by Thomas Blatchford
Coldcut & The Guilty Party - Re:Volution
Released on the day of the general election - we nearly had William Hague in government, imagine that - Coldcut quietly pushed things forward for veejaying and made the most successful record since Tackhead's 'Hard Left' at turning political soundbites into a gargantuan party 'anfum'.
Ikara Colt - One Note
NME called it an excellent lesson in economy, considering the song only uses one note as implied; if so, minimalism never sounded so riotous and urgent. Many pointed out their similarity to The Fall and Sonic Youth, but if either of those bands had a rhythm section like Clare Ingram and Dominic Young their songs would be rattled through within about ninety seconds and MES/Thurston would have a heart attack.
Super Furry Animals - Sidewalk Serfer Girl
As keen as I am on plucky indie labels, it's great that Epic's financial backing gave Super Furry Animals the chance to realise their creativity in ways that they'd only previously hinted at. One of the occasional sweet love songs on an album brimming with apocalyptic paranoia, Sidewalk Serfer Girl is one of many moments where Rings Around The World seems to better the sum of its myriad influences (Beach Boys, Aphex Twin, Status Quo etc). Shame the pioneering idea of a synchronised CD and DVD album didn't quite take off.
Hefner - Peppermint Taste
It's rarely hailed as Hefner's classic album, but closing statement Dead Media does more than stand up with the rest of 'em and at times pre-empts the electronicly-inclined offerings as The French. As a quirky pop tune that documents bittersweet feelings of love gone unrealised, 'Peppermint Taste' makes you believe Darren Hayman could have written 'Disco 2000' or even 'Last Christmas' if someone else hadn't got there first.
Half Man Half Biscuit - Bob Wilson Anchorman
I'd like to meet Faraday and buy him a beer.
The Avalanches - Tonight
The singles were more of a standout within Since I Left You's rollercoaster narrative, but 'Tonight' is a melancholic detail of skewed exotica that counters the album's bombast beautifully. Lounge bricolage, if you will.
The Beta Band - Broke
With the arrival of 'Hot Shots II' the High Fidelity-endorsed "Bayta Band" suddenly announced they were "no longer shit". A bit too dismissive of their previous form, but they were never better before or since.
Aaliyah - We Need A Resolution
From a flawless slew of chart hits and a superlative album that is still Timbaland's crowning moment, Aaliyah's angsty message of relationship woes was delivered in such an unusual, measured and beguiling way she might as well have been a mermaid or a martian or something. Along with the sass of Miss E...So Addictive and the impact of Stankonia still resonating heavily, Aaliyah cemented the feeling of 2001 being a vintage year for groundbreaking Rn'B; such a shame we'd never get to see what she'd do next.
Bearsuit - The Gazumper
In the same year they released debut single Hey Charlie Hey Chuck, Bearsuit's Hallowe'en split single with Aqua Vista was also an early triumph. Despite buzzsaw guitars and daring the listener to summon the devil, it still sounds like the twee-est rendering of the apocalypse ever.
Mclusky - Whoyouknow
As the first disc of Mcluskyism proves, Mclusky were one of the greatest 'singles bands' of the last decade, (as well as one of the most superior 'album' ones too of course, but you know what I mean). A year later it would herald the bit where you have to fast forward to the hidden track on Mclusky Do Dallas, but in 2001 it was the rabid, raging single that you couldn't play to death because it sounded invincible.