The 30 Best New Albums Of 2017

28 December 2017, 17:43

We’re at the end of another hectic year, so which 2017 albums should you be adding to your collection? Here’s our review of the best new music of the past twelve months.

From established artists like Kasabian, Foo Fighters, Morrissey and Noel Gallagher… through to the very best new acts like Lucy Rose, Circa Waves and The Amazons, here’s what we think you should be listening to right now.

Alt-J - Relaxer

The third studio album from the Leeds art rockers is typically obscure yet accessible. In Cold Blood has a verse written in binary code, for heaven’s sake. But despite this geekery, the music is warm while still remaining weird.

The Amazons - The Amazons

Stadiums, get ready for The Amazons. This Reading quartet have corned the market in anthemic guitar rock in 2017. It’s authentic and direct: “Junk food forever / Late nights together / Jackets in leather / I can’t forget ya.”

Arcade Fire - Everything Now

Win Butler and his collective get satirical on their fifth outing. While chipping in with cutting comments about society, politics and social media, they back it up with pan pipes, disco beats and a euphoric joyfulness. Clever, alluring stuff. 

Beck - Colors

Everyone’s collaborating with producer Greg Kurstin these days, the man who took Adele to the next level of superstardom. But Beck isn’t a blank canvas for a producer - after the gloomy Morning Phase, Colors is a vibrant record packed with some of his most appealing songs in years.

Björk - Utopia

The result of a lifetime in music, Utopia is delicate, challenging, confusing and rewarding. If the last album, Vulnicura was about the breakdown of a relationship, this LP is about “heaven”. 

The Big Moon – Love In The 4th Dimension

The debut album from this accomplished London four piece was recorded in just 12 days and the energy and love for classic 90s indie rock shines through.

The Charlatans - Different Days

Tim Burgess and co’s 13th studio album draws on the influences that have seeped through their 25 year career and there’s special guests a-plenty: Paul Weller, Johnny Marr and New Order’s Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert.

Circa Waves - Different Creatures

The second album from the young Liverpool indie band sees them open up their classic guitar hooks for a more mature sound.

Elbow - Little Fictions

20 years and seven albums into their career and Guy Garvey and his team have perfected their trademark brand of heart breaking, life affirming, beautiful music.

Everything Everything - A Fever Dream

Further adventures in intense rhythms from the Mancunian quartet. With each album the band get more audacious and with the world in such a confusing state, this music is perfect.

Foo Fighters - Concrete And Gold

Dave Grohl and his team get expansive with producer Greg Kurstin. There’s still the hard Foos rockin’ on display, but with a more melodic, choral, “produced” sound. Could this be Foo Fighters’ very own Sgt Pepper? 
 

Liam Gallagher - As You Were

After the false start of Beady Eye, Liam finally goes solo properly and it’s everything you’d expect - and want. Big, bold choruses, Beatlesque orchestration, the odd bit of Manc soul and just a touch - a touch, mind - of vulnerability in there, too.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Who Built The Moon?

While going about his usual business for the past four years, the elder Gallagher was making a “secret” record with soundtrack mastermind and DJ David Holmes. The result sees Noel pushing himself way out of his comfort zone: samples, French female singers, soul pastiches and instrumental interludes. New Noel has taken control and we have ourselves a genuine artist and not just the Oasis legend of old.

Gorillaz - Humanz

Unbelievable sounds, incredible guests and a fictional band. Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s art project is as vital as ever in this troubled year.

Kasabian - For Crying Out Loud

Serge and Tom turn back the clock for some glam rock-influenced indie bangers, a trip to a rave and a kaleidoscope of lyrical influences. The band you can rely on.

The Killers - Wonderful Wonderful

Things are busy over at Killers towers, with Mark Stoermer and Dave Keuning opting out of touring, but their input on the fifth album is evident. Brandon Flowers leads tracks like The Man and Run For Cover like they’re soundtracks to fictitious 1980s teen movies and you’re left amazed at how a band this quirky can be so huge. 

London Grammar - Truth Is A Beautiful Thing

Another beautiful, delicate record from the Nottingham trio, fronted by the mesmerising voice of Hannah Reid. 

Laura Marling – Semper Femina

 The title is Latin for “woman is ever a fickle and changeable thing”, which describes this rich and intelligent music that explores female relationships. One of Britain’s most essential songwriters.

Maximo Park – Risk To Exist

For their sixth album, Paul Smith and Maximo dig deeper into politics, social anxieties and world affairs, married to classic melodic hooks.

Morrissey - Low In High School

As Morrissey and the 21st Century seem ever more at odds with each other, we must always come back to the core of his fascinating character: the music. And with his eleventh solo album, Steven Patrick still has the ability to shock and outrage with his forthright opinions, but a way with a wry lyric and a seductive tune.

Portugal: The Man - Woodstock

This Portland outfit have been knocking around for the best part of a decade on the US psych rock scene, but their eighth album has proved anyone who accused them of selling out to be completely misguided. This ambitious record is full of great songs.

Queens Of The Stone Age - Villains

2017 was definitely the year of the big shake up: Noel went experimental and Josh Homme teamed up with Mark Ronson. What seems like a marriage made in hell is pleasingly EXACTLY that - the savage riffing of QOTSA gets a smooth, sharp makeover and showcases the melodic treasure buried deep in those songs. 

Lucy Rose – Something’s Changing

Rose’s growing confidence hasn’t affected her gentle, introspective sound that’s slicker, and more accomplished on her third album.  

Royal Blood - How Did We Get So Dark?

The duo of Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher with more strident, balls-out, confrontational, but still finely-tuned rock. This second album sees them hit the big time. The most essential band of the year?

Stereophonics - Scream Above The Sounds

Kelly Jones is like a veteran Welsh bluesman nowadays, with the new Phonics songs full of regret, longing and - especially on the Stuart Cable tribute,  Before Anyone Knew Our Name - full of bittersweet memories. Not only that, Jones can still nail an anthemic chorus.

U2 - Songs Of Experience

The massive Joshua Tree 30th anniversary tour was a brief diversion from the main business of 2017 for Bono and friends: the follow-up to 2014’s Songs Of Innocence. We return to a trip through Bono’s back pages with memories and a more reflective feel.

The War On Drugs - A Deeper Understanding

Adam Granduciel’s first album for a major label sees him bring out the sparkle within his songs. The result is a shimmering, beautiful record.

Paul Weller - A Kind Revolution

The Modfather’s 13th solo album proves it’s not possible to second guess the man. It’s rich with influences, yet never resorts to cliches and there’s even a collaboration with folk rock legend Robert Wyatt.

Wolf Alice - Visions Of A Life 

For their second album, the North London quartet expand on their grungy guitar sound for a more rounded approach that takes in robotic synthpop, dream pop and quirky rhythms, with Ellie Roswell’s voice acting as a whole other instrument in itself.

The xx - I See You

The third album from the South London sound lab sees them keep their distinctive sound, but opens up the fascinating use of samples and hits a new level of emotional depth.