Our end of year album poll starts with a look at the records we placed at twenty to sixteen in the list. We'll continue our countdown five albums a day until Friday when we reveal our top five.
20 CAVAN MORAN - FOREVER ON THE ROAD / FOREVER AT HOME
Cavan Moran finally released his debut album earlier this year and it felt like a labour of love with beautiful crisp clear production accentuating every subtlety in Cavan and his band's playing and in the vocals of both him and Emma who accompanies him on several tracks.
We said in our review : "It's an album that talks, as the title suggests, about life on the road. It remains true to its folk roots, but keeps everything sounding fresh and real without over-complicating it so that on reflection it's one of the best singer-songwriter albums to come out of Manchester, or indeed anywhere, in a long time."
Cavan Moran is on Facebook and Twitter.
19 MICHELE STODART - PIECES
Michele Stodart of The Magic Numbers released her second album Pieces in the middle of the year. Four years in the making it demonstrated a different side to Michele than you'd expect from her energetic performances with the band.
We said in our review : "Pieces is a beautifully delicate and emotionally open album that marks Michele out as a solo artist to be reckoned with in her own right as well as part of The Magic Numbers. It wears its influences on its sleeve, but such is the skilful nature of Michele's musicianship and her ability to craft a song with meaning that it imitates no one and burns with a soulful fire from start to finish."
Michele Stodart has her own website and is on Facebook and Twitter.
18 THE CORAL - THE DISTANCE INBETWEEN
The Distance Inbetween was The Coral's first album for six years and possibly their finest to date, with singles Chasing The Tail Of A Dream, Miss Fortune and Holy Revelation reestablishing them as one of the country's most loved band accompanied by two big UK tours in support of the album.
We said in our review : "It's an album that's unmistakably The Coral, it feels like they've crafted something magnificent from all the best parts of all their favourite records and made it something that's uniquely them. It has all those drop-dead gorgeous vocal harmonies that lift you up and spin you round, the psychedelic guitars, that feel that there's so much going on in the record yet at the same time it never once feels cluttered or overdone."
17 JULIA JACKLIN - DON'T LET THE KIDS WIN
Julia Jacklin’s debut album Don’t Let The Kids Win is one of the most impressive debut albums released this year. The twenty-five year old singer-songwriter hails from Australia’s Blue Mountains and the album feels like a collection of stories of her life and her observations on it to date, full of heartaches and lessons learnt.
Our review said : "The real beauty of Don’t Let The Kids Win is in its simplicity, it doesn’t try to bowl over the listener with grand statements or neat tricks. It’s a soul-bearing stirring record that disarms the listener immediately, Julia’s voice demonstrating a genuine warmth and emotion, at times imbued with the innocence of youth and at others with a world-weariness (Same Airport Different Man feels like a reflection of a string of failed relationship) beyond her years."
16 THE UNRECORDED - PARKS
Parks is The Unrecorded's second album, released a mere twelve years after their debut. The mysterious London trio that we discovered through friends back in 2008 have little public profile and play very few gigs. Their lead singer is Jess Grieve (previously known as Bryant), who released a wonderful album called Silvern back in 2013 but has been quiet since. We discovered this album by accident, but we're delighted that we did.
It's a mix of bedroom electronic experimentation and haunting melodies that make intriguing bedfellows at time, Jess's voice often at contrast with what's going out around it. It's a record that needs your attention to really understand it, but once you're in, there's no escaping from its grasp.
The Unrecorded are on Facebook and Twitter.