Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Sloppy Dog's Best of 2006: Albums

Welcome to the first of our end-of-year countdowns, in which we celebrate the best and condemn the worst that the last twelve has brought us. Beginning proceedings with a positive note, behold The Sloppy Dog's ten greatest albums...

10. The Automatic - Not Accepted Anywhere
Kicking off our ten is Not Accepted Anywhere, the debut album from The Automatic, a band with larger energy reserves than an entire train of camels. Pop sensibilities peep out through dynamic licks, themselves in turn making way for killer choruses – amalgamated, the greatest boisterous racket of 2006.

9. Cerys Matthews - Never Said Goodbye
A softly uplifting collection of earnest folk lullabies, with just a hint of ballsy rasp. In honesty, we miss the barking Welsh geezerbird that boozily fronted the outstanding Catatonia, but Never Said Goodbye is the ultimate verification that she’s sobered up, grown up and loved up. And it looks bloody great on her.

8. The Zutons - Tired Of Hanging Around
Following on from a patchy debut album, The Zutons had only medium-sized boots to fill this time around. However, they’ve excelled themselves with Tired Of Hanging Around – diverse, memorable, entertaining and unashamedly Scouse. One of the most distinctive bands of the moment (and only partly due to the token sax).

7. The Boy Least Likely To - The Best Party Ever
Without a doubt, the cutest album ever to caress our eardrums. However, scratch beneath the Sanrio confectionary on the surface (and song titles such as Warm Panda Cola), and you realise The Best Party Ever is pleasantly intense, expressive and wholeheartedly charming from start to finish.

6. Pink - I'm Not Dead
After her stinking third album plummeted her to new lows, Pink’s ability to claw her way back up was surely commendable. As smart, as accomplished and as agreeable as M!ssundaztood, the pure unadulterated skill of I’m Not Dead indicates that one Alecia Beth Moore could well be the greatest female artist of our generation.

5. Embrace - This New Day
While useless single choices have tainted this album ever so slightly, This New Day is evidence that Embrace continue to go from strength to strength. Bearing in mind we own the version sans the insipid World Cup fiasco, This New Day is back to back anthemic enchantment.

4. Kelis - Kelis Was Here
Ah, the sporadic Kelis finally comes good and stays good. While she’s previously had far better individual songs than many featuring on Kelis Was Here, it’s her most consistent album to date, defiantly refusing to swerve from the strict space-age refinement she’s skilfully crafted. In a calamitous year for US pop, Kelis is a Godsend.

3. The Fratellis - Costello Music
Like a vial of ohrwurms released into your pillow, this album stays with you long after the stop button is pushed, and it’s not in the least bit unwelcome. A medley of coarse riffs, jangly hoedowns and swaying pub-period finesse, Costello Music is the mark of an album and a band to get very, very excited about.

2. Lostprophets - Liberation Transmission
Narrowly missing out on the album crown, the awesome Liberation Transmission has to settle for silver. Clearly, it’s not to everyone’s taste – emo brats can bellyache all they want about selling out, but Liberation Transmission highlights how a wee bit of commercial awareness can be a remarkable thing. The jagged vivacity hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s purely tied in with mindful melodies, which together, create the paramount record of the Lostprophets’ career thus far.

1. The Feeling - Twelve Stops And Home
And so we reach Number One. In The Feeling, we’ve got a band who’ve torn up the rulebook, turfed it out the window and, for an encore, had a competition to gob on it from the highest point. Twelve Stops And Home is the fruit of that fantastic insurgence, where even the most sombre subject matter is clad in fancy dress, while simultaneously remaining drenched in meaning. Optimistically redressing indie conventions, and quite simply making exceptional music, The Feeling have provided us with the best album of 2006.

And, having gushed like a sycophantic OK! reporter about ten whole albums, we’re in desperate need to release some anger. Rest assured our next End Of Year list will be addressing the worst...

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