Monday, 22 December 2014
Albums of the Year 2014 #1 Young Fathers - Dead
“This year’s Mercury Prize list was pretty good all in all wasn’t it?”
Those were the words that we opened our run down of our favourite / most played albums of 2014 and those are the words that we’ll also finish with, as we name Dead by Scottish group Young Fathers as our most played and favourite album of 2014. It’s the fourth record from the Mercury Prize list in our top 15 records of the year, and if we extended these posts to 20 a fifth would have appeared.
Of course Dead didn’t just get on the Mercury Prize long list, it won it, bringing the record to a wider public consciousness than the relatively underground following it had before; Dead reportedly had the second lowest sales figures of the nominated records before the Mercury, with just a few thousand copies sold.
Likewise Dead wasn’t a record that was immediately on this music blogger’s radar. In fact the first time we heard of Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham Hastings was in November 2013 when compiling the Blog Sound of 2014 poll votes and another blog Music Like Dirt, put forward their name as one of the blog's votes as a favourite emerging artist. Then come March 2014 we put out a tweet asking our followers what records they’d most enjoyed in the first quarter of the year and a number of people answered back stating Young Fathers. It was time to investigate further. One listen and we were immediately drawn in by the album's raw soulful inventiveness.
Dead is a record that defies genres. There’s elements of hip-hop, trip-hop, electronica, world music,and soul that clash headlong with weird rhythms, clattering percussion, chanting and disorientating drones. Yet accompanying all of the oddity there’s a surprising number of pop hooks. Get Up even sounds like a party pop hit in the making. If we were going to draw one comparison it would probably be with Massive Attack, but a Massive Attack that weren’t afraid to throw anything and everything into the cooking pot.
As we said, this year’s Mercury Prize list was pretty good all in all wasn’t it? But the winner was even better. Dead by Young Fathers is our album of the year. It's dead good.
Young Fathers - Get Up (Video)
Young Fathers - War