Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Sloppy Dog's Best of 2012: Albums

2012’s been a funny old year for music (as the upcoming Best and Worst Singles list will testify), but amidst the bizarre chart victories, the succession of surprising flops, and the dominance of one particular genre, there’s been a few examples of greatness shining through as far as albums are concerned. Notable mention must go to Van Susans and We Are Augustines, but let’s get cracking on the ten greatest...

10. Andy Burrows - Company
A re-edit of our final ten for reasons best not addressed means Andy Burrows gets bumped up a spot. From thankless Razorlight drummer to a far more appreciated role in We Are Scientists, to co-frontman of Smith & Burrows, the folksy perfection of Company finally sees the fruition of a truly talented solo artist.

9. Feeder – Generation Freakshow
They’ve been patchy post-Pushing The Senses, but Generation Freakshow was a giant step back towards the Feeder we know and love. It’s a more mature offering, but it demonstrates a growth (as opposed to a U2-style attempt to cling onto youth), still packed with anthemic, intelligent rock.

8. Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
Admittedly, not the most consistent of albums, and certainly not something that’s easily-digestible, but Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded was testament to a truly unique entity. A fast-paced, infectious, day-glo explosion, which somehow melded glittery camp and ballsy hip-hop to surprisingly great effect.

7. Keane – Strangeland
Had this been the follow-up to Hopes & Fears, it would’ve been called lazy. But chasing two more explorative albums, it somehow makes sense, almost marking a journey back to what they do best, utilising the gained experience of Under The Iron Sea and Perfect Symmetry. A welcome return to form.

6. Imani Coppola – The Glass Wall
We’ll overlook the ill-advised dubstep breakdown to celebrate yet another album that bears witness to the genius of Imani Coppola. It seems she’s still incapable of putting her name to anything less than brilliant, and while the masses might not be on board just yet, The Glass Wall was a triumphant indie-soul gem.

5. Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon
Alex Trimble’s vocal turn at the Olympics Opening Ceremony showed him to have a surprisingly tender tone, but Beacon put him back in the guise he’s best known for – assured, quirky, and superbly-executed indie-pop. Building upon the greatest components of Tourist History, Two Door Cinema Club know their strengths and play to them with exceptional results.

4. BIGkids – Never Grow Up
Perfect pop, completely devoid of pretensions, courtesy of Mr Hudson and Rosie Bones. In a year where the pop genre morphed into a behemoth of bottom-drawer beats and unimaginative soullessness, BIGkids fought their corner with a knowing wink and a line-up of fun, breezy, yet high-quality, tunes.

3. The Vaccines – Come Of Age
Debut album What Did You Expect From The Vaccines made the right kind of noise, but this follow-up repeated the feat with a whole new ethos. Polished, confident and rousing, the aptly-titled Come Of Age expertly cut through the annoying buzz that surrounded their debut and cemented them as a band in it for the long haul.

2. Spector – Enjoy It While It Lasts
Just being beaten to first place, the debut of the year came from Spector. The London five-piece quickly established themselves as an act to get excited about, with Strokes/Vaccines-esque thumpers swathed in a heady mix of Sixties melodies, boyish charm and genuine grit. The kind of album a repeat button is made for.

1. The Ghosts – The End
Not to be confused with Ghosts – though aside from sharing a moniker, they also have in common the fact they’ve each been our Album of the Year. From the ashes of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool came this immense collection of electronic, melody-heavy indie, boasting huge choruses and hypnotic hooks. Alas, chart success evaded them, but in The End they produced a genuine masterpiece. Hey, what do the stupid public know?

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