The new Mercury rev album, snowflake midnight, is a strong late contender for record of the year. A decade after the band's sublime deserter's songs, snowflake midnight is an album of ambition and subtlety and wonderful tunes.
In many ways it shouldn't work. It's a sort of concept album, hanging around ideas of the transience of life in the enormity of the universe; it owes far too much to the prog rock of King Crimson and early Pink Floyd; and at times it meanders. Yet none of these things should put you off.
Mercury Rev have woven a load of disparate elements into one of the most affecting 41 minutes of music created this year. Check it out here. As ever the lyrics are intriguing and literate, a pile of images rather than a set of narratives. But they are embedded in gorgeous tunes and soaring melodies. it's genuinely an album to transport you to another place.
So album of the year has quite a strong and somewhat eclectic field this year - Yeasayer, Elbow, The Last Shadow Puppets, Potishead and Fleet Foxes are all in contention and there's still a couple of months to go.