WOW247’s Best Albums of 2015: 10 – 6
albums of 2015

We continue our countdown of the year’s best albums, based on the choices of our team of music writers.

So far we’ve covered 25 – 21,  20 – 16 and 15 – 11.

Now it’s getting serious as we enter the top 10…

10: Drenge – Undertow

Label: Liberator Music
Released: April 6, 2015

Grungey two-pieces soon fall into the same blues-rock clichés (thanks White Stripes), so these Sheffield-based brothers kept things fresh by recruiting a bassist and putting out an album even tighter than their excellent debut.

‘The Snake’ was the best song they’d ever written, deftly falling between Cobain-esque squall and the kind of indie-rock teenagers can get behind to deliver the ultimate crossover. [AN]

Look out for our interview with Drenge next week

9: Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool

Label: Dirty Hit Records
Released: June 22, 2015

Easily the breakthrough band of 2015, Wolf Alice’s quick ascension in status makes it easy to forget they’ve been around since 2010. Their debut album saw them embrace the delicate yet grunge-riddled sound of their prior EPs, while cranking up the gritty rock and explosive guitar riffs a notch or three.

What stands out is the juxtaposition between old and new. ‘Giant Peach’ versus ‘Bros’, for example. Successful interplay between soft/hard, quiet/loud, and airy vocals versus punk shrieking – the effect is added depth, and the ability to keep the listener guessing the whole way through. [SS]

Wolf Alice on their debut album: ‘It’s like a taster of what we can do’

8: Girl Band – Holding Hands With Jamie

Label: Rough Trade Records
Released: September 25, 2015

I once read an album review that challenged me to make as much noise as Sonic Youth. I never managed it, but it seems I wasn’t the only one that write-up touched, as Girl Band do away with the whole ‘chord progression’ thing on Holding Hands With Jamie, and rely on advanced guitar techniques to strangle all sorts of wonderful sounds from their instruments. [AN]

Girl Band live review: A totally visceral performance

7: The Cribs – For All My Sisters

Label: Sonic Blew / Sony RED
Released: March 23, 2015

Alex Nelson’s album of 2015…

When The Cribs released their Christmas special live DVD back in 2007, scenes of soundchecks featuring grandiose chord progressions hinted at an unashamedly poppier future. It took them a few albums to realise this pop-dream, and Ryan Jarman’s songs hint at a stunted growth for the Wakefield axe-slinger, but Gary’s Pacific North East sensibilities brought lilting 6/8 signatures to The Cribs’ jangle and resulted in the best album they’d ever produced.

‘Finally Free’ is as bold as it comes, packed with hooks and all the better for it, while tracks like ‘Different Angle’ carry that classic Cribs sound.

A repackaged version featuring all of the brilliant b-sides is more than worth your time (check it out on Spotify), and shows a band working at their creative best. That I now try to replicate the Jarman drawl every time I pick up a guitar means For All My Sisters is hands down my album of the year.

With a reported two albums’ worth of material under their belt, it’ll be interesting to see what comes next for the band, who’ve not really put a bad album out yet. And no, the Johnny Marr one doesn’t count…

The Cribs interview: ‘We got lumped in with the British bubble of guitar bands’

6: Girlpool – Before the World Was Big

Label: Wichita Recordings
Released: June 2, 2015

Siobhan Smith’s album of 2015…

The defiant yet openly childlike quality of Girlpool’s music makes it essential listening for anyone in their 20s or 30s – particularly if you’re in the midst of some sort of existential crisis. The follow up to their equally brilliant self-titled EP, Before the World Was Big is a special collection of songs.

The pair have described the LP as being “a search for identity.” Singing about gender, sexuality and growing up, the LA duo explore the transitional period between adolescence and adulthood. The simplicity and honesty of their introspective lyrics ring true throughout this record.

In typical punk style Girlpool don’t tend to labour their point and the album consists of ten songs; each one short, sweet and brilliant.

The stringent vocal harmonies and minimalist plucking of opening track ‘Ideal World’ is a perfect introduction to the record and its lo-fi musings. The first words uttered by Cleo and Harmony are a neat taster of what’s to come: “I thought I found myself today / No one’s noticed, things are OK.”

At times angry, at times melancholy, never perfect and always emotive; this is perhaps the most under-appreciated album of the year.

Contributors: Alex NelsonSiobhan Smith

The top 25 so far

25: Four Tet – Morning / Evening
24: The Maccabees – Marks To Prove It
23: Belle and Sebastian – Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance
22: Hooton Tennis Club – Highest Point In Cliff Town
21: Young Fathers – White Men Are Black Men Too
20: Metz – II
19: Tame Impala – Currents
18: Vince Staples – Summertime ’06
17: Kagoule – Urth
16: Beach House – Thank Your Lucky Stars
15: Sleaford Mods – Key Markets
14: Foals – What Went Down
13: FFS – FFS
12: The Libertines – Anthems for Doomed Youth
11: Father John Misty – I Love You Honeybear
10: Drenge – Undertow
9: Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool
8: Girl Band – Holding Hands With Jamie
7: The Cribs – For All My Sisters
6: Girlpool – Before the World Was Big

We’ll be announcing the Top 5 tomorrow (Friday).

What was your favourite album of 2015?

We want to hear your choice for the best album of the year. Have your say by tweeting #wow247 or posting a comment on our Facebook page.