#Review: Wallows – Nothing Happens

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerWallows are a 3-piece, indie rock band from Los Angeles, consisting of actors Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why) and Braeden Lemasters (Men of a Certain Age) plus drummer, Cole Preston. The trio first formed under their current moniker back in 2017, self-releasing their debut single, before signing to Atlantic Records in early 2018. Now, 2019 sees the release of the band’s debut album, Nothing Happens. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Wallows have successfully crafted a blend of 80s new wave, alternative rock and indie, right from the very first notes of the intense opening track, ‘Only Friend’, that instantly engage the listener and force you to turn it up, before blending seamlessly into second track, ‘Treacherous Doctor’; by far the best track on the record – it’s catchy as hell and ballsy with its heavy interludes, making it really stand out.

Catchy melodies are not lacking on this record either! Lead single, ‘Are You Bored Yet?’ (featuring Clairo) demonstrates perfectly, the sort of thing to expect from the album, and is a great marriage of male and female vocals. Whilst second single, ‘Scrawny’, would sit well on a soundtrack, switching up the tone, part way through the song. Then there’s ‘What You Like’ with its electronic, 80s vibes – a strong verse vocal and intense reverb, like something by Sparks, and ‘Remember When’ offers a hook that will stay with you for days. ‘Ice Cold Pool’ offers a musically uplifting tempo and shimmering guitar lines.

There’s no doubt that this is a summer soundtrack and would fit well in a teen programme, like The OC, conjuring up images of a road trip in a convertible, with friends, shot with a vintage camera. It’s the sort of record that you could either sit back and relax to, or get lost in at a summer BBQ – it’s dynamic and delightfully enthralling.

This is quite possibly one of the most interesting and exciting, American indie bands I’ve heard for some time.

Generally, this is a fairly fast-paced album but ‘Sidelines’ offers a more downtempo reprieve and a synth line that reminds me of Caesars’ ‘Jerk It Out’ (just not as upbeat), as does the album closer, ‘Do Not Wait’ – a haunting, dream-like instrumentation in the first half, that builds to a more frantic, psychedelic close, with it’s spoken-word vocal.

The whole album is written solely by the band themselves and produced by John Congleton (Lana Del Rey, Franz Ferdinand & Jamie T) – this might explain why the record sets them up as the kings of interesting breakdowns and unusual soundscapes that weave their way throughout the record. They take unexpected, sonically captivating twists and turns throughout and Dylan’s vocals are, at times, monotonous and somewhat apathetic, but it works so delightfully well! It’s definitely an album for all ages – millennials are bound to love it, as will original fans of 80s synth rock.

I’m sure some people will turn their noses up at Wallows for the fact that they’re established actors, but that shouldn’t detract from what a great record, and band, this is! Nothing Happens is a very strong, well-written and well-produced album that although very indie on the surface, at its core, takes a lot of influence from a fair few 70s and 80s tracks. Having listened to this captivating record several times now, I am left excited for what more they have to offer, and if their next album is as strong as this, they will continue to pave a great career for themselves. This is quite possibly one of the most interesting and exciting, American indie bands I’ve heard for some time.

Rating
4


‘Nothing Happens’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/nothing-happens/1450670646


Nothing Happens on Spotify

Scrawny (Official Music Video)

Are You Bored Yet? (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’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.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: IDLES @ Brighton Dome, Brighton – 29/03/19

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On Friday 29th March 2019, IDLES arrived in Brighton to play an excellent show, following their Brit Award nomination and in support of their second album, Joy As An Act Of Resistance. The band were supported by Crows. Here’s what we thought of the show…


Crows

There’s something instantly hypnotic about this band with their heavy, repetitive and dare I say, almost monotonous drone of sound that sits somewhere between Editors and something much darker. They’re definitely sat on the less pure side of indie and not necessarily for everyone but they’re stylistically edgy and even though the singer’s vocal is quite bland, it is intentionally done to fit with the style and somehow it just works…really well!

Highlight: I particularly loved the singer’s use of two different microphones – one for more crisp vocals and the other for shouts and harmonic wails that have tons of reverb on – it’s a pretty unique element to the performance. What’s more – he knows how to get lost in the music and really let loose!

Setlist

Silver Tongues
Demeanour
Wednesday’s Child
Empyrean
The Itch
Hang Me High
Whisper
Chain Of Being


IDLES

A hum of anticipation rang through the crowd as the lights went down and IDLES took to the stage. Surrounding the band, were a ring of strobe-like lights which continuously circled the band, getting progressively faster, as they launched into opening song, ‘Colossus’.

Whilst this is not a band I would normally enjoy, I can appreciate the energy that emanates from their performances, bringing punk into the modern, contemporary age.

The band don’t let up for a minute with their passionate, in-your-face and downright ballsy demeanour, fronted by Joe Talbot, who, throughout the show, makes references to now being sober and how he’s recently become a father. He also shares little anecdotes and passes comments on what he’s passionate about, like the importance of looking after each other, when you “argy-bargy” in the crowd.

This is shouty, grungy and lyrically dynamic punk that has picked up fans of all ages – a truly diverse crowd watched in awe as the band members got progressively more pumped up and not once, let the energy in the room, drop.

Even if they’re not your sort of thing, I still recommend checking them out; they put on a great show and they just continue getting bigger, so try and catch them at a more intimate venue, before they’re selling out arenas!

Highlights:

  • When both Lee Kiernan and Mark Bowen got off the stage and worked their way through the crowd to perform amongst the audience, sitting on the floor, before being crowd surfed back to the front…epic!
  • Joe Talbot’s energy throughout was infectious, particularly as he pumped himself up, punching his arms up and down in front of him, like he was operating a pneumatic drill!
  • As the band started their set, the circling lights were mesmerising and quite hypnotic and the audible chaos, the end of their set descended into after Joe left the stage, was equally amazing.
  • The genuine care Joe showed for his fans and the audience by looking out for them and also sharing anecdotes, really engaged the crowd.

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📷 All of the photos in this post, are credited to Damon Peirce  📸
Why not give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter or check out his website.


 Setlist

Colossus
Well Done
I’m Scum
Queens
Great
Danny Nedelko
Divide & Conquer
1049 Gotho
Love Song
Never Fight A Man With A Perm
Mother
Faith In The City
All I Want For Christmas (Is You) (Mariah Carey cover)
Benzocaine
Samaritans
Exeter
Television
Rottweiler


Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Rob from Sonic PR for making this review happen and also to both IDLES and Crows for putting on a great show!


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: David Gray @ Brighton Dome, Brighton – 19/03/19

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On Tuesday 19th March 2019, David Gray arrived in Brighton, in support of his latest album release, Gold In A Brass Age. He performed an incredible, 2-hour set at Brighton Dome and was supported by L.A. Salami. Here’s our thoughts on the event…


L.A. Salami

L.A. Salami was a fantastic, soulful, folky and witty singer-songwriter who’s clearly honed his talent. His crisp voice, annunciated every word with clear precision and told a story, like that of a performance poet. His way with words must have been painstakingly crafted to create his art and his tales are intriguing. Also, his use of just a guitar and harmonica somehow manage to produce a rather full sound.

His stage persona is quite understated and there are some imperfections in his performance but somehow this is quite endearing. He was certainly an interesting and captivating support…plus his style (and hair) is pretty cool!

Highlight: I particularly enjoyed his final song which began with him telling an anecdote of how it came about, after meeting a wise man on a beach in Normandy whilst high on acid; the audience rang with laughter.


David Gray

As David Gray took to the stage, rapturous applause erupted from the audience and he launched straight into a string of tracks from his latest album, Gold In A Brass Age, showcasing just how much his sound and style has evolved since his career-launching album, White Ladder (first released back in 1998).

His new sound is electronically dynamic and truly envelops the audience, with atmospheric sounds, powerful harmonies and a diverse set of instruments played by him and the band. It sounds strange, but there’s something beautiful about the tracks of his new record, that give off an almost autumnal feel – they’re warm and crisp and give an audible sensation of swirling around you – it’s quite remarkable.

One thing you can’t help but marvel at throughout his performance, is his truly unique use of a loop pedal, with which he builds up the base for quite a few songs; some had various, layered guitar melodies, another he created a distorted vocal wail through the microphone built into an acoustic guitar and at one point he even made some vocal harmonies for him to collaborate with himself – sensational!

He began by stating, “We’ll start off with the new music,” and shared several tracks from the new album (‘Hall Of Mirrors’, ‘If 8 Were 9′ and ‘A Tight Ship’ particularly stood out), before thanking the audience for lending their ears to them. He then delighted the crowd by saying, “We’re going to dig deep,” leading on to a string of his old hits (‘Sail Away’, ‘My Oh My’, ‘The Other Side’, ‘Babylon’ and ‘Please Forgive Me’), that had the audience standing, cheering and singing along at the top of their voices – it was beautifully nostalgic.

The set clocked in at the 2-hour mark, which is pretty amazing for a concert these days and just goes to show not only the vast back catalogue he has, but the dedication he puts in to giving his audience something substantial to get into.

Being honest, I didn’t know much of his more recent music before last night, but having witnessed the wonderful performance I did, I will most definitely be getting copies of his last few records to get up to speed, and can’t recommend highly enough, watching him play live – he puts on an immaculate and rather rousing show!

Highlights:

  • The use of a loop pedal throughout his set is something wonderful to witness, particularly how he seamlessly switches back and forth between his guitar and keyboard, to build a track up.
  • The sheer effortless power, soulfulness and aching melancholy behind his vocal is passionate and all-consuming.
  • His new sound is progressive and actually quite incredible – I’ll definitely check out the new record! And, actually, when you see him live, you realise quite how electronic his sound (both old and new) is, in places and that there’s actually some dance music elements behind some of his material.
  • Gray’s rather awkward dancing and twitching around on stage is actually pretty endearing!
  • His personality is very modest and relatable and probably goes a long way towards his rather broad and loyal fanbase; it might also explain why so many people were comfortable shouting out support to him, between songs.

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 Setlist

Mallory
The Sapling
Gold In A Brass Age
Hall Of Mirrors
Watching The Waves
It’s Late
A Tight Ship
If 8 Were 9
Sail Away
My Oh My
Be Mine
Freedom
The Other Side
Breathe
The One I Love
Back In The World
Silver Lining
Babylon*

Encore
Birds Of The High Arctic
Please Forgive Me*

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


Finally, I want to say a big thank you to Rob from Sonic PR for enabling this review to happen, and to both David Gray and L.A. Salami for their incredible performances.


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: As It Is @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 15/03/19

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On Friday 15th March 2019, As It Is arrived in Brighton for the final date of their The Intimate Depression Tour, in support of their latest album release, The Great Depression. The band were supported by Modern ErrorBellevue Days and Klae. It was an extra-special evening, not only because it was the last night of the tour, but it was a return to the city they started in! Here’s what we thought of the evening…


Klae

Klae are five-piece, female-fronted band from Brighton, who kicked off the evening with their blend of gritty pop rock. They have a tight, commercial sound to them, and clearly a loyal following is already building for them. They’ll be a local band to keep an eye out for with their atmospheric, airy guitar melodies and honest lyricism…though at times, some of the dancing seems a little contrived.

Klae


Bellevue Days

Next up, was the rather slick Bellevue Days – their performance was flawless and they have obviously honed their songwriting skills to perfection, with little fills and quirks in all the right places; whilst it makes their songs stand out, at times they change pace a little too often, meaning you can’t quite get into the groove, or the song appears to end, just as it seems to be building up to something more.

Personally, I preferred the backing singer’s voice, when he took the lead on ‘Faith’ and think he should definitely take the lead a little more, however, between the three vocalists, their harmonies are sensational!

They’re very much Weezer meets Brand New with a little Blur thrown in…one song in particular was almost like a carbon copy of Brand New though. All round, they’re a great live band and certainly have a good stage presence…even if the drummer did look petrified throughout the performance.


Modern Error

The last support to take to the stage was the intense, high-energy, Modern Error – an in-your-face, scream-metal band with solid production (in the form of atmospheric backing tracks) interwoven seamlessly with their skilful performance.

The band are nicely topped off with the lead singer’s screaming vocal which seems to come so effortlessly – though his attempts at more melodic singing weren’t quite as strong.

It’s clear that this band have found inspiration in the likes of Underoath‘s album, They’re Only Chasing Safety, as far as synth sounds merging with post-hardcore or metal sensibilities go.

The band’s octane-infused set really ignited the audience into a frenzy, creating swirling circle-pits and people manically moshing around. Modern Error are a well-rounded band with a clearly well-rehearsed stage presence and really know how to work a crowd; the only criticism…a little too much reaching out with one hand.


As It Is

Finally, As It Is took to the stage! Although each of the supports were well-rehearsed and their performances polished, the quality of this band is truly next-level impeccable, instantly demonstrating just how professional they are at this.

It might well have been the last night of their UK tour, and by their own admission, they were exhausted, but you definitely couldn’t tell…the energy they brought was magical, captivating even. The band are very much at home on stage – standing on speakers, thrashing round wildly, swinging the microphone round, for some perfectly-timed manoeuvres and Ronnie Ish even pulled off a little crowd-surfing…simply put, they owned that stage!

Having started out in this very city, the band shared their gratitude (a few times) for finally being able to headline their own show at the iconic Concorde 2, having watched some of the bands that inspired them, performing on that very stage. It was special thanks that went out to their fans, throughout the show, for getting them to where they are today and you could tell, their appreciation is genuine.

They may have visually changed their style since their last record, and their sound may have got a touch heavier than before, but at their core, they’re still quite the pop punk band they always were – they just have a little more ’emo’ edge to them now. They’re writing and singing about more taboo subjects, like anxiety, depression, self-harm, etc. but are managing to do so with sincerity and integrity. You can tell that their fans admire it too, singing back every word with equal the passion that Patty Walters sings out to them.

Watching this set, truly felt like watching the early days of the iconic punk rock/pop punk/emo bands I used to love, growing up – the likes of Good CharlotteNew Found GloryMy Chemical RomanceThe Used, etc. It was really something special and I’m certain that if this show was anything to go by, this band are only going to continue to grow to new heights in their career, from here. I would highly recommend seeing them live – they’ll draw you in and have you moshing around in an instant!

Highlights:

  • The way the band use the whole stage, to jump and spin around, interact with each other and even swing the microphone round, made the show something spectacular to behold.
  • Whilst the set was predominantly filled with material from their latest album, The Great Depression, there was also a good deal of older songs to please fans old and new.
  • Patty Walters‘ honest out-pouring of emotion and sharing of personal anecdotes with the audience, let them know that this is more like a family than just a band and their fanbase, even referring to them as family. His speech around mental health, and the way talking about this is sometimes perceived within the genre, was actually very touching and heart-felt – things like this can so often be cringey, when delivered by someone in his position, but actually, I found myself hanging on his every word, and if this is enough to save even one life, then it can only be a good thing!
  • The audience’s love for this band is raw and emotionally-driven too, making the atmosphere in the venue, electric. A few people were even brought to tears by their presence, their lyrics and the passion the band pour into their art.
  • It was actually a highlight in itself, just to see this band (who could so easily sell out a larger venue) performing to a smaller audience, in a more intimate setting, but without compromising any of the quality of their set and stage presence. It was a truly marvellous event!

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 📸 All of the photos of As It Is are credited to Chloe Hashemi – CCZH Photography 📷
Go and give her a follow on Instagram and Twitter, and visit her website.


 Setlist

The Wounded World
The Two Tongues (Screaming Salvation)
The Great Depression
The Reaper
The Handwritten Letter
No Way Out
The Fire, The Dark
The Haunting
Cheap Shots & Setbacks
Such Great Heights (The Postal Service cover)
The Truth I’ll Never Tell
You, The Room & The Devil On Your Shoulder
The Question, The Answer
Winter’s Weather
Patchwork Love

Encore
Okay
Dial Tones
The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry)*

This song can be viewed in the YouTube video, below.


Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Patrick Marsden at Lout Promotions for enabling this review to happen but also to As It IsModern ErrorBellevue Days and Klae for making the evening such a special one!


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Tom Walker – What A Time To Be Alive

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Tom Walker is a Scottish-born, singer-songwriter that has continued to grow and rise to fame over the past 12 months or so. Aside from relentless touring, he started gathering mainstream attention with the BBC putting him in the running for their Sound of 2018 accolade. Then came the release of his massive single, ‘Leave A Light On’, which received heavy radio airplay, leading to a performance on X Factor. Now 2019 has kicked off with in style, with him winning the Brit Award for 2019’s British Breakthrough Act…and all of this has happened before the release of his debut album! Well, it’s finally here, What A Time To Be Alive and here’s what we have to say about it…

Tom Walker - What A Time To Be Alive.jpg

Passion. Power. Personal. Three words that can’t help but swim through my mind as I listen to Tom Walker‘s debut album, What A Time To Be Alive. All three qualities are beautifully and intricately interwoven too – there is passion and power behind his vocals – both in what he sings and the way he sings it – and the personal songwriting leads to their prominence…and this wouldn’t be such a remarkable record without even one of those elements.

We’re catapulted into the album with ‘Angels’; a track starting out raw and edgy but endlessly continuing to build to a huge crescendo, complete with bells and strings, becoming an intricately layered behemoth of a track by the end, topped off with Tom’s intensely passionate and gritty vocals.

This is soon followed by the hit single, ‘Leave A Light On’, which despite being such a massive single, is interestingly, probably one of my least favourite tracks on the album. It’s a great song lyrically and thematically and I can see exactly why it was such a hit but I honestly preferred the original version, before the off-key synth sounds became so prominent. Also, there’s so much more to love about the album!

He has successfully crafted an outstanding debut album that takes elements from many different genres and styles, mashing them up into the perfect concoction of contemporary pop.

The biggest tracks on the record have to be: ‘Not Giving In’ – haunting wind chimes trickle delicately into the intense track, where echoing vocals and programmed drums lead the verses into the passionate chorus that seems to swirl around you, engulfing with its honest emotion; ‘How Can You Sleep At Night?’ is vocally one of the most diverse songs on the album – quiet, low tones in the verses are pushed by thunderous drums to a chorus of what could be described as vocal hoots and a downward zigzagging of his voice. Melodically, it’s a rather playful track, even though it’s about an intimate subject.

‘My Way’ is a real genre-bender; hip-hop-style drum beats, oriental-tinted synths, a repetitive hook and wonderful production trills, such as subtle, underlying female vocals, make this one of the best songs on the record. An effortless breakdown calms the mood right before bursting back into the repetitive, yet highly addictive chorus. Think EDM elements meet rock with a slightly Asian-flavoured edge.

And of course there’s ‘Fade Away’ which has a very Tom Odell-sounding melody, in places. It’s an emotionally devastating, piano and string-led track, that honestly brings tears to the eyes. Naturally, in its more heightened moments, Tom’s signature, raspy vocals shine through but during the quieter parts, his interesting annunciation and poetic lyricism make this track truly bewitching.

This is a stunning, diverse album that is sure to make massive waves throughout the industry and I’m certain will be a benchmark album for years to come.

‘Now You’re Gone’ featuring Zara Larsson is very electronic in tone with laser-like bass notes and a broken-up rhythm, ‘Blessings’ has an Ed Sheeran vibe and takes a candid look at the modern lifestyle, whilst ‘Dominoes’ is a very political track and another honest take on the state of the world right now, becoming wonderfully chaotic and grungy by the end.

Intrigue doesn’t stop there either, ‘Cry Out’ is like a dark western soundtrack (somewhat reminding me of the Peaky Blinders theme) with chain-clinking sounds giving it a laborious edge and ‘Just You And I’ is an old fan favourite – a big, positive love song. Possibly the most captivating track on the record has to be ‘The Show’ – a story-like track about London that really gives the sense of physically moving through the city streets, just listening to it. It has a real jazzy feel which sound effects weaving throughout the storytelling.

One thing’s for certain, Tom Walker has a very unique blend of styles throughout his music; reggae and urban vibes, with subtle hip-hop undertones are met by electronic synth elements and drum pads, combined with real instruments and rock-tinted vocals all underpinned by sincere, heartfelt (and even occasionally political) lyrical themes. I think I can even detect Bob Marley influences in places – reggae sounds and political themes…or is that just me? Sure, at times his voice is quirky and high-pitched but that is met in equal measure by the grittier, growlier and more powerful moments.

You can’t help but want to compartmentalise him as a singer-songwriter or a pop star but he truly breaks every mould you try to apply him to. He has successfully crafted an outstanding debut album that takes elements from many different genres and styles, mashing them up into the perfect concoction of contemporary pop. Despite being an eclectic collection, it still manages to be entirely cohesive. This is a stunning, diverse album that is sure to make massive waves throughout the industry and I’m certain will be a benchmark album for years to come.

It can only get bigger for him from here and I can’t wait to see what new heights Tom Walker soars to next…I’m just pleased I got to see him at The Green Door Store in Brighton (review here) before it all took off.

Rating
5


‘What A Time To Be Alive’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/what-a-time-to-be-alive/1435094194


What A Time To Be Alive on Spotify

Leave A Light On (Official Video)

Just You and I (Official Video)

Angels (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Tom Walker’s stunning debut, What A Time To Be Alive? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? 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: 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.


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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.


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