#Review: Klingande – The Album

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Klingande started out as a production duo back in 2012, releasing a couple of notable tracks. However, following the departure of one half of the pair in 2014, Cédric Steinmyller chose to continue using the moniker, as a solo venture. Since then and with a string of singles and remixes under his belt, the French DJ and tropical house producer, is now releasing his debut album, The Album. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Klingande - The Album

Klingande‘s aptly-titled debut album, The Album, sees the producer putting out a double-disc record. The first of which is a body of work that sounds sonically polished and wonderfully well collected together, whilst the second disc is more a collection of the producer’s previous hits and well-known tracks.

The first disc is definitely an album that has been inspired by the likes of the late Avicii, blending real instruments with electronic elements. It would appear that there are other influences being played with too, with a real sense of the Deep South of America interwoven throughout – such as ‘Sinner’ (featuring Stevie Appleton) with country-style acoustic guitars in the verses and bluesy guitar riffs in the chorus. Or By The River’ that has slick guitars and features the raspy yet soulful vocals from Jamie N Commons. Even a harmonica finds its way onto the album (courtesy of French harmonica player, Greg Zlap) on the refreshing and rather frantic, surefire fan-favourite, ‘Ready For Love’ (also featuring vocals from UK singer-songwriter, Joe Killington).

The album opens with his latest single, ‘Amsterdam’ (the first of two collaborations with pop duo BRIGHT SPARKS) an acoustic-led, mellow dance track with a heavy underlying bass which sounds almost separate to the rest of the track, in a really interesting way. The second collaboration with BRIGHT SPARKS is previous single, ‘Messiah’ a subtle yet very catchy track, with some interesting fills, like a great dubstep-style wob-wob, leading into the final chorus.

‘Simple Man’ has some beautiful, distant gospel backing vocals, topped off with a deep lead vocal. This track is definitely a nod to his older sound, as it’s very saxophone led. Meanwhile, ‘Famous’ is quite different in tone to the rest of the album, particularly as it’s the first track on The Album to feature a female vocal.

The Album is a wonderful collection of songs that bring about an interesting new depth to dance music, making it stand out from a lot of other EDM.

Besides ‘Ready For Love’ (a personal favourite!), the final two tracks are possibly the best ones on the record. ‘Alive’ is a very positive track about things you won’t allow to get to you or defeat you and whilst the lyrics are not necessarily the deepest or most well-written, it’s catchy as hell and the message is great! Equally, closing track, ‘Only Breath’ (and the second to feature an unknown female vocal) is an airy and atmospheric song, with a synth rhythm that is pure euphoria – a wonderful track in spite of the inevitable dance drop.

The second half of The Album serves as more of a greatest hits, collating a bunch of Klingande‘s previous releases from the past few years – a time when he was more recognised for his prominent piano and saxophone use.

Whilst reviewing The Album, I chose to focus my attention mainly on the first half of the record, due to it being a more comprehensive collection of songs, however what the second half does do, is bring most of his previous releases together in one place and showcase just what growth this artist has been through, whilst the first half marks a new chapter in his career.

The Album is a wonderful collection of songs that bring about an interesting new depth to dance music, making it stand out from a lot of other EDM, but at its core, still uses tried, tested and much-loved dance sensibilities. This is a record that will be enjoyed by people of all ages and could quite easily be the perfect party companion. Given the growth demonstrated on this record, it’ll be interesting to see what direction Klingande goes in next!

Rating
4


‘The Album’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/the-album/1484567866


The Album on Spotify

Amsterdam featuring Bright Sparks (Official Lyric Video)

Messiah featuring Bright Sparks (Official Video)

By The River featuring Jamie N Commons (Official Video)

Jubel (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the producer’s debut album? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media and feel free to share our review.


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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.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MellowMonday: Zara Larsson – ‘Ruin My Life (Piano Version)’


   

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Zara Larsson is an incredible pop singer-songwriter from Sweden, who has collaborated with the likes of Clean Bandit (Symphony) and MNEK (‘Never Forget You‘), and released a whole heap of monster solo hits too.

Since the release of her debut album, So Good, back in 2017, she has been busy touring and undoubtedly working on new music with her latest single, ‘Ruin My Life’ being her first new music since then.

The song itself is a very up-beat pop track that has some rather wonderful production but since the release of the piano version, I haven’t been able to get enough of it. It’s amazing how such a catchy pop track can be made into such a beautiful ballad just by stripping it back to a piano!

Sit back, relax, turn it up loud and get lost in all of its beauty!

What are your thoughts on the piano version of this pop song? 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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‘Ruin My Life (Piano Version)’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/ruin-my-life-piano-version-single/1443604009


#Review: David Ford @ The Hope & Ruin, Brighton – 22/06/18


   

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On Friday 22nd June 2018, David Ford came to Brighton and performed a sold-out show at The Hope & Ruin in support of his new album, Animal Spirits. He was supported by the angelic-voiced Beth Rowley.


Beth Rowley

Beth Rowley put on a fantastic set, supported on guitar, by David Ford himself. The songstress delivered a flawless set of her trademark sound, which combines elements of soul, gospel and jazz. It was wonderful to see this accomplished singer and songwriter at a modest-sized venue, performing a raw and stripped-back set.

Highlight: It was great to see the two artists collaborating for her set and her voice was simply stunning.


David Ford

As David Ford took to the stage, applause erupted as people eagerly anticipated the talented songwriter’s first song, which was ‘Downmarket’, taken from his new album, Animal Spirits.

The set consisted of a real mixture of new and old songs, intertwined with Ford’s crowd interaction which is laced with his incredibly dry sense of humour (as can be seen in the ‘State Of The Union’ video below).

The multi-instrumentalist used his loop pedal to perfection, crafting entire songs, by himself, showing that it is entirely possible to be a one-man-band, if you’ve got the talent. This is something he’s developed since his debut solo single, ‘State Of The Union’ (the video for which was shot in one take), but it’s still impressive to see done live!

He doesn’t overuse this though, as certain songs were performed solely on one instrument, such as ‘Song For The Road’, for which he brought but Beth Rowley to collaborate on.

In fact their cover of Aretha Franklin and George Michael‘s ‘I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)’ closed the show and it truly sent people away on a high; it’s so nice to see that a wonderful songwriter isn’t afraid to do a cover when they like a particular song!

David Ford is honestly someone you need to see live at least once in your life. He is captivating in many ways; from his ability to play various instruments and construct songs with a loop pedal, to his quick wittedness and dry interaction with the crowd…it truly will be an evening to remember!

Highlights:

  • David Ford‘s impeccable use of a loop pedal means he can cleverly build a song to sound like a full band, all by himself.
  • He’s an incredibly talented musician too, playing multiple instruments; it’s truly a marvel to behold.
  • The chaotic end to ‘State Of The Union’ was loud and dramatic but oh so brilliant!
  • The balance of new and old songs was great; it gave a flavour for the new album but paid homage to previous releases.
  • The duet of Aretha Franklin and George Michael‘s ‘I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)’ was stunning.

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 Setlist

Downmarket
Isn’t It Strange
Waiting For The Storm
Animal Spirits*
Why Don’t You Answer Your Telephone?
To Hell With The World
Real Damn Slow
One Of These Days (with Beth Rowley)
Song For The Road (with Beth Rowley)
State Of The Union*
I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) (Aretha Franklin & George Michael cover) (with Beth Rowley)

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


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to David Ford himself, for being so accommodating and allowing me to come and do this review; it was a fantastic evening!


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MellowMonday: Life Of Dillon – ‘Only Fools Fall In Love’


   

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We’re so pleased that Life Of Dillon are back with their new single, ‘Only Fools Fall In Love’!

The song has a very chilled-out vibe to it, with its driving acoustic guitar and heart-thumping beats on the body of the guitar, married perfectly with the dreamy, falsetto vocals. There’s also a distinct African flavour with the harmonised backing vocals that run throughout the track. It’s stunning!

The music video for the track is fairly simplistic, seeing the boys performing in amongst some model-like girls and it’s stylised to look like it’s shot with an old video camera, but it suits the song perfectly.

Could this new single finally signal the release of their debut album or at least a follow-up EP?! Let’s hope so!

What are your thoughts of the duo’s latest single? What’s your favourite song of theirs? Have you got a #MellowMonday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Only Fools Fall In Love’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/only-fools-fall-in-love-single/1389932830


#Review: William Ryan Key – Thirteen (EP)


   

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William Ryan Key is best known for being the frontman of American rock band, Yellowcard but since their scheduled parting of ways, he has decided to release his own solo project. Here’s what we have to say about his debut EP, Thirteen

William Ryan Key - Thirteen.jpg

Many people will be expecting something in the same vein as Yellowcard but this release couldn’t be further from that sound. It’s clear that William Ryan Key has spent some time developing his own unique, acoustic-led style that is very different to even one of his former band’s acoustic albums.

This is a stunning, warm-sounding and mellow EP, that feels reflective, somewhat sorrowful and like it was therapeutic for him to write. It truly is an EP that would suit a warm summer evening around a campfire, with friends or on a sunny autumnal walk through a forest.

It all begins with track, ‘Old Friends’, which serves as a cleansing opener, reflecting on his past mistakes and seeking forgiveness in order to look to the future with a clearer conscience.

William Ryan Key has always been a lyricist that people can connect with, and this is no different; in fact it might even be a more frank and open set of songs.

‘Vultures’ is probably the most similar track to his former sound with its upbeat guitar patterns, but it’s still heavily led by acoustics and his new, more laidback vocals. This is a song very much about moving on from the past, whilst open and honest track, ‘Form and Figure’ describes the sleepless and anxious state so many experience, after the loss of someone you love.

‘Thirty Days’ is rich with ambient tones, whilst ‘Great Unknown’ takes an optimistic look to the uncertain future.

William Ryan Key has always been a lyricist that people can connect with, and this is no different; in fact it might even be a more frank and open set of songs that is reinforced by its easy listening demeanour – beautiful melodies, calming guitars, stunning vocals and atmospheric sounds.

Fans of Yellowcard will certainly get enjoyment from this, but equally, so will fans of folky, singer-songwriter vibes. It’s an exciting new direction for this incredibly talented musician and I can’t wait to hear what he has to offer next.

Rating
4-5


‘Thirteen’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/thirteen-ep/1382373461


Thirteen on Spotify

Vultures (Official Audio)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this incredible songwriter’s EP? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: Jake Bugg @ Brighton Dome, Brighton – 13/03/18


   

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On Tuesday 13th March 2018, Jake Bugg concluded his acoustic, UK tour at Brighton Dome, in Brighton. The set was packed with a string of hits and supported by up-and-comer, Georgie (interview here).


Georgie

Georgie took to the stage with quiet confidence and launched into her first song, which by the end, had the audience in the palm of her hand and breaking out into waves of cheers. Her voice is beautiful and powerful and her inspiration from the likes of Sheryl Crow, really shine through. Her songwriting is honest and humble. She is a raw talent that is surely headed for big things.

Highlight: The sheer power and tone behind her voice was something very special to watch. ‘Too Much TV’ (her latest single) was great to see live too!


Jake Bugg

By 9pm, the audience were ready for Jake Bugg to take the stage, and he did so to massive applause and cheering from the crowd.

I must confess that I only knew a couple of his tracks prior to this show (namely ‘Lightning Bolt’) but this show proved he is SO much more than that! His songwriting is exceptional and considering this was an acoustic tour, each song really held its own as a stripped back version.

His voice is incredibly distinctive with a real stamina behind it and he was note perfect from start to finish; not something to brush off, considering he was so exposed by doing an entirely acoustic set. Some of the intonation and speed of his vocals is impressive too.

His guitar-playing was sensational too and by doing this stripped-back show, really allowed you to marvel at how talented you have to be (and he is), to sing and play the guitar at the same time. I actually came away wishing that he would put out a live album of the show, or even just an acoustic studio album, of all the versions he sung; something I really think he should do.

If you haven’t seen this guy live before or only know a couple of his songs, I can’t recommend going to see him, highly enough; he doesn’t disappoint and you’ll come away waning to hear more.

Highlights:

  • The sheer stamina and speed behind Jake’s voice were remarkable.
  • Variation between the songs was remarkably dynamic, considering it was solely him and a guitar.
  • The tones, rhythms and volumes he produced on his guitars added further diversity to his set.
  • About half way through the set, Jake asked the audience what they wanted to hear but from then on, whenever there was an opportunity, people shouted out requests. His responses to some of the calls were witty and well handled.

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


Setlist

How Soon The Dawn
Saffron
Strange Creatures
Slide
Indigo Blue
Taste It
Two Fingers
Bigger Lover
Someone Told Me
Old Man (Neil Young Cover)
Simple As This
Me And You
Country Song
Trouble Town
There’s A Beast And We All Feed It
Broken
In The Event Of My Demise
Slumville Sunrise
Seen It All
Waiting
Lightning Bolt*

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


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to Thom Williams for setting up this review and arranging the interview with Georgie. Also, massive thanks to Jake Bugg and Georgie for putting on a fantastic show – the crowd loved it!


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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