Here is the second instalment of an annual countdown of our favourite albums released in the UK during the year of 2013. Here you’ll find numbers 15 to 11.
15. C2C – ‘TETRA’
The debut album from four-piece French turntable act C2C arrived officially in March despite originally receiving a release in 2012 in other parts of Europe. The album is a broad, optimistic pallet that provides a wealth of uniquely creative sounds. There are effortlessly catchy, bouncy grooves combined with soaring gospel inspired vocal performances. There is shade across the album too with downcast moments that offer chance for a breather and which ultimately show that there is something for all tastes.
*Highlights: ‘Because Of You’, ‘Who Are You’, ‘Genius’, ‘Arcades’
14. EMPIRE OF THE SUN – ‘ICE ON THE DUNE’
The second album from the Australian duo arrived in July and became the perfect accompaniment to the scorching summer months. The album much like their debut, is filled with consistent, smooth layered grooves, vintage vocal sounds and edifying feel good vibes. It’s a sensuous and euphoric listen that offers an ethereal, hypnotic journey from beginning to end. The combination of borrowed, familiar sounds put against the futuristic elements within the production makes ‘Ice On The Dune’ so appealing.
*Highlights: ‘DNA’, ‘I’ll Be Around’, ‘Celebrate’, ‘Disarm’
13. ARCTIC MONKEYS – ‘AM’
The fifth outing from Arctic Monkey’s finds them in enigmatic fashion once again. Recorded in California, the record is a moody, darkly textured listen that is packed full of eery riffs, dirty grinding funk rhythms which are punctuated with handclaps and footstomps. Alex Turner’s vocal oozes timeless sex appeal which and until has previously been unrealized, his lyrics too remain insightful and clever with added depth due to maturity and other external influencing factors. Josh Homme’s production is focused, driving and direct. Their finest album to date.
*Highlights: ‘Do I Wanna Know?’, ‘Arabella’, ‘Fireside’, ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’
12. OH LAND – ‘WISHBONE’
Oh Land’s third album provided the opportunity to start again. ‘Wishbones’ offers a more stylized and specific sound that incorporates big hip-hop infused beats with electro sounds that are fused with more traditional pop sensibilities. The vocal delivery is playful, experimental and at times off kilter which reflects the tone of the material. The album is an exciting listen as it unconventionally traverses the varying styles and modes of delivery.
*Highlights: ‘Bird In An Aeroplane’, ‘Renaissance Girls’, ‘Cherry On Top’, ‘Pyromaniac’
11. TAMAR BRAXTON – ‘LOVE AND WAR’
Labelled as her debut but technically her sophomore album, Tamar Braxton presented a classy reintroduction of herself, which was necessary given the thirteen year gap between the two albums. ‘Love And War’ is an album that explores the full spectrum of relationships – the falling in love, to the difficult and trying times maintaining harmony. It is an empowering listen that openly, personally and frankly speaks honest and easily relatable truths – there are slow jams and power ballads combined with spiky urban grooves which are underpinned with Tamar’s absolutely stunning powerhouse vocal. They don’t make soulful, RnB records like this anymore – ‘Love And War’ is classic, refined and elegant yet fun, dynamic and full of joy.
*Highlights: ‘The One’, ‘Stay And Fight’, ‘All The Way Home’, ‘Pieces’