Some records slip beneath nearly every radar. These brilliant albums end up not only missing out on end of year plaudits but throughout the year these records failed to procure the reams of verbiage they deserved. These are the outsiders; the records which people weren't brave enough to crank out on their airwaves, nor to fill a page or two of their publications with. These are the records so special that our writers sent death threats to our offices for not including them in DiS' 50 albums of 2008. These are individual writers favourites of the year which they suggest, nay they demand, you take the time to investigate.
So without further ado, these are the eight that you (and we) should have been celebrating.
The Week That Was
First of all, of course, there was Field Music (and before that, if we're being anal, The New Tellers and Electronic Eye Machine) - a North East collective whose connections with Maxïmo Park and The Futureheads are probably better known than the quality of the music they produced across their two LPs (2005's Field Music and 2007's Tones Of Town, the latter a rare 10/10 on here). Which is a shame.
Then they stopped making music as Field Music. No big split, little in the way of fanfare. New projects, billed as Field Music Productions, came to light. David Brewis' excellent School Of Language LP (Sea From Shore) came first, back in February this year, but it's his brother Peter's effort, The Week That Was, to which we turn our attentions here. Not only is it one of the year's best LPs full stop, it's also easily one of the least celebrated.
And that doesn't really make sense. For sure, it's hardly Girls Aloud but there's enough immediate melody here - and so much texture beneath - that radio waves should have been positively teeming with the likes of 'Learn To Learn' and 'Scratch The Surface' on its August release. Sadly they weren't. Fans of XTC or Bowie or - obviously, considering the personnel employed - Field Music will find The Week That Was an instant fix of cultured pop music.
Maybe you were put off by the back story? It's a 'concept record', they said. Inspired by novelist Paul Auster's work, they trilled. So what? This isn't the '70s and that 'C' word doesn't have to mean all pomp and no pop. Here, you could listen to the whole thing and not really pick up on what Brewis has done; namely set his songs to a piece of crime fiction.
And those songs are the important thing in all this: they're brilliant. Brilliantly written, brilliantly arranged. It's like Spector's Wall Of Sound getting a Noughties makeover; given Brewis' position behind the kit, it's perhaps no surprise that the drums, in particular, sound monstrous - but never in an overbearing way or at the expense of anything else. It's the balance and consistency that lies at the heart of The Week That Was that makes it one of the year's most substantial, compelling and downright deserving listens.
If you missed it the first time around, we implore you to get acquainted now.