Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Top 20 Albums of the Year Countdown (part V)

9. Late of the Pier – Fantasy Black Channel

Late of the Pier are alternative music’s answer to celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal. Skilfully mixing disparate genres and styles to create delicious dishes of aural alchemy so achingly hip, it may leave you needing a Stenna StairLift (other makes and brands of stair lift are available). If you were to blend glam rock, R&B, dance, pop, prog and “nu-rave” with a dollop of electronic noodling, you would end up with a broken blender and a collection of very scratched records. Stick ‘Fantasy Black Channel’ into your CD player however and you’ve got yourself a party soundtrack to rival anything the trendiest nightclubs of Shoreditch can offer. And all this from a band who have a combined age less than that of a Gallagher brother. Probably.
Listen to: Focker

8. Kings Of Leon – Only By The Night

Kings Of Leon are hardly recognisable as the band who appeared five years ago with hair, a stripped down album, plaid shirts, hair, cowboy boots, ‘Molly’s Chambers’ and more hair. It’s amazing what a trim and a shave can do for record sales, although writing a song so universally celebratory as ‘Sex on Fire’ also helps. Despite not bettering their superb previous album ‘Because of the Times’, the band managed to follow up their -at the time- somewhat disputable headlining slot at Glastonbury with a record that sounds as large as the festival site itself. This, of course, was entirely the point, with the emphasis firmly placed on making the band as big as possible. It worked. ‘Only By The Night’ ended the year as one of 2008’s biggest selling records. Track two ‘Crawl’ is justification for this alone. A song so dirty it makes me want to grind up against a pole and then perform a version of ‘Flashdance’ every time I hear it.
Listen to: Crawl

7. Glasvegas – Glasvegas

Massively hyped at the end of 2007, Glasvegas didn’t quite capture the ears and souls of Britain as predicted in a year where very few alternative acts crossed over into the mainstream. In fact the Glaswegian purveyors of “reverb-drenched-gloom-rock” ™ rather polarised opinion, particularly surprising when their passionately delivered, everyman anthems seemed tailor-made for a country gripped in the early stages of a recession. For those who are firmly in the ‘Yes’ camp, songs such as the aching ‘Daddy’s Gone’ and rousing ‘Geraldine’, with their “me against the world” lyrical proclamations backed by soaring guitars and pounding drums serve as both solace and stirring inspiration in troubled times.
Listen to: It’s my own cheating heart that makes me cry

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