#Review: James Blunt @ Brighton Centre, Brighton – 03/02/22

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On Thursday 3rd February 2022, James Blunt arrived in Brighton to kick off his The Stars Beneath My Feet Tour, seeing the artist perform a whole bunch of his greatest hits to a packed crowd. With support from Irish singer, Gavin James, the event was incredible from start to finish. Here’s what we have to say about it…


Gavin James

The singer took to the stage and instantly wowed the crowd with the beautiful, falsetto-driven ‘Nervous’. Starting out as just the singer and a guitar, he proceeded to be joined by a keys player and drummer, creating a deeply rich sound. The set was packed with more rock-like tracks such as the guitar solo-laden ‘Coming Home’ to the piano-led ‘Always’ (before he switched back to guitar, mid-song!) The singer really drew the audience in with his witty crowd interactions and ability to get everyone singing parts of his songs, along with him. He is a really interesting artist and someone to definitely keep an eye on!

Highlight: The beautiful falsetto notes and powerful full-on vocals Gavin James can create with his voice is truly astounding and wonderfully captivating!

 Setlist

Nervous
Heaven
Coming Home
Tired
Circles
Always
Hearts On Fire
Only Ticket Home


James Blunt

Say what you will about James Blunt, the guy is a fantastic performer and comes with a massive, loyal fan base.

From the moment the intro music blared through the speakers and the TV screens descended to cover his entrance, before slowly rising again to reveal Blunt himself, the crowd were cheering in anticipation.

Known for his sense of humour on social media, he was also just as quick-witted in person, making jokes about singing ‘You’re Beautiful’ 22 times, performing his “greatest hit” tour (saying because he only has one) and telling people to sit tight as he took to the piano before belting out a series of sad songs.

This was a truly wonderful show, that demonstrated the amazing talent he has, not only as a songwriter, but a performer too and showcased a diverse collection of songs (after all, this is a greatest hits tour), making it a performance to remember.

Whilst the screens above the stage added some diversity, the visual effects used were at times a little corny but did add to the arena feel of the show.

If you get a chance to catch James Blunt on this UK tour, I highly recommend it – whether you know him for his obvious hits, or are a long-term fan, he will not disappoint with his showmanship! I loved every second of it, despite not knowing every song, and would love to see him again.

Highlights:

  • James Blunt‘s banter with the crowd was on point and always had the audience in stitches.
  • The performance was faultless – he was a true professional at his art…as were his band.
  • There was the perfect combination of uplifting tracks, sad songs and even rockier elements, showing just what a great collection of music he has created over his career so far.
  • The way he held the crowd in the palm of his hand was something amazing to behold too, and there were people who clearly knew every word to every song, showing just how much more he is than ‘You’re Beautiful’.
  • ‘Wisemen’, ‘Love Under Pressure’, ‘Postcards’ (particularly for the use of the ukuleles), ‘OK’ and ‘1973’ were among some of the best songs of the show.

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


 Setlist

Breathe*
Wisemen*
Carry You Home
Adrenaline
The Greatest
Goodbye My Lover
High
Smoke Signals
I Really Want You
Love Under Pressure
Postcards
So Long, Jimmy
Same Mistake
Monsters
Coz I Luv You
You’re Beautiful*
Stay The Night*
OK

Encore
Where Is My Mind? (Pixies Cover)
Bonfire Heart
1973*

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


Finally, I want to say a HUGE thanks to Tom Pearce from Good Soldier for sorting out this review and to both Gavin James and James Blunt for putting on such a great show!


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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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#Review: Fickle Friends @ Chalk, Brighton – 13/01/22

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On Thursday 13th January 2022, Fickle Friends kicked off their UK tour at Brighton’s Chalk, in support of their second studio album, Are We Gonna Be Alright? The band were supported by Foxgluvv and Valeras, before taking to the stage to play a packed set. Here’s what we have to say about the evening…


Foxgluvv

Stemming from London, support act Foxgluvv, aka Imogen Davies, showcased her unique pop style to early arrivals, in anticipation of the long-awaited Fickle Friends album tour.

You can see her influence from the likes of Madonna and even a touch of Kate Nash within her song writing – very 80’s inspired. She stood confidently on stage, singing songs about relationships, anxiety and identity in a sincere manner. Foxgluvv only had a handful of songs, as a debut album is still on the horizon. One standout song of the evening was the disco banger, ‘1:00AM’, with foot-stomping bass and synths, showing true potential, on par with Charlie XCX, for more exciting things to come in the future.

Michael Hundertmark


Valeras

Valeras were an interesting pair (I say pair, because they’re technically a duo but come accompanied by two other touring members). They packed a punch in terms of sound and the singer’s voice was great too – both raw and powerful. The singer, Rose, did a great job of captivating the audience too – especially when she revealed that she is part of the LGBTQ+ community and performed a personal song about this. There was another point in the set, where she stepped down from the stage and into the crowd, really capturing everyone’s attention. It was a great set and they’re certainly an act to keep an eye on.


Fickle Friends

Fickle Friends took to the stage and the crowd burst into applause and cheering as the band performed their incredibly catchy single, ‘IRL’. From there, the set was packed with a superb combination of songs, both new and old – some from their debut album, You Are Someone Else, some from EPs and some from their recently-released second album, Are We Gonna Be Alright? It was a fantastic showcase of their catalogue!

The band’s use of their instruments and backing tracks interwoven throughout the set was seamless and they demonstrated just how good they are at live performances…even after some time away from performing due to the pandemic. Singer, Natti’s voice was impeccable throughout too – effortless and powerful in all the right places.

The stage design was humble, with their second album cover as backdrop and some cool light towers on the stage to add interesting effects, but otherwise is was over to the band to wow their audience, and wow they did; the crowd were loving every second of the band’s performance, dancing and singing along throughout.

The set was split into some of their most upbeat pop tunes, then “rock hour” (as the band called it) and then “the home straight”, which consists of songs the band know inside out and have performed for so long they don’t have to think about it. Natti took a sip of her “home straight juice” and explained the layout of the set to everyone, making people laugh. “Rock hour” consisted of some of the tracks from their second album, one which they experimented with a heavier sound, in places (read our review here).

Possibly one of my favourite moments though, was the performance of second album title track, ‘Are We Gonna Be Alright?’ The song was very different from the rest of the set and really showed off the talent in Natti’s voice, as she played guitar with fellow band member, Jack – it was beautiful.

Their crowd interactions were short and sweet but kept the show moving nicely.

One thing’s for certain; the band are polished in terms of their live performances and know how to entertain a crowd in all the right ways! If you haven’t seen them live yet, I strongly recommend catching them on this tour, especially as they’ve hinted that it might be a while before they tour again! Grab a ticket and dance and sing the night away.

Highlights:

  • The diversity of the setlist made for a truly brilliant show.
  • The energy that oozed out of the band was superb and made for a great set.
  • Favourite performances included ‘Glue’, ‘Not Okay’, ‘Love You To Death’ and ‘Say No More’.
  • ‘Pretty Great’ was a brilliant end to the set too as a vocoder was used in one part, Natti played some keyboard, Jack took centre stage and shredded the guitar, it was wonderfully chaotic in the best way and made for an outstanding close to the show.

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


 Setlist

IRL
Glue*
Not Okay*
Hello Hello
Not In The Mood
Brooklyn
Write Me A Song
Yeah Yeah Yeah
Love You To Death
Hard To Be Myself*
Are We Gonna Be Alright?
Say No More*
Swim
Pretty Great

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


Finally, I want to say a HUGE thanks to Kat from Deidkated PR for arranging this review and to Fickle Friends themselves, for putting on an incredible evening.


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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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Matt & Rob – Muzik Speaks
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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.


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Rob Manhire
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#Review: The Darkness @ Brighton Dome, Brighton – 17/11/21

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On Wednesday 17th November 2021, The Darkness arrived in Brighton to perform a set in support of their upcoming album, Motorheart. With support from Massive Wagon, the band performed a set packed with both hits and a few new offerings too! Here’s what we had to say about the show…


Massive Wagon

This band were not my cup of tea at all. There was lots of hair tossing, leg kicking, microphone stand twirling and screaming… to the point of distraction! They are like a garage band – not particularly polished in places but still seemed to be a crowd pleaser nonetheless!


The Darkness

As the bagpipe-esque intro played through the speakers, The Darkness took to the stage as the crowd cheered wildly.

Unfortunately, compared to the last time they played at Brighton Dome (review here), their stage design was considerably stripped back but nevertheless, they came prepared to wow their audience.

There were moments of pure guitar solo delight from Dan, Justin’s trademark falsetto vocals, bass riffs galore from Frankie and even a moment when the lead singer stood on his head in front of the kick drum.

The frontman particularly knows how to interact with and captivate a crowd. There were a couple of occasions where he had the audience calling back every note he sung and another moment when he had them repeating something deeply poetic and was frankly just chatting shit but it was hilarious!

Part way through the set, Justin made his apologies for the band being a bit rusty after their break in performing due to the pandemic and it’s true, they weren’t perfect, in places. However, they still put on a performance packed with energy and played a selection of the band’s biggest hits, fan favourites and some tracks off the new album too!

Some of the best songs performed can be seen on the YouTube playlist below – ‘It’s Love, Jim’ and ‘Motorheart’ were particular favourites from the new album, whilst you can’t go wrong with old hits like ‘Givin’ Up’, ‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’, ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ and of course their Christmas hit, ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’.

It was a set that despite their imperfections was fun, energetic and pure The Darkness brilliance! If you haven’t seen them before, be sure to try and check them out on this tour – they promise not to disappoint!

Highlights:

  • Justin’s crowd interactions were witty as ever and he fed off the heckles perfectly too.
  • Justin’s costume changes also added variety to the set.
  • Justin‘s live vocals are powerful and flawless, whilst his charisma oozes with dry humour and a stage presence like no other.
  • The band themselves performed with high energy and their individual talent for each of their instruments is spell-binding.
  • Justin doing a headstand in front of the kick drum during a song, before casually returning to the microphone to finish the song, was pretty damn impressive!

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


 Setlist

Welcome Tae Glasgae
One Way Ticket
Growing On Me
Eastbound
Open Fire
Sticky Situations
Givin’ Up*
It’s Love, Jim*
Black Shuck
Heart Explodes
Friday Night
Love Is Only A Feeling*
The Power And The Glory Of Love
Solid Gold
Motorheart*
Barbarian
Get Your Hands Off My Woman*

Encore
I Believe In A Thing Called Love*
Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)*

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


Finally, I want to say a BIG thanks to Warren and Aoife from Chuff Media for organising this review for us!


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Paloma Faith @ Brighton Centre, Brighton – 16/10/21

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On Saturday 16th October 2021, Paloma Faith arrived in Brighton to perform a string of her biggest hits, fan favourites and cuts from her latest album, Infinite Things, with support from Josef Salvat. Here’s what we had to say about the show…


Josef Salvat

Josef Salvat is an Australian singer and songwriter, who graced the stage with his wonderfully quirky shirt and trouser combo and thrilled the audience with his unique brand of pop music. The performer had a diverse vocal style and even did a rendition of Rihanna‘s ‘Diamonds’.

Highlight: Closing the set with his latest single, ‘I’m Sorry’, was a brilliant ending to his performance; the song is upbeat and catchy as hell so really worked the crowd up before Paloma Faith.


Paloma Faith

As the lights dimmed, Paloma Faith took to the stage to perform ‘Last Night On Earth’ with an eruption of applause and cheering from the audience. During the first song, she addressed the crowd and spoke about how after the pandemic we should focus on the here and the now as we don’t know what tomorrow might bring; truly meaningful words from the singer-songwriter.

She performed the first song in front of a curtain for the majority of the track before it came down to reveal a rather simplistic stage set (for her). Accompanying her, was a largely female-dominated group of musicians and backing singers; all of whom were incredibly talented in their own right.

Dressed in an edgy, backless leather dress and a vibrant red pixie wig, the singer wowed her crowd with not only her superbly powerful vocals but wonderful anecdotes behind some of her songs and of motherhood and getting older too. She even made reference to her skin’s elasticity having gone and it being perfect in a plane crash to help her land safely.

Paloma‘s set was engaging on an interactive level, as her personality and charisma shone through, plus she packed it full of songs not only from her latest album, Infinite Things, but a massive selection of fan favourites and huge hits were spread across the duration of the show too.

At one point, she tells the crowd that her latest album is her favourite as it’s more personal than others she’s put out and reveals it’s probably the only one she’s released that she’d actually buy herself. That said, she knows how to have fun with a lot of her older material too, stunning the audience with cuts all the way back to her first album.

She even performs a cover of Chaka Khan‘s ‘I’m Every Woman’ and tells us how she was once invited to share the stage with the iconic singer but knew none of the words, bring her to face her fears and perform the song herself.

The great thing is that from about half way through the set, no one is sitting down any longer as the singer encourages everyone to get up and dance and you can see people are truly living in the moment.

Paloma is a character, that’s for sure, but her powerful voice only adds to the enjoyment of the show. She is someone who needs to be seen live as she not only knows how to put on an incredible show, but she will have you singing and dancing in no time. If you haven’t caught her on this tour, then grab yourself some tickets for her 2022 tour, ‘Age of Optimism Tour’.

Highlights:

  • The between-song interactions with the audience were wonderful; they were genuine and truly witty, making the crowd feel closer to her as a person.
  • Getting everyone out of their seats and on their feet and dancing made for a great experience.
  • ‘Gold’, Crybaby’, ‘Picking Up The Pieces’, ‘Changing’ and ‘Lullaby’ were definitely some of the highlights from the set.

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


 Setlist

Last Night On Earth
Gold*
Crybaby
Infinite Things
Guilty
Beautiful & Damned
If Loving You Was Easy (with Josef Salvat)
Stone Cold Sober / Stargazer / 30 Minute Love Affair / New York / Upside Down
Picking Up The Pieces*
Monster
Can’t Rely On You
I’m Every Woman (Chaka Khan Cover)*
Changing*
If This Is Goodbye

Encore
Better Than This
Lullaby*
Only Love Can Hurt Like This

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


Finally, I want to say a MASSIVE thanks to Warren from Chuff Media for sorting out this review for me.


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Becky Hill @ Brighton Dome, Brighton – 11/10/21

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On Monday 11th October 2021, Becky Hill arrived in Brighton to perform at Brighton Dome in support of her album, Only Honest On The Weekend. She was supported by Richard Fairlie. Here’s what we have to say about the incredible event…


Richard Fairlie

Richard Fairlie took to the stage, giving rise to intrigue and applause from the audience, especially as he was accompanied by just a drum stick and pads that provided his instrumentation. His voice was captivating as it was raspy yet he could also show off some impressive falsetto vocals. He performed a mixture of rocky tracks, mellow, guitar-driven ballads and more urban-tinted songs. He has even been supported publicly by Becky Hill herself and so it made sense that he supported her on this tour.

Highlight: His set diversity is something brilliant to watch – from slower, falsetto-driven guitar ballads to up-tempo urban anthems, he is an interesting watch and one to keep an eye on.


Becky Hill

As the intro music rumbled through the speakers, Becky Hill took to the stage to rapturous applause from the audience. The energy was electrifying and she instantly had the crowd in the palm of her hand, and singing back every word of ‘Heaven On My Mind’.

Her outfit glistened beautifully too; one which she later told the crowd she had been saving specially for her Brighton show. In fact, it was this outfit that she revealed she was worried about tripping over in, due to the long legs, so took a quick break from performing to safety-pin it up (with a little help from her team).

The setlist comprised of a string of her well-known hits as well as cuts from her debut album, Only Honest On The Weekend. Her vocals were not only on point, but wonderfully powerful throughout, wowing the audience with every word she sung.

The set was brilliantly diverse too, with many up-tempo tracks performed to begin with (an excellent mixture of new and old songs) but what made it interesting was a break in the middle to perform some acoustic hybrid renditions of ‘Lessons’ and ‘Business’ (an INCREDIBLE duet with one of her backing vocalists). She even picked up her acoustic guitar to perform the track, ‘Perfect People’, which showed everyone just how talented a performer she is.

After the quieter breakdown in the set, the tempo was then picked back up and had everyone partying right up until the very end; even those in the seats upstairs were all up on their feet, jumping up and down to performances of ‘My Heart Goes (La Di Da)’,‘Gecko (Overdrive)’, ‘Wish You Well’ and ‘Remember’. There was no encore to the set either as she said she will not do an encore until she’s selling out arenas.

If you haven’t seen Becky Hill live yet, I can’t recommend seeing her, highly enough! This was my first time seeing her live and it certainly won’t be my last – she is a pop/dance powerhouse of a lady that has been working incredibly hard to get to where she is. She puts on one hell of a show and creates a vibe throughout the audience that is thoroughly infectious and has everyone dancing from start to finish.

Highlights:

  • Becky Hill‘s energy throughout her performance was astounding and even when she performed slower songs, her voice was truly powerful and a wonder to behold.
  • The cool set design made for an interesting watch too – four colour-changing cubes were a great addition to the performance.
  • Her interactions with the audience were always genuine and heartfelt, especially when she talked about getting over the pandemic and all coming together in one room to celebrate live music again.

📷 All of the photos in this post are credited to myself, Matt Wright  📸
Why not give me a follow on my Instagram and Twitter.


 Setlist

Intro
Heaven On My Mind
Afterglow
Through The Night
False Alarm
I Could Get Used To This
I Got You*
Lessons (Acoustic Hybrid)
Business (Acoustic Hybrid)
Distance
Perfect People (Becky Hill on Guitar)
Lose Control
My Heart Goes (La Di Da)*
Gecko
Last Time (Biscits Remix)
Better Off Without You
Wish You Well*
Remember*

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


Finally, I want to say a HUGE thanks to Warren at Chuff Media for sorting out this review for me.


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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