Dry: There's a rawness and sense of sexual freedom to it, but as good as it is in parts, she would write better songs and get better production.
Tindersticks: Utterly maudlin they may be, but at their best there's an oddly cinematic feel to their work.
Suede: Sure, you can hear all the joins, from Brett Anderson's "Morrissey by way of David Bowie" yelping to the glam rock tastiness of Bernard Butler's guitar, but regardless, it really works. It's surprisingly taut and commanding, making way for both the attack of "Animal Nitrate" and the languorous "Sleeping Pills".
Definitely Maybe: Very little to say about this album that hasn't been said 100 times before, except it's arguably the only time they really had everything worked out and that their excesses (there are way more references to cocaine on this record than Be Here Now ironically). They sound like they want it all ("Rock n Roll Star", "Supersonic"), and they bought the tunes along with them, even if some of them are blatantly borrowed.
I Should Coco: This is such a fun record, whether it's the barrelling piano of "All Right", the bouncy guitars of "Mansize Rooster" and the wooziness of "Sofa (of My Lethargy)". As good a debut about being young and clean as any.
Dummy: Here's the thing: I still appreciate this record, with its cinematic swoop, its clever samples and Beth Gibbons's strange, near-catatonic vocals. But I never play it very often, and these days I find Massive Attack's Protection the go-to "trip hop" album of 1994. I think it's because the latter has more sonic variety and is more indebted to hip-hop. The best moments of Dummy still stick though- in particular the tearful "Roads" and the ironic "Sour Times".
Fuzzy Logic: It's still their best LP to these ears: it's buzzy and frantic as hell at times, but there's also a real youthful wit and verve, not to mention ambition. They sing about everything from Welsh weather presenters to whatever the hell Hometown Unicorn is about, and in each case, the tunes are big and bold enough to see them through. Loads of fun.
Endtroducing: It's the best record on this list, if only because it really opened up new ways of listening to music for me. It was the sheer completeness of the record, the way all the samples fit. Really, it sets out its store in "Building Steam (With A Grain of Salt)", a track that piece by piece suggests a new direction for pop music, but in particular anything associated with hip hop. I can't think of a bad note or track that doesn't work, even the sardonic "Why Hip Hop Sucks in 96" redeems itself with its parody of G-funk. But then again, it gets to sit alongside tracks like "Organ Donor", that build up a groove out of so little it's oddly irresistible.
Moon Safari: I'm playing it right now as it happens! I remember when this first came out and being utterly floored by the moog masterpiece that is "Sexy Boy", but the rest does well to sit alongside it. It's a record that offers a "nostalgic" view of the Future, the one that was seen in shows like Tomorrow's World or Future Shock. But really, the reason why this works is its strong command of melody, whether it's the epic ""La femme d'argent", to the moog-tastic optimism of "Kelly Watch the Stars" to the soothing "You Make It Easy". Every track here has something to recommend.
Hey, this was fun!
It's before my time but I've been told, he never came back from Karangahape Road.