Burn Fm’s music reporters take a look back at their favourite albums of 2017…
Sundara Karma – Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect
Having delivered explosive festival sets and tours over the last few years, Reading indie kings Sundara Karma finally graced 2017 with their debut album. The 15 track homage to youth brings us the spectrum of their style from slow-burning ‘Happy Family’ to indie playlist staples ‘A Young Understanding’ and ‘Loveblood’; these are accompanied by boogie-worthy ‘She Said’ and the bouncy last single off the record ‘Explore’. This debut is as much a spectacle as their live performances, and a must-listen for when you need to belt out an anthem – or you’re just feeling old.
Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me
This is an album about death. It’s raw, it’s heart-breaking and it’s stunning. This isn’t an easy listen, in fact it’s almost impossible to get through without tearing up, but that’s what makes it so special. There have been albums about death before, but none are as powerful as A Crow Looked at Me.
Lomepal – FLIP
Lomepal’s last (and first) album FLIP, has become in half a year a new reference in France urban music. Through his deep meaningful lyrics, the French artist offers a sincere autobiography of his life, his city, but also the love he tries to get and the harm he can’t help creating around him. Even though it is classified as a rap album, the sonorities are very rich, with diversified influences, mainly 2000’s rock in the way he sings and new-wave electronic music in the instrumentals. This album is a real journey you start at the first song, making you shift from a mindset to another and from a pleasant warm emotion to a cold melancholic feeling, still with shades of joy and of love. Give it a go!
Mild High Club, King Gizzard, Lizard Wizard – Sketches of Brunswick East
Although this album was released in mid August, I only heard it in November and ever since it has been one of my favourite 2017 albums. King Gizz’s pych-rock vibes meet the soul and jazz influences from Mild High Club, all spun together in a perfectly programmed, almost conceptual format – what more could you possibly want from an album?!
Little Comets – Worhead
Having been a fan of this band for years, this album was highly anticipated. With classic indie hits like ‘Dancing Song’ and ‘One Night in October’ under their belt, the band’s album had a lot of live up to, which I am please to say it did. Unlike a lot of bands who try to re-invent themselves and their sound with a new album, the Geordie boys did not. In true Little Comets fashion, these songs are catchy yet their lyrics are able to touch upon tough subject matters. The album has everything from touching ballads to quirky upbeat tunes, so if you haven’t heard it yet, it is definitely worth a listen.
Ed Sheeran – ‘÷’
Reaching number 1 in 14 countries and certified 9x Platinum (UK), Ed Sheeran’s third studio album ‘÷’ had an outstanding 2017. The highly impressive dancehall pop song ‘Shape of You’ is Sheeran’s most successful single ever. Breaking records with over 1.6 billion Spotify streams and nominated for a Grammy, the song was almost given away by the singer. It holds these records for a reason, which is why it is my album of 2017.
Alex Cameron – Forced Witness
Alex Cameron’s Forced Witness is a throwback to 80’s soft rock; sometimes cheesy but consistently catchy. Before listening to this album I had no idea who Alex Cameron was and after listening to it I still don’t. The album sees Cameron channelling a smarmy (and sometimes creepy) persona, but he injects each song with just enough humour to undercut the bravado. You’ll be left singing the strange but hilarious lyrics in your head for weeks.
Lorde – Melodrama
2017 blessed us with some truly magical albums, but none quite as magical as Lorde’s superlative sun-drenched Melodrama. A cacophony of synths, horns and falsetto, Lorde takes us unsure and headstrong into her exploration of adolescence. Pouring her synesthesia into the filmic impression that’s both romantic and brutal but always fluorescent, Melodrama’s beauty and honesty whirls round my head long after I’ve put my headphones down. Lorde truly graduates in her sophomore album and alongside producer Jack Antonoff, they bring back something long missing from today’s pop anthems. Where the album is often stark and intimate, it’s also at times, grandiose in its indulgent hedonism. The intimacy of emotion that Lorde lays bare is what makes the album so special. Dance, cry and reminisce while Lorde takes your hand and drags you through the electrode glow of Melodrama.
Circa Waves – Different Creatures
Following the release of their debut album ‘Young Chasers’ in 2015, Circa Waves returned in 2017 with their second album ‘Different Creatures’. The lyrics have a much darker tone as the four piece band from Liverpool touch on heavier topics, such as heartbreak and loss, compared to their first album that seemed much more reminiscent of fun times during their youth. Songs such as ‘Wake up’ and ‘Fire that burns’ prove the band have adopted a bolder and heavier sound compared to the lightweight tone of hit ‘T-shirt Weather’ from their first album. The band that wished to be taken more seriously has definitely achieved this, as their inclusion of personal struggles make the album more meaningful and mature. Different Creatures maintains Circa Waves’ infectious sound but the shift in style shows their diversity.
The Amazons – The Amazons
In May 2017, Reading-based band The Amazons released their debut album which managed to shoot up to 8th place on the UK albums chart. Immediately, this album had huge success, and ever growing in popularity. The album consists of well-made rock songs, one of which – ‘Junk Food Forever’ – featured on the BBC Radio 1 track of the week. While the majority of the songs are quite upbeat and rock-and-roll, they feature songs such as ‘Palace’, and the acoustic tracks in the deluxe version, which give the album a bit of variation. In my opinion, The Amazons, is one of the top albums of 2017 because of their originality and how they have shot up the charts for such a new band. Looking forward to what they bring us in 2018!
Daniel Caesar – Freudian
Daniel Caesar’s Grammy nominated Freudian was released last August, and it most definitely deserves its nomination. His reinvention of the classic R&B sound works through embracing gospel to create a soulful and lyrically beautiful album, all at the age of 22. Caesar has also recently released a 4 minute visual piece to compliment the album, a seamless way to complete the project in full.
Childhood – Universal High
Released in July of 2017, Childhood’s 2nd album, Universal High, continues their distinctive indie-pop vibe with the laid-back, and often falsetto, vocals of Ben Romans Hopcraft. However, the band develop their retro groove in this album, particularly shown through the songs Californian Light and Melody Says, giving them a more soul-infused sound. It therefore offers hazy, psychedelic tracks as well as funky, upbeat rhythms and with such a strong follow on album from their debut, Lacuna, it looks highly likely that 2018 will be their year.
L Devine – Growing Pains
Warner Music, who signed Miss Devine up last year, herald the singer as “your new favourite pop star”. For once however, the PR hype is being completely honest. L Devine has all the ingredients a successful pop-starlet needs; looks, charisma, a smooth voice and, best of all, an ability to write catchy hooks and melodies. While the name may sound more like a character from Ru Paul’s Drag race, it is actually the moniker of timid Tyneside schoolgirl Olivia Devine. Devine heads back to her hometown in the promotional video that accompanies her Growing Pains EP, released at the end of 2017. It is a snapshot into her humble beginnings, documenting the many tropes of adolescence that flow through the content of her song writing: insecurity, bullying, partying and, of course, falling in love. She tackles pop music in all its forms and delivers flawless results. The groundwork has been laid for mainstream success. It waits to be seen whether 2018 will be the year we see L Devine frequenting the pop charts, next to other recent British pop megastars like Dua Lipa.