In the run up to 2016, we continue our countdown to the New Year with our writers talking about their favourite records of the year. Here’s our sixth writer Aaron Cooper on his top albums of 2015:
I’ve been doing a list of the top 10 albums of each year since 2010. It’s become a tradition in our household for my brother, father and myself to list our top 10 albums at the end of the year. In fact I’m in a car on Christmas day as I write this listening to my father’s top 10. I’ve not had the opportunity to compile that list for this year and so thought this would be a good place to start, making simply a list of the 5 best albums of the year. In my opinion of course.
Everything Everything – Get to Heaven
Everything Everything, to me, are one of the best bands of the decade. Since their debut in 2010 of Man Alive they have released 3 studio albums and every single one has been an original, quirky, catchy and intelligent collection of music. This year saw the release of their third album Get to Heaven which is no different. Another storming work of art from the musically educated band. Once again they demonstrate their sheer talent at writing and playing music.
As original as their last two albums, they produce a style like no other. Get to Heaven has a beautiful mix of stylistic quirkyness and catchy pop, seen in the first three singles “Distant Past”, “Regret” and “Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread”. All of these songs are a reflection on the bands skill at writing technically complex music to produce simple, catchy songs. Their ability to do this is second to none and prevalent throughout the album. Each individual member contributes significantly to the creativity and passion of the album with mastery of every instrument; wandering bass lines, slick licks on the guitar, driving drums and falsetto vocals used to produce a range of sounds from poppy singles to brooding techno freak outs.
The recently released fourth single “No Reptiles” is nothing short of a masterpiece. An epic sprawl of a song with thought provoking lyrics and moving vocals. It is a continuous build throughout the 4 minutes and 42 seconds of its entirety and is simply beautiful. From the first listen “No Reptiles” comes across as something else and is the product of a band on their best form. Get to Heaven is packed with exciting music like this, all of it new, original and accessible. It is a band at the peak of their creativity and genius, and is a must listen. As one of the most exciting and innovative bands of the decade I look forward to what they produce next.
Foals – What Went Down
Another band with plenty of talent and excitement. Foals are back again proving to be one of the most provocative bands in the alternative indie rock scene and for good reason. What went down, like its predecessor Holy Fire, is another step forward for the boys from Oxford. A step to a more deep, brooding and thoughtful band.
The opener and title track really shows us Foals further movements to a heavier and darker composition of music. With all the talent and beauty of their original music What Went Down shows the bands ability to continue to write original, explorative music. Lucky enough to see part of their secret set at Reading festival this year, I really felt the power of their new music come through.
Foals produce a feeling of their typical selves with another rung of the musical ladder climbed. A pleasure to listen to from start to finish. With this added to their repertoire Foals are well on their way to being true mammoths of the British music scene.
Other songs to note are “Mountain at My Gates”, “Snake Oil” and “A Knife in the Ocean”.
Circa Waves – Young Chasers
If you’re looking for an album to bring you back to the optimistic, romantic summer days of your teen years then look no further. Coming across nostalgic and playful the debut album from Circa Waves is packed with up-beat, short and sweet, guitar driven tracks.
Being familiar but not boring Young Chasers avoids the cheesy feeling that such a youthfully whimsical band could produce. Instead what is produced is somewhat more reminiscent, managing to keep a more mature theme throughout that grounds the album in realism while continuing to be buoyant and uplifting.
With jumpy indie rhythms, simple guitars and catchy lyrics Circa Waves debut is fun, refreshing and guaranteed to put you in that summery festival feeling. Cementing it into my top 5 albums of the year, tracks to note are the catchy “Get Away” and “T-Shirt Weather” as well as the more sweet and moving “Deserve This” and “So Long”.
Wolf Alice – My Love is Cool
Possibly the most anticipated debut album of the year My Love is Cool is the first full length studio album from a band already made popular by two EPs released in 2013 and 2014. Due to this early popularity expectation had been built up and the north London based band did not disappoint.
An extremely mature and well thought out arrangement of music, Wolf Alice take us on a journey of musical themes starting with the hauntingly beautiful “Turn to Dust” , working through to sweet indie ballads such as “Bros” and “Your Loves Whore” reaching grinding guitar driven hard rock songs, “Giant Peach” and “You’re a Germ”.
There is truly a multitude to love about the compositions within what is an impressive debut album. Such maturity seen at such an early stage for a band bodes well for future creative endeavours. An album that yearns to be listened to and a band to be watched closely for their next piece.
The Maccabees – Marks to Prove it
With their first ever number one album, The Maccabees are back to give us their 4th depository of alternative indie staples. Storming back into the music scene with their first single and title track, The Maccabees have created another mesmerising album.
Marks to Prove It is much of the same ilk as their previous Given to the Wild being more relaxed and prudent, preferring to build throughout songs rather than their earlier work of rushing into chord sequences and choruses. Songs such as “Spit it Out” really emphasize this and show how The Maccabees have matured as writers over the years.
Their style is now versatile and far beyond the hopeless romantic era of their first album (not a criticism of said album as it is one of my favourites).
They are now a band of huge artistic prowess that can still pull at heartstrings whenever they wish. Orlando Weeks vocals are sultry as ever and really bring passion and life to unique tracks such as “River Song”. “Something Like Happiness” proves The Maccabees’ ability to still write songs that get stuck in your head and make you feel at the same time.
Another must listen.
Other albums that deserve and honourable mention:
Blur – The Magic Whip
The Vaccines – English Graffiti