Wow, number 2 already. That was speedy.
EDIT: I worked out why - I hadn't actually written number 3, as such...
10 points to the cryptic-crossword-minded of you who've figured out this from the title of the post. Most likely it's not even Bluewater I'm thinking of, maybe it's Lakeside. I've never been to either, and one hideous shopping centre blends into another these days, lets be honest.
I'm in danger of going off track here. What's been banned from the Bluewater shopping centre? Why, hooded sweatshirts, or 'hoodies' as today's youth insist on referring to them. So the subject of today's post? Hood, of course! Genius.
OK, so quite possibly you'll draw a slightly blank face, but that's your loss. Hood are, to these ears, that elusive borderline between instrumental, chin-stroking electronica, and warm, organic indie-pop. This year's album, 'Outside Closer', retains the charm and pastoral naïvete of a guitar pop band descended from the Kinks, with it's restful vocal harmonies and twin acoustic guitar breaks. And yet there's a back line of beats as skilfully arranged as Four Tet's complex rhythms, and as pleasant to listen to as anything on this list. It's a clever mix, and from the sound of it, the first time Hood have achieved such cohesion and uniformity of vision across a whole album. There's something slightly bucolic about the whole affair, despite the band hailing from urban parts of leads, and despite the proliferation of electronic sound. Whether it's the odd flute drifting in and out, or the distinctly English-accented vocals, it's difficult to say, but it's a real pleasure to listen to and an album that you'll more than likely come back to many times over. The brothers Adams have been plugging away for a while now, it's good to see such a fully realised record from them.
You can listen here to 'The Negatives...2, the first proper track on the record: http://s43.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=26NTEZGGMHZWW2GRH6QD2KMKAN