Kate’s Albums Of 2010: 10, 10, 9 and 8…
As a precursor to the delayed Review of the Year 2010, due out in early to mid January, Kate presents her top ten albums of the year (and yes, there are two albums at number 10...)
10= Sky Larkin – Kaleide (Wichita Records)
Kate’s rating – 4.5/6.0
Again, another record that doesn’t quite live up to the expectations of its formidable debut on first play, but one that’s still worth your undivided attention and patience all the same. Give it time to grow, and Sky Larkin’s Kaleide is forty-odd minutes of optimistic powerpop. Katie Harkin is on fine lyrical form, memorably rhyming ‘precipice’ with ‘piece of piss’ on Still Windmills, and her choice of words lend a truly delicious sense of rhythm to way she sings the second verse of Spooktacular. The main difference to The Golden Spike is there’s a touch more aggression to both Harkin’s voice and the rhythm section - but why overhaul a winning formula anyway?
Standout track: Spooktacular. An early debut from the new album as a part of a free download, the demo version made a rail replacement bus journey from Brighton to Haywards Heath after The Great Escape far more bearable, with its rollicking guitars and sinister refrain.
10= Best Coast – Crazy For You (Wichita Records)
Kate’s rating – 4.5/6.0
OK, so Bethany Cosentino’s debut isn’t going to be for everyone. The lyrical themes are few – boys, broken hearts and, er, ‘jazz cigarettes’ – but musically it’s a guilt-free trip through soulful early 60s-style slacker pop. Cosentino harks to days gone by in the same way as Amy Winehouse does on Back To Black – pilfering all the the best bits like syncopated basslines and sunny backing vocals – and treating them with a freedom that keeps the sound fresh. Oh, and I think I’ve mentioned it before, but she clearly adores Snacks, her ginger cat, who appears on the album’s cover. Bonus points for Bethany!
Standout track: Crazy For You – simple and straightforward, full of fuzzy guitars and languid vocal delivery from Ms Cosentino that immediately makes her stand out from her contemporaries.
9. James Yuill – Movement In A Storm (Moshi Moshi Records)
Kate’s rating – 4.7/6.0
It’s not a strong as his genre-busting first album, but Movement In A Storm is still a work that James Yuill can be proud of. There’s nods to Daft Punk on First In Line and some more downbeat touches reflecting Yuill’s love of Nick Drake et al – the Radiohead-tinged Foreign Shore is a pleasant shock bang in the middle of the record and Sing Me A Song is a stoic track – sad words set to upbeat notes.
Standout track: On Your Own, the lead single, a wistful number featuring some classy boy-girl vocals, clean drumbeats, shimmery 80s style high synths, and an ever-so-faint whiff of funk-a-la-Prince on the breeze, if you listen really carefully. Easily the strongest song on the album.
8. Edwyn Collins – Losing Sleep (Wichita Records)
Kate’s rating – 4.8/6.0
I must confess that as far as Edwyn Collins is concerned, I was a bit of a musical ignoramus. I knew of A Girl Like You as a teenager, but very little of his illustrious history with Orange Juice. I stumbled across him by chance two years ago at a small instore in Fopp Manchester with Roddy Frame, and he’s one of those people who possesses real charisma and a genteel, almost quite old-fashioned charm and warmth. Another of the Motel’s contributors was almost moved to tears watching.
Losing Sleep is the first album Collins has written and recorded since his life-threatening brain haemmorrhage in 2005, and he’s updated his distinctive sound so effortlessly. Featuring an all-star cast (Johnny Marr, close friend Roddy Frame, Romeo Stodart of The Magic Numbers, plus members of Franz Ferdinand, The Cribs and The Drums), it’s clear to me now that without the influence and guiding hand of Orange Juice and Collins, indie music would be a far less enjoyable place.
Standout track: What Is My Role? Featuring Collins’ Wichita labelmate Ryan Jarman, this is thankfully more of an indie-rock Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves than a Dancing In The Street. It’s a triumphant meeting of like minds rather than a dashed off musical squib.
And some albums that just missed the top ten/eleven...
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Broken Records – Let Me Come Home
Caribou – Swim
Delorean – Subiza
The Drums – The Drums
Fyfe Dangerfield – Fly Yellow Moon
Kisses – The Heart Of The Nightlife
Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can
Mount Kimbie – Crooks And Lovers
Shout Out Louds – Work
Tim And Sam’s Tim And The Sam Band With Tim And Sam – Life Stream
Villagers – Becoming A Jackal
Warpaint – The Fool
words: Kate Goodacre