January started with a bang – in the sense that a lot a bands favouring loud, distorted guitars decided to get out of the blocks early in 2018. January didn’t produce a deluge of albums to pick from, those that did packed an enormous punch.
We had the catchy, twangy guitars of Shopping, the alt-rock growling of Shame, the psyche-laden riffs of Prettiest Eyes and the unashamedly power-pop-punk of Marmozets (lead singer Rebecca Macintyre channeling Transvision Vamp’s Wendy James marvellously). These bands proved that loud punk-laced rock still has relevance in a age of auto-tuned RnB.
But the early contender for my album of the year came from another place entirely. German composer Nils Frahm’s All Melody is a stunning blend of neo-classical piano artistry, beautifully desolate electronicawith a touch of smoky late night jazz bars. This took me aback when I first heard it and, after repeated listening, it still blows me away.
Top 10 January 2018
1: Nils Frahm – All Melody
Standout track: Sunson
2: Shopping – The Official Body
Standout track: Asking for a Friend
3: Shame – Songs of Praise
Standout track: Lampoon
4: No Age – Snares Like a Haircut
Standout track: Popper
5: Prettiest Eyes – Pools
Standout track: A Sweet Song
6: Marmozets – Knowing What you Know Now
Standout track: Lost in Translation
7: The Limiñanas – Shadow People
Standout track: Shadow People
8: Arrows of Love – Product: Your Soundtrack To The Impending Societal Collapse
Standout track: Signal
9: Starcrawler – Starcrawler
Standout track: Love’s Gone Again
10: Dirtmusic – Bu Bir Ruya
Standout track: Bi De Sen Soyle