musicOMH’s Top 50 Albums Of 2011: 40-31

EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints 40. EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints (Souterrain Transmissions)

What we said: ” The stories told on Past Life Martyred Saints are all incredibly and unflatteringly personal. Anderson also has the rare gift of transcribing her emotional destitution into gorgeously unique sonic landscapes, and flipping the usual dead language of a break-up album into some of the most stirring lyrical turns of the year. Her brilliant, visceral talent for stormy melodies and untouchable lyrical knack makes her an astonishingly universal figure.” – Luke Winkie

REVIEW: EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints

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Cat's Eyes - Cat's Eyes 39. Cat’s Eyes – Cat’s Eyes (Polydor)

What we said: “The entire album manages the not easy trick of sounding both epically widescreen and souffl light. The orchestral sweeps are subtle but poignant, and they cleverly utilise the stark differences between Badwan’s gothic baritone and Zeiffra’s cool sighs. It’s an album that is truly surprising. It’s clever enough with the homages to properly capture the spirit of the period they are referencing, but smart enough to not ever just pastiche it.” – Tim Lee

REVIEW: Cat’s Eyes – Cat’s Eyes

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Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise 38. Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise (Circus Company)

What we said: “It’s easy to say this is an impressive debut full-length by such a young producer – and indeed it is an impressive debut full-length by a surprisingly young new talent – but that would be pandering. Space Is Only Noise is a staggering work of great brilliance that envelops the listener in its own off-centre world for a while.” – Andrew Burgess

REVIEW: Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise

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Gus Gus - Arabian Horse 37. Gus Gus – Arabian Horse (Kompakt)

What we said: “We can marvel at the majestic sound production – the especially notable aspect of this release – and moody vocals, which never disappear too far up themselves. When that becomes even a faint possibility then the band return to their first principles – to make their listeners dance. An hour of brilliantly executed music, the Icelandics showing that while we might frown on their volcanic attempts to disturb our airspace, they can have as many of our dancefloors as they desire.” – Ben Hogwood

REVIEW: Gus Gus – Arabian Horse

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Washed Out - Within And Without 36. Washed Out – Within And Without (Weird World)

What we said: “Those behind Within And Without have understood the risks of basking in Chillwaves welcoming rays. Theyve succeeded in making an album that does well to second-guess its listener, whilst never disowning the sound. Chillwave might be dead and buried, but Washed Out has only just set foot in the water.” – Jamie Milton

REVIEW: Washed Out – Within And Without

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Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch The Throne35. Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne (Mercury)

What we said: “Zanye (Jay West?) try to create their own universe here. To an extent, it works well – outside of Jay-Z and Kanye albums, you won’t hear anything close to these sounds in mainstream hip-hop.” – Justin de la Cruz

REVIEW: Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne

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Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes

34. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes (Atlantic)

What we said: “Lykke Li continues to be an oddball, a fascinating character. Earnest and upfront, at times she leaves you feeling intimidated. At other times, the album works magnificently.” – Jamie Milton

REVIEW: Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

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Fucked Up - David Comes To Life 33. Fucked Up – David Comes To Life (Domino)

What we said: “This isn’t a typical punk or hardcore record, but nor is it a typical concept-laden rock opera. Without a doubt, the hooky riffs and unforgiving pace make it a fantastic rock album in itself… they’ve succeeded in creating something both melodic and imaginative.” – Ruth Davies

REVIEW: Fucked Up – David Comes To Life

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Azari & III - Azard & III 32. Azari & III – Azari & III (Loose Lips)

What we said: “You get the sense that these guys have done their homework. Brim with insider references, diversified taste, and rock-solid hooks, theyre making music for people who love dance music, which makes them part of their own audience. If you fit the demographic, youll feel right at home.”

– Luke Winkie

REVIEW: Azari & III – Azari & III

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Friendly Fires - Pala

31. Friendly Fires – Pala (XL)

What we said: “Named after Aldous Huxley’s novel, Island – a story of Pala, a doomed utopia fuelled by recreational drug use, trance states and tantric sex – it’s no surprise that Friendly Fires’ album evokes paradise from its very essence, only the kind grounded in festival fields and back gardens. They’ve delivered what deserves to be the soundtrack to the summer; the memories it creates preventing it from forced hibernation through the winter months.” – Ruth Davies

REVIEW: Friendly Fires – Pala

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The rest of the Top 50 will be published over the remainder of the week.

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