The Vamps blessed the music scene all the way back in 2012 after meeting online and posting covers on YouTube. From that small garage band, they have grown into one of the biggest bands in the UK. After six headline tours, becoming the first band to perform at London’s O2 Arena five years in a row, a number one album, and performing to hundreds of thousands of adoring fans worldwide, Brad, James, Connor, and Tristan return with their fifth studio album titled “Cherry Blossom.”
Considering Nik Kershaw wrote the tracks on ‘Oxymoron’ before Covid-19 irrevocably altered 2020, there’s a great many songs which work very well in describing this year. But that says a lot about Kershaw doesn’t it; there’s a reason Elton John described him as the best songwriter of his generation. He is the consummate songwriter, his songs stand the test of time.
Self-released on October 2, Nathaniel Bellows’ third album is aptly entitled, ‘Three’. The eight songs have also taken him three years to write, and started when his father’s health started to decline and then rapidly go into freefall. Bellows senior died in March last year, and although Nathaniel continued to keep writing after his father’s death, you quickly begin to see why the number means a lot to him.
Out today via Mute Records, Erasure’s album, ‘The Neon’, could be just as easily be a trip back in time, as much as it’s a contemporary album. It’s all about how you view it. Those of a certain age might be transported to the days of neon fingerless gloves, teased up hair like birds’ nests, and stirrup pants and Doc Martens (brogues or boots – your choice), paired with oversized painter shirts. But then again, it’s very much a contemporary album, touching on very modern themes. A lot of the issues of the 80s are revisited – albeit in slightly different form – today, and albums like ‘The Neon’ are what we needed then, and now, to take our minds off those things.
Opener ‘Blue Sky Days’ features a marching band drum beat combined with rich strings and purposeful piano from Sage, on a track which seems to have an overall message of defiance. Her vulnerability is on show for all to see on ‘Bravery’s On Fire’ which documents her personal journey whilst she battled with Uterine cancer. The lyrics are relatable to people who have gone through similar hardships and may be a real comfort for some people.
Richard Marx has released total of 12 studio albums, with his most recent, ‘Limitless’, his debut with BMG. The eleven track album is Marx’s first since 2014’s ‘Beautiful Goodbye’, and it stands up with the best of anything else released this year. Marx’s music still falls into the “adult contemporary” genre, but what does that even mean these days? His sound is rocky, radio ready, and limitlessly re-playable.
Olivia Henry, from Los Angeles, has known all her life that she’s wanted to sing, and she shared that passion with the world. with her debut EP, ‘Sessions’, released in 2014. The recrord demonstrated Olivia’s gift for taking a retro-jazz sound and recrafting it into an alterna-pop format, and set her on a seemingly rocketlike trajectory to the stars. Sadly this was not to be, because following the release of ‘Sessions’, Olivia was forced to put her career on hold, as she was diagnosed with a variety of joint-related auto-immune conditions.
‘Dear Happy’, out today on through AWAL and Never Fade Records, is the latest album from Gabrielle Aplin. A look at her life compiled while touring and travelling all over the world the past few years, it’s an uplifting and empowering album of 14 tracks, exploring her state of mind during this time.