3. The Miserable Rich – Of Flight and Fury (Humble Soul)
Kate’s rating – 5.6/6.0
The Miserable Rich have come on leaps and bounds since their 2008 debut Twelve Ways To Count. Their ability to tell stories through music alone is phenomenal, and that’s before you even add James de Malplaquet’s sincere yet lyrical voice into the mix. There’s a playfulness about this record and the band that captivates you, and it’s the kind of record that only gets better with repeated plays.
Standout track: Pegasus. You can often tell a lot about how good an album is going to be by its first track. Elbow’s Starlings, The Fun Powder Plot by Wild Beasts and Horse and I by Bat For Lashes are three very recent examples which spring to mind. Pegasus is no exception – a lyrical number with lovely expression from the band’s immensely talented string section.
2. Everything Everything – Man Alive (Geffen Records)
Kate’s rating – 5.6/6.0, Holly’s rating – 5.8/6.0
Everything Everything may be everywhere right now, and when I first heard this album, I immediately got the sense that they were going to be one of the biggest bands of 2010 within their genre. I’m going to go on record now and say that I will be absolutely horrified if this album doesn’t pick up a Mercury Prize nomination next year.
Standout track: Suffragette Suffragette. It certainly makes an impact, with its particularly persistent guitar and Jonathan’s fine vocal performance. And don’t get me started on the whole fence/face lyric question, because I have no idea.
1. Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me (Drag City Records)
Kate’s rating - 5.8/6.0
Joanna Newsom came up trumps not with one, but three whole CDs of goodness. Whilst it’s impossible to deny that she’s tamed her inimitable vocal style on this release, this compromise is balanced out by an ever-more adventurous approach to instrumentation, genre and form. Each and every track is stunning in its own way.
Standout track: In California, a beautiful nine-minute opus that you can so easily lose yourself in. Hushed, thoughtful passages contrast with tumultuous, sweeping strings and at the end of it, all you can do is feel gobsmacked. And play it again, and again, and again...
words: Kate Goodacre