Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Sloppy Dog's Best of 2007: Albums

10. Stereophonics - Pull The Pin
Kicking our End of Year Countdowns off as the tenth best album of 2007 are the Stereophonics, who paper over their patchy last effort with a full-throttle glamrock tribute in the shape of Pull The Pin. Save for lead single It Means Nothing, which is sat happily in its own carefree, quiet bubble, Pull The Pin represents their most consistent album, and confidently cements their longevity for another decade.

9. Alterkicks - Do Everything I Taught You
It’s probably a safe bet to assume that the stunning Good Luck might well be making an appearance in our Singles of 2007 countdown, but for now, we’ll gush lyrical about the inspired, diverse, superb album that houses it. Ranging from upbeat, fervent rock to the Radiohead-with-melodies walk through sombre, via a darkly comedic tale of cannibalism in the French Alps (no, really), Do Everything I Taught You is the mark of a band to keep a keen eye on.

8. Girls Aloud - Tangled Up
As improbable as a Popstars-produced band reaching a fifth album may be on paper, Girls Aloud have transcended all impediments with finesse to bring us a personality-laden, infectious, and most importantly, uncompromising album. Not a single cover or sappy ballad is present to bog down the pert, speedy flair of Tangled Up, providing Girls Aloud with their best work to date.

7. Athlete - Beyond The Neighbourhood
Having decided to drop the quirky elements that brought them to the fore just so they could go all Coldplay on our asses with their second album, it’s good to see Athlete holding their heads high and making an record worthy of their talent. All things considered, it’s still rather wistful, but it’s done with aptitude, purpose and a healthy dose of genius.

6. Ash - Twilight of the Innocents
An album from one of the greatest bands in the world today was always going to make our list, albeit slightly lower than we’d have anticipated. Perhaps it was never going to equal the zenith reached by 1977 and Free All Angels, but nonetheless we’re bestowed with an album that manages to thrash out and ornately soothe in complementary measures, yet significantly, is still quintessentially Ash.

5. Siobhan Donaghy - Ghosts
Aside from the constant attempts from Microsoft Word’s ham-fisted spellchecker to change her surname to “Dinghy”, there’s not much to dislike about Siobhan Donaghy, or more importantly, her sublime second album Ghosts. Spectral electro dissolving into truly magnificent classic songwriting, this album’s modest performance was a travesty. Ah well, we’re happy to see if a third album can propel her to stardom…

4. Travis - The Boy With No Name
A demonstration in how to age with a bit of dignity - take note, Bono. Not that Fran and the boys are in any way over the hill, merely developing nicely and taking their sound with them. For the most part, The Boy With No Name is a mellow collection of laddish lullabies, conveying a genial, folky quality (although props must go to the buoyant Selfish Jean, and its charismatic nods to Lust For Life). Anyone who wrote Travis off as a post-Britpop band du jour - would you like some ketchup on your words?

3. Lady Sovereign - Public Warning
A long overdue release, metaphorical champagne bottles were popped the day Public Warning hit the shelves. From our earliest experiences of Sov (which was, most likely, the Fit But You Know It Remix way back in 2004), we’ve had big expectations. Three years on, and her debut album has met those capably. While the more idiosyncratic cartoon tracks are preferable to the more grime-heavy selections, overall they highlight the versatility of Lady Sovereign as an artist. A lyrical genius, a shrewd social commentator, and best of all, fucking hilarious.

2. Mr Hudson & The Library - A Tale of Two Cities
Perhaps an even less likely contender in our list than Lady Sovereign comes in the form of Mr Hudson & The Library, and yet A Tale of Two Cities far surpasses any genre pigeonholing that might invoke snobbery. A collection of urban symphonies worthy of world domination, this is yet another release that we can’t quite believe hasn’t knocked the nation off its feet yet. From the glorious self-pity of Everything Happens To Me to the Caribbean-flecked, gritty splendour of Too Late Too Late, this is an album positively stuffed with charm, sincerity and character. A masterpiece from arguably the most innovative act of 2007.

1. Ghosts - The World Is Outside
And so we reach the Number One spot, a place occupied last year by The Feeling. This year’s champions aren’t necessarily a million miles away soundwise, so let’s hope they don’t echo The Feeling by tainting themselves with album overkill and some worryingly beige live gigs. But let’s focus on the positives - the Ghosts have made good on the early promise of the magnificent Stay The Night. A remarkable assortment of thrusting guitars, breakneck synth joy, stirring ballads, soaring vocals courtesy of Simon Pettigrew, and melodies with some serious clout, we strongly endorse The World Is Outside as a Christmas gift for anyone with ears.

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