[sic] Magazine

Editor’s Albums Of 2013

I will make this short but (hopefully) sweet. Rob Gannon is the hipster amongst the Admin and his review of the year will be full, bloody and essential reading. Do not miss.

For me 2013 was the year of the comeback album. Mixed results though. Let’s take the two stunts of the year first. David Bowie delivered a very decent album with The Next Day . The masterstroke was in its unveiling. Coming, seemingly out of nowhere The Next Day signalled a return to relevance for Bowie’s music. I might even say it’s his best since Scary Monsters , certainly since Let’s Dance (for which I don’t altogether care) . That alone merits attention. I will not say it is up there with Low or Station To Station but when you consider the massive length of time between The Next Day and these other albums getting mentioned it’s clearly a remarkable feat. Kudos Mr David.

The other ‘stunt’ release was mbv by My Bloody ValentineKevin Shields also re-emerging sounding like he’d never been away. The problem was, of course, that the world has moved on. Loveless dazzled in part because of the music but even more so because something like that had never been done before. With mbv ,…. it’d all been done before, BY MBV!!! To be blunt I found mbv to be shockingly poor. Shields seems to have returned to the editing studio where Loveless was finished, broken the locks and chains and collected all the cuttings and sweepings left on the floor for 25 years. At best mbv should have been a bonus for an anniversary edition of Loveless . At worst, it is a lumpen, impoverished release devoid of creativity and relevance. I can’t help feeling that MBV fans have been totally conned.

Other old favourites re-emerged. Good old House Of Love returned with a strong, and different release. Kitchens Of Distinction dazzled on their comeback album Folly . Less distinguished fare arrived from former album of the year winners The Boxer Rebellion who eschewed their atmospheric sound and poetic lyrics for lightweight radio-friendliness. Similarly, Arcade Fire attempted an Achtung Baby , an ironic release which fell flat to these ears.

What else? Suede , Boards Of Canada , both decent releases but not much more. One that caught my eye was Girls In Hawaii ‘s Everest . They hadn’t so much been away as in mourning for the death of their drummer, brother to one of the front men. Everest is a tribute, a re-emergence and a triumph.

Here’s my personal top ten.

1. Black Swan Lane – The Last Time In Your Light
2. Exit Calm – The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be
3. Kitchens Of Distinction – Folly
4. Last Days – Satellite
5. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
6. John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts
7. Daughter – If You Leave
8. Girls In Hawaii – Everest
9. House Of Love – She Paints Words In Red
10. Savages – Silence Yourself