Now that the year is drawing to its close, it’s now time to wrap up the music releases of the year. Just like any other year, 2015 has its share of great albums of new materials from classic bands and artists. Here are just a few of them.
New Order – Music Complete
The very existence of New Order without its original bass player may come across to many purist fans as sacrilegious and mathematically incomplete, considering that Peter Hook helped shape the sonic identity of New Order. However, musically and objectively speaking, with every detail considered, Music Complete, the latest, tenth album of this pioneering English band—the first without Hook in it—is still complete New Order music.
The Church – Further/Deeper
Those who thought that The Church went away should refresh themselves on this prolific band’s captivating sound in reverse order: from the latest, twenty-fourth album down to the Post-Punk legacy of its debut, 1981’s Of Skins and Hearts. Moody, dark at times, but most of all a lush soundscape of Rock, Further/Deeper is a well-crafted new adventure for this musically imaginative Australian band but with dips and dashes of its usual Psychedelic Rock, Jangle Pop, and Folk Rock sensibilities.
A-ha – Cast in Steel
After giving it a few spins, the attentive listener should be able to acknowledge that A-ha’s latest, tenth album, Cast in Steel, is yet another well-planned, well-written, and well-arranged masterpiece. It is steeped in melancholic poetry; cast in Norwegian Pop and glazed with New Wave and Classical sensibilities; and painted with catchy choruses and memorable melodies. The combined genius of Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen, and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy has indeed returned, even if only for another short time, ready to uplift again the spirits of the fans they abandoned for five years.
China Crisis – Autumn in the Neighborhood
The long-awaited seventh album, Autumn in the Neighbourhood, of China Crisis sounds very assured, grounded, characteristic of this English band’s trademark sonic style, and assuring, especially to the band’s longtime fans. It is a good mix of the non-Punk New Wave sound of the band’s early albums, the more Sophistipop-oriented sensibilities of its latter works, and a bit of other pleasantly surprising unlikely influences. Considering this styling, it is doubtless a positive addition to the musical legacy of one of English New Wave’s best kept secrets.
Steve Hackett – Wolflight
The latest, twenty-fourth oeuvre of Steve Hackett, one of the most revered guitar players in the Rock scene since his early days with the English band Genesis, is a smorgasbord of sonic styles sure to satisfy enthusiasts of classic Progressive Rock and Glam/Power Metal, making it a sure treat not only to both old and new fans but also to those who love Hackett’s guitar wizardry. Entitled Wolflight, it is a solid collection of well-crafted songs and instrumentals; a concept masterpiece from the music sage who inspired other eventual guitar wizards who came after him.
Joe Jackson – Fast Forward
The four-part Fast Forward may be regarded as the English solo artist Joe Jackson’s summary of all his genre-jumping excursions, packaged in one big album. Despite its stylistic diversity, it still bears a distinct identity, owing to the recognizable piano performance, velvety vocals, and jazzy song structures that are the centerpiece of the trademark sound of Jackson, a proficient and prolific artist who did not stop from performing and making music since he made his first demo tape in 1978.
Only those who rely on commercial radio or T.V who claim that there are no more good bands or good music that may be had in the current generation. The true music enthusiast knows well that there will always be good music released every year. It’s just a matter of having the initiative, the openmindedness, and the willingness to try anything new and to rediscover what has passed. And to know what kinds of music one’s taste is rooted in.