Albums of the Year 2022
It has been a weird year for listening to albums. I seem to have been listening to music less during work hours and walking less, so many albums have only had a single listen. Although a small number have been listened to constantly. The top three reflect those albums that have been listened to the most and then there’s an unordered list of albums that stood out this year.
Album of the year: Everything Was Forever – Sea Power
Sea Power’s eighth studio album and first under their new name reflects a more mature band. Neil and Scott having lost both parents since their last outing seemed to be in a more contemplative mood that producer Graham Sutton has encouraged them to explore. Sonically this pays off with probably their most spacial album to date. The album has the usual rockers in ‘Green Goddess’, ‘Dopplerganger’ and ‘Two Fingers’, the later a reference to their dad’s habit of pouring out two fingers of alcohol. The beautiful ‘Lakeland Echo’ is a wistful walk through childhood memories of parents and Cumbria. ‘Lakeland Echo’ being the name of the local paper. On ‘Transmitter’, Martin Noble gets a chance to throw in a guitar solo. The album feels their most personal to date and that isn’t a bad thing. Having heard the material played live throughout this year. The new songs all sound brilliant live and seem to have reinvigorate the band and audience.
2nd: The Overload – Yard Act
Following the lead of bands like Dry Cleaning, James Smith speaks most of the songs weaving interesting tales full of wry comment on modern society. At no point does it become sneary, but it is angry. Six minute long Tall Poppies is a good example. The cautionary story of a handsome man who is a big fish in a small village. When you think it might turn sneary, it spins you around. ‘He wasn’t perfect, but he was one of us’, James explains after the man’s death from cancer. On Dead Horse, concern for post-Brexit England being overrun by nationalist ‘nob heads morris dancing to Sham 69’. Unethical business men, the middle-classes, the compensation society are all targets. Driving the narrative is the current trend of a post-punk bass line. Several songs make good use of breaks from relentless bass with the music fading away leaving just the vocals, to then kick back in at a different speed. All combining to create a fresh sounding debut album.
3rd: The Ruby Cord – Richard Dawson
Richard Dawson is one of those special artists who does what he wants and transcends the boundaries of ‘his genre’. Not only did he release a metal album with Circle. He returned with a majestic piece of folk-opera in the form of the ‘Ruby Cord’. The backbone of the album is the epic 41 minute long ‘The Hermit’ is without doubt my favourite piece of music from 2022. Starting slowly as almost laid back jazz, violins come in adding a discordant jeopardy, interspersed by harps creating dream-like spaces. At the 11 minute mark, Richard’s unique vocals come in with his fantasy infused lyrics. The music then switches to a more standard Dawkins folk song. Finally ending as a reflective choral piece. I can’t get enough of this song.
- Broken Equipment – Bodega
- Hellfire – Black Midi
- Heart Under – Just Mustard
- Wet Leg – Wet Leg
- North East Coastal Town – Life
- Time Bend and Break The Bower – Sinead O’Brien
- Caroline – Caroline
- When It Comes – Dana Gavanski
- The Great Regression – Ditz
- Entering Heaven Alive – Jack White
- This Rock – Jill Lorean
- My Name is Hell – Kai Marks
- Bob Vylan Presents the Price of Life – Bob Vylan
- Beware Believers – Crows
- Stump Works – Dry Cleaning
- All Of Us Flames – Ezra Furman
- Skinny Fa – Fontaines D.C.
- Most Normal – Gilla Band
- Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To the Sky – Porridge Radio
- My Other People – TV Priest
- Versions of Modern Performance – Horsegirl