Inspired by the NME’s ’100 Greatest Albums You’ve Never Heard’, here are my six nominations.
Giant by The Woodentops (Rough Trade, 1986).
They suffered from the Curse of Morrissey: Mozzer would namecheck a band, have them support The Smiths on tour… and then they would sink without trace. But Giant is an amazing slice of frenetic, life-affirming guitar pop. It’s not without its darker moments too, and like all good music it’s hard to say exactly what this sounds like or what Rolo McGinty had been listening to.
Happiness by The Beloved (WEA, 1990).
Not a perfect album by any means – there are duff tracks – but another life-affirming pop record: electro-pop this time. Beautiful melodies, synths and beats and words that make me swoon and feel happy to be alive.
Consequences by Godley and Creme (Mercury, 1977).
As curator of Mr Blint’s Attic, a website devoted to this album, I have to choose this. An extraordinarily bloated, over-blown, over-ambitious triple concept album. Weaved between a play written by Peter Cook (and mostly performed by him in a variety of roles) are some hauntingly beautiful songs written by Godley and Creme as they split from 10cc to show off a new musical instrument they had invented: the Gizmo, which bows the strings of a guitar.
Mummer by XTC (Virgin, 1983).
That difficult sixth album. The band was falling apart, they were ditched by their US record label, they changed producers, changed studios, nothing was going right. Yet amidst it all they produced a beautiful piece of English pastoral music, highlights including the sublime ‘Love on a Farmboy’s Wages’, ‘Ladybird’ and Colin Moulding’s lovesong to church graveyards, ‘In Loving Memory of a Name’.
Reading, Writing and Arithmetic by The Sundays (Rough Trade, 1990).
It’s the lyrics. It’s just Harriet Gavurin’s mad, mad, bloody wonderful lyrics. I won the war in the sitting room… in a dress dress dress I’ve been sick on. And around this time, My Finest Hour really was the time I found a pound on the Undergound.
Reproduction by The Human League. (Virgin, 1979).
I can’t explain why I love this so much but it’s probably always going to be my very favourite album ever. Utterly bonkers. A late 1970s futuristic, and yet medieval, vision of… something. Oh and there’s a cover of ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’. Not a duff track on it. Genius.