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Opinion: The 10 Best Albums of 2009 [7-5]

The second part of The Only Thing I Know For Sure’s top ten of 2009. Part one can be found here.

7. Mastodon – Crack The Skye (Warner Brothers)

Mastodon - Crack The Skye

Bombastic and pretentious, this year Mastodon reinvented themselves. Crack The Skye at times beggars belief, the band pulling musical tricks out of their sleeve that nobody saw coming. It’s debatable whether this is their best album yet, but without a doubt it shows that Mastodon are so much more than a skilled thrash band with a few ideas – they’re happy to pioneer and mix up genres that have no right to belong together. The fact that they then went on to play these songs to perfection when they visited the UK this year just cements the fact that they are one of the best things ever at the moment.

6. Thrice – Beggars (Vagrant)

Thrice - Beggars

Ok, so let me be honest – this is the first Thrice album I’ve ever listened to. Shocking yes, but maybe it wasn’t such a bad start. Those fans fonder of their earlier sound seem somewhat disillusioned with this effort, but I sure as hell don’t understand where they’re coming from. Beggars is such an intricate piece of work, and a powerful release for vocalist Justin Kensrue’s troubled mind, that it demands attention and respect. Certainly one of the most affecting albums of the year, and not just because of its melancholic reflections on belonging and faith – Thrice still take care to rock out as hard as ever.

5. Ex Libras – Suite(s) (Wirebird)

This one came completely out of the blue, but it is something incredibly special. When I reviewed it, I had to rely on that journalistic crutch of comparing Ex Libras to Radiohead, a compliment that sometimes seems the only one music writers can conjure in order to make a new band sound important. But I stand by my favourable comparison, as ‘Suite(s)’ mixes the intelligent experimentation of ‘Kid A’ with more basic elements, such as a stunning vocal performance from Amit Sharma. A remarkably impressive debut, what makes it more exciting that this is a band at the very beginning of their musical career. And even Radiohead started shite, so imagine what this lot are capable of?

(Read the full review of Suite(s))

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Opinion: The 10 Best Albums of 2009 [10-8]

Hooray, 2009 has nearly shuffled its mortal coil! That means that self-opinionated bastards such as myself get an opportunity to painstakingly put together a list of the albums that made us happy and glad that music is still alive this year! And then you can tell me how completely rubbish my list is, and give me yours and I’ll laugh at it, then we’ll argue and never get anything solved – surely the purpose of the internet, right?

It has, in all honesty, been an amazing year for music releases. There is so much stuff that could be on this list, and to be honest there’s still stuff that I’m yet to even get my ears around. Such is the proliferation of music output these days it’s nigh on impossible to hear it all. This list is what I heard, and what I loved, and hopefully what I will continue to love for years to come.

Anyway, enough talk. Here are places ten to eight on The Only Thing I Know For Sure’s 10 Best Albums of 2009.

10. Bats – Red In Tooth And Claw (Richter Collective)

Bats - Red In Tooth And Claw

Without a doubt my surprise finding of the year, Bats took me aback with their furious and off-the-wall debut album. It helps that the album has the same name as a Rosetta song, hence my interest, but within this album’s

Some of this is just batshit insane. Lyrics revolve around jargonistic science terms that are way beyond my GCSE comprehension, but it’s that sense of ridicule that makes these guys stand out. Sort of like a more technically impressive, less electronic Enter Shikari, Bats are fun for all the family. Except gran.

9. Pissed Jeans – King Of Jeans (Sub Pop)

Pissed Jeans - King Of Jeans

King Of Jeans is an incoherent, drunken mess of an album; stumbling through the room like the 15 year-old girl who snuck into the party and drank half a bottle of that green stuff that no one else dared to touch, borderline undecided whether she wants to vomit, shit herself or just give in to all moral and personal consequences and do both.” That’s what I said when I reviewed this moralistic monstrosity earlier this year, and I totally stand by it. Best way to enjoy this album? In a puddle of last night’s regurgitated dinner as the cat does its business atop your greasy hair. Sleaze.

(Read the full review for King Of Jeans)

8. The Ghost Of A Thousand – New Hopes, New Demonstrations (Epitath)

The Ghost of a Thousand - New Hopes, New Demonstrations

The Ghost Of A Thousand should be getting more column inches than Gallows. Their second is the sound of a band shaping themselves up for a fantastic future. Full of passion, vitality and searing tunes, they’ve really set themselves a massive benchmark to beat for the future. Taking inspiration from Refused to Motley Crue, the band, despite their young ages, show a breadth of musical talent. “If the superstardom of the likes of Gallows has alienated their message to you somewhat, consider The Ghost of a Thousand.”

(Read the full review for New Hopes, New Demonstrations)