Mastodon - The Hunter (Roadrunner)//The Atlanta quartet took another quantam leap in 2011, with the excellent The Hunter. Brann Daillor's powerful percussion are the album's driving force, alongside the heavy guitar work, that even the most Mastodon novice can head-bang to. You don't even have to be a metal fan to enjoy this.
Fucked Up - David Comes to Life (Matador)//Described as a "rock opera", the Canadian punks' concept record was one of the years' highlights. It's catchy, it's fun, it's hardcore, but it's also downright brilliant. The ambition of the record pays off and gives the six-piece a deserved masterpiece.
The Antlers - Burst Apart (Transgressive)//When mentioning The Antler's Burst Apart, it's hard to see a review that doesn't mention ther previous masterpiece, Hospice. Whilst this album probably isn't on the same level, it is still a terrific album which shows why the New Yorkers are one of the most underrated bands around at the moment. It's heartbreaking atmosphere yet elegant production, will break your heart, yet still requires repeated listens.
PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (Island)//Album of the year from 13 different publications and Mercury Music Prize winner, it was hard to argue against the success and critical praise that Polly Jean Harvey received. Written through emotions of anger and passion, it is Harvey's best work to date of an impressive back catalogue. Powerful and deeply layered, bloody and bruised, it tells of England being built on bloodshed and battles.
M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (naïve)//A double album is always a shaky ground to tread; it could either be a grim prospect of a twin dose of boredom or a generous extended reward for the listener. Thankfully, Anthony Gonzalez (aka M83) gives us the latter. It's breathtaking force and grace travels through a dreamy experience, which is gradually culminating to a resounding climax. It's an ambitious album and one that will put Gonzalez on a much grander pedestal.