Best Albums of 2011: The Top 5

We continue our countdown of the top 10 albums of 2011 with the final instalment which charts the top 5. Buster Stonham and Anna Feintuck take you through to that all important number 1. You can find the first part of this feature here.

5. King Creosote and Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine

ecfbe-kingcreosote2For those out there with a whimsical disposition, the latest collaboration from Scottish folk artist King Creosote and Ivor Novello award nominee Jon Hopkins is like a day dream come true. Hopkins’ influence is felt through subtle electronic sounds and atmospheric recordings taken from sleepy fishing villages in Fife, Scotland, that give the album a richness that many folk artists sorely lack. This combines with Creosote’s soft lyrics, again inspired by the Scottish countryside, to create 32 minutes of pure calm and perfect escapism. BS

4. Jamie Woon – Mirrorwriting

53eff-jw_mirrorwriting

From the rugged Scottish countryside to the urban beats of London’s underground scene for Jamie Woon’s debut album, which comes in at number four on our list. Many influences can be detected on Mirrorwriting, including minimalist dubstep, soul and R&B, but what makes Woon special is his flair for writing insanely catch melodies. Tracks like ‘Lady Luck’ and ‘Middle’ rival any pop record out there in terms of infectiousness, but sit just as easily alongside the current pioneers of electronic music. BS

3. James Blake – James Blake

167f4-james-blake-album-coverIn many ways 2011 belonged to James Blake. The hype surround him the previous year, and coming runner in the BBC’s ‘Sound of 2011’ had all set up the producer turned singer-songwriter up for a fall. But, when his self titled debut was released in February it managed to meet all expectations and earn Blake a Mercury nomination. His beautifully simple yet intricate electronic samples, revealing a rare maturity for a first effort, and fantastically soulful voice have made him the envy of musicians everywhere…the talented bastard. BS

2. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

71381-pjharveyMany people’s choice for album of the year, and although Polly Jean may have to settle for second place in this list, it’s easy to see why her eighth studio album has attracted so much praise. The musical masses can hardly be blamed for adoring this record, and there’s certainly no shame in following said masses when the object of their affection sounds so good. Harvey’s multi-instrumentalist talents are showcased to stunning effect – the saxophone part in ‘The Last Living Rose’ is nothing short of addictive. AF

1. The Horrors – Skying

c3157-the-horrors-skyingIf 2011 has been characterised by one musical trend then it’s the decline of bands and guitar based music in general. The Horrors seem to be one of only a few artists able to buck this trend, almost singlehandedly keeping rock music alive; and doing it in some style. What makes this band special is their constant willingness to take their music to new and interesting places. Where it’s predecessor, Primary Colours, was visceral and brooding, Skying is an altogether more polished and atmospheric affair. As their sound has gotten bigger, their confidence has grown, and their live performances are now performed with the swagger of a band in their prime. Frontman Farris Badwan’s vocals are delivered in super smooth fashion, combining with a heavier, feedback driven guitat sound to give a rock album that can really blow your socks off. All hail the Horrors! BS

See also: Live: The Horrors – The Roundhouse, 12th October 2011

5 responses to “Best Albums of 2011: The Top 5

  1. Pingback: Best Albums of 2011: 10 – 6 | Music Factory Number 1·

  2. Pingback: Live: The Horrors – The Roundhouse, 12th October 2011 | Music Factory Number 1·

  3. Pingback: The Music Factory’s Top 20 albums of 2013 | Music Factory Number One·

  4. Pingback: The Music Factory’s top 20 albums of 2014: Part one – 20-11 | Music Factory Number One·

  5. Pingback: The Music Factory’s top 20 albums of 2014: Part two – 10-1 | Music Factory Number One·

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