Our best albums of 2015, numbers 4 to 2.
Last Of Our Kind (Canary Dwarf)
On their 2012 comeback album Hot Cakes, The Darkness didn’t quite get it right. That album lacked the kind of stupidly great rock songs that had made them, briefly, Britain’s biggest band.
With Last Of Our Kind, they rediscovered their mojo. With new drummer Emily Dolan Davies replacing Ed Graham, they delivered what Justin Hawkins described as a “brutal” album. Most brutal of all is Barbarian, a tale of Viking invasion, all blood and thunder. But Hawkins hasn’t lost his pop genius: the Thin Lizzy-inspired Sarah O’Sarah is proof of that. Dolan Davies has since quit, replaced by Roger Taylor’s son Rufus: fitting for the band that Hawkins once called “the straight Queen”.
Psychic Warfare (Weathermaker)
Picking up from 2013’s brilliant Earth Rocker, Clutch’s eleventh album finds the Maryland vets in irresistible form, all swagger and sass and balls-out grooving.
As fierce and focused as its predecessor, Psychic Warfare finds Neil Fallon spinning bug-eyed fables of good versus evil over cinematic Southern Gothic (Our Lady of Electric Light), grungy sex-funk (Your Love Is Incarceration) and hard-ass boogie (Sucker For The Witch). Few rock bands possess both soul and swing, but Clutch in full flow could give The J.B.’s a run for their money.
2. Faith No More
Sol Invictus (Ipecac)
The key lyric comes during the propulsive Separation Anxiety, when Mike Patton, for so long so scathingly dismissive of Faith No More’s legacy, croons ‘I can’t let you go, because you’re a part of me, not apart from me.’
The San Franciscan band’s first album in 18 years surpassed the expectations of even the most hard-core devotees, adding a dark, gothic sheen to their maverick melange. From the playfully filthy Motherfucker to the perversely cheerful Sunny Side Up, it’s a stunning re-affirmation of FNM’s status as one of rock’s most deliciously idiosyncratic units. Shame they’d already used the title Album Of The Year back in 1997, because it would be entirely apposite here.