#Review: As It Is @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 15/03/19

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On Friday 15th March 2019, As It Is arrived in Brighton for the final date of their The Intimate Depression Tour, in support of their latest album release, The Great Depression. The band were supported by Modern ErrorBellevue Days and Klae. It was an extra-special evening, not only because it was the last night of the tour, but it was a return to the city they started in! Here’s what we thought of the evening…


Klae

Klae are five-piece, female-fronted band from Brighton, who kicked off the evening with their blend of gritty pop rock. They have a tight, commercial sound to them, and clearly a loyal following is already building for them. They’ll be a local band to keep an eye out for with their atmospheric, airy guitar melodies and honest lyricism…though at times, some of the dancing seems a little contrived.

Klae


Bellevue Days

Next up, was the rather slick Bellevue Days – their performance was flawless and they have obviously honed their songwriting skills to perfection, with little fills and quirks in all the right places; whilst it makes their songs stand out, at times they change pace a little too often, meaning you can’t quite get into the groove, or the song appears to end, just as it seems to be building up to something more.

Personally, I preferred the backing singer’s voice, when he took the lead on ‘Faith’ and think he should definitely take the lead a little more, however, between the three vocalists, their harmonies are sensational!

They’re very much Weezer meets Brand New with a little Blur thrown in…one song in particular was almost like a carbon copy of Brand New though. All round, they’re a great live band and certainly have a good stage presence…even if the drummer did look petrified throughout the performance.


Modern Error

The last support to take to the stage was the intense, high-energy, Modern Error – an in-your-face, scream-metal band with solid production (in the form of atmospheric backing tracks) interwoven seamlessly with their skilful performance.

The band are nicely topped off with the lead singer’s screaming vocal which seems to come so effortlessly – though his attempts at more melodic singing weren’t quite as strong.

It’s clear that this band have found inspiration in the likes of Underoath‘s album, They’re Only Chasing Safety, as far as synth sounds merging with post-hardcore or metal sensibilities go.

The band’s octane-infused set really ignited the audience into a frenzy, creating swirling circle-pits and people manically moshing around. Modern Error are a well-rounded band with a clearly well-rehearsed stage presence and really know how to work a crowd; the only criticism…a little too much reaching out with one hand.


As It Is

Finally, As It Is took to the stage! Although each of the supports were well-rehearsed and their performances polished, the quality of this band is truly next-level impeccable, instantly demonstrating just how professional they are at this.

It might well have been the last night of their UK tour, and by their own admission, they were exhausted, but you definitely couldn’t tell…the energy they brought was magical, captivating even. The band are very much at home on stage – standing on speakers, thrashing round wildly, swinging the microphone round, for some perfectly-timed manoeuvres and Ronnie Ish even pulled off a little crowd-surfing…simply put, they owned that stage!

Having started out in this very city, the band shared their gratitude (a few times) for finally being able to headline their own show at the iconic Concorde 2, having watched some of the bands that inspired them, performing on that very stage. It was special thanks that went out to their fans, throughout the show, for getting them to where they are today and you could tell, their appreciation is genuine.

They may have visually changed their style since their last record, and their sound may have got a touch heavier than before, but at their core, they’re still quite the pop punk band they always were – they just have a little more ’emo’ edge to them now. They’re writing and singing about more taboo subjects, like anxiety, depression, self-harm, etc. but are managing to do so with sincerity and integrity. You can tell that their fans admire it too, singing back every word with equal the passion that Patty Walters sings out to them.

Watching this set, truly felt like watching the early days of the iconic punk rock/pop punk/emo bands I used to love, growing up – the likes of Good CharlotteNew Found GloryMy Chemical RomanceThe Used, etc. It was really something special and I’m certain that if this show was anything to go by, this band are only going to continue to grow to new heights in their career, from here. I would highly recommend seeing them live – they’ll draw you in and have you moshing around in an instant!

Highlights:

  • The way the band use the whole stage, to jump and spin around, interact with each other and even swing the microphone round, made the show something spectacular to behold.
  • Whilst the set was predominantly filled with material from their latest album, The Great Depression, there was also a good deal of older songs to please fans old and new.
  • Patty Walters‘ honest out-pouring of emotion and sharing of personal anecdotes with the audience, let them know that this is more like a family than just a band and their fanbase, even referring to them as family. His speech around mental health, and the way talking about this is sometimes perceived within the genre, was actually very touching and heart-felt – things like this can so often be cringey, when delivered by someone in his position, but actually, I found myself hanging on his every word, and if this is enough to save even one life, then it can only be a good thing!
  • The audience’s love for this band is raw and emotionally-driven too, making the atmosphere in the venue, electric. A few people were even brought to tears by their presence, their lyrics and the passion the band pour into their art.
  • It was actually a highlight in itself, just to see this band (who could so easily sell out a larger venue) performing to a smaller audience, in a more intimate setting, but without compromising any of the quality of their set and stage presence. It was a truly marvellous event!

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 📸 All of the photos of As It Is are credited to Chloe Hashemi – CCZH Photography 📷
Go and give her a follow on Instagram and Twitter, and visit her website.


 Setlist

The Wounded World
The Two Tongues (Screaming Salvation)
The Great Depression
The Reaper
The Handwritten Letter
No Way Out
The Fire, The Dark
The Haunting
Cheap Shots & Setbacks
Such Great Heights (The Postal Service cover)
The Truth I’ll Never Tell
You, The Room & The Devil On Your Shoulder
The Question, The Answer
Winter’s Weather
Patchwork Love

Encore
Okay
Dial Tones
The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry)*

This song can be viewed in the YouTube video, below.


Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Patrick Marsden at Lout Promotions for enabling this review to happen but also to As It IsModern ErrorBellevue Days and Klae for making the evening such a special one!


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

Muzik Speaks Live Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Tom Walker – What A Time To Be Alive

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Tom Walker is a Scottish-born, singer-songwriter that has continued to grow and rise to fame over the past 12 months or so. Aside from relentless touring, he started gathering mainstream attention with the BBC putting him in the running for their Sound of 2018 accolade. Then came the release of his massive single, ‘Leave A Light On’, which received heavy radio airplay, leading to a performance on X Factor. Now 2019 has kicked off with in style, with him winning the Brit Award for 2019’s British Breakthrough Act…and all of this has happened before the release of his debut album! Well, it’s finally here, What A Time To Be Alive and here’s what we have to say about it…

Tom Walker - What A Time To Be Alive.jpg

Passion. Power. Personal. Three words that can’t help but swim through my mind as I listen to Tom Walker‘s debut album, What A Time To Be Alive. All three qualities are beautifully and intricately interwoven too – there is passion and power behind his vocals – both in what he sings and the way he sings it – and the personal songwriting leads to their prominence…and this wouldn’t be such a remarkable record without even one of those elements.

We’re catapulted into the album with ‘Angels’; a track starting out raw and edgy but endlessly continuing to build to a huge crescendo, complete with bells and strings, becoming an intricately layered behemoth of a track by the end, topped off with Tom’s intensely passionate and gritty vocals.

This is soon followed by the hit single, ‘Leave A Light On’, which despite being such a massive single, is interestingly, probably one of my least favourite tracks on the album. It’s a great song lyrically and thematically and I can see exactly why it was such a hit but I honestly preferred the original version, before the off-key synth sounds became so prominent. Also, there’s so much more to love about the album!

He has successfully crafted an outstanding debut album that takes elements from many different genres and styles, mashing them up into the perfect concoction of contemporary pop.

The biggest tracks on the record have to be: ‘Not Giving In’ – haunting wind chimes trickle delicately into the intense track, where echoing vocals and programmed drums lead the verses into the passionate chorus that seems to swirl around you, engulfing with its honest emotion; ‘How Can You Sleep At Night?’ is vocally one of the most diverse songs on the album – quiet, low tones in the verses are pushed by thunderous drums to a chorus of what could be described as vocal hoots and a downward zigzagging of his voice. Melodically, it’s a rather playful track, even though it’s about an intimate subject.

‘My Way’ is a real genre-bender; hip-hop-style drum beats, oriental-tinted synths, a repetitive hook and wonderful production trills, such as subtle, underlying female vocals, make this one of the best songs on the record. An effortless breakdown calms the mood right before bursting back into the repetitive, yet highly addictive chorus. Think EDM elements meet rock with a slightly Asian-flavoured edge.

And of course there’s ‘Fade Away’ which has a very Tom Odell-sounding melody, in places. It’s an emotionally devastating, piano and string-led track, that honestly brings tears to the eyes. Naturally, in its more heightened moments, Tom’s signature, raspy vocals shine through but during the quieter parts, his interesting annunciation and poetic lyricism make this track truly bewitching.

This is a stunning, diverse album that is sure to make massive waves throughout the industry and I’m certain will be a benchmark album for years to come.

‘Now You’re Gone’ featuring Zara Larsson is very electronic in tone with laser-like bass notes and a broken-up rhythm, ‘Blessings’ has an Ed Sheeran vibe and takes a candid look at the modern lifestyle, whilst ‘Dominoes’ is a very political track and another honest take on the state of the world right now, becoming wonderfully chaotic and grungy by the end.

Intrigue doesn’t stop there either, ‘Cry Out’ is like a dark western soundtrack (somewhat reminding me of the Peaky Blinders theme) with chain-clinking sounds giving it a laborious edge and ‘Just You And I’ is an old fan favourite – a big, positive love song. Possibly the most captivating track on the record has to be ‘The Show’ – a story-like track about London that really gives the sense of physically moving through the city streets, just listening to it. It has a real jazzy feel which sound effects weaving throughout the storytelling.

One thing’s for certain, Tom Walker has a very unique blend of styles throughout his music; reggae and urban vibes, with subtle hip-hop undertones are met by electronic synth elements and drum pads, combined with real instruments and rock-tinted vocals all underpinned by sincere, heartfelt (and even occasionally political) lyrical themes. I think I can even detect Bob Marley influences in places – reggae sounds and political themes…or is that just me? Sure, at times his voice is quirky and high-pitched but that is met in equal measure by the grittier, growlier and more powerful moments.

You can’t help but want to compartmentalise him as a singer-songwriter or a pop star but he truly breaks every mould you try to apply him to. He has successfully crafted an outstanding debut album that takes elements from many different genres and styles, mashing them up into the perfect concoction of contemporary pop. Despite being an eclectic collection, it still manages to be entirely cohesive. This is a stunning, diverse album that is sure to make massive waves throughout the industry and I’m certain will be a benchmark album for years to come.

It can only get bigger for him from here and I can’t wait to see what new heights Tom Walker soars to next…I’m just pleased I got to see him at The Green Door Store in Brighton (review here) before it all took off.

Rating
5


‘What A Time To Be Alive’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/what-a-time-to-be-alive/1435094194


What A Time To Be Alive on Spotify

Leave A Light On (Official Video)

Just You and I (Official Video)

Angels (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Tom Walker’s stunning debut, What A Time To Be Alive? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? 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: P!nk – ‘Walk Me Home’

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P!nk is a truly inspirational artist and is always true to herself, which is why she has just become the very worthy winner (and first ever international artist) of this year’s Outstanding Contribution to Music Award at the Brit Awards 2019.

With 7 albums already under her belt and an upcoming UK tour in support of her last album, Beautiful Trauma (2017), it seems a fitting time for her to put out a new song.

‘Walk Me Home’ is the lead single taken from her upcoming eighth album, Hurts 2B Human. It’s a strong, acoustic-led track with a really cutting vocoder vocal that reverberates right through you. It was even penned with previous duetting partner, Nate Ruess as well as Grammy Award-winner, Scott Friedman, so it’s bound to be a big hit!

Although the track is somewhat somber in tone through the verses, it kicks in to a powerful, all-consuming chorus that just elevates. It’s uplifting and puts out big positive vibes – perfect for a #FeelGoodFriday!

No video has been put out yet but when one does, I’m sure it’ll be epic!

Photo Credit 📸 – Sølve Sundsbø

What are your thoughts of this incredible artist’s latest single, Walk Me Home? 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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‘Walk Me Home’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/walk-me-home-single/1453199363


#ThrowbackThursday: Lily Allen – ‘The Fear’

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‘The Fear’ was the lead single taken from Lily Allen‘s second studio album, ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’. It’s incredible to believe but this track was actually UK Number 1 back in 2009…10 years ago! In fact, it stayed at the top of the UK Singles Chart for four consecutive weeks resulting in it being the longest running Number 1 song, in the UK, for 2009.

Despite the glistening, electropop elements to the song that see a barrage of synths weave their way throughout the track, its lyrics are deep, highlighting and poking fun at the problems with consumerism, celebrity lifestyles (and certain well-known tabloids’ obsessions with them) and the postmodern condition of the world.

The song was co-written and produced by monster-hit creator, Greg Kurstin, and saw the starlet adopting a new, ethereal and more mature sound.

The music video is pretty great too, with Lily Allen emerging from a caravan, before returning to reveal the interior of a massive mansion where she is joined by a large group of dancers, eventually performing amongst some giant, brightly-coloured, dancing presents. It’s very dream-like and actually perfectly reflects the tone and topic of the track itself.

It’s an all-round incredible track and easy to see why it reached the Number 1 spot…I just can’t believe it’s already a decade old!

What are your thoughts of this throwback jam by the incredible Lily Allen? 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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‘The Fear’ can be downloaded on iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-fear/731919848?i=731919950


#WildCardWednesday: Jasmine Thompson – ‘Loyal’

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Jasmine Thompson is a London-based singer-songwriter, born to an English father and Chinese mother and says that, “Having one immigrant parent always provides a unique perspective growing up, a sense of one foot in two different worlds.” Maybe that is part of what makes her sound and voice so utterly captivating…or maybe it’s just her undeniable, raw talent.

At just 18 years old, it’s remarkable just how talented she really is, with a voice that sounds soulful beyond her years. And, whilst she might be a new artist to many, she already has a massive following, which was kicked off by her acoustic cover of Chaka Khan‘s ‘Ain’t Nobody’, that was then remixed and re-released by Felix Jaehn in 2015. From there, she has posted and released countless covers and a string of original songs too.

Now, following the ending of a recent relationship, comes her latest single, ‘Loyal’, on which she reunited with songwriter and producer, Eg White. The song actually began life a year prior to the relationship ending, but was written about the trust issues from within it, so this song is bound to resonate with many people. Especially, as despite the way it ended, she still sings, “I will always be loyal babe,” about the person she met at the beginning.

Throughout the track, her voice is ageless, wise and achingly lonely in tone, conveying the emotion to perfection. It’s a progressive track with some crackling, slow jazz-tinted brass from the beginning, sitting on top of a modern beat, before breaking down to a piano-led interlude in the middle, and then breaking out with some epic string sections, to bring the song to a dramatic close. This is an epic tale, told in just under 4 minutes – a true musical masterpiece!

The music video is great too – there’s a very rustic feel to it with it’s interpretive dance elements inside a quirky, captivating timber-frame location, all shot with a home-video style, giving it a very organic feel.

She is definitely going to be one to watch in 2019!

Jasmine’s EP, Colour, will be out 29th March, on Atlantic Records.

Photo Credit 📸 – Kate Bellm

What are your thoughts of this stunning track from the unique singer-songwriter? 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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‘Loyal’ can be downloaded on iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/loyal-single/1451236610


#TunefulTuesday: Lauv & Troye Sivan – ‘i’m so tired…’

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There’s something instantly gripping about Lauv and Troye Sivan‘s recent collaboration, ‘i’m so tired…’, meaning I just can’t get this song out of my head!

Maybe it’s the repetitiveness of the chorus, the brilliantly-used vocal distortion and electronic harmonies, used periodically throughout, or perhaps it’s the combination of a light guitar tied with the electro drum beat and sharp finger clicks that have created something wonderfully unique, resulting in the song living on repeat for me.

One thing’s for certain – this track is already one of my favourite songs of 2019 and the year has barely begun! I’d love to hear a collaboration album from the pair!

The video for the song is pretty cool too – I love how it’s stylised to be like an old 70s/80s camcorder capturing home video-style footage, such as Troye Sivan riding on top of a car, through the neighbourhood. Equally, the lyrics are brilliantly reflected, with Lauv performing amongst various couples, as though he’s not there; a great little storyboarding idea!

What are your thoughts of this incredible collaboration between Lauv and Troye Sivan? Do you have your own #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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‘i’m so tired…’ can be downloaded from iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/im-so-tired/1448700180?i=1448700185


#Review: Millencolin – SOS 🚀🆘

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Millencolin are a punk rock band from Sweden, consisting of all four original members, Nikola Sarcevic (vocals & bass), Mathias Färm (lead guitar), Erik Ohlsson (rhythm guitar) and Fredrik Larzon (drums). To date, the band have had eight studio albums and played all around the world, including at America’s prestigious Warped Tour. Now, 2019 marks the release of SOS, the band’s ninth studio album since their 1992 inception, some 27 years later! Here’s what we have to say about the record…

Millencolin - SOS.jpg

SOS kicks straight in with the intense, apocalyptic-sounding title track, gripping you with its chugging guitars and haunting vocal chants, making it instantly clear that this is very much a punk rock album and not a commercialising into the pop punk realm.

That said, there is something very commercial about the album’s glistening production; vastly different from that of some of the band’s earlier records.

Additionally, there’s actually something very traditional about this album, like Millencolin have followed the recipe for the perfect skate rock record – ‘For Yesterday’ and ‘Nothing’ are perfect examples of this and particularly reminiscent of early Goldfinger or Alkaline Trio. However, in saying this, it also demonstrates that the band have not quite made any moves to vary their sound or try to push the boundaries of the genre, though there are bound to be countless fans that will appreciate this.

‘Sour Days’ and ‘Reach You’ particularly stand out, and although some of the most “radio friendly” tracks on the record due to their big choruses, they’re possibly the most vocally and instrumentally interesting with great harmonies and pristine changes in tempo across both.

It’s definitely a well-produced record with some strong choruses and impeccable instrumentation.

‘Yanny & Laurel’ is a good, story-telling song and interestingly named after the 2018 debate about whether a sound clip was saying the word ‘yanny’ or ‘laurel’ and is cleverly reflected with an auto-tuned chorus around the two words.

Sadly, there are some songs that just lack sincerity and would sit better on blink-182 or Green Day album (though don’t get me wrong I love both those bands), like ‘Do You Want War’ and ‘Caveman’s Land’. Both tracks have strong instrumentals but lyrically border on cringe-worthy.

‘Carry On’ really brings the album home with a strong, nostalgic-feeling chorus, which sounds almost like an audible farewell. The drums at the start, instantly draw you in and by the end of the track, it’s descended into just the right amount of chaos that you’re both satisfied and left wanting more.

Overall, SOS is a politically charged public service announcement, and takes a rather negative take on the current state of the world, even referencing the decline in society and impending end of the world as we know it. But then isn’t that what all punk rock is about?

It’s definitely a well-produced record with some strong choruses and impeccable instrumentation, however there are certainly the odd lyrical improvements and risk-taking elements that could be adopted by the band, going forward. I guess it could just be put down to, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Rating
3.5


‘SOS’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sos/1441157359


SOS on Spotify

SOS (Official Video)

Nothing (Audio Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Millencolin’s latest album, SOS? Are you a fan? 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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