#Review: Paul Weller – On Sunset 🌅

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

Paul Weller - On Sunset.jpg

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

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

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

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

This is something of a captivating collection of contemporary songs.

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

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

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

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

Rating
4


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


On Sunset on Spotify

Earth Beat (Lyric Video)

Village (Lyric Video)

More (Lyric Video)


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


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Ruben Dawnson – Echo Emotions (EP)

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

Ruben Dawnson - Echo Emotions.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating
5


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


Echo Emotions on Spotify

Echo Emotions on YouTube


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


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#Review: RAC – BOY 🔴

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

RAC - BOY.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating
4


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


BOY on Spotify

Stuck On You featuring Phil Good (Music Video)

Carefree featuring LeyeT (Music Video)


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


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Belmont – Reflections (EP)

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Chicago, IL outfit Belmont are about to drop a new EP of tracks they describe as “a collection of new ideas, experimentation and an opportunity to lay down anything we’ve ever wanted to musically”. This make for an interesting prospect for a band who are quite progressive in their approach.

Belmont - Reflections.jpg

I’ve been following the progress of Belmont for a while and really enjoyed their offerings so far. The progressive-punk 5-piece have an appeal for fellow musicians by demonstrating some great technicality in their music, however I always felt they lacked an attraction for a wider audience.

Reflections looks like it’s addressing this. Firstly, there is a good use of synth and samples like those used in the opener ‘By My Side’ and its follow up ‘Deadweight’. This really pulls the tracks towards those big chart hitters you hear when accidently cycling through the radio in the car. If it’s not your thing, it won’t put you off as Belmont incorporate it well into the tracks as it fits nicely with their signature, driving drum lines. ‘Deadweight’ also brings in some quieter sections for the verses which adds to the more radio-friendly appeal – for some reason it reminds me of the likes of Owl City.

The band hasn’t lost any of their progressive nature that they are known for. ‘Back and Forth’ highlights Belmont’s ability to throw you around rhythmically. The fast-changing guitar sections alongside drummer Brian Lada’s ever surprising and chaotic drum fills keep you interested in everything that going on but don’t over power any of the tracks on the EP. This really shows up in ‘Hideout’, which has a beautifully calming verse, but ‘Lada’ can still bring the grooving rhythm without spoiling it.

This EP is a great example of moving a band onto a bigger stage, without losing the essence of what got them there in the first place.

The pop punk vibe shines throughout the EP too. ‘Stay Up’ has that classic, fast-pace feel and gang vocals that are bound to get a crowd up, moving and screaming “Stay Up, Stay Up!”. It’s felt across the EP, with truly catchy chorus lines that really stick with you. It’s not just the catchiness that give it that punk feel, ‘Move Along’ shows Belmont’s pop punk influences further with an awesome verse riff that throw you back to early days of blink-182 and New Found Glory.

Overall, Reflections feels like it’s bridging a gap for Belmont, in connecting with more fans, although I don’t think this was their intention. As they head out on some bigger tours, alongside big hitters like Tiny Moving Parts, this will only put them in great stead to grown their fan base… and deservedly so. This EP is a great example of moving a band onto a bigger stage, without losing the essence of what got them there in the first place.

For fans of: Tiny Moving Parts, Knuckle Puck, Neck Deep.

Rating
4


‘Reflections’ is out now on Pure Noise Records and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/by-my-side/1498675814?i=1498675818


Reflections on Spotify

Deadweight (Official Music Video)


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


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Rob Manhire
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#Review: Four Year Strong – Brain Pain

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Can you believe it’s been almost five years since we’ve had a full release from the boys hailing from Massachusetts?! Four Year Strong helped carved a path for many of our favourite easy-core bands, bringing that fantastic blend of heavy breakdowns and super catchy hooks. The question is, has the wait for the fathers of the genre been worth it?

Four Year Strong - Brain Pain

According to FYS the album has been two years in the making, ensuring that everything was right from initial ideas to production. They have hooked up with producer Will Putney who worked with them on Enemy of the World and this immediately got me excited, as I haven’t really been blow away by much of the band’s work since then. 

You can immediately tell from the first track ‘It’s Cool’ that this is Four Year Strong back at their best. The track comes across as an extended into but I think still is a great song in its own right. Their hardcore influences shine through in the chuggy guitar work and the epic off beat breakdown, but the thing that has been missing with FYS over their last few releases is that signature melodic hook and harmonic vocal. It’s back! The album drips with the super catchy melodic lines right from the off. As well as the intro, tracks such as ‘Talking Myself In Circles’, carry some great vocal work by Day & O’Connor and ‘Learn To Love The Lie’, which I swear just fell straight out of a teen comedy soundtrack from the 2000s, shows that catchiness is there by the bucket load.

The album drips with the super catchy melodic lines right from the off.

The album changes up tempo and feel a bit as it goes into title track ‘Brain Pain’ which starts with a slow trudge towards a classic super-fast pop-punk chorus. In places FYS have gone pretty heavy from what we are used to seeing. This comes through in a few ways. Firstly, the production values on the drums which have that stadium reverberation feel that you usually find on much heavier albums. Secondly the harmonic riff work from the guitars which is found across the whole record but most notably in this track and ‘The Worst Part Of Me’. Thirdly the breakdowns are quite brutal (in context of FYS) but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is very much a pop-punk album at heart.

Tracks such as ‘Mouth Full Of Dirt’ and ‘Seventeen’ encapsulate this perfectly with FYS’ classic blend of upbeat, major key progressions underpinned by some heavy riff work on the guitars. There is also a lot of dynamic shifts with these tracks which help to keep you interested between those catchy choruses, jumping into half time drum breaks such as those found in ‘Usefully Useless’. The album ends with ‘Young At Heart’ which in itself is a big dynamic change up from the rest of the album. We’ve heard a lot of bands do this. Lots of layering of delayed guitars, synth and keeping it nice a slow leading into an epic ending. On first listen, it felt out of place, but after getting used to the album as a whole, it actually rounds it of well and makes it feel like a complete record rather than an assortment of ideas.

If there was one weakness in the record, it’s perhaps the lyric writing. Aside from ‘Be Good When I’m Gone’, which is a nice ballad and really adds to the dynamic tempo of the album, it all feels a bit generic. Some might argue that pop-punk has moved on a bit from this, but that’s never been the point with FYS, or any bands in this style. It’s about writing catchy, positively aggressive tunes that make you want to kick the windows out of your car during a long summer road trip with your mates, so everyone can get in on the action.

Brain Pain is set for release 28th February 2020 on Pure Noise Records.

Rating
4


‘Brain Pain’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/brain-pain/1490648897


Brain Pain on Spotify

Coming 28/02/20.

Talking Myself In Circles (Official Music Video)

Learn To Love The Lie [Official Music Video]


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


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Rob Manhire
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#Review: Cory Wells – The Way We Are

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Cory Wells is a singer-songwriter hailing from Redondo Beach, California. Wells’ past lies in that of the metal scene and although his solo career has taken a lighter path, his debut album, The Way We Are, never forgets his roots. Here’s our take on it…

Cory Wells - The Way We Are.jpg

We all mellow out eventually. As time goes on, our tastes ‘mature’ and many of us fall away from our respective scenes, perhaps in search of something musically that fits our changing needs. It feels like Cory Wells is trying to fill this need and it is clear right from the start in ‘Distant‘, that emo toil and angst are the order of the day. It’s a beautiful introduction to the album which highlights just some of Wells’ vocal talent but it doesn’t give too much away of what this record will deliver. ‘Keiko‘ follows this with a slight tweak up in the mood, which is a feature of the whole album. Wells is constantly shifting the dynamic but not dramatically enough to take away from what is clearly an outpouring from the heart, for himself. Furthermore, these small dynamic shifts help the album to flow in and out of each track.

A particular highlight of the album is ‘Wildfire’. This track delivers brilliant vocal hooks across the chorus and seamlessly blends Wells’ metal influence with the introduction of screamed vocals. It’s a feature also found across the album in ‘Walk Away‘ but it’s not shoehorned in for effect. It works to show Wells’ breaking emotion in the music and it never overstays its welcome, on what is an acoustic-based album. This screamed vocal is also heard on ‘Harbor‘ which throws reminders back to early City and Colour with its falling guitar melodies and stunning vocal range. Across the album, Wells shows great talent both vocally and musically – his voice seamlessly moves from a smooth Dallas Green style, to a more driven feel like those of Tim McIlrath (Rise Against) and of course that vocal scream!

Overall this doesn’t feel like a debut album – Wells shows his prior experience from other projects to produce a truly complete feel to the record.

Don’t be lured into thinking this album is all about the slow pace of that “sucker for anything acoustic” vibe of the mid 2000s emo days (although ‘Fall Apart‘ featuring Lizzy Farrall is a great pastiche to this). Upbeat tracks such as ‘Broken’, ‘Patience’ and ‘Cement’ musically provide some light relief, but lyrically follow a similar trend to the rest.

Overall this doesn’t feel like a debut album. They usually feel like a collection of tracks in this genre, but Wells shows his prior experience from other projects to produce a truly complete feel to the record. Tracks like ‘End of a Good Thing’ and previously mentioned ‘Wildfire‘ are great tracks on their own, highlighting Wells’ writing talent for building suspense and emotion, but the album deserves to be listened to as a whole. There is a well-written narrative here, both musically and lyrically; it’s the kind of album ready to be the soundtrack to your late-night drive.

For fans of: City and Colour, Deaf Havana, This Wild Life.

Rating
4


‘The Way We Are’ is out now on Pure Noise Records and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/the-way-we-are/1480535816


The Way We Are on Spotify

Walk Away (Official Music Video)

Patience (Official Music Video)

Wildfire [Official Music Video]


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this singer-songwriter’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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Rob Manhire
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#Review: Klingande – The Album

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Klingande started out as a production duo back in 2012, releasing a couple of notable tracks. However, following the departure of one half of the pair in 2014, Cédric Steinmyller chose to continue using the moniker, as a solo venture. Since then and with a string of singles and remixes under his belt, the French DJ and tropical house producer, is now releasing his debut album, The Album. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Klingande - The Album

Klingande‘s aptly-titled debut album, The Album, sees the producer putting out a double-disc record. The first of which is a body of work that sounds sonically polished and wonderfully well collected together, whilst the second disc is more a collection of the producer’s previous hits and well-known tracks.

The first disc is definitely an album that has been inspired by the likes of the late Avicii, blending real instruments with electronic elements. It would appear that there are other influences being played with too, with a real sense of the Deep South of America interwoven throughout – such as ‘Sinner’ (featuring Stevie Appleton) with country-style acoustic guitars in the verses and bluesy guitar riffs in the chorus. Or By The River’ that has slick guitars and features the raspy yet soulful vocals from Jamie N Commons. Even a harmonica finds its way onto the album (courtesy of French harmonica player, Greg Zlap) on the refreshing and rather frantic, surefire fan-favourite, ‘Ready For Love’ (also featuring vocals from UK singer-songwriter, Joe Killington).

The album opens with his latest single, ‘Amsterdam’ (the first of two collaborations with pop duo BRIGHT SPARKS) an acoustic-led, mellow dance track with a heavy underlying bass which sounds almost separate to the rest of the track, in a really interesting way. The second collaboration with BRIGHT SPARKS is previous single, ‘Messiah’ a subtle yet very catchy track, with some interesting fills, like a great dubstep-style wob-wob, leading into the final chorus.

‘Simple Man’ has some beautiful, distant gospel backing vocals, topped off with a deep lead vocal. This track is definitely a nod to his older sound, as it’s very saxophone led. Meanwhile, ‘Famous’ is quite different in tone to the rest of the album, particularly as it’s the first track on The Album to feature a female vocal.

The Album is a wonderful collection of songs that bring about an interesting new depth to dance music, making it stand out from a lot of other EDM.

Besides ‘Ready For Love’ (a personal favourite!), the final two tracks are possibly the best ones on the record. ‘Alive’ is a very positive track about things you won’t allow to get to you or defeat you and whilst the lyrics are not necessarily the deepest or most well-written, it’s catchy as hell and the message is great! Equally, closing track, ‘Only Breath’ (and the second to feature an unknown female vocal) is an airy and atmospheric song, with a synth rhythm that is pure euphoria – a wonderful track in spite of the inevitable dance drop.

The second half of The Album serves as more of a greatest hits, collating a bunch of Klingande‘s previous releases from the past few years – a time when he was more recognised for his prominent piano and saxophone use.

Whilst reviewing The Album, I chose to focus my attention mainly on the first half of the record, due to it being a more comprehensive collection of songs, however what the second half does do, is bring most of his previous releases together in one place and showcase just what growth this artist has been through, whilst the first half marks a new chapter in his career.

The Album is a wonderful collection of songs that bring about an interesting new depth to dance music, making it stand out from a lot of other EDM, but at its core, still uses tried, tested and much-loved dance sensibilities. This is a record that will be enjoyed by people of all ages and could quite easily be the perfect party companion. Given the growth demonstrated on this record, it’ll be interesting to see what direction Klingande goes in next!

Rating
4


‘The Album’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/the-album/1484567866


The Album on Spotify

Amsterdam featuring Bright Sparks (Official Lyric Video)

Messiah featuring Bright Sparks (Official Video)

By The River featuring Jamie N Commons (Official Video)

Jubel (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the producer’s debut album? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media and feel free to share our review.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Amy Studt – Happiest Girl In The Universe

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Amy Studt is an English singer, songwriter, musician and actress, who first rose to fame in 2002, with the release of her first single, ‘Just A Little Girl’, followed almost a year later, by ‘Misfit’ and eventually her debut album, False Smiles. Though she’s been through ups and downs in the rather perilous music industry, she is now set to release her third studio album, Happiest Girl In The Universe, independently. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Amy Studt - Happiest Girl In The World

If you knew Amy Studt from her debut album, or even 2008’s Paper Made Men, then you might not instantly recognise her now, as this is quite the far cry from her former artist, self.

Following a breakdown in 2009 and a diagnosis of rapid cycling bipolar, it’s amazing to see how this strong woman, has channeled her mental health, feelings and emotions into a brilliantly artistic project.

Whilst at its core, this record is still Amy Studt, she has created something experimental and unassuming pop music. Happiest Girl In The Universe is a much more mature record than some of her previous releases, dealing with some rather deep emotions and intense feelings. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted – think Lana Del Rey’s more depressing moments…turned up to eleven! That said, she’s crafted something special and undoubtedly therapeutic.

Amy Studt has laid herself bare, with raw, heartfelt vocals and honest, painful lyrics detailing how tortured she has been over the past few years.

If you’re like me, this album might even take you two or three sittings to get through, in order to digest the significance of the messages, understand her crippling depression and comprehend the enormity of the topics, as well as embrace the unusual style of music.

Amy Studt has explored her suffering and documented it like an audio diary – without frills attached! She paints vivid, personal pictures in a most cinematic way, occasionally touching upon moments of hope and redemption.

Her voice remains identifiable, with the occasional twinge of The CranberriesDolores O’Riordan. Possibly one of the best songs is ‘Sleepwalker’, on which she demonstrates a wonderful shouted vocal towards the end of the track, with something Kesha (of all people) about it. There’s a lovely rawness that is almost off-key, but it really doesn’t matter due to the intense delivery. She further demonstrates a tortured scream-like vocal on ‘Violently With Love’, showing off just how impressive her voice is.

‘I Was Jesus In Your Veins’ is a wonderfully diverse track, that seems dark and brooding yet switches to a light-hearted chorus, whilst ‘Let The Music Play’ has a rather twisted-sounding yet catchy chorus.

‘The Water’ stands out for being part spoken word poem, part song, accompanied by a chaotic, hypnotic and rather intense instrumental. Whilst ‘One Is The Only Number’ has haunting, screaming guitars in the background, beautiful falsetto vocals and an underlying, heavy beat, like the pounding of a primal drum on the way to the gallows. Another wonderful track is the rather whispery ‘Troubles Coming In’.

Haunting and haunted are probably the two best words to describe Happiest Girl In The Universe. Amy Studt has laid herself bare, with raw, heartfelt vocals and honest, painful lyrics detailing how tortured she has been over the past few years, creating something mysterious and wonderfully dark, yet utterly captivating. I hope this can put to bed a difficult chapter in her life and that she continues to make music from here – I know I’ll be listening!

Rating
4


‘Happiest Girl In The Universe’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/happiest-girl-in-the-universe/1479696794


Happiest Girl In The Universe on Spotify

Let The Music Play (Official Video)

Overdose (Official Video)


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


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#Review: The Darkness – Easter Is Cancelled ✞

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The Darkness are an English rock band from Lowestoft, Suffolk who first came to the public’s attention in 2003, with their debut album, Permission to Land. In particular, their debut single, ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’, was a monster hit, reaching Number 2 in the UK Charts. With 5 albums already under their belt, 2019 sees the release of the band’s sixth album, Easter Is Cancelled. Here’s what we have to say about it…

The Darkness - Easter Is Cancelled.jpg

It may have only been a couple of years since The Darkness released their last album, Pinewood Smile, but the band are now back with a bang and have possibly created an even better album than their last!

As with their previous record, the standard edition comes with just 10 tracks, whilst the deluxe edition comes with an extra 4, but that said, the standard version alone, is excellent!

The album opens with single, ‘Rock And Roll Deserves To Die’, a song which starts out quite calm yet epic – almost soundtrack-like – with middle-eastern vibes, alongside an accompanying acoustic guitar. It’s satirical and once it fully kicks in, serves up something very Tenacious D about it, with edgy, hair metal qualities too- especially with the sensational, chaotic guitar solo to finish.

Whilst the album is very much a rock record and clearly, at it’s heart, still very much The Darkness, they have managed to bring some great diversity too. From the wonderful 80s-like guitar licks (with a hint of country vibes thrown in for good measure?!) and sensational falsetto vocals of ‘Live ‘Til I Die’, to the more “middle of the road”, mellow and beautiful tones of ‘In Another Life’ – a great, acoustic-driven, country-style power ballad with clean guitars in the verses and a slightly heavier chorus; Easter Is Cancelled could easily become a classic album for the more recent era of the band.

It certainly has its quirks too though – ‘Deck Chair’ is a serious-sounding, acoustic-led ballad about…a deck chair! Whilst the subject matter is somewhat insincere, there’s a very Queen/Freddie Mercury quality to this song. It’s particularly hilarious when whispered French vocals come in, as well as shimmering guitar effects and plucked violins. ‘Choke On It’ seeks Hawkins sing about gold diggers riding off their success and even busts out a random northern accent at one point before pulling off a strong chorus with his trademark falsetto voice and gritty gang vocals to accompany. Additionally, ‘Easter Is Cancelled’ feels very old school metal, with some great gang vocals, yet is possibly the weakest track on the album – whilst it is still good and the guitar lines are great, it’s just not as strong as the rest of the record, despite being the title track.

Easter Is Cancelled could easily become a classic album for the more recent era of the band.

Moments that impress most are the surefire, new fan-favourite (and mine too!) ‘How Can I Lose Your Love’; sweeping, grungy synths open and build as if it’s going to be an intense beat, before becoming a suddenly, more calm chorus. It’s unusual to have a fast verse and slow chorus – such a great, unexpected yet catchy-as-hell track. ‘Heart Explodes’ is dramatic with wailing, ghost-like vocals during the breakdown and haunting guitar solos too. Also, ‘Heavy Metal Lover’ is a hilariously witty track about a lover being really into heavy metal. Juxtaposition is rife with chaotic and heavy metal-inspired, guitar breakdowns following the sweet-sounding, lovey-dovey, harmony-filled choruses.

The album draws to a strong close with ‘We Are The Guitar Men’, a lyrically diverse ode to the band’s guitars, demonstrating great personification, as though the guitar a beautiful woman. The chorus feels full of nostalgia, like a solid 80s rock tune, blending electric and acoustic guitars, with the occasional synth thrown in too. Ascending vocals lead into a lovely show-off guitar solo at the very end of the track.

I remain captivated by The Darkness, even after them having been around for 16 years now. And sure, they are predominately a modern, not-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek version of a 70s/80s rock band, that doesn’t often deviate from the recipe for their successes, but somehow they are still great to listen to and bring about just enough diversity in each of their records, to still keep them fresh and their fans interested, that you can’t help but love them.

Whilst the band have not had another Number 1 album since their debut, Permission To Land, I’m sure that this record will still do very well and hopefully become a modern classic and fan favourite, since the band reunited in 2011…it’s near perfect!

Rating
4.5


‘Easter Is Cancelled’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/easter-is-cancelled-deluxe/1473988829


Easter Is Cancelled on Spotify

Rock And Roll Deserves To Die (Official Video)

Heart Explodes (Official Video)


THE DARKNESS ‘EASTER IS CANCELLED’ 2019 TOUR

The band are also heading out on tour across November and December 2019. Tickets are available here.

NOVEMBER
26th – Belfast, Limelight
27th – Dublin, Academy
29th – Nottingham, Rock City

DECEMBER
1st – Birmingham, O2 Academy
2nd – Leicester, O2 Academy
3rd – Southend, Cliffs Pavilion
5th – Norwich, UEA
6th – Cambridge, Corn Exchange
7th – Bath, Pavilions
9th – Portsmouth, Pyramids
10th – Brighton, Dome
11th – Watford, Colosseum
13th – Manchester Academy
14th – Newcastle, O2 Academy
15th – Glasgow, O2 Academy
17th – York, Barbican
18th – Liverpool, O2 Academy
20th – London, Roundhouse


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


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks

#Review: ROAM – Smile Wide 🐟

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerROAM are a British pop punk band from Eastbourne, consisting of members Alex Costello (vocals), Alex Adam (lead guitar and backing vocals), Matt Roskilly (bass), Sam Veness (rhythm guitar) and Miles Gill (drums). The band formed in 2012, signed to Hopeless Records in 2014 and already have 2 albums under their belt. Now, 2019 sees the release of the band’s third album, Smile Wide. Here are our thoughts on their latest record…

ROAM - Smile Wide

Smile Wide kicks off with ‘Better In Than Out’ – a guitar-chugging anthem with an understated verse that leads right into an intense yet edgy chorus. A slightly darker tone than their previous album and a great way to launch into the record.

Next comes single, ‘I Don’t Think I Live There Anymore’, a great demonstration of their dual vocals and a pretty cool guitar solo – there’s something quite American indie band about it, again demonstrating a more diverse side to their sound.

One thing is for certain, since their previous release, Great Heights & Nosedives, the band have certainly done what I thought they needed to – adapted their sound and tried to bring some new things to the pop punk table – and it’s worked well. Whilst at its core, this is still a pop punk band, there are some moments of diversity and differences of tone that make this a slightly more mature and interesting album to listen to.

Smile Wide showcases just how far the band have come and how they have spent time developing their sound.

For example, ‘Play Dumb’ is a much heavier track than we might otherwise have become used to hearing from ROAM, and it sounds great! ‘Toy Box’ is a cleverly-written track about not being cast aside by clever use of metaphors, with a sensational breakdown at the bridge, whilst closing track, ‘Turn’, is very different in tone to the rest of the album. It’s much more middle of the road rock, than pop punk but nevertheless a beautiful track that stands out from the rest with its rather mellow, reflective and positive vibes and lyricism, making it a wonder end to the record.

There’s no mistaking the British roots of this band either, with their rather over-pronounced British accent on tracks like ‘The Fire On The Ceiling’ and ‘Red & Blue’ – both great pop punk songs with the latter using more grungy guitar sounds and the album’s title appearing within the lyrics.

One track in particular that possibly stands out for being quite poor, is ‘Loud’ – the lyrics are not well written and the guitar sound is pretty shrill and unpleasant to listen to, however I’m sure pre-teen emos will adore it.

Conversely, the two best tracks have to be: ‘Piranha’ – a very Simple Plan-esque song with funky rhythms and very chantable vocals. What stands out even more is how it switches up pace part way through, showing another improvement to their evolving sound. This could really be an iconic live track for the band; and then there’s ‘Hand Grenade’ – it has an excellent, calm intro that leads straight into rapid-pace drums and long, held vocal notes sure to have people belting it out. In particular, the imagery of the lyrics resonates wonderfully with listeners and great gang, “na na na,” chants take us right to the end.

ROAM have done a great job with this album; Smile Wide showcases just how far the band have come and how they have spent time developing their sound, testing the waters of something new, but whilst still keeping their roots in the genre they know so well. Considering these developments over just a couple of years, I wonder what they’ll sound like in a couple more?! I certainly can’t wait to hear what they do next, can you?

Rating
4


‘Smile Wide’ is out 06/09/19 and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/smile-wide/1468023906


Smile Wide on Spotify

Coming 06/09/19.

I Don’t Think I Live There Anymore (Official Music Video)

Piranha (Visual)


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


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
www.facebook.com/muzikspeaks
www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks