It had to be done.
10. Life In Your Way
- Waking Giants
The first album I had heard of these guys, and while it's not quite a standout in the hardcore/screamo crowd, definitely worth a listen. Their no-nonense lyrics are refreshing for the style.
9. The Wedding
I could take or leave this album after hearing their unexciting previous Self Titled
effort. However, this album truly surprised me - it's diverse and well written, despite its occasional cheesiness. Choc full catchy straight-up rock tunes like It's Time To Rock, OK?
as well as some pretty ballads, this album has a well deserved place in a top 10 of the year.
8. Edison Glass
- Let Go EP
This EP for Edison Glass' upcoming album Time Is Fiction
is short but oh, so sweet. It comprises 3 tracks from the upcoming album and a remix of a burn or a shiver
(from their last album of the same name). The three tracks are perfect exmples of Edison Glass' indie math rock magic, complete with unpredictable bouncy guitar riffs and their trademark dual vocalist use. I can't pick a favourite track between All Our Memories
, Cold Condition
and the title track, Let Go
, but rest assured they're all gold. The remix track, however, is regrettably boring.
- This Is Your Way Out EP
Another great EP, this time fo a debut artist. This EP is a very mature and well produced effort, packed with good variety thrown into Emarosa's hardcore stylings. Whilst their "experimental" tag is not quite well earned, there is enough here to keep the listener guessing both musically and vocally. Unfortunately the lyrics, while heartfelt, are not much to write home about. Check out Armageddon
6. Jon Foreman
- Fall EP
The first of four EPs (one for each season) from the Switchfoot
frontman, this EP is absoutely amazing. For someone who does not usually appreciate folk music, this album is impossible not to enjoy simply due to the fact that it is drenched with Foremans unequalled lyrical and songwriting genius. His varied use of instrumentation throughout only aids to the beauty of these 6 tracks. Can't wait for the rest of this EP quadrillogy.
5. Relient K
- Five Score And Seven Years Ago
Another case of a disappointing album, but an enjoyable one nonetheless. Ever the quintessential happy-pop-punk band, I was really liking the direction they were going in with their previous full-length, the annoyingly-titled yet classic Mmhmm
, where they went a bit edgier, including screaming on a few songs, while still including some great radio friendly pop-rock songs. This album marks the return to a more focused pop-rock Relient K. Possibly even more notably, it marks Matt Theissen's more serious approach to songwriting, despite the tongue-in-cheek lyrics here and there. The result is good...but not great. It stays consistent the whole way through, but fails to dazzle in my opinion due to its poppy nature. The trademark Relient K lyrical highs are present, particularly in Come Right Out And Say It
, Devastation And Reform
and I Need You
. An enjoyable listen throughout. But special mention for the 11 minute epic closer track, Deathbed
, which simply must be heard to be believed. To be honest, without this track the album would more than likely be in the 8-9ish area of this top 10 list.
4. The Classic Crime
- Seattle Sessions EP
Yes, it's been the year of the standout EPs apparently, and The Classic Crime are no exception when it comes to putting a lot of magic into a small amount of songs. When I say small amount, this effort was especially satisfying considering it boasted 7 original tracks, which is almost a full-length album in my books. This is album enjoys the fact that everything vocalist Matt McDonald touches simply turns to gold. While their previous effort Albatross
is quite different musically, Matt's voice lends beautifully to the acoustic theme of this EP, and his lyrical abilities just add to the beauty. The album doesn't stray too far from the rock-band-goes-acoustic formula musically, but is nonetheless a fantastic set of songs. Put on Far From Home
, close your eyes, and smile.
3. The Rocket Summer
- Do You Feel?
Despite its worthiness in my top 10 of 2007, I still find myself in two minds with this album. With his previous album Hello, Good Friend
, Bryce showed that pop music can still be a wonderful experience when it is well-crafted, heartfelt and unique. However, I find this album to be very hit and miss, on account of the fact that too many tracks are sadly, in my opinion, generic formulaic pop songs. The album has its share of geniuinely fantastic songs, namely the title track Do You Feel
, High Life Scenery
, Break It Out
and A Song Is Not A Business Plan
, which I feel really carry the album, and it's closer So, In This Hour...
is a truly amazing experience. However, some of the other tracks really let the album down. Bryce clearly has a knack for composing unique pop songs, but he fails to make these songs stand out, for example with the vocal variety that made his previous effort so special. This is an album which definitely deserves a listen, but is sadly not all it could be. A great record nonetheless.
2. As Cities Burn
- Come Now Sleep
Wow. Never have I been so devastated yet simultaneously so in love with a follow up album! It will be no surprise to anyone that knows anything about ACB that Come Now, Sleep is a huge stylistic departure from their previous masterpiece, Son, I Loved You at Your Darkest
, due to their screamer, TJ, leaving the band. Cody took over vocal duties. The result is much more laid back, but still absolutely magic progressive indie rock. While I usually hate such tags ("indie" especially), I find no better way to describe the unique listening experience of Come Now, Sleep. It's whimpsical and convicting, diverse yet extremely cohesive. The lyrics are still just as fantastic as their previous album, and even moreso blunt and powerful on tracks like Contact
. While Cody could have been a bit more aggressive with his vocals, the result still fit the feel of the music beautifully, and are still pleasantly diverse when necessary, such as on Empire
and This Is It, This Is It
. For fans of any genre of music, this is a truly must listen album.
After hearing Never Take Friendship Personal
, an album truly solid from start to finish, I expected something great from Cities, but still nothing to beat it's predecessor. I was splendidly wrong. While not as cohesive and consistent as NTFP, Cities is an amazing album - its highs are much, much higher, and it's lows are only marginally lower. I personally don't like Stephen's voice applied to slower songs and so tracks like The Unwinding Cable Car
sometimes annoy me, but are still beautiful tracks. The faster songs are simply some of the most powerful and best songs of the year. From the truly anthemic (*Fin)
to the dark Reculsion
to the emotive Dismantle.Repair.
to the playful Adelaide
to the poignant A Whisper & A Clamour
, this album has everything. It's always a joy to see such wonderful music from a band that, admittedly, on paper, does nothing to stand out from the already overcrowded "alt-rock" genre. A magnificent album from a band thatis just getting better and better. Can't wait to see what their '08 album brings.
A tragic disappointment after The Everglow
(which I regard as the best album ever, without qualification), but enjoyable nonetheless. Another victim of major label syndrome, unfortunately.Fall Out Boy
- Infinity on High
It was good to see these guys trying something different from their trademark catchy pop-punk, and while it was good, it just didn't quite do it for me. Patrick Stump is simply the best vocalist on the planet.