#Review: Placebo – Never Let Me Go

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Placebo are a British rock band who formed in London back in 1994. The band has had several line-up changes over the years, but currently consists of founding members, Brian Molko (vocalist and guitarist) and Stefan Olsdal (bassist and guitarist). Since their 1996 debut, the band have released seven full-length albums, but 2022 sees the band releasing their eighth studio album, Never Let Me Go. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Placebo - Never Let Me Go

It’s been 9 years since the band released their last studio album, so needless to say, excitement surrounding this release has been incredibly high…and rightly so!

The band have produced a record of epic proportions, packed to the brim with big songs and an extensive use of synths that has added a new-found diversity to their sound.

Never Let Me Go launches with the guitar-heavy and eerily synthesized ‘Forever Chemicals’ that instantly demonstrates the rock giants are back and mean business! It quickly flows into the epic single, ‘Beautiful James’ with its continued, heavy synth use and typical Placebo vocal from Brian Molko; yet the boundaries are clearly being pushed in respect of their musical style.

One thing’s for certain, the style of the album, whilst a comprehensive body of work, also offers a diversity throughout that is bound to prick up listener’s ears everywhere and have them coming back for more – there’s so much to take in, that you can’t help but revisit it, time and again.

Some of the standout tracks from the record include, ‘Happy Birthday In The Sky’ – a sombre and emotional song that reflects on the loss of people loved and sees a calm breakdown lead into a chaotic ending. ‘The Prodigal’ has regal-sounding and cinematic strings that remind of some sort of film soundtrack, whilst ‘Try Better Next Time’ focuses on the state of emergency the environment is in, on top of an anthemic, radio-friendly melody.

Never Let Me Go clearly demonstrates that the band are back and have used their time away to craft a masterpiece.

One of the best tracks on the record though, is the incredibly upbeat ‘Twin Demons’ that is just begging to be danced to live, at one of their upcoming UK tour dates! It has captivating melodies and all-encompassing instrumentals that are sure to draw in every listener.

Other tracks not to be missed, are the marching beat and grungy guitar-led ‘Hugz’ with its sincere lyrics – a very anarchic song. ‘Surrounded By Spies’ is sinister-sounding with its almost industrial melodies and bass-led breakdown that kick back into double-time drums and a chaotic descent to the end. Whilst ‘Chemtrails’ features shimmering synths and echoing guitars that ascend the melodies throughout, whilst singing about getting away from it all.

The ending of the album is a little more unique: ‘This Is What You Wanted’ is an aching, piano-led track that never fully kicks in, as you might expect; ‘Went Missing’ is very “spoken verse” – it’s poetic, repetitive and almost foreboding with echoing guitars that give it a sense of inner reflection, whilst closing track, ‘Fix Yourself’ borders on confrontational, choosing to focus on things that annoy Molko. It’s hypnotic and moody with processed beats that fade to the end.

Despite being nearly an hour long, the album does well to keep the listener’s attention as it navigates interesting soundscapes and controversial topics, whilst intertwining that familiar Placebo charm throughout. Never Let Me Go clearly demonstrates that the band are back and have used their time away to craft a masterpiece. It’s achingly beautiful and deeply thought-provoking. It’s an album that shows the band have what it takes to push themselves to continue growing their sound, over a quarter of a century into their career! Who knows what direction they will take next, but whatever it is, it’s bound to be captivating.

Rating
4.5


‘Never Let Me Go’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/never-let-me-go/1592498059


Never Let Me Go on Spotify

Beautiful James

Surrounded By Spies


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s eighth 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: Sea Girls – Homesick

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Sea Girls are a UK-based indie rock band that formed in 2015, consisting of four members: Henry Camamile (vocals and guitar), Rory Young (lead guitar), Andrew Dawson (bass) and Oli Khan (drums). Since their formation, the band have become known for their high-energy shows and big indie anthems. With a string of EPs and a debut album behind them already, 2022 sees the release of the band’s sophomore album, Homesick. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Sea Girls - Homesick

From the outset, it is clear that this band have worked hard to create an album packed with anthemic chorus and catchy hooks that are begging to be sung along to in big arenas.

Album opener, ‘Hometown’, serves as an epic introduction to the record with its euphoric, stadium-filling sound, before leading into single, ‘Sick’ – the rhythm chugs throughout, whilst vocalist, Henry Camamile, sings about all the things he’s “sick” of and how he wishes he could turn back time to when he was a child and times were more innocent.

Next is ‘Lonely’ – another big song with its eerie whistling (like something you might expect to hear in an old Spaghetti Western) and a massive chorus about the loss of an old flame.

There’s so much to love about the record, but some of the best tracks on the album include: ‘Someone’s Daughter Someone’s Son’ – a song that starts with a deep vocal before picking up the pace and launching into some serious feel-good vibes to the beat; ‘Paracetamol Blues’ with its upbeat, The Killers-esque vibes; and the incredibly danceable ‘Higher’ that features processed beats (in parts) and has a very Walk The Moon-type feel to it.

Homesick is an album that brilliantly cements Sea Girls as giants of the British indie music scene.

‘Sleeping With You’ sees Camamile singing of remembering an old love whilst sleeping with someone new, ‘Again Again’ has a big stadium feel to it and the wonderfully appreciative ‘Lucky’ looks at how “lucky” they are for the things they have in their lives and the time and place they were born into.

‘Cute Guys’ stands out (not necessarily for the right reasons) as an other-worldly song that starts with acoustic guitars, spacey-sounding synths and cracking vocals before descending into a chaotic, shouty and altogether quite horrifying track that’s so different from the rest of the record.

The album closes with the nostalgia-infused ‘Friends’ that’s calling out for members of the crowds at their live shows to put their arms around one another and embrace a shared experience.

Homesick is an album that brilliantly cements Sea Girls as giants of the British indie music scene. It’s eclectic, interesting, poetic and packed with songs that will have you coming back time and again. There are clear inspirations taken from bands before them, but they have used these influences to craft something wonderful. For those who are already fans of the band, this is going to prove a real treat to listen to. Whilst others who are new to their work, will find this a great starting point to get excited about them and is sure to have you delving into their debut album too. All I know is that it’s left me excited to see what direction they will take next.

Rating
4.5


‘Homesick’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/us/album/homesick/1579054914


Homesick on Spotify

Sick (Official Video)

Lonely (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s second 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: Bryan Adams – So Happy It Hurts

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Bryan Adams needs no real introduction, however for anyone who doesn’t know, he is a Canadian multi-talented singer, songwriter, composer, guitarist, record producer and photographer. With 14 studio albums already behind him, 2022 sees the release of his 15th record, So Happy It Hurts. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Bryan Adams - So Happy It Hurts

For his fifteenth studio album, Bryan Adams set out to create an upbeat, feel-good rock album, and that is just what he did. From start to finish, the record is unashamedly happy…which is where the title, So Happy It Hurts, comes into play.

From it’s opening, title track, to the closing ‘These Are The Moments That Make Up My Life’, which looks at all the little nuiances in his life that mean so much to him, the album is filled with a joyous positivity.

There’s a lot to enjoy about this record however there are times where it feels like a progressive step forward in sound wouldn’t have gone amiss. Additionally, lyrically it is quite simplistic (dare I say it, even a little cringey in parts, particularly on ‘Let’s Do This’) and some more poetic licence could also have been applied.

That said, it’s a triumph in that Adams played the majority of the instruments on the album, due to recording constraints during the global Covid pandemic. Also, his voice is impeccably strong and as powerful and raspy as ever, showing off that he still has a great deal left to give.

For people looking for some euphoric escapism in the form of feel-good rock, this is certainly an album for you.

There are some great tracks throughtout the record though, including single, ‘Kick Ass’ featuring a great introduction from comedy legend, John Cleese and a truly “kick ass” and catchy guitar riff; ‘Always Have, Always Will’ feels like a classic Bryan Adams track tinted with some underlying reggae vibes that lyrically touches upon a long-lasting love that’s survived the test of time and is greatly appreciated for what it is; and ‘I Ain’t Worth Shit Without You’ is a great guitar-led track that really packs a punch.

Possibly my favourite track on the record though is the 50s-esque, rock’n’roll inspired, ‘I’ve Been Looking For You’ – I particularly love it as it stands out so brilliantly from the rest of the album and offers something different than any of the other songs.

The collection of 12 tracks celebrates being happy in what has been a terribly dark time for many, and provides an escape from reality that so many have needed.

For people looking for some euphoric escapism in the form of feel-good rock, this is certainly an album for you. It’s not necessarily breaking any boundaries sonically but it does give you the lift you need on a down day and will have you bopping along from start to finish.

Rating
3.5


‘So Happy It Hurts’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/so-happy-it-hurts/1586975297


So Happy It Hurts on Spotify

So Happy It Hurts (Official Music Video)

Never Gonna Rain (Official Music Video)


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


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Dashboard Confessional – All The Truth That I Can Tell

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All The Truth That I Can Tell is Dashboard Confessional‘s ninth studio album. It poses as both a reinvention and a rediscovery of what made the band the big emo hitters. Returning to work with James Paul Wisner (The Swiss Army Romance, The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most), have Dashboard Confessional reignited the flame that lit so many fans over the past 20 years?

Dashboard Confessional - All The Truth That I Can Tell

It’s not always common for a reviewer to pin their colours to the mast about the band they are reviewing, but for the sake of clarity and sense I will declare that I’ve never been a huge Dashboard Confessional fan. Many of my friends loved them, but I just didn’t get the hype at the time of their breakout years. However, times have changed. I have matured (don’t laugh), or at least my tastes have, and I wanted to give Dashboard Confessional’s ninth studio album a try, to see if I can work out why they are a band that has managed nine studio albums. I’m going into this blind… (or deaf?!) having not really listened before…

All The Truth That I Can Tell is a very complete album that requires your full attention.

Initially I was surprised to find that the whole album is based on acoustic and it is all the better for it. It’s a mixture of acoustic rock like ‘Pain Free In Three Chords’ but mostly straight up ballads like the single ‘Burning Heart’ and the beautifully crafted ‘Young’. Having the whole album as an acoustic affair allows for the lyrics to steal the show and gives the record a very mature feel. Despite this, there are still some wonderful guitar flourishes such as those in the ‘The Better of Me’ to add some colour to the music, alongside the well-crafted lyrics.

Lyrically, the album has a very narrative feel. As someone who is approaching their mid-30s it did speak to me and again I was surprised. It’s touching on the usual stuff you would expect; love, loss and everything in between, but it also pulls on more mature themes such as becoming a parent (‘Me and Mine’) and letting go of the trivial past and appreciating the little things in life (‘Here’s To Moving On’). It shows that Dashboard Confessional are avoiding what many bands from the 2000s have failed to do, and that is keep themselves relevant to their ageing (and sometimes maturing) fans.

Chris Carrabba is writing about what I can only assume is his here and now. This is the aspect of the album I loved the most. I found myself going back to tracks that I wasn’t paying full attention to on the first listen so that I could delve deeper into the narrative. And that’s just it. No clumsy metaphors, just a long stream of thought written out over beautiful acoustic melodies. It’s very descriptive story telling over music that, as I already said, draws you into to listen more intently.

Overall this album should be appreciated as a whole, but there are some standout tracks that are worth their own mention here. Firstly, ‘Everyone Else Is Just Noise’ is a great example of how acoustic tracks can have a great dynamic range even when just a few instruments are utilised. Also, ‘Sunshine State’, a song about regrets and letting go of the past, has a great singalong factor, it’s simple chorus which is now living rent free in my head.

If I could have one small criticism of the album, it is that the stripped-back nature of an acoustic setup feels like it removes some of the emotion from the music. A good example of this is in ‘The Better of Me’, where there is a great build up in the music and some raw vocal emotion pushing through, but it feels a bit flat as it hits it’s climax. I feel that a full band on some of the tracks would really help to hit home, the emotions that Carraba is trying to get across in his vocals. But you can’t have it all and having a full band in other tracks would have the opposite effect of ruining some deeper emotional meaning from the lyrics.

All The Truth That I Can Tell is a very complete album that requires your full attention. It has great attention to detail in both the lyrical content and in it’s musicality. It needs your full attention because it’s trying to tell a story through a straight narrative, rather than setting a tone of emotion. It feels very direct in that sense and if the lyrics speak to you then you will love this album, if they don’t you’ll probably still enjoy some stand-out tracks.

Rating
4


‘All The Truth That I Can Tell’ is out 25/02/22 and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/all-the-truth-that-i-can-tell/1580384081


All The Truth That I Can Tell on Spotify

Coming 25/02/22.

Here’s To Moving On (Official Music Video)

Burning Heart (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Dashboard Confessional’s ninth studio 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: Frank Turner – FTHC

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Frank Turner is an English punk and folk singer/songwriter who started out his career as a part of the band, Million Dead. Since the band’s split in 2005, he has released a whole string of albums, EPs, compliation albums and more. Now, 2022 sees the release of his ninth studio album, FTHC (initials for Frank Turner Hardcore). Here’s what we have to say about it…

Frank Turner - FTHC

Frank Turner is actually not an artist I’ve listened to much (if at all) over the years but when I was invited to review this album, I thought I’d give it a listen and have to admit I was pleasantly surprised and utterly captivated by the record.

Turner is a very listenable, relatable and matter-of-fact lyricist. He’s poetic and whimsical yet not in an over-complicated way – he uses interesting language to convey his stories but in an easily understandable capacity. He’s punk meets folk, with even a bit of a country vibe in between.

The album launches with the high-octane, punk track, ‘Non Serviam’, that sets the pace for the album perfectly, before quickly flowing into ‘The Gathering’ – an epic track all about coming together after being kept apart through lockdowns for so long, following the global Covid pandemic.

Some of the best tracks on the album have to be some of his most personal ones; ‘Haven’t Been Doing So Well’ reflects on his mental health (something I gather he’s always openly struggled with) – it’s a folk-like tale with an almost ska-punk vibe to it…plus some great harmonica use too! ‘Fatherless’ (as the title suggests), is a story about not having a good relationship with his father, almost like growing up without one, whilst conversley, ‘Miranda’ focuses on his father’s transition to a woman and how they’re working on their relationship now, on top of an almost country-style backing track.

This is an album with many twists and turns and it certainly has a little something for everyone.

Possibly my favourite track on the record though, is the deeply emotional tribute to the suicide of his friend, Scott Hutchison (of Frightened Rabbit), ‘A Wave Across A Bay’. The song is honest and has the air of an open letter to his dearly missed friend – it must have been truly emotional to write and record.

Other tracks not to be missed are the fast-paced punk track, ‘My Bad’, the playful yet very talk-sung, ‘The Resurrectionists’, that looks at various people he knows and what they’ve done with their lives…and what they want to do to relive their lives going forward, as well as ‘Perfect Score’ – an upbeat song that apologises for past mistakes and looks at making amends.

It’s so hard not to mention each and every track on the album, as they are all so unique with something great to offer; ‘Punches’ is a great rock song with gang vocals in all the right places, ‘The Work’ is simply a nice little song with some wonderful vocal melodies, while ‘Little Life’ is a charming and airy folk song.

This is an album with many twists and turns and it certainly has a little something for everyone – it doesn’t confine itself to just one genre, but instead plays with punk, rock, country, folk and more. Whether you’re a long-standing Frank Turner fan or new to his work, FTHC is well worth a listen, from start to finish…time and again. It’s left me intrigued to check out his back catalogue and looking forward to what’s to come next.

Rating
4.5


‘FTHC’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/fthc-deluxe/1584829782


FTHC on Spotify

I Haven’t Been Doing So Well (Official Lyric Video)

The Resurrectionists (Official Audio)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the singer/songwriter’s ninth 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 Wright – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Bastille – Give Me The Future

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Bastille are a British, indie-pop band that formed in 2010. The band started out as a solo project by lead vocalist, Dan Smith, but eventually morphed into the band it is today. So far, the band have released 3 incredible studio albums (plus a bunch of massive cover projects too!). Now, 2022 sees the release of their fourth full-length album, Give Me The Future. Here’s what we have to say about it…

bastille-give-me-the-future

From the outset, it’s clear that this is a different sound from the band’s previous works, with opening track and lead single, ‘Distorted Light Beam’; an electronic song with cool vocoder use in the latter half, that builds wonderfully throughout.

From there, the listener is taken on an epic journey through a much more electronic soundscape than some of their previous releases but with a much darker lyrical twist. The beats are heavy and laden with many synthesiser elements and the focus is very much on a future that’s full of uncertainty and at times, almost apocalyptic.

That said, it’s counteracted by the upbeat rhythms and dance-inspired music throughout. From the catchy single, ‘Thelma + Louise’ which oozes typical Bastille goodness to the more morbid look at the future of ‘Plug In…’ that looks at the future fate of the world and singer Dan Smith, begging to know everything will be alright; this is an album that deserves to be listened to in its entirety.

This is an album that deserves to be listened to in its entirety.

Executive produced by OneRepublic‘s, Ryan Tedder, it’s easy to see how this album is so catchy and intricate, however there are some parts where I feel it is lacking slightly. The interludes, whilst cinematic in their sound, feel somewhat unnecessary (although can imagine would be amazing to break up a live set!). Don’t get me wrong, they’re definitely worth a listen, particularly ‘Promises’ which is a spoken word poem by actor and rapper Riz Ahmed, who speaks of a less apocalyptic future but instead of one that adores a world filled with love and intimacy. However, in my opinion, whilst they add a nice break in pace of the album, I could take or leave them when relistening to it. Additionally, without these, there are only 10 tracks to the record, so my biggest wish is that there was more to it…but I guess it’s a good thing to leave the listener wanting more?!

Some of the best songs on the album, include: ‘Back To The Future’ (my personal favourite) – an epic disco-esque song with funky guitar and bass lines and movie references throughout; ‘Shut Off The Lights’ with its rhythmic vocal melodies and brilliant gang vocals, making it really stand out and album closer, ‘Future Holds‘ (featuring BIM). The close to the album is fitting both in terms of lyrical content but also its incredible use of gospel backing harmonies and broken-up beat, making it a great end to a great record.

The dystopian themes and darker lyrical content are really prevolent on tracks like ‘No Bad Days’ which features echoing vocals across its many different parts (including a wonderful piano interlude and autotune vocals at the end), ‘Stay Awake? that contains the rather captivating line “stop the world, I want to get off” and the Phil Collins-like beat of the apocalyptic sounding, ‘Give Me The Future’. They are all tracks that weave their way into your subconscious and leave the listener with a lot of food for thought.

In contrast to all the future imagery though, is the rather quirky track, ‘Club 57’ that recalls back at the 70s/80s New York nightclub scene, underpinned by whistling melodies and a seriously electronically distorted soundscape, where even the acoustic guitar is distorted.

Overall, this is a very cinematic-sounding album yet incredibly electronic and there’s so much to love about it. Whilst there’s some darkness to the lyrics, in places, there is a still a degree of optimism too and a massive dose of fun to be had whilst listening to it. The production and arrangements are beautifully crafted and the album truly showcases the band’s ability to grow and evolve, in order to remain current, while still maintaining that distinctive Bastille sound. I can’t wait to see what direction the band take next!

Rating
4.5


‘Give Me The Future’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/give-me-the-future/1580064966


Give Me The Future on Spotify

Shut Off The Lights (Official Video)

No Bad Days (Official Video)

Distorted Light Beam (Official Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s fourth 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: Years & Years – Night Call 🧜🏻‍♂️

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Years & Years is the now solo project from singer and songwriter, Olly Alexander. It originally started out as a band back in 2010, who found great success with two remarkable pop albums before Alexander decided to continue the project as a solo venture in 2021. Now, 2022 sees the release of Years & Years‘ third album (and first as a solo project), Night Call. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Years & Years - Night Call

The album launches perfectly with the funky-bass driven, ‘Consequences’ that aptly repeats the track title with a quirky robotic vocal. It’s an upbeat track which opens the album up in the way it means to go on.

From start to finish, Night Call is an album packed with massive, electro-pop tracks that has a wonderful diversity to its sound. From massive pop singles, like ‘Starstruck’ and the club anthem, ‘Sweet Talker’, with Galantis, to more ethereal and oddly satisfying tracks like ‘Strange And Unusual’, there’s a bit of something for everyone.

There are a couple of pretty sexy tracks on the record, including ‘Intimacy’ which is sexy in both lyrical content and the beat too and ‘Muscle’ with its rumbling bass notes underpinned by a shuffling drum beat. Both songs are growers and could be overlooked but on second and third listens, have a lot to offer to the diversity of the record.

This is undoubtedly a major pop record through and through… this is the new Years & Years.

Title track, ‘Night Call’ is a fun, upbeat song with a cool, telephone dial tone used throughout whilst hit single, ‘Crave’, sees club beats meeting drawn-out and altogether hypnotic vocals.

Some of the best tracks on the album include, ’20 Minutes’ with its falsetto, dreamy vocals atop a modest beat (probably my favourite track on the record), ‘Make It Out Alive’ which has catchy chorus vocals on top of shimmering synths and ‘Immaculate’ a superb, Arabian-esque sounding song, complete with funky guitars and a truly danceable chorus. It’s easy to get lost in these tracks, with their wonderful production quirks and interesting styles.

‘Reflection’ is an unusual close to the album, it has an eerie-sounding beat with some funky aspects to it and the vocals sound different than usual too. It’s not a typical Years & Years song and whilst it’s possibly not the best close to the album, it’s still a good song nonetheless.

This is undoubtedly a major pop record through and through and whilst it’s not quite the same style as the old Years & Years records, it’s an amazing first solo effort from the singer/songwriter. It shows just how much he’s developed as an artist and clearly demonstrates that he has what it takes to stay relevant and one of pop’s biggest hitters.

This is the new Years & Years and I can’t wait to hear what he has to release next.

Rating
4.5


‘Night Call’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/night-call-deluxe/1586653480


Night Call on Spotify

Sweet Talker (Official Video)

Crave (Official Video)

Starstruck (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the singer’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: Fickle Friends – Are We Gonna Be Alright?

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Fickle Friends are a Brighton-based, indie-pop band who have gone from strength to strength, since their humble beginnings. Since their debut album, You Are Someone Else, the band have released a string of singles and EPs. However, 2022 sees the release of the band’s second full-length album, Are We Gonna Be Alright? And here’s what we have to say about it…

Fickle Friends - Are We Gonna Be Alright

From the offset, it is abundantly clear that with this album, Fickle Friends have been experimenting with their sound and made heavier use of guitars. Opening track, ‘Love You To Death’ kickstarts with a grungy into but quickly becomes recognisable as the band we know and love…but edgier.

Probably my favourite song on the album is the second track, ‘Not Okay’. I love the calm piano-led intro that quickly turns into a chugging, rhythmic song that oozes personality, making you want to let loose and dance. It’s wonderfully crafted and comprises of intricate details that make it a real joy to listen to.

Also continuing the rockier theme are tracks ‘Write Me A Song’ and ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’, the latter of which is probably the heaviest on the record. They’ve still got that pop tint to them but demonstrate just how this band have grown and developed into themselves.

This is an album to be proud of! The band have taken a leap of faith in trying out new sounds and songwriting styles and created something marvellous.

That’s not to say the old Fickle Friends has been lost by any stretch of the imagination, as singles ‘Pretty Great’ and ‘IRL’ still have that original Fickle Friends charm.

Other fantastic songs on the album include, ‘Alone’ with its echoing and dreamy vocals; the very funky and upbeat ‘Glow’ about finding someone who picks you up when you’re down; and the beautiful ‘Won’t Hurt Myself’ with its piano-led intro into a wonderfully powerful chorus.

Another couple of favourites include the disco-esque ‘Listen’ and the stunningly personal and altogether different from the rest of the album, ‘Are We Gonna Be Alright?’ with its ethereal feel.

This is an album to be proud of! The band have taken a leap of faith in trying out new sounds and songwriting styles and created something marvellous. It’s incredible to see what a few years between albums can do to the progress and development of a band and this is a fantastic achievement across 12 superb tracks.

I look forward to hearing what the band create next!

Rating
4.5


‘Are We Gonna Be Alright?’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/are-we-gonna-be-alright/1584979912


Are We Gonna Be Alright? on Spotify

Yeah Yeah Yeah (Official Video)

Alone (Official Video)

IRL (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s second 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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20 Albums Turning 20 in 2022!

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It’s a new year! It’s new you, new things to try and new starts. Unless you’re a millennial in which case it’s, “give me all the nostalgia you can!” We are the kings/queens of nostalgia and this list aims to wrap you in cosy 2000s comfort. So mix yourself up a snakebite black, attach your keys to a chain and pull on your baggy jeans, these are 20 albums turning 20 years old in 2022!

Happy New Year!!!

Matt & Rob


20. Finch – What it is to Burn

What does Rob say:

What it is to Burn introduced so many of us to the Post Hardcore genre and helped propel it more into the mainstream. Like so many Emo/Post Hardcore bands of the time, Finch never really lived up to the hype past this album, but What it is to Burn is an absolute classic of the time.


19. Alexisonfire – Alexisonfire

What does Rob say:

Three members of Alexisonfire were just 17 when they released their self-titled album! It brought a raw sound to the ‘scene’ beautifully complemented by Dallas Green’s melodic vocals. This album thrust Alexisonfire firmly into the lime light, and they went on to influence so many bands that it had to make our list!


18. Queens of the Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf

What does Rob say:

QOTSA rocketed to mainstream with Songs for the Deaf. Singles like ‘No One Knows’ and ‘Go with the Flow’ were brilliant rock anthems in their own right, but as an album Songs for the Deaf was wonderfully crafted with interlude tracks to make it a now old-school full, album listening experience.


17. Craig David – Slicker Than Your Average

What does Matt say:

Craig David returned with his second album in 2002 and whilst it didn’t reach Number 1, like his debut, this is actually packed with some pretty cool bangers; ‘What’s Your Flava?’ and ‘Hidden Agenda’ are my favourites on the record and some of the poppiest tracks but then you’ve got some real urban-influenced songs like ‘Fast Cars’ and ‘Eenie Meenie’ too.


16. Toploader – Magic Hotel

What does Matt say:

Magic Hotel was Toploader‘s second album and the follow-up to 1999’s Onka’s Big Moka – although it actually charted higher than their debut. The record is filled with big song after big song and is one of those albums that I just couldn’t get enough of. If you’re looking for stand-out songs, I’d say try ‘Time of My Life’, ‘Cloud 9’, ‘Only Desire’ and ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’.


15. Hundred Reasons – Ideas Above Our Station

What does Rob say:

We had to include this really as it epitomises UK alternative bands of the early 2000s. Hundred Reason’s debut album had emotionally felt lyrics spilled over upbeat guitar licks; it was a wonderful mashup. Twenty years on and I still find myself humming the opening guitar riff to ‘Silver’ because it is just that good!


14. Taking Back Sunday – Tell All Your Friends

What does Rob say:

How can I describe this album in such few words?! For me this is one of the most influential albums of the 2000’s emo scene. TBS’s clever writing got us either clambering to scrawl down our own clumsy metaphors or trying our best to chase down Adam Lazarra at ‘Give it a Name’ (just me, no?). Either way this album started a huge trend for the US emo scene to go global.


13. Vanessa Carlton – Be Not Nobody

What does Matt say:

Vanessa Carlton is often only known for the massive hit taken from this album, ‘A Thousand Miles’ (remember the video with the travelling piano too?!), however this album is actually packed with some pretty terrific songs, including ‘Ordinary Day’, ‘Unsung’ and a cover of The Rolling Stones‘Paint it Black’. It’s an album well worth a listen past the obvious hit.


12. Brandy – Full Moon

What does Matt say:

Brandy‘s Full Moon is actually probably one of my favourite albums on this list. I remember I actually bought it on CD whilst on holiday in France with my parents and remember listening to it on repeat the whole holiday. It’s actually quite a revolutionary R&B record with some seriously funky bass lines and synth sounds. Produced mostly by Darkchild, it’s a banger of a record. Besides the title track, other must-listens include, ‘I Thought’, ‘Apart’ and ‘What About Us?’.


11. Darren Hayes – Spin

What does Matt say:

2002 saw the release of Darren Hayes‘ debut solo album, following the split of Savage Garden and what an incredible record it was too! Still in a similar vein to his Savage Garden days on certain tracks, this wasn’t too much of a departure for him but there are some truly stunning tracks on the record, including my personal favourite, ‘I Miss You’. Others to listen to are ‘Crush (1980 Me)’, ‘Strange Relationship’ and ‘Creepin’ Up On You’ as well as the album’s lead single, ‘Insatiable.


10. Feeder – Comfort in Sound

What does Matt say:

Comfort in Sound is the fourth album from Welsh rock band, Feeder, (and the first following the suicide of their drummer, Jon Lee) and what an incredible rock album it is! It’s the perfect mixture of melodic vocals with grungy guitars and cool synth sounds too. ‘Forget About Tomorrow’ and ‘Find the Colour’ are definite favourites of mine.


9. Good Charlotte – The Young and the Hopeless

What does Matt say:

I can’t believe Rob didn’t let me put this higher on the list to be honest! This was certainly one of my favourite albums to come from 2002 as it not only propelled Good Charlotte into the mainstream but it paved the way for so many other pop punk bands to gain attention too. In fact it’s one of those albums that introduced me to the world of pop punk. The Young and the Hopeless was actually GC‘s second album but it‘s the one that really propelled them into the limelight with the singles ‘Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous’, ‘The Anthem’ and ‘Girls & Boys’ but this album is so much more than that – it’s quite frankly incredible from start to finish!


8. Simple Plan – No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls

What does Rob say:

It is quite simple, good old, jump up and down pop-punk. Everyone (even secretly) loves Simple Plan. Every track on this album is catchy as fuck and speaks to our inner 13-year-old, even to this day (I’m still a kid and life is a nightmare!). It graced every house party from its release until we all went away to uni or on to proper life and jobs. It still gets a spin whenever we meet up again.


7. Box Car Racer – Box Car Racer

What does Rob say:

Some say this was the beginning of the end for Blink (I’m team Mark btw, get well soon!) others, like me, say it allowed Blink-182 to write their greatest album. Box Car Racer was a strong departure for Tom and Travis from their usual comical stylings. Box Car Racer was serious, angry and spoke to many of us at the time. It’s a great album with many emotional tracks… and one ‘punk’ song.


6. The All-American Rejects – The All-American Rejects

What does Matt say:

The All-American Rejects originally released their self-titled debut album back in 2002 via Doghouse Records before re-releasing it on DreamWorks Records in 2003. The album was incredible and although production-wise it obviously wasn’t recorded on the highest budget, it was packed full of some real gems and wonderful quirks. It’s a stunning debut from another pop-punk band that I now follow and love.


5. Foo Fighters – One by One

What does Rob say:

Whilst the Foo Fighters need no introduction, they weren’t always the powerhouse of Rock they are considered today. Not saying that they weren’t popular before this album, but One by One was the driving force that allowed the Foo Fighters to stamp their influence on a decade and a generation of rock lovers. It’s just a straight up rock album and that’s why so many of us loved it. Done, and I’m onto the next one…


4. Justin Timberlake – Justified

What does Rob say:

I am no pop fan, anyone who knows me will testify to that, but a friend once told me to be less snobbish about pop music and shoved Justified into my ears. I love this album because every song is different but it still holds together as an album. It showed me and lots of others that pop music didn’t have to be shit, and the coming out of the 90s there was a lot of shit. This album, is full of great sing-a-long beauties.


3. New Found Glory – Sticks and Stones

What does Rob say:

Matt! Why isn’t this number one?! Ok I am bias when it comes to Pop Punk but this album influenced so many amazing bands that went on to even greater things than NFG managed at their peak. EVERY song is jump up and down excitement with great hooks and the introduction of breakdowns outside of metal. In a year where the other big hitters in pop punk weren’t releasing any new albums, New Found Glory stepped in and filled the void. It’s peak Warped Tour, Drive-Thru Records and giant skater shoes. If you know what those things are then 2002 was definitely your year!


2. Avril Lavigne – Let Go

What does Matt say:

Let Go was the debut album from pop punk princess, Avril Lavigne and was credited as the biggest pop debut of 2002; it was certified seven-times Platinum in the United States alone! Let Go had sold over 16 million copies worldwide becoming Lavigne’s biggest-selling album to date and the best selling album of the 21st century by a Canadian artist. It’s packed with huge tracks that are pure gold; from ‘Complicated’, ‘Sk8er Boi’ and ‘I’m With You’, to ‘Anything But Ordinary’ and ‘Things I’ll Never Say’ this is a massive debut album that has stood the test of time.


1. Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head

What does Matt say:

Well, we’re at the Number 1 spot and who else could we have chosen but the superb Coldplay and their remarkable second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head. This record makes greater use of the electric guitar and piano than the band’s debut and scored the band 3 Grammy Awards. It’s packed to the brim with beautiful melodies and euphoric soundscapes from the likes of ‘In My Place’, ‘The Scientist’ and of course, the massive single, ‘Clocks’. This deserves top spot on our list for being so wonderfully crafted and such a brilliant album, from a cracking British band that have gone from strength to strength since their debut.


HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of 20 albums turning 20 years old in 2022! What do you think of them? How would you have rated and ranked them? Are there any other albums you’d have included on the list? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#Review: Delaire The Liar – EAT YOUR OWN (EP)

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Delaire the Liar have been on a steady rise over the past few years, relentlessly gracing local scenes and touring alongside some great UK talent such as Creeper, Coldbones and The Young Hearts. However, it might be time for Delaire to step into the light for themselves with EAT YOUR OWN, which shows that they have smashed it!

Delaire The Liar - EAT YOUR OWN

To kick off, this EP skirts that fine line of feeling raw and edgy without also feeling like you recorded it using an iPhone and the headphones that came in the box, whilst sat in your mate’s car (don’t lie, we’ve all been there!). Vocally it’s a superb range of emotional breaking, like with the intro to ‘NO ENTRY’ and also ‘FURNACE’; whilst also falling right back to almost a whisper. Ffin Colley’s vocals are well complimented in ‘FURNACE’ by others in the band, just to further add a level of contrast in promoting an emotional record.

And that was also the aim here, Delaire are trying to purvey some deep-level issues. Lyrically, they are not clumsily trying to sew in unnecessary metaphors. It’s hard-hitting and straight-to-the-point, covering the suicide of a loved one, serious illness, love, loss but mostly sacrifice for the ones we care about. The record hits hardest in ‘NO ACCIDENT’, where we are introduced to just guitar and vocal, pulling us into a story of helping a loved one in crisis (I won’t give away the story). There’s no building here, you’re smacked straight in the face a euphoric crescendo of melody as if emotions have just burst, much like they would in the story described throughout the song. It’s the only place on the EP where the raw tone disappears and it’s used to great effect. It’s short and well-written into the track.

Instrumentally, it’s hard to notice what’s going on as the vocals sit unashamedly high in the mix. But if you dig deeper into the sound, you hear that there are some exquisitely crafted melodies across the guitar. They are often short flourishes which break the big block of sound that is used to sit the vocals. Overall though, the rest of the band sit as a canvas for the vocals on this record and they do it well. It’s not boring though, Delaire play with some interesting rhythmic ideas such as the chorus in ‘NO THANKS’ that falls off the beat to keep us intrigued. It’s the best way to showcase the talent of the musical writing without dominating the tracks. There is one guitar solo in ‘DOG’ which is messy and ratty and fits perfectly into the track. Writing guitar work like that, on purpose, can be a tough task, but it works so well!

Delaire the Liar have managed to squeeze album-levels of emotion into just 6 tracks.

Delaire aren’t shying away from their punk roots either. Punk needs to be catchy and every track on this EP has a great hook to embed itself deep into your brain for certain recall later (normally when you’re trying to sleep…thanks guys!). In particular ‘HALLOWEEN’ and ‘NO THANKS’ bring an almost pop element to their choruses. Very melodic and lyrically lead, which help to carry the EP through the heavier music and lyrical elements. Without this, the EP would be a tough listen and one you might only reach for only if the mood fit. Instead EAT YOUR OWN will be one of those records that will sit in your playlist on a loop whatever the weather, because it clicks in with however you are feeling.

If there is one thing we can criticise this EP for, is exactly that, it’s just an EP. This had the feeling of a full-blown album in the making. Lots of dynamics across the tracks, a story to be told across 10-12 tracks. However, to mark EAT YOUR OWN down for that would be unkind given how difficult it is to write, record a produce an album of high quality without creating filler. It just left me wanting more…but maybe that’s a good thing?!

Delaire the Liar have managed to squeeze album-levels of emotion into just 6 tracks. They’ve somehow crowbarred in the epic amounts of live energy they have from their shows, kept the raw touch they bring and produced an outstanding record. This feels like Delaire’s step up to bigger things, this record is thier statement piece for people to pay attention. This is an epic EP which has firmly put Delaire the Liar on my radar for future releases, as it should for you too.

EAT YOUR OWN is out now via Rude Records.

FFO: Holding Absence, At the Drive-in, Creeper

Rating
5


‘EAT YOUR OWN’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/eat-your-own-ep/1595619213


EAT YOUR OWN on Spotify

NO ACCIDENT (Official Music Video)

HALLOWEEN (Official Music Video)

FURNACE (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.


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Rob Manhire
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