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Ben Walton's Top Albums of 2014

Tags: Grant Nicholas - Beck - The Gaslight Anthem - Ok Go - Manic Street Preachers - Tim Wheeler - We Cut Corners

Grant Nicholas - Yorktown Heights
10) Grant Nicholas - Yorktown Heights
Feeder's Grant Nicholas went down the familiar lead-singer-does-a-solo-album route this year, and the results weren't too bad in the end. Yorktown Heights is a more sombre and acoustic take on the recognisable sounds of his regular band but there is still plenty of bite and energy on tracks like 'Joan of Arc' and 'Time Stood Still'. On Yorktown Heights, Nicholas proved he could pen a tune with more emotional depth than anything about a CD player player player player player.

CJ Wildheart - Mable
9) CJ Wildheart - Mable
Not exactly a surprise that a member of The Wildhearts did a solo album this year, but CJs first solo work in seven years is an absolute mother of a sonic gut punch. The power pop blitzkrieg comes thick and fast with songs like 'Better Late Than Never', 'Devil' and the album highlight 'Vitriol'. CJ took the opportunity of his second solo outing to prove that The Wildhearts was never a one man show.

Beck - Morning Phase
8) Beck - Morning Phase
2014 saw the welcome return of the musical equivalent of Willy Wonka, Beck. Morning Phase revisited the acoustic sounds of his seminal 2003 album Sea Change, with an added dash of optimism. The four years Beck took out between this and his last studio album obviously did him some good as Morning Phase features some of his best songs, such as 'Blue Moon', 'Waking Light' and the gorgeous 'Heart Is A Drum'.

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We Cut Corners - Think Nothing Album Review

Over the past decade or so, the number of duos making the rounds appears to have skyrocketed. For a little while you just had The White Stripes. Then there was Death From Above 1979 and The Black Keys. Pretty soon you had Blood Red Shoes, MGMT and The Kills. With this in mind, in 2014 being a two-piece is not such a huge gimmick anymore. It is a good job then that We Cut Corners - and this, their second album 'Think Nothing' - are so good that they do not need to rely on gimmicks.

We Cut Corners - Think Nothing Album Review

Consisting of a pair of primary school teachers from Ireland, We Cut Corners are an interesting proposition. They blend together a number of styles and genres to create a sound which is entirely their own and, over the 10 songs on offer here, they get to exploring that sound. The old adage goes that you should always leave the people wanting more and, clocking in at a sniff over 27 minutes, 'Think Nothing' demonstrates that to a tee.

The album begins with the stark and delicate folk whisper of 'Wallflowers'. To begin with, this appears to be a fairly bog standard acoustic work-out before it transitions with some inspired blues chords into a dramatic, string laden finale. This is the work of a band who refuse to sit still.

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We Cut Corners - Interview

Interview with We Cut Corners February 2014

We Cut Corners - Toll Free

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