Continuing our countdown of our favourite British albums of 2015, we saw long awaited returns from Blur and The Libertines that didn’t disappoint, Slaves blast their way onto the scene and Jamie XX finally release a much anticipated debut album.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday
Traditionally difficult, the sophomore album for Noel’s solo High Flying Birds project seemed effortless. Expanding on the psychedelic foundations heard on his debut ‘Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ LP, ‘Chasing Yesterday’ saw Noel move further from his Britpop Oasis roots, but with something still to say.
Blur – The Magic Whip
Their first album as a four-piece since previous career highlight ‘13’, ‘The Magic Whip’ wisely chose not to try and recreate past glories, instead evolving Blur’s sound with a subtle nod to Damon Albarn’s solo projects along the way. A worthy addition to an already impressive discography.
Jamie XX – In Colour
Following a series of extremely well-received remixes and one-off singles came the inevitable album. Arguably the UK’s most in-demand (and selective) producer, ‘In Colour’ did not disappoint. Single ‘High Places’ featuring Romy XX was an instant classic, backed with an album that sounded as at home in a festival as it did at an early-hours after party.
PINS – Wild Nights
Recorded with Queens of the Stone Age producer Dave Catching around the incredible landscape of California’s Joshua Tree national park, ‘Wild Nights’ lived up to its name. Raucous production placed the Manchester foursome in a much louder frame of mind than their debut ‘Girls Like Us’ whilst still keeping a hold of melody.
Slaves – Are You Satisfied?
2015 was the year Kent’s Slaves really broke through, having already made a name for themselves as a truly formidable and exciting British live act. Following their 2013 EP ‘Sugar Coated Bitter Truth’, debut album ‘Are You Satisfied?’ was a blistering 35 minute call to arms that barely let up pace throughout, resulting in a Mercury Music Prize nomination and a tour so popular further dates had to be added.
Kagoule – Urth
Following the breakthrough of Sleaford Mods, Kagoule followed in 2015 helping cement Nottingham as one of the most exciting UK cities for new music. ‘Urth’ was their well-received debut album, mixing grungy guitar riffs with crashing drums for an LP that sounded far more mature than their young years would suggest.
The Libertines – Anthems for Doomed Youth
It could have all gone so wrong. A lot rested on their comeback album, and generally on balance ‘Anthems For Doomed Youth’ didn’t disappoint. Comeback single ‘Gunga Din’ was a reggae-tinted triumph and tracks such as ‘Belly Of The Beast’ saw Carl Barat’s lyrics twist some of their darkest turns to date. A very welcome return.
The Maccabees – Marks To Prove It
One of the few bands to truly survive the indie-boom of the noughties, ‘Marks To Prove It’ saw The Maccabees mature considerably on an album they happily confess was a struggle to make – frontman Orlando Weeks admitted had they been a new band they probably would have called it a day without finishing the record.
Catfish and the Bottlemen - The Balcony
Pleasing the crowds, if not the critics Catfish and The Bottlemen divided opinion in both press and social media throughout 2015. Love them or hate them, it’s difficult not to get caught up in the vibrant energy of their live shows, whilst album ‘The Balcony’ recalls indie-discos of the mid-noughties.
Drenge – Undertow
Overlooked by many throughout 2015, the second Drenge album saw brothers Eoin and Rory add a bassplayer to their line up creating a dark and sinister sophomore LP in the process. Album highlight ‘The Woods’ combines the storytelling of Nick Cave with potentially the most extravagant guitar solo of the year.