3. The xx – xx (XL)
No sooner had the Putney band surfaced with their whispery, self-titled debut than keyboard player Baria Qureshi had left, citing exhaustion.
In truth the band have been on a stupendous journey through 2009, hyped more than almost any other act. While some would never get the album, those who did found its fatigued, nocturnal sound was something special indeed.
2: Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport (ATP)
Surf Solar’s deceptively light and twinkly beginning is gradually built up, layer after layer adding texture and rhythm to create a monster of a track. It’s no one-off, either, as finale Flight Of The Feathered Serpent turns out to be a noughties update of Underworld’s Born Slippy. Stunning.
1: Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)
Emerging at the start of the year and hailed as a landmark album even then, the Baltimore band’s ninth album was always destined for the heights in the end of year polls. In the end, four of our writers decreed it their favourite of 2009, with another 10 finding room for it in their lists.
Merriweather Post Pavilion was leaked ahead of release, with fingers pointed at the band themselves, and some of their associates. Suddenly they were in the spotlight, but with music as joyous as My Girls and album finale Brother Sport, not to mention the end of year EP Fall Be Kind cementing their music in the public consciousness, it worked out fine in the end.
Animal Collective are currently heading out on tour in the far reaches of New Zealand and Australia, but when we spoke to Avey Tare about the recording of the album earlier this year, he explained how “the emotions that are put in the record are real and true to us”, and how, now the band largely live apart, “when we get together to play, the playing is a special time for us. It’s the only time we really hang out together. I think that’s why it has become so fun.”
WHAT WE SAID: “Their most accessible record, and owes as much to the world of dance as it does any other of their influences.” – Ben Winbolt-Lewis