Yep, that time of year. always fun I guess. And as usual, I guess I'll find an absolute gem from this year in 6 months time which missed the list. Typical. Anyway, in reverse order:
10: POISON THE WELL - Versions
A gap of four years, 2 less full time members and an apparent does of Country music, it seems. Ever heard raw, brutal riffage underpinned by a banjo? You have now. An unexpected, intense joy.
9: THE SOUNDS - Dying to Say this to you
Scandinavia does it again. Danceable pop rock magic coated with synths and sleek punky guitars, and beefed up with some sultry "up yours" vocals from the loevly Maja. Sureferosa's crown could be nabbed.
8: ARCADE FIRE - Neon Bible
A lesson on how to make sweeping subtle rock with a slight dose of the kitchen sink. Equally uplifting and melancholy, Neon Bible is many things, none of them bad.
7: SHINY TOY GUNS - We Are Pilots
Or Version 3, having been reproduced a couple of times. Leftovers from 2006, Shiny Toy Guns are that rare beast of pop groups: Anthemic and catchy and downright sleazy and filthy. If there's any justice, the Mrs would be easily seduced by those dark riffs and elctronic throbs.
6: DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL - A Fragile Hope
It's not often that dark apocolyptical riffage can sometimes sound so uplifting, but it's more than evidence here. The youthful UK bunch drag a sound from the depths of hell and light it with a heavenly fire. It rages and envelopes the soul and you may cry with joy.
5. BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME - Colors
Here's another bunch who love that kitchen sink, but love brutal old skool metal riffage. Grunts and growls collide with blastbeats, jazzy interludes and the occasional acordian. Plus, this is downright accessible.
4. MUNICIPAL WASTE - The Art of Partying
Like Zombies? Beer? Dirty, fast slammin, frash metal? No? You will now. Fun is on the cards in this Wasteland, and no one escapes the food brawl. Or the beer pressure, or the general party-til-you-puke headbanging frenzy. Lighten up, you boring bastard.
3. PORCUPINE TREE - Fear of Blank Planet
The geek will inherit the eart. Especially if some downright scary riffs can be put to beautiful melodies and soaring vocals. Not to forget the ambient touches and intricate drumming. Did we also forget musicianship?
2. BIFFY CLYRO - Puzzle
Rock. It's good, and you know it. And this is good, very good. Catch, anthemic, and just so easy. Puzzle just oozes simplicity, as well as a canny knack to give it some welly as much as just caress those guitars. Melody is wasted these days, and Puzzle makes up for it
1. JIMMY EAT WORLD - Chase This Light
There was a time where emo was not used without outside of "emocore" and Jimmy were Kings. To be fair, they still are. Chase This Light should be a friendsly addition to a wondrous back catalogue that oozed love, despair, pain, anger and all that other human stuff. On evidence of this, they're happy, really happy, and combined with the powerful rock of their past, it's a majestic comeback. This is the kind of album you truly fall in love with, the kind where life is good and nothing can change your mind. The fact it's the top of this list unexpectedly roves that.