#Review: Mallory Knox – Mallory Knox

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Mallory Knox are an alternative rock band from Cambridge and began as a five-piece back in 2009. Following the release of their third album, Wired, news came that lead vocalist, Mikey Chapman, was leaving the band in 2018. With co-lead vocalist, Sam Douglas, taking up the post of lead vocals, alongside the other three original band members; James Gillett (rhythm guitar & backing vocals), Joe Savins (lead guitar & backing vocals) and Dave Rawling (drums), the band are back with their self-titled fourth album (Mallory Knox) as a four-piece. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Mallory Knox - Mallory Knox.jpg

It was a brave choice for Sam Douglas to step into the position of lead vocals, as vocally he is quite different to Mikey Chapman, but he’s certainly come in all guns blazing on lead track, ‘Psycho Killer’ – a massive, garage rock sounding track with a hint of Foo Fighters about the vocals throughout, before careening into a heavy guitar breakdown at the end.

This is certainly a more raw and gritty album than some of their previous releases, with tracks like ‘The World I Know’ taking sonic influences from noughties punk rock and adding in grungy elements and ‘Wherever’ with its muscle guitars and intense drums, giving the illusion of travelling at speed.

Lead single, ‘White Lies‘, has a bit more of an indie feel to it than a lot of the rest of the record and is clear to see why it was chosen to launch the album.

Also, ‘4’ is quite commercial with its “Na, na, nas” and lyrics about vacuous pop market and record labels, such as, “You never mattered anyway.” Is it addressing negativity they have faced and the fact they band went from 5 members to 4, as the track title might suggest? Not sure. You’ll have to make up your own mind on that.

Possibly some the best tracks on the album are: ‘Livewire’ which has changes in pace throughout and echoing breakdowns to really get the listener going; ‘Freaks’ has some really interesting melodies with guitar frills, captivating (and sometimes aggressive) vocal acrobatics (with some serious power behind them) and a great all-round tone to it and ‘Black Holes’ with its chugging guitars and yet more, distinctly Foo Fighters vibes in the intense, shouty chorus.

It’s a risk to continue as a four-piece, with someone new taking up the role of lead vocalist, but it appears to have paid off.

By far, the best track on the album is ‘Gut’ – it’s an intense, fast-paced close to the album, with some insane vocal harmonies, brilliant drums and fast guitars – it’s a generally chaotic moment of ecstatic mosh-out madness that fans are sure to love live.

There are definitely moments when you can tell Douglas doesn’t quite have the power behind his voice that he might have liked and even one track (‘Heartbreak Lover’) that feels like his vocal is lacking in energy – albeit it’s a very commercial-sounding track with a guitar line that plays around the same melody as the chorus.

Additionally, there are the odd places here and there that lyrically feel a bit flat and not quite written with as much depth or maturity as perhaps you might like (‘Fine Lines’ with its candid take on a relationship breakdown) and other tracks, such as ‘Radio’ that are a little forgettable but overall, it’s a solid effort from the now quartet.

It’s been a risk to continue as a four-piece, with someone new taking up the role of lead vocalist, but it appears to have paid off. The album is consistently confident in its approach and hopefully with have old fans excited and on board for the ride as well as pick up new fans with their edgier sound.

Rating


‘Mallory Knox’ is out 16/08/19 and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/mallory-knox/1461295820


Mallory Knox on Spotify

White Lies (Official Music Video)

Livewire (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s fourth album? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#Review: The Rocket Summer – Sweet Shivers 🐝

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The Rocket Summer is the solo project from singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Bryce Avary. Since self-releasing his first EP in 2000, at the age of 17, Avary has gone on to release a total of 7 EPs, 7 full-length albums and a live album too! Now, 2019 sees the release of his seventh studio album, Sweet Shivers. Here’s our thoughts on it…

The Rocket Summer - Sweet Shivers.jpg

From the offset, it’s clear that Sweet Shivers is a much more experimental album than his previous efforts, thought it’s still distinctly The Rocket Summer.

We’re instantly thrown in at the deep end with opening track, ‘Morning Light’, a much darker introductory track than some of his previous efforts – there’s a twinge of a more mainstream Nine Inch Nails vibe to it!

We’re then led nicely into ‘Shatter Us’– whilst I’m not keen on the trumpet-like synth effect, the vocal melodies in the chorus and the plonky piano are incredible, especially paired with the very personal lyrics.

‘Blankets’ is possibly one of my favourite tracks on the album – the full-on verses are juxtaposed by the beautifully whispered chorus, making it powerful and captivating. Melodically it is a stunning track and has something a bit Biffy Clyro about it.

We’re then treated to ‘Gardens’ – like an experimental pop track where Avary has clearly played around with production – Jamiroquai inspirations seem to come through in places. ‘Peace Signs’ has a lovely yet simple, descending guitar melody that loops throughout and a strong vocal melody to the chorus. And in the spirit of looping, ‘5 4 3 2 1 Z’ has a looping piano melody, combined with brass sounds and an understated vocal melody. Maybe the most commercial-sounding track on the record, though it completely changes pace two-thirds of the way through before coming back to the original chorus.

‘Wannalife’ then seems to act as an interlude between the first and second half of the record. A nice little acoustic number about his life’s desires.

Overall though, this is a well-written, if slightly more experimental album, that could divide the fans.

As a long-time lover of The Rocket Summer, it pains me to say that ‘Sweet Shivers’ is very much an album of two halves – the first half being a lot stronger than the second. The second half has a lot of melodies that kind of blend into one.

Additionally, throughout the record, there are some rather quirky synth sound choices that I’m not convinced work, at times sounding a little cheap and underwhelming.

‘Slomo’ and ‘Keep Going’ are both pretty forgettable, while ‘Together In TX’ has an edgy breakdown, which stopped me from skipping the track. ‘Apartment 413’ has a dark melody and this is lyrically reflected in the tone too.

It’s the final two tracks that are saving graces for the latter part of the record. ‘World’s Greatest’ has some great deep vocal melodies and heavy bass synths with an amazing breakdown that continually builds back up to the end of the track. Whilst ‘m & m’ is possibly the strongest track in the second half, bringing the album to a strong close – there are intense vocal melodies and a fast-paced drum beat, plus funky guitar riffs and a Busted-esque synth at the end. A great track to end on!

Overall though, this is a well-written, if slightly more experimental album, that could divide the fans. That said, there are plenty of moments to enjoy, so fans will still find parts they love. I’m certainly still a lover of The Rocket Summer and appreciate his artistic license to be experimental, but I hope his next record might return a little more to his roots.

Rating


‘Sweet Shivers’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/sweet-shivers/1473282206


Sweet Shivers on Spotify

Morning Light [Official Music Video]

Shatter Us (Official Music Video)

Blankets (Official Music Video)

Peace Signs (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of The Rocket Summer’s latest album? Do you share the same opinions 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:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: Kate Nash @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 31/07/19

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On Wednesday 31st July 2019, Kate Nash returned to Brighton to put on another outstanding show, following the release of her 2018 album, Yesterday Was Forever and was supported by the punk quintet, The Menstrual Cramps.


The Menstrual Cramps

The band took to the stage, instantly packing a punch with their all-female brand of punk – think traditional punk rock but with some kick-ass girls showing who’s boss! The lead singer, Emilia Elfrida, was consistently hilarious with her crowd banter between songs and even shared some more personal insights, such as sexual assault she experienced and a song she wrote about it. As per traditional punk, there’s a lot of political messages behind their songs but one I loved in particular was a song, ‘Neo-Nazi’, written specifically for the crowds of an upcoming festival they’re playing at, to get back at them for the death threats and general unpleasantness they received the last time they played there!

Highlight: The energy of the band’s set (in particular the wit of Emilia) and the no-holds-barred approach to their lyricism and addressing of political and social issues! Well worth a watch.


Kate Nash

Right from the offset, there was something instantly better and more high energy about this set than the last time Kate Nash performed in Brighton. That’s not to say she wasn’t great back in 2017, but this time, there seemed to be a real buzz of excitement and a new lease of life to her set, which just instantly created an electric atmosphere throughout the crowd.

Following the release of her 2018 album, Yesterday Was Forever, the audience were treated to a whole host of new and old material in all the right doses. On several occasions, Kate shared the gratitude for her fans’ continued support throughout what has recently been shared (in her rather personal documentary – Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl – via BBC3) as quite a tumultuous period in her life. She also addressed her own personal struggles with mental health and how she believes that everyone should take time to talk about their own mental well-being, before performing, ‘Musical Theatre’ – a wonderfully personal account of her inner-most thoughts.

Naturally, in amongst her newer songs, the performance was interwoven with traditional hits such as ‘Mouthwash’, ‘Pumpkin Soup’, ‘Dickhead’ and ‘Foundations’. There was even a little medley thrown in for good measure, followed by an insanely fast version of ‘Mariella’ and just had the audience going crazy! The speed she performed it at was actually very impressive to behold!

Even though she is already a professional performer, this particular set/tour demonstrated just how much she’s grown as an artist and songwriter but also how much she has honed her live shows. I strongly recommend catching her at your earliest opportunity – you don’t even need to know all her songs, she’s just instantly bewitching!

Highlights:

  • Kate’s energy level was consistently high and her interaction with both the audience and her incredible band, made for a great watch all round. She always makes sure that her band are as much in the forefront as she is.
  • Kate’s vocal performance was stunning; from her beautifully powerful high notes to the delivery of her quirky, trademark, too-many-words-for-one-line lyricism, she was on point throughout.
  • I particularly loved watching her personal performance of ‘Musical Theatre’ – it’s not only got a strong message but her delivery of the song’s lyrics was sensational.
  • Her sense of style was as to be expected – interesting and out there, but oh so perfect.
  • At the end of the set (before the encore), Kate even got off the stage and into the front of the crowd to sing amongst her fans, which made them go wild.

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📷All of the photos of The Menstrual Cramps and Kate Nash are credited to Michael Hundertmark 📸
Why not give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter or check out his website.


 Setlist

Play
Life In Pink
Mouthwash*
Sister
Trash
Always Shining
Musical Theatre
Agenda
We Get On
Kiss That Grrl / Shit Song / Later On
Mariella
My Little Alien
Pumpkin Soup
Foundations*

Encore
Dickhead
Underestimate The Girl

These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say a great big thanks to Patrick from Lout Promotions for sorting out this review, to Michael Hundertmark for his snaps and lastly, to Kate Nash, her band and The Menstrual Cramps for their amazing performances!


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Playlist: Brighton Pride Weekender 2019

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Brighton Pride is fast approaching, so to celebrate, we have updated our Brighton Pride Weekender playlist, dedicated to one of the city’s biggest annual events, promoting equality and diversity with the aim to eliminate discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and more (LGBT+) community.

This playlist has been lovingly crafted to include a variety of tracks, by the artists performing at Brighton Pride 2019, as well as some other great anthems!

If you already own the songs and want the custom artwork, please feel free to copy/download it below:

Brighton Pride Weekender 2019.jpg


We hope you enjoy this playlist as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it!

Please share the link to this post, or the playlist itself and give it a cheeky follow on Spotify too – https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5nXqTcFL05VwLPppVaNIE6?si=copqGaOHQFi0lnhz6HYV8w.

Also, if you’ve got any songs you want to suggest for us to add, please let us know 🙂

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with John Gibbons

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I recently had the privilege of doing a Skype interview with Irish producer and remixer, John Gibbons, following the release of his latest single and cover of the massive 1994, ‘Hotstepper’.

We spoke all about how some of his cover versions came to be, who he’d most like to collaborate with, what his passions are outside of music and one of his most embarrassing moments on stage. It’s all here…



John Gibbons‘ releases are all available:


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#Review: Sum 41 – Order In Decline 💀

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerSum 41 are a Canadian rock band who first formed back in 1996. The band currently consist of members Deryck Whibley (lead vocals, guitar and keyboard), Dave Baksh (guitar and backing vocals), Tom Thacker (guitar, keyboard and backing vocals), Jason “Cone” McCaslin (bass and backing vocals) and Frank Zummo (drums). The band first enjoyed mainstream success with their 2001 debut album, All Killer No Filler, and from there have gone on to have a rather illustrious career and a few line-up changes. 2019 now sees the band releasing their seventh studio album, Order In Decline, through Hopeless Records. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Sum 41 - Order In Decline.jpg

One thing’s for sure, Sum 41 are a very different band now, to the band they started out as and have sonically changed a lot over the years. From a skate-rock band to being contenders for the pop-punk throne, the band have now transformed into a much darker, grittier and overtly heavier incarnation of themselves that is a far cry from their “Fat Lip” and “In Too Deep” days.

That said, there’s still something distinctly Sum 41 about Order In Decline, though that mostly lies with Deryck Whibley‘s instantly recognisable vocals. It was following a few line-up changes and a spell in hospital to recover from alcohol-induced illness, that the band rose from the ashes with 2016’s comeback album, 13 Voices – an album that further demonstrated their ability to create music that was edgy and more alternative (with the odd ballad thrown in). And now, Order In Decline yet further cements this evolution in the band’s sound.

From the sombre, opening piano notes of ‘Turning Away’, the album quickly kicks into high gear with an exciting and powerful, stammering riff, that by the end of the track, descends into audible chaos with an insanely intense guitar solo. The heavy energy is kept up with ‘Out For Blood’ – a track with elements from their skate-punk days and definite qualities of a Zebrahead song (with the distorted, scream-like backing vocals) plus another epic guitar solo.

As the record continues, ‘The New Sensation‘ takes us in a very different direction with a cleaner, synth-heavy and stadium-filling feel to it – like something you’d expect from the likes of Muse, especially with some of the melodies. ‘A Death In The Family’ is much more of a family sound; whilst it’s definitely heavier than they once were, there are definitely moments that nod to their origins.

Order In Decline is eclectic, exciting, intense and just friggin’ awesome!

‘Heads Will Roll’ is another interesting turn in the album, with a Subways, IDLES and Royal Blood-like vibe to it. ‘Eat You Alive’ is probably the most heavy metal track on the record whilst ‘The People Vs…’ is a much more typical punk rock track with rapidly chugging riffs and intense drums, sure to see the circle pits swirling at live shows.

Whilst the band don’t want to be politically-driven as such, it’s clear that Whibley has allowed his lyrics to be determined by the state of the world he sees around him right now – a world in which he sees division, racism and hate being accepted still. This is certainly evident in ’45 (A Matter Of Time)’, a track that by no coincidence, references the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, that he so marvellously calls out on a few things.

For all it’s intensity, Order In Decline sees a couple of moments when the pace changes and more personal lyrics come into play. ‘Never There’ addresses Whibley‘s absent father, growing up (and sounds like someone such as William Ryan Key had a hand in writing it), whilst ‘Catching Fire’ faces familiar themes of love and loss with wonderfully intricate layering, like something by The Dangerous Summer.

Order In Decline is eclectic, exciting, intense and just friggin’ awesome! And whilst Sum 41 are certainly not the same band they once were, there are undoubtedly qualities that still remain in their core, making them easily recognisable. However the continual evolution in their sound is exciting and impressive to watch and certainly adds to the longevity of their career. I’m already looking forward to hearing the next record!

Rating
4


‘Order In Decline’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/order-in-decline/1458053301


Order In Decline on Spotify

Out For Blood (Official Music Video)

45 (A Matter Of Time) [Official Music Video]

Never There (Official Music Video)

A Death In The Family (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Sum 41’s seventh studio album, Order In Decline? 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:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#ThrowbackThursday: blink-182 – ‘What’s My Age Again?’

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I can’t believe it’s been 20 years already, since blink-182 first released their massive hit single, ‘What’s My Age Again?’ from their hugely successful album, Enema of the State.

Without a doubt, the trio have firmly embedded this as a punk rock classic that is sure to stay a firm fan favourite for years to come.

2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the single and album and although Tom DeLonge is currently not a member of the band, the members still publicly show support for each other’s projects and are celebrating the release with a tour and the addition of singer, Matt Skiba.

Not only are the lyrics witty but the music video is possibly one of the most hilarious and iconic ones of its time. I don’t think many people can have missed this…mainly due to the band’s hilarious nakedness running down the street, but in case you have somehow managed not to see it, check it out below!

What are your thoughts of this blink-182 track, 20 years after its release? Do you have a #ThrowbackThursday 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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‘What’s My Age Again’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/whats-my-age-again/1440839912?i=1440840493