1) Tales from Turnpike House - Saint Etienne (released June) "A suite of sublime ditties about the residents of a (real) tower block in Islington, creating a new-style urban concept album that's far sweeter than the Streets. It's sparkly, poetic and effortless, unexpectedly so, and utterly charming, My favourite track is Milk Bottle Symphony, possibly the only song ever to namecheck both Unigate and quilted dressing gowns. Anyone for a cuppa?"
2) I Am Zero - Iko (released in early 2006, but I got hold of a promo copy in August) "Following the untimely demise of the wonderful Buffseeds, singer/songwriter Kieran Scragg returns with a new band, taking the blueprint of his original outfit and expanding it with lush wide-screen arrangements. Scragg's new songs will appeal to those in love and those wishing that they weren't - you can hear the emotion in every note. His floating vocals sound so fragile it might break at any moment - it is this tension that makes Iko's songs stand out." (National Student, Nov 05)
3) Demon Days - Gorillaz (released May) "The Gorillaz album is definitely worth purchasing. It's very good." (Ant) "Even our youngest has the Gorillaz album DG... get with it!" (Nic) "Gorillaz - it's worth it just for the track featuring Dennis Hopper." (Gordon) "The Gorillaz album gets better with every listen." (quin) "Blimey you were right, it's consistently excellent and very marvellous. Thanks!" (dg)