Wow what a stinker of a year that was, there was enough political, economic, environmental and sporting chaos to make 2020 look calm and serene in comparison but at least the music was decent. Here are my favourite albums of the year, read last years list here if you are so inclined.
5) Vola – Witness
From the wondrous brutality of ‘Stone Leader Falling Down’, the perfect mix of heaviness and pop melody in ‘Straight Lines’ to the soft and airy ’24 Light Years’ – the Danish prog metal bands sumptuous mix of pop, progressive, metal and electronica continued with their marvellous third album Witness.
4) Alice Cooper – Detroit Stories
Detroit Stories is an homage to Alice Cooper’s hometown, fifty years on since his big break record Love It to Death. Produced by his old pal Bob Ezrin, Detroit Stories is a riotous blast of Cooper-esque ’70s rock from the rambunctious ‘Go Man Go’, the snappy single ‘Social Debris’, the toe tapping ‘$1000 High Heel Shoes’ and the sunny, Beatles pop of ‘Our Love Will Change the World’.
3) The Killers – Pressure Machine
Coming hot on the heels of last year’s Imploding the Mirage, Pressure Machine eschewed their usual bombastic and hyperbolic pop rock for a restrained and ruminative folk. Inspired by Bruce Springsteen‘s Nebraska, Mirage is 11 heartfelt tales of Brandon Flowers hometown Nephi, in Utah, covering sombre topics like drug abuse, adultery and suicide with subtlety and grace.
2) The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic II
The Swedish AOR kings were at it again this year, crafting an album choc full of huge choruses, big riffs, synth melodies and guitar solos all drenched in an ‘80s pop sheen. Be it the Boston like, radio friendly belter ‘Midnight Marvellous’, the irresistible toe tapping beat of ‘Burn for Me’ and the red hot earworm ‘White Jeans’ – Aeromantic II is camp, cheesy and a bloody good time.
1) Royal Blood – Typhoons
The Bristolian duos Queens of the Stone Age meets The White Stripes brand of riffy indie rock has taken them to the big time. For their third album Typhoons they added a Daft Punk and Justice, dance influence to brilliant effect. Tracks like ‘Troubles Coming’, ‘Limbo’, ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Hold on’ combine their infectious hooks to a menacing atmosphere and a disco drum beat.
Occupying places six to ten are; Joe Bonamassa – Time Clocks, Biffy Clyro – The Myth of the Happily Ever After, Billy F Gibbons – Hardware, The Bronx – VI, Bros – Vol. 2 (no, not that Bros)