The 25 best British debut albums of the 1990s

8 April 2024, 14:00

Some fine British debut albums from the wonderful 90s: The Sundays, Suede, PJ Harvey, Massive Attack, Oasis, Elastica, The Charlatans, Portishead, Stereophonics, Mansun, Inspiral Carpets and Muse
Some fine British debut albums from the wonderful 90s: The Sundays, Suede, PJ Harvey, Massive Attack, Oasis, Elastica, The Charlatans, Portishead, Stereophonics, Mansun, Inspiral Carpets and Muse. Picture: Press

In the era when CD was king, the album became stronger than ever. Radio X looks at the best long players to come out of the eclectic 90s.

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Radio X

By Radio X

  1. The Sundays - Reading, Writing And Arithmetic: released 15th January 1990

    The fondly-remembered band released their debut album in the opening days of the 90s, which included Here's Where The Story Ends and the all-time favourite Can't Be Sure.

    The Sundays - Reading, Writing And Arithmetic album artwork
    The Sundays - Reading, Writing And Arithmetic album artwork. Picture: Press
  2. Inspiral Carpets - Life: released 23rd April 1990

    Clint Boon and co's accomplished debut came after a series of well-received EPs and included the singles She Comes In The Fall and This Is How It Feels.

    Inspiral Carpets - Life album artwork
    Inspiral Carpets - Life album artwork. Picture: Press
  3. The Charlatans - Some Friendly: released 8th October 1990

    The Tim Burgess-fronted band's debut featured the single Then and the live favourite Sproston Green. Later editions included the indie club hit The Only One I Know.

    The Charlatans - Some Friendly album artwork
    The Charlatans - Some Friendly album artwork. Picture: Press
  4. Ride - Nowhere: released 15th October 1990

    The Oxford shoegaze band's first outing included Vapour Trail and Dreams Burn Down.

    Ride - Nowhere album artwork
    Ride - Nowhere album artwork. Picture: Press
  5. The Farm – Spartacus: released 4th March 1991

    The debut from Liverpool's answer to Madchester featured Groovy Train and Altogether Now.

    The Farm – Spartacus album artwork
    The Farm – Spartacus album artwork. Picture: Press
  6. Massive Attack - Blue Lines: released 8th April 1991

    The first outing by Bristol's trip hop pioneers included their massive hit Unfinished Sympathy featuring Shara Nelson on vocals.

    Massive Attack - Blue Lines album artwork
    Massive Attack - Blue Lines album artwork. Picture: Press
  7. Electronic – Electronic: released 28th May 1991

    The debut from the supergroup featuring Bernard Sumner of New Order and Johnny Marr, formerly of The Smiths featured Get The Message and Getting Away With It.

    Electronic – Electronic album artwork
    Electronic – Electronic album artwork. Picture: Press
  8. St Etienne - Foxbase Alpha: released 16th September 1991

    Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs and Sarah Cracknell released their debut album, which included their classic cover of Neil Young's Only Love Can Break Your Heart (with Moria Lambert on vocals) and Nothing Can Stop Us.

    St Etienne - Foxbase Alpha album artwork
    St Etienne - Foxbase Alpha album artwork. Picture: Press
  9. Blur - Leisure: released 27th August 1991

    The future Britpop titans' debut album was their bold take on the baggy scene, and included There's No Other Way, Bang and She's So High.

    Blur - Leisure album artwork
    Blur - Leisure album artwork. Picture: Press
  10. Manic Street Preachers - Generation Terrorists: released 10th February 1992

    The Manics' debut featured the classics Motorcycle Emptiness, You Love Us and Little Baby Nothing.

    Manic Street Preachers - Generation Terrorists album artwork
    Manic Street Preachers - Generation Terrorists album artwork. Picture: Press
  11. PJ Harvey - Dry: released 30th March 1992

    Polly Jean and her band released their debut album this year, featuring Sheela-Na-Gig and Dress.

    PJ Harvey - Dry album artwork
    PJ Harvey - Dry album artwork. Picture: Press
  12. Radiohead - Pablo Honey: released 22nd February 1993

    It all started here: the debut album from the Oxford alt.rock gods was released, which featured the classic Creep and Anyone Can Play Guitar.

    Radiohead - Pablo Honey album artwork
    Radiohead - Pablo Honey album artwork. Picture: Press
  13. Suede - Suede: released 5th April 1993

    Some of the first seeds of Britpop were sown here with the release of Brett Anderson and co's debut. It included The Drowners, Animal Nitrate, So Young and Metal Mickey.

    Suede - Suede album artwork
    Suede - Suede album artwork. Picture: Press
  14. Verve - A Storm In Heaven: released 21st June 1993

    Verve (no "The" in those days, it was before the legal action from the jazz label of the same name) had a confident debut, which featured Slide Away and Blue.

    Verve - A Storm In Heaven album artwork
    Verve - A Storm In Heaven album artwork. Picture: Press
  15. Portishead - Dummy: released 22 August 1994

    The Bristol trip hop collective released their debut album, which included Sour Times, and Glory Box.

    Portishead - Dummy album artwork
    Portishead - Dummy album artwork. Picture: Press
  16. Oasis - Definitely Maybe: released 29th August 1994

    The Gallaghers released their classic debut album, which included Shakermaker, Live Forever, Supersonic, Rock And Roll Star and Cigarettes And Alcohol.

    Oasis - Definitely Maybe album artwork
    Oasis - Definitely Maybe album artwork. Picture: Press
  17. Elastica - Elastica: released 13th March 1995

    Justine Frischmann and co's debut album included the fine track Connection, Line-Up and Stutter.

    Elastica - Elastica album artwork
    Elastica - Elastica album artwork. Picture: Press
  18. Supergrass - I Should Coco: released 15th May 1995

    Another swaggering debut, this time from the trio of Gaz Coombes, Danny Goffey and Mick Quinn, which featured the Britpop classics Alright, Caught By The Fuzz, Lenny and Mansize Rooster.

    Supergrass - I Should Coco album artwork
    Supergrass - I Should Coco album artwork. Picture: Press
  19. Ash - 1977: release date 6th May 1996

    The trio from Northern Ireland released their full length debut, named after the year in which two members were born and the Ash favourite Star Wars was released. Tracks included: Girl From Mars, Oh Yeah, Goldfinger and Kung Fu.

    Ash - 1977 album artwork
    Ash - 1977 album artwork. Picture: Press
  20. Super Furry Animals - Fuzzy Logic: release date 20th May 1996

    The Welsh band's debut album featured photos of the infamous Howard Marks on the cover and tracks like God! Show Me Magic, If You Don't Want Me To Destroy You and Something 4 The Weekend.

    Super Furry Animals - Fuzzy Logic album artwork
    Super Furry Animals - Fuzzy Logic album artwork. Picture: Press
  21. Space - Spiders: release date 16th September 1996

    The debut album from the Liverpool band included the hits Female Of The Species and Neighbourhood.

    Space - Spiders album artwork
    Space - Spiders album artwork. Picture: Press
  22. Mansun - Attack Of The Grey Lantern: released on 17th February 1997

    Chester's finest released this concept album, which included Taxloss, Wide Open Space and Stripper Vicar.

    Mansun - Attack Of The Grey Lantern album artwork
    Mansun - Attack Of The Grey Lantern album artwork. Picture: Press
  23. Stereophonics - Word Gets Around: released on 25th August 1997

    One of the strongest debuts of the decade, the Welsh trio's first outing featured an impressive roster of hits: Local Boy In The Photograph, A Thousand Trees, More Life In A Tramp's Vest and the evergreen Traffic.

    Stereophonics - Word Gets Around album artwork
    Stereophonics - Word Gets Around album artwork. Picture: Press
  24. Gomez - Bring It On: released 13th April 1998

    Southport's finest released their debut, Mercury Music Prize-winning album which featured 78 Stone Wobble and Whippin' Piccadilly.

    Gomez - Bring It On album artwork
    Gomez - Bring It On album artwork. Picture: Press
  25. Muse - Showbiz: released 4th October 1999

    The Teigmouth trio opened their career and closed the decade with this platter, that included the timeless tracks Sunburn, Muscle Museum, Cave, Unintended and Uno.

    Muse - Showbiz album artwork
    Muse - Showbiz album artwork. Picture: Press

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