I played a song from this album on my first Band of Badgers Presents...Something Else show and for very good reason. I rarely go a whole week without listening to it in full at least once. And usually more than that. Released in May, it marks the Icelandic band's sixth studio album. Keeping things in the family, the album cover is by Jónsi's sisters, Lija and Inga Birgisdóttir.
#2 They May Put Land Between Us by Joyce The Librarian
I did mention the album a fair bit at the time and tweeted loads about how wonderful it is. The cello plays a prominent part which entices me in deep, especially on Turn Yourself In. Add to this some ethereal harmonies by way of aaah aaaaah's on Over Dinmore that have you swaying from side to side and fully immersed in this luscious library. It is a contemplative and deep song. Commanding and yet so delicate with it. There's much to lap up here and I imagine they put on one heck of a live performance. I hope I get chance to see them sometime soon. Visit the band's website at http://www.joycethelibrarian.net/
#3 The Water's Edge by Luke Ritchie
This was the first album I reviewed and I wouldn't have even heard of Luke had it not been for my interest in a TV comedy programme his sister stars in, Fresh Meat. Charlotte tweeted a few videos of her providing backing vocals for a gig Luke did at Bush Hall. Watching those was enough to get me looking up more from this wonderful singer-songwriter. I bought the album more or less straight away and it featured on my personal playlist for quite some time.
Notable sensational tunes on the record include opening track Lighthouse, which really is just something else; Off Your Guard which conjures up such a depth of emotion and has one of the most beautiful yet relatively simple melodies I've heard; Northern Lights goes further with a serenely sublime string arrangement that wraps you up warm before Luke's soft vocals buffer you gently to farthest north under the magical aurora; finally Right Then and There is, for me, the most poignant. The gentle and faultless harmonies are haunting yet beautiful encouraging me to make up a word in the review: baunting. The Water's Edge is an inspired and accomplished debut from someone who is going to be around for many years to come. Visit http://lukeritchie.co.uk/ for lots more information about Luke.
#4 Brothers In Brooklyn by The Dreaming Spires
Visit the band's website at http://www.thedreamingspires.co.uk/
#5 On An On by Syd Arthur
An album from a band such as this has been a long time coming. It is special, unique and amazing. Time travel wrapped up in music that still retains something as distinct and original is no easy thing but Syd Arthur succeed with a near genius debut. Heck, what am I on about? It is genius. Psychedelic sounds will draw you in before something grabs on and sucks you through the portal. That's it then! You will be on a magical music trip of tremendous splendour. The momentous journey culminates in the nine minute stonker that is Paradise Lost. Reminiscent of something like Led Zeppelin's No Quarter in scope it nevertheless leaves you in no doubt of its own originality.
#6 Do We Burn The Boats? by Ben Glover
Ben's third album in as many years oozes a charm, quality and confidence and it is clear his sound has been found. That isn't to say his previous efforts, The Week The Clocks Changed (The Ballad of Carla Boone from even this early a work is a phenomenal song in my opinion), Through the Noise Through the Night and Before the Birds are not worthy because having listened to them all I can say with confidence that they truly are. Following my review of this latest album, Ben contacted me personally and kindly sent me his previous albums. I'm not going to deny that with finances being on the tight side it would have taken me a fair while to be able purchase them myself so I was and remain sincerely grateful to him for this. Like with all artists (and bands) what came before all forms a learning curve to where artists want to be now, today. The future is the next project always in sight but what counts most of all is what is being done today in their creative lives. Do We Burn The Boats is an accomplished record serving to solidify Ben's abilities and achievements. There really is no slacking here and every song has an important part to play.
Visit Ben's website at http://www.benglover.co.uk
#7 Gathered by Nick Burbridge and Tim Cotterill
Anyway, I'm rambling (must be Tuesday - in fact it's a Thursday today)...I contacted Nick earlier in 2012 asking if I could play one of his songs on my podcast, which I'd only just started at the time. He replied with a yes and would I like a copy of his new album Gathered. Needless to say I didn't need to think about it and snapped up the chance to get a copy directly from the master himself. The album is packed with his trademark honesty wrapped up in inspirational multi-layered musical poetry. These are songs that mean something. They have real depth and demonstrate why Nick Burbridge is one of the UK's, even the world's, greatest artistic talents! Visit Nick's website at http://www.burbridgearts.org/
#8 Shallow Bed by Dry The River
Anyone who has kept up with both the podcasts or the blog will be fully aware of my Dry The River woes. I booked tickets for a Cambridge show months in advance but then couldn't afford to get to Cambridge when the gig came around. Given the awesomeness of the band and how much their popularity has swelled to near epic proportions I am still mopping up the tears. I only hope I'm able to slip into a gig at some point this year before they make it to the kind of status Mumford & Sons now enjoy. If that happens, it is unlikely I'll get to see them at this more close and intimate kind of show.
- Babel by Mumford & Sons - There is still time for this one to grow on me, admittedly. I just don't have the time available these days to spend letting that happen though. I've not written off Babel completely just yet but I am disappointed it didn't grab a hold of me and whisk me off on the kind of musical journey Sigh No More did. That was always going to be a hard record to follow up on but Mumford are a band I wasn't doubting for a second. Now I'm not so sure.
- Battle Born by The Killers - I don't think too many fans were very hot about Sawdust when the band released it as an album of B-sides and covers. While I admit it never burst on to any top albums list of my own around the time, it is one that grew on me. I actually really enjoy listening to it several years later. Battle Born I didn't even manage to get all the way through a first listen. I made it quite far but as you know I'm always going on about a lack of time so I just had to stop. It wasn't doing a thing for me. As much as I was kind of expecting this to be the case, I was nevertheless saddened. I so wanted this to be an album that saw The Killers returning to the form of Sam's Town.
- North by Matchbox Twenty - I haven't really kept fully up to date with these guys or what they have produced since 2002's More Than You Think You Are, which I thought was a bit of a way to returning to the more rockier sound of the smashing 1996 debut, Yourself Or Someone Like You. It didn't quite have hit after hit but it was very close. Even though all this time has passed and another album was put out in 2007 (Exile On Mainstream, albeit a compilation record), for some reason I was getting my hopes up with the release date of North fast approaching. Again, a few repeated listens may well change my mind but even that is stretching hope a little too far. We'll see. First off, and to be fair I have listened a couple of times, it has not impressed me in the slightest.
JUMP STRAIGHT TO THE OTHER PARTS OF MY 2012 OVERVIEW/REVIEW:
PART II >>here<<
PART III >>here<<
PART IV >>here<<