It’s that time of year again when we look back on the past 12 months and all give opinions and more importantly… write lists! Of course this is only my opinion, but I hope you find your favourite album of 2007 in this list. If not then at least pick one of these fine LP’s and give it a spin, you never know you might be surprised!….
Albums Of 2007
A most definitely different list not bounded by Indie Snobbery or Personal Credibility…
The Hives – The Black And White Album
The Swedish Garage Rock band with a deft hand for a rocking riff and an infectious melody return triumphantly with an album packed with both rock and oodles of roll. The surprising part of this album is how with the addition of hip hop producer Pharrell Williams, The Hives have added a rhythmic stomp to their already frenetic swagger. The slight slowing of tracks such as T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S., Well All Right! and You Dress Up For Armageddon give a second layer of depth which is usually the missing element in any Hives album.
This is of course not saying that their original craft has been forgotten. The Black And White Album has tonnes of huge pop hooks rapid fire vocals on tracks such as Tick Tick Boom, You Got It All Wrong and the future classic about leaving for home Return The Favour.
Did I mention that these songs sound even better when performed live!!!
Roadstar – Glass Mountain
This is probably either the most underrated classic rock album of the year, or sheer favouritism from the author. Agreed I will confess a bias towards this now deceased band but still this is without doubt one of the uncovered gems of 2007. After winning Classic Rock Magazine’s Best New Band in 2006 they abruptly split following the release of this, their 2 full LP causing literally zero promotion. Which is a total shame as this album is chocked full of towering power chords, classic rock riffs, 80’s cock rock stylings and breathtaking solo’s.
Roadstar have the accolade of producing some of the finest hard rock for years without sacrificing the pop element, with skyward soaring vocals and catchy lyrics. These tracks are destined to be played live and it’s the biggest blow to know that I wont get to hear them in this setting.
Standout tracks are aplenty with the racious romp of Steam, the hard rocking vocal driven Rays and thumping album opener Feel Me Come Alive. All their craft is accumulated into the reworking of their early classic Last Survivor from their debut EP Get This. This maintains all the energy of the original bursting out through the mammoth melody with frightful power. The guitar solo’s total facelift is where the track really excels, a duelling guitar section followed by an amalgamated tapping frenzy is inspiring, and still runs chills down my spine.
A great album with towering chorus lines and crafty riffs aplenty!
Coheed & Cambria – Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow
An extremely long and overblown album title for this band of prog space cadets. This is the final installment of their 5 concept albums which each outline the plot of a sci fi epic story which is documented with it’s accompanying comic bok. Geeky you ask? hell yes indeedy! But their obsession with the wierd and wonderful has packed this album with an ether-worldly mix of pop and prog, all bound with melodic classic rock/metal guitar breakdowns and Claudio Sanchez’s childlike vocals.
No World For Tomorrow draws from the very edges of the scales of pop and metal and prog they have ever attempted before! The pop is great and this had meny surefire instantly accesible hits, namely The Running Free with its flowing riffage and catchy vocals, Feathers a mid tempo number which takes a riff straight from Eddie Van Halen’s top drawer and delivers another infectiously soaring chorus, not forgetting the huge atmoshperic, sweeping, overblown to the core, true rock ballad Mother Superior.
The epic title track rudely smacks the listener in the face following the bittersweet customary acoustic melodic album opener. No World For Tomorrow is brimmed with excellence featuring complex solo breakdowns, textured bridging sections, insane metal melodies and more unique vocals.
Coheeds final goodbye to this series (yet the first hasnt been released yet) is five tracks which amalgamates to form their parting swansong The End Complete, a mix of pop on Radio Bye Bye, haunting instrumentals The Fall Of House Atlantic, genre bending prog colosuss The End Complete all rounded off with the ever beautiful On The Brink.
This is a superb album which draws froma wide berth of styles and songwriting styles which when forged into a single collection of tracks is simply brilliant!
Motion City Soundtrack – Even If It Kills Me
The return of Motion City Soundtrack was most definitely one of my highlights of 2007. This, their third album has followed on pretty much the direction of the last album moving in the realm of pop. The production is very clean and rough edges of earlier albums are nowhere to be found, opening the door for MCS to hit the charts. This is no bad thing, in fact its up there with some of their best tracks to date.
Even If It Kills Me is crammed with great radio-friendly songs and yet harbours enough lyrical gems and crafty hooks to keep the hardcore fan tuned in. Their punk-electro roots are still prominent especially on upbeat punky numbers whose hooks are big enough to land Moby Dick. Broken Heart and the vocally immense This Is For Real and Where I Belong being top of the pops. The opening track Fell In Love Without You is great old style MCS with a new paintjob, as it mixes great electro noise punk and crunchy guitars in another fine sing along tune.
The lyrics and song writing again is top notch. With tongue firmly in cheek Pierre’s throws out infectious rhyming lyrics which can’t help but put a smile on ones face, yet if taken individually are striking. My top track Point of Extinction is packed with memorable lines which sets them way above any other pop-punk band,“All dressed up with some medicine for luck”,“With all my dreams hooked to hospital machines” and “I can figure out the point of anything” hitting the right notes for me. The boldest track on this album is the faintly masked mellowness of Hello Helicopter. A splattering of wavy guitars, sweet acoustic strumming, piano interludes melded with superb dark themes lyrics drive a bittersweet tune of sizable force.
These guys are no longer the fresh faced band that burst out into the pop-punk scene a few years back and they have grown and matured their sound while keeping the old faithful fans happy too. There’s a lot here for both new and old fans, MCS have made yet another giant of an album just this time its a bit more grown up!