Top 15 Albums of 2009 (10 – 6)


10.

Rain Machine – Rain Machine

Key Tracks – Give Blood, Hold You Holy, Free Ride

There’s a beautiful lead-back feeling throughout most of Kyp Malone’s first solo effort. The swirl of simple clean guitar and African-inspired percussion gets repetitive near the end of the album, as the pace starts to dip, but the individual tracks are skilfully built up. Though the length of songs such as “Desperate Bitch” give the album a slow-burning feel, so it is imperative to keep attention focused on Malone’s soulful tones and sly lyrics to ensure the album never gets tedious.

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9.

Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

Key Tracks – Underdog, Vlad The Impaler, Fast Fuse

There is a particularly strong mood running through Kasabian’s third album. A swagger that is much more difficult to achieve than it may first seem. The album is largely consistent, and Kasabian are happy to mix up their styles and drop musical red herrings (see the opening to “Fast Fuse”) before getting down to the business of delivering track after fist-pumping track that drips passion and confidence.  Dumb and brash, yes, but infectious too.

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8.

Bat For Lashes – Two Suns

Key Tracks – Daniel, Moon And Moon, Siren Song

There has been a lot of attention given to “Daniel”, I’ve noticed, and deservedly so. But doing so at the expense of the rest of the album would be doing it a disservice. There is much to enjoy, as Natasha Khan’s stunning vocals shape around dark, moody electronica. The overriding solar theme represents isolation and desire to connect in much the same way as classics such as “Space Oddity”. A consistent, often surprising album.

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7.

Jarvis Cocker – Further Complications

Key Tracks – Angela, Further Complications, I Never Said I Was Deep

So, maybe the Pulp hiatus will be going on a bit longer than we imagined. The insanely cool Jarvis Cocker has produced a second solo effort than improves upon the last in nearly every aspect, and is as clever and vitriolic as any Pulp record. Cocker vocally leaps around standard Britrock guitar, mixing up shouts of anguish with grumpily delivered non-sequiters. Your enjoyment of this album will depend on whether you consider “I met you in the museum of palaeontology/ And I make no bones about it” to be sickeningly embarrassing or one of the best pieces of lyricism you’ve heard all year.

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6.

The Decemberists – The Hazards Of Love

Key Tracks – The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid, The Hazards Of Love 1, The Rake’s Song

The Decemberists doing a concept album about the pains of infatuation… what’s new? Well, musically, the interweaving threads and repeated phrases are interesting and do not grow wearisome, whilst Colin Meloy’s vocals range admirably from soft to hard as and when the story demands. The Decemberists have always been good at weaving tales together, but this, I feel, is them at their peak, testing out small chunks of material and then mixing them in between and around each other to great effect.

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About Alex Pavitt
I work in the field of emotion. My tools are instinctual feelings and my laptop is the medium between my brain and the outside world. I deconstruct and rebuild. I imagine. I steal other people's lyrics because somtimes, my own words aren't enough. I spend all of my time somewhere inside my head. I worship Douglas Adams, and in the back of my mind I am always painfully aware that I will never be as good as him or, for that matter, anybody else.

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