Monday, 18 December 2017

Richard's Top Ten Albums of 2017


10. Silent Unspeakable by Bear Trade


Building on their excellent debut “Blood and Sand”, the return of the North-East’s finest gruff punks is a blistering collection of songs that define the mood of the country in these post Brexit times. There are feelings of sincerity, honesty, acceptance and apprehension throughout the album, providing an emotional tinge that few albums achieve; whilst remaining gruff enough that it’s guaranteed to get fists in the air. A truly stellar return!

9. Dream Gig by Dead Bars


Typical bratty punk rock can often be overlooked and maligned. Looking to change that and take the party anywhere that will have them, Seattle's Dead Bars debut LP "Dream Gig" is honest, funny, passionate and ultimately a love letter to punk rock and the community… So when John sings that his dream is to "play with the Souls" you get an insight into how much this world means to the band. Sounding like a homage to old-school party punks The Nobodys or Sloppy Seconds, Dead Bars are the true definition of “pop-punk” with tunes that will stick in your head for hours and real sing out loud moments - you can’t help but be swept along for the ride!

8. The Run Up by The Run Up


Bristolian gruff-punks The Run-Up’s debut album fulfils their early EP potential and then some. Taking its influences from many notable American acts such as Timeshares or Iron Chic, the band have delivered a real banger of an album filled with anthemic, uplifting tunes and glorious fist in the air choruses. Tracks such as "WKND" will instantly put a smile on your face and leave you wanting more - definitely ones to watch out for over the next 12 months.

7. Thank You for Being a Friend by 88 Fingers Louie


Possibly the biggest surprise of the year; whilst it was expected that 88FL would deliver a solid album, the volatile nature of the band coupled with their lengthy hiatus meant it could have gone either way. Thankfully, the melodic hardcore veterans produced a stunning, emotionally-charged and at times angry album that not only stays true to their legacy, but has launched them back to the forefront of the genre in style. 

6. Natural Light by Track and Field


The Leeds quartet's debut LP is truly special, a stunning blend of post-hardcore and indie tunes reminiscent of Restorations with a touch of Cheap Girls or, even at times, The Cure thrown in. It’s melodic without being overly poppy and driven by some excellent melodies and gorgeous song-writing. It sounds like a true labour of love by the band and within one listen you'll see why. 

5. The King of No-Man by Captain, We’re Sinking 


A more reflective and adult album compared to the previous, “The Future is Cancelled”, TKNM is a proper introspective journey. Feeling highly personal, it’s a wonderful slab of post-hardcore brilliance with tracks such as “Trying Year” and “Crow” real stand-outs.

4. Light It Up by Hot Water Music


Warning – a controversial statement is ahead… I’ll go out on a limb and say personally this is probably the best HWM release since “No Division”... there I said it (and await the backlash). I’ve revisited this album countless times to see if my assessment holds up and each time I come away loving it more. It’s HWM doing what HWM do best and the world's a better place for it!

3. Distance by Heavy Heart


With nine instant classics, French pop-punkers Heavy Heart have produced one of the most endearing albums of the year. Driven by three vocalists, the songs are catchy, upbeat, instantly relatable and brilliant to sing-a-long to! Heavy Hearts'  collection of Timeshares-esq punk rock tunes might have slid under the radar a little but it has become one of my go-to records this year.

 2. You Can’t Stay Here by Iron Chic


Big songs with even bigger chorus, Iron Chic have returned with their strongest album yet and given the quality of its predecessors that’s no easy feat. Comprising eight amazing fist in the air anthems and three near perfect ballads it’s practically flawless.

1. After The Party by The Menzingers


If 2012’s “On the Impossible Past” was a major ground-breaking album for the Scrantonite punks, launching them into the punk rock mainstream, “After The Party” is truly earth shattering. Building on everything that’s come before, it’s so honest, earnest, melancholic and anthemic that every song is single material. One of the great punk albums of the last 20 years for sure!

This end of year list was written by Richard Mair.