|DaveyBoy's Top 50 Albums Of 2016|
No, that's not a typo... That does say 2016. Hey, I actually have posted this year-end list 1 week earlier than I did last year! Anyway, for the sake of posterity, here are my top 50 LPs of 2016 (ie: last year). At least this way I can hopefully avoid some backlash (yes, I'm partially responsible for the high staff rating of Thrice). It should be noted that these are my original rankings as of last December. Since I haven't been writing my usual detailed blurbs over the past 2 years, just some informal comments will accompany.
|1||Hands Like Houses|
Previous LP Unimagine may be the better album from a critical & artistic viewpoint, but this was just so catchy & enjoyable. HLH really found their groove here and there isn't a dud track at all.
To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere
It may not be what all Thrice fans wanted to hear, but even when performing relatively straight-forward rock, these guys still sound more imaginative & varied than most of their peers.
The surprise of 2016 was one of my favourite LPs to come back to throughout the year. Bradley Walden's vocals here are in another stratosphere and the band get the balance between melody & atmosphere just right.
The Dream Is Over
While punk rock has always been more at home on stage than on record, Toronto quartet PUP deliver the best of both worlds on their second LP 'The Dream Is Over'. They're the type of band who if given a large stage to play on, would probably take up only half of the available space, and then invite their audience up to shout along to their energetic anthems. And yet, the passion, wit, intensity & self-deprecation evident here also gives this album life on record; bursting through headphones or speakers to have listeners yelping "Well guess what, I never had one" as soon as the "Don't quit your day job" prompt is heard. Barely crossing a half-hour in duration, 'The Dream Is Over' is a rowdy, yet tight, set of ten tunes that satisfyingly builds on the melodies, musicality & relatability only hinted at on PUP's promising 2013 self-titled debut. Most importantly, it's as fun as it is accomplished.
|5||Too Close to Touch|
Haven't Been Myself
This wasn't as good as Nerve Endings but once you get past that fact, it's still an excellent LP. And closer Eiley is truly something very special.
Making a case for being the greatest revelation of 2016, little known Australian outfit Trophy Eyes take a big step forward on their second LP 'Chemical Miracle'. It takes all of about three seconds for the quintet to display their growth, as usually gruff vocalist John Floreani croons "I'm still breathing" in a hooky, melodious manner. The band's melodic hardcore roots are far from forgotten, however, making for an extremely diverse album that also remains very cohesive. What's most impressive about 'Chemical Miracle' is how its mature songwriting and dynamic instrumentation make it such an engaging listen. From many emotion-filled lyrical nuggets to some riveting genre explorations; this is not only an LP that has great staying power, but one which leaves listeners excited to hear what this forward-thinking band will release next.
|7||Birds Of Tokyo|
Probably the most overlooked album of the year because it came from a band that had made a few wrong turns over the years resulting in fan apathy. They go a little industrial here, without losing their accessibility.
|8||The Dear Hunter|
Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confessional
Very long, so it does contain some filler... But the high points are absolutely glorious. I would rank it only behind Act II.
The Home Inside My Head
I still think this band is too easy to hate for many listeners to realise that this was actually a top-notch LP. They're getting better imo.
The Last Hero
Possibly the album that has grown off me the most since making this list. There's nothing wrong with it at all, but it's more one of those in-the-moment listens. if I head back to AB now, I head back to their earlier LPs.
Theories of Flight
Every year, something that Trey (aka Willie) recommends makes my list. Accessible old-school metal with some progressive tendencies goes down smooth for me.
Another overlooked (& over-hated) LP for various reasons. But I liked the variety on offer here and the singles were super catchy. Georgia's voice was as awesome as ever.
|13||Thank You Scientist|
Stranger Heads Prevail
This polarizing band had me mesmerized at times last year. I don't think their ambitions will ever allow them to make a perfect LP, but the high points here are right up there.
Maybe the toughest LP to rank on this entire list, I went from being mesmerized to being ambivalent and back again with these 11 tracks. Maybe too consistent for its own good, these guys have serious potential.
|15||Pierce the Veil|
This is where I thought the depth of 2016 LPs dropped off. I definitely preferred their previous album, but this was still catchy & enjoyable for what it was.
Similarly to PtV, this is catchy & enjoyable without being a great deal more. While I wasn't a total hater of their previous 2 LPs, this still isn't a patch on their debut.
Pure In The Plastic
Just one of those LPs that take my fancy for being something a little different. There's some filler here, but the highlights are really damn good.
|18||Taking Back Sunday|
A good solid album with some welcome variety from a band that has now been 15 years in existence!
|19||All Get Out|
Nobody Likes A Quitter
Thanks to Sowing for the recommendation. Similar to O'Brother, another tricky LP to rate from a band with a lot of potential.
Totally understand the disappointment for this album and its clearly inferior to their previous 2. But there's still a handful of great tracks here and their average is still better than a lot of indie's best imo.
I really liked the debut... This wasn't quite as good, but was somewhat overlooked.
A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings
Yes, a little too much of more of the same, but still very good in its own right.
|23||Dance Gavin Dance|
As per usual, a mixed bag as they push the line of ridiculousness... But the highlights here are so fun.
|24||Against The Current|
In Our Bones
Female-fronted pop-rock that has sufficient depth & variety to make it a success.
|25||Tiny Moving Parts|
Probably a bit unlucky not to be ranked higher. All about being in the mood, I guess, since there were times I was right into this and others where I was rather ambivalent.
All My Demons Greeting Me As a Friend
Very promising indie-pop from a young Norwegian songstress. A little uneven, but debut LPs usually are.
|27||Fight the Fade|
Fight The Fade
Thanks to ToonDude for the recommendation. The type of catchy, relatively hard-hitting stuff that floats my boat. A similar, but better album should land in my top 5 this year!
Hardwired... to Self-Destruct
I would have preferred a 1 discer, but the highlights here keep it afloat.
Just a good solid LP that I wanted to like more than I did. Not a patch on Southern Air.
|30||Jimmy Eat World|
See comment for the Yellowcard LP. They've been in a 3.5 zone with their last 3 albums imo.
Some great tracks on here, but I don't think it quite held up all the way through. Still, it's Fallon and he's at least part genius.
Love the band, but they felt like they were a little in cruise control here. I preferred Cult.
Loved the variety & experimentation on offer here. Not all of it worked, but I'd like to think they'll be a better band in the future for it.
A tad disappointing since I liked their previous 3 albums a lot. Still an enjoyable enough listen though.
I don't mind his more commercial stuff & felt his 2 non trilogy LPs were massively under-rated. This is a slight step down, but still very good.
Long Live the Angels
A little similar to her debut in that there are some amazing songs showcasing her exceptional voice. Then there are bordering on lazy ho-hum ballads.
Air For Free
A rather strange album that is just as infuriating as it is endearing. Once you become familiar with it though, it's kinda like a best friend.
After a phenomenal debut, he fronts up the year after with more talent, but less quality. Just noticed he has released another LP this year. Slow down buddy.
|39||House Of Heroes|
The highlights here remind just how good these guys can be. But there's some filler and the raw production doesn't always help.
Afraid of Heights
I'm probably in the minority and think this is a step up from their previous 2 LPs. There's some surprising variety and most of it works. Of course, it's not a patch on their first 2 albums.
|41||Balance and Composure|
Light We Made
Took me a while to warm to this. I actually felt it was rather boring on my first few listens. Thankfully, it grew, even if it's far from perfect.
|42||Young the Giant|
Home Of The Strange
Another small step down for this talented band, but still an enjoyable enough listen.
I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It
There's some genuinely exciting ideas found within this over-ambitious LP.
Caught in the Strange
Another Sowing reco that was a pretty darn good debut, if not anywhere near a perfect album.
A little similar to B&C in that it took me forever to get into this.
|46||This Wild Life|
Not a patch on previous LP Clouded, but their usual likeable selves.
|47||Anchor & Braille|
Songs for the Late Night Drive Home
It's Stephen Christian, so it's automatically quality. A bit of an uneven batch of tunes, but I was enamoured with a handful of these songs.
|48||Two Door Cinema Club|
Enjoyable enough, even if they're capable of much better.
What a very strange album. Kinda disliked it a fair bit on the first few listens & had to get used to what they were even attempting. In a non-traditional way, it's a grower. Still unsure what to fully think of it, but either way; it has to be considered a disappointment.
I think I'm in the minority again by feeling that Cauterize was clearly better than this. There's some quality here, but I just couldn't quite get into it as much as I wanted to.