BEST ALBUM: Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters
Initially shunned by their native USA – too interesting, clearly – the Sisters set about conquering the UK and did so emphatically. By February the album was flying out of record shops and would continue to do so for the rest of the year.
With the unstoppable Laura, catchy Take Your Mama, glitterball twinged Mary and sensational Pink Floyd cover Comfortably Numb, the band showed that classy musicianship can go well with theatrical gigs – and that it’s possible for the indie market to love a largely gay band. Moreover, the rest of the album contained precious little filler – It Can’t Come Quickly Enough and Return To Oz would stand as classic singles for any other act.
Websites sprung up about front man Jake Shears’ love life – and he lapped it all up. Compared by some to early Elton John, others to XTC and The Bee Gees, the Sisters made the world exciting in 2004.
Morrissey – You Are The Quarry
The Moz returned, a little plumper, a little wiser, and we wondered why he’d been away so long.
Estelle – The 18th Day
A fizzy mix of pop, soul and rap, with a wiser head than her years would suggest, won Estelle hearts and minds with this assured debut.
Australian release of a cover version? You bet. Spiderbait’s inspired dobro twanglings on this souped-up stomper got everyone who was down under making fools of themselves.
The three-piece from New South Wales have the unusual set-up of a drummer/shouter and a bassist/vocalist taking turns on lead vocals, with a guitarist who not only builds his own guitars but is a mean dobro player too.
Scissor Sisters – Laura
Robotic piano and spontaneous vox combined on this track which bizarrely failed to reach the top 50 of the UK singles chart when first released. It did rather better second time around.
Keane – Somewhere Only We Know
Uplifting crescendos sent Keane’s major label debut fluttering into the hearts of people across the land. Subsequent releases were nearly as good.
Just in time for end of year polls, Matt Bellamy and his rhythm section unleashed balloons, paper, smoke, hydraulic lighting and video at the gigantic Earl’s Court arena for two nights – and packed the place.
Musical genius sat alongside mesmerising showmanship as pink coated Bellamy switched effortlessly between synth and guitar. Screams and roars of approval sealed Muse’s place as the big rock band of 2005.
Ash Grunwald @ Manchester Lane, Melbourne 16 March 2004
A low key benefit gig of six artists was utterly dominated by the considerable presence of Australia’s prime exponent of surfer blues, complete with audience participation in Dolphin Song.
Peppered with references to pop culture, with better animation than the original and even an interesting story, Shrek the sequel was everything we’ve been taught a sequel shouldn’t be – great fun, well written, ground-breaking and critically lauded.
The one act two-hander showcased some of the most physical theatre I’ve seen, was historically educational and supremely acted.