Albums of the Year 2016

It didn't quite live up to 2013's standards, but 2016 has been a stellar year for album releases. We've seen musical giants release eagerly-anticipated (and sometimes completely unexpected) records, new artists break onto the scene and a few curveball released thrown into the mix. 2017 is set to follow the trend and dish out a whole new bunch of tasty releases too. 

Once again, in no particular order, we've narrowed it down to our top five favourite album releases of 2016. Hopefully you'll find one of your favourite records of the year here or you might even discover something that's passed you by in recent months. Either way - enjoy the list!

Warpaint - Heads Up

This album came as a huge shock to fans when it was released at the end of September. The aftermath of their 2014 self-titled album saw the four-piece drift apart and pursue various individual projects, making it appear unlikely for them to head back into the studio and record another album together. 

However, the initial cut from the album 'New Song' cast new light on the group. Arguably their most triumphant work to date, the album is informed by hip-hop and R&B and sees the fiery females channelling moody downtempo rock. 

Where the LA quartet go from here is unclear. They have a huge run of tour dates booked in for 2017 but to out-do their third studio release would be an almighty task. We reckon they'll give it a go anyway. 

Bon Iver - 22, A Million

What a year it's been for third albums! Justin Vernon (the man behind Bon Iver) broke his five-year silence and dropped 22, A Million and we fell in love with it precisely a million times over. 

Playing the album in its entirety in Vernon's hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin was a bold move, albeit one he pulled off in true Bon Iver style. This album is his most experimental work to date and the different path he's taken truly paid off with the likes of slow beauties '33 God' and '8 (Circle). 

The record documents the struggle of identity whilst ensuring people learn that you don't have to fully 'get' a piece of music to take pleasure from it - and there's a lot of pleasure to be found here. 

Blossoms - Blossoms

Stockport's finest five-piece pulled out all of the stops for their debut album in August. Numerous outlets have tapped them as the UK's most exciting new act and there's plenty of conviction to back those claims up.

The track-listing of Blossoms' self-titled debut reads like a 'best of...' album, when really it's their first full-length EP. Tracks like the effortlessly catchy 'Texia' and the 80s indebted 'Honey Sweet' stand out as album highlights, whilst old fan favourites 'At Most A Kiss' and 'Blown Rose' have been added to the mix too. 

Blossoms' first release is jam-packed with radio-friendly hits, electrifying synths and guitar hooks that grab you by the neck. It will be a tricky one to follow up when they get round to writing that all-important second album, but if anyone can do it it's Blossoms. 

Two Door Cinema Club - Gameshow

They kept us in the dark for the last couple of years but everyone's favourite Irish trio, Two Door Cinema Club stepped up and delivered when it really mattered. Their third studio album 'Gameshow' saw them pick up where they left off with previous albums 'Tourist History' and 'Beacon'. 

After premiering the lead single 'Are We Ready (Wreck)' on Radio 1 in June, the band made their public announcement that they were back and ready to conquer the charts all over again. 

Tracks from the record, such as 'Bad Decisions' and 'Fever' are fast-paced and flashy. The upbeat disposition we find the three-piece in is the closest they have ever drifted to the dance genre. It works for them too. 

Two Door Cinema Club's reinvigorated sound is pleasing and will, no doubt, go down a storm during the live UK shows next year. 'Gameshow' is an album for the die-hard, casual and recently acquired fan of Two Door Cinema Club. 

The Courteeners - Mapping The Rendezvous

"No one will ever replace us" sings The Courteeners' frontman Liam Fray on the memorable album track of the same name. The Mancunians' fifth studio album is a swaggering call to arms that is likely to see chaos ensue at festivals next summer. 

Garage-psych opener 'Lucifer's Dreams' marks a different direction for the band, whilst 'De La Selle' finds Fray coming over all Morrissey-esque on us. The Courteeners have one of the best fan bases of any band in Britain, yet they still remain relentlessly on the edge of the mainstream. 

Maybe one day they'll crack it - it would be hard for them not to when they're already selling out the 25,000 capacity Heaton Park and are due to play the 50,000 capacity Old Trafford cricket ground next May. Whatever happens, 'The 17th' will sound breathtakingly fantastic when crowds sing it back to them at the end of shows. 

Words Lauren Wade

Like Rock Revolver on Facebook and follow us on Twitter