant, infrequent sounds of human breath, a distant hiss, and the rattle of the piano, a result of placing microphones deep within the instrument when recording the album. 'Felt' has been described as ‘modern classical’; a far more apt description would simply be a modern classic." (Rajan Lakhani)
26) Matthew Herbert - 'One Pig'
"On the face of it an album documenting the lifecycle of an anonymous pig created from field recordings doesn’t sound like a compelling prospect. Yet 'One Pig' is a riveting, well-made album of great music that draws you in not just through the strength of its proposition but with the power of its content." (Simon Opie, full review of 'One Pig' here)
25) Tom Vek - 'Leisure Seizure'
2011 saw a completely unexpected but relatively triumphant return for Tom Vek, whose one-and-only album 'We Have Sound' left a sizeable impact since its 2005 release. Six years in the making and with a world of a hype thrust upon him, 'Leisure Seizure' didn't thrill many in the way they'd hoped. We're not "many" though and thoroughly welcomed his return.
24) Hauschka - 'Salon Des Amateurs'
You won't see German composer Volker Bertelmann's latest experimental piano album on most album of the year lists. That could mean one of two things: either it was criminally ignored or it's actually not much good. We'd prefer to think of 'Salon Des Amateurs' as the former, and it's no surprise he's on one of the finest independent labels around - FatCat Records.
23) Summer Camp - 'Welcome To Condale'
"Encapsulating every emotion that teenagers encounter in life, Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley have packaged love, loss and heartbreak into an audio delight that could soundtrack any 80s Bratpack movie." (Emily Solan, full review of 'Welcome To Condale' here)
22) WATERS - 'Out In The Light'
"From the ashes of much admired alt-folk band Port O’Brien, frontman Van Pierszalowski has fashioned WATERS, a band of sympathetic souls he found in Oslo, turned up the ‘Rawk’ control and cut loose. The resulting debut album is brilliantly conceived and excellently delivered, and that makes it something special." (Simon Opie, full review of 'Out In The Light' here)
21) M83 - 'Hurry Up, We're Dreaming'
A brave decision to release a double album from French producer Anthony Gonzalez but one that ultimately proved fruitful. Indeed, many critics considered 'Hurry Up, We're Dreaming' an even greater triumph than 2008's acclaimed 'Saturdays = Youth', while it also proved to be the most commercially successful M83 album to date.
Click to read part one of our top fifty albums of the year. The list will be concluding soon.