by / December 13th, 2010 /

Best of Lists: Top Story: State’s Albums of 2010 – 50 to 41

Down to the serious business then and our first selection of ten features a returning legend of black music, a healthy dose of electronic art and four Irish acts to name but a few. Let us know your thoughts below as we kick off with….

Albums of 2010:
75-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

50. Field Music – Measure

Sunderland’s David and Peter Brewis nearly sent Field Music out to pasture after a three year hiatus during which they turned out two strong solo efforts. Happily, the brothers reunited for this gorgeous, willful, not-quite-concept album that gleefully splashes prog-rock, chiming chamber pop, and urgent incantations across a 20-track canvas. Pretty, jagged rhythms and truncated or twisted melodies abound, spurred on by dazzling pop sparklers like ‘Them That Do Nothing’. Measure is a warm, overabundant, brandy-soaked Christmas feast of an album, hopefully assuring Field Music’s longevity. (Kara Manning)

49. Phosphorescent – Here’s To Taking It Easy

“An album to soak up while sipping whiskey in the twilight as the dog snores at your feet….” – see more here.

48. Plan B – The Defamation Of Strickland Banks

The ‘breakthrough artist of the year’ was in fact a young man on his second album, although such a turn around was this from Ben Drew’s stark, acoustic hip-hop flavoured debut that it was an easy mistake to make. Not that The Defamation Of Strickland Banks didn’t have its dark side, detailing the story of an imaginary soul singer sent down for that old favorite, a crime he didn’t commit. The soul element to the record is spot on, never slipping into pastiche, and it had enough tunes to see him into the charts. An unlikely triumph. (Phil Udell)

47. Mount Kimbie – Crooks & Lovers

“An unmissable record for fans of forward thinking electronic music…..” – read State’s review here.

46. Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here

Missing in action for years at the end of a crack pipe, I’m New Here was Gil Scott-Heron’s last shot at the title – an emotional suckerpunch that hit a raw nerve. Some 40 years after he tore into The Man with his protest poetry, Gil’s introspective verses over stark hip-hop soundscapes and wailing blues unearthed the weathered voice of a survivor, and that’s enough for now. As he sings on the title track: ‘No matter how far wrong you’ve gone, you can always turn around.’ (Conor McCaffrey)

45. Dave Couse – Alonewalk

25 years on from his first shows with A House in the Underground, Dave Couse showed in 2010 what an artistic rebirth sounds like. Alonewalk is a set of eight unshowy, uncertain songs, built around stately piano lines and a sometimes cracking falsetto, that couldn’t have been recorded by a younger man. Alonewalk is beautiful and haunting and, God forgive me, wise. Better than I Am The Greatest (Niall Crumlish).

44. Klaxons – Surfing the Void

Technically their third album – the second was reportedly rejected by the label for being “too experimental” – Surfing the Void takes the rave-rock blueprint established on Klaxon’s exhilarating Myths of the Near Future and slows the tempo down a notch. Some of the dance elements have been dropped, to be replaced by more nuanced classic rock textures, but overall it’s still very recognisably Klaxons. (Dave Donnelly)

43. Ham Sandwich – White Fox

Coming on the back of a tricky couple of years, many would have understood if Ham Sandwich’s second album had been a little lacking in confidence. Instead it was an absolute joy, seeing them improve in every area and define their own sound. And they brought us one of the year’s great singles in ‘The Naturist’ to boot. (Phil Udell)

42. Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History

Exploding out of tiny Bangor, Northern Ireland with a debut album on the fashionable ‘Kistune’ label, Two Door Cinema Club have had an immediate impact, establishing themselves as a firm favorite with the young crowd and touring relentless – more than 240 shows in 2010. Tourist History showcases their brand of chirpy electro-pop with a spate of hooky, memorable singles you might just have caught on a TV advert or ten over the past few months. Simple, but highly, highly effective. (James Hendicott)

Two Door Cinema Club – I Can Talk

41. Enemies – We’ve Been Talking

With Ireland’s current abundance of instrumental bands, it was easy to overlook Wicklow four-piece Enemies. Released in June, their debut album We’ve Been Talking is a brilliant blend of dexterous rhythms and considered melodies. Through a mixture of subtle inflections and well-mannered bombast, the nine track LP keeps its momentum and avoids indulgence. Musically accomplished and always engaging, this record speaks for itself. (Daniel Carroll)

Albums of 2010:
75-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1