Top Welsh albums of the Noughties

Album covers

Last updated: 04 December 2009

What albums caught the public imagination, or in their own way shaped music or wider culture? In short, what were the best records of the Noughties?

It is, of course, very difficult to choose the 'best' and please forgive us for a little subjectivity. Going by raw sales would be easier and - perhaps - fairer, but where's the fun in that?

Instead, here's what we think the past decade added to the musical heritage of Wales, in no particular order.

Mclusky - Mclusky Do Dallas (2002)
Raw, caustic but wonderfully tuneful, this second album of three by Cardiff's Mclusky contained an energy and intelligence rarely displayed in the world of music. The threepiece were heavily influenced by 80s and 90s American rock, but defined their own sound on songs such as Collagen Rock and Alan Is A Cowboy Killer. It's indie with balls and brain.
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Super Furry Animals - Phantom Power (2003)
Driven by the single Golden Retriever, Phantom Power found the Furries stripping back a bit, relying on pedal steel, acoustic dynamics and west coast harmonies to express their ever-verdant invention. Few bands sound as fresh on their sixth album.
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High Contrast - High Society (2004)
Drum'n'bass can be bestial and tribal, but it can also be considered, subtle and inventive. Penarth's Lincoln Barrett combined a range of influences to create a second album brimming with complex rhythms and sound of jazz, samba, hip hop, rare groove and many more.
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The Automatic - Not Accepted Anywhere (2006)
Cartoon-ish indie with a very clever pop sensibility, this debut from Cowbridge's Automatic contained a song in Monster that crossed over into the public consciousness to such an extent that Ninian Park grandstands reverberated to the tune. The rest of the album was pretty class too. Their second album was if anything a better record, but massively overlooked, so it's this record which makes the list.
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Katherine Jenkins - Rejoice (2007)
The Noughties was the decade of classical crossover and it's difficult to see beyond KJ, who with her natural, untrained style took a range of classical songs into the pop arena, and pop songs into the classical arena. This album was never going to please the purists, but it sold by the bucketload and crystallised her approach to this lucrative musical style.
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Lostprophets - Start Something (2004)
Pontypridd's rockers took America by storm in 2004 as Last Train Home rocketed to Number One in their Alternative Rock charts. They were so successful at infiltrating the international rock scene that few people realised they weren't American scenesters. Packed with hit singles, this album took them from clubs to arenas and gave millions of teenagers poster fodder for their bedroom walls.
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Funeral For A Friend - Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation (2003)
If Lostprophets were the rock behemoths, then Funeral were the arch exponents of a musical force which took the world by storm in the Noughties. This album helped bring 'emo' into the nation's vocabulary as Matt Davies' confessional lyrics were welded to technical guitar rock. Regardless of the veracity of the terminology (as any musical historian takes issue with the use of the word 'emo'), this album is unarguable in its game-shifting importance.
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Duffy - Rockferry (2008)
Female singer-songwriters became almost ubiquitous as the decade drew to a close and Nefyn's Aimee Duffy was one of the most successful. You couldn't get away from Mercy, but the title track and Warwick Avenue were also massive radio hits. Guided to a large extent by Suede's Bernard Butler, Rockferry's soul power made this album the UK's biggest seller in 2008, and it sold millions worldwide.
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Feeder - Comfort In Sound (2002)
Remember this one? They've somewhat fallen from the public view of late, but this album put them firmly in the top echelon of British music in 2002. Totally informed by the death of their drummer Jon Lee, Comfort In Sound spun webs of epic, elegiac stadium rock. Gone was the pop rock energy of Buck Rogers, and in came Just The Way I'm Feeling and Come Back Around with an affecting, slightly maudlin power. Tragedy seemed to bring out the best in their songwriting.
Read the BBC Wales Music review

Goldie Lookin' Chain - Greatest Hits (2004)
Time to go out on a 'high'. From the ironic album title, to the ripped-off samples from 80s cheese, to the fetishising of Elizabeth Duke jewellery, for about six months GLC were the talk of the town. And not just the 'Port. They made hay while the sun shone, scoring top five hits and helping to crystallise the notion of the 'chav' in Britain's cultural lexicon. Guns Don't Kill People, Rappers Do and Your Mother's Got A Penis were - in their own curious way - pretty awesome.
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