#Review: Paul Weller – On Sunset ūüĆÖ

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Paul Weller¬†is an English singer-songwriter and musician, who first achieved fame as part of the band,¬†The Jam¬†between 1972 and 1982. It was then until 1989 that he was part of the blue-eyed soul group, ¬†The Style Council, before establishing himself as a solo artist in 1991. Since 1992, the artist has released a whole string of albums, with 2020’s latest record,¬†On Sunset, being his fifteenth studio album. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Paul Weller - On Sunset.jpg

Paul Weller has a career spanning more than four-and-a-half decades and it can only be admired just how active and contemporary he still remains at 62 years old.

Right from the opening moments of ‘Mirror Ball’; a seven-and-a-half minute epic that starts out with ethereal synths before breaking into a vast soundscape of overdriven guitars and juddering synths married with melodic pop elements, some distorted vocals and even some crowd applause thrown in; it’s clear that this is going to be an exciting record.

This rather avante-garde opener is quickly followed by ‘Baptiste’ – a rather safe, summery, soulful number that has become a familiar sound for the songwriter.

However the experimentalism of this record is once again demonstrated on tracks like ‘More’ – an extended, progressive soulful track that features female French vocals; the almost psychedelic title track, ‘On Sunset’; or on the very synth-driven and rather trippy ‘Earth Beat’, that seems to ever build, beautifully.

This is something of a captivating collection of contemporary songs.

It’s clear that there is a whole load of inspiration on this record – from rock to soul and folk to funk – this is something of a captivating collection of contemporary songs. Weller‘s vocals are sublime too – he has both smoothness and raspiness in all the right places.

There’s definitely a sense of reflection and revisiting sounds too – ‘Village’ is a beautiful number that soars and leaves a sense of nostalgia on the listener, whilst tracks like ‘Rockets’ and ‘Equanimity’ have a strong sense of early David Bowie and The Kinks (respectively), emanating a certain relaxed, contemporary appeal too.

‘Old Father Tyme’ can’t go unmentioned either – its fading in and out of a drum machine with funky guitars, brass notes and echoing vocals make it one of the focal points of the album.

The songs are so well-written and focus on central themes of contentment and growing into oneself. You would have a hard time debating that this album doesn’t work as collective body, despite all the fluctuating influences and whilst it feels like there could be more experimental sounds to come from him, Paul Weller should be proud of his fifteenth release.

Rating
4


‘On Sunset’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/on-sunset-deluxe/1503362089


On Sunset on Spotify

Earth Beat (Lyric Video)

Village (Lyric Video)

More (Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this singer-songwriter’s fifteenth studio album? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#FeelGoodFriday: Big Wild – ‘Touch’

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Singer, songwriter and producer Big Wild (aka Jackson Stell) is back with his first new music since his 2019 debut album, Superdream, in the form of brand new single,¬†‘Touch’. This time he has taken on a new edge with a blend of almost western movie soundtrack vibes and electronic production, creating something perfect for Feel-Good Friday.

‘Touch’ is a disco-infused, bright indie single with seriously catchy pop undertones that really increase the rich, colourful emotion that Big Wild has become known for.

Although it was written before the current coronavirus pandemic, the song is about longing for a loved one – something that will probably resonate all too well with people during lockdown.

Speaking on the new single,¬†Stell¬†added:¬†‚ÄúI‚Äôm sure with the current state of the world ‚ÄėTouch‚Äô will take on a different meaning than I intended but that‚Äôs the best part of writing music, seeing where a song goes. I can‚Äôt claim any foresight, but the feeling of deep longing and desire is universal. It‚Äôs interesting because I was writing from a personal place but this theme is something we‚Äôre feeling on a societal level right now. People need connection.‚ÄĚ

The lyric video suits this song perfectly too with it’s spaghetti western edge to it. No music video has been released as yet.

What are your thoughts of this producer’s latest single? Do you have a #FeelGoodFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt Wright – Muzik Speaks
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‘Touch’ can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/touch-single/1501740551


#Review: Ruben Dawnson – Echo Emotions (EP)

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Ruben Dawnson is a Norwegian indie star, notable for his unique style of hazy pop. To date, he’s had a string of singles, but 2020 see’s the release of his debut EP,¬†Echo Emotions. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Ruben Dawnson - Echo Emotions.jpg

Ruben Dawnson has created what can only be described as the perfect indie pop debut – it’s infectiously intimate songs are a superb introduction to this Norwegian artist.

It all opens with the previously released single,¬†‘SAYIMGOOD’ – a very catchy indie-pop track that is teaming with upbeat, feel-good vibes – from strumming clean guitars to crackling drum beats. It is swiftly followed by the calmer, mumble-sung, R&B-esque ‘Still Moving’ (featuring Hannah Jadagu) which changes the pace and vibe of the EP, really maintaining the listener’s interest.

Next comes the acoustic-driven ‘Rain On My Umbrella’ – a beautifully honest and melodic track that reminsices of¬†NAO with its use of deep vocal effects and urban drum patterns, once it kicks in. It’s ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Alone’ that really stands out on the EP – its catchy chorus and powerful verse vocals contrast the vulnerability of the lyrics wonderfully, and particularly during this coronavirus pandemic, the track really resonates with the listener.

It’s nothing short of a pure delight to listen to and actually an EP you can’t help but keep returning to.

The penultimate track, ‘FYALMA’ serves as an anti-anxiety anthem designed to, once again, contrast the sincere lyricism with upbeat melodies. It’s a track about fighting intrusitve thoughts as it navigates Dawnson’s unique brand of hazy pop atmospheres. This is a quietly catchy song that proves to be a track you can’t help but get moving to.

Ending the EP, is title track, ‘Echo Emotions’ – a calm, guitar-led, vocal-effect powered piece that quietly reflects Dawnson’s emotions throughout the EP before ascending into a futuristic indie-pop masterpiece, to close.

For a debut EP, Echo Emotions is brilliantly intimate – it’s a rather special collection of tracks that deserve to be listened to thoroughly and on repeat. It’s nothing short of a pure delight to listen to and actually an EP you can’t help but keep returning to; Ruben Dawnson should feel so proud of this debut release.

Speaking about the EP, Ruben Dawnson says that, ‚ÄúThis is a very special and introspective project for me, a product of reflections and thoughts built over several years. It ľs about confronting your true self, learning and acknowledging your inner fears, struggles, issues… honesty & fear. Learning to be honest. Realising it ľs okay to tell people. Opening up. Discovering new sides of yourself. Lessons. Change. Growth yet stillness. It ľs raw, direct and as honest as it can be. Fear, mortality, loss, loneliness, anxiety, sexuality – hope & love. This is the truest expression of me in my moments of existence.‚ÄĚ

I personally can’t wait to hear a full album from this guy! If this EP is anything to go by, he has his work cut out for him but should produce something brilliant for his debut record!

Rating
5


‘Echo Emotions’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/echo-emotions-ep/1504707914


Echo Emotions on Spotify

Echo Emotions on YouTube


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this singer’s debut EP? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#WildCardWednesday: Chiefs of Eden – ‘Feed’

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Over the last year or so I’ve had many conversations with friends and fellow musicians over a worrying lack of younger audiences and bands coming through our local scenes. It’s not non-existent but compared to what I remember growing up, there just isn’t the same feel for shows. Friday nights were solely a time of going to see your friend’s band from school supporting older artists at what ever local space could be hired out for cheap, and if it had a bar, it was a bonus. Sure, some of the bands were crap, but it didn’t matter because occasionally there were some gems that went on to do some great things.

This brings me on to my wild card for this Wednesday, Chiefs of Eden. They are a young metal band from Kent, UK, that I have been following for a while mostly through proxy of a colleague at work. For some reason they just caught my attention and reminded me of times past where we would give the time of day (or night) to young local bands striving just to be heard.

Anyway before I take myself down a very long and old nostalgic road (lockdown’s got me doing that a lot lately!), lets talk about ‘Feed’. This is the debut release for Chiefs of Eden and is the work of a reformation of the band after a break of a year to try and hone their sound. They claim influences from a lot of mid-2000s metallers such as Trivium, Gorjira¬†and Lamb of God. Those influences really shine through the track. It follow that great sequence of trudging verses leading into the sweet relief of melodic metal chorus. The chorus itself is the highlight of the track, a good hook which gets lodged in your brain. The verses are a real mix of nu metal riffing similar to old 36 Crazyfists and the dirtiest vocals of death metal. Perhaps it’s too dirty, perhaps I’m too innocent? I’ve never been a fan of the heavily tracked, multi-tone screams, but the right audience will appreciate it.

I would say that the track lacks ambition in its structure. It’s calling out for a raging guitar solo or something to lift it out of the breakdown before the final chorus. Without it, it feels like it falls a little flat towards the end and you can loose your interest.

For a first release, for a young band, it’s good. There is clearly talent here and as they continue to write together and draw on more influences the small issues will iron themselves out. It’s worth your time just to realise that there are very young bands out there with embers of something worthwhile.

‘Feed’ is out now on all major streaming platforms.

What are your thoughts of this band’s single? Got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Rob Manhire
http://www.twitter.com/RobManhire
http://www.instagram.com/robmanhire


‘Feed’ can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/feed-single/1510140582


#Review: RAC – BOY ūüĒī

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RAC (aka Andr√© Allen Anjos) is a Portland-based, Portuguese-American Grammy Award-winning songwriter, musician and record producer. To date, he has released a couple of studio albums and already had a career spanning 10 years. Now, 2020 marks the release of his third album, BOY, featuring a wealth of guest talent. Here’s what we have to say about it…

RAC - BOY.jpg

BOY is best described by Anjos himself, who pushed his artistic limits by navigating his way through his complex childhood. ‚ÄúThis album is about growing up,‚Ä̬†writes Anjos. ‚ÄúI was tapping into melodies that remind me of that period of my life. Rooted in a sense of nostalgia, growing pains and coming of age. It‚Äôs an elusive feeling but I tried to capture it and ultimately re-interpret it through a modern lens.‚ÄĚ

This nostalgia is evident throughout the album, with a series of 80s synths and funky guitar vibes to bring together this collective body of work, whilst still maintaining a contemporary edge to it. Plus, the wealth of guest talent across the album¬†is a testament to RAC‚Äôs creative magnetism.¬†‚ÄúIt’s conversational,‚Ä̬†he says of his working style with the artists he features.¬†‚ÄúWe find shared experiences and I give them space to tell their story through my lens.‚ÄĚ

Whether it’s the bittersweet melodic¬†‘Boomerang’ (featuring¬†Luna Shadows); the guitar-heavy ‘MIA’ with captivating vocals from¬†Danny Dwyer or the sweet-sounding ‘Oakland’ (featuring¬†Winnetka Bowling League) about leaving someone behind to start somewhere new, there is something for everyone on this rather summery record.

[RAC has] created a wonderful collection of contemporary pop songs that are beautifully understated yet superbly powerful!

Standout tracks would have to be:¬†‘Passion’ (featuring¬†Louis The Child) for its light, funkiness, vibing along the lines of¬†Foster The People or¬†Two Door Cinema Club;¬†‘Together’ (featuring¬†Evalyn) which is not only a catchy tropical house-like track but the beat almost double-times part way through, making it quite different; and¬†‘Sweater’ (featuring¬†Maddie Jay) – a straight-up funk track with great guitar melodies that run alongside the vocals yet both give each other space to play in the gaps between them.

That’s not to forget the previously-released singles from the record:¬†‘Carefree’ (featuring¬†LeyeT) that has crisp, sometimes fast-paces vocals and simplistic production melodies that make it really stand out; ‘Stuck On You’ (featuring¬†Phil Good) with rap-esque verse vocals and a clearly catchy chorus; and ‘Change The Story’ (featuring¬†Jamie Lidell) – a very bass-heavy track with horns and a David Bowie meets Prince vocal to top it off.

The album has a couple of fillers that could easily have been left off,¬†‘Next To You’ (featuring¬†Emerson Leif) is fairly mumble sung whilst¬†Solo’ (featuring¬†Gothic Tropic) is chaotic in places and not the best track on the album, by far.¬†‘Better Days’ (featuring¬†St. Lucia) is a little disappointing too – it’s a strong 80s power ballad and though the blend of male and female vocals is nice,¬†St. Lucia is not featured much.

The album is stitched together by a series of musical intros and interludes all around off-key sorts of melodies with nonsensical vocals. ‘Gomas’ is very much 80s meets Game Boy, whilst¬†‘Dolores Park’ is probably the most beautiful of them all.

It’s easy to see how this producer has taken the theme of growing up and collaborated with others to tell his story with a deep sense of nostalgia, creating a wonderful collection of contemporary pop songs that are beautifully understated yet superbly powerful! It’ll be interesting to see where RAC takes his next album – will it be as thematic or something different?

Rating
4


‘BOY’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from Apple Music – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/boy/1500009251


BOY on Spotify

Stuck On You featuring Phil Good (Music Video)

Carefree featuring LeyeT (Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this songwriter and producer’s latest album? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#WildCardWednesday: Firing All Cylinders – ‘What Is Love’ (Haddaway Cover)

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I am a huge sucker for 90s dance classics, so when I saw that Firing All Cylinders had done a metal version of ‘What Is Love’ by Haddaway, I was all ears. The Californian metallers toyed with the idea that initially started as a joke but we are happy they went with it!

If you don’t know the song by title, you will certainly know it by its opening synth hook. ‘What Is Love’ charted across the world in 1993, but by no means set it on fire, however, it has become a cult classic along 90s music fans. Firing All Cylinders¬†have kept the essence of the track by keeping that oh so recognisable synth motif almost exactly as it sounds on the original, but have brought their own metal chug and groove underneath.

Personally I love it, but I know it will divide a lot of people. It’s not the first time we’ve seen metal bands do this to beloved pop songs, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. 90s dance just seems to lend itself well to this kind of thing. However unlike others, I feel the band have not strayed too far away from the original that it is not recognisable. There are no heavy breakdowns, no guttural screams just a homage to a classic.

The video really stretches the idea of what love is. The original video had a slight dark feel to it (for the 90s anyway), but Firing All Cylinders have taken it about 1,000 steps further. It’s dark, it’s ritualistic and involves sacrifice and is probably more what fans of the band would expect.

We aren’t too fussed by the video, but the track is definitely worth a listen for all you 90s dance cross metal fans out there!


What are your thoughts of this metal band’s cover of the 90s dance classic? Do you have a cool cover for #WildCardWednesday to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Rob Manhire
http://www.twitter.com/RobManhire
http://www.instagram.com/robmanhire


‘What Is Love’ can be downloaded off Apple Music now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/what-is-love-single/1505584706


#FeelGoodFriday: The Young Hearts – ‘Fool’s Gold (Alternative)’

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UK alternative outfit, The Young Hearts have given us an alternative version of their single ‘Fool’s Gold’ to keep our spirits up and our ears intrigued. The single is the first from their highly anticipated album, due out later this year.

The original single is a great emo anthem and lyrically makes us hark back to simpler times in our youth. Musically, it‚Äôs an emotional affair as it always is with The Young Hearts. We love this stripped down version even more, as they have managed to completely change the tone of the track. Rather than making us miss the things we loved, it‚Äôs more of a fanciful reminisce, a trip down memory lane. It‚Äôs not a completely acoustic track like you often get with these reworked tracks, but instead ‘Fool’s Gold’ is a showcase of the band’s musical talents and flexibility, which makes their forthcoming album even more tantalising. It has a quieter, more relaxed feel but is not lacking in technical elements.

At this time, when there isn‚Äôt much to do apart from think of everything we are missing, it’s nice to see bands pushing out new material to keep us interested, ready to venture back out into the world for shows with those we’ve missed.

The Young Hearts will being doing a livestream Q&A on Facebook tonight at 8:30pm (UK time) and are due back out on tour with WACO in late September 2020.

Rob Manhire
http://www.twitter.com/RobManhire
http://www.instagram.com/robmanhire


‘Fool’s Gold (Alternative)’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/fools-gold-alternative/1497544493?i=1497544499


#FeelGoodFriday / #NewMusicFriday: Angels & Airwaves – ‘All That’s Left Is Love’

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All of the proceeds from this new single will benefit Feeding America’s COVID-19 relief fund, so go download it from the iTunes link below!

Angels & Airwaves are back with their first single of 2020 and their third potential single from the upcoming album. It’s an uplifting track about love and the message of spreading hope is clear.

What’s unclear is as to when the band recorded this latest song, but the song’s lyrics sure seem to reflect on society’s current self-isolation situation in response to the current coronavirus pandemic.

No music video exists as yet and presumably due to the aforementioned self-isolation, one could be a way off, as with the new album too!

As always, Tom shrouds the new album in mystery as far as a release date is confirmed but it is set to accompany a movie that’s also in the pipeline and the second half of the album is said to score the film, which is yet to enter production – hence the lack of release date yet. One thing is for certain, I’m really friggin’ excited for the follow up to 2014’s¬†The Dream Walker.

What are your thoughts of this band’s latest single? Has it got you excited for their upcoming album? Do you have a #FeelGoodFriday or #NewMusicFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks


‘All That’s Left Is Love’ can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/all-thats-left-is-love/1507962753?i=1507963069¬†


#ThrowbackThursday: Bloodhound Gang – ‘The Bad Touch’

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Who doesn’t remember this song from 20 years ago?! Bloodhound Gang released¬†‘The Bad Touch’ in the UK back in April 2000 and, with their unique brand of comedic hip-hop that had slightly punk rock tendencies too, the band went on to score a Top 5 hit, reaching Number 4 in the UK Charts.

The quintet filmed a rather hilarious video to accompany the track too – seeing the band dressed in “MonkeyRat” costumes causing havoc around Paris by capturing various stereotypes and putting them in a cage before releasing them to dance in formation with their captives.

The video caused some controversy due to some versions featuring a French gay couple being hit over the heads with baguettes, however lead singer,¬†Jimmy Pop was quoted a saying, “I would give any gay man two tickets to the¬†Andrew Lloyd Webber¬†musical of his choice if he could describe exactly who’s going to become violent based on that scene”.[1]¬†Is this “gay bashing” or simply a bit of light-hearted comedy? I’d suggest the latter given the rather witty nature of a lot of their back catalogue and if titles of their albums, such as Hooray For Boobies, are anything to go by.

What are your thoughts of this band’s banterous single, 20 years on? Did you love or hate it back then? What do you think of it now? Do you have a #ThrowbackThursday track from 20 years ago, to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘The Bad Touch can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/the-bad-touch/1440807607?i=1440808397


#WildCardWednesday: The Pussycat Dolls – ‘React’

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The Pussycat Dolls are back, making a return with their sassy new single, ‘React’.

Having taken a 9 year break, the girl group are back (minus Melody Thornton) announcing a new world tour and album in the pipeline. The quintet (made up of Nicole Scherzinger, Carmit Bachar, Ashley Roberts,¬†Jessica Sutta and Kimberly Wyatt) made a triumphant return on the UK’s X Factor: Celebrity, performing a string of their hits before leading into their brand new song, ‘React. The group’s performance attracted over 400 complaints to ITV due to their raunchy outfits and sexual dance moves – well done girls! Keep up the good work.

The song talks about a relationship where the one person is trying to get a reaction out of the other and topped by a catchy chorus and sexy rhythm.

The video is just as you’d expect, packed with sexy outfits and sexual dance moves, featuring the group performing in scenes of both fire and water, making for a great viewing – it’s not the most interesting video in terms of concept but they sure know what their audience wants to see!

Turn it up loud and check out the girls’ return to form! I can’t wait for the album.

What are your thoughts of this girl band’s first reunion single? Got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks


‘React’ can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/react/1494489816?i=1494489827