#Review: Lucy Spraggan – Choices

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Lucy Spraggan is a singer, songwriter and all-round storyteller, from Buxton, England. She is most notable for her appearances on 2012’s series of X Factor. However, since then, she has built a huge, loyal following, from her debut, independent album release through to this, Choices, her sixth album. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Lucy Spraggan - Choices

Having recently gone through some significant changes in her life; a divorce, lost a significant amount of weight and become sober; there is a lot of material for Lucy Spraggan to write about throughout this record. Musically, it’s incredibly diverse too – this is an album that has a great deal to offer.

It all opens with the rather Western-sounding, ‘Flowers’, which sees Spraggan take on a more provocative tone than we’re used to. Having recently become single and lost three stone, she is keen to show that she’s not always about funny lyrics, but can be more sexy too.

Next comes the very singable ‘Roots’, which sees Spraggan tackle the topic of being unhappy about being told by many to lay down roots somewhere and do the “normal” thing of settling down. She very powerfully identifies this is not for her; for now she doesn’t have any roots and she’s happy with that.

Possibly one of the most powerful songs to ever come from her though, is ‘Sober’ – an acoustic-led track all about her decision to remove alcohol from her life – it’s beautifully honest and takes a real step back to assess her life.

Other tracks that really stand out include: ‘Run To The Hills’, a catchy and simplistic yet forthright song written about the falling apart of her relationship and wanting to get away from it all; ‘Heartbreak Suites’ was also written about the end of her marriage but candidly looks at how a relationship should not become a unit that revolves solely around each other, and in the process forgetting and losing those who matter to you; and ‘You’ve Let Yourself Down’ is a thoroughly different flavour from the rest of the album with its almost tropical house feel to it that I just can’t get enough of.

This is an album of diversity, both lyrically and sonically, and it’s just begging to be played on repeat.

That’s not to say the rest of the album is not incredible too – there’s ‘Animal’ with its Bollywood-style drums that are inspired by Spraggan’s love for working out to bhangra music; ‘I Spent A Night In The Desert’ – an ode to her best friends, that’s also wonderfully uplifting and then there’s ‘Run’ a song about metaphorically and physically running towards something she’s found that she was looking for. Also, ‘If I Had A God’ is an open discussion about what it would be like if she were religious and had a strong faith; it’s inspired by those devout Christians around her, however she has found a power within herself, rather than through an external God.

Title track, ‘Choices’ is a way of summarising the whole record really and sees Spraggan express her happiness at choices she has made and finding a new lease of life without being afraid to be herself – additionally, the harmonies are to die for and the acoustic-led backing track is stunningly intricate.

The album draws to a perfect close with the tale ‘Why Don’t We Start From Here’ – a song she describes as a sequel to 2013’s ‘The Tourist’ from her second album, Join The Club. It’s a song about taking a leap of faith to make a new start, whenever you want it, which is a real inspiration to others.

This is an album of diversity, both lyrically and sonically, and it’s just begging to be played on repeat. It’s exciting in every way and although a lot of inspiration is drawn from her divorce, there is something refreshing about the integrity of her writing and the fact that she has woven a diverse tapestry throughout the sound of the record too. This is a thoroughly strong release and makes for a truly engaging listen. I just can’t wait to see what she produces for album number seven!

Rating


‘Choices’ is out 26/02/21 and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/choices/1534375882


Choices on Spotify

Coming Friday 26th February 2021.

Flowers (Official Music Video)

Animal (Official Music Video)

Sober (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the Lucy’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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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: John Newman @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 15/10/19

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On Tuesday 15th October 2019, John Newman arrived in Brighton, to play a sold out show at Concorde 2, to promote his new EP, A.N.i.M.A.L. He was supported by sibling trio, Tors. Here’s what we have to say about the show…


Tors

I remember being fascinated when I first saw Tors support Tom Walker a couple of years ago, so was pleasantly surprised to see the trio of brothers return to Brighton. They still amaze me with just how full their sound is, despite there just being three of them, partially due to the (standing) drummer and his clever use of drum pads.

The three-piece sibling outfit produce some captivating sounds and somehow evoke a sense of nostalgia – they could easily fit on an emotive film soundtrack. If you haven’t seen them; I would highly recommend at least giving them a listen on Spotify, or heading to a show of theirs, near you.

Highlight: The three-part vocal harmonies produced by the guys is remarkable and adds a really interesting depth to their performance. It’s a wonderfully special thing to hear done live.


John Newman

The lights went down as an evocative instrumental and rhythmic lighting got the crowd pumped up for John Newman to take to the stage. As the track came to an end, he arrived to great applause and did something quite unexpected and unusual, performing the first part of ‘Not Giving In’ as just him and an acoustic guitar – upbeat but not a full-on sound to arrive on stage to…but it worked so well! It really showcased his incredible talents, before the full band joined him on stage to finish the rest of the track.

He proceeded to play a range of his biggest, most well-known tracks, including his collaborations with the likes of Rudimental and Sigala, all the while, getting the crowd singing and dancing along. He sure likes to move himself too, as he constantly puts his utmost energy into every song, including busting out his rather quirky yet distinctive dancing.

His vocals were fantastic as well – although a little raspy in places (however this is somewhat part of his trademark sound). He was accompanied by two brilliant female, backing vocalists and a tight band too.

However, possibly one of the best bits about the show, was his candid sharing of anecdotes and opening up about his feelings. He talked about his recent struggles with his physical health, as well as issues with his mental health too; making promises that he will get stronger and never allow people to take control of his creative processes again (which comes after a couple of songs he released that he felt were not true to himself). He also shared how he is coming out of himself a lot more now and wanting to perform more intimate shows and chat more to fans, than he did in the past – showing a great deal of growth.

One thing’s for certain, John Newman could quite easily pack a small, local venue or a huge stadium but regardless, he would have everyone in the place dancing and singing like mad, the whole way through. His energy is relentless and set list is packed with upbeat songs which you can’t help but lose yourself in. You must go and see him live when you get the chance!

Highlights:

  • The sheer energy John Newman gives the audience is highly infectious and his vocals are incredible to hear live!
  • The set list was sensational and packed with hits to get the crowd moving, constantly!
  • His honest and open approach to interacting with the crowd is refreshing and to talk about his own struggles makes him very relatable – and he clearly has a lot of love for it, as people constantly call out, “I love you John!”
  • It may sound odd, but the stage lighting really made the performance stand out too – Concorde 2 is a great, local venue with about 600 capacity but the lighting could easily have worked in a stadium, but it was amazing to see that work at a smaller venue.
  • The backing band and vocalists just make the experience even better – it would be quite easy for him to use backing tracks but it adds something for him to vibe off.

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


 Setlist

Intro
Not Giving In
Give Me Your Love*
Feelings
Cheating
Losing Sleep
The Hardest Word Is Goodbye
Forever’s Not Long Enough
Mama
Animal
Tiring Game
Come And Get It*
Blame
Feel The Love*

Encore
Without You
Stand By Me
Love Me Again

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


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to John Newman and Tors for putting on incredible performances and to Warren Higgins from Chuff Media for setting this review up for me.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Bars & Melody


   

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With the recent release of their second album, Generation Z (check out our review), and currently touring around Europe, we were lucky enough to catch up with Bars & Melody about their recent release, how their writing process has developed, who they’d most like to collaborate with and what Charlie’s most disgusting habit is. It’s all here…


Hey guys, how’s it going?
Hey, we’re great!!!

So you released Generation Z in September and the reception seems to have been incredible, how exciting has that been for you?
Generation Z is an milestone in our career. It’s our second album, we’ve grown so much since our first album, and it’s amazing to see the reception, as it is so great.

Where did the idea for the album title come from and what’s the meaning behind it?
So we were out in Florida writing a song called ‘Scream’. The song was about all the problems of the world, and how unfair it was that our generation (Generation Z) have to live with all the mistakes that the people before us had made. One of the lines for that song is “Generation Z more like Generation Dead” and we found that lyric very powerful, so we decided to name the album Generation Z in honour of that.

What’s your usual process for writing/recording an album?
Our creative process when making an album usually consists of us playing around with a guitar, or listening into some ideas our producers have came up with. We take a lot of time writing lyrics and thinking of meanings for every song.

How did this compare to the experience of recording your debut album?
Generation Z‘s recording process was completely different to our debut album. During our debut album, we were very young and didn’t put as much thought into the writing as we did on Gen Z. Although we love our first album 143, Generation Z is our favourite.

Where do you take inspirations from when writing/recording your music?
When we write our music we take a lot of inspiration from the thought process of teenagers. All of the obstacles you encounter going through the teen phase. We also take inspiration from heartbreak, love and the beauty of the world.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
I think if ‘Bars and Melody‘ were to collab with anyone, we would love it to be Justin Bieber, we love his music!

What music have you been listening to most recently?
We love to listen to all different types of music, from Pop to Rock, Rap, Electronic, LoFi and Jazz. We love Music!

If you had to cover a recent chart song (not on your ‘Covers’ album), which song would it be and why?
If we were to cover in the charts right now it would be ‘rockstar’ by Post Malone, We love that song.

You’re heading out on tour at the moment, where are some of your favourite cities/countries to perform at?
We love Asia! Japan is a personal favourite of ours. But we love performing everywhere!

You’ve done shows across the globe but what makes a show particularly amazing for you?
There was one show in Japan where we supported Big Bang, an amazing KPOP group. We performed to over 80,000 people.

Has anything really scary ever happened to you on tour? If so, what?
Nothing really scary has happened to us on tour, luckily.

What are some of the best things that have come out of BAM?
I would say the best thing to come out of BAM is our lifelong friendship. Even after BAM ends, we’ll always have each other.

Have either of you got any disgusting habits?
Leo: Charlie likes to burp a lot and then blow it in my face.

Do you have any other passions outside of music?
Leo: I love to play video games and skateboard!

What really grinds your gears?
I really hate mess!

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you, in life?
The most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me was when I did a school play when I was 5 years old…I wet myself on stage! Oops!

What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
The best film I have seen lately is a movie called Nerve, I watched it with all my friends! It was amazing.

If, in say 20 years time, a film was made about your lives, who would you want to play each of you?
If a movie was made about us, I would like the cast from Stranger Things to play us.

If you were a chocolate bar, which one would you be and why?
Leo: If I was a chocolate bar, I would be a Lion bar because I’m an animal!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Leo: The best advice I’ve ever been given is to always listen to your mum!

Thanks very much for taking the time to chat, good luck with the tour and next time you’re doing a show down near Brighton I’ll have to come and review it.
THANK YOU GUYS!


Bars & Melody‘s releases are all available:


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