We’re into the home stretch now, with three of the top four albums of the year. Again, their just arranged alphabetically, since they’re so different from each other it’s impossible to rank them in order. Well, that’s my excuse anyway…
Fish – Feast of Consequences
Fish’s first album for six years is an ambitious, raw and passionate record that combines many of the best elements of his later work. Lyrically it takes us from the trenches of World War One to the intensely personal, and yet again demonstrates Fish is one of the most underrated lyricists in rock. Musically it’s goes from celtic atmospherics and acoustic balladry to out-and-out rock’n'roll, with a stripped-down production that manages to capture the energy of a live performance. This is the best thing he’s done for a long, long time.
Goldfrapp – Tales of Us
This record is a thing of beauty. It’s a stripped-down acoustic record that has more in common with the likes of Odin Dragonfly than their earlier electro-glam. Arrangements made up largely of acoustic guitar and strings emphasise the beguiling melodies of the songs and beauty of Alison Goldfrapp’s voice, which reminds me strongly of Anne-Marie Helder in places. More mainstream, perhaps, than most of the other records in this list, but it’s still a great record.
Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused To Sing
Steven Wilson’s second album to feature the virtuoso band from “Grace for Drowning”, this is a far more focussed and concise record than its sprawling predecessor. It’s still the spirit of early 70s King Crimson reinvented for modern audiences, with a strong jazz flavour, plenty of Mellotron, and space for the soloists to work their magic. There are plenty of people who are still missing Porcupine Tree, but on the evidence of this record his new band is more than a fair trade.
The album of the year will follow in the next post.