VH ALBUMS OF 2018 (SO FAR…)

We’re past the half way mark of 2018, and the world hasn’t ended yet. Cause for celebration? Maybe.

Let us rather celebrate the good things that have happened (rather than the bad things that haven’t), by listing our favourite albums of 2018 (so far)…

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Sophie – Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides 

UK producer, SOPHIE is of the most distinct artists working today. With her signature bubblegum bass sound SOPHIE is re-shaping the pop music landscape. On her debut album, Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides SOPHIE finally comes into her view herself, fitting within her sonic world like a latex glove. Be it the gorgeous balled ‘It’s Okay To Cry’, the Madonna worshipping ‘Immaterial’ or the seriously sexy ‘Ponyboy’, SOPHIE infuses every track with a bolt of personality. But maybe most important of all is the themes of acceptance and self-love that Oil… surrounds itself in. As SOPHIE searches for her voice she in turn invites the audience along on the journey with her. And by the time you’ve made it to the end it’s clear that she’s found something magical along the way. ~ Jacob Doolin

 

Snail Mail – Lush 

2018 has been an outstanding year for the women of indie rock and at the forefront of that is Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan. With a voice that will leave you stunned and songwriting that outshines all of her contemporaries Jordan is posed to go down as one of the greatest of her generation. And a lot of that promise shines through on the Snail Mail debut, Lush, which highlights all of her skills while improving upon everything surrounding them. Singles like ‘Pristine’ and ‘Heat Wave’ showcase just how far Jordan and her band has come since their EP release last year. A new confidence can be heard in every track and it elevates the Jordan and her songwriting to new heights. Album highlight ‘Stick’ is the best example of how Jordan is improving herself, taking an older track and beefing it up with a full band without losing any of its charm. That’s the exciting thing about a band like Snail Mail, they still are capturing that magic while still progressing. It maybe their first album but I highly doubt it will be their last great one. ~ Jacob Doolin

Jeff Rosenstock – Post

Jeff Rosenstock has put together a career defining album with Post. The concept: written within a few weeks of the US election – it pulls no punches. Although much of the lyrical content seems anti-Trump, Jeff’s song writing is much more clever than just that, instead DT’s behaviours are challenged. Musically this has a real ebb and a flow; there are songs that hit ten minutes that you’ll wish were longer, there are fast songs full of contempt,  there are moments of the kindest word play, and most importantly there are singalongs and hooks throughout. ~ Ben Adsett

 

Kississippi – Sunset Blush

Delicate sun-drenched soundscapes meet fragile vocals to create the dreamiest pop songs. The emo lyrics tell of heart break and daily struggle creating beautiful bitter sweetness. The musical combinations throughout are well considered and fit together intricately taking this release far above the surf inspire pop that preceded Kississippi. Everything about Sunset Blush is sublime. This is an album that radiates through speakers, every track flowing beautifully into and out of the next making the entire listening process delightful. This is sure to be the soundtrack to every summer from here on in. ~ Ben Adsett

 


A Perfect Circle
– Eat the Elephant

Long-awaited follow-up to 2004’s eMOTIVe, this seemingly subtle record is a pleasantly minimalistic piece with a million nuances. Maynard James Keenan is at his most inspired and his vocal work is second to nothing he has ever done before. Eat the Elephant is highly addictive, intensive but delicate, angry but weightless. Each track flows perfectly into the next, giving it a concept album feeling which gets better at every listen. While it’s not a completely political record, it touches on relevant current themes such as power and corruption, inequality, isolation, and the death of the rich and famous. It is, perhaps, the protest album that eMOTIVe should’ve been, tied in with the 2004 US Presidential Elections. APC have managed to strike that perfect balance of being similar enough to previous releases, while also entering new, uncharted territory. Nevertheless, a bittersweet ominous feeling hovers it – will they be able to top what seems like peak perfection… Or is this the curtain call for APC? Watch this space… ~ Rita Aresta


Manic Street Preachers – Resistance is Futile

Against the odds of time and their inability to sell 16 million copies of Generation Terrorists “from Bangkok to Senegal”, the Manics are still standing strong – 32 years later. The Welsh rock legends may now be on the brink of 50 years of age, but they’re still the masters of stadium-filling, ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’-type singalong euphoria and massive riffs, finding peak sharpness on ‘International Blue’. Even Wire’s vocals – his best to date – make an appearance in ‘The Left Behind’. Fifth and final single ‘Hold Me Like a Heaven’ turned out to have a sneaky ability to grow on me; a massive crowd-pleaser that has even received The One Show treatment. Albeit nostalgic and reflective, Resistance is Futile doesn’t (for the most part) tread into self-indulgent navel-gazing territory; it also translated phenomenally into the live shows. There just isn’t much else you can ask of these guys. ~ Rita Aresta


Dream Wife – Dream Wife

They came together for an art project and stuck around for the fun of creating music and touring together, yet Dream Wife are so much more than that. Their self-titled debut compiles the best of their riotous live performances and an offering of newer easy going numbers.

From the pure party that is ‘Let’s Make Out’ to the bold statement singles ‘Somebody’ and ‘F.U.U’, Dream Wife bring a whole new meaning to the words “Girl Power” in their bid to “find strength in female solidarity”. This is an unforgettable debut. Enticing rhythms pull us into strong social commentaries as well as fun melodies, with anything from sweetly sung musings and raw as hell exclamations. A fiery energy ready to engulf anyone who comes near it, this album is undoubtedly one of the best debuts to have come out this year and sets an exciting path for Dream Wife. ~ Samantha Mae

TT – LoveLaws

When you’re part of such a cohesive band as Warpaint, a solo project certainly comes with high expectations, and fortunately for us, Theresa Wayman has not disappointed with LoveLaws, her first album under the moniker TT.

If you were to sum up the album in a word, ‘stunning’ comes to mind, but perhaps ‘gutting’ is more appropriate. LoveLaws falls into emotional turmoil, a devastatingly real account of love, loss and loneliness. Wayman effectively bares all in a deeply personal account of feelings, to such an extent that it is almost unnerving. Most certainly an album that sticks with you for weeks to come. Complex combinations blend with sensual rhythms to create moments of heart touching intimacy. It reads as vulnerable on the tin, but on the inside is entirely empowering in its process of reflection. It might take a lot of looking back, but LoveLaws surely paves the way forward. ~ Samantha Mae

Parkway Drive – Reverence

It’s noisy, it’s dark, and you bet, it’s aggressive. Opening with sinister spoken-word lyrics, and snarling shrieks by frontman Winston McCall, ‘Wishing Wells,’ thrashes a militant welcome to the album. Having thrown themselves straight into the hub of metal-core, the Australian quintet have mastered the key to producing ear-splitting anthems. Tracks such as, ‘The Void,’ and ‘Prey,’ are currently the two most acclaimed tracks on the album. With harmonised, vocally-driven introductions, Reverence dabbles in progressive choruses each in which bleed a roaring intensity the more you listen. With ten interchange tracks flinging inflamed guitar riffs left to right, it’s evident this album only has one intention; to provoke chaos. ~ Laviea Thomas

 

Rolo Tomassi – Time Will Dies, Love Will Bury It

It’s a marriage between pure brutality and a beautiful elegance. A journey through post-hardcore, doom filled riffs, jazz rhythms, and even a smattering of accessible, dare I say, radio-friendly synth driven prog-rock. Any brief write up of this latest release from Sheffield’s finest (sorry Jarvis), could, at first glance, be mistaken for a summary post 2004 Dillinger Escape Plan. But Dillinger are dead, long live Rolo Tomassi. Although not ground breaking, it’s the effortlessness of Time Will Die... that makes it rise above any other progressive post-hardcore efforts. But it’s not so much of a surprise – 10 years into their musical career, Rolo Tomassi, as they do with each release, continue to take their sound into more complex, compelling, and always technically proficient surroundings. ~ Dan Withey


The Wonder Years – Sister Cities

What feels like a personal story told from Dan Campbell, is a story told from everyone. The Wonder Years have always had a way of hitting their listeners in the heart but with Sister Cities each song feels like a book, a perspective of life from a different set of eyes. With each listen, there is another special line or bit of imagery that sticks in your head. The growth as a band is evident, from a technical and musical standpoint, but most importantly a storytelling standpoint. This album stands out in the collection of the band’s work and solidified a strong presence in 2018 releases. ~ Tim Stockwell


Daphne & Celeste – Daphne & Celeste Save the World

Gone are the vacuous lyrics of their salad days. Instead, under the watchful eye of British producer Max Tundra, the girls draw influence from the likes of Pet Shop Boys and J-Pop, resulting in an album almost unrecognisable from 2000’s We Didn’t Say That. From the delightfully chirpy ‘Save the World’, through the AKB48 inspired ‘Sunny Day’, and the retro-eighties fest of orchestral electro delights of ‘Alarms’, the duo have been transformed from their former status of bubblegum bobbins to veritable artistes. It’s also an album that includes the track that kicked off the return in the first place, all the way back in 2015; the synth driven, tension filled, glitch-rhythm ‘You & I Alone’. It’s fucking great. ~ Grae Westgate