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The best album of 2011 – Luke Haines

Luke Haines has a well-deserved reputation for being caustic, but no-one could accuse him of cynicism of his spellbinding tribute to the giants of grappling. 9 and a half Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 70s and Early 80s is exactly that. Big Daddy gets a Casio keyboard and falls in love with the possibilities. Catweazle reflects on his other-worldiness. Rollerball Rocco combats his foes as well as his restless mind. It is, no doubt, mental. But it’s a testament to Haines the songwriter that it is so beautiful.

There’s a genuine warmth and anyone who was around in the period will experience a deep and unmistakable thrill at the world evoked. Indeed, the whole mood will be instantly familiar to anyone who ever had a glass of fizzy juice in their Gran’s house of a Saturday afternoon and really wouldn’t be anywhere else. It’s endearing, funny, interesting and simply brilliant.

Haines sings of ‘unusual men with unusual minds’. It’s a description which suits him to a tee and long may he reign. Album of the year? A pinfall and submission says yes.

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