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The Best British Albums Of 1997

10. Arab Strap - The Week Never Starts Round Here
From the ultra-cool Chemikal Underground Records came this album from Scotland's Arab Strap. Included in my list of the year, solely because it contains the superb song The First Big Weekend. Definitely left field, minimal, lo-fi, with lyrics spoken in a hard to understand Scots accent. Music you either love or hate, so not particularly recommended.

9. Space Monkeys - The Daddy Of Them All
The sound of young Manchester. Inspired by the legendary rock band The Stone Roses, this is guitar music for dance fans. Samples from hip hop acts, with fine guitar loops. "Madchester"'s new generation.

8. The Charlatans - Tellin' Stories
A band finally coming of age. The tragic death of keyboard player Rob Collins during the recording of this LP gives a sense of poignancy to some tunes. Their most consistent album yet.

7. Blur - Blur
For me, an absolute revelation. A band who I have at times hated (mainly for writing Girls And Boys, the most irritating record ever), delivered an astonishing album this year. Defiantly uncommercial, with much publicised Pavement influences, this was the sound of a band enjoying themselves again. Love it.

6. Linoleum - Dissent
If this had been released in 1987, it would have topped the indie charts and the band would have been on the cover of NME every week. For those of us old enough to remember the indie scene of the late 80's, this is perhaps a flashback to the times of guitars, drums and dead-pan female vocals. Excellent.

5. Primal Scream - Vanishing Point
Back to the cutting edge again for the Scream, after 1994's dalliance with the Rolling Stones / Black Crowes scene. This is pure groove, with bass added by new recruit Mani, formerly of the Stone Roses. They played the dance tent at the Glastonbury festival this year. Enough said.

4. Gene - Drawn To The Deep End
Gene will never lose the tag of being an imitation version of The Smiths, but for those prepared to listen, this is a rewarding album. A shame it's rather over-produced (too many un-necessary strings and echoes nearly ruin a few songs), but overall, a victory. Track 5, We Could Be Kings is perhaps their finest moment to date. Where they go next in 1998 will be crucial.

3. Kenickie - At The Club
Young, spunky girls with their guitars. "P - U - N - K - A, PUNKA!"

2. Radiohead - Ok Computer
Difficult third album for Radiohead, in more ways than one. Would perhaps have been called Pre-Millenium Tension if Tricky hadn't got there first. Techno-fear explained, sort of. Makes more sense with each listen.

1. The Verve - Urban Hymns
A landmark album. From opening track Bittersweet Symphony to the closing Come On, pure inspiration and more than the occasional perfection.

Copyright © 1997 Craig Scrogie e-mail address

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