Dalliance Albums of 2007 – The prize is a pig, Hey! That’s criminal…

  1. Night Falls Over Kortedala - Jens Lekman
    The sound of a heart beating in a thousand different ways Night Falls Over Kortedala - while bordering on twee - is an emotionally honest record revealing in the quirky and glorious, enjoying sweeping highs and distressing over bitter lows. And I Remember Every Kiss is stripped down power, Sipping On Sweet Nectar is joy unrestrained. Postcard To Nina is funny and big while Into Eternity is heart-warming and small. I'm Leaving Because I Don't Love You is raw emotion. Everything rings true, everything has the feeling of a conversation rather than a confession. Everything is honest and valuable and sweeps you away.
  2. Icky Thump - The White Stripes
    The bric-a-brac shop of music that is the White Stripes is never better presented than in the three week recording fest of bagpipes, RAT distorted guitars, one handed drumming and general madness of Icky Thump. Everything pulses with a wild imagination hard to sustain over two bands and over ten years of recording but Jack White comes good again with another in a long line of most interesting things about music today. Icky Thump, Conquest, I'm Slowly Turning Into You, Effect and Cause and Rag And Bone get continued plays. 300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues, A Martyr For My Love For You and You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told) provide the depth. Plenty of bad notes, plenty of strange notes, plenty of everything and nothing uninteresting.
  3. Favourite Worst Nightmare - Arctic Monkeys
    The second album problems neatly circumnavigated with an acceptance of the change of focus from local heroes to International popsters The Arctic Monkeys Favourite Worst Nightmare is far more interesting that it sound be. Fluorescent Adolescent and Balaclava show a maturing of style and theme from the massive selling first album while If You Were There, Beware and Do Me A Favour show a real growth that is confirmed in album ending, show stealing 505.
  4. Neon Bible - Arcade Fire
    Everyone has tagged Neon Bible as the album of the year and it is not hard to see why with Arcade Fire reaching high and grasping near. It is melodramatic and swooping. It is powerful and effecting. It is a superb album but it lacks a edge of the personal. There is a glory in Neon Bible but it is obviously vicarious. That said there are few better tracks released this year than Keep the Car Running or (Antichrist Television Blues). Neon Bible and Windowsill keep a general massively high quality and rich texture. As with the Arctic Monkeys Favourite Worst Nightmare this is the difficult second album done superbly.
  5. Boyracer Jukebox - Vol 1 Boyracer
    Leeds/Nashville popsters release fifteen cover versions - some classics, some not - of lo-fi pop excess and knock out a belting album. They Don't Know, When You Were Mine and Swords of a Thousand Men are all brilliant. Total Eclipse of the Heart is the reason anyone has ever picked up a guitar. Superb.
  6. Grown Ups - The Lodger
    A long time in gestation the smarter face of The Pigeon Detectives and The Kaiser Chiefs are The Lodger and Ben Siddall's band's first offering Grown Ups is a minor miracle touching on the likes of The Smiths and The Jam without sounding contrived or copied. From superb opener Many Thanks for Your Honest Opinion through the ebullient Kicking Sand and on Grown Ups is a smart record released into a world that prefers not to think.
  7. Cinerama Peel Sessions Vol 3
    A collection of old songs for sure but worth pushing Wait For Me by would be Wedding Present (or arrivistes if you prefer) The Pigeon Detectives down a place. Covers of All The Things She Said and Groovejet are worth the money alone which On/Off is a reminder of the superb and meandering path that David Gedge took in Cinerama.
  8. R.E.M. Live
    Obviously familiar - it is a collection of often albums old songs done live - but effective live set done in rehearsals for the 2008 released new album. Stand outs are reworked Document offering Bad Day and Mike Mills country rendition on (Don't Go Back To) Rockville.
  9. 23 - Blonde Redhead
    Aging New Yorkers produce their finest work to date with a textured and rich album of modern shoegazing. 23 grips onto the area behind the ears and worms into the the mind. Top Ranking stands as one of the tunes of the year.
  10. Our Earthly Pleasures - Maximo Park
    Baroque and hard edged pop sung with some style and no little intelligence that marks the album out from the morass of laddish indie pop. Singles Our Velocity and Girls Who Play Guitars are impressive but the soul of the band is shown best in Books from Boxes and By The Monument.
  11. Possum and the Moods - The Possum Moods
    Possum and the Moods is funky Lo-Fi pop with a large slice of spirit. Stand out tracks are 4WD and One More Try bookended an interesting and effective album.
  12. Wait For Me - Pigeon Detectives
    Not really big, not really clever but it is indie guitar pop with track after track of hummable if forgettable tunes. Stop And Go and Take Her Back live longer in the mind but for all the enjoyment of 2007 this is bubblegum pop and not for the new year.