Spectral Nights Top 5 Albums of 2021

As the year draws to a close, we thought we’d take a look at some of the records that have soundtracked our past 12 months. As ever, we’ll remind you that music is not a competition and there is so much to discover out there – and with the government’s (in the UK, at least) woeful lack of respect, support and complete disregard for the entire industry, creatives need your support more than ever.

Maximo Park – ‘Nature Always Wins’

Maybe it was the fact we welcomed our first-born this year but so many songs on Maximo Park’s latest record struck a chord – we even had a cry to ‘Versions of You’: ‘And in my misery you will comfort me and when you’re down at heart, I will play my part. You have gifted me responsibility’. Other songs saw the art poppers examine the closure of cultural spaces and the lasting effect – all against a backdrop of intelligent melody.

Lucy Dacus – ‘Home Video’

Lucy Dacus’s third album is her most fully formed with sprinkles of new wave guitars adding fresh impetus to her powerfully poignant and honest storytelling – see ‘Hot & Heavy’’s ‘You were a secret to yourself you couldn’t keep from anyone else. Now you’re the brightest flame. You are a fire that can’t be tamed’.

Mogwai – ‘As the Love Continues’

2021 was the year Mogwai earned a No.1 album – and what a record it is. Full of the intense and wailing post-rock guitar sound we’ve come to love, there were also some of the band’s most melodic moments to date – we can’t be the only ones to find ourselves humming the riffs at random times throughout the year.

Little Simz – ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’

The moment ‘Introvert’ kicks off with a boisterous blast of brass and relatable observations – ‘I’m not into politics but I know it’s dark times’ – you know this record going to be something special. This continues throughout with songs like ‘I Love You, I Hate You’ capturing the complexity of modern life.

Dry Cleaning – ‘New Long Leg’

While Florence Shaw’s deadpan delivery of razor-sharp lyrics that wittily describe the foibles and mundanity of modern life offer an insight into the band’s views and values, the intelligent riffs and rhythm section conjure up a sound that is simply exhilarating.

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