#Review: Panic! At The Disco – Pray For The Wicked ūüôŹ


   

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Panic! At The Disco¬†is an American band notable for its combination of alternative rock, synth-pop and emo lyrics, creating a very unique sound. After the huge success of the band’s debut album,¬†A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, back in 2005, they have had a string of albums, continuously kept their sound fresh and built up a very loyal following. Now, in 2018, and with only Brendon Urie¬†in the official line-up, the now-solo project is releasing a sixth studio album,¬†Pray For The Wicked. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Panic At The Disco - Pray For The Wicked

Let’s just start by saying that this album couldn’t be further from their 2005 debut but somehow still manages to have a distinctive Panic! At The Disco sound… mostly due to Brendon‘s instantly recognisable vocals!

Throughout the band’s life, they have had many incarnations, from the cabaret-infused emo-pop of their debut, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (2005), to their Beatles-inspired, Pretty. Odd (2008) and even their remarkably elaborate 2016 offering, Death Of A Bachelor. Well, Pray For The Wicked is no different…it’s another eccentric overhaul of the act and with that, brings a new and exciting sound.

It all opens with the show-stopper, ‘(Fuck A) Silver Lining’; an all-out, overly-extravagant anthem that oozes an air of success about the guy. The production is top-notch and unapologetic about its use of heavy drum fills and lavish symphony instrumentation. I particularly love the use of the one-off beep where a “fuck” should be – a great little production addition.

This is a theatrical record that doesn’t hold back in any way, shape or form!

As with any Panic! album, there is a great deal of sass behind the lyrics but this record also serves as an honest reflection on certain aspects of his life; his religious upbringing coupled with his rise to fame but rather than focusing on him living the high-life (as was the case on 2016’s Death Of A Bachelor), delves further into the journey to get there. This is a theatrical record that doesn’t hold back in any way, shape or form! It could easily be the soundtrack to a film like The Greatest Showman or feature on Broadway.

Some of key tracks to listen to on this record include, the quietly catchy, ‘Hey Look Ma, I Made It’; the pop-infused ‘High Hopes’ which you can’t help but sing at full pelt; the aptly-named ‘Dancing’s Not A Crime’ – which is a bloody good thing, as you’re unable to hear this without busting out some moves; and the beautifully heartfelt ‘Dying In LA’.

There is a real amalgamation of sounds on this album, from the superbly-integrated brass sections throughout (which add a certain class and almost seem to flaunt the budget that must have been spent making it), to the urban flourishes, such as gritty vinyl sounds, ballsy trap beats and even hip hop-tinted, high-pitched vocal samples. There’s no escaping the fact that Brendon sounds like he had a friggin’ great time making this record and at the same time, was not afraid to push some boundaries.

One thing’s for sure; fans of label-mates, Fall Out Boy‘s, newer sound, as well as die-hard Panic! fans, will undoubtedly love this record…but I have a feeling that with this new direction, he might well be picking up a whole new army of fans too! There are moments here and there that I could give or take, but on the whole, this is an outstanding, current and contemporary album that I would just LOVE to see performed live!

Rating


‘Pray For The Wicked’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/pray-for-the-wicked/1361152002


Pray For The Wicked on Spotify

Hey Look Ma, I Made It (Official Video)

Say Amen (Saturday Night) (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s sixth album? Are you a fan? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media.


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#Review: Mayday Parade – Sunnyland ‚ėÄÔłŹ


   

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Mayday Parade are a relatively unique blend of pop punk but with a more mature, almost alternative rock sound than some other bands in the genre. They have had five albums, prior to this, but Sunnyland not only marks their sixth album release, but it’s their first with new label, Rise Records. Here are our thoughts…

Mayday Parade - Sunnyland.jpg

The album is launched into full swing by opening track, ‘Never Sure’; a fast-paced pop punk summer anthem that is begging for festival-goers to be jumping around like maniacs. This has surely got to be their set opener for their tours this year?!

Then there’s the band’s recent single, ‘It‚Äôs Hard To Be Religious When Certain People Are Never Incinerated By Bolts Of Lightning’, an angry anthem about feeling screwed over by someone. There are some stunning, echoey vocals in the last minute of the track where singer, Derek Sanders‘ voice really shines.

The tempo drops for the album’s lead single, ‘Piece Of Your Heart’, which certainly wasn’t an obvious choice to launch the album, but nevertheless it is a dreamy and romantic ballad that features some stadium-filling instrumentation and stunning gang vocals.

In fact, a large portion of the album feels self-reflective and relatively mellow in comparison to some of their previous releases but perhaps this is a maturing of the band’s musical direction? It can at times, feel a little stop-start due to the number of mellower tracks, but it’s definitely got a late summer/early autumn feel to it. ‘Take My Breath Away’ (almost sounds like something byThe Barr Brothers) and ‘Where You Are’ see the full band sound swapped for a more unplugged feel.

The highs are powerful and stratospheric, whilst the lows are both beautiful, vulnerable and unapologetic.

However, tracks such as ‘Is Nowhere’ and ‘How Do You Like Me Now’ showcase a much heavier, maybe even angrier, side to the band.

Favourite tracks have to be:¬†‘How Do You Like Me Now’ for its no holds barred lyrics and progressively chaotic instrumentation;¬†‘If I Were You’¬†as it’s just a fun, classic pop punk mosh anthem about getting away from it all and¬†‘Satellite’ that is a truly remarkable song with harmonic guitars and euphoric vocals that excite and induce a rush of ecstasy from start to finish.

There is something very similar to the likes of You Me At Six (like on ‘It’s Hard To Be Religious…’ and ‘Is Nowhere’) and Funeral For A Friend about this record; the highs are powerful and stratospheric, whilst the lows are both beautiful, vulnerable and unapologetic.

This is very much an album that weaves its way through calm, reflective tracks and punchy pop punk thrash anthems to target a mixed audience – and it is packed full of emotions too. This is mainly one for the fans, but I’m sure will pick up a few new listeners along the way.

Rating
4


‘Sunnyland’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sunnyland/1375751341


Sunnyland on Spotify

It’s Hard To Be Religious When Certain People Are Never Incinerate By Bolts Of Lightning¬†(Official Music Video)

Piece Of Your Heart (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s sixth album? Are they headed in a direction you like? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media.


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#Review: State Champs – Living Proof ūüźĮ


   

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State Champs are a pop punk powerhouse, who formed in Albany, New York, back in 2010. To date, the band have released two albums, which had great receptions, making them a staple name in the pop punk world. Now they are releasing their third full-length record, Living Proof, which is set to see the band soar to new heights!

State Champs - Living Proof.jpg

Kicked into top gear immediately, with opening track, ‘Criminal’, this epic, in-your-face thrash anthem is a high-octane way to open a record…and you’d expect nothing less from State Champs.

From there the album continues to build, from the drum-heavy and powerful ‘Frozen’ to second single, ‘Crystal Ball’, which has the perfect build-up from a calm, heartfelt introduction through to a passionate, powerful chorus. The vocals are particularly incredible on this track with a half-time section towards the end.

It’s impossible to listen to this record without craving to see them live.

Then there’s the sure-fire, off-beat crowd-pleaser and lead single, ‘Dead And Gone’, about a troubled relationship and ‘Our Time To Go’; an archetypal pop punk power ballad which tugs at the heart strings and encourages taking the positive with the negative.

Other notable tracks include, the passive aggressive, ‘Safe Haven’ which contains a brilliant musical breakdown after the chorus and a moment of solace in the middle 8 section; ‘Something About You’ is a fun, uplifting track with some superb vocal steps and is reminiscent of something by Marianas Trench whilst ‘Mine Is Gold’ has an All Time Low-vibe. It then all goes out with a bang in ‘Sidelines’; a beautifully chaotic track which breaks, in part, to a lighters-up moment of calm before descending into a final bout of pure carnage that brings the album to an epic finish.

The production on the album is top-notch too! Some stunning little effects and subtle fills make this a diverse and powerful listen!

It’s impossible to listen to this record without craving to see them live. You get every sense that a performance by this band will leave you sweaty and exhausted but greatly fulfilled. All credit to the guys for taking their time to release a new record; it’s an excellent album that will undoubtedly take pride of place in every pop punk fan’s music collection.

Rating
4-5


‘Living Proof’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/living-proof/1370452923


Living Proof on Spotify

Dead And Gone (Official Music Video)

Secrets (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s Fiction Act 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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#ThrowbackThursday: Lenny Kravitz – ‘Fly Away’


   

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Lenny Kravitz is well-known for his retro vibes and fusion of various genres, from rock to reggae, folk to funk and soul to psychedelic.

Back in 1998, Kravitz released ‘Fly Away’, one of his most successful singles to date, reaching Number 1 in the UK Charts.

The song was in fact the fourth single to be taken from his fifth album, 5, and due to the huge success of it, not only boosted sales of the album but also earned him a Grammy Award in 1999 for Best Male Rock Performance.

The track is incredibly catchy with its funk bass line and gritty vocals – it’s no wonder it rocketed to the top of the charts.

The music video was directed by Paul Hunter (Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and more) and features Kravitz and his band performing in a club, surrounded by a crowd, dancing and getting frisky. It’s a very iconic video for the artist and shows a real passion in his performance…something he definitely pours into his live shows!

What are your thoughts of this wonderfully unique artist? Did you love this track first time around? Do you still love it now? What’s your favourite Lenny Kravitz track? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Fly Away’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/fly-away/723338099?i=723338326


#WildCardWednesday: Jimmy Eat World – ‘Love Never’


   

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Jimmy Eat World are definitely a strong band with longevity on their side. Despite one minor change to their lineup at the very start of their career, the band has had the same members for their entire career, and a whopping nine albums since they started in 1993…something that’s actually quite rare today.

On May 4 2018, following on from the release of their 2016 album, Integrity Blues, the band released a double A-side single, featuring two new songs; ‘Love Never’ and ‘half heart’, possibly signalling the upcoming release of a tenth studio album?

The song sounds somewhere along the lines of their massive hit album, Bleed American, with a big dose of the distinctive guitar-driven sound they are so well-known for and a large helping of emotive lyricism too. This feels like a return to an earlier sound but at the same time, like a step into the new, pushing their melodies and songwriting, keeping things fresh and ever evolving.

The music video is more of a walkthrough lyric video, based around a studio (presumably where the band have been recording) and shows various handwritten lyrics, in time to the music. Whilst it’s not necessarily a spectacular concept video, it must have taken quite a while to prepare.

What are your thoughts of this incredible band? When did you start following their career? What’s your favourite album of theirs? Do you have a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Love Never’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/love-never/1376086152?i=1376086161


#Review: The Wonder Years – Sister Cities


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerThe Wonder Years are an an American pop punk band from Pennsylvania, USA that formed in July 2005. Since their humble beginnings, the band have released five full-length albums, two EPs, and had several split releases with other bands. Now, 2018 sees their sixth album release and possibly their most unique record to date. Here are our thoughts on Sister Cities

One thing is for certain; with this album, the band have all but shed their iconic pop punk sound and become more of an alternative rock outfit. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as it shows a certain maturity and evolution, but with that comes a much darker tone to their sound and far heavier themes to their songs. This is something fresh and rare for the genre.

The conception of this album stems from the band’s huge, 2 year tour in support of their 2015 release,¬†No Closer To Heaven, which had¬†frontman Dan Campbell (or¬†‚ÄúSoupy‚ÄĚ, as he’s known to his close friends) reflecting about life on the road. It was whilst touring that he experienced heartbreak and took a somewhat emotional beating and this can be heard by the cracks and subtle imperfections in his vocals, showing a very real and very raw set of emotions.

From the thunderous and kinetic energy of opening track,¬†‘Raining In Kyoto’, we are taken on a journey from the bustling heights of Japan, through the catchy-as-hell choruses of title track ‘Sister Cities’ before ultimately ending on the thought-provoking, ‘The Ocean Grew Hands To Hold Me’.

The poetic lyricism and excellent musicianship make this an inspiring collection of eleven, achingly mesmerising tracks.

This is an album that is steeped with references of death and a genuine sense of nostalgia. Its realness is altogether dark; it’s both tense and intense. From the wonderful lyrics, ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs a bird inside your rib cage,” on ‘Pyramids of Salt’, which starts as quite a twisted and emo ballad, before becoming a desperate plea for forgiveness, to the beautifully poetic language and crisp-sounding voice of the passionate ‘Flowers Where Your Face Should Be’, the band have captured their raw emotions with perfection.

The sounds on the record lie somewhere along the lines of Brand New but married up with a grittier sounding Panic! At The Disco vocal (as on ‘Raining In Kyoto’) and the melancholic intensity of Sonny Moore‘s days in From First To Last (like that of the rather heavy track, ‘The Ghosts Of Now’).

Kudos must go to¬†The Wonder Years¬†for taking a brave step away from a more mainstream sound and venturing into a more post-hardcore realm with certain emo qualities, to ultimately create a somewhat concept album; something that’s no mean feat to achieve. You won’t necessarily walk away from this album feeling as uplifted as you would after hearing bop-along, perfectly-(over)produced pop punk record, but the poetic lyricism and excellent musicianship make this an inspiring collection of eleven, achingly mesmerising tracks, documenting a 2-year insight into the band’s lives.

Rating


‘Sister Cities’¬†is out now¬†and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sister-cities/1337276526


Sister Cities on Spotify

Sister Cities (Official Video)

Pyramids of Salt (Visual Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest album,¬†Sister Cities? Are you a fan? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or talk to us about it via our socials.


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MellowMonday: Brunswick – ‚ÄėKnow No Better‚Äô


   

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Brunswick¬†is the moniker of a 19-year-old up-and-comer, who is making some seriously edgy, fusion music. This single,¬†‘Know No Better’ merges R&B and hip hop with rock and pop to create a unique blend, self-described as¬†“Rhythm & Grunge”. It’s a great sound that is almost like crossing G-Eazy with Conor Maynard and topping it off with some Nirvana; it really is something special.

Very little is known about this artist right now, other than from his Instagram and SoundCloud pages, but a little mystery isn’t always a bad thing.

No music video has been released for the track yet, but as soon as one emerges, we’ll keep you updated.

What are your thoughts of this mysterious artist? Got your own #MellowMonday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or hit us up via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Know No Better’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/know-no-better-single/1361721586