DIY’s Albums Of 2011: #1

After countless arguments, tantrums and break downs, first place in DIY’s Albums Of 2011 goes to…

And so we reach the end of another year; twelve months of great music and even better albums. After countless arguments, tantrums and break downs, DIY’s writers have created a definitive list of unmissable releases from the last 365 days (well, give or take - it’s only the start of December - Ed) - the very best albums of 2011. Here you’ll find number one. Enjoy.

2011 may not have been the most optimistic of years, but it certainly had an album to improve its mood. Honest, candid and loveable, ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’ offers much more than its charming musings with a huge range of influences combining for an almost flawless, beautifully composed record. If striking a balance is something of an art, Obaro Ojimwe, more commonly known as Ghostpoet, shows a true mastery of it, always open without being self-obsessed, emotional without being self-pitying and confident without a hint of arrogance.

It’s as easy to praise as it is hard to classify; perhaps Ojimwe himself explained it best when speaking to DIY earlier in the year: “I would say kind of experimental electronic, hip-hop music with extra elements of the stuff I listen to, like indie, dance, electronica, folk… ” Adding up to danceable electronica, trip-hoppy waves and the odd flourish of instrumentation under lyrics a more mature, wiser and calmer Mike Skinner still probably wouldn’t think to write.

What really stands out is just how rooted in reality the songs are, each a new angle on the nature of daily life. That’s not to say they’re depressing, far from it, but they’re unusually devoid of pretension, selling no image and refusing to indulge in themselves. All in all, it sounds real. These songs do speak to you about your life, to remedy one of The Smiths’ oldest complaints. “You and I wear things like pork pies, and eat things like pork pies” is a toast to the shared interests of lovers in ‘Us Against Whatever’ while family strife is explored in ‘Cash & Carry Me Home’. It’s not all rooted in close relationships though, “I’m just sitting here drinking, playing Pro Evo and thinking” captures the mood and motivation of millions as well any lyric you’ll hear this year.

Witty, reassuring, amusing and at times hugely inspiring, ‘Peanut Butter Blues…’ has all the characteristics of someone you’d love to meet. It has had Album Of The Year written all over it since February, garnering a deserved but unexpected Mercury Prize nomination and it was no great failure on anyone else’s part to displace it. The real feat will come in topping it at all, as one of the best British albums of any year.

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