1) Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
From the opening salvo of Burn The Witch, spot on with its just-before-Brexit-vote xenophobic undertones of distrust of thy neighbour, to The Numbers, a song about Green Issues, Radiohead managed to have their political finger on the pulse with this album. Alongside this, there are deeply personal moments of introspection – the sleepwalking ramblings of Daydreaming and the painfully bare emotion of True Love Waits. Atmospheric, orchestral, and full of the frizzle factor, these songs are beautiful creations by a true band of artists. Full review HERE.
Favourite 3 tracks – The Numbers, Desert Island Disk, Decks Dark.
2) The Coral – Distance Inbetween
There’s a maturity in how well these the songs on this album have been put together – tracks like Connector and Chasing The Tail Of A Dream have a hynotic quality to them and your attention does not wander as you are led through Sixties influences (White Bird), to the outright popular (Miss Fortune) and heavy rock guitar (Holy Revelation, Million Eyes and Fear Machine). An excellent offering from the once Mercury Prixe nominated band. Full review HERE
Favourite 3 tracks: Holy Revelation, Miss Fortune, Connector.
3) We Are Scientists – Helter Seltzer
The album title hints at the thrill of the fairground ride mixed with the antacid requirements of a bad turn on the Waltzer after too much candy floss. It’s a large slice of Indie loveliness from the New York duo, rammed with singalongs and searing chords. Whilst it’s often about love, it’s that start of a relatonship kind of thing: “Why not make things interesting? I want you to buckle when you look at me,” or “If you want me, we need to have a word,” or “I point my headlights at you.” Looking at the video for Buckle, I suspect these guys think a custard pie in the face might be the winning formula to amuse a girlfriend, and there’s something quite naively charming about that.
Favourite 3 tracks: Buckle, We Need A Word, Headlights.
4) James Blake – The Colour In Anything
A fascinating 17 track journey through a variety of experimental synth sounds and rhythms, simple vocal clarity and classical piano. It’s an icy shard that strikes sharply. Master Blake has created an album which is a challenging and uncompromising listen at times. There are annoyances – I mean it’s virtually impossible to put together that many tracks of true excellence – but when it’s good, it’s very very good, and it’s aloofness attracts in the same way that a supermodel demands your gaze. Full review HERE.
Favourite 3 tracks – My Willing Heart, Put That Away And Talk To Me, Radio Silence.
5) David Bowie – Blackstar
The death of David Bowie, two days after the release of this album, was the first sign that 2016 was going to be an utter bitch that robbed us of our heroes. The album is bitter sweet in its many references to death, and feels very “end-of-life-ish”. A year on Blackstar remains a wonderfully baffling song about something otherworldly, yet oh so mortal, that is hard to put your finger on. And to be honest I’m happy that way. To be left with a thought provoking mystery is a great parting gift from one of our greatest musical legends. Full review HERE
Favourite 3 tracks: Blackstar, Girl Loves Me, Sue.