Hope Of The States, The Killers, Luxembourg, The Walkmen, Art Brut - Best of 2004

Bill Cummings 12/12/2004

Well that was 2004 far from being dull it was the year that the new cross exploded, the libertines imploded, and a whole slew of new and original acts emerged. Two take our top honours, with their album "The Lost Riot" Hope of the states created a beautiful melancholic alt rock album that led many to dub them the new Radiohead. Whilst the Killers exploded all over our faces with a brilliant tune that led some to compare them to the sound of Duran Duran being fronted by the Smiths. Also we had some great compilations that opened our ears and our hearts to new acts like luxembourg, the long blondes, rhesus and art brut these are our standard bearers for 2005.


Number 1
Hope of the states- The Lost Riot.
One of the most eagerly anticipated albums of the year, The Lost Riots was a highly accomplished blend of post-rock and more traditional indie rock. Opening with the mighty 'The Black Amnesias', surely one of the greatest instrumental songs ever recorded, and progressing through to the centrepiece and incredible debut single 'Black Dollar Bills', The Lost Riots was an emotionally and sonically advanced record made all the more poignant by guitarist Jimmi Lawrence's suicide in the run-up to its release. Sam Herlihy's limited voice is stretched on occasions, but melody always reigns and The Lost Riots is beautiful from the artwork down to the soundscapes created by some excellent musicianship and creative songwriting. (AlexWorsnip)

Number 2
Morrissey- You are the Quarrey
Although you couldn't compare this album to the work of the Smiths: that was unfair. This was Morrissey solo - to enjoy this album, you have to accept him for all his foibles. But in terms of his solo work this ranks right up there with some of his best. It soars in the right places and it gloriously wallows in a way that only Morrissey can. Seven years away never stopped us dreaming; Morrissey was back and it meant the Smiths finally got the credit they rightly deserve as one of the best and most consistent bands of the 1980s.(BillCummings)

Number 3
Kasabian- Kasabian
Well you lot voted for it so they must be popular with someone outside of the NME I'm still trying to figure out who. Nevertheless they did bring a much needed bit of swagger back to the charts, whilst also reviving the memory of the baggy scene, you know that scene that created some inspired records: The Happy Mondays with Kinky Afro and The Stone Roses single Waterfall are two that spring to mind. They also had a two good singles the powerful LSF, and the beat ridden "Processed beats" that would fill indie dance halls around the land. (BillCummings)

Number 4
The Killers - Hot Fuss
When all the fuss does die down what you were left with was a powerful synth driven party album, the soundtrack to every Friday night you've ever had.
The brilliant "On Top" the sublime kinetic energy of the gender bending hit "Somebody told me," and of course our single of the year the insistent jealous swagger of "Mr Brightside." Elsewhere you had probably the best non single, song of the year "Jenny was a friend of mine" and the gospel and marching band enhanced: "All these things that I've done."
What critics of this album missed was the sheer power and immediacy of their melodies that infused with synths borrowed from the cure and a dash of The Smiths, they probably made one of the most British sounding indie rocknroll albums of the year. If only they wouldn't keep re-releasing stuff! (BillCummings)

Number 5
Manic Street Preachers - LifeBlood
Met with equal amounts of praise and snobbish frowns, LifeBlood proved that the Manics could still work with a tune, and when LifeBlood was good (the fantastic politically-charged single 'The Love Of Richard Nixon', the stadium-ready riffing of 'Empty Souls'), it silenced the doubters. Still, not even a sturdy collection of pop songs could save this from commercially bombing. Mixed reviews, a widespread internet leak and general lack of interest contributed to LifeBlood's downfall, but it sure hasn't stopped it from appearing in our list (although this may slightly have something to do with the fact that Bill plugged the forum mainly to kids on the Forever Delayed Manics forum).(Mike Mantin)


Number 1
The Killers -Mr Brightside
So, the task of re-iterating how special the GIITTV single of the year is has fallen to little old me. Well what was it about Mr Brightside that made people take it to their hearts, then holler the words as loud as their lungs would allow?
All over the country, people were watching as their mate made a move on the boy/girl of their dreams, then turning around and finding Brandon Flowers & Co. had made an anthem for the jettisoned and jealous, an anthem that made them forget about everything else and just prance around- carefree- with arms flailing.
Then again, maybe it wasn't that at all, maybe you didn't give a stuff about the poxy words, maybe you just loved that spine-tingling, goose-bumping, arpeggio guitar riff and the way that the synths just kept building and building, going higher and higher like some sort of lost New Wave classic. As for me, I just loved it because whenever, and wherever I heard it (in the car, at home or even at work), I just couldn't stop smiling. (Liam McGrady)

Number 2
Pete Doherty and Wolfman- For Lovers“
I'm running away with you” croons Pete at the beginning of this lush pop-ballad penned by his bud Wolfman, now a solo-star in his own right thanks to his superb single 'Napoleon'. Hoards of indie-girls (and a good few boys) wish they could elope with the erstwhile Libertine. And with his heart-felt lyrics and vocals and wounded, effete, abandoned puppy-dog looks, you can see why (poor lad). B side 'Back from the Dead' is also a prime candidate for the best Doherty penned song as the seductive riff and apt lyrics combine to over-power even the most cynical of NME-hype haters. (Jared O'Mara)

Number 3
Luxembourg -What the Housewives Don't Tell You
Camp and fun debauchery from this New Cross Quintet on the verge of greatness. Infectious guitar melodies, emphatic vocals and a superb b-side of feral boy on boy action in the shape of fans' favourite Close-Cropped. It's a lonely, lonely vigil when you're raised aloft on a pedestal above all other indie-pop bands! (Jared O'Mara)

Number 4
Art Brut - Modern Art/My Little Brother
Art Brut's dedicated followers spent 8 long months in anticipation for the follow-up to the now-anthemic and (in)famous Formed A Band, and it didn't disappoint in the slightest. It sees heavily-eyebrowed singer (and established indie icon) Eddie Argos grooving around in an art gallery and comes complete with that venomous, semi-spoken yelp that made Formed A Band so special. My Little Brother is the b-side, with its cry of “My little brother just discovered rock 'n' roll!” And you thought they were just a novelty band.(MikeMantin)

Number 5
The Walkmen - The Rat
In a year when New York shrugged and declared it didn't really have much to offer, only one song truly whipped up excitement in those who knew where to look. The Rat's devastating vocals of “You've got a nerve to be asking a favour/You've got a nerve to be calling my number” screech against a delightfully angry guitar line. This is undoubtedly the year's ultimate I'm-fucking-angry song. If Room On Fire made you lose faith in Julian's gang, this is the place to go. Shame they didn't make it big.(Mike Mantin)

Mike Mantin
Liam McGrady
Jared O'Mara