As you might be able to tell from our perfect pitch interludes, at Fife Club we love music. We’ve listened to a lot of new music this year and put together this lovely list of our top 42 albums for the official Fife Club Album of The Year list.
Every album on this list scored a 4/5 or higher meaning only the deepest, juiciest cuts have survived the slaughter of mediocre melodies. You might not like everything on the list (we like some weird shit), but there should be something for everyone, from hip hop, to metal, folk, and of course, screams of despair. See the chart above for our full list. Click here for full text list!
Scoring was mostly based on how much we liked something, then production, songwriting etc used to break up the rest. This list was compiled by Jamie so if you think it’s awful, that’s why! The first 5 albums are all 5/5 and the last album on the bottom right (NoName- Room 25) is a 4, everything else is somewhere in between.
The chart features a fair few albums we’ve talked about on the podcast before like offerings from Aiden Moffat, Dan le Sac, Fatherson and SOPHIE. I’ll now share a few thoughts on our top 5. So, without further ado, let’s introduce the Fife Club AOTY!
Young Fathers – Cocoa Sugar
Cocoa Sugar is probably the consensus No.1 AOTY here at Fife Club and I’m sure any Fife Fan who gives it a listen will love it as well. Edinburgh based Young Fathers have been pumping out quality choons for the better part of a decade and Cocoa Sugar might be their best yet. I could talk about how Young Fathers mix Hip Hop, electronic and gospel, but the true joy of this albums is it’s indefinability. Perfectly mixing the personal and political, lifting the soul while crushing it just a little at the same time. A true modern classic.
Ovlov – Tru
Tru sounds like an album you’ve just discovered in a second hand record store. A forgotten gem from the early 2000’s that even then was a bit of a hangover stylistically but still had something fresh to offer. The cover even looks like it was downloaded via a 56k modem, printed out on low toner, then left out in the sun too long. But this albums isn’t just a nostalgia fest. It’s perfectly pitched alt style is backed up by solid songwriting and riffs that will stick in your head for months. There are obvious influences from Foo FIghters to Smashing Pumpkins, and the kinds of bands that exclusively used Jaguar guitars. But on Tru, Ovlov forge their own distinctive sound that you wont forget any time soon.
Felix Blume – Death In Haiti
And you thought I was joking about the sound of screaming in despair? On the face of it this album is just field recordings of funerals in Haiti. But that simple premise allows for a complex and compelling emotional journey. The bitter sweet sounds of “jazz funerals” alongside people in genuine despair is a powerful mix. In a lot of ways this album feels like more of an ethnography than an album (which is perhaps why this anthropology loving reviewer raves about it). While Felix Blume hasn’t had a hand in writing the music or directing the participants performances, there is something performative about grief while being no less genuine, that something is what this album manages to capture. At the same time Death In Haiti also feels like a celebration of life. This album might not be for everyone but for this reviewer it achieves a level of emotional and conceptual depth that most albums never come close to.
Lotic – Power
An electronic tour de force, Power is a more mature outing from Lotic. Past Lotic release have been interesting for electroinic hardcores but lacked the emotional sophistican that Power exudes. Lotic use their technical acumen to weave together the best threads from IDB and Dark Ambient to produce something which surpasses many of the best releases from both genres. Pooling into an that album sounds like the machinations of an emerging artificial intelligence which has undiagnosed mental health problems in the best possible way.
Luby Sparks – Luby Sparks
A timeless album that sounds like it’s been plucked straight out of your awkward teenage feelings. This shoegazey, alt indy band from Japan create a sense experience and wonder that’s lacking in other similar acts. This album won’t go down as an important turning point in musical history, but it’s hard not to appreciate its earnest and enchanting sound. Standout tracks like Sparks, Teenage Squash, and The Short Live Girl show that this band’s debut release is certainly worth a listen.
Special Mentions from Cutch
Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert – Ghost Stories For Christmas
This is a late contender in Album of the year having only been release at the start of December. You might ask why the pairs first collab Album “Here lies the Body” isn’t in the list, and although it is a blinder of a record, their surprise Christmas album is something truly special. It’s an album imbued with a very distinct, nihilistic and dour take on Christmas that it could only have been made by Scots, in Scotland. But don’t let the downer put you off. Moffat’s delicate, visual lyrics and soft but warming spoken word style, and Hubbert’s festive but moody soundtrack weave a certain wistful beauty through the whole piece. Stand out tracks are Such Shall you Be, Lonely this Christmas (Yes, that one) and The Fir Tree. Sit back and wallow in this wee treat’s sumptuous holiday cheer.
MasterSystem – Dance Music
Not on the list but deserves a special mention due to it being the last record that features Frightened Rabbit front man Scott Hutchison. The Album is a collaboration between Scott, his brother Grant also of Frightened Rabbit, Justin Lockley of the Editors and his brother/Minor Victories bandmate, James. Instantly this knocks the socks off you and gives you a sound heavier, faster and absolutely not what you’d expect from either sets of brothers and their associated Acts. It was a breath of fresh air and truly exciting to listen too those first few times and proved that Scott’s bare all lyric’s could be added to a much heavier sound and only amplify the distress, mellow drama and dark,dry humour found there within. Sadly it’s not one I’ve gone back to much after those first few listens as shortly after it’s release, Scott took his own life. This has added a whole different layer to the songs within and has, personally, made it a very difficult listen. However, that said, give it some of your time if you can. It’s worth it, and showcases the talents of all those involved, even when pushing outside of their normal comfortable rhythms and sounds.
Here are some links to Google Play/Spotify playlists with choice tracks from our list. Enjoy
So, that was the OFFICIAL Fife Club AOTY 2018 List. what did you think? Missing something obvious? Do we have the worst taste imaginable? Let us what you’ve been loving and loathing this year and we’ll probably read it out on the podcast because we’re needy.
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