#Review: LAUREL – DOGVIOLET


   

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LAUREL (aka Laurel Arnell-Cullen) is a British indie musician originating from London. She has had a string of critically acclaimed songs since posting her first demo back in 2013 and gained a lot of bloggers’ and radio DJs’ attention for writing, recording and producing most of her early music in her bedroom studio. Since signing to Counter Records (a division of Ninja Tune Records) in August 2016, she has released an EP and headlined her own UK tour. Now, 2018 sees the singer and songwriter releasing her debut album, DOGVIOLET. Here are are thoughts on the record…

Laurel - Dogviolet.jpg

LAUREL is finally releasing her debut album, DOGVIOLET and it’s a real corker! From the moment it opens with the catchy ‘Life Worth Living’ which bursts into life with its heavy drums, we are taken on a personal journey through LAUREL‘s heart and mind.

Some of the other tracks that really stand out are: ‘All Star’ has a really unique guitar line to it and it’s about putting a partner on a pedestal; ‘Hold Tight’ which has some relaxing, summer-by-the-beach vibes about being close to someone; ‘Adored’ for its slightly more grungy sound; ‘Crave’ which builds to a rather haunting chorus and ‘Take It Back’ for its very different and incredibly catchy chorus that lies somewhere along the lines of HAIM and MUNA.

‘Empty Kisses’ is a beautifully melancholic track too about a relationship that’s essentially over and the passion’s gone.

There’s something beautiful about the occasional cracks in her voice – it’s stunningly imperfect.

Undoubtedly, comparisons could be made with the likes of Lana Del Rey or Florence Welch due to her ethereal vocals and melancholic tones but there’s something beautiful about the occasional cracks in her voice too – it’s stunningly imperfect.

The production is artistic and evokes imagery of an artistic independent film; it certainly serves as a soundtrack to this period in her life, with real, introspective lyricism and reflection that must have taken her to some deep, dark places in her memories. This is surely the start of a wonderful career ahead – with her intensely mesmerising vocals and remarkably honest and personal writing style that certainly stands her out from so many others right now. This year is certainly going to be a big one for LAUREL and I can’t wait to see where it takes her next.

Rating
4


‘Dogviolet’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/dogviolet/1373664343


Dogviolet on Spotify

Coming soon.

Same Mistakes (Official Video)

Life Worth Living (Official Audio)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of LAUREL’s debut album, DOGVIOLET? 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 chat to us about it 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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#Review: Mayday Parade – Sunnyland ☀️


   

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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’s 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.


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#TunefulTuesday: Jordan Mackampa – ‘One In The Same’


   

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Jordan Mackampa is a Coventry-born, singer-songwriter who has managed to combine his Congolese roots and Midlands upbringing and is deeply inspired by his mother’s love of the great soul singers, as such, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers and Curtis Mayfield.

‘One In The Same’ is a combination of timelessly soulful vocals with catchy melodies, stunning harmonies and beautifully heartfelt lyrics, creating a captivating blend of folk and soul. The track was in fact co-written by Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Matt Ingram and produced by Cam Blackwood.

This is definitely the start of something magical for this artist and I look forward to hearing more from him in the months to come.

Unfortunately no music video exists for this track, as yet, but if one appears online, we’ll be sure to share it with you.

What are your thoughts of this singer-songwriter? Got a #TunefulTuesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘One In The Same’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/one-in-the-same/1374225159?i=1374225843


#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


#WildCardWednesday: PAULi – ‘WAITING (Getting On This Train)’


   

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Having seen PAULi support Rae Morris at Concorde 2 recently (review here)…I have been utterly obsessed! This is an artist who delivers a live performance which is both exciting and captivating; he has crafted something truly unique!

‘WAITING (Getting On This Train)’ is an intense blend of London’s urban music scene, with chaotic dance elements and a certain quality to his voice that is somewhat reminiscent of something Prince would have done, in his more recent years.

PAULi is an artist that has worked hard to produce a complete package; artistic music videos, quirky single/album artwork and a unique genre-blending sound. Unfortunately, no music video exists for this track but if you ever get the chance to see him live, there’s something in the energy of this song that is just astounding!

This is most definitely an artist to watch out for; I’m predicting big things for him!

What are your thoughts of this incredibly unique artist? Have you got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or hit us up via our socials.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘WAITING (Getting On This Train)’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/waiting-getting-on-this-train/1180156800?i=1180157170


#MellowMonday: Brunswick – ‘Know No Better’


   

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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