Best of 2011 Countdown: Top 40 Albums – Part 4: The Top 10!

And we’re here! It’s time to announce the top 10 albums of 2011, as voted by the contributors of the AU review. But before we get there, you may remember we had an album on the list released back in 2010 (Grinderman 2)… so we’re going to kick off our final countdown with a look at what made number 41 on our list.

Carus Thompson – Caravan

“Caravan is an album which highlights Thompson’s indelible craft as a songwriter and performer. It is an album which at times is fun, beautiful, touching and mesmerizing. It’s an album which you will find yourself listening to over and over, discovering and rediscovering small intricate details. It is for me already one of the best Australian releases of year. Go out and buy the albums, catch Carus on his tour around the country, you won’t regret it.” – Simon Clark

…and now onto the top 10!

Liam Finn – FOMO

“FOMO is a solid record. What it lacks in unique lyrics, it makes up for in music and variety throughout the album. There’s something in it for everyone – it’s a well crafted, versatile album with plenty of crowd pleasers tucked inside it.” – Tanya Ali

Grouplove – Never Trust a Happy Song

“On the back of their EP release in November last year, the record takes the best bits of the EP and adds to it. The use of four vocalists is a unique characteristic of Grouplove have that few other bands do, keeping songs fresh, breaking up the album nicely and making monotony almost impossible.” – Cara Sayer-Bourne

Boy & Bear – Moonfire

“With Moonfire, the Sydney quintet Boy & Bear have released one of the most anticipated albums of the year – and they don’t disappoint. Emerging from the post-Mumford & Sons folk hysteria that was 2009/2010, Boy & Bear have crafted a debut that stands apart from their With Emperor Antartica EP and strongly on its own.” – Kyle Bright

Battles – Gloss Drop

Gloss Drop is a fine example of a band progressing their sound without losing the flair that made them popular in the first place. Though not as ‘groundbreaking’ as their debut, this is as solid an album as you get, with odes to FBi’s Sweetie and Shag, a collaboration with the one and only Gary Numan, and the addictive “Ice Cream”, there’s nothing but quality to be seen left right and centre. Easily one of the best releases of the year.” – Larry Heath

Big Scary – Vacation

“Vacation is one of the outstanding Australian albums of 2011 (hasn’t this been an epic year for Oz music?) with its diverse mix of rock, blues and balladry. The diversity doesn’t spoil the flow of the record though as it quickly turns into one vacation that won’t be easily forgotten. Let Big Scary’s sounds transport you to a faraway place.” – Travis Banko

Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math

“After the phenomenal Mean Everything to Nothing, you wouldn’t have blamed Manchester Orchestra if their follow up had disappointed fans. Not only did it impress, but the surpassed all my own expectations by delivering a stunningly beautiful and layered masterpiece; a perfect progression from the more conceptual Mean Everything…. All it took was one listen and I was hooked. Still am!” – Larry Heath

Kimbra – Vows

“This album is so completely unique and innovative that it really blew me away the first time I heard it. Kimbra’s fusion of jazz, funk and pop is truly different as well as so beautiful and often catchy. “Vows” showcases the vast variety of this incredible singer-songwriter and features some great instruments within its accompaniment. I really can’t wait to see what Kimbra comes out with next.” – Tanya Ali

Bon Iver – Bon Iver

“Bon Iver’s debut For Emma, Forever Ago was an absolute heart-breaker in the best possible way; it tugged at the heartstrings and took you to a place that you’ve no doubt been before. Their second release, Bon Iver, is a more electric release than their debut and each track is named after a particular place. More pop than folk this time around, Justin Vernon invited a bunch of musicians with the intention of taking his musical baby and morphing the sound into something special and different. Goal achieved. Bon Iver is simply amazing and Vernon’s style of songwriting gives me chills.” – Kyle Bright

Ball Park Music – Happiness and the Surrounding Suburbs

“Ball Park Music is at the top of the list for the simple reason that it is the album that I come back to week after week and never get sick of. It has everything a debut album needs, a catchy lead single, some previously released material compiled with new track, and a little bit of insanity. Any album that can start AND end with the lyrics “Jump up and down forever…” is A-OK by me. In all seriousness, this album is phenomenal. The new material this band have released this year has been exceptional, with singles like “It’s Nice to be Alive” and the re-release of “All I Want is You” this band are certainly doing something right.” – Bree Cohen

Gotye – Making Mirrors

“It is encouraging to see an artist as intelligent and interested in pushing the boundaries of his craft being as successful as Gotye been with Making Mirrors. It is not a flawless album but it manages to both innovate and follow some of the basic rules of classic pop music, repeating what has worked for others in the past in his own unique style.” – Bigg A Watts

Thank you to all who voted, and thanks to all who have read through the lists over the last few weeks! We’ll see you next year! 2012 is already shaping up nicely… we’ll have some more articles about that soon, as well as a look back at our favourite gigs and festivals of 2011!