When I was compiling this list of the 10 albums I most enjoyed in 2011, I found myself at complete odds with what the vast majority of critics and media types have been frothing over. Acclaimed releases by muso darlings PJ Harvey and Bon Iver did little for me, and even closer to home, I still struggle to see what all the fuss is about with Scottish bloggers’ favourite Everything’s Getting Older by Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat.
There was one album I continually revisited this year (actually, there were two but the Endor record came out in 2010) and given that it was released way back in January, it’s fair to say its songs have made my entire 2011 a total joy.
Cold War Kids’ third album deserves to be hailed as a work of indie-rock perfection. The Californian band have always been blessed with Nathan Willett’s soul-searing voice, but Mine Is Yours backs it up with a barrage of songs fit for stadiums. The album sounds absolutely colossal at times, so much so that I was grudgingly likening it to Kings of Leon before I realised they’d shared the same producer (Jacquire King).
It took a bit of transatlantic sweet-talking but, in keeping with Pop Cop tradition, I managed to get a member of Cold War Kids to accept the Best Album of the Year award in person and follow in the footsteps of previous recipients The National (2007), Sigur Rós (2008), The Sounds (2009) and Admiral Fallow (2010). As you can see from the photo above, he struggled to contain his delight.
Here’s the top 10, each described in Twitter-friendly 140 characters…
6. WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS – IN THE PIT OF THE STOMACH
A relentless, ferocious album. The songs aren’t as strong as the ones on their debut but at least the recordings did them justice this time.
9. EMMY THE GREAT – VIRTUE
I didn’t obsess over this record anywhere near as much as predecessor First Love but there’s no doubting this is songwriting par excellence.
Paper Forest (In The Afterglow Of Rapture)