10) Thundercat – Apocalypse
Much less of a chin-stroker than his Brainfeeder labelmates, singer-bassist Thundercat took in everything from melancholy-drenched electro soul (“Tenfold”) to 70s yacht-rock (“Without You”) to fully-fledged party funk (“Oh Sheit It’s X”) on a wondrously hook-laden second effort which proved he’d fully outgrown his mentor, Flying Lotus.
09) London Grammar – If You Wait
Hailed as a younger alternative to The xx on their arrival, London Grammar soon distanced themselves from their minimalistic counterparts with a dramatic and impressively self-assured debut which combined Hannah Reid’s haunting vocals with layers of lush strings, echo-laden guitars and trip-hop beats.
08) Jessy Lanza – Pull My Hair Back
One of several female-fronted records which attempted to resurrect the golden age of R&B this year, Canadian chanteuse Jessy Lanza’s first studio effort was easily the most convincing as her featherlight vocals glided over a sensual wave of bubbling bass-lines, glistening synths and slow jam beats which recalled the late Aaliyah at her most seductive.
07) Disclosure – Settle
Responsible for giving commercial dance music the shot in the arm it needed, the Lawrence brothers created the soundtrack of the summer with a gloriously nostalgic blend of classic house, two-step garage and inspired guest spots (Friendly Fires’ Ed Macfarlane, Aluna George, Jessie Ware) which instantly made the likes of Guetta, Harris and co. appear completely redundant.
06) Bonobo – The North Borders
Joined by the likes of Erykah Badu and rising soul star Szjerdene, Bonobo shuffled towards the mainstream with an eclectic yet typically intelligent record which ventured into R&B, garage and dubstep while still retaining the abstract qualities which have seen him hailed as the UK’s premier edge-of-the-dancefloor producer.