#Review: Millencolin – SOS 🚀🆘

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Millencolin are a punk rock band from Sweden, consisting of all four original members, Nikola Sarcevic (vocals & bass), Mathias Färm (lead guitar), Erik Ohlsson (rhythm guitar) and Fredrik Larzon (drums). To date, the band have had eight studio albums and played all around the world, including at America’s prestigious Warped Tour. Now, 2019 marks the release of SOS, the band’s ninth studio album since their 1992 inception, some 27 years later! Here’s what we have to say about the record…

Millencolin - SOS.jpg

SOS kicks straight in with the intense, apocalyptic-sounding title track, gripping you with its chugging guitars and haunting vocal chants, making it instantly clear that this is very much a punk rock album and not a commercialising into the pop punk realm.

That said, there is something very commercial about the album’s glistening production; vastly different from that of some of the band’s earlier records.

Additionally, there’s actually something very traditional about this album, like Millencolin have followed the recipe for the perfect skate rock record – ‘For Yesterday’ and ‘Nothing’ are perfect examples of this and particularly reminiscent of early Goldfinger or Alkaline Trio. However, in saying this, it also demonstrates that the band have not quite made any moves to vary their sound or try to push the boundaries of the genre, though there are bound to be countless fans that will appreciate this.

‘Sour Days’ and ‘Reach You’ particularly stand out, and although some of the most “radio friendly” tracks on the record due to their big choruses, they’re possibly the most vocally and instrumentally interesting with great harmonies and pristine changes in tempo across both.

It’s definitely a well-produced record with some strong choruses and impeccable instrumentation.

‘Yanny & Laurel’ is a good, story-telling song and interestingly named after the 2018 debate about whether a sound clip was saying the word ‘yanny’ or ‘laurel’ and is cleverly reflected with an auto-tuned chorus around the two words.

Sadly, there are some songs that just lack sincerity and would sit better on blink-182 or Green Day album (though don’t get me wrong I love both those bands), like ‘Do You Want War’ and ‘Caveman’s Land’. Both tracks have strong instrumentals but lyrically border on cringe-worthy.

‘Carry On’ really brings the album home with a strong, nostalgic-feeling chorus, which sounds almost like an audible farewell. The drums at the start, instantly draw you in and by the end of the track, it’s descended into just the right amount of chaos that you’re both satisfied and left wanting more.

Overall, SOS is a politically charged public service announcement, and takes a rather negative take on the current state of the world, even referencing the decline in society and impending end of the world as we know it. But then isn’t that what all punk rock is about?

It’s definitely a well-produced record with some strong choruses and impeccable instrumentation, however there are certainly the odd lyrical improvements and risk-taking elements that could be adopted by the band, going forward. I guess it could just be put down to, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Rating
3.5


‘SOS’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sos/1441157359


SOS on Spotify

SOS (Official Video)

Nothing (Audio Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Millencolin’s latest album, SOS? Are you a fan? 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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#Review: ONE OK ROCK – Eye Of The Storm 🌪

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ONE OK ROCK are a Japanese rock band who formed in Tokyo, in 2005. The band currently consists of Takahiro Moriuchi (vocals), Toru Yamashita (guitar), Ryota Kohama (bass), and Tomoya Kanki (drums). Since forming, the band have played many different styles of music, from alternative rock to emo and even post-hardcore to their most recent, pop rock style. In 2016, the band signed to Fueled By Ramen, releasing their eighth studio album, Ambitions, featuring collaborations with Avril Lavigne5 Seconds Of Summer and Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low). This year, (2019) sees the release of their ninth studio album (although only their third US release), Eye Of The Storm. Here’s what we have to say about it…

one ok rock - eye of the storm

From the very start of Eye Of The Storm, it’s clear that ONE OK ROCK have made a conscious departure from the previous, emo, alternative rock and post-hardcore incarnations, favouring a much more pop-led sound. That’s not a bad thing though, as this is a brilliantly-crafted pop powerhouse of a record, that is sure to further cement their position as one of big players in the pop rock genre (alongside label mates like Panic! At The Disco and Against The Current. In fact ‘Eye Of The Storm’ and ‘Worst In Me’ are almost an obvious transitioning from their old sound to their new, blending their alternative rock roots with their new, more synth-driven pop elements.

There’s a real passion and raw talent to singer Takahiro “Taka” Moriuchi‘s vocals throughout the record too, as he explores the full extent of his vocal range, pulling off some stunning falsetto notes, intertwined with soaring choruses and exquisitely long-held notes.

‘Stand Out Fit In’ is testament to this – it’s very much an anthem about embracing people’s differences, with the goosebump-inducing, falsetto lines, “They yell, they preach, I’ve heard it all before. Be this, be that, I’ve heard it before.” It’s definitely a track that’s going to capture the hearts of many!

It’s actually very hard to pin-point just a few favourite tracks but ‘Push Back’ is wonderful for its gang vocal harmonies, like a modern-day Queen track. The descending melody echoing throughout the song is truly captivating too. ‘Wasted Nights’ is all about making the most of your life and enjoying each other’s company and the line, “Let’s live like we’re immortal, Maybe just for tonight, We’ll think about tomorrow (yeah), When the sun comes up,” is poetic, conjuring up nostalgic imagery and the underlying gospel vocals are stunning. The video only makes the track even more epic too (see below)! Even ‘Change’ – there’s definitely something a little boyband about the song (like 5 Seconds Of Summer meets One Direction), with the synth-sounding guitar lines, but the melodies are passionate and the message is poignant, positive and uplifting, “Hey, You know it’s not too late for us to make a change, You gotta listen to your heart what does it say? No matter how much we might bend, we will not break.”

It’s great to see that after nine albums in thirteen years, a band can still find ways to push themselves to adapt and grow, and be completely unafraid to try new directions.

That’s not to say there aren’t other special moments throughout the album; ‘Head High’ is definitely a pop track and whilst there isn’t much depth behind the lyrics or songwriting on it, it’s certainly catchy! ‘Letting Go’ really stands out for being so unique to the rest of the record – a calm little, acoustic-led track that is so beautifully understated, dealing with getting over a relationship and coming to terms with it. ‘Unforgettable’ has some definite dance music vibes to it, with the intense drum beats and whistling in the chorus, but with guitars thrown in. It’s quite a unique blend of genres.

‘Giants’ leads from delicate verses into a big chorus and has a strong Take That vibe to it, whilst ‘In The Stars’ adds a little vocal diversity with Kiiara featuring on the track, accompanied by a military-style beat.

‘Grow Old Die Young’ is a perplexing track though; it has a strong melody in the chorus but certain elements of it are very mediocre – a synth sound which doesn’t really fit the song and then there’s the lyrics, “I want the cause of my death, to be amazing sex,” which is honestly pretty cringe!

The album actually draws to a powerful close with ‘The Last Time’, led by a really strong chorus melody, topped off with a raspy, scream-like vocal that just knocks the record out of the park, right at the last second.

Eye Of The Storm is an interesting release for the band, as it’s their most commercial-sounding release to date, meaning it’s very palatable, for a broad range of listeners and is certainly bound to pick up a lot of new fans along the way. However, it could be argued that elements of depth and sincerity about their songwriting have been somewhat lost, rendering some of the tracks a little forgettable.

The drastic change in sound is definitely going to be felt by fans of their previous release, Ambitions, as some of the more emotive lyricism and raw instrumentation, has been exchanged for top-rate production values but at its heart, it is clearly still a ONE OK ROCK album.

That said, it’s equally great to see that after nine albums in thirteen years, a band can still find ways to push themselves to adapt and grow, and be completely unafraid to try new directions, and for that, this album should be admired. It’s a great record, with some banging tunes on and I can’t wait to hear what the band do next!

Rating
4


‘Eye Of The Storm’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/eye-of-the-storm/1441817576


Eye Of The Storm on Spotify

Stand Out Fit In (Official Video)

Wasted Nights (Official Video)

Change (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s ninth studio album, Eye Of The Storm? 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 join the conversation 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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#Review: Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water 🌊

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It’s hard to believe that Avril Lavigne dropped her first single, ‘Complicated’, back in 2002 but since then, the songstress has had 5 studio albums, 23 singles, 27 music videos (including ‘Girlfriend’, which became the “first music video to reach 100 million views on YouTube”) and has even appeared on several television shows and films. Now, six years since her last, self-titled album, 2019 sees the singer-songwriter putting out her sixth studio album, Head Above Water; a personal account of the trials and tribulations she been through over the past few years. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Avril Lavigne - Head Above Water.jpg

Head Above Water is probably Avril Lavigne‘s most mature album to date, seeing a real evolution in her songwriting. Throughout the record, she paints a candid, honest and deeply introspective portrait of a truly tumultuous period in her life.

It all begins with the album’s title track, ‘Head Above Water’, which is in fact the song that kick-started the writing of the whole album. She stated, “One night, I thought I was dying, and I had accepted that I was going to die. My mom laid with me in bed and held me. I felt like I was drowning. Under my breath, I prayed, ‘God, please help to keep my head above the water.’ In that moment, the song writing of this album began. It was like I tapped into something. It was a very spiritual experience. Lyrics flooded through me from that point on.” In this truly stunning track alone, Avril Lavigne documents her fight with Lyme Disease (as a result of which, she set up The Avril Lavigne Foundation, to raise awareness of the condition – visit http://www.TheAvrilLavigneFoundation.org for more information), showing her strength of character to fight and overcome it.

As if that song wasn’t different enough, ‘Birdie’ demonstrates a diverse instrumental with intricate production where stripped-back moments show off her voice beautifully and a distorted vocal break adds another dimension to the track in which compares herself to a caged bird.

Equally, ‘I Fell In Love With The Devil’ and ‘Tell Me It’s Over’ are both tinted with Lana Del Rey-esque vibes. The first blends both high and low-pitched vocal harmonies to create an ominous tone to the track, perfectly mirroring the theme of a toxic relationship, whilst the latter’s sultry vocals and brass elements in the verses lead into a massive, soulful chorus, making it possibly the most unique song Avril has ever released.

There is a bit of a lull in the uptempo vibes towards the middle-end of the record (but still great tracks!) ‘Souvenir’ is a cute little love song that although a touch juvenile, is actually very endearing, whilst ‘Crush’ is a sparkly-sounding, soulful number.

It might not be her most obviously banging release, but it certainly packs a punch on the emotive side, with such wonderfully poetic lyricism.

‘Bigger Wow’ isn’t the most memorable song though it’s incredibly catchy and unequivocally pop, however I can’t help but feel it’s virtually a carbon copy of Hailee Steinfeld‘s single, ‘Starving’ with Zedd.

That said, although on the whole Head Above Water is quite the far cry from any of her previous releases, there are definite nods to her former sounds. ‘Dumb Blonde’ (featuring none other than Nicki Minaj – which was clearly a last-minute addition to the track, as the review version of the album did not feature her at all) takes a massive leaf out of her 2007 smash hit, ‘Girlfriend’. Additionally, ‘It Was In Me’ has a massive throwback vibes to her 2002 hit, ‘I’m With You’, but nevertheless, it’s amazing and the build up at the end is truly goosebump-inducing!

The album draws to a close with ‘Warrior’, thematically bringing us back full circle to where we began. The lyrics possibly aren’t the most imaginative on the record but they certainly show the strength she has found within herself, to get through some of the toughest years of her life and with that comes an audible gratitude and renewed lease of life.

Whatever you think of Avril Lavigne‘s previous incarnations, you can’t hear this album and deny that it’s a passionate and very personal offering from the star and although there isn’t a completely cohesive style throughout, it’s refreshing to hear her trying something new. The break has done her voice good too – there’s a renewed power and technique behind it and she’s using it in ways she hasn’t much before.

Of course, there are bound to be people that will slate her for moving away from her old sound and those who will criticise her for trying something new, but personally I love and commend this record for being evolutionary and so clearly therapeutic. It might not be her most obviously banging release, but it certainly packs a punch on the emotive side, with such wonderfully poetic lyricism. Now it’s time to return to the top Avril Lavigne – welcome back!

Rating
4-5


‘Head Above Water’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/head-above-water/1442724476


Head Above Water on Spotify

Head Above Water (Official Video)

Tell Me It’s Over (Official Video)

Dumb Blonde featuring Nicki Minaj (Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Avril’s sixth studio album, Head Above Water? 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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#Review: Emarosa – Peach Club 🍑

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerEmarosa are an alternative rock band from Kentucky, consisting of only original founding member, ER White (lead guitar), as well as Bradley Walden (lead vocals), Robert Joffred (bass) and Matthew Marcellus (rhythm guitar). The band have been through quite a few line up changes since their inception in 2006 and in 2016, signed to their current label, Hopeless Records. Now, 2019 sees the release of the band’s fifth studio album (and second through Hopeless Records), Peach Club. Here’s what we have to say about it…

EMAROSA - Peach Club.jpg

From the start of the opening track, ‘Givin’ Up’, it’s clear that Emarosa have made a definitive departure from their previous, alternative rock sound, favouring a moreretro synth, heavy bass and ascending pop-chorus sound on this latest record. What’s more, they’ve done it so effortlessly with the opening, no holds barred, funky guitar-drive pop anthem that even has a saxophone solo!

It’s very much a record of two halves – the first half is both strong and diverse but the second half, by comparison, is somewhat lacking in the same depth.

80s synths and vibes run prominently throughout the album – ‘Don’t Cry’ is a very synth-heavy track with some incredible, underlying guitar riffs and this wonderful, descending vocal melody to the chorus, whilst ‘So Bad’ has a glossy, 80s funk to it, both in terms of the guitar and beat, topped off with an overtly catchy chorus.

Possibly the best track on the record has to be ‘Cautious’ – the calm verse, with great falsetto vocals leads into an all-consuming and powerful chorus – the passion behind the lines, “I believe in ecstasy, but you might never love me,” honestly gives you goosebumps!

A couple of the tracks even give off a similar feel to You Me At Six – ‘Get Back Up’ has a vocal style like that of Josh Franceschi but there’s a hip hop-like beat behind the song – I hate to say it, but a rapper feature would actually sit quite well on this. Equally, the heavier parts of ‘Help You Out’ have those same YMAS vibes – dreamy falsetto vocal parts and a great clap-along breakdown.

Sonically, this is an album that’s about as far from their former selves as it can be, but it is also a record that demonstrates huge growth from the band and a relentless willingness to try out new sounds.

‘xo’ kind of marks a break and turning point in the record. It’s a song made up of just vocals and an electric guitar but it really shows off Bradley Walden‘s raw vocal talent. It’s a very different vibe to the rest of the album and has a soulful feel to it.

I hate to say it, but it’s from here on that things get a little weaker. ‘Hell Of It’ is definitely an album filler, and although it is a slight nod to their alternative rock roots, it’s very repetitive. ‘Comfortable’ somehow reminds of Seal’s ‘Kiss From A Rose’ in places – it’s rather atmospheric but never quite goes to the places it’s aiming to reach, and then kind of just fades out. ‘IW2DWY’ (aka I Wanna Die With You) also feels quite empty, lacking any sincerity. Instrumentally it’s probably the weakest track on the record too.

That being said, the album finishes a lot stronger, with ‘Wait, Stay’. It features delicate falsetto vocals and intricate guitar lines, building up into a far more full-on sound, than the previous few tracks, making for an epic close to the album. Its subtly catchy chorus makes it quite an understated yet big song.

Sonically, this is an album that’s about as far from their former selves as it can be, but it is also a record that demonstrates huge growth from the band and a relentless willingness to try out new sounds. They haven’t lost their credibility though – they’re still packing a vulnerability to their lyricism and putting enough edginess into the tracks to still show parts of their previous incarnations and due to its diversity, Peach Club is bound to have something you’ll love.

It’s been really interesting to see this band’s evolution with this latest release and it’s bound to pick up a whole new fan base along the way. I’ll be intrigued to see where the band take their sound next!

Rating
3.5


‘Peach Club’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/peach-club/1439380906


Peach Club on Spotify

Givin’ Up (Official Music Video)

Don’t Cry (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest album, Peach Club? Are you a fan? 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: This Wild Life & William Ryan Key @ The Haunt, Brighton – 09/02/19

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On Saturday 9th February 2019, William Ryan Key and This Wild Life arrived in Brighton in support of their recent EP and album releases. They were supported by Brighton-based OKTOBA. It was a magical evening, particularly as it was the last night of their month-long tour. Here’s what we thought of the evening…


OKTOBA

Chris Athorne (better known by his moniker, OKTOBA) performed a wonderfully haunting set with his unique brand of alternative folk. His vocal melodies are powerful and ethereal. He’s clearly a very talented songsmith – a great artist in the making and one to watch.


William Ryan Key

As a wonderfully atmospheric introductory soundtrack blasted through the speakers, William Ryan Key (best known for his days as the singer and guitarist in Yellowcard) took to the stage, with just his acoustic guitar, before launching into his first song.

There is something melancholic about seeing this singer performing without his former band mates, but equally something beautifully vulnerable and honest about his latest penmanship, making this performance something special.

It wasn’t long before Ryan (as he’s affectionately known by his family and friends) was joined by Anthony Del Grosso (from This Wild Life) on the drums, making for an even larger sound.

Though Ryan is keen to promote his new material, it was nice to see him pay homage to his Yellowcard days, performing a range of songs from the band’s back catalogue, with some anecdotes thrown in, along the way.

William Ryan Key has a powerful and distinctive voice and though it’s sad that his former band are no longer around, it’s great that he’s still making music and hearing his voice in this new light is mesmerising. He even said he hopes to be back next year, with a full album…what great news! I highly recommend going to check him out live – you won’t regret it.

Highlights:

  • It was really great to get a candid insight into some of the stories behind his new, solo tracks and also how he coped (or didn’t) with the ending of Yellowcard.
  • It was hilarious when he got the audience pumped for This Wild Life by saying, “Their set is a lot more audience participation, a lot less VH1 Storytellers, like my set.” Great humour!
  • The incredible use of backing tracks, perfectly in time with his live performance made his set sound huge, even though it was just him and Anthony on stage.

Setlist

The Same Destination
Mortar and Stone
Only One (Yellowcard)*
Vultures*
Old Friends
Great Unknown
The Bowery
Downtown (Up North)
Keeper (Yellowcard)
MSK (Yellowcard)
Fields & Fences (Yellowcard)
Ocean Avenue (Yellowcard)*
Virtue

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


This Wild Life

Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso took to the stage to perform their 12-song set consisting mainly of new songs from their latest album, Petaluma, with some older offerings in the mix too.

For an acoustic rock duo, their sound is remarkably full, and similarly to William Ryan Key, make incredible use of backing tracks and clever blends of their talents, with Anthony even playing the guitar and singing, whilst using his feet to play the bass drum and hi-hats all at the same time – an amazingly talented individual!

One thing that I found pretty funny was that about 95% of their songs ended with Kevin shouting out, “Very cool!” to the crowd – it comes across, almost like a comfort saying and it’s quite humbling that he’s clearly very appreciative of the audience’s reaction. It’s kind of sweet really.

The energy the band gives off is contagious – having never seen the band before or heard much of their music, I found myself completely drawn in by them and moving, even participating, along with the rest of the crowd and for this reason alone, I can’t recommend seeing them, highly enough.

It’s perfectly clear that the pair have a loyal following over here in the UK drawing in a packed house and it’s easy to see why – their interesting blend of rock elements with mainly acoustic instrumentation and a rather feel-good sound (even if some of the songs themselves are self-confessed to be pretty negative) make for something truly special. I’d definitely like to see them play live again – if you haven’t already, you should check them out!

Highlights:

  • It was pretty adorable when Kevin Jordan explained that they’d been out on tour for a month and he was really missing his dog, so asked the audience members to get up pictures of their dogs and show him, whilst performing ‘Puppy Love’.
  • Before performing ‘Hold You Here’Kevin looked for couples to dedicate the song to – when he found one, he got the audience to clear a space for them to slow dance to but then hilariously got out a torch to shine on them – very funny.
  • The combination of many different instruments and backing tracks the pair used throughout the set was awe-inspiring. Their vocal harmonies are awesome too!
  • Kevin‘s on-stage banter is super witty too – making those between-songs moments light-hearted.
  • Whilst Anthony moved some bits around the stage, Kevin performed a great little mashup of 3 massive blink-182 hits (‘What’s My Age Again’ / ‘All The Small Things’ / ‘First Date’) which got the crowd going even more!

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 Setlist

Concrete
Positively Negative
Puppy Love
Westside
History
Hold You Here
Ripped Away
What’s My Age Again? / All The Small Things / First Date (blink-182 cover)*
Catie Rae
Headfirst*
Pull Me Out
No More Bad Days

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


Finally, I want to say a massive thanks to Andy Snape and Xavier Candelaria from Raw Power Management for making this review happen! Also an even bigger thanks to OKTOBA, William Ryan Key and This Wild Life for putting on such an awesome show!


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

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#Review: Big Wild – Superdream 🏜

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Big Wild is the moniker of American producer, composer and DJ, Jackson Stell. Having been producing music since he was just 14 years old, it wasn’t until 2012 that he began producing music under the name Big Wild. It was in 2015 that the electronic music duo, ODESZA, asked him to support them on a couple of dates of their tour, having discovered him on SoundCloud. Now, 2019 sees the release of his debut album, Superdream. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Big Wild - Superdream.jpg

From the very beginning, Superdream is an album the doesn’t let up for a minute and has some of the most intricately crafted and beautifully delicate production, I’ve ever heard on a record.

‘City Of Sound’ launches straight in, with a funky, disco-like quality and big vocal harmonies that are very reminiscent of Foster The People‘s ‘Pumped Up Kicks’. From there, we’re almost immediately led into single, ‘Joypunks’ – a bouncy, uplifting instrumental track which uses broken-up vocal sounds to create a really unique-sounding, nonsensical hook which you can’t help but try to sing along with.

I could go on because there is just so much to love about this album, however there are four tracks that really stand out above the rest:

‘6’s To 9’s’ is a huge track; the production is truly top-notch – there are these wonderfully understated verse vocals, married with high-pitched harmonies that build from a calm intro and verse into a gargantuan chorus, with sensational, gospel-like elements – it’s a truly epic track with a stunning performance from Rationale. There’s something almost sensual about the song.

‘No Words’ has some serious St Lucia qualities to it, with a big, gang-vocal chorus and some natural, night sounds during the breakdown.

The whole record feels as though there are religious undertones throughout; maybe it’s just because it sets such a high standard for the genre?!

‘Alley-Oop’s infectious beat courses right through you, giving off some reggae-like vibes and features vocals from iDA HAWK. The chorus is huge, which a big instrumental push behind the “Oop” to really emphasise it. There’s something a little Paloma Faith about the vocal, in places.

The last of the four biggest tracks has to be ‘Purple Sand (My Home)’, a song with broken-up pan flute/whistle sounds riding throughout, giving it a real organic feel and tropical flavours. It’s a very reflective song, looking back to a place you miss and long to be.

There’s lots of other things to love about Superdream too – ‘Pale Blue Dot’ is a bizarrely captivating instrumental that weaves together a gritty bass line, retro, horror organ notes and a chopped-up accordion-like sound. ‘Maker’ is truly ethereal and sounds like a modern-day ABBA track, with the vocal melodies and some of the instrumentals. ‘Heaven’ features a big drop and is pretty club-like but with more depth and diversity than most modern club tunes – it’s very refreshing.

The album draws to a close with ‘Awaken’, another instrumental that has large, spacious moments to it and a modern, religious-like style to the big moments. In fact the whole record feels as though there are religious undertones throughout; maybe it’s just because it sets such a high standard for the genre?!

Some of the best things about Big Wild‘s production are the way he takes ordinary sounds and distorts them, to the point they’re almost unrecognisable, yet become instantly captivating. It’s also quite evident that he loves big bass booms to really hit the listener, but they’re used just the right amount, making for a massive impact!

This is already a contender for album-of-the-year, within the genre, and 2019’s only just begun! Big Wild has set the bar high for himself with this truly electrifying debut and this is surely set to catapult his career to new heights. I just can’t wait to see what he puts out next and watch as he continues to grow and evolve. Superdream is super sensational!

Rating
4-5


‘Superdream’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/superdream/1438818174


Superdream on Spotify

Superdream (Audio Video Playlist)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this producer’s debut 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:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Hold Close – Time 🕐

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerHold Close are a Pop Punk band hailing from Springfield, Missouri in the USA. To date, they have had a couple of EP releases through Hopeless Records, across 2016 and 2017 but now, 2019 sees the release of their debut album, Time. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Hold Close - Time

We’re eased into the album with title track, ‘Time’ – an intro-style song, which starts off calm and rather understated, with a nice little gang vocal, riding on top of the acoustic guitar. It has quite a wholesome sound to the opening, with the lyrics, “You know time will always heal,” but by half way, bursts into a chaotic moment and a slightly heavier tone, giving us a sense of what’s to come…before calming back to the way it begins. It doesn’t last long before swiftly leading into ‘Hang Tight’, dramatically picking up the pace.

‘Hang Tight’ has an intense beat, you can’t help but get swept up in, especially as there’s a huge sense of ecstasy in the calmer moments. Near the end of the track, there’s a note that’s almost screamed before a moment of calm that comes back round as if the track is starting again – it’s marvellous.

The best tracks on the record have to be: ‘Breath’ – a beautiful track about losing someone. It’s so stunningly passionate and heartfelt that you hang on every word. The line, “Sometimes I pretend like you’re still here,” really gets me; ‘Tropical Depression’ is deeply engrossing track due to the vocal effects and the metaphor of a relationship being a-likened to a tropical depression is wonderfully poetic; ‘Here Again’ depicts a longing for someone you miss. Subtle synths swirl around powerful vocals in the chorus, which makes for a touching outpouring of emotion; lastly, ‘Separation’ makes for an epic close to the album – hauntingly beautiful guitar melodies in the chorus are met with great instrument pushes and gang vocals to really hit it home, dropping into a long, synth outro and subtle vocals.

Other tracks include: ‘Cast Me Away’ which makes for a slightly more traditional pop punk track, ‘Absent To Reality’ has a much darker tone than most on the record whilst ‘Cloud9’ has something similar about the synth sound and melody to Keane’s ‘She Has No Time’ – it’s the lyrics that mostly resonate with me; “Will I ever learn to dream again, Escape from all the things I fear and then, Find my path to seeing clear again, Make my way through what’s to come from this.”

The only real drawback about Time is that 3 of the 11 tracks are pretty short, acting as intros/interludes – sure they are haunting and give the listener a few seconds to pause, but it would have just been amazing if there were more tracks.

There’s a real maturity to this record that a lot of bands can only dream of – it’s not quite pop punk, it’s not quite alternative rock – it’s just damn good!

The occasional echo effects on the vocals, interspersed throughout the album, alongside the diverse song-writing and instrumentation, induce real moments and feelings of euphoria – it’s the kind of album you can just turn up loud and get completely lost in – engulfed by the melodies and production.

There’s a real maturity to this record that a lot of bands can only dream of – it’s not quite pop punk, it’s not quite alternative rock – it’s just damn good! The instrumentation is intricate and well-crafted, with deeply considered, honest and relatable lyrics that must have taken a lot of self-reflection.

There is a lot of emphasis placed on memories of love and people lost, right across the album and a very clear theme of time passing, reminiscing and some degree of healing coming from that. “Time will always heal” is very much a repeated phrase. A mantra.

Time is very much like the record of a pop punk band who have already had a lengthy career and matured, going on to create an album of well-considered, thought-provoking and sonically captivating music to push the boundaries of the genre…it’s just that Hold Close have achieved it early on in their career than others. The band have produced something wonderful with this album and I truly can’t wait to hear what they create next.

Rating

4-5


‘Time’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/time/1437338395


Time on Spotify

Tropical Depression (Official Music Video)

Breath (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Hold Close’s album, Time? 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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Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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