FEATURE: Bunch Of Fives – Adam Keys’ Top Five Rock Albums Of 2016 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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2016 has been one hell of a messed up year, but in amongst death and politics, rock has delivered a silver lining with some brilliant releases. From dirty blues rock to psychedelic indie rock, there’s more than a few albums that have caught my attention. Narrowing it down to five was tough, and some fantastic albums including Alter Bridge’s brilliant new release and Trade Wind’s You Make Everything Disappear didn’t quite make the cut, but without further ado, here are my top five rock albums of 2016…

The Temperance Movement – White Bear
2016 started with a bang, as Glasgow based blues rockers The Temperance Movement, released what was to be, in my humble opinion, the best album of 2016. This is an album dripping in heavy blues guitars, with searing sounds so filthy, it feels like it’s been dragged through a barrel of oil. To top it all off, Phil Campbell’s vocals are brilliantly raspy and full of Celtic passion, they seamlessly marry to their fantastically modern take on a sound that was made great in the early 70s by Led Zeppelin.

Good Friend – Ride The Storm
The sound was christened lion-hearted rock and roll by the band, and it’s fair to say the band have bared their soul with this album. It’s loud, it’s powerful, it’s pacey and it’s filled with ballsy political references that have boiled up from their Irish upbringing. Alt and punk rock have been waiting for a shakeup, a move away from over-hyped pop punk and a move towards racing guitars with carefully crafted melodies, angry vocals and hard hitting drums.

Brain Fallon – Painkillers
Who’d have thought it would take less than six months for Fallon to release a showstopper. Is it better than The Gaslight Anthem? It’s certainly very close. Make no mistake, this is a different project. It’s softer, it focuses more on his raspy vocals and it’s full of melody. With instant classics like Steve McQueen, Rosemary and Painkillers, this album is Fallon versus the world as he tackles personal issues and puts his solo stamp on the world. Although the Springsteen connection has always been there, this album bares more semblance than anything GLA have ever done, ringing true of the Nebraska era.

Feeder – All Bright Electric
After four years out of the game, Feeder struck back with a brilliant album that mixes rock and psychedelic melodies to create a delectable combination that keeps their original sound at heart. The album shot into the top ten, shattering the tripe that surrounded it and giving rock fans hope that real music still sells, and can break the stranglehold on manufactured pop. Although there’s no sign of sing-alongs like Just A Day and Buck Rogers, it’s a sign that feeder have grown up in the same way as their audience have, and the maturity of tracks like Eskimo and Infrared Ultraviolet only go to highlight that.

The Pretty Reckless – Who You Selling For
To many, she’ll always be Cindy Lou from The Grinch, but Taylor Munson is now a full blown rock star. Sliding under the radar with this release, the five-piece have delivered a heart-pounding, guitar-led album that allows Taylor to explore the ranges of her vocals, as she attempts to mimic the high pitches squeal of Janis Joplin and Axl Rose. With plenty of rock guitar on show, there’s time for a few slowed down acoustic tracks, with deliberately underwhelming vocals in an infectious dreary style.

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