10cc, ‘Sheet Music’.
This was alphabetically #1 on the list so time to get it covered off. I only knew 10cc for ‘I’m Not In Love’ (I had forgotten ‘Dreadlock Holiday’) so this album’s style was perhaps unexpected. It seems 10cc were a pretty good 70s rock band with a willingness to try out new things. This is probably the most 1974 album of all time though, that is, a bit cocainey.
Nick Drake, ‘Five Leaves Left’.
You used to call me on your cellphone… wait, wrong Drake. Spookily released five years before his suicide, ‘Five Leaves Left’ is the sort of melancholy folk at which Tanworth’s favourite son excelled. I prefer ‘Bryter Later’, although that might be because I heard it first: perhaps if I’d heard ‘Five Leaves’ first I’d like that more.
I listened to this album because I didn’t know anything about it. This awkwardly-capitalised gang were a Minutemen follow-on who fused punk with jazz and funk and this was their third album. It’s decent enough, but the lack of dynamic variety means the album is less than the sum of its parts. Shout out to Kira Roessler, guest guitarist on this record, who must be the first Oscar winner on this list (winning this year for sound editing).
Sugarcubes, ‘Life’s Too Good’.
A glittery but fairly by-numbers 80s pop album enlivened massively by singer, keyboardist and future star Bjork, whose distinctive voice is the album’s most notable feature.
An abrasive exercise in minimalism that’s often distracting in its monotony. Who knows, though, what made the band decide that a song should sound like ‘Frankie Teardrop’, which bridges the gap between the Velvets’ ‘Heroin’ and latter-day Scott Walker. Also on Suicide: it’s odd that no trebly C86 band ever named themselves after Martin Rev’s real surname, Reverby.