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Gavin Fearnley’s Top 10 Albums of 2022

Gavin Fearnley’s top 10 albums of 2022

1. LambchopThe Bible

It’s not Americana anymore, but still a return to past alt-country sounds following years of electronica experimentation. Heavily influenced by US police brutality, this is Kurt Wagner’s darkest album yet. “The room is warmer than it should be,” the opening line of the album, shows how the little details influence Lambchop’s tender and kitchen-sink melodrama. ‘Dylan at the Mousetrap’, track seven of the album, is one of the best songs Lambchop have ever produced.




2. The Cleaners From VenusThat London

Martin Newell is, frankly, obsessed with England as a muse for his work. This time, the southern English lo-fi veteran shifts his focus to the UK’s capital. ‘Imaginary West’ is a particular highlight and would fit on any of Destroyer’s last five albums rather comfortably. A wonderful return to form. It’s just a shame England isn’t obsessed with Martin Newell.

3. Sea PowerEverything Was Forever

This is Sea Power’s first album since dropping the “British” from their name due to “a rise in a certain kind of nationalism in this world – an isolationist, antagonistic nationalism that [they] don’t want to run any risk of being confused with.”

This is the Cumbrians’ best album since 2015’s The Decline of British Seapower.

4. Dry CleaningStumpwork

The London four-piece returned this year with an album little over a year since their debut New Long Leg. Stumpwork is, again, full to the brim with vocalist Florence Shaw’s witty observations and Brix Smith era Fall-like guitar melodies. ‘Gary Ashby’, about a missing pet tortoise, and ‘Anna Calls from the Arctic’ stand out as two of the best songs of the year by anyone you care to mention.

5. Chris CatalystWaiting in the Sky

I shuddered when I heard the Leeds-based former Sisters of Mercy guitarist was making a David Bowie covers album. However, Catalyst hasn’t messed around with the songs too much and has given them a modern punkish groove. The production is very, very good (I cannot emphasise this enough) with his acoustic version of ‘Ashes to Ashes’ breathing new life into an established classic. Don’t sneer – give his version of ‘Absolute Beginners’ a go and you’ll come away with a smile on your face.

6. Bill CallahanREALITY

Unlike the aforementioned Kurt Wagner, fellow American Bill Callahan has stayed loyal to his acoustic-driven style of writing. At first listen, every song sounded familiar even though I’d never heard them before. I still yearn for the desperation heard in his Smog days, with later efforts clearly optimistic in nature, no doubt informed by becoming a father. But Bill, if it means you keep at it, smile away my man.

7. Porridge RadioWaterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky

This is the Brighton dwellers’ sixth studio album and second with the Secretly Canadian label. ‘Birthday Party’ could have come straight from The Wedding Present’s Octopussy album and you just know John Peel would have brought them in for a session back in the 90s. I can’t help thinking their best is still ahead of them, but after eight years of putting out recordings, will they stick at it? They certainly should.

8. King HannahI’m Not Sorry, I Was Just Being Me

King Hannah, from Liverpool (though you’d swear blind they were American), wrote one of the best songs of the decade in ‘Bill Tench’ a few years back so it would be criminal to not keep tabs on them. This is a slower affair and didn’t break into my top five of 2022 for that reason – gone are the Johnny Marr-like riffs and Parachute Men style hip swingers. Still, it’s a great album reminiscent of Mazzy Star. ‘Go-Kart Kid (Hell No!)’ is a particular favourite.

9. SuedeAutofiction

What can be said about Suede what hasn’t already been repeated a million times? Bustling guitar pop with instant gems such ‘She Still Leads Me On’ and ‘Black Ice’. Suede are still good at this, reassuringly, and Brett Anderson’s voice is maturing nicely. Their self-made universe still exists. One can’t help but be grateful.

10. Adrian BorlandThe Scales of Love And Hate

Made on a two-track recorder with Carlo van Putten (Dead Guitars/The Convent/White Rose Transmission) at his home near Bremen, this was one of the last collection of songs The Sound’s Adrian Borland committed to tape before his untimely death. The production is basic and birdsong can be heard in the background. But that doesn’t take anything away. The opener, ‘Scales of Love And Hate’ from which the collection takes its name, is an instant classic. Adrian Borland was one of Britain’s greatest talents and it’s criminal that hardly anyone acknowledges this in England. Instead, it’s up to his fanbase in the Netherlands to put out these posthumous releases. ‘Weekender Berliners’ touches on similar themes to David Bowie’s ‘Where Are We Now’, perhaps showing that Borland saw his future away from the UK. Tragically, we’ll never ever know.