In review of the albums of this year, it would be a lie to say there was a wealth of great records to pick from. This is highlighted more so by the fact that Arctic Monkeys’ “AM” is actually still in The Top 40 (despite its 2013 release) as is a Michael Buble Christmas album of some description. However, with that being said, the following were the albums worth getting excited about these past 12 months . . .
The Twilight Sad “Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave”
A record born out of some tough times for the band it actually demonstrated some of their strongest music to date. This reflected in a peak chart position of 51 in The UK Charts and a sold out ABC show, followed by a performance at the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations. The album came at a time the band needed it most. Capturing the very essence of the debut record in the sheer quality of the songwriting. More success in 2015 certainly awaits.
Tom Vek “Luck”
The third output from the alt/pop songsmith was instantly recognisable from first single, “Sherman (Animals In The Jungle)” as a step forward, but also a step further to the left of leftfield. A short, three years from the second full length, this was in fact Vek working at a pace in comparison to the gap between the first and second releases. With vocals never being his tour-de-force, the strength of the offering lies in the instrumentation and arrangement. Fuzzy bass parts and synths coupled with never predicatable beats, it’s sonically just as ear catching as any previous efforts.
Interpol “El Pintor”
Literally translating as “The Painter”, Interpol’s artistic style is very much set. Deep, dark and bold as it has always been, it sees the band return to the form of 2007’s “Our Love To Admire” after a slight dip with the self titled release coming between the two. It’s a big single and a continuously solid album, “All The Rage Back Home” has all the staying power of a “Slow Hands” or “The Heinrich Manoeuver”. They bring the tour to Glasgow on 14th February, conveniently for all those looking for a Valentine’s Day gift for an unsuspecting lucky lady or lad.
Fatherson ” I Am An Island”
More locally, the long awaited debut LP from Ayrshire’s finest mammoth pop/rock export landed in 2014. All the time in the making was well spent as it shows in the dynamics, hooks and terrific vocal performance of Ross Leighton. The strings are well placed while the backing vocals and harmonies fall in all the right spots. Fellow countrymen, We Were Promised Jetpacks took the band under their wing for a European Tour to help get the word out. “Mine For Me” and “Hometown” are certain stand-outs on a record with little in the way of filler, the strong foot has been put first.
Bombay Bicycle Club “So Long, See You Tomorrow”
If Fatherson’s debut was a showing glimmering with potential, BBC’s fourth, full length was a veteran output from a band never content to make the same record twice. It shines and shimmers from start to finish, especially comparatively with other big albums of the year, it is busy but bright. “Carry Me” is a straight up masterpiece, a track many bands would like to claim their own. While not the number one that the album turned out to be it is a clever, layered well put together piece that would close any set well.
Modern Baseball “You’re Gonna Miss It All”
The second album from the kings of self-deprication; college pop/rock saw a definite step forward in both maturity and quality from 2012’s “Sports”.Still showcasing the same nuggets of honesty laden self-evaluation and inner-turmoil examination, while rarely clocking in at much over two minutes, thirty seconds a piece. “Your Graduation” although late on in the tracklisting, is undoubtedly the centrepiece and the closest thing to a Modern Baseball mission statement as there has been so far. Included, the rarest of lead vocals from drummer, Sean Huber, a definite option for future releases.