My Favourite 25 Albums of 2013: Part Seven - Number One

My Favourite 25 Albums of 2013: Part Seven - Number One

Direct Links to Albums (updated as they become live) : 25 - 22 // 21 - 18 // 17 - 14 // 13 - 10 // 9 - 6 // 5 - 2 // 1

1. Anna Von Hausswolff - Singing From The Grave

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Hmmm, yeah, so my album of the year isn't actually from 2013. Sorry about that! It is my blog and it is my rules... Singing From the Grave was released in 2010 but didn't cross my ears until I returned from End of the Road festival at the start of September this year, so by that regard it is an my favourite album of the year and that's what this list is all about...

Anna Von Hausswolff had just performed a blow-away set at the festival, a show that stunned an entire crowd into jaw-dropped silence with an intense and gripping sound and with Ceremony already in my possession (an album I put at number ten in this very same countdown) I looked at her website after returning home and saw the link for another CD that I didn't know existed, a debut album released via Kning Disk which seemingly hasn't found too many ears out of Sweden. It really must.

I can remember when I first listened to it, it wasn't in the most conventional of setting for most people but is quite usual for me, it was on the treadmill in my local gym. I was soon bewitched by the most stunning of records and since then it has been my most listened to record of the year so even after a year which has seen some great, great records from some of my all-time favourite acts putting Singing From The Grave as number one was never out of the question.

The album is not quite as dark or cinematic (though equally challenging perhaps) as Ceremony and relies primarily on Anna's powerful vocals, her piano and some strong instrumental flourishes. The result is as dramatic and bombastic as any record you're likely to hear and evokes deep emotion through a goose-bump inducing voice and rich, heart-felt songcraft.

After the delicate opener "Move On" kicks off the album with an exquisite piano waltz it's "Track of Time" which first send shivers through you. As personal and beautiful a track as I've ever heard, heading straight to the heart, it lives and breathes a wounded soul around plaintive piano chords which speak as many tales as the lyrics, you can almost touch the sadness throughout, "Track of Time" is a compelling and genuinely moving experience.

From a softening opening "Above All" rises against twinkling piano circles to an equally strong and dramatic conclusion, the title track is the darkest of all and "Lost at Sea" is as bombastic and brilliant as they come, a wizardry of piano melody and strong, urgent percussion combine to create another captivating (and somewhat terrifying) aural storm.

If you've still not felt the emotion by now you're probably made of stone but then comes along "Old Beauty/Du Kan Nu Dö" (You Can Die Now according to Google translate) to shatter any remaining feelings you may have, half sung in English and half in her native tongue the track is a devastating, fragile ballad with Anna's most intimate vocal delivery wrapped around piano chords which threaten to explode with emotion.

A truly stunning record that I'm very glad to have discovered (if some three years late). Hopefully perhaps one or two of you may now. That's the whole point of this long, long list after all...