Facebook affects an embarrassing proportion of our lives and features in an equally unsettling number of conversations. Occasionally it starts some rather interesting ones. Someone’s status recently enquired what their friend’s top five albums of the year were. I enjoy compiling “top 5’s” and I really enjoy music so here we are, broganjane’s top five albums of 2010, loosely amalgamated in no particular order.
I first saw Everything Everything perform live in KOKO, on the NME Radar Tour in May. They blew me away with their gorgeous harmonies, fringes and tight jeans. Their debut album, Man Alive, is ceaselessly brilliant, careering between time signatures, changing keys and genre. The Mancunian quartet has crafted a euphoric and rushing album with real depth, light and shade. They are impossible to pigeon hole and unavoidably talented.
A great album has longevity and for Arcade Fire this comes as a by-product of their musical complexity. Their sound has such depth it morphs and evolves into something entirely different to that which you first heard. Your ear falls upon backing vocals, percussion and riffs you hadn’t noticed under the initial spell of its brilliance. Less indulgent than their previous offerings, The Suburbs reigns in the excesses of albums past and is rife with subtle pleasures.
On a whim I decided to watch Lissie perform at this year’s Evolution Festival in Newcastle. Sat on the floor of a shady tent I was mesmerised by her tenderly rasping voice and the conviction with which she performed every single song. Catching a Tiger is the perfect country pop cocktail, with just the right amounts of intensity and effortlessness; barely enunciated, emotionally rich lyrics, tumble casually over radio-friendly rock riffs.
Wild Beasts were an unexpected Glastonbury discovery. Their album, Two Dancers, is enchanting, camp and dramatic with some of the most preposterous lyrics and stunning instrumentals I have ever heard. The lead vocal baton is passed seamlessly between front man, Hayden Thorpe and guitarist, Tom Fleming; the glorious and eerie squealing of the former, complimented perfectly by the delicious throaty tones of the latter.
As a result of a series of fortunate ‘related artist’ selections on Spotify, Local Natives climbed quickly into my top five albums of the year back in June. Gorilla Manor is a charming and elegant indie rock offering. Their stage set up is immaculate and their performance impeccably tight. With rollicking percussion and euphoric harmonies, Local Natives unbridled cheeriness surpasses the sound of any band you may wish to compare them to.