Toad Top 20 Albums 2008: 6-10
6. Barton Carroll – The Lost One
I know nothing about Barton Carroll, I wasn’t looking forward to this album at all, and then when it landed in my lap I still refused to quite get it for ages; maybe it’s because it’s stylistically quite unadventurous. The big difference, though, is that absolutely every single song on this album, despite flirting with cliche rather frequently, is compelling. They all have you perking up when they come on in their turn, thinking ‘oh good, this song’.
Barton Carroll – Those Days are Gone, and My Heart is Breaking
7. Donny Hue & the Colors – Tell Tall Tales
This is another album which rather arrived out of nowhere. I wasn’t even aware it was in the pipeline when the promo copy was emailed through in November or so, when the album turned out to be quite so brilliant it was like an early Christmas present. It’s wry and witty, sad and playful and a simple pleasure from start to finish.
Donny Hue & the Colors – Good Time Happening
8. Bombadil – A Buzz, A Buzz
I liked this album enough all on its own, but when I saw these guys play live at Pickathon in August I was just floored. I haven’t enjoyed a live performance so much in years – it was just overflowing with fun and zest and exuberance, and only the clinically dead could have failed to be swept away.
Bombadil – Cavaliers’ Har Hum
9. Pale Young Gentlemen – Black Forest (Tra La La)
This is just a fantastically rewarding album to listen to. It’s delicate at times, wistful at others, and thumping at others. It’s also more instrumentally accomplished than pretty much anything else you’ll listen to for a long time.
Pale Young Gentlemen – Coal/Ivory
10. The Pictish Trail – Secret Soundz Vol. 1
For someone who I’ve seen on stage so many times, and seen play for other people’s bands so many times, this record still still wasn’t anything like what I expected. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this ever-surprising dance from sad to playful to downright bizarre wasn’t it. It’s a cracking record though, almost because it seems so surprising.
The Pictish Trail – Winter Home Disco