#WildCardWednesday: Firing All Cylinders – ‘What Is Love’ (Haddaway Cover)

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I am a huge sucker for 90s dance classics, so when I saw that Firing All Cylinders had done a metal version of ‘What Is Love’ by Haddaway, I was all ears. The Californian metallers toyed with the idea that initially started as a joke but we are happy they went with it!

If you don’t know the song by title, you will certainly know it by its opening synth hook. ‘What Is Love’ charted across the world in 1993, but by no means set it on fire, however, it has become a cult classic along 90s music fans. Firing All Cylinders have kept the essence of the track by keeping that oh so recognisable synth motif almost exactly as it sounds on the original, but have brought their own metal chug and groove underneath.

Personally I love it, but I know it will divide a lot of people. It’s not the first time we’ve seen metal bands do this to beloved pop songs, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. 90s dance just seems to lend itself well to this kind of thing. However unlike others, I feel the band have not strayed too far away from the original that it is not recognisable. There are no heavy breakdowns, no guttural screams just a homage to a classic.

The video really stretches the idea of what love is. The original video had a slight dark feel to it (for the 90s anyway), but Firing All Cylinders have taken it about 1,000 steps further. It’s dark, it’s ritualistic and involves sacrifice and is probably more what fans of the band would expect.

We aren’t too fussed by the video, but the track is definitely worth a listen for all you 90s dance cross metal fans out there!


What are your thoughts of this metal band’s cover of the 90s dance classic? Do you have a cool cover for #WildCardWednesday to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Rob Manhire
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‘What Is Love’ can be downloaded off Apple Music now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/what-is-love-single/1505584706


#FeelGoodFriday: The Young Hearts – ‘Fool’s Gold (Alternative)’

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UK alternative outfit, The Young Hearts have given us an alternative version of their single ‘Fool’s Gold’ to keep our spirits up and our ears intrigued. The single is the first from their highly anticipated album, due out later this year.

The original single is a great emo anthem and lyrically makes us hark back to simpler times in our youth. Musically, it’s an emotional affair as it always is with The Young Hearts. We love this stripped down version even more, as they have managed to completely change the tone of the track. Rather than making us miss the things we loved, it’s more of a fanciful reminisce, a trip down memory lane. It’s not a completely acoustic track like you often get with these reworked tracks, but instead ‘Fool’s Gold’ is a showcase of the band’s musical talents and flexibility, which makes their forthcoming album even more tantalising. It has a quieter, more relaxed feel but is not lacking in technical elements.

At this time, when there isn’t much to do apart from think of everything we are missing, it’s nice to see bands pushing out new material to keep us interested, ready to venture back out into the world for shows with those we’ve missed.

The Young Hearts will being doing a livestream Q&A on Facebook tonight at 8:30pm (UK time) and are due back out on tour with WACO in late September 2020.

Rob Manhire
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‘Fool’s Gold (Alternative)’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/fools-gold-alternative/1497544493?i=1497544499


#FeelGoodFriday / #NewMusicFriday: Angels & Airwaves – ‘All That’s Left Is Love’

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All of the proceeds from this new single will benefit Feeding America’s COVID-19 relief fund, so go download it from the iTunes link below!

Angels & Airwaves are back with their first single of 2020 and their third potential single from the upcoming album. It’s an uplifting track about love and the message of spreading hope is clear.

What’s unclear is as to when the band recorded this latest song, but the song’s lyrics sure seem to reflect on society’s current self-isolation situation in response to the current coronavirus pandemic.

No music video exists as yet and presumably due to the aforementioned self-isolation, one could be a way off, as with the new album too!

As always, Tom shrouds the new album in mystery as far as a release date is confirmed but it is set to accompany a movie that’s also in the pipeline and the second half of the album is said to score the film, which is yet to enter production – hence the lack of release date yet. One thing is for certain, I’m really friggin’ excited for the follow up to 2014’s The Dream Walker.

What are your thoughts of this band’s latest single? Has it got you excited for their upcoming album? Do you have a #FeelGoodFriday or #NewMusicFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks


‘All That’s Left Is Love’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/all-thats-left-is-love/1507962753?i=1507963069 


#ThrowbackThursday: Bloodhound Gang – ‘The Bad Touch’

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Who doesn’t remember this song from 20 years ago?! Bloodhound Gang released ‘The Bad Touch’ in the UK back in April 2000 and, with their unique brand of comedic hip-hop that had slightly punk rock tendencies too, the band went on to score a Top 5 hit, reaching Number 4 in the UK Charts.

The quintet filmed a rather hilarious video to accompany the track too – seeing the band dressed in “MonkeyRat” costumes causing havoc around Paris by capturing various stereotypes and putting them in a cage before releasing them to dance in formation with their captives.

The video caused some controversy due to some versions featuring a French gay couple being hit over the heads with baguettes, however lead singer, Jimmy Pop was quoted a saying, “I would give any gay man two tickets to the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of his choice if he could describe exactly who’s going to become violent based on that scene”.[1] Is this “gay bashing” or simply a bit of light-hearted comedy? I’d suggest the latter given the rather witty nature of a lot of their back catalogue and if titles of their albums, such as Hooray For Boobies, are anything to go by.

What are your thoughts of this band’s banterous single, 20 years on? Did you love or hate it back then? What do you think of it now? Do you have a #ThrowbackThursday track from 20 years ago, to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘The Bad Touch can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/the-bad-touch/1440807607?i=1440808397


#WildCardWednesday: The Pussycat Dolls – ‘React’

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The Pussycat Dolls are back, making a return with their sassy new single, ‘React’.

Having taken a 9 year break, the girl group are back (minus Melody Thornton) announcing a new world tour and album in the pipeline. The quintet (made up of Nicole Scherzinger, Carmit Bachar, Ashley RobertsJessica Sutta and Kimberly Wyatt) made a triumphant return on the UK’s X Factor: Celebrity, performing a string of their hits before leading into their brand new song, ‘React. The group’s performance attracted over 400 complaints to ITV due to their raunchy outfits and sexual dance moves – well done girls! Keep up the good work.

The song talks about a relationship where the one person is trying to get a reaction out of the other and topped by a catchy chorus and sexy rhythm.

The video is just as you’d expect, packed with sexy outfits and sexual dance moves, featuring the group performing in scenes of both fire and water, making for a great viewing – it’s not the most interesting video in terms of concept but they sure know what their audience wants to see!

Turn it up loud and check out the girls’ return to form! I can’t wait for the album.

What are your thoughts of this girl band’s first reunion single? Got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘React’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/react/1494489816?i=1494489827


#TunefulTuesday: Simple Creatures – ‘One Little Lie’

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Simple Creatures are an American pop rock duo made up of Mark Hoppus (blink-182, +44) and Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low).

To date, the pair have released a couple of EPs – both in 2019 – and had a string of singles but possibly their most catchy song is this track, ‘One Little Lie’. This is such a great crossover between pop and pop punk with it’s rockier verses and synthpop style choruses that you can’t help but just want to listen to it over and over again.

Lyrically it is diverse too and resonates with quite a few people, I’m sure – I know it means a lot to me and provides an anthem for my own recent struggles, so I’m sure it does for others too.

The video for the song is pretty fun too, packed with facts and lies, leaving the viewer to decipher between fact and fiction as the pair become increasingly surrounded by objects referenced in some of the lyrics.

Turn this track up loud, put it on repeat and enjoy the video!

What are your thoughts of this duo’s catchy track and fun video? Do you have a #TunefulTuesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘One Little Lie’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/one-little-lie/1475817979?i=1475817985


#MellowMonday: Justin Bieber – ‘Intentions (Acoustic)’

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It’s #MellowMonday and today is all about the acoustic version of Justin Bieber‘s latest single, ‘Intentions’.

The original version features Quavo but for this stripped-back version, Bieber has chosen to go at it alone. This particular rendition shows off his dynamic and impeccably talented vocals perfectly, and is a nice nod to his origins of being more acoustic based.

The almost rap-like flows of some of the vocal melodies make for a really interesting experience on an acoustic track but they work really well.

The overall chill vibes of this track are ideal for a relaxed Monday and although no music video exists for this version, your mind can’t help but wander to summer days and dream of lying on a beach or enjoying a BBQ with friends.

We’re addicted!

What are your thoughts of this acoustic version of Bieber’s latest single? Do you have a #MellowMonday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Intentions (Acoustic)’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/intentions-acoustic-single/1503395021


#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.

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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.


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


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 Four Year Strong 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 Four Year Strong 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 Four Year Strong) 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 Four Year Strong’s 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 was released on 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

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.


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Rob Manhire
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#FeelGoodFriday: KOOLKID – ‘Feelings’

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Scottish singer-songwriter, KOOLKID, has just released his captivating new single, ‘Feelings’, written by KOOLKID himself, alongside Lewis Gardiner (ex-drummer of Scottish band, Prides).

The single is a soaring, modern pop ballad which flaunts KOOLKID’s emotion-drenched vocals with engrossing, forward-thinking production.

“Falling in love with someone who is already in a relationship is never a good thing. ‘Feelings’ is an upbeat pop anthem that is sure to make you reminisce being in this situation,” says KOOLKID. “You know you have certain feelings, but you only want to feel them with that one person, but you can’t. I feel like we can all relate to being in this situation at one point in our lives. I have and that is why I wrote this song.”

The singer hails from Glasgow in Scotland, where he was surrounded by live music from a young age. Since the age of 15, he has been building his musical identity with constant songwriting efforts, as well as cutting his teeth with live performances up and down the UK.

An accomplished songwriter, KOOLKID has penned tracks for some prominent pop acts, including K-Pop icons BTS. The Scotsman co-wrote ‘Mikrokosmos’ from the group’s chart-topping EP, Map of the Soul: Persona. The relationship between KOOLKID and BTS looks set to continue with future releases in the pipeline!

This latest single sees one of the UK’s most exciting, up-and-coming young artists continue to leave his mark in the contemporary music market.

What are your thoughts of this singer-songwriter? Got a #MellowMonday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Feelings’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/feelings-single/1493801876