The last year has been a whirlwind for Jack Garratt. The multi-instrumentalist from Buckinghamshire has been heralded as the BBC’s Introducing Artist of the Year, and since their Sound of 2016. He even won this year’s BRITs Critics’ Choice, following in the gargantuan footsteps of artists such as Ellie Goulding, Adele and last year’s winner, James Bay. With the monumental buzz surrounding the eventual release of his debut album, Phase, the main question is this: has he managed to get it right?
It’s been three years since we last heard new material from pop stalwart, Adele. Her second album 21 is a modern day classic, propelled into success by an emotive Brits performance of heartbreak favourite, ‘Someone Like You’. She’s since broken countless records, won several awards including a Grammy for her Bond theme, ‘Skyfall’… and then she just disappeared. The bubbly singer-songwriter from Tottenham is known by quite literally everyone on the planet, and its no surprise; possessing one of the most effortlessly sublime singing voices of our age really should receive that level of recognition. So naturally, it was no wonder many of us were starting to worry whether she would ever return with a follow up to her runaway success. Adele fans rejoice: 25 is finally here.
At risk of sounding like a beauty haul Youtube star, I thought I’d try a new thing in compiling a list of my favourite albums from this month. August is always a good month for music, especially with the sheer amount of music festivals happening at this time of the summer, and this year hasn’t disappointed.
It has been a long time coming but finally this summer, Callum Burrows AKA Saint Raymond has released his debut album Young Blood. Preceding this release throughout the last year and a half with several singles and EPs, this Nottingham-born artist has started to make waves, his blend of acoustic guitar and anthemic choruses making him a festival favourite.
When you first hear the name Wolf Alice, it is hard to separate initial thoughts from the world of Angela Carter’s fairytales it was plucked from. My Love Is Cool plays out in a similar fashion, the band sticking to the themes of an uninhibited, wild youth but all the while with a refined and polished edge. Cool really is the word here.
In the past The Vaccines have been seen as a band to encapsulate teen angst and rebellion, being the soundtrack to many a first festival-goer’s summer. However, it’s clear the West London boys don’t like to be defined by one genre, with their previous two LPs – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? and Come of Age – both deviating slightly from the other’s sound. Certainly, English Graffiti does not disappoint in this respect.
Known to our generation as that cheeky band from Liverpool who urged us all to ‘kill the director’ and ‘dance to Joy Division’, The Wombats are back with their third offering. Four years after the release of second album This Modern Glitch, new album Glitterbug packs a punch, although slightly different in sound. Influenced by lead singer Matthew Murphy’s time in Los Angeles, it is without doubt their most refined collection so far. However, this begs the question: is a refined sound something that The Wombats really suit?
Naming an album is something you have to get right, particularly that of a debut. That name is what will be emblazoned all over posters, tweeted about in its hundreds, blogged about: it symbolises your album and what it encapsulates. In this sense, James Bay’s debut Chaos and the Calm falls a little short.