It's always the same at this time of year. Cynical music hacks lay down their sceptomaniac tendencies for a few precious moments and transform themselves into Mystic Meg's trusty cohorts.
So who is going to set 2004 alight? Surely if The Darkness can conduct a nationwide crusade there's hope for anyone, yes?
Step forward Nikoli, for it is you who have made one of the undiscovered (until now) gems of 2003.
The 'Resigned EP' basically covers the same tracks as Doves' 'Lost Souls' and Spiritualized's 'Let It Come Down', to the point where the music ebbs and flows like some choreographed mood swing, desolate but not desperate, in tune with the paradoxical sentiment echoed by Tim Hann's Morrissey-esque take on creating an unhinged world in his own bedsit.
The title track presses all the A.N.T.H.E.M. buttons without needing to resort to the empty hearted posturing that messrs Martin and co. have employed in turning Coldplay into the new Lighthouse Family, while the eerily melancholic 'Let Down' and 'The People' sound like The Field Mice being covered by Jason Pierce. And vice versa.
Better still though is the epic 'Sandstone', which heralds a new dawn in Smiths-style romanticism, "As I sink I'm thinking, gonna miss you" opines Hann and in six months time a nation will be swooning with him.
8Dom Gourlay's Score