Wednesday, December 24, 2008

it's a rock and roll disaster

Top 10 Albums of 2008

8. Join With Us - The Feeling (LB)

It was always going to be tough for the popsters to follow up their 2006 debut Twelve Stops And Home, chocked full as it was with radio-friendly top Twenty hit singles like Love It When You Call and Fill My Little World.

Follow it up they did, though, and whilst the number One album Join With Us might not have spawned the same number of mammoth singles it is a polished and likeable pop record. From the opening song, the top Ten hit I Thought It Was Over you know pretty much what you are going to get and Dan Gliiespie-Sells provides us with an hour of breathless, carefully written songs all of which could make a case for single release.

I am surprised that the fantastic and anthemic Join With Us or Turn It Up weren’t hits, and whilst the slower Without You nudged the top Fifty it knocks the socks off the majority of second rate pop and dance records in the hit parade. Whilst the pop balance here occasionally shifts from “catchily brilliant” to “annoying” (the daft Loneliness and Don’t Make Me Sad) and the final track’s attempt to be a long sweeping epic close just ends up making you want to turn if off before the end, it remains a brilliant and loveable pop record. I really, unashamedly like this band and this album.

Favourite track: Turn It Up

8. Glasvegas - Glasvegas (Bedshaped)

An indie album that sounds like Phil Spector’s been let loose with the controls. Huge washes of guitars, echo and various other wizardry effects give this album a huge sound. A neat package of ten songs that are....well, really good. The sound is good, the choruses are good, the playing is good, his voice is good.

I really like his voice. Gentle in delivery, but vocal enough when it’s needed. The Scottish accent adds to the enjoyment and the backing vocals bring in just enough balance and harmony to the sometimes overpowering guitar walls.

Big sounding. Anthemic almost. Possibly a little ambitious, but definitely an enjoyable listen. Ultimately a guitar driven collection of indie songs complemented by a nice voice and given a huge fuck off wall of sound production.

Favourite track: Flowers and Football Tops

8. Death Magnetic - Metallica (Swiss Toni)

Some bands are just louder than others. In Metallica's case, this is very literally true: for some reason, the MP3 files I have of this album are about 25% louder than anything else I have loaded on my iPod. If a track pops up on shuffle when I'm out running, it scares me half to death and I have to rip the headphones off before my ears start bleeding. Somehow, I think the band would approve.

After years of mucking about with therapists and trying to write songs only between the hours of noon and 3pm (or whatever), this was the album that finally announced the return of biggest and best rock band of them all. There's a glorious moment on the very first track on the album, "That Was Just Your Life", when the guitars really kick in at about 1m 28s, followed by some thunderbolt drumming. Hello, I thought, this is no "St. Anger".... When we get the first of the album's many, many dive-bombing guitar solos from Kirk Hammett at 4m 52s , then we really know we're back in business.

Each of the twelve tracks on the album clocks in at four or five minutes long, and the album as a whole is epic. Perhaps it's not something to listen to every day, but there's something about this kind of muscular rock that thrills me to the bottom of my soul. Brilliant. Best album of 2008 to listen to when jogging bar absolutely nothing. You run as though all of the hounds of hell are on your trail.

Key track: That Was Just Your Life

2 Discussions:

Blogger swisslet said...

I'd just like the record to show that I like the Feeling. They're a good band, and really entertaining live too.

Glasvegas I avoided like the plague because of the hype they got (with people like *groan* Allan McGhee saying how they were the best band EVER). Actually, I'm thinking I should probably check them out. Your review seems a tiny bit ambivalent though. Worth checking out would you say?


2:34 PM  
Blogger bedshaped said...

I can't help it....I just can't like The Feeling. I find their songs too sugary sweet. I can't deny they write really catchy songs, but it's just not enough to captivate me. Mentally, I file them alongside The Hoosiers and Scouting For Girls.
I've tried and failed.

Metallica I can take or leave. I'm one of those annoying people that only know of their succesful singles from the black album. I know they're huge and probably deservedly so, but I've never been anymore than a casual listener.

Swiss Toni,
I missed all the hype about them and that probably served me well. I really like the album, with it's very lush production sound, but I'm also aware that it wouldn't be agreable to everybody's tastes.
It's good yes. I think so anyway. Sample a few tracks and see where you go from there.

2:50 PM  

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