2022 was a rich year for wonderful albums none of which will probably win the Mercury Prize.
One of the very finest is ‘Borderlands’ by Carlisle band Hardwicke Circus. A thrilling collection of big tunes thrillingly played, sort of Springsteen meets Supergrass – by a band that’s full of musicality. The singer has the kind of voice that Johnny Cash might have acquired had he spent longer in Folsom Prison.
Strange to jump from them to Harry Styles, but ‘Harry’s House’ is a classy collection of songs all of which he wrote or helped to write.
Regina Spektor treated us to another slice of her genius in ‘Home, Before and After’ and Spoon reminded us how great an American guitar band can be with ‘Lucifer on the Sofa’.
Jake Bugg made a huge impact with his self-titled debut album a decade ago. TV viewers are reminded of his precocious talent every time they watch an episode of ‘Happy Valley’ because ‘Trouble Town’ off that first album is it’s theme tune. I bought that record back in 2012 and had hardly heard of him since, but Bugg’s latest album ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’ is a belter. The young folk singer has matured into a song writer of great depth and range. Songs like ‘All I Want’ and ‘About Last Night’ get into your head and stay there.
Other fabulous albums I’ve listened to this year include ‘Pre Pleasure’ by Julia Jacklin, ‘Wunderhorse’ by Cub and ‘Music of the Spheres’ by Coldplay.
But my album of the year has to be ‘The Car’ by Artic Monkeys. Darkly fascinating,like a book of Ray Bradbury stories set in vinyl, it’s one of those albums that just seems to improve with every play.