Hello boys and girls. Time for my reviews of the albums of the year. Enjoy the clips!!
THE ELSE - THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS
Who would have thought that They Might Be Giants could team up with The Dust Brothers and come up with something amazing. Well, to be fair, I probably would have thought that all along, but this is still pretty amazing. Their last studio album, The Spine, was a pretty hit and miss affair - it seemed to be cobbled together from bits and pieces and outtakes. This one is a hella more coherent. Many of the songs are built on loops and breaks, giving them a kind of menacing and slightly dirty feeling - very very different to TMBG's cutesy reputation. Highlights include Bee Of The Bird of The Moth (featuring an original Rolf Harris Stylophone, given to the band by BBC Radio 2 DJ Jonathan Ross), the Dust Brothers and crazy brass heavy Withered Hope and this song, the album's opener, I'm Impressed. And I am.
OVERPOWERED - ROISIN MURPHY
This is Roisin Murphy's second solo album and it's a bloody blinder. I think of it as being kind of like anti-opera (much as I love a bit of opera!) because it is, on the face of it, pure style over substance, but there are so many deeper levels to it. The title track, Overpowered (the video for which is below) is a stylish electro tune with lyrics about hormones and chemistry and hidden depths. Second single Let Me Know is a complete and utter 80s piano house romp, but it draws you in. There's even a bit of 90s cheese in there with the song about (possibly) porn called Movie Star. None of it is going to win the Pullitzer Prize, but I know from DJing experience that this shit really gets people dancing. Buy it now. You owe it to yourselves.
CROSS - JUSTICE
My album of late summer. This is largely due to the fact that I saw the band do a live set at La Route Du Rock Festival in St Malo, France. An amazing night if ever there was one. Even the fact that my friend Katty got knocked out and sent to the hospital tent while they were playing didn't stop me dancing. Even the fact that I had lost my other half somewhere and was on my own with a load of French people didn't ruin my enjoyment of it. I'm all heart like that, you see! Standout tracks include the duet with Uffie, The Party, which is pure sleaze, the absolutely brilliant electro funk of DVNO and the pure genius of this track, D.A.N.C.E.
FANTASTIC PLAYROOM - NEW YOUNG PONY CLUB
Another Route Du Rock moment, although I'd been salivating at their stuff for a long time on Myspace. New Young Pony Club came onstage before headliners, C.S.S. Let me just say right now that C.S.S. are one of my very favourite acts for years. I'd been looking forward to seeing them live for months. But as soon as New Young Pony Club had finished their set, Mark and I decided that we didn't want to see anymore. C.S.S. would have just seemed lame in comparison, and I didn't want that to be my experience of seeing them live. Do I regret that now? Yeah, kind of. But I HEARD C.S.S. as we staggered back to the campsite on mushrooms (uh oh) and that was an awesome enough experience in itself. Some people say the two bands are fairly similar. In a way that's true. Judge for yourself with this song, Ice Cream.
THE CASKET LETTERS - MONKEY SWALLOWS THE UNIVERSE
In 2006 Mark and I went to Sheffield on some nasty business. To chillout in the evening we decided to go to Club NME, not really expecting much except some crap bands and cheap beer. What we got were Monkey Swallows The Universe, a band so amazingly beautiful that we had tears in our eyes. We even blagged our way backstage to ask them if they would be interested in coming to play in Jersey. We knew we NEEDED to see them live again. Somehow we never quite managed to get that together (even though the band were keen) and, with the release of this album and their growing profile, I don't think this is likely to happen really. So maybe another trip to Sheffield on some more pleasant business will be in order in the future. Anyway, I think that this lot have, in the future, the potential to become my favourite band of all time. I'll let the very beautiful song Science speak for itself.