In the past, The Antidote has avoided being a part of the proliferation of “top lists” that appear at the end of each year. This year things have changed and we’re going to jump into the fray with our own “best of” list with our choices for the top 10 albums of 2013.
10. THE WALKING TREE – WE ARE INSTRUMENTS
A beautiful blending of old school rock, indie rock and worship from The Walking Tree. Just as the music is wonderful, so are the vocals from Warren Trunz as they build from soft reflective tones to just short of a scream. We Are Instruments wasn’t an instant like for me, but it bears repeated plays to gather the full flavour.
9. SLEEPING ROMANCE – ENLIGHTEN
Modena, Italy based Sleeping Romance have described their debut album, Enlighten, as “a travel into the human soul who is crashing into the world: fighting, loving and to be born again”. It also describes an album that is an adventure into a wondrous blend of metal and symphonic elements that is simply outstanding.
8. POLYVALENT – WANT
Music veterans Mark Nicks (formerly of Cool Hand Luke) and Robbie Williamson (of Quiet Science) collaborated on the new recording, Want. A dark and dynamic guitar-driven rock that may not be pretty, but contains a vibrancy that’s outstanding.
7. JUNKYARD POETS – MRS. SOPHOMORE
One of the most eclectically styled bands on the planet returned with their accurately titled sophomore album, Mrs. Sophomore. This Edmonton, Alberta based band has never achieved the public acclaim they deserve despite their infinite talents. Mrs. Sophomore brings some great tracks including; “All the King’s Horses”, “World at War”, “That’s That” and their crowd pleasing single, “Got Me Good”.
Project 86 fans were left wondering what the future of P86 might be after the departure of Steve Dail and Randy Torres. Lead vocalist and lyricist Andrew Schwab brought in new members and both broadened and re-energized the Project 86 sound with the inclusion of celtic influences. Schwab has referred to Wait for the Siren as his “opus”, we’re praying it won’t be his last.
5. THE LAST BISON – INHERITANCE
An unusual mix of indie folk, chamber music and Americana has been defined by The Last Bison as “mountain-top chamber”. The band has drawn favourable comparisons to Mumford and Sons and Fleet Foxes, but their music remains uniquely their own. Orchestral bells, mandolin, pump organ all take a place in Inheritance, which delivers music that is both a step backward and forward in time.
4. LISTENER – TIME IS A MACHINE
Passionate, brilliant, and confrontational lyrics crafted by the songsmith, Dan Smith, are the essence of the “talk music” from Listener. Their third release, Time is a Machine, has found Listeners craft being polished to fine degree (if their raw music could ever be considered polished). Smith is a lyrical genius whose spoken word delivery may take some getting used to, but it’s now completed by a solid musical delivery by the rest of the band.
3. FIVE IRON FRENZY – ENGINE OF A MILLION PLOTS
There’s no question that everyone, fans and band members alike, were pleasantly surprised to find FIF back in the studio to recording a new album after a 10 year hiatus. It was worth the wait. Engine of a Million Plots, carries the vibe of the band, but gone are almost all elements of their ska-punk roots. In it’s place is a sing-along, power-pop, horn driven, blend that reaches everyone with Five Iron Frenzy’s social commentaries.
2. AUGUST BURNS RED – RESCUE & RESTORE
Hardcore bands often churn out cookie cutter versions of their past work without embarrassment. August Burns Red has shown no sign of producing music simply because it’s their profession. Rescue & Restore is a biting criticism of the unoriginality being found in the hardcore genre. Rescue & Restore displays the brilliance of ABR with a beautifully eclectic blend of musical influences and varied instrumentation. A decidedly unique departure for this stifled genre.
1. EVERYTHING IN SLOW MOTION – PHOENIX
It’s rare to see a debut release of this kind of calibre. While not a newcomer to the music scene, Shane Ochsner (formerly of Hands) has crafted the finest album of the year. Gorgeous lyrical offerings that often build from almost the inaudible to a roar on “Most Days”. Blending of Ochsner’s vocals with guest vocalist Christian Lindskog of Blindside on “Speak”. The wonderful and ethereal voice of Holly Ann found on “Proxima”. The tracks present both the struggles and renewal of faith in an honest and realistic sense.