The UK music fans have had a treat this week, as two of the most popular bands in the country are vying for the coveted Number 1 spot on the Official Albums Chart. The Reytons, the indie-rock quartet from Rotherham, are hoping to score their second chart-topper in a year with their third album Ballad of a Bystander, while The Smile, the experimental side project of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, are aiming for their first Number 1 with their sophomore effort Wall Of Eyes.
According to the Official Charts Company, the race is extremely close, with just 200 chart units separating the two acts at the midweek mark. Both albums have received critical acclaim and strong fan support, making it hard to predict who will emerge victorious by the end of the week.
The Reytons have been steadily building a loyal fan base since their debut EP Kids Off The Estate in 2017, which reached Number 11 on the Official Albums Chart. Their breakthrough came in 2023, when their second album What’s Rock and Roll? topped the chart, beating the likes of Ed Sheeran and Adele. Their latest release, Ballad of a Bystander, showcases their witty, gritty and catchy sound.
The Smile, on the other hand, are a more experimental and adventurous outfit, formed by Radiohead’s front man Thom Yorke, guitarist Jonny Greenwood, and drummer Tom Skinner. Their debut album A Light For Attracting Attention reached Number 5 on the Official Albums Chart in 2022, and was praised for its eclectic and innovative style, blending elements of rock, jazz, electronica, and folk. Their follow-up, Wall Of Eyes, continues their sonic exploration, with more complex and layered compositions.
Both bands have a strong chance of claiming the Number 1 spot, but they will also face competition from other new entries in the Top 10, such as James Arthur’s Bitter Sweet Love, Tom Odell’s Black Friday, Future Islands’ People Who Aren’t There Anymore, Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes’ Dark Rainbow, and New Model Army’s Unbroken1. The final result will be revealed on Friday, February 2, 2024, on the Official Charts website and social media channels.
The Reytons have been hard at work – running a shop in Sheffield’s Meadowhall, signing albums, taking photos and meeting their army of fans. Will they do it again?