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HBF’s Top 20 Albums of 2014

Welcome to this year’s Top 20 Albums of 2014 – where we count down the our favourite long-plays from the last 12 months. Well, we say albums, we’ve been a bit liberal with meaning of “album” as you’ll find a couple of compilations in the list. But don’t fear, it was either that or top 18 albums, which doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. There’s no science behind our selections other than listening to the albums endlessly until we got an idea of the running order. Also, look out for our remixes and originals list in the coming weeks and we’ll also present the most downloaded and most streamed too – which does use science, kind of.  So without further ado let’s get cracking as you’ve got a lot of clicking to do. 

20. Shadow Dancer – Brothers In Arps 

Shadow Dancer’s second album is the culmination of two and half years of work for Manchester based brothers Paul & Alan Farrier, who released their debut album Golden Traxe via Boy’s Noise’s label in 2009. Brothers In Arps sees the Farrier brothers create a hodgepodge of styles ranging from beard-scratching electronica to slow-burning, weirdo techno across some fourteen tracks. So the real question is: can the duo cram all that into one cohesive album? No. But we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The album closes with a flurry of tracks that show-off Shadow Dancer in their best light, ‘Breakable‘, ‘Unspeakable Things‘ and ‘Super Toys‘ are all worth the entry fee alone; ‘Breakable‘ is a slice of dystopia electro that wouldn’t have sounded out of place soundtracking that nightclub scene from Blade, whilst ‘Unspeakable Things‘ is another genuinely interesting piece of electronica that blends contorting basslines against strained 8-bit top lines. The album’s closer ‘Supertoys‘ is another one you could put in the ‘challenging listen’ category, but if you stick with it you’re treated to brittle melodies, warming basslines and sense of a climax that rounds off Shadow Dancer’s slightly uneven second album.

Written by Andrew Rafter

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