We’ve heard from our readers, who picked their favourites of 2018 with a vote [results here!], and now our contributors get their turn! I asked the current writers and photographers of Depth to share their favourite albums of the year. Some of us also shared our favourite EPs, and some of us had more to say than others. 😊 Here’s what we each loved in 2018:
Kel Burch – Editor & Writer: Hellions – Rue
Choosing just one album of the year is one of the most challenging things I have to do every year when it comes to Depth. I have so many albums that I love for their own reasons, and being definitive feels too narrowing or dismissive of their unique qualities. It’s like forcing me to choose a favourite between a gentle sunrise, a vibrant rainbow, or a brilliant full moon.
But with reviewer/editor hat off and going by my own personal listening, I’ve chosen Hellions‘ Rue as my album of the year for 2018. Following on from the divine Opera Oblivia was never going to be easy, but somehow Hellions managed to make something impressive in its own right, while continuing a similar framework and feel.
Kicking off uniquely in a carnival-esque landscape, questions of life choices, maturity, and losing the joy of youth soon unfold with Rue. As I listen through the album, I ‘watch’ these songs, figuratively holding my breath as the questions of “Is all that we endure worth it?” and “Am I enough to be happy?” come through. It’s like watching the main character of a movie stumbling through the constraints of life and hitting breakthroughs and understandings as he goes. I listen hoping that there’s a happy ending for him somewhere, while also feeling my own constraints and questions at the same time. This album asks me to think and be honest with myself too, which is an important factor to a record for me, aside from/as well as sick riffs and catchy choruses.
Though decidedly dark at times, Rue progressively gains a more optimistic stance, making for a full and satisfying journey of a listen. We’re urged to remember our unifying sameness (‘we all feel love and pain’), while also connecting in to our own unique ‘purposeful pulse’ and live freely and joyfully. These meaningful messages wrapped up in poetic and stunning lyricism shared with infectious songs for dancing and singing along to are why Hellions are #1 for me.
I couldn’t go without also mentioning Greyhaven‘s Empty Black, Slowly Slowly‘s St. Leonards, The Comfort‘s What It Is To Be, and The Story So Far‘s Proper Dose. And also Zeal & Ardor‘s Stranger Fruit and Deafheaven‘s Ordinary Corrupt Human Love which are creatively stunning gateways for me to listen to black metal.
EP-wise, I can’t pick a favourite! I played After Touch‘s You Wish This Was About You intensely this year, as well as Thornhill‘s Butterfly. I also consider Bloom‘s Past Tense to be one of the most underrated EPs/bands of the year and if you haven’t listened to it, I urge you to.
Jack Walsh – Writer: Trophy Eyes – The American Dream
The American Dream is my album of the year and I almost can’t explain it. 2018 had so many great releases, a lot of which I loved, but Trophy Eyes stuck out to me. I’ve followed Trophy Eyes for many years, allowing me to watch John Floreani and company grow and mature.
We’ve been lucky enough to see the struggles and hard times normally kept behind closed doors. We’ve seen grief, heartbreak and harmful thoughts. Best of all however, we’re seeing that chapter of life slowly come to a resolution with the aid of new love, home abroad and an evolving career.
To me, The American Dream is the pinnacle of human redemption, musical identity and geographical representation. The album is a masterpiece that, unlike some releases for the year, will age elegantly and always mark an important era in the life of a young man.
Andrew Cauchi – Writer: Hellions – Rue
This year was massive for new music, I came across bands I’d never heard of and fell in love immediately and bands I dared to doubt released some amazing tunes. Even though my musical horizons have broadened exponentially this year, my favourites are still very close to home.
Without a shred of doubt, my album of the year is Rue by Hellions. Rue is an outrageous body of work by a band that has never really played it safe. For everything it dares to achieve, it could have easily failed to do so if not for the incredibly artistry of Hellions. It was a massive risk to take, but it is a theatrical masterpiece that may just go down as one of the best Australian releases. It does not obey any genre, style or tone but the album’s beauty lies in its inconsistency. As far as concept albums go, Rue will always be one of the best.
As far as EPs go, I had a really hard time deciding this. As much of a cop out as it is I’m going to give indecisive me the win here and declare it a tie between Better Half’s Maybe I Was Wrong and The Fever 333’s Made An America.
Better Half are undeniably my kind of band, it’s hard hitting and emotive and I could never get enough of how raw the songs are. It’s an EP I can listen to regardless of mood, and one that I’ve listened to countless times.
As for The Fever 333, does Jason Butler ever do any wrong? The politically-driven band are strong in their activism and the anger that channels through the songs is perfect to work out too. It feels a little bit like letlive., but the two can’t be lumped together.
Other favourites include:
• Bloom – Past Tense
• Funeral Attire – If You Love Me Let Me Die
• Madura Green – Sorry We’re Not Hiring but We’ll Call You
• Rich People – Grace Sessions
Rowan Donohue – Photographer: Bearings – Blue In The Dark
Liam Davidson – Photographer: Boston Manor – Welcome To The Neighbourhood
Just the whole vibe of it is perfect. As an album it flows real well and I feel like I can see what they’re describing. “Funeral Party”‘s lyric “You’re a liar and a cheat, I want my money, I want you dead you fake” is just about my favourite line in any song ever.
My EP Of The Year is Stuck Out‘s You Won’t Come Home!
Albert Lamontagne – Photographer: Trophy Eyes – The American Dream
Ivan Souriyavong – Photographer: Casey – Where I Go When I Am Sleeping
Have you ever listened to a song and felt extremely emotional? The raw emotion and passion conveyed throughout Casey’s Where I Go When I Am Sleeping will have you on a feels trip. Stand out tracks: “Needlework”, “The Funeral” and “Bruise”.