9. Amen Dunes, “Freedom”
Like many, I hadn’t heard of Damon McMahon’s long-running project until this year; I point to his peculiar vocals (resembling David Gray after a few too many pints) as the reason why, and suspect this fifth album was his breakthrough because of the sheer strength of its melodies and hooks. Musically, it’s another guitar-centered indie rock record, but rarely is it obvious or overly familiar. At once, songs like “Time”, “Miki Dora”, “Believe” (with its stirring key change midway through) and the title track carry the gravitas of classic rock chestnuts and yet feel intensely personal, convincingly wavering between intimacy and expansiveness.