It’s now December, and that can only mean one thing, it’s time for the ICM Awards 2017! It’s fair to say that it has been a very good year for albums – and debut albums in particular. The likes of Sundara Karma, Declan McKenna, The Amazons, the list could go on! Many discussions later we have whittled it down to ten and here they are.
Sundara Karma – Youth is Only Fun in Retrospect
Last year’s ‘Track Of The Year’ winners with ‘She Said’ released their debut album in January which redefined the expectations of a debut album. ‘Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect’ unveils Sundara Karma to the world but also summarises the highs and lows of growing up in 12 anthemic tracks. Consequently, making them this year’s leaders of the revival of the indie genre. It has combined the best of the current indie into a mix that gets listeners hooked from the first song. It’s torn the expectations for a debut album up, showing how Sundara Karma are the band to watch this year. With a support slot with Two Door Cinema Club, smashing the festival season and a huge Autumn tour, Sundara Karma have had one incredible 2017.
Rat Boy – SCUM
Chelmsford musician Rat Boy produced a carefully crafted debut album in August, which if you got the album you would be listening to ‘S.C.U.M. Radio’ with quirky and funny interludes split up the songs to make it flow like a radio show. Genius. The album channels influences from the 90s and 00s beat-based dance and hip-hop sounds, with Rat Boy’s indie-rap style, which is often compared to Jamie T, but offers something slightly different to his previous work. It has a far more techno-electric beat, opening with the high-pitched synthetic voice. A very successful year for the young Jordan Cardy.
Oh Wonder – Ultralife
London alt-pop duo Oh Wonder have grown to international success by complete accident. Since they decided to be songwriters for other artists and post songs on SoundCloud as work to showcase here they are with their second album ‘Ultralife’. The sophomore album stands solidly as a cohesive, harmonious, and utterly DIY/low-key collection of songs perfect for you ‘revision’ and ‘easy listening’ playlists. Oh Wonder’s ‘Ultralife’ carries the same lively, yet gentle, tone as its title track and the band’s other releases. Although the album is generally soft and dreamy, its ambiance is that of life and experience. Just a joyous album you can happily relax to.
Will Joseph Cook – Sweet Dreamer
Since releasing his first single at just the age of 16, Will Joseph Cook, as an artist, is redefining the meaning of popstar with his album of ‘pop bangers’ is a refreshing take on indie pop providing fresh new twists and ideas hiding around ever corner, pulling you in deeper into Will’s dreamy goodness.
Sløtface – Try Not To Freak Out
Norwegian punk band Sløtface alt-rock music behind them. Their punk-infused rock songs is very similar to Honeybloods (who released their sophomore album last year), delicious guitar rock and jarring melodies with soft Black Honey vocals they sound invincible just like your usual superhero. The album is spiced up with some crazy jazz horns in ‘Pitted’ and superhero inspiration in ‘Nancy Drew’, Try Not To Freak Out is just as fierce live as it is recorded.
Lorde – Melodrama
The cover artwork for the New Zealand artists sophomore album, Melodrama has been put on display in the Louvre by a fan this week where she called it ‘a masterpiece surrounded by others’. Lorde delivers intense hip-hop infused pop and does what Lorde does best, capturing emotions within her tracks and this leaves us Melodrama, an album which narrates what its like to be a young woman, a life which is full of grief and hedonism. It’s certainly an album that has been finished off with a touch of finesse.
Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?
Oh Royal Blood, what an album you’ve produced. One of our writers said the would ‘shag’ it! The boys have gone back to school on this one. No silly tricks, no added features. Simply them, big riffs, even big choruses and that signature sound that oozes that sexual Queens of The Stone Age sound along with that mysterious filthy bass. They’ve certainly put a bit of a lid on the majority of their songs. Supporting Queens Of The Stone Age this year, Royal Blood have firmly set their mark as a world-class rock band.
Declan McKenna – What Do You Think About The Car?
The long-awaited album from Declan McKenna tackles topics that are serious, whereas the sounds bleeding through are indie rock. The whole album is a very touching and personal in songs like ‘Brazil’ and ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’ – which is possibly one of the biggest tracks on the album with its relevant underlying meaning for the youth of today. The songs are laced with confidence, and gifted lyrics, if this album isn’t enough to make you fall in love with Declan McKenna, then I don’t know what will.
Inheaven – Inheaven
South London quartet Inheaven have had one heck of a year. From their album to smashing the festival circuit Inheaven’s self-titled debut consists of heavy guitar riffs, powerful bass licks and pounding drums taking you back to the glory days of the naughties. To carry on this great form, they have recently announced a February UK tour. No matter what size the crowd or venue is they always put 110% into their shows, and that is why their very humble approach will take them far and wide.
The Big Moon – Love In The 4th Dimension
Four girls packed full of fun, The Big Moon’s debut album even got nominated for a Mercury Prize this year! So for a debut album, and an indie band to be nominated is one heck of an achievement. After spending twelve summer days in the studio they’ve managed to produce a very lyrically powerful album that is a modern-day blast of leftfield pop, all merciless of frantic hooks and four-part harmonies that back Juliette Jackson’s brazen croon.