Craig’s Lists 2008 – Albums of the Year

From The Sunday Business Post, 21st December

sdIt may be the age of instant, one-song downloads, but 2008 was chock-full of truly excellent and artfully-crafted long-players.  Glasgow’s Sons & Daughters got the year off to a fine start with the glossy, girl-group pop of This Gift, while soulful compatriots Glasvegas rose above the hype with their self-titled debut. Travis may have seemed unlikely to return with a cracking album, yet their new effort, Ode To J Smith, was just that.

jim-noirIn England, Elbow were worthy winners of the Mercury Prize with The Seldom Seen Kid, while Brighton’s Blood Red Shoes proved that a duo of drums, guitar and vocals could be greater than the sum of its parts with their debut, Box of Secrets.  The Duke Spirit made up for a patchy debut with their sumptuous follow-up, Neptune, while Mancunian retro-futurist Jim Noir gave us his thus-far tragically overlooked self-titled album, which brimmed pop perfection. Foals‘ debut, Antidotes, also came highly recommended.

rook2From the States, we had Fleet Foxes‘ eponymous harmonic masterpiece, while the virtually critic-proof TV on the Radio excelled with their fourth release, Dear Science. An unexpected highlight came from Austin band Shearwater,whose ornithology-obsessed fifth album, Rook, was filled with sweeping arrangements, swooping choruses and impeccable attention to musical detail. Meanwhile, Canada’s The Dears returned with a slimmed-down lineup but packed no less of a punch with their incendiary Missiles.

ladyhawkeFurther afield, New Zealand’s Pip Brown, aka Ladyhawke, released the pop album of the year with her eponymous collection of joyful, danceable, ’80s-retro nuggets, while from Africa, Amadou & Mariam released the equally jubilant, and thoroughly excellent, Welcome To Mali.

mk1In Ireland, it was a pretty good year, too. We had excellent albums from Jape, Saville, Halfset and the much-anticipated, rollocking debut from Fight Like Apes with their Mystery of the Golden Medallion.  But top billing has to go to Richie Murphy’s Michael Knight, whose flamboyant and meticulously-arranged second album, I’m Not Entirely Clear How I Ended Up Like This, should be sought by anyone with a penchant for Neil Hannon, or even Noel Coward. Wonderful stuff.

2 thoughts on “Craig’s Lists 2008 – Albums of the Year

  1. Hi there!
    I don’t really know all the albums you rated here as best or worst, but I sure agree with some of your opinions about music this year. If you can, please check my blog. It’s also about alternative music, written in portuguese but with english songs, mostly. Hope you like it and find somehting there you can appreciate.

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