Saturday, May 9, 2009

Eight arms to hold you

Here's a few more recommended texts for Christine and other students of fine music. I left you last time with the Kooks. This post highlights another 8 greats from Great Britain. This time I've included a few older things but all are post millennium and all should appeal to pop fans. So, without any dilly dally - the story continues...

The Lighthouse Family 'Whatever Gets You Through The Day'. I could not let this list forget the great voice of Tunde. I know - it's not very fashionable to love the Lighthouse Family but for me they are a great marriage of modern production/beats and voice. This one is their last unfortunately. Tunde's solo album shows how much he needs the pop nuance of Paul Tucker. Each of the songs add to a cohesive whole and it contains the stone cold classic - '(I wish I Knew How it Would Feel To be) Free/One'. I love the video of this and by the magic of youtube - here it is:

Elbow 'Cast of Thousands'. All aboard for melancholy city. I kinda think of The Doves and Elbow as being similar in many ways but for me Elbow shades it. Not sure why - maybe the singing is a little more assured and distinctive, the variey level is maybe more positive and the songs are slightly more memorable. Moody mood music. It's interesting, isn't it, how much of my preferences are grouped under the 'alternative' tag in shop displays (you remember shop displays don't you?). I don't really see how this stuff is 'alternative'. It's just good pop music.

Travis 'The Boy With No Name'. This is the first album of theirs I've enjoyed since their break through smasharama 'The Man Who...' The albums inbetween have tried to veer away from that success but without the tunes. I'm sure they didn't sit around and think - okay how do we alienate our fanbase? But in effect that's what they've done until this album. It's back to melodies and lovely acoustic guitars and warm vocals. I bought each of the intervening albums but flicked them on pretty quickly. This one is a keep and a slow grower. It's songs, I suspect, will reveal more as time and repeated listenings go by.

Turin Brakes 'Dark On Fire'. More of the same from Turin Brakes (ie see Travis above, and earlier Turin Brakes efforts). The difference this time around are some stunning songs and much more confidence in their delivery. I got the first album from my friend, Roger Marbeck, and I've not grown tired of it yet. Every once in a while I need something with some soothing otherness as my soundtrack and now both Turin Brakes albums fill that need. The other one is called 'The Optimist'.

Oasis 'Heathen Chemistry'. I couldn't make a list of great British albums of recent times without some sort of representation from Oasis. The trouble is the last couple have not set the world on fire. And truth be told neither did Heathen Chemistry. I don't actually know why because it's a great set of songs, it sounds like classic Oasis, and it contains 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out'. An undervalued, overlooked pleasure of an Oasis album.

Stereophonics 'Language.Sex.Violence.Other'. This Welsh group have had some big hits and some real turkeys but LSVO is a fantastic collection of songs that display the group in its best, most unstodgy light. The guitar playing is razor sharp and the variety is welcome. Often the 'phonics get into a meat and potatoes grind but this one has a dynamic feel to it.

Snow Patrol 'Eyes Open'. For me their best album (and I have them all). Mr Lightbody's vocals are perfect and the melancholy is balanced with wide eyed presence. Contains the classic 'Chasing Cars' that everyone knows, but each of the songs is worthy. When I lived in the UK this album was massive and, fittingly, I bought it from the local Morrisons supermarket. That just seemed appropriate really. Gary Lightbody's vocals are so warm/comfortable. It's a great package.

Teenage Fanclub 'Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Seconds'. I'm cheating slightly with this one cos it's a compilation but I love their guitar pop. They write really infectious hooks and play well. What's not to like with that combination.

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