2021 set to be best year for British bands in the charts in over a decade

"It's shaping up to be the year of the new British band!" said the BPI

2021 is on course to be the best year for British bands in the UK charts in over a decade.

As reported by the Official Charts Company, analysis from the UK record labels association the BPI found that 11 of the first 39 weeks of this year (28 per cent) saw a different British group bag a Number One album.

This figure in 2019 was 15 per cent, with a slight increase to 17 per cent in 2020. It comes after The Lathums hit the top spot last week (October 1) with their debut full-length ‘How Beautiful Life Can Be’. The Wigan group beat Drake’s ‘Certified Lover Boy’ to Number One in the UK.

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Earlier this year, The Snuts topped the charts with their debut LP ‘W.L’.  In a statement, the group dedicated their achievement to “all the fans who have proved that it’s possible to get a band like us to Number One”.

“Every copy you bought of this record goes a long way,” they added. “It’s old school and it’s beautiful. Thanks very much – we love you.”

The Snuts celebrate their UK Number One album
The Snuts celebrate their UK Number One album. CREDIT: Official Charts Company / press

Meanwhile, indie label-signees such as Architects (‘For Those That Wish To Exist’), Mogwai (‘As The Love Continues’) and Wolf Alice (‘Blue Weekend’) have reached Number One in the UK this year.

BPI’s Gennaro Castaldo said of the findings: “New British bands have been quietly breaking through in recent years, but this trend has really exploded in 2021, propelled by streaming and vinyl and fueled by a new wave of brilliant guitar groups drawn from all over the UK.

“The Lathums are just the latest superb new band to make their mark, underlining that 2021 is shaping up to be the year of the new British band!”

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The new report likens the rise in high-charting guitar bands to the trend seen in the mid-’00s, when acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Cheifs, Franz Ferdinand and Keane enjoyed commercial success with their respective debuts.

Wolf Alice
Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice performs at O2 Academy Bournemouth on July 22, 2021 in Bournemouth, England. Credit: Mark Holloway/Redferns.

Squid, whose first album ‘Bright Green Field’ reached Number Four in May, told NME back in March that it was “amazing to see” so much independent music in the UK charts in 2021.

“It really is just insane at the moment, the amount of good independent music that’s coming out and is getting into the charts,” said drummer and singer Ollie Judge.

“Mogwai were Number One – I don’t think there’s ever been an instrumental post-rock album at Number One before. And Black Country [New Road] getting a Top Five record… it’s just amazing to see.”

Other UK acts to have bagged Number One albums in 2021 include London Grammar, Bring Me The Horizon, Royal Blood and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. You can find the full list here.

Meanwhile, last week’s official chart also saw Public Service Broadcasting secure their highest album chart position to date, reaching Number Two with their latest record ‘Bright Magic’.

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