Various - The Bands 05
If nothing else, The Bands 05 helps draw conclusions about the current state of guitar music. It's fair to say Manic Street Preachers have had their day, with each successive comeback weaker than the last. In an attempt to maintain some sort of intellectual credibility, they name a song The Love of Richard Nixon (well, Girls Aloud wouldn't), but the material is lukewarm at best. Similarly mainstream and similarly dull are the likes of Coldplay and Embrace. Then there's a rash of bands (The Zutons, The Vines, Baby Shambles) that you'd need to be an NME subscriber to feel any real excitement over.
Still, this is a decent compilation. Amongst the highlights, Franz Ferdinand's Take Me Out and Graham Coxon's Freakin' Out stand as two of last year's best singles, thrilling no matter how many times you hear them, The Concretes' Seems Fine is near-perfect pop, and tracks from the likes of Morrissey and The Clash make for excellent oldies (though, as if to prove there's always been a dull element to guitar music, The Verve are also here). For indie kids with Xmas vouchers to spare, The Bands 05 includes enough hummable tunes to make it a worthwhile purchase.