FEATURE: If at First You Succeed… Incredible Debut Albums from 2017



If at First You Succeed…



Incredible Debut Albums from 2017


SOME artists can take an entire career…


IN THIS PHOTO: Loyle Carner/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

to produce an album that gets critics humming and listeners flocking! If one considers all the best and most durable artists from music: how many of them cemented something terrific the first time out?! Even titans like Radiohead and The Beatles (random names, I know!) didn’t hit their peak until a few albums in – later, in the case of The Beatles! It is hard putting out the debut album because it is the first offering and you are never sure what the public will think – and whether it will resound with the critics. Those who manage to create a great and solid debut album have a lot of pressure taken off...and get straight into the collective bosom.

2017 has seen some terrific introductory L.P.s from artists we will hear a lot more of through next year (and beyond)! These are the ten debut albums that have helped make 2017 a stunning and eclectic year for music…



Sundara Karma - Youth Is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect


Release Date: 6th January

Label: RCA Records

Critical Snapshot:

“Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect doesn't quite match The 1975's I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful, Yet So Unaware Of It in terms of ridiculously long album titles, but the Reading four-piece have taken a good shot at matching it in terms of hooks. Dubbed a 'band in waiting' by various outlets, Sundara Karma have filled their debut to the brim with hit after hit; it's hard to know where to begin” – The Line of Best Fit

Stream the album here.

The Big Moon - Love in the 4th Dimension


Release Date: 7th April

Label: Columbia Records

Critical Snapshot:

The smouldering heart of ‘Love In the 4th Dimension’ arrives in the orange-licked shape of ‘Bonfire’; an almighty flame-singed anthem obsessed pursuing the secrets to fire-starting to escape boredom. “Show me how your fingers got in all those pies, I’ll never go away,” urges Jules, presumably hammering down the doors to The 4th Dimension and letting loose wolf-like howls. On all the evidence here, The Big Moon have succeeded in unearthing the secret to a fire debut” - DIY

Stream the album here.



Release Date: 3rd February

Label: Young Turks

Critical Snapshot:

Nothing feels in thrall to current trends in R&B, either sonically or emotionally: Sisay may have been a constant, quiet presence on other people’s records last year, but Process doesn’t sound much like any of them. Instead, it’s a weighty, powerful album with an identity entirely of its own. And while clearly not constructed with commercial ambition at the forefront of its mind, it’s certainly good enough to make an unlikely star of the man behind it” – The Guardian

Stream the album here.

The Moonlandingz - Interplanetary Class Classics


Release Date: 24th March

Label: Chimera Records

Critical Snapshot:

The most immediate moments might come when Saoudi – sorry, Johnny Rocket – unleashes his ghoulish Nick Cave impression, but there’s variety here, too. Downbeat moody duet ‘The Strangle Of Anna’ is ostensibly The Velvet Underground’s ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ given a contemporary spin It ends with the unlikely pairing of The Human League’s Phil Oakey and Yoko Ono howling on a cosmic six-minute electronic-prog wig-out ‘The Cities Undone’. You couldn’t make it up. Accept, well, The Moonlandingz just have” – NME

Stream the album here.

StormzyGang Signs & Prayer


Release Date: 24th February

Label: #Merky Records

Critical Snapshot:

Overall, Gang Signs & Prayer is a daring debut. Stormzy could have played it safe with this album, but rather challenged himself with gospel. A key factor about this album is the complexities to Stormzy’s character—displaying a multi-dimensional black British man who goes against a simplified image that’s usually portrayed. Balance makes this album beautiful, as Stormzy worships on "Blinded by Your Grace Pt 1 & 2," falls in love on "Velvet" and raps his socks off on "Cold." Gang Signs & Prayer is a multi-faceted masterpiece and a testament to Stormzy’s talent that warrants his phenomenal rise to the top” – Independent

Stream the album here.

SZA Ctrl


Release Date: 9th June

Label: Top Dawg Entertainment

Critical Snapshot:

People will go to extremes to absolve themselves of judgment, whether it’s for liking something as benign as “The Bachelor” or by mining the depths of psychology to determine that breaking someone’s heart was somehow just an act of radical self-care. SZA has the grit to say that it doesn’t just feel shitty, it is shitty. She is in touch with love’s fragilities and understands that it is worth protecting, there is just a lot of tireless work to get it. The record is all the more beautiful for it” - Pitchfork

Stream the album here.

IDLES Brutalism


Release Date: 10th March

Label: Balley Records

Critical Snapshot:

Meanwhile, the band are impossibly tight, offering an onslaught that pitches itself somewhere alongside the sensory overload of Girl Band or Hookworms. From its loping beat upwards, few songs in recent memory have encapsulated smalltown boredom as perfectly bluntly as ‘Exeter’, one of the album’s rare pauses for breath. Otherwise, the rough edges and lack of nuance here are entirely the point. The government may be eager to get rid of the architecture that gives the album its name, but Idles have offered a ‘Brutalism’ that demolishes back” – Loud and Quiet

Stream the album here.

Prophets of RageProphets of Rage


Release Date: 15th September

Labels: Fantasy; Caroline

Critical Snapshot:

Music has both the ability to reflect and transform the times,” stated Morello in early press about their new album. It's clear that in a time where it's more important than ever for people to have a voice, the band has solidified what theirs is and are ready to rally for what they believe, all against the backdrop of some at times aggressive and at times funky sounds. Time will tell if they're able to "transform the times," but Prophets of Rage are doing their best to rage against the machine for as long as it takes” – Loudwire

Stream the album here.

Nick Hakim - Green Twins


Release Date: 19th May

Label: ATO Records

Critical Snapshot:

Most of the songs evoke some combination of obsession, rapture, gratitude, and anguish. The whirling title track, spaced-out "Bet She Looks Like You," and easy rolling "Cuffed," all exemplary, indicate the profound effect of a committed relationship. The impact is conveyed in open-hearted lines like "I admit -- inside me lives fear," "If there's a god, I wonder what she looks like/I bet she looks like you," and "She taught me to make love with patience." The album's potent mix of soul-searching lyrics and spaced-out sonics lends itself to deep thought and accompanied stargazing” – Allmusic

Stream the album here.

Loyle CarnerYesterday’s Gone


Release Date: 20th January

Label: EMI

Critical Snapshot:

Mostly though, this is an album which celebrates the love of family – there’s an incredibly touching bit in Sun Of Jean where Carner’s mother appears again reciting a poem she’s written about her son, and the pride in her voice is palpable. As should be the case: yesterday may be gone, but the future of UK hip-hop belongs to this man” - musicOMH

Stream the album here.