Part two of our albums and EPs of the year countdown sees us take a look at those releases that made it to numbers 10 – 6. Each of these five records were utterly fantastic and received a heck of a lot of airplay around the office and each of them will no doubt continue to do so as we move into 2015.
#10 Aquilo – Human
With two EPs under their belt this year, it was odds on that one of the Aquilo releases would make our year end list, and so it is that the second of the two, Human makes it into the Top 10. Heartfelt and emotive, the vocals are mesmeric as they sit atop crisp, stark electronics and wistful atmospherics. It is a spectacularly wonderful and mournful collection of songs, raising hairs on our neck and tugging at our heart, it is simply divine and an EP we still find ourselves getting lost in on a regular basis.
#9 St Vincent – St Vincent
Woozy guitar licks, bright technicolour surrealism and bags and bags of confident swaggering rock presence. St Vincent’s fourth album was a somewhat psychedelic dream of hooks and styles. At times Annie Clark feels detached, almost robotic in her delivery combined with the digitised sense of starkness, of disconnection from the world in which we live. Almost as if she has transcended to another plane, a plane of rock and fuck, of swirling pop ballads and of supreme guitar fuzziness. It’s a hypnotic collection from a musician who seems to improve with every release.
#8 Liza Anne – The Colder Months
We do love a little bit of folky loveliness here and Liza Anne’s debut album, The Colder Months is about as lovely as it gets.
The melodies and arrangements are deft, delicate and dreamy. The songs drift and weave like a gorgeously relaxed Sunday morning, nothing is rushed; everything is considered and is imbibed with a mellifluous charm. It’s an easy listen, an album that caresses and soothes and which glides out from your stereo into your soul. Liza’s haunting vocals sit perfectly atop a gorgeous cake of gentle melodies and songs that will echo with emotional familiarity and beauty. Like the title track, it builds gently; glorious and gorgeous sounds cascade down together, covering you in an evocative and heart melting exquisiteness.
#7 Broods – Broods
We could quite easily have included the debut album from Broods on this list but actually, we prefer their eponymous EP from the beginning of the year. It may be that it’s been with us much longer, Evergreen was officially released in the UK early December, but there is also the fact that the album doesn’t contain our absolute favourite Broods track, “Coattails”.
Not that this is a one song EP, far from it. Each of the six tracks sounds epic; they are majestic laments to heartache and anguish. Stark digital beats are juxtaposed with gloriously expansive melodies that swoosh and dance like the northern lights over snow covered mountains. Georgia’s vocals are figure skater graceful, gliding effortlessly across the ice in patterns of balletic beauty. On “Sleep Baby Sleep” and “Taking You There” in particular, she sings with hushed and sumptuous elegance, a single spotlight shining on the shapes, her movement is creating and bewitching spectators and judges alike.
Supremely polished, the six tracks are shades of grey melancholy; beautiful and hopeful, dark and downtrodden. Love and heartbreak, joy and despair, belief and self-doubt, contentment and depression; all are here and all are beautifully packaged in a sonic parcel of rare magnificence.
#6 Sivu – Something On High
Pleasingly for us, and for our confidence in our own predictions, our number one artist to listen out for this year released one of our favourite albums of 2014. Sivu’s debut album was everything we hoped it would be and then some. Collecting many of his previously released singles alongside new and equally wondrous compositions, Something On High showcased the exquisiteness of his songwriting, so raw and emotional yet so accessible and endearing. Even the segue-like “Rumination” (all one minute eight seconds of it) is beautifully arranged and serves as an extended and gorgeous introduction to the still utterly outstanding “Bodies”.
He is a beguiling artist, telling tales born in the shadows of anguish, or inspired by theology in a rousing and heartswelling manner. Acoustic sounds marble with electronic embellishments, strings ebb and flow with the tide and all the while, introspections and observations pour out like nectar for our soul. It is entirely possible to lose yourself in his lightly rasping voice and warm melodies.