‘Cherish The Light Years’ was less fractured than 2009’s ‘Love Comes Close’, but no less fraught as Wesley Eisold observed his grim surroundings, blackened his synths and faced the coming apocalypse. The likes of ‘Pacing Around The Church’ and ‘Underworld USA’, despite choking with bitterness and isolation, were proper pop bangers. Rather than marching around with a ‘The End Is Nigh’ placard,...

 
 
 

It’s easy to maintain a dignified silence. Harder is keeping that credibility intact over 10 tracks that made up one of the debut albums by a man named Gallagher this year. The Chief struck just the right balance of well-matured comfort-tune and welcome surprise, doing gruff Manc melancholia as well as so-called master Guy Garvey. Not bad for a bloody guitar player. KM

 
 
 

And now for the science bit. After many years in the coffee table wilderness, it was too much to ask for Björk to return to the bosh simplicity of ‘Big Time Sensuality’. As it was, her multimedia rollercoaster was far more compelling. A song and app-based project including but not limited to the invention of exciting new musical instruments, the exploration of Alan Turing’s work applying mathematics to...

 
 
 


Finally freed from the self-imposed confines of their Silver Bullet caravan, guitar-toting Texans White Denim dazzled and dumbfounded with their audacious fourth album. Last time we looked they were a raggedy-arsed garage rock combo. Here, they expanded their remit to include ‘Who’s Next’-style theatrics, Afro-Cuban funk and downhome country rollers, pinballing between genres without pausing to draw...

 
 
 

While some albums are custom-designed to shock (hello, Tyler, The Creator), others were simply born that way. For all its bleak charms, the less-than-fluorescent adolescents’ debut – released on XL imprint Abeano – didn’t so much fall into the latter camp as torch its fields, slay local livestock and entice its women with stony Danish allure. Though the Copenhagen band’s cuts like ‘Never Return’ see...

 
 
 

‘Nine Types Of Light’ was the record that made Dave Sitek’s mob one of the best bands in 
the world, rather than simply one of the most revered by people for whom ‘lost weekend’ means watching Suuns at an ATP three-dayer. Slingshotting straight into it after his fun-funk solo album as Maximum Balloon, the sense of Sitek actually having a laugh making music – rarely present in TVOTR’s previous stuff...

 
 
 


Sometimes it takes insanity to unlock genius. Other times, a shitload of drugs. UMO’s Ruban Nielson subscribed to both schools of thought, manipulating his already unhinged mind with a dangerous cocktail of pills and acid, before retreating to his bedroom to weave his masterpiece. The result of all the narcotic boshing? One of the most unexpected contenders for album of the 
year. The record drips with...

 
 
 

Vulgar, crass, undignified, and many other wonderful things, Justice’s long-awaited second was an up-middle-finger to the taste-gendarmes who felt that melding baroque, AC/DC, 10cc and Ali Love might be anything less than a really swell idea. From the moment ‘Horsepower’ landed, seemingly designed to soundtrack a hundred slaves dragging an obelisk through the desert, through the pagan pop party of...

 
 
 

When Submarine, the directorial debut of The IT Crowd star and comedian Richard Ayoade, came out on a limited release in March this year, it did so well that the people in charge of these things quickly started showing it in some 40-odd extra cinemas. Alex Turner’s soundtrack to the movie has been an equally unexpected success. While Arctic Monkeys albums, since their 2006 debut, have grown darker and...

 
 
 

Success can change a girl, but from the moment she announced her return with a song based around an image of Virginia Woolf’s suicide and named after a neurotic Frida Kahlo painting, any doubts that Flossie would let global success dampen her possessing spirits were duly drowned. Retaining the full-on and fantastical atmosphere that made ‘Lungs’ so beloved, ‘Ceremonials’ was a more consistent, mature and...

 
 
 
 
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