Sunday, January 6, 2008

The 20 Best Albums of 2007 - Working for a Nuclear Free City: "Businessmen and Ghosts"

4.  I must confess part of the reason I placed this album on the list was because I didn't have a blog last year where I could include this band's wonderful self-titled debut on a "20 Best Albums of 2006" list. Thankfully, in 2007 Working for a Nuclear Free City decided to repackage their debut as a double album for their first release in the US.

Now, I've used this space before to explain what makes WfaNFC so likeable, and on Businessmen and Ghosts they don't do anything to sway my faith. In fact, the inclusion of 11 additional songs not found on their UK-only debut merely reinforces the thought that their future is bright. One of those new tracks, "All American Taste", might be the most memorable highlight on the album's first disc. The combination of echoed strumming, machine-like drums and laser beam synths create a wonderful dance-y shoegaze groove that weaves in an out of frenetic and subtle moods.  This propensity to build up, draw down and build up again best manifests itself in "England", where WfaNC goes from dreamy chill-out to full on psychedelic space jam within five and half minutes, drawing upon seemingly every major British musical genre (Madchester, Paisley Underground, new wave, electronica, etc.) in the process.

Perhaps what makes Businessmen and Ghosts so special is that WfaNFC manages to sound forward-thinking while creating this music that owes so much to the historical canon of popular English music. It's definitely not an easy thing to accomplish, and the fact that this quartet from Manchester is able to do it here so flawlessly should warrant its own canonization.

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