Monday, January 02, 2006

UK Albums Of 2005 Poll

And so we reach what we like to think is the final word on 2005, as well as our shameless attempt to jump on the parochial music blogger poll bandwagon, as we asked UK bloggers for their lists of albums of the year and collated them into the list you see below. Among the voters were Take Your Medicine, Talent In A Previous Life, Silent Words Speak Loudest, Parallax View, Jamie's Runout Groove, Domino Rally, Delete As Appropriate, Snappish Thoughts, The Adventures Of Flossie and a special guest appearance from man about town and New Games Journalist Kieron Gillen. We also borrowed the lists from Mr Red Penguin and The Indie Credential, who we'd tried to ask but couldn't find e-mail addresses for. We hope they don't mind. (NB. Just to clarify, this poll was for albums released in the UK in 2005, rather than only UK acts)

20 RICHARD HAWLEY - Coles Corner
Sheffield singer-songwriter with the tones of a Roy Orbison or Scott Walker coming complete with a dramatic orchestral sweep, full of nostalgia and love pangs

19 LADYTRON - Witching Hour
Liverpudlian/Bulgarian electro axis coax shoegazing fuzz, vampiric menace and Depeche Modian darkness from their analogue synths

Jim James and co depart their echo-laden converted grain silo, hire John Leckie and head all over the alt-rock spectrum, from roots rock to Flaming Lips grandiosity

17 ANNIE - Anniemal
The indie Kylie, they've called her, pitching in between the revivalist electro part producer Richard X loves, St Etienne's knowing kitsch and the sheer fun of pop revivalism

16 STARS - Set Yourself On Fire
Named after the Fry and Laurie sketch about satanic messages in metal records, we'd hope. Unlikely, mind, given they're Canadians specialising in widescreen, often string-laden pop

15 M.I.A. - Arular
World music manque, as a Sri Lankan from East London takes on US East Coast Timbaland-inspired beats, Brazilian favela, Jamaican dancehall, Punjab bhangra and worldly dancefloor rhythm

14 KANYE WEST - Late Registration
The Route One method of hip hop superstardom - deliver a highyl singular album at once confident of its genre surroundings and redefining its boundaries and layers of work as it goes

13 ELBOW - Leaders Of The Free World
Guy Garvey, clearly now a big man out of shape, starts with the simple pleasures of returning home and ends mourning what he's lost there. Anthemists too clever to be as big as Coldplay

12 GIRLS ALOUD - Chemistry
Number one act in the UK list curated by Take Your Medicine and now setting out to prove it, Xenomania working overtime on electropop rushes, lyrical insouicance and pure fun energy

11 MARTHA WAINWRIGHT - Martha Wainwright
Rufus has the stage costumes and the French & Saunders guest slot, but Want Two was comprehensively outdone by little sis' fragile, autobiographical poetics and folk-blues delicacy

10 LOW - The Great Destroyer
They're not slowcore any more, it's fair to say. Instead we have huge, lush yet droning soundscapes that retain the harmonies and melodic ability but take a detour by an overdrive pedal

9 MEW - And The Glass Handed Kites
If they must be prog, at least it's easier to live with than the Mars Volta's version, the Danes relocating their Pixies/MBV dynamic intensity to a Sigur Ros-type singular atmosphere

"Writer of fictions" Colin Meloy does just that, but now finds his intricate short stories about spies, rent boys and lost sailors surrounded by complementary dramatic musical flourishes

They've outdone the Kaiser Chiefs again. If they've got this far on Antony Hegarty's voice, maybe it's time now to talk up the quality of the torch song backings and emotive lyricism

6 EELS - Blinking Lights And Other Revelations
Mind if we're overly surprised by how this nearly made it to the top five? A sprawling double album filled with uncommon optimism next to heartfelt melancholia crafted with E's usual care and attention

5 MAXIMO PARK - A Certain Trigger
The album that pulled them right out of the suited post-punk pack, filled with curious charisma, an abundance of hooks and a kinetic energy of their own. Works as a straight up sequenced album, too

4 ART BRUT - Bang Bang Rock And Roll
Eddie Argos is the Noughties Jarvis the style mags will surely soon claim he is, with a wry sense of humour, an awareness of pop culture that extends to his band's amorphic indie sound and a well slipped sexual mask. Top of the pops, indeed

3 BLOC PARTY - Silent Alarm
The problem with formulating an art-rock backlash is that its main protagonists tend to ruin it by releasing albums like this one - angular, awash with propulsive energy, playing to its effects-laden strengths but perfectly aware of slower dynamics

Oregon next, it's rumoured. It'll be going some to match this eclectic mix of personal and spiritual appropriation, lush and usually self-recorded musicianship, production inventiveness and exceptional songcraft filled with senses of place and character

1 ARCADE FIRE - Funeral
Our personal number one too, but it ran away from the rest regardless and stayed a mile clear throughout. Bringing light from the personal depths several of the band found themselves in, they drove themselves to create a virtually unique sound that references touchstones while pulling away from them, totally committed in emotional lyricism and musical landscaping. Just think - they've now got to work out how to follow it


Dead Kenny said...

I'm pretty sure the 'Set Yourself On Fire' line originally came from the cult paganist thriller 'The Wicker Man' (due to be remade in 2006, fact fans).

Rick said...

You are more than welcome to use our end of year lists. Apologies that there is currently no method of contacting us on The Indie Credential site (well, you could have left a comment actually). This will be rectified shortly when I get round to doing a bit of a redesign.

skif said...

End of year lists by myself and some of my helper-monkeys will soon be appearing on, and linkable by the mothership at

On the blog site, I will link to other lists (mostly via Ben Silent Words' collection of links).

A link to this blogzine now appears on the VP blogsite.

Best wishes for 2006

Haarball said...

This is the first I've seen someone actually acknowledging the very brilliant Maximo Park album. Nice list otherwise as well, especially pleasing to see fellow Norwegian Annie on there. Highly deserved, that.