The first of the year's "best ofs", for some reason MOJO's CD contains a couple of tracks from reissues, as if there isn't enough new music to fill the 80 minutes of the disc, which of course is nonsense. As usual it is a largely populist-centric shiny disc, with a few obscure albeit mainstream entries for that "hip" factor, and as ever there are some glaring omissions. Even if we forget my home in the more esoteric hovels at the end of the rock spectrum, why no UNKLE, or Laura Marling, for starters? Anyway, here goes...
The War On Drugs - Pain
Possibly the worst band name currently extant? Actually despite the title this is quite pleasant, in a diluted electrified Waterboys stylee.
Songhoy Blues - Bamako
The funky afros git down. Not bad, at all.
Paul Weller - Satellite Kid
Paul Weller is 60 next year.
Ghostpoet - Immigrant Boogie
The heaviest thing here, musically and lyrically, it lurches along while the main man imagines the unimaginable plight of refugees marooned at sea. Easily the best track on this compilation.
Sparks - Unaware
Sparks are one those very few bands who get better with age. A song about the crushing ennui of modern living that awaits a wee innocent babby.
Nadia Reid - Right On Time
Everton 1980s midfielder Peter Reid's daughter sings a song about a last minute winner against Wimbledon that kept the team up, to an avant-metal backing. Or...a song from MOJO's No.2 album of the year that is pleasant enough, as it dream-pops along. 10000 Maniacs did this kind of thing decades ago, but hopefully it resonates more within the confines of the album.
Hurray For The Riff Raff - Hungry Ghost
"Hurray"? Wassat, then? A decent lively guitar pop number, but nowt to write home about to be honest.
Peter Perrett - An Epic Story
No-one is more amazed that Mr Perrett still walks among us than Mr Perrett himself, it seems. Here, he sings a touching love song to his wife, without whom, etc... How The West Was Won is a classy album that shows the louche Only Ones front man still writes a pithy lyric.
This Is The Kit - Hotter Colder
Murky African-sounding folk moves by Kate Stables that would have benefited from a cleaner production, or any production at all come to think of it. Another one that floats by without making much of an impression.
Endless Boogie - Back In '74
I have no idea if this is typical of this band, but to me they sound like a swamp rock version of The Doors with an earnest "singer" narrating in sub-Jimbo fashion about watching Kiss in 1974 while flying kites on bad acid, and getting bottled for having shaved eyebrows. Nope, me neither...
Underneath is a decent retro-rock soundtrack, although All Them Witches would make gumbo stew out of this lot.
Alice Coltrane - Er Ra
Timeless psychedelic devotional goodness with harp, from MOJO's Reissue Of The Year.
Julie Byrne - Natural Blue
Dreamy folk, nice but inconsequential.
Lal & Mike Waterson - Shady Lady
The second reissue on this compilation. Bluesy rootsy folk, with strained harmonies, as I'm sure you know. I prefer the Iron Butterfly song of the same name.
Richard Dawson - Ogre
Ramshackle seven-minute left-field folk epic. Reminds me of Kevin Coyne. At least it's a tad different.
Oumou Sangaré - Yere Faga
A brooding Malian dance number about suicide. Yeah, baby! Actually, it's rather good.
All in all, a disappointing disc that gives the impression it was rather thrown together at the last minute without a lot of thought. Usually, MOJO's end of year round ups while being more mainstream than my usual fare, often include some interesting sounds new to me that require further investigation. With the possible exception of Richard Dawson, not this time, I'm afraid.
5/10 - must try harder.