It happens every year. Just after I formulate my favourite albums of the past year, something comes along and throws the whole thing out of whack. Last year it was The Antlers, and now, after a critical mass of blog-based recommendations, I’ve come into possession of Avi Buffalo’s self-titled debut, and it’s just messed everything up. A whimsical mix of lilting vocals and guitars that instinctively remind me of the more gentle moments of OK Computer, it’s yet another debut from an irritatingly prodigious group that stands head and shoulders over so much of what comes out of supposedly more experienced groups. The band as it was when this was recorded has broken up, but somehow that makes this all seem better – this album will probably never be replicated by this group of people, and it stands as a crystallised statement of youth that won’t be recovered.

Avi Buffalo – What’s In It For? (YSI)