- Viola Beach // Viola Beach
The self-titled first album was released in July, following the tragic death of all four band members and their tour manager in a car crash in the early hours of 13 February. The album peaked at No 1 in the UK charts, but it was more than just a sympathy sale. Drawing on Arctic Monkeys and Bombay Bicycle Club, the stand-out tracks are ‘Drunk’, ‘Cherry Vimto’, Swings and Waterslides’, and ‘Boys That Sing’, which also reached No 11 in the singles charts. This collection shows how much higher Viola Beach could have risen, if their career had not been cut tragically short.
4. Biffy Clyro // Ellipsis
Ellipsis is the seventh studio album from the Scottish rockers. The first in a three-album cycle, it shows the influence of trap music on the band’s already original sound. Slower songs (‘Rearrange’ and ‘Medicine’) work well with the aggressive ‘Animal Style’ and ‘On A Bang’. The running time is 48 minutes – half an hour less than their concept album Opposites. But the closing rocker (deluxe version only), ‘In The Name of the Wee Man’, only leaves you wanting more.
- Iggy Pop // Post Pop Depression
Iggy Pop’s seventeenth solo album is a masterstroke and arguably his best since he collaborated with David Bowie to produce Lust for Life and Idiot back in the 1970s. Here Iggy collaborates with Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, resulting in a laid back, retro feel, but still maintaining that typical Iggy sound. Read more
- Sunflower Bean // Human Ceremony
The Brooklyn three piece’s debut album Human Ceremony fuses deep riffs which would not go amiss from fellow New Yorkers, The Strokes, along with with vocal performances from singers Julia Cumming and Nick Kivlen which echo Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry and Bob Dylan. These two have a fantastic chemistry which hasn’t been carried off as well as this since the demise of The White Stripes. Overall, the album is an eclectic mix of garage psychedelic rock. Kivlen channels his inner Marc Bolan into ‘Space Exploration Disaster’ and ‘This Kind of Feeling’, but the strongest track is the single ‘Creation Myth‘, featuring superb snare work from drummer Jacob Faber alongside the Cumming-Kivlen vocals. A great debut, guaranteed to put you into a trance-like state.
- Radiohead // Moon Shaped Pool
The ninth studio album from indie pioneers Radiohead must be some kind of masterpiece. Yet it’s also an album of tracks which were previously “left on the cutting room floor”. Live favourite ‘True Love Waits’ finally makes an appearance on a Radiohead record, 20 years after they first played it. When Thom Yorke’s vocals cut through the melodic piano backing – but oh so gently – you know it was worth the wait.
The first single taken from the album, ‘Burn The Witch’ is bit of a red herring (spooky strings and scary cellos), but then this band has been winding us up every since ‘Creep’.
Given the emotive nature of the songs created by Yorke and Co, this is an album that needs to be felt as well as heard (although this is also a band that doesn’t expect everyone to feel the same way).