And finally we get to the album of the year. I can’t really imagine this one’s going to be much of a surprise for most regular readers – I’ve written about this album a lot over the past year, and even interviewed the band for Trebuchet Magazine.
In a year that’s seen the release of many great albums, there is still one that manages to stand out, and that’s the third album by Swansea’s Panic Room.
Their 2008 début was the sound of five supremely talented musicians searching for a new collective musical direction. The second was the sound of a band with a clear vision of what they wanted to be. With SKIN, they’ve consolidated that vision and taken it to another level. With the combination of Anne-Marie Helder’s award-winning vocals, and the amazing vituosity of the band, the result is a an ambitious cinematic work that defies simplistic genre pigeonholing. It’s a hugely varied record, with songs ranging from shimmering jazz and heartfelt stripped-down ballads to hard rock numbers that sound like Kate Bush fronting Led Zeppelin.
For years, Panic Room have been one of the British rock scene’s best-kept secrets. With “Skin”, their strongest and most assured album to date, they’ve delivered a record that deserves to be heard by a far wider audience.