Monday, 29 December 2008

Top 20 Albums of the Year Countdown (part II)

Errrr, sorry. This countdown thingy hasn't gone exactly to plan. This is mainly due to a combination of a trip to Wales and something called Christmas time; mistletoe and wine, children singing Christian rhyme, logs on the fire and gifts round the tree. It was a time to rejoice and not sit at a computer all day.

Here are the next batch of 2008's premier long players...

17. Hot Chip - Made In The Dark
As the opening track 'Out at the Pictures' cranks up in tempo like an old circus organ before bursting into another effortless example of pure dance-pop genius, you would be forgiven for thinking that the clowns that gave us 'Over and Over' had taken the easy route and produced an album of party bangers to satisfy their now mainstream fan base. Not so. Although the bangers are all present and very correct, the album's title hints at the darker tone of songs found largely on its second half. Hot Chip have practically invented a new sub genre to add to their growing roster of achievements. Long live 'Electro-Soul'.
Listen to: Shake A Fist

16. Sigur Ros -
Meo Suo I Eyrum Vio Spilum End
What do Icelandic people do to display a sense of happiness? From the looks of the sleeve design they run around naked and produce records like this. Sigur Ros surprised a lot of people this year with an album that was more immediate and vocal-led than previous offerings but also one that on early listens didn't seem quite up to their usual incredibly high standard. The slow-building epic soundscapes had given way to 'songs'. Given time though, the incredible beauty of their past material shines through. Instead of building up through layers of sound that grow into a cacophony of pure joy over 12 minutes, Sigur Ros here present that joviality in shorter bursts, often with the support of a jubilant brass band. In centerpiece tracks 'Festival' and 'Ara Batur', the Icelanders match anything they have ever produced for sheer emotional scale. This is an album which would have been higher up the list were it not for the fact that it falls away a little at the end.
Listen to: Festival

1 comment:

David Wilson Creative said...

Phhht... excuses, excuses. Mistletoe and wine getting in the way of writing about music. Whatever.
Although you do write about music extremely well, and it does take more time than expected, especially when you write so well.
Also, good use of the word "cacophony". I liked that.