So following on from Wednesdays list , numbers 20 -11 (SEE HERE) we give you our top ten albums of 2014.. in reverse order.
10. Esben & The Witch -‘A New Nature’
Esben and The Witches 3rd album A New Nature does retain elements of the brooding intelligent gothic pop of their earlier work but this time around, Esben And The Witch’s predilection for post and progressive rock is thrust to the fore. There’s also a real clarity of focus, not just an appreciation of the distinction between genuine drama and grandiloquent theatrics but also being creatively astute enough to achieve the right balance between freedom, experimentation and restraint. Full review HERE
9. Dum Dum Girls – ‘Too True’
Too True’ is an organic and natural sounding successor to 2011’s deeply personal ‘Only In Dreams.’ The blissed out buzz saw garage sound has not been completely removed from DDGs sound, but ‘Too True’ sees different influences coming to the fore. It’s an album that perhaps owes more to the paisley shirted psyche guitar jangle of UK bands from the 90’s, than to the Phil Spector wall of sound. Around the edges on tunes like the anthemic ‘ Rimbaud Eyes’ or the slow burning vampish shimmer of ‘The Lost Boys And Girls Club’ you may also discern hints of the dark chiming pop of The Cure, early Strawberry Switchblade or perhaps echoes of The Bunnymen as Dee Dee and her cohorts serve up a sophisticated cocktail of literate dreampop. Full review HERE
8. Alvvays – ‘Alvvayys’
Another great debut, this time from Canadian indie poppers Alvvays. Their self-titled debut album stays on the right side of cute mixing soaring guitars with singer Molly Rankin’s beautiful peel of bells vocals whilst their lyrics reveal a wry wistful sense of humour. However, their sun-spangled melodies mask darker themes. For beneath the gorgeous sugar frosted refrains Alvvays explore topics such as drunkenness, death and defeat…, which thematically, sounds not unlike a night out in Birkenhead on a Saturday night…
7. Dark Horses – ‘Hail Lucid State’
‘Hail Lucid State’ grips from start to finish mixing the cinematic with the poetic, and creating a maelstrom of noise and melody of rage and tenderness shot through a beguiling cyber-erotic Barbarella meets The Velvet Underground aesthetic. It’s an intelligent, engaging fusion of musical influences and styles from a band whose visual style and presentation has always been an arresting mix of punk fetishism, wanton sexuality and a dash of situationalist swagger that at times makes them look like a cross between an art installation and a biker gang as re-imagined by David Lynch. Full review HERE
6. Desperate Journalist – ‘Desperate Journalist’
There’s a burning sense of anger bubbling beneath the surface, a passion and intensity that has been sorely lacking in much of what passes for indie over the last few years. Desperate Journalist may not have a huge budget, they may not have a massive PR company plugging away on their behalf but what they do have is a fantastic collection of songs, faith in their own abilities and the hope ‘ that the album can essentially promote itself’ .. Great songs are great songs and in the wake of this wonderful debut, they really should be on everybody’s radar during the next twelve months or so. The album was released digitally in 2014 and will be available physically in 2015 … so technically could feature in next year’s round up too ;) But if you’re fed up with bland soulless mewlings, and hipsters referencing and reinventing Supertramp and Bruce Hornsby as a force for good( deluded fools) then wrap your ears around this album and embrace this band, because they deserve it … only time will tell if you deserve them. ;)
5. Coves – ‘Soft Friday’
After tipping Coves since Jesus was a lad (or so it seems) their debut album didn’t disappoint. Throughout ‘Soft Friday’ singer Beck Woods vocals veer between the cool aloofness of Nico to a more emotionally engaged Lana Del Rey, which weave in and out of John Ridgard’s maelstrom of reverbing off-kilter guitars, subtle electronic flourishes and driving post-baggy beats. Every song is a psyche pop gem and Coves demonstrate that when you channel heartbreak and misery into something constructive you can create a body of work that positively shimmers with life affirming beauty. Full review here
4. September Girls – ‘Cursing The Sea’
‘Cursing The Sea’ combines the glittering shimmer of classic 4AD/Creation Records shoegaze legends of yore with ghostly Goth girl- group harmonies, layered guitars, tribal beats and even a whiff of the dark menace of Siouxsie and The Banshees. Full review here
3. I Break Horses – ‘Chiaroscuro’
‘Chiaroscuro’ was written, performed, and produced entirely by Swedish chanteuse Maria Lindén and is a body of work that combines the life affirming cinematic grandeur and vision of Sigur Rós, the emotional depth and glacial beauty of The Cocteau Twins with the introspective bleak beauty of Anna Von Hausswolff. It is an eminently worthy successor to the critically acclaimed début album ‘Hearts’ and sees Linden step out of the darkness into the light willing to take risks, to show herself and push her music in a different direction. And only its beauty matches the albums ambition.
Full review here
2. Post War Glamour Girls – Pink Fur
With ‘Pink Fur’ Post War Glamour Girls have delivered an uncompromising, confrontational idiosyncratic and utterly astounding début album, which closes with a line that sums up the brilliance of this band, spat out with the venomous disdain of a young Mark E.Smith – “you strike me as the kind of person who has never made love before – therefore you are easily satisfied in general and with everything.” One cannot help but think uneasy lies the crown on the head of the NME’s anointed “greatest ever lyrist” Alex Turner, who will doubtless be quietly sobbing into his beer mumbling ‘Eee by eck…. it were grand while it lasted..’ when he hears this superb album.
NUMBER ONE – VPME ALBUM OF 2014 – EMA – ‘The Future’s Void’
And our album of the year comes from Erika M. Anderson, or EMA to you and I.
‘The Future’s Void’ is a truly remarkable body of work that is intelligent, full of wit and wisdom, thought provoking and beautifully realised. It’s an album that is musically diverse yet works wonderfully as a cohesive whole. An album in which evocative tunes such as the slacker beauty of ‘When She Comes’ and the wonderful ghostly Star Spangled Banner meets OMD of ‘Dead Celebrity’ are artfully woven amongst the epic sprawling dystopian electronica and feedback on songs such as ‘Solace’ and ‘Cthulhu.’ It holds an obsidian mirror up to the selfie-obsessed narcissism of our online virtual lives, our vapid celebrity baiting and considers how this is changing our attitudes whilst blurring the lines between the real and the hyper-real. Full review HERE
And here’s the playlist