Dalliance Albums of 2009 – Turn yourself around, make yourself better…

  1. Blue Roses - Blue Roses
    It arrived - this thing of long gestation from Laura Groves playing shows around the pubs and venues of Bradford and beyond - and when it arrived it had surprises such as the stirring of Rebecca, familiarity in the swirl of Can't Sleep and Coast, and lush texture of production that rewarded countless listens.
  2. Quicken The Heart - Maxïmo Park
    The Newcastle five-piece's Seamonsters sees Paul Smith rummaging through lowlife as his urban storytelling takes in seedy nightlife in Roller Disco Dreams, rain lashed views in and frustrated housewives in the pounding The Kids Are Sick Again. Unloved by some but adored by others Maxïmo Park represent a path down from The Jam, The Smiths and Pulp and stand head and shoulders above any other unit shifting band the UK has.
  3. God Help The Girl - God Help The Girl
    Stuart Murdoch's film without a movie is lyrical storytelling of huge ambition evoking the kitchen sink drama of the 1960s and the swooning of teenage girls. Stand out tracks are the cover of Funny Little Frog and the teasing Musicians, Please Take Heed.
  4. Breakfast, Dinner, Tea with The Voluntary Butler Scheme - The Voluntary Butler Scheme
    After flirting with being a proper band one man show Rob Jones put out his whimsical, charming first album casting himself as a passive narrator struggling with life's minor problems. The Eiffel Tower & The BT Tower raises hearts and smiles.
  5. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
    Another year, another noise from New York this time in the form of some buzzy guitars melded with a few C86 references. This Love Is Fucking Right! is a template for the album which makes up for in spirit what it lacks in variety.
  6. Touchdown - Brakes
    The Brighton noise power through another half hour of curious with taking in thrash, country and the odd ballad. Worry About It Later buzzes beautifully, Don't Take Me To Space (Man) manages to provoke thought, be laugh out loud funny and get you dancing.
  7. My Maudlin Career - Camera Obscura
    Where does on go from the Mona Lisa of music that is Let's Get Out Of This Country? The Scots collective produce more of the same and still have a mainline to the heart which they use for the The Sweetest Thing a high watermark on an album that could never be as good as last time.
  8. Years Of Refusal - Morrissey
    A bad year for the man who turned fifty but a his best album since return You Are the Quarry teased at a permanent exit from the limelight. That's How People Grow Up shows that "it" is still in the possession of Stephen.
  9. My Old, Familiar Friend - Brendan Benson
    A set of curiously pleased songs from one of rocks more grumpy men sees Benson stay near his pop roots in A Whole Lot Better while wandering through a whole lot of Gram Parsons with You Make a Fool out of Me
  10. Art Brut vs. Satan - Art Brut
    A confident, interesting album from a band who continue to hover just low enough to stay out of cartoonery. DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake is a blast.