#1: Oh Wonder – Oh Wonder
Without question our most played album of the year (it’s pretty much been on repeat in the car since it came out) the debut release by Oh Wonder was also our favourite. While some may have questioned the practice of having all but two of the album’s tracks up online well in advance of its release, saying it would have a negative effect on enjoyment and interest in the album, Oh Wonder instead had a sense of instant accessibility and sing-along-ability. Rather than putting us off, it just kept pulling us back in.
The album is full of warmth and emotion and of hope in the face of despair. It’s beautiful, melodic and enticing. It works as a collection of gorgeously moving songs and as a single, whole entity. The catchy synthpop sensibilities blend with subtle hip-hop influences and gorgeous harmonies to make a simply wonderful record. It can build up when you are feeling low or just hold your hand and let you know it will all be ok.
Most of all, it is just great to listen to, to enjoy, to sing along with and to come back to again and again and again.
Buy Oh Wonder from: ohwondermusic.com
#2: All We Are – All We Are
Released back at the start of February, the eponymous debut album from Liverpool based, but very international, All We Are is one we’ve come back to time and time again over the last 12 months, and it never stops sounding amazing.
Their laid back psychedelic grooves grind along with effortless and sublime ease. There are moments of celestial beauty, of contemplative meditation and post disco boogie wonderland-ing. It swirls and sways, dances with funky grace and exudes Fonzie levels of cool. If we were an album, we’d want to be All We Are.
Buy All We Are from: Double Six Records
#3: Public Service Broadcasting – The Race For Space
Following on from their critically acclaimed and official chart bothering debut, Inform – Educate – Entertain was always going to be challenging for Public Service Broadcasting but we’d say they surpassed it (and not just in chart position).
Echoing the single theme narrative of their remarkable The War Room EP, The Race for Space deals with one specific period of the past (which they make come to life). Here the pair delves into the rich history of the American-Soviet space programmes and delivers (amongst others) moments of intense drama (“The Other Side”) excitement (“Go”) and stupidly funky fun (“Gagarin”).
Buy The Race For Space from: publicservicebroadcasting.net/
Others We’ve Loved
In no particular order…
Susanne Sundfør – Ten Love Songs
John Grant – Grey Tickles, Black Pressure
Lonelady – Hinterland
Gems – Kill the One You Love
Tove Lo – Queen of the Clouds
Empress Of – Me
Lanterns on the Lake – Beings
Brooke Annibale – The Simple Fear
C Duncan – Architect