As 2014 is coming to a close, I wanted to make a list of some of my favourite albums released this year. 2014 certainly did not disappoint on the music front with new albums from the likes of Foo Fighters, Pixies and We Are The In Crowd making it near impossible to decide on my favourite albums from this year. Nevertheless, I have produced a list of the albums that have got me singing along at the top of my lungs or that I connected to on a much deeper level.
15. Disciple – Attack; Disciple are back in a big way with this album. It’s not like their old sound, but it’s not like O God Save Us All either. Instead, it’s a mix of the two with bold lyrics proving the Christian rock band are not hiding behind their beliefs. Disciple fans, old and new, should definitely give this record a spin, you might just be pleasantly surprised.
14. Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together; This album is the sound of a band who have found their true sound, captured it with both hands and thrown it all into a single album. Although there is still the remnants of the sound that got them to where they are, Architects have embraced change making this one of their most exciting records to date.
13. Fort Hope – Courage; The violins and soft vocal during the first song immediately let you know Fort Hope mean business with this record. The parts lock into each other creating a solid groove that has a somewhat Cartel sound to it. Fort Hope seem to have a clear idea of their sound – rather impressive considering Courage is the band’s first album. I can’t help but be excited for what they produce in the years to come.
12. Of Mice & Men – Restoring Force; I wasn’t overly impressed the first few times I heard this album but soon enough I realised the true beauty of the album. Restoring Force is 39 minutes of lyrical pain and resolve topped off with strong guitar riffs and drum beats that pound the passion from the band straight into the listener. Admittedly, it’s not their best record, but OM&M have found a much more mature, balanced sound creating a musical biography of the band’s struggles.
11. American Authors – Oh, What A Life; This record received a lot of attention with the pop culture but I’d say it definitely has an indie feel to it too. Oh, What A Life brings a fresh sound that can only be described as ‘free’. This album was definitely my go-to album this summer with the catchy tunes and lyrics. Give this album a listen with an open mind and you might find a new perspective to it.
10. Twin Atlantic – Great Divide; Something between Biffy Clyro and Bon Jovi, the Scottish four-piece are back with a somewhat controversial album. Great Divide has been formulated to be as commercial radio-friendly as possible but still creates the pretence of being a rock album. I don’t blame Twin Atlantic for creating a catchy, feel-good album that appeals to the mainstream audience but I can’t help but wish they had added a bit more depth and substance to it.
9. Crown the Empire – The Resistance: Rise of The Runaways; This is a jumble of ideas that have been perfectly executed into a coherent, eccentric album. Crown the Empire have held nothing back in the making of this album creating a fuller, bigger and harder album than 2012’s The Fallout. This is an album I have recommended to friend’s, most of whom have been taken aback by the bands ability to create music with so many layers without it sounding over-produced or forced.
8. You Me At Six – Cavalier Youth; This is yet another album that was quickly snapped up by the pop fans and repeated on radio stations time and time again. Still, there is no denying that there are rock elements to this album. Guitars and drums form a strong beat and, personally, I think the bass line is extremely strong across the entire album. It may not be as lyrically deep as the likes of OM&M but there is definitely a lot of depth and meaning thrown in to the album through the lyrics.
7. Sólstafir – Ótta; The Icelandic quartet’s fifth album has taken raw emotion and indie shoe gaze to unchartered heights. I can’t say much about the lyrics as honestly, I have no idea what it translates as, but in a way this makes me appreciate the musical genius of this album even more. Instrumentally it feels like a swirling pot of colours and textures which have been blended together to create a fuzzy warmth. The guitars and drums have been kept to a minimum, only playing what is absolutely necessary. All in all, this is serious piece of art which contains very few faults.
6. Gerard Way – Hesitant Alien; This album isn’t a far cry from Gerard’s previous work in My Chemical Romance. Sure, it’s a little fuzzier, oddly shaped and doesn’t flow quite as coherently as his MCR but Hesitant Alien is a vibrant reflection of his artistic vibes. It has the same energy and rock vibe and his voice certainly hasn’t lost any of it’s power or uniqueness. Go in to this album with an open mind, don’t expect the next My Chemical Romance record and you will soon appreciate how wonderfully executed this album truly is.
5. Moose Blood – I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time; Moose Blood aren’t afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves when it comes to writing music. This album is replete with heartfelt, yearning lyrics that move through waves of emotion. It is full of honesty and intense passion, drawing in listeners from start to finish. This is an album I keep coming back to in the midst of all the rock records I’ve been jamming to this year. If you haven’t heard of Moose Blood, I strongly suggest you listen to this album, and fall in love.
4. Blitz Kids – The Good Youth; The second album from these British rockers proved to be a lot more promising than their previous efforts. Packed full of atmospheric melodies and gang vocals, this album proves that negativity and rock music need not go hand in hand. Blitz Kids seem to have something unique to bring to the table and appear to know the direction they need to go in. Look out for this band in the future, I’m sure this won’t be the last time you hear of them.
3. PVRIS – White Noise; This features 10 of the darkest, dreamiest, synthiest pop-rock songs of 2014. The entire album is full of ambient guitar riffs, powerful vocals and a hint of electronics giving it a unique and distinctive sound. There’s no question why everyone went PVRIS mad after the release of this album. The tracks are somewhat infectious, forcing you to keep them on repeat for hours making this one of my favourite albums this year.
2. Lower Than Atlantis – Lower Than Atlantis; Lower Than Atlantis have a way of slamming out tracks that sound like they were built for Wembley until you peel back the layers and realise they are the true masters of songwriting and have the ability to pluck even the tightest of heartstrings. There is not one track on this album that doesn’t stand out for it’s beautifully written lyrics, pop-like feel at parts or just the hugeness of tunes. This could well have been my number one but was just pipped to the post by Copeland. Still, it is without a doubt my favourite rock album of the year.
1. Copeland – Ixora; Usually I would spend hours deciding on my favourite album of the year but Copeland have made my job a lot easier for me this year. 6 years after their last album, the return of Copeland with Ixora was exactly what I was hoping it to be. They seem on top of their game with this record – with hypnotically beautiful piano, stunning electric guitars and the carefully produced tone of it all. This is an utterly flawless album, from start to finish, from a truly inspirational band. I have no words to explain how thrilled I am that the band is back together and I hope this is just the start of many more Copeland albums to come.