The #1s(pronounced number ones, not hashtag ones) are a power pop band from Ireland, and their eponymous album is one of the best rock releases of the year.
The Number Ones, is one of 2014’s most re-listenable albums, as it rapid fires hook after hook after hook and never sounds less than exhilarating.
These are bite-sized pieces of bubblegum about girls and heartache, not groundbreaking adventures, but they’re well-executed and seem self-aware of the tropes their mining which keeps things from getting rote.
The #1s’ name is reminiscent of Big Star’s debut album, Number 1 Record, but their music seems more influenced by Cheap Trick, The Strokes, The Ramones (The 1,2,3,4! countdown on “Sixteen” in particular) or even the Alex Chilton-adoring Replacements than Big Star.
While the songwriting and hooks are polished, the #1s’ sounds is decidedly fuzzy, and it gives the album an early Smith Westerns-type charm. Many of the songs on the album last less than two minutes, Each song is present to bludgeon you with a hook, then politely move on so the next song can take its turn.
These catchy, pared-down tunes are particularly welcome in 2014’s sonic landscape. 2014 is a year when the esoteric FKA Twig put out one of the most well-regarded pop albums of the year, and reliable garage-rocker Ty Segall put out an excellent, but sprawling double album.
Ultimately, The Number Ones‘ thrills are surface-level but substantial and make for one of the year’s finest guitar pop albums.