After much careful consideration, here is the second part of our Albums of The Year list (part one here), hand-picked by the On Record staff!


Screaming Maldini – Everything Unsaid

 

“Among the thousands of indie-pop bands trying to establish themselves and find the ‘Secret Sound’ to propel them forwards, Screaming Maldini stand firmly as one of the most uniquely brilliant. Their first, self-titled album was a great introduction to what the band are all about: catchy melodies, fantastic vocal harmonies, varied instrumentation and, of course, a 7/4 time signature. It is with their second album, Everything Unsaid, that the band have expanded upon this and taken it to the next level to create what is something of a masterpiece. With everything from slow and melancholic piano-led tracks to soaring crescendos, this album will take you through a range of emotions with every track and leave you feeling whole and inspired at the end of it. With the unfortunate news that this sophomore album will be their last, Screaming Maldini have left Everything Unsaid as a bookend to what has been the short but sweet career of one of the most talented bands of recent years.” – Dan Hess

Xerxes – Collision Blonde

 

“Chances are Defeater and The Cure will never form a supergroup together, but thankfully on Collision Blonde, Xerxes have created what such a collaboration may actually sound like. Evolving significantly in the three years since debut album Our Home is a Deathbed, Xerxes have created a huge record built on melancholic, simplistic guitars, subtle rhythms, and Calvin Philley’s heartfelt, impassioned vocals. Tracks like ‘Criminal, Animal’ sound like hardcore interpretations of Willy Wonka tunes, whereas ‘Chestnut Street’ and the title track showcase the band at full steam. Recorded alongside Into it. Over it. and all-round emo hero, Evan Weiss, and for fans of La Dispute and Defeater, Collision Blonde is the product of a band that know exactly what they want and aren’t afraid to take risks.” – Rhodri Owen

Manchester Orchestra – Cope/Hope

 

“It’s sort of like a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde scenario. In the short space of a few months, we saw two very parallel sides to one of the most prolific acts in recent years. With Cope, Manchester Orchestra pulverised their way into grittier terrain with soaring choruses and layers of cranked-up distortion pedals, which created a rugged atmosphere, even for the slow burning title track. It’s on Hope, however, that the band completely stripped the songs to their bare bones and reshaped them with ambient pianos (‘The Ocean’), sparse arrangements (‘Every Stone’) and luscious acapella arrangements (‘See It Again’).” – George Gadd

The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace Is There

 

“After changing their name from The Hotel Year, The Hotelier set themselves the difficult task of not only being a relatively new band with a growing reputation, but also a name change and having to refamiliarise with a new identity; what followed was one of the best records not only of this year, but to come out of the new wave of emo so far. Home, Like Noplace is There is a sometimes nasty, sad, occasionally uplifting and overall rewarding record, lyrics such as “I called in sick from your funeral, the sight of your body made me feel responsible” paint a dark image for the listener, while ‘The Scope of All This Rebuilding’ stands out as one of the finest tracks of 2014. If you enjoy the likes of American Football (the band, not the sport), Mineral, and Mansions, then definitely give Home Like Noplace is There a listen.” – Rhodri Owen

 

PUP – PUP

“As far as first impressions go, PUP easily made one of the most memorable of 2014 with their self-titled debut record. Opening with thunderous drums and a mountain of guitar feedback, ‘Guilt Trip’ is a defiant in-your-face punk song by way of the chugging riffs like those of Weezer’s Pinkerton, and the roaring chorus of ‘Reservoir’ roused circle pits and rowdy crowd surfs in basement venues across the world. With the angst fuelled ‘Yukon’, the band shifts gear and spreads their musical talent across a broad range of dynamics and dissonant guitars.” – George Gadd