Tracks of 2014: Comeback Kings & Queens

Our look back at the best tracks of the year continues with some folk who returned from the wilderness

The Tea Party - The L.O.C. The proggy Canadians’ first studio album in 10 years featured this infectious anthem, laced with their trademark eastern stylistic flourishes that recalls perennial mentors Rush yet still sounds off-kilter enough to answer to no one but themselves.

Billy Idol - Postcard From The Past There was more than a hint of Rebel Yell in old Bill’s comeback single, and while the synth-rock backing was perhaps a nod too far to that ‘80s classic, Steve Stevens’ guitar magic and a rabble-rousing chorus more than made up for it.

Ace Frehley - Space Invader The ex-Kiss axeman channelled his inner sci-fi geek to give this title track of his new album a touch of the space cadets, and adds a whiff of Hawkwind to the usual lusty stadium glam he inherited from his old band.

Tim Wheeler - Do You Ever Think Of Me? The Ash man’s solo debut is a tribute to his late father, who died after a long battle with dementia, and this sweeping, orchestrally enhanced meditation is angry, bewildered and broken by turns. One of 2014’s most emotionally affecting listens.

The Dead Weather - Open Up (That’s Enough) Released as a 7” vinyl single for subscription service Dead Man’s Records Vault, this feisty number echoes Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which surely promises for an interesting listen when their next album drops in the new year.

The Afghan Whigs - Matamoros He’d always threatened to turn his penchant for heavy soul into full-fledged dance music, and Greg Dulli went a step further on the Whigs’ first new album in 16 years. This stupendously funky single, full of clipped, percussive guitar, was a particularly audacious highlight.

Brody Dalle - Underworld The former Distillers and Spinnerette femme fatale was in fine form on her solo debut Diploid Love, and this urgent speed punk romp is a fine showcase for that infamous throaty growl as well as some very tidy songwriting.

The Datsuns - Claw Machine They may not be flavour of the month in the style mags these days, but these Kiwis can still write a tune or two. This cut from their sixth album, Deep Sleep, summons the stomping spirit of The Sweet and marries it with Queens-style stoner rock to highly pleasing effect.

Bush - Eye Of The Storm The British post-grungers may have been critical whipping boys back in the day, but they didn’t sell records by the squillion without having something going for them. This understated, contemplative ballad turns the power down a little and its subtlety pays dividends. Rather thoughtlessly, the band haven’t provided us with a video for Eye Of The Storm, so here’s one for The Only Way Out instead.

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock