#Review: Mayday Parade – Sunnyland ☀️


   

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Mayday Parade are a relatively unique blend of pop punk but with a more mature, almost alternative rock sound than some other bands in the genre. They have had five albums, prior to this, but Sunnyland not only marks their sixth album release, but it’s their first with new label, Rise Records. Here are our thoughts…

Mayday Parade - Sunnyland.jpg

The album is launched into full swing by opening track, ‘Never Sure’; a fast-paced pop punk summer anthem that is begging for festival-goers to be jumping around like maniacs. This has surely got to be their set opener for their tours this year?!

Then there’s the band’s recent single, ‘It’s Hard To Be Religious When Certain People Are Never Incinerated By Bolts Of Lightning’, an angry anthem about feeling screwed over by someone. There are some stunning, echoey vocals in the last minute of the track where singer, Derek Sanders‘ voice really shines.

The tempo drops for the album’s lead single, ‘Piece Of Your Heart’, which certainly wasn’t an obvious choice to launch the album, but nevertheless it is a dreamy and romantic ballad that features some stadium-filling instrumentation and stunning gang vocals.

In fact, a large portion of the album feels self-reflective and relatively mellow in comparison to some of their previous releases but perhaps this is a maturing of the band’s musical direction? It can at times, feel a little stop-start due to the number of mellower tracks, but it’s definitely got a late summer/early autumn feel to it. ‘Take My Breath Away’ (almost sounds like something byThe Barr Brothers) and ‘Where You Are’ see the full band sound swapped for a more unplugged feel.

The highs are powerful and stratospheric, whilst the lows are both beautiful, vulnerable and unapologetic.

However, tracks such as ‘Is Nowhere’ and ‘How Do You Like Me Now’ showcase a much heavier, maybe even angrier, side to the band.

Favourite tracks have to be: ‘How Do You Like Me Now’ for its no holds barred lyrics and progressively chaotic instrumentation; ‘If I Were You’ as it’s just a fun, classic pop punk mosh anthem about getting away from it all and ‘Satellite’ that is a truly remarkable song with harmonic guitars and euphoric vocals that excite and induce a rush of ecstasy from start to finish.

There is something very similar to the likes of You Me At Six (like on ‘It’s Hard To Be Religious…’ and ‘Is Nowhere’) and Funeral For A Friend about this record; the highs are powerful and stratospheric, whilst the lows are both beautiful, vulnerable and unapologetic.

This is very much an album that weaves its way through calm, reflective tracks and punchy pop punk thrash anthems to target a mixed audience – and it is packed full of emotions too. This is mainly one for the fans, but I’m sure will pick up a few new listeners along the way.

Rating
4


‘Sunnyland’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sunnyland/1375751341


Sunnyland on Spotify

It’s Hard To Be Religious When Certain People Are Never Incinerate By Bolts Of Lightning (Official Music Video)

Piece Of Your Heart (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s sixth album? Are they headed in a direction you like? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media.


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#Review: State Champs – Living Proof 🐯


   

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State Champs are a pop punk powerhouse, who formed in Albany, New York, back in 2010. To date, the band have released two albums, which had great receptions, making them a staple name in the pop punk world. Now they are releasing their third full-length record, Living Proof, which is set to see the band soar to new heights!

State Champs - Living Proof.jpg

Kicked into top gear immediately, with opening track, ‘Criminal’, this epic, in-your-face thrash anthem is a high-octane way to open a record…and you’d expect nothing less from State Champs.

From there the album continues to build, from the drum-heavy and powerful ‘Frozen’ to second single, ‘Crystal Ball’, which has the perfect build-up from a calm, heartfelt introduction through to a passionate, powerful chorus. The vocals are particularly incredible on this track with a half-time section towards the end.

It’s impossible to listen to this record without craving to see them live.

Then there’s the sure-fire, off-beat crowd-pleaser and lead single, ‘Dead And Gone’, about a troubled relationship and ‘Our Time To Go’; an archetypal pop punk power ballad which tugs at the heart strings and encourages taking the positive with the negative.

Other notable tracks include, the passive aggressive, ‘Safe Haven’ which contains a brilliant musical breakdown after the chorus and a moment of solace in the middle 8 section; ‘Something About You’ is a fun, uplifting track with some superb vocal steps and is reminiscent of something by Marianas Trench whilst ‘Mine Is Gold’ has an All Time Low-vibe. It then all goes out with a bang in ‘Sidelines’; a beautifully chaotic track which breaks, in part, to a lighters-up moment of calm before descending into a final bout of pure carnage that brings the album to an epic finish.

The production on the album is top-notch too! Some stunning little effects and subtle fills make this a diverse and powerful listen!

It’s impossible to listen to this record without craving to see them live. You get every sense that a performance by this band will leave you sweaty and exhausted but greatly fulfilled. All credit to the guys for taking their time to release a new record; it’s an excellent album that will undoubtedly take pride of place in every pop punk fan’s music collection.

Rating
4-5


‘Living Proof’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/living-proof/1370452923


Living Proof on Spotify

Dead And Gone (Official Music Video)

Secrets (Official Music Video)


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


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#Review: Chromeo – Head Over Heels 👠


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerChromeo are an electro-funk duo from Canada, consisting of David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel. To date, the pair have released four studio albums, but Head Over Heels marks their fifth album and debut release with our pals over at Atlantic Records.

Chromeo - Head Over Heels.jpg

The first I knew of Chromeo, was their remix of Maroon 5‘s ‘Wait’ (as featured on our re:MIXTAPE playlist), so I must be forgiven for not having heard much of their back catalogue. However, taking this album at face value, it is a strong release with a stunningly contemporary take on disco and funk music.

Having worked together for the past 15 years, it’s clear to see that these guys have perfected their sound, which is a perfect amalgamation of modern, electro-pop music with synth-driven disco and bass-slapping funk.

This is certainly an album that doesn’t take itself too seriously – it’s intentionally fun and funky, with its saucy innuendos and genre-perfect production qualities, the likes of Giorgio Moroder and Nile Rogers would be proud of.

The album kick-starts with the tantalising ‘Must’ve Been’ (featuring DRAM) – a slap bass, groovy-guitar, vocoder-infused anthem, that excellently demonstrates what’s in store throughout the rest of the record.

With the music up and a house to yourself (…or packed with friends), there really will be no holding you back!

Other memorable moments include the wonderfully repetitive ‘Don’t Sleep’ (featuring French Montana and Stefflon Don) with its laid-back 80s vibes and sensational vocal harmonies, whilst ‘One Track Mind’ is an understated yet seriously catchy track consisting of beautiful talk box, vocal melodies towards the end – it’s very similar to something you might hear by Charlie Puth.

Meanwhile, ‘Bad Decision’ is all about splashing the cash on a girl and has a definite Prince-esque vibe to it; high-pitched vocals on top of some superb little guitar riffs and ‘Right Back Home To You (Interlude)’ is a track you can get surprisingly hooked on – think funky soul meets jazz lounge, topped with sweeping high-pitched vocals; there’s a real 70s quality to it.

Towards the end of the album, it all comes together on the two-part, ‘Bedroom Calling’. Part One is a truly anthemic mellow jam with atmospheric, reverb-driven bass notes and slow drum beats, whilst Part Two (featuring The-Dream) is a much more upbeat, pop tune that is oozing with shimmering synths.

To those who say quality disco music doesn’t get made any more, I would simply reply, “Chromeo”. This is definitely not an album you can listen to without, at the very least, bobbing your head and tapping you toe, but in reality, with the music up and a house to yourself (…or packed with friends), there really will be no holding you back!

Rating


‘Head Over Heels’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/head-over-heels/1380944674


Head Over Heels on Spotify

Must’ve Been featuring DRAM (Official Video)

Juice (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed this review! What do you think of this duo’s latest record? Does it fulfil all your funk needs or leave you wanting more? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#Review: Matt Maltese – Bad Contestant


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerMatt Maltese is a piano-led, 21-year-old, singer-songwriter, who pens songs that are both emotionally intelligent and satirical at the same time. Having recently toured with Isaac Gracie (review), he is now releasing his debut album, Bad Contestant, through Atlantic Records. Here are our thoughts…

Matt Maltese - Bad Contestant.jpg

Matt Maltese‘s debut, Bad Contestant, is jam packed full of wisdom beyond his years but served up with equal doses of cutting humour, hilarious irony and pure over-exaggeration. This is an artist who merges, at times, understated yet sultry melodies and retro sounds with stunning lyrical craftsmanship to create his own unique style.

Album-opener, ‘Greatest Comedian’, begins with an unassuming introduction before launching into a fantastic set of back-handed compliments topped off with some intriguing instrumentation and beautiful higher-pitched vocals in the chorus; very similar to something by label-mate, Will Joseph Cook.

Title-track, ‘Bad Contestant’, has some seriously funky synth sounds and sees Maltese take on the character of an overly honest and confessional yet fruitless game show contestant.

This is very much an album where jazz and a touch of britpop meet funky, organ-led soul.

Meanwhile, ‘Nightclub Love’ is deeply satirical look at how Maltese sees the realities of clubbing and finding love there, whilst ‘Less & Less’ is an extremely saddening break-up song that is both beautiful and also attempts to put a positive spin on the situation. Of course we can’t go without mentioning the wonderful track, ‘As The a World Caves In’; a hysterical tale of the unlikely hooking up of Donald Trump and Theresa May, watching the nuclear destruction of the world as they do it; genius!

Other key tracks worth taking note of, include; ‘Sweet Sixteen’, an organ-led track taking a twisted look at a modern relationship – the sound is very much somewhere between Kaiser Chiefs and Blur, ‘Like A Fish’ which sounds like the opening to an old, 80s, British TV show and ‘Misery’ which is a dark and intense track with some reverse-sounding vocals on the chorus. In fact, the latter half of the album appears to get darker as it goes on.

The album features production and collaboration by a combination of Jonathan Rado, Hugo White (Maccabees) Alex Burey.

This is very much an album where jazz and a touch of britpop meet funky, organ-led soul, all dressed up in a hipster outfit and sung with a deep, crisp and crooning vocal. Picture BlurPulp and Jamiroquai creating some sort of spliced-together lovechild that’s been brought into the modern, contemporary age and you get Matt Maltese‘s debut, Bad Contestant. A truly alluring debut that is sure to pave the way for an exciting career ahead.

Rating
4


‘Bad Contestant’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bad-contestant/1365077870


Bad Contestant on Spotify

Greatest Comedian (Official Video)

As The World Caves In (Official Video)


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


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*EXCLUSIVE* #Review: Chicane – The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget 💭


   

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Chicane (aka Nick Bracegirdle) is a British musician, composer, songwriter and producer who has had a string of hits that have been massive on the Ibiza club scene, including ‘Saltwater’ (featuring vocals by Máire Brennan from Clannad), ‘Offshore’, ‘Don’t Give Up’ (featuring Bryan Adams) and ‘Stoned In Love’ (with vocals by the legendary Tom Jones). Now, 2018 sees the release of his seventh album, The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget (released through Modena Records and Armada Music); here’s what we think about it…

Chicane - The Place You Can't Remember, The Place You Can't Forget.jpg

I would go so far as to say that this might be one of Chicane‘s best albums to date; it’s diverse, eclectic and contemporary whilst not compromising on his instantly recognisable sound and style.

The album opens with the stunningly atmospheric ‘Running To The Sea’ which reverberates right through the chest, due to low rumbles and bass notes but meanwhile uses harmonic guitars, making it sound equally euphoric; it’s like the dawn of a beautiful day, but in this instance, the day is the album!

From there, 2017 single, ‘Gorecki’ (featuring vocals by Hannah Robinson), makes an album appearance; very much a classic Chicane track – mesmerising, hypnotic synth plucks, dream-like pads, echoing vocals and deeply rooted in the house genre.

Also, Tracey Ackerman makes a much anticipated return collaboration on single, ‘Serendipity’; a calm and ambient track.

Some of the other, most notable tracks, include: the instant, turn-it-up anthem, ‘A Love That’s Hard To Find’; definitely a song that provides room to breathe throughout but also includes some Daft Punk-esque vocals (from Paul Aiden) on top of a summery, deep house beat; ‘Rainbow’ keeps you in suspense all the way through with its calming vocals (provided by Tyler Lyle) and synths that teeter around the edge of something big, probably making it one of the most ambient songs on the album and two Rosalee O’Connell-sung tracks; ‘Nirvana’ – an EDM meets house affair that has some wonderful, broken falsetto vocals, with a touch of something old-school (like ATB‘s ‘9 PM (Till I Come)’ or York‘s ‘On The Beach’) and ‘I Came Here For You’ which serves up an exotic combination of cascading synths, heavy drums, rhythmic bass and dreamy vocals that sit in the centre of the mix, almost surrounded by the instrumentation.

Somehow this feels very different to some of his previous releases; it is uplifting, fresh, reinvigorating and really pushes the boundaries of what he can produce.

To be perfectly honest though, it’s incredibly hard to find something not to love about every track on the album; ‘Chord – Less Yacht’ slowly builds from a muffled, static-like intro to an angelic-sounding, deep house anthem with shimmering synths and thumping beats, ‘Judder’ sounds like the theme to an 80s fighting game (think Street Fighter) but with dramatic changes in tempo and barely audible vocal notes coursing through it, ‘Ten Deep’ sounds like the film score to a modern sci-fi movie, due to its soaring synths and bold brass sounds and ‘Fear I Must First Let You Go’ (featuring vocals by Chris James) is a positive take on looking to the future – a therapeutic song that has an almost sermon-like quality to it.

Without a doubt, The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget is still an ambient, atmospheric and deep house-filled album that is instantly recognisable as Chicane, but somehow it feels very different to some of his previous releases; it is uplifting, fresh, reinvigorating and really pushes the boundaries of what he can produce.

Lastly, I would like to make a special thanks to Nick and his manager Louis, for allowing us to be the first and only people to have had access to the full album prior to its release. It truly has been a privilege.

Rating


‘The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-place-you-cant-remember-the-place-you-cant-forget/1377444000


‘The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget’ on Spotify

Serendipity (Official Video)

A Love That’s Hard To Find (Official Audio)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this incredible musician and producer’s latest album? Do you love it as much as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or share your views about it via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Ben Howard – Noonday Dream


   

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Ben Howard is an English singer-songwriter and musician, most notable for winning the Brit Award for British Male Solo Artist at the 2013 Brit Awards. Since then, his second album, I Forget Where We Were, reached the Number 1 spot in the UK album charts. Now, with the buzz surrounding the release of his third album, Noonday Dream, it could see him reach that same success. Here’s what we had to say about it…

Ben Howard - Noonday Dream.jpg

Ben Howard‘s latest album, Noonday Dream, sees another change to his ever adapting sound, keeping this artist fresh and showing just how diverse he can be. Having seen 4 years pass since his previous album and now at the age of 31, Howard has proven that he won’t be bound to time constraints but instead, ensured he make the time to mature his songwriting and develop a new sound for his next record.

It all begins with the truly haunting and melancholic, ‘Nica Libres At Dusk’ ; a dark and reflective song at the start before emerging into bursts of peaceful reprieve and ecstatic, almost whale song, guitars. It certainly depicts imagery of an American desert, similar to that of the album artwork. Then during the last minute, it transforms into a dreamy, piano-led clearing; a beautiful transformation into a more euphoric sound of hope.

Other songs to take note of include; ‘Towing The Line’ which is an almost Celtic-sounding, folk song with guitars that echo and seem to envelop you; ‘What The Moon Does’ which conjures up imagery of camping out under the stars of the Deep South in America; ‘Someone In The Doorway’, a track that sounds almost like spoken verse, in places, but is probably one of the most upbeat songs on the album and somehow seems like it goes hand in hand with ‘The Defeat’; another similarly half-spoken, half-sung track that has a really rock edge to it.

Noonday Dream is an exquisitely atmospheric, richly textured and highly visual album that is sure to kick off the next chapter in Ben Howard’s career, with meteoric success.

The album was produced by Ben himself, alongside long-time collaborator Mickey Smith, who between them, have done a superb job of capturing subtle nuances that make this such a stunning record. From the warm reverb of his acoustic guitars to the drawn out, whale-like sounds of his electric guitars (as on ‘Nica Libres At Dusk’) and the distinctive piano key strokes to subtle snippets of conversations (among many other captured sounds), this is a truly captivating record.

Noonday Dream is an exquisitely atmospheric, richly textured and highly visual album that is sure to kick off the next chapter in Ben Howard’s career, with meteoric success. Whilst it might not be to everyone’s specific tastes, any person who has an appreciation for skilful musicianship, poetic lyricism and stunning production, will find this to be a real gem of an album.

Rating
4


‘Noonday Dream’ is out 01/06/18 and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/noonday-dream/1364401352


Noonday Dream on Spotify

Nica Libres At Dusk (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Ben Howard’s third album? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media.


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#Review: William Ryan Key – Thirteen (EP)


   

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William Ryan Key is best known for being the frontman of American rock band, Yellowcard but since their scheduled parting of ways, he has decided to release his own solo project. Here’s what we have to say about his debut EP, Thirteen

William Ryan Key - Thirteen.jpg

Many people will be expecting something in the same vein as Yellowcard but this release couldn’t be further from that sound. It’s clear that William Ryan Key has spent some time developing his own unique, acoustic-led style that is very different to even one of his former band’s acoustic albums.

This is a stunning, warm-sounding and mellow EP, that feels reflective, somewhat sorrowful and like it was therapeutic for him to write. It truly is an EP that would suit a warm summer evening around a campfire, with friends or on a sunny autumnal walk through a forest.

It all begins with track, ‘Old Friends’, which serves as a cleansing opener, reflecting on his past mistakes and seeking forgiveness in order to look to the future with a clearer conscience.

William Ryan Key has always been a lyricist that people can connect with, and this is no different; in fact it might even be a more frank and open set of songs.

‘Vultures’ is probably the most similar track to his former sound with its upbeat guitar patterns, but it’s still heavily led by acoustics and his new, more laidback vocals. This is a song very much about moving on from the past, whilst open and honest track, ‘Form and Figure’ describes the sleepless and anxious state so many experience, after the loss of someone you love.

‘Thirty Days’ is rich with ambient tones, whilst ‘Great Unknown’ takes an optimistic look to the uncertain future.

William Ryan Key has always been a lyricist that people can connect with, and this is no different; in fact it might even be a more frank and open set of songs that is reinforced by its easy listening demeanour – beautiful melodies, calming guitars, stunning vocals and atmospheric sounds.

Fans of Yellowcard will certainly get enjoyment from this, but equally, so will fans of folky, singer-songwriter vibes. It’s an exciting new direction for this incredibly talented musician and I can’t wait to hear what he has to offer next.

Rating
4-5


‘Thirteen’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/thirteen-ep/1382373461


Thirteen on Spotify

Vultures (Official Audio)


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


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