40. Blood Red Shoes – Box Of Secrets (Mercury)
Brighton-based grunge duo Steven Ansell and Laura-Mary Carter’s debut LP didn’t quite reach the Top 40, but our writers reckoned it should have.
Accordingly, here it is in our Top 40 instead.
39: Amadou & Mariam – Welcome To Mali (Because)
The Malian duo’s Manu Chao produced debut, Dimanche a Bamako, sold half a million copies in France alone. Now came the follow-up.
There were guests aplenty on Welcome To Mali, including Toumani Diabat (whose own album The Mand Sessions was released this year) and Damon Albarn, the latter of whom co-wrote opener Sabali. And this time there were even English lyrics.
38: The Matthew Herbert Big Band – There’s Me And There’s You (Accidental)
A decade ago Matthew Herbert was releasing minimalist dance classics like 100lbs.
Fast forward to 2008 and he’s singlehandedly bringing back big band and making the style relevant with politically charged lyrics and his off-the-wall, samples-based creative approach.
37: Spiritualized – Songs In A&E (Spaceman)
Jason Pierce’s first Spiritualized album in five years was released to a mostly drooling press core.
With a title referencing his near-death experience in 2005, it again featured elements of Julian Cope’s band and saw a return to his expansive, spacey sound.
36: The Kills – Midnight Boom (Domino)
Try to find a mention of The Kills that doesn’t also mention Jamie Hince’s sometime fashion accessory Kate Moss and you’ll struggle.
Reminding us that the scuzzy duo were better known for their music before a supermodel appeared on their scene, Midnight Boom delivered another record to be compared to the sound of The White Stripes.
35: Goldfrapp – Seventh Tree (Mute)
After the electro flagrant of Supernature Alison Goldfrapp donned a wooly jumper and watched The Wicker Man a lot.
This pastoral, folky album was as near to polar opposite to its predecessor as it’s possible to be, but recalled the atmospherics of debut Felt Mountain for some.
34: White Denim – Workout Holiday (Full Time Hobby)
Surfing in on a wave of hype from SXSW, this Texan blues-rock threesome released two separate debut albums.
Workout Holiday consisted of rerecorded EPs previously available in the US, while their US debut LP Explosion appeared digitally in October.
33: Simon Bookish – Everything, Everything (Tomlab)
Leo Chadburn’s third album of “pop music experiments” was his most ambitious yet – and, conversely, his most accessible.
An avant garde cohort of Patrick Wolf, Bookish’s supporting live appearances were enigmatically sparse, ensuring not enough ears heard this excellently realised creative vision. More’s the pity, for this was one of the year’s most impressive records.
32: Hercules And Love Affair – Hercules And Love Affair (DFA/EMI)
Andy Butler’s Ancient Greece meets decadent disco project roped in DFA’s Tim Goldsworthy for a decidedly DFA polish on this debut.
And while vocalists Kim Ann and Nomi did their best at the live shows, it was the name Antony that gathered the column inches early on; the Mercury nominee was reincarnated as a disco diva on several tracks and sounded like he was having a ball.
31: Mystery Jets – Twenty One (sixsevennine)
These Eel Pie Islanders followed up well-received debut Making Dens with this sequel, featuring Laura Marling.
As with Blood Red Shoes’s effort, Twenty One didn’t quite make the UK Top 40; our writers have seen fit to offer it the solace of a spot just outside our Top 30.