Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Sloppy Dog's Best of 2009: Albums

As if our recent Turkey Cull column wasn’t already an indication that Christmas is well on the way, our definitive End of Year lists are finally ready, which means tacky paper hats and copious amounts of meat and alcohol are on the horizon. We start on a positive note, with the Best Albums of 2009.

Most years, we find ourselves frantically whittling an abundance of choices down to just ten, whereas this particular exercise has proved rather difficult even reaching seven or eight albums worthy of a placing here. Assuming the pattern continues, it doesn’t bode too well for next year, does it? Nonetheless, we’ve finally compiled our conclusive selection of 2009’s greatest albums...

10. Franz Ferdinand – Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
We begin with an energetic, spritely collection of tracks which make up the third LP from Franz Ferdinand. Ranging from the archetypal to the experimental, the comparatively more subtle refrains only add to the album’s shelf life, with each listen making way for a new cluster of adroit hooks and fervent beats.

9. Lady Sovereign – Jigsaw
While it doesn’t boast quite the same defiant zest as debut Public Warning, there’s still a scruffy charm present on Jigsaw yet to be harnessed by any other artist. Sov’s sore underperformance on these shores is even more of a question mark off the back of Jigsaw, but as long as she carries on making the same mix of inventive and uproarious material, she’s keeping at least one blog very happy.

8. Alex Cornish – Until The Traffic Stops
Captivating, haunting and atmospheric, the Edinburgh singer-songwriter has truly defined his niche on Until The Traffic Stops, finding a rare balance between calming and vivid (whilst carefully avoiding wrist-slittingly morose territory). Additional so-called props must go to single Untied in particular, truly demonstrating an authentic stroke of genius.

7. Red Light Company – Fine Fascination
Each year, there’s guaranteed to be an album we’re waiting for what feels like years to be released, and 2009’s painstakingly slow effort was Fine Fascination by the amply gifted Red Light Company. It proved to be very much worth the wait too, boasting a modern glam-rock allure across ten highly-engaging tracks.

6. Hockey – Mind Chaos
Mind Chaos failed to disappoint following its lead-in from the dancefloor-rushing ingenuity of debut single Learn To Lose. Arguably one of the best new artists to emerge in 2009, Hockey demonstrate how a nod to house, a dash of vivacity and a touch of imagination can reinvent classic indie brilliance.

5. Muse – The Resistance
There’s a real irony in a band whose main consistent factor is their innovation, particularly as no-one could’ve seen The Resistance coming. An imposing, adventurous collection of head-scratchingly uncommon compositions, the unthinkable fusions of orchestral wonderment, glam-rock pomp, and future-facing audacity cement Muse as true national treasures.

4. VV Brown – Travelling Like the Light
The antithesis of the long-tired electro-bandwagon, Travelling Like The Light relies on instantaneous melodies, Sixties sparkle, and a sizeable dose of charisma. Sidestepping the occasional dollop of filler, it’s overall an indication that VV Brown may be formidable far beyond her critics’ expectations. And of course, the whole thing is heightened by the fact she’s batshit fucking crazy.

3. The Temper Trap – Conditions
The debut album from Melbourne-based indiesmiths The Temper Trap demonstrated without a doubt that their flair runs far deeper than just breakthrough single Sweet Disposition. An exhilarating assortment of sweeping, thunderous anthems, Conditions is concrete proof that The Temper Trap are a band whose career is undoubtedly headed skywards.

2. Friendly Fires – Friendly Fires
Granted a new lease of life via an August re-release to accommodate the showstopping single Kiss of Life, the debut offering from Friendly Fires provided a work of stereo-hogging genius. Cohesive without being repetitive – not an easy thing to execute – whilst constantly absorbing, inventive and addictive, there’s simply not enough hyperbole in existence to recommend this enough.

1. The Boy Least Likely To – The Law of the Playground
And it’ll probably come as no surprise to see who’s claimed our top spot. The Boy Least Likely To continue to forge their own genre with The Law of the Playground – a twinkly, joyful and contentedly cute assembly of 13 affable tracks, yet the merriment is nicely offset with a depth and a candour that brings a whole new dimension to proceedings. Or, in a word, ace.

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