#Review: Bars and Melody – Carpe Diem – EP

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Bars & Melody (check out our 2017 interview with the guys, here) first rose to fame as contestants on Britain’s Got Talent in 2014. The pair were automatically sent into the semi-finals of the competition, when Simon Cowell pressed the “golden buzzer” after watching their performance of ‘Hopeful’ (later released as their debut single). The duo ultimately finished in third place in the series but since then have gone on to build a very loyal following and built up a big name for themselves, returning to feature in 2019’s, Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions. To date, they have released 3 albums and a couple of EPs but now 2021 sees the pair take on a new sound with the release of Carpe Diem. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Bars and Melody - Carpe Diem

What is immediately clear from the opening bars of ‘Santorini’ is that this is a new Bars & Melody. The pair have taken on a surprising new sound and one that’s clearly been itching to surface for some time.

Their 2020 album, Sadboi, was a mixture of pop hits and the start of experimenting with a new sound but ultimately was a successful crowd-pleaser in preparation for Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.

Since then though, the pair have taken the opportunity to go out as independent artists and create something new and altogether more mature in sound, in the form of new EP, Carpe Diem.

This is a mini-album that emanates a new-found confidence.

Throughout the EP, the auto-tune has been applied heavily and the bass and beats are booming, creating a more mumble-rap and at times, even trap-sounding beat – it’s their most credible and urban sound to date. It’s something new and exciting from the pair and undoubtedly shows the type of music they’ve been dying to make for some time, after now not being held back by major labels.

This is a mini-album that emanates a new-found confidence and sees the pair using explicit and at times, even risqué lyrics. It’s a clear departure from their former, squeaky-clean image and sees the pair rapping and singing about more adult concepts.

‘Santorini’ is a sure-fire hit for fans and the pair indicate it being one of their favourites on the EP too, despite it’s risqué lyrics. Meanwhile, ‘Little Missy’ showcases Leondre Devries’ rapping skills and Charlie Lenehan’s lyricism at their best. ‘Own Ways’ is another banger and a great way to end the EP with its thumping bass and its catchy hook.

Some of the lyrics could be thought of as being a little vacuous in places, like ‘No Type’s, “You a perfect 10, yeah” and that of the ‘Russian Model’ chorus but somehow the credibility of the beats and the fact it fits with the genre itself make up for it.

Whatever you think, Devries and Lenehan have demonstrated a new-found maturity and set of writing and rapping skills across the EP, showing that they are diverse and have the longevity to adapt and make something new of themselves. It would just be nice to hear Lenehan with a little less autotune on though as his voice is great without it!

Whilst it’s still somewhat of a shock to hear them now, this is the new-and-improved Bars & Melody and one that leaves me excited for their next full-length album! Let’s hope they don’t keep us waiting too long and continue to grow and develop in sound as they themselves continue to grow up and mature.

Rating
4


‘Carpe Diem – EP’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/carpe-diem-ep/1545462855


Carpe Diem – EP on Spotify

Santorini x Little Missy (Official Music Video)

Own Ways (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the duo’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:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#FeelGoodFriday: Alphalove – ‘Don’t Wanna Stop’ featuring Conor Maynard

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Alphalove (aka Alex & Chris) are a pair of music producers from the UK, who signed with Insanity Records (Sony UK) in 2020.

The pair teamed up with internet sensation Conor Maynard to create this remake of a Luther Vandross classic, modernising it for the year 2021.

The EDM/dance take on the track brings something completely new to it and features a series of classic EDM traits, from the piano-led lead to the thumping basslines and drum patterns; it’s a song I’ve had on repeat for days and one you can’t get enough of. It’s the perfect end to the week for #FeelGoodFriday!

No official music video exists at present, so for now you’ll just have to enjoy the lyric video below.

What are your thoughts of this dance duo’s remake of a classic? Do you have a #FeelGoodFriday 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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‘Don’t Wanna Stop’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/dont-wanna-stop-feat-conor-maynard-single/1543753386


#ThrowbackThursday: Jessie J – ‘Price Tag’ featuring B.o.B

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Jessie J is British-born singer-songwriter who has seen a whole string of successes but this particular song saw her score her first UK Number 1.

‘Price Tag’ features American rapper B.o.B and was released on 25th January 2011, landing at the Number 1 spot, the following week. It was the second single to be taken from Jessie’s debut studio album, Who You Are.

The song features a funky guitar loop like that of a reggae track, with a vintage backing beat, all topped off with a sing-along chorus and powerful vocals from Jessie herself.

The music video for the track is pretty cool too, seeing Jessie J performing in front of a large money tree, an oversized teddy bear and even dressed as both a ballerina in a large jewellery box and a marionette on strings. It’s well worth a watch if you haven’t already seen it…and if you have, why not watch it again and reminisce.

What are your thoughts of this decade-old hit? Do you have a #ThrowbackThursday 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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‘Price Tag’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/price-tag-feat-b-o-b/1445851157?i=1445851166


#WildCardWednesday: Charlie Simpson – ‘Blameless’

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Charlie Simpson is most notable for being a part of award-winning boy band Busted as well as being the front-man of post-hardcore band, Fightstar. However, he has also seen great success as a solo artist too, with three albums already under his belt, and a fourth on the way!

‘Blameless’ sees Simpson take on a slightly different sound to anything he’s previously released (solo or in a band). It features Simpson’s trademark raw, powerful and raspy vocal atop a piano-led backing track with a semi urban-style beat to it. It’s something new for the singer-songwriter and leaves me intrigued for what his new album will hold.

The music video was directed, produced and edited by Simpson himself, during lockdown. It sees the singer performing in a variety of settings, most of all in the forest, at different times of day and night with some wonderful lighting effects surrounding him. It’s simplistic but reflects the track’s raw feel perfectly and the editing is pretty cool too.

What are your thoughts of the singer-songwriter’s latest single? Do you have 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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‘Blameless’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/blameless-single/1547874823


#TunefulTuesday: Troye Sivan & Kacey Musgraves – ‘Easy’ featuring Mark Ronson

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Troye Sivan is a South African-born, Australian singer-songwriter, actor and YouTuber with a series of singles, albums, EPs, movies and vlogs under his belt.

This particular version of the song, ‘Easy’, is a remix of his original track, and was released in December 2020. It features vocals from American singer-songwriter, Kacey Musgraves and production from British musician and producer Mark Ronson. In fact, Musgraves actually co-wrote and performed a new verse specially for the song, whilst Ronson added a really cool disco-pop vibe to the track.

The song is catchy as hell and the perfect song for Tuneful Tuesday, as I’ve had it on repeat for days!

The music video for the track is pretty awesome too – featuring both Sivan and Musgraves as two people on the run, driving vintage cars, dyeing their hair and perfoming in a motel room as well as going to over-the-top drag shows and dancing the night away. It’s a must-watch!

What are your thoughts of this pop banger? 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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‘Easy’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/easy-feat-mark-ronson-single/1543288293


#MellowMonday: Greyson Chance – ‘Holy Feeling’

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Greyson Chance is back with a brand new single, ‘Holy Feeling’.

The singer-songwriter first rose to fame when a video of his performance of Lady Gaga‘s ‘Paparazzi’, at a grade school music festival, went viral on YouTube, gaining him over 68 million views.

Now, with a couple of albums under his belt and a whole string of singles, the artist returns with his mellow yet stunningly powerful offering, in the form of ‘Holy Feeling’.

The song has a certain quality of George Ezra about it during the first verse, when Chance’s gravelly vocal kicks in. However, by the chorus, we are treated to an uplifting and strong voice that is begging to be sung along to with full force.

It has an emotive and optimistic vibe to the song that has me reaching to repeat it, time and again.

The video for the song is pretty simplistic yet stylisticly cool too. It was shot on 16mm film and features people displaying a love and passion for each of their specific creative crafts – from a ballerina and a carpenter to a photographer and a tattoo artist – none of whom are actors. Interestingly, it was shot in the same location as that of his single, ‘shut up’. Check it out below.

What are your thoughts of this singer-songwriter’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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‘Holy Feeling’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/holy-feeling-single/1545586122


#Review: Celeste – Not Your Muse

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Celeste is a British-Jamaican soulful singer songwriter who ahead of releasing her debut album, has already seen a string of successes with the likes of her songs being used in the John Lewis & Waitrose Christmas Advert 2020 and as the theme song for Sky Sports Premiere League. Not Your Muse is her debut album and here’s what we have to say about it…

Celeste - Not Your Muse

The album doesn’t kick off to the best start with a couple of slow, rather forgettable, albeit soulful, tracks and it isn’t until ‘Tonight Tonight’ that the album really kicks into gear. There’s something very Amy Winehouse about the backing track of the song, yet it still remains full of soul; modern soul.

Next comes single and theme to Sky Sports Premier League, ‘Stop This Flame’, an uptempo song with an almost locomotive backing track met by a wonderfully intoxicating vocal in the chorus.

Some of the highlights of the album include: ‘Tell Me Something I Don’t Know’ – an enchanting track with its catchy chorus and the introduction of a brass section towards the end, make it a truly captivating listen; ‘Not Your Muse’ is a beautiful song with its shimmering guitars and ever-evolving, almost chaotic backing track; and ‘Love Is Back’ is another Amy Winehouse-vibed tune that’s upbeat and just a real joy to listen to.

‘Beloved’ is also a beautifully written and intriguing track – it has real Hawaiian vibes to it and in places it’s like the soundtrack to an old romantic film with its string section. There are some seriously powerful falsetto vocals too.

This is a strong debut album, that the more you listen to it, the more you can appreciate just how beautifully crafted and intricate it is.

Unfortunately, ‘A Kiss’, like the first two tracks on the album, is also a somewhat forgettable song that had me reaching for the skip button. However, ‘The Promise’ is beautiful with bird song interwoven throughout.

Of course there’s ‘A Little Love’ which was written and recorded specifically for the John Lewis and Waitrose Christmas advertising campaign, spreading the message of positivity to “give a little love”. She is in fact the first artist to be commissioned to write and perform an original song for the ad, marking another milestone in her unparalleled ascent.

The album draws to a cute close with the acoustic-led ‘Some Goodbyes Come With Hellos’, the perfect closing song for the album.

About the album, Celeste herself said, “Not Your Muse is the power I found when I felt powerless…In making this album I have allowed myself to arrive at a place where I feel empowered, fiercely wide-eyed and fulfilled. I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved on my debut album and to be in this position, after the year that has been, I feel nothing but gratitude and excitement.”

Having already achieved the double win of BBC Sound of 2020 and the BRITS Rising Star Award, Celeste has already had some career-defining moments that look set to make her a household name.

This is a strong debut album, that the more you listen to it, the more you can appreciate just how beautifully crafted and intricate it is. It can’t be helped but draw comparisons to Amy Winehouse throughout her debut due to her modern take on soul and occasionally similar style, but somehow, Celeste has created a modern masterpiece that I’m sure will be played on repeat, by many, for years to come.

Rating
4


‘Not Your Muse’ is out now on Polydor and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/not-your-muse-deluxe/1544501544


Not Your Muse on Spotify

Love Is Back (Official Video)

Stop This Flame (Official Video)


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


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#FeelGoodFriday: Fickle Friends – ‘IRL’

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Fickle Friends are an indie pop band from Brighton, UK, who formed in 2013. To date, the band have released a string of singles, EPs, their debut album, You Are Someone Else, and now 2021 sees the release of their latest EP, Weird Years (Season 1).

‘IRL’ is one of the songs taken from their latest EP and sees the band return to the sound of their debut album with their brand of catchy indie pop. From shimmering synths and funk-driven bass to the rhythmic guitars and catchy, powerful vocals, this is the perfect Feel-Good Friday track to end the week.

As the vocals aptly state, the track looks at the theme of speaking to someone in real life rather than through electronic communication, as is so often the way these days. Lyrically, it’s a really cleverly written song and manages to remain upbeat and fun throughout.

The music video is really cool too, with its clever cuts between shots and the use of flashing images in the latter half – well worth a watch (below)!

What are your thoughts of this indie-pop band? Do you like their new vibe? Do you have a #FeelGoodFriday 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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‘IRL’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/irl/1525921011?i=1525921019


#ThrowbackThursday: Britney Spears – ‘Till The World Ends’

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Britney Spears needs no introduction! She’s a pop princess that just keeps on giving hit after hit.

‘Till the World Ends’ is an upbeat, dance-pop track with an electro beat, containing elements of trance too. The song features an epic, chant-like chorus and lyrics in which Britney sings about dancing until the end of the world.

It’s hard to believe but ‘Till The World Ends’ is already a decade old – originally being released in 2011, and taken from the album Femme Fatale. The song was in fact written by a few hit-makers including Kesha and Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald and there’s even a version of the track which features Kesha herself and Nicki Minaj (video below).

The music video for the track is pretty spectacular too – it features Britney performing in an underground setting whilst the world above the surface comes to a total collapse but all the while she keeps on “dancing till the world ends,” eventually poking her head above the surface to see the sunlight. It’s well worth a watch (also below).

What are your thoughts of this pop princess’ decade-old hit? Do you still love it as much today? Or do you have a #ThrowbackThursday 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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‘Till The World Ends’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/till-the-world-ends/581774791?i=581774806


#Review: The Young Hearts – The Modern State

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The Young Hearts are an alternative punk rock band from Kent, UK. Recently signed to Year Of The Rat Records, the band have made a name for themselves by extensively touring and sharing stages with the likes of Can’t Swim, Mallory Knox, Junior, Bellevue Days and more. Having already released a string of singles and EPs, 2021 sees the band release their debut album, The Modern State. Here’s what we have to say about it…

The Modern State launches spectacularly with opening track, ‘Wild & Reckless’ – a fast-paced song which is the perfect opener to an album – an epic start with some killer, catchy vocals in the chorus. It’s also the perfect song to open a set with!

‘London’ and ‘Old Familiar’ are possibly the highlights of the album with their sing-along-ability, plus they really give you that urge to want to be packed into a crowded venue, jumping along with others in the audience and singing at the top of your lungs.

‘Cold Nights’ takes on a slightly slower pace in the verses but the chorus is still superbly powerful (like much of the rest of the album). ‘Still Wander’ has some great guitar breakdowns throughout whilst ‘Fool’s Gold’ is a nearly five-minute masterpiece that reminds me of the likes of The Fray yet entirely changes pace around 3 and a half minutes in, to something quite ethereal.

As far as debut albums go, this isn’t perfect, but it’s not far off!

Unfortunately, ‘Swim’ and ‘Anchors’ are somewhat forgettable and that’s not just because they’re slower-paced – they just don’t quite have the same edge as the rest of the album, which is the main reason for the rating below.

However, the album draws to a spectacular conclusion with ‘Don’t Tell A Soul’ – another monumental track that in its last minute, breaks down into a piano and guitar-led epic close that would make the perfect end to a perfect set.

As far as debut albums go, this isn’t perfect, but it’s not far off! It’s got repeat listenability and has a certain quality that keeps you coming back for more. It’s well-produced, catchy and has a diversity of tracks that are highly entertaining to listen to. I would strongly recommend a few listens of this masterpiece debut to really let it sink in, just how brilliant it is.

Rating
4


‘The Modern State’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/the-modern-state/1544490658

Or physical copies can be bought from the band’s website – https://www.theyounghearts.co.uk/shop


The Modern State on Spotify

London (Official Music Video)

Fool’s Gold (Official Music Video)


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


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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