musicOMH’s Top 50 Best Albums Of 2008: 50-41

Dave Berman’s sixth album wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But those who took to it, let it in, loved it.

Lo-fi was built on to create a more expansive sound this time. But is it to be their last album? Berman’s certainly hinted at it.

“Incredibly catchy songs… keep you coming back for more. Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea is Silver Jews’ most complex and most accessible work to date. Better yet, it improves with each listen, as more and more nuances and links are revealed.” – Camilla Pia

read the review | read the interview | buy | myspace49: Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – Sunday At Devil DirtV2/Co-opBelle & Sebastian refugee Campbell’s songs, written for serial collaborator Mark Lanegan’s low-down drawl, stepped up a gear this year.

As well as this album, a further EP was released later in the year as their partnership continues to bear fruit beyond their Mercury-nominated debut’s success.

“Where Campbell and Lanegan’s first album of dusty duets was an unexpected treat, this explores the musical chemistry between the two still further. These occasionally tortured but ultimately uplifting songs are sung from the same emotional hymn sheet.” – Ben Hogwood

read the review | buy | myspace48: Thomas Tantrum – Thomas TantrumSindy StrokerBands like Gang Gang Dance, Los Campesinos! and Thomas Tantrum pointed the way indie was headed in the UK in 2008 – frenetic and freeform.

This relatively low-key release from four friends in Southampton, fronted by the Bristolian-meets-Cockney vocals of Megan Thomas, won over some and bemused others but was liked by enough writers to make the Top 50.

“Here is a band who make writing perfect pop songs sound like the easiest thing in the world.” – Jamie Harper

read the review | buy | myspace47: Cut Copy – In Ghost ColoursModularAfter the domination of dance-punk acts LCD Soundsystem and Klaxons in 2007, 2008 was less obviously an electro year.

But Melbourners Cut Copy’s second album kept the synth sound alive during 2008 with standout tracks Hearts On Fire and Lights And Music.

“Recorded in New York with DFA’s Tom Goldsworthy behind the mixing desk, Cut Copy somehow achieve a cosmopolitan album of western pop music.” – Ben Hogwood

read the review | buy | myspace46: Los Campesinos! – Hold On Now YoungsterWichitaTheir debut album appeared in February, and by October We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed had followed it.

Where some – we’re looking at you, Ryan Adams – sacrifice quality for the sake of prolific output, this seven-piece formed at Cardiff University have so far done no wrong.

“They sound like a band who are bursting to make as much noise as possible; creativity and melodic brilliance bursts out of them and makes that ambition an exhilarating experience.” – Jamie Harper

read the review | read the interview | buy | myspace45: Weezer – Weezer (The Red Album)PolydorRivers Cuomo’s position as Weezer’s songwriter altered for this third primary-coloured, self-titled album.

All four members enjoyed writing credits and there were even two covers. Suggestions that they’d lost their muse proved wide of the mark, as songs of the quality of The Greatest Man That Ever Lived testified.

“Rivers Cuomo remains the star… The Red Album shows everything they do best, with hooks aplenty, emotive and funny lyrics, all washed down with the odd frisson of self doubt… a potent mix.” – Ben Hogwood

read the review | read the interview | buy | myspace44: Okkervil River – The Stand-InsJagjaguwarCompanion piece to 2007’s The Stage Names, The Stand-Ins confirmed the Texans as a literate band with something to say.

Promotion for the album included YouTube videos of people the band knew performing covers of its songs.

“Will Sheff understands the importance of words and practically every song has lyrics that demand to be quoted in big fat chunks. He has a poet’s ear for rhythm and stress and a novelist’s fondness for adopting personae: these are stories as much as songs. Fortunately he is also blessed with a strong, raw voice capable of wringing every last measure of magic out of his lyrics.” – Natasha Tripney

read the review | buy | myspace43: Girls Aloud – Out Of ControlPolydorYes, they’re manufactured. Yes, there’s a hint of AutoTune. But Out Of Control was unquestionably one of the pop albums of 2008.

The trancey Untouchable, the knowing lyrics, the infectious hooks… it all added up to another album of feelgood, fulsome chart fodder.

“The drum-n-bass inspired Live In The Country’s hysterical lyrics about living on a farm, selling strawberry shortcakes at a fete and acting all eccentric is worth the price of the album alone… Another excellent album from a group no longer ‘guilty pleasures’ as much as national treasures.” – John Murphy

read the review | buy | myspace42: Grace Jones – HurricaneWall Of SoundIt was the comeback to beat all comebacks.

The self-described “panther” made her first album in decades and roped in Tricky, Sly & Robbie and Brian Eno for nine tracks of addictively dark pop.

“Her updated persona is rich and soulful, though still exuding the scariness which made us love her in the first place. It is, without a doubt, the work of a superstar returning from the shadows.” – Darren Harvey

read the review | buy | myspace41: The Acorn – Glory Hope MountainBella Union A surprise, this; with Fleet Foxes taking the Bella Union spotlight, The Acorn’s debut album, about their main songwriter’s Honduras-born mother’s flight to Canada, was somewhat overshadowed.

But enough of our writers remembered Glory Hope Mountain to give Rolf Klausener’s Ottowans a Top 50 placing.

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