5. Smashing Pumpkins – Shiny And Oh So Bright Vol. 1: No Past, No Future, No Sun
The Smashing Pumpkins are my most favourite band it the whole wide world and this is one of their finest records to date. I could SP at the top of any list if I wanted to but I think this record is fantastic but I felt that there have been other albums this year which I have taken a real shine to (pardon the pun). This album sees original SP member James Iha returning to the band and his presence has been greatly missed. This short and sweet half hour of power is littered with glittering guitars which are sometimes soft and rhythmic and at other times in tracks like Solara or Marchin’ On we get that crunchy rock heavy sound the band are well associated with. The album showcases everything the band does well with frontman William Patrick Corgan sounding the best he has in years showcasing as well a variety of vocal stylings to fit the style of the song. This album is a treat and isn’t one to be slept on as there is some solid song writing from one of rock’s greats. The band aren’t strangers to story telling or having albums as part of a series and with this being ‘volume 1’ I look forward to the continuous writing process Corgan offers to us in the future.
4. IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance
This is one of the most important albums of 2018. Fact. This is an album and a band that the world needs in its current political and social environment with powerful lyrics and thrashy punk guitars. IDLES give everything they’ve got in each song and there’s always something to learn from each song such as men expressing their feelings. A very important factor in 2018. This album is punk, real, left, a poignant representation of Britain and you can feel the genuine emotion that the band give off on this record as well as the live performances of the tracks. Guitar music is not dead and this album will be one that is remembered for years.
3. Confidence Man – Confident Music For Confident People
I had no idea who Confidence Man were until the middle of this year and when a friend of mine introduced me to their debut album I was blown away by enjoyment I felt listening to it. This record is as upbeat is it gets and will certainly get you dancing and want to start it all over again. Who said music can’t be fun? This record isn’t serious and there’s no need. The synths create so many great beats and rhythms and the narrative vocals really put a smile on my face. Picture this record: you’re like 8 at a family party in a rec room and you’ve drank a lot of Panda Cola (other cola is available) and you’ve had many Skittles from the 20p machines and the night turns into a blur of technicolour and sugar boosted dance tunes. That’s this album. It’s great to see a band having a good time and I can’t wait to see what they crank out next. Australia is the home of great music.
2. Mom Jeans – Puppy Love
Two years ago a band called Mom Jeans released an album called Best Buds and it was a phenomenal piece of emo music. Two years later they’ve done it again with Puppy Love! Littered with heartbreak, mental health, weed and corny references and soft riff heavy guitars, this album demonstrates the direction emo music in 2018 is heading. Although it may have been heading in this direction for a while where a lot of tracks are very ‘you had to be there’s story driven, the relatable image Mom Jeans presents to a young adult audience is very understandable. The album features a mixture of upbeat chords and moments of epic brass sections which coincide with the band’s chorus of vocals. This is that side of punk you don’t always here about, the scrawny kid that gets picked last in gym class, but I’ll be damned if I can’t say that these guys know how to put music together. Powerful stuff.
1. Foxing – Nearer My God
Here it is. Number 1. When I first heard this record on its release day I didn’t fully take it all in, maybe due to its length, maybe because I listened to it whilst out and about. After many further listens I have decided that Foxing’s third album ‘Nearer My God’ is my album of the year.
It truly is a spectacular album which has some of the best craftsmanship I have heard this year and this is an album that the band wanted to make that they would really enjoy and it has paid off well. Just listening to the first part of the album before reaching the nine minute 5 Cups you are presented with loud yet innocent guitars with haunting atmospheric tones and incredible vocal deliveries from frontman and trumpet player Conor Murphy. The rest of the band takes important credit because the variety of drum playing from Jon Hellwig is phenomenal with playing that fits whatever style Foxing attempt. Guitarists Ricky Sampson and Eric Hudson really shine with their riffs and balance they bring to a track whilst both playing two completely different pieces.
Many tracks on this album are single worthy but the Snow Patrol style title track Nearer My God is a ferocious and emotive delivery whilst tracks such as Slapstick and many others demonstrate the creativity the band have with synths, drum machines and keys. There’s a bit of everything here and the 57 minutes of music really do give you more than you ask for…but you gladly accept the offering. The vocals are so emotional and you feel every word and every line is so heartfelt and coming from a real place, especially in such dark American times. The album released in the Summer but I think it sounds so much more special at this cold time of year.
You’re delivered with hit after hit from a band that’s always aiming to top their previously great releases and still keep that emo-style touch they’re well-known for.