What were you doing back in 2013? I mostly remember it as the year that I, flush with unspoken thoughts about my favourite music, started this blog; who'd have guessed that I would still be updating The Album Wall three times a week almost three years later? Had you asked me back in June '13, I probably would have bet against it.
Of the many albums I listened to in those early days, one of the most enjoyable was Furniture by Aberystwyth's Race Horses, which came to my attention after it was nominated for the 2013 Welsh Music Prize (in spite of the fact that it was actually released in 2012). You can read my thoughts on that album here.
Of course, by the time I first wrapped my ears around Furntiure, its creators had already called it a day. As I was belatedly discovering fantastic tracks like Mates and My Year Abroad, Race Horses singer Meilyr Jones was living in Rome, discovering Italian culture and percolating ideas for his solo album.
That album, titled simply 2013, came out last month, and you can really hear the notes Jones took during his stay in Italy. The album's overall sound is like the sonic lovechild of Gruff Rhys and Ennio Morricone, conceived while Neil Hannon watched through a peephole and quietly jerked off. No expense has been spared on the orchestration here: string and brass instruments mingle with harpsichords and recorders*, and Jones's bright-eyed pop sensibilites are smushed up against more classical influences to create something very fresh indeed.