Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Sloppy Dog's Best of 2008: Albums

The first of our end-of-year celebratory blatherings is finally here, and we launch on a positive note with our favourite albums. The last 12 months have seen a huge amount of impressive music come our way (and some not so impressive, eh, Tindersticks?).So you’ll appreciate why there are a few surprise omissions from our list. Much as it pains us, the releases from Feeder and The Feeling just stop short of our top ten, as do notably excellent albums from Weezer, Keane and David Cook. But hey, them’s the breaks. On with the show!

10. The Automatic – This Is A Fix
Opening our Top Ten are The Automatic, coincidentally the exact same placing they claimed with their debut this time two years ago. Cheeky and quirky, but without paying too big a homage to the schoolboy sensibilities that made Not Accepted Anywhere such a triumph, This Is A Fix is a superb and effective progression for a band no longer trapped under the shadow of their biggest hit.

9. Sugababes – Catfights & Spotlights
While it may have been launched by the unacceptable shitshower that was Girls, the Sugababes have finally returned to form album-wise. The maturity and musicianship make for a nicely-developed sound while the dark, atmospheric tone harks back to the evidently-not-so-unmatchable One Touch. Fingers crossed Catfights & Spotlights receives the credit it deserves in 2009.

8. Sia – Some People Have Real Problems
One of the most individual artists of recent years has once again found an outstanding showcase for her otherworldly vocals. Sia Furler has shed the emotive, brilliantly bitchy R&B, as well as the more-lucrative Ibiza sunset anthems, for a soulful yet harder sound, and it works superbly. We’ll just gloss over the fact she’s planning to mutilate her talents on the vile Christina Aguilera next year...

7. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
Where the likes of the NME may be happy to jump aboard and prattle on about the Afrobeat bandwagon til the cows come home, anyone with functioning ears can identify that Vampire Weekend is testament to an effective blend of contrasting styles – the marriage of classical overtones with straight-down-the-line vintage rock ‘n’ roll results in possibly the most unique new artist of the year.

6. The Fratellis – Here We Stand
Minimal changes are made to the winning formula on display in debut Costello Music, and it pays off incredibly well. If Costello Music was the hallowed final pint of the night, Here We Stand is the smooth whisky chaser, further cementing The Fratellis as a solid, original and engaging band, yet with an identifiable sound blissfully oblivious to trends, distractions and sobriety.

5. Danity Kane – Welcome To The Dollhouse
We’ll overlook the unforgivable mismanagement courtesy of Diddy that saw the band reduced by 40% to revel in the pop splendour that is Welcome To The Dollhouse. A tad too much filler present, perhaps, but the infectious power-pop of Damaged, the eerie timelessness of Poetry and the ballsy call-to-arms of Bad Girl soon overshadow any flaws. Except that of their personnel issues, that is...

4. Mark Morriss – Memory Muscle
Although it’s safe to say anything touched by the golden hand of Mark Morriss gets a tick in our books, his debut solo album is truly a work of art. Rather than picking up where the Bluetones left off, Memory Muscle takes the greatest aspects of the band’s heyday and transports them to a whole new folky, contemporary level, creating a sincere, joyful, earnest collection of heavenly indie gems.

3. We Are Scientists - Brain Thrust Mastery
If we had a rundown of Nicest Blokes in Music list, it’s safe to say Keith Murray would be perched somewhere near the top. As it is, he’ll have to be grateful for a placing as our bronze medal-winning album of 2008. A slightly less gritty affair than With Love And Squalor, yet the ingenious Brain Thrust Mastery boasts the same mix of punch, bounce and creativity, all channelled through sexy riffs, beguiling lyrics and of course, that unmistakeable sense of humour.

2. Gavin Rossdale - Wanderlust
Gavin Rossdale has achieved the impossible in matching the almighty Swallowed via his debut solo album. It’s rare you encounter an album as lengthy as Wanderlust where you savour each millisecond of audio – the sombre milieu of the Bush heyday is certainly not buried altogether, but the striking melodies and concentrated vocals are a clear representation of where Gavin Rossdale is right now. Fingers crossed he stays there long enough to make another album of this magnitude.

1. Little Jackie - The Stoop
And claiming their much-deserved place as our favourite album of 2008, Little Jackie underline where determination, reinvention and a damn good set of songs can get you. It’s interesting to evaluate how an album which, for the most part, is a short ‘n’ sharp everyday commentary, particularly when Imani Coppola’s previous work was a carousel of wondrous space-age lunacy. However, her sharp rhymes coupled with the vibrant beats of Adam Pallin prove that no such evaluation is necessary – simply sit back, listen and enjoy immensely.

No comments:

Creative Commons Licence
The Sloppy Dog by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.