I have found, by trial and error, that I do not really pick my favorite albums of the year. It seems more like they pick me. The year before last it was The White Stripes Elephant, and last year it was Belle and Sebastian’s Dear Catastrophe Waitress. There was a lot to like, and enough not to, with both albums. They both passed a key test, though. When I thought back across the year, it was the sound of those albums that I could best remember amongst all of the thousands of things I’d listened to.

This trip around the sun the prize goes to the latest set from Mark E and his various cohorts who form Eels for the odd, double cd extravaganza that is Blinking Lights and Other Revelations. For all that I’ve loved the Magic Numbers debut, I haven’t been able to escape the beautiful, mournful music that fill up these two cds. The refrain from “Suicide Life” – ‘I’ll go none too bravely, Into the night, I’m so tired of living, The suicide life” – while not very cheery, goes round and round in my head. Superb.

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