I’ve been hard at work lately compiling my forthcoming Top 50 Albums of the Decade list (well, it isn’t really work) and one of the hardest parts of creating this list has been trying to rank albums released this year against those from earlier in the decade. While some records hit like a ton of bricks right from the first listen, demanding to be considered among the greatest, Animal Collective‘s Merriweather Post Pavilion for one, in general it’s hard to get a long term perspective on newer records (MPP is also 10 months old already).
My initial draft had only one record (MPP) from this year, which just doesn’t seem right. Oddly, the list had an unusually large proportion of albums from 2007 and 2008. The only theory I can think of (besides these years actually being superior) is that perhaps a couple of years is just the right amount of time for your appreciation of a record to be at its peak but not long enough for you to determine just how deeply it affected you (or not).
After noticing the disparity, I’ve gone back and re-listened to many of the great records from this year (by bands not called Animal Collective) that will more than likely populate my Best of 2009 list. These records include Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear, the Dirty Projectors‘ Bitte Orca, Phoenix‘s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, The Avett Brothers‘ I and Love and You, and Raekwon‘s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II. While the popularity of these records among critics and fans alike is well established to the point of being OVERHYPED, there is another critical darling that hasn’t been shoved down our throats ad nauseum, that probably deserves to be, and that’s The Horrors.
The Horrors sophomore LP, Primary Colours, released in the US by XL Recordings this past April, was certainly critically acclaimed, it was even nominated for the Mercury Prize, but it has not brought The Horrors the level of attention currently enjoyed by aforementioned acts like Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective. Primary Colours is one of the best albums of the year in my opinion and its epic 8-minute closer Sea Within A Sea is on my short list for best track of the year. When all is said and done, the album may end up on many critics’ end of year lists, but many of the best known outlets have already begun publishing their Best of the 2000’s lists and I’m yet to see Primary Colours mentioned anywhere.
So are The Horrors just good or are they great? Are the comparisons to My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain, aka the rock royalty of the shoegaze genre, preventing the full embrace of critics, as it did with Interpol and Joy Division? Are the haters jealous that lead singer Faris Badwan has dated Alexa Chung AND Peaches Geldof? I don’t know, but I think it’s about damn time Primary Colours gets its just due, and I have a hunch that history will agree with me. If you haven’t heard the record before, give it a listen below and let me know what you think.