Several albums merit mentions here as ‘nearly made the Top 10 list’ contenders.
Haim (Days Are Gone) and CHVRCHES (The Bones Of What You Believe) both showed what could be done with pop music in 2013 – one looking back (Haim) and the other forwards (CHVRCHES). The Arcade Fire also made another triumphant entry into the canon of modern pop with their disco-leaning magnum opus, Reflektor, an album I expect to continue to grow on me as I explore its labyrinthine sprawl. Washed Out, responsible for one of my favourites from 2011 (and still a firm favourite), Within And Without, followed it up with the excellent Paracosm, which was about as summery as it’s possible to sound.
In the world of techno and electronica, James Holden released the sprawlingly epic The Inheritors, bringing together a myriad of themes and influences, including Paganism, into music that plays fast and loose with structure, melody, harmony, rhythm and everything else. It says a lot about its composition that he built some/all of the software and hardware he uses and some of the melodies literally play themselves. It’s as bizarre and bewildering as it is brilliant. At the other end of the immediacy scale, Gesaffelstein produced a very entertaining LP of tough, infectious techno grooves. I must also mention Nils Frahm‘s pseudo-live album, Spaces, which is a great mixture of intimate and grand, mostly piano but also synthesisers.
Finally, Mogwai‘s soundtrack for French zombie TV series Les Revenants was actually really nice – a gentler, unplugged side to them from their usual (and also good) guitar rage.