Monday 29 December 2014

Top Ten Albums of 2014 - Part Two

Let us continue on this magical full length release journey through 2014.
If you missed Part One (albums 10-6) you can peruse that here.

5. Banks - Goddess [Released: 1 September]
LA based singer Jillian Banks clearly named her debut album after herself. The deluxe version of 'Goddess' acts as an epic hour and a quarter long catalogue of everything we've heard from her so far. If I was going to go through an extremely treacherous break up, I think Banks would be the one to get me through it. Obviously songs like 'Waiting Game' would probably enhance matters but I'd like to think 'Before I Ever Met You' would raise my game again. It's hard to believe that someone as stunning as Banks and with a voice as sultry as hers has been through the heartbreak shown on this album but in a musical sense, it works. Although the moody slow songs are what Banks does best, the more upbeat tracks like 'Stick' and 'Beggin For Thread' are a welcome change to spicing up this full length effort.
iTunes / Spotify / Deezer

4. PVRIS - White Noise [Released: 3 November]
'White Noise' is the debut album from Massachusetts trio PVRIS released on Rise Records - their first female fronted signing. After the release of an acoustic EP earlier this year, I don't know if anybody was ready for 'St Patrick', the first single to be taken from 'White Noise'. It's catchy, punchy pop rock that I'd quite like to compare to a "heavier" version of Chvrches. Follow up single 'My House' was more of the same catchiness (now a word) that we'd heard on the previous track but that little bit more "rock". As discussed yesterday with regards to Ariana Grande, I've got a real issue with ballads (Banks doesn't count FYI) so there are some songs on 'White Noise' including the title track that we're going to need to gloss over. Other than the earlier singles, 'Fire' and 'Mirrors' are the standouts on the latter half of the record. The album does have a tendancy to become "The Lynn Gunn Show" but when it sounds this good, who really cares?
iTunes / Spotify / Deezer

3. Beartooth - Disgusting [Released: 9 June]
Former Attack Attack! frontman Caleb Shomo's debut full length with new band Beartooth is fast paced, loud and angry. Shomo's screamed verses switch effortlessly into clean choruses as we see throughout 'In Between' which is arguably one of the calmer tracks on the album. The lyrical content on this record is dark, I mean really dark, focusing on topics such as depression and eating disorders. It's hard to pick standout moments on 'Disgusting' because aren't any lulls in quality or pace, but 'Beaten In Lips', 'I Have A Problem' and 'Keep Your American Dream' are probably the ones that are up there. My biggest regret of 2014 was missing Beartooth's London headline show at Borderline in September, I'm not sure I'll ever forgive myself.
iTunes / Spotify / Deezer

2. Architects - Lost Forever // Lost Together [Released: 11 March]
So Architects have produced the only album in this top five that isn't a debut... I don't know what that says about the other albums or about Architects or about me, so we'll move on. 'Lost Forever // Lost Together' is the sixth album from the Brighton metalcore outfit, and it's fucking huge. I find it hard to get past third track 'Broken Cross' when wading through this album because all I want to do is go back and listen it again along with 'Gravedigger' and 'Naysayer'. When you do venture further through this album you'll come across the three C's and these do not disappoint. The three C's? 'C.A.N.C.E.R.', 'Colony Collapse' and 'Castles In The Air'. In fact, not one second of this album disappoints. I think I would go as far as calling this album a modern rock/metal masterpiece.
iTunes / Spotify / Deezer

1. Tove Lo - Queen of the Clouds
Here's the thing, Tove Lo's album is extremely justifiably my album of the year. Tove Lo is incredible. HOWEVER, this album has not been released in the UK yet. It has been released in pretty much every other territory on the planet, but not the UK. So there are a couple of options here but obtain it by whatever means you see fit. Back to business, 'Queen of the Clouds' is yet another debut album to feature on this list, this time from Swedish pop perfectionist Tove Lo. The album isn't quite a concept album, but it's compiled of three chapters: The Sex, The Love and The Pain. As you can probably tell, listening to this album all the way through is the best method as it tells a story. 'The Sex' is expectedly fun and playful and features my favourite track on the album, 'Talking Body'. 'The Love' gets a bit darker, depicting the more intense and sometimes uncomfortable aspects of a relationship. There are no prizes for guessing what the final part of the album, 'The Pain', is about. Tove Lo's biggest single to date, 'Habits' (or the Hippie Sabotage remix 'Stay High') is taken from this section of the record. Overall, 'Queen of the Clouds' is an exciting yet emotional album that has without a doubt been my favourite of 2014.

Honourable Mentions:
Blitz Kids - The Good Youth (I've said some things, but this album was outstanding)
Heart to Heart - Dulce
The Hell - Groovehammer (If this list were curated based on album plays 'Groovehammer' would no doubt have made the final ten, alas, you can't have it all, The Hell, you can't have it all)
Hozier - Hozier
Issues - Issues
Jungle - Jungle
Moose Blood - I'll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time (Would have made it into the top ten but the release show was really what made this album special for me)

Please comment below and let me know how annoyed you are that I haven't included Royal Blood or FKA Twigs.

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