#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: Chromeo – Head Over Heels ūüφ


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerChromeo are an electro-funk duo from Canada, consisting of David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel. To date, the pair have released four studio albums, but Head Over Heels marks their fifth album and debut release with our pals over at Atlantic Records.

Chromeo - Head Over Heels.jpg

The first I knew of Chromeo, was their remix of Maroon 5‘s ‘Wait’ (as featured on our re:MIXTAPE playlist), so I must be forgiven for not having heard much of their back catalogue. However, taking this album at face value, it is a strong release with a stunningly contemporary take on disco and funk music.

Having worked together for the past 15 years, it’s clear to see that these guys have perfected their sound, which is a perfect amalgamation of modern, electro-pop music with synth-driven disco and bass-slapping funk.

This is certainly an album that doesn’t take itself too seriously – it’s intentionally fun and funky, with its saucy innuendos and genre-perfect production qualities, the likes of Giorgio Moroder and Nile Rogers would be proud of.

The album kick-starts with the tantalising¬†‘Must’ve Been’¬†(featuring¬†DRAM) – a slap bass, groovy-guitar, vocoder-infused anthem, that excellently demonstrates what’s in store throughout the rest of the record.

With the music up and a house to yourself (…or packed with friends), there really will be no holding you back!

Other memorable moments include the wonderfully repetitive¬†‘Don’t Sleep’ (featuring French Montana¬†and¬†Stefflon Don)¬†with its laid-back 80s vibes and sensational vocal harmonies, whilst¬†‘One Track Mind’¬†is an understated yet seriously catchy track consisting of beautiful talk box, vocal melodies towards the end – it’s very similar to something you might hear by¬†Charlie Puth.

Meanwhile,¬†‘Bad Decision’¬†is all about splashing the cash on a girl and has a definite¬†Prince-esque vibe to it; high-pitched vocals on top of some superb little guitar riffs and¬†‘Right Back Home To You (Interlude)’¬†is a track you can get surprisingly hooked on – think funky soul meets jazz lounge, topped with sweeping high-pitched vocals; there’s a real 70s quality to it.

Towards the end of the album, it all comes together on the two-part, ‘Bedroom Calling’. Part One is a truly anthemic mellow jam with atmospheric, reverb-driven bass notes and slow drum beats, whilst Part Two¬†(featuring The-Dream) is a much more upbeat, pop tune that is oozing with shimmering synths.

To those who say quality disco music doesn’t get made any more, I would simply reply, “Chromeo”. This is definitely not an album you can listen to without, at the very least, bobbing your head and tapping you toe, but in reality, with the music up and a house to yourself (…or packed with friends), there really will be no holding you back!

Rating


‘Head Over Heels’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/head-over-heels/1380944674


Head Over Heels on Spotify

Must’ve Been featuring DRAM (Official Video)

Juice (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed this review! What do you think of this duo’s latest record? Does it fulfil all your funk needs or leave you wanting more? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#Review: Matt Maltese – Bad Contestant


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerMatt Maltese is a piano-led, 21-year-old, singer-songwriter, who pens songs that are both emotionally intelligent and satirical at the same time. Having recently toured with¬†Isaac Gracie (review), he is now releasing his debut album,¬†Bad Contestant, through Atlantic Records. Here are our thoughts…

Matt Maltese - Bad Contestant.jpg

Matt Maltese‘s debut,¬†Bad Contestant, is jam packed full of wisdom beyond his years but served up with equal doses of cutting humour, hilarious irony and pure over-exaggeration. This is an artist who merges, at times, understated yet sultry melodies and retro sounds with stunning lyrical craftsmanship to create his own unique style.

Album-opener,¬†‘Greatest Comedian’,¬†begins with an unassuming introduction before launching into a fantastic set of back-handed compliments topped off with some intriguing instrumentation and beautiful higher-pitched vocals in the chorus; very similar to something by label-mate, Will Joseph Cook.

Title-track,¬†‘Bad Contestant’, has some seriously funky synth sounds and sees Maltese take on the character of an overly honest and confessional yet fruitless game show contestant.

This is very much an album where jazz and a touch of britpop meet funky, organ-led soul.

Meanwhile, ‘Nightclub Love’ is deeply satirical look at how Maltese sees the realities of clubbing and finding love there, whilst ‘Less & Less’ is an extremely saddening break-up song that is both beautiful and also attempts to put a positive spin on the situation. Of course we can’t go without mentioning the wonderful track, ‘As The a World Caves In’; a hysterical tale of the unlikely hooking up of Donald Trump and Theresa May, watching the nuclear destruction of the world as they do it; genius!

Other key tracks worth taking note of, include; ‘Sweet Sixteen’, an organ-led track taking a twisted look at a modern relationship – the sound is very much somewhere between Kaiser Chiefs and Blur, ‘Like A Fish’ which sounds like the opening to an old, 80s, British TV show and ‘Misery’ which is a dark and intense track with some reverse-sounding vocals on the chorus. In fact, the latter half of the album appears to get darker as it goes on.

The album features production and collaboration by a combination of Jonathan Rado, Hugo White (Maccabees) & Alex Burey.

This is very much an album where jazz and a touch of britpop meet funky, organ-led soul, all dressed up in a hipster outfit and sung with a deep, crisp and crooning vocal. Picture¬†Blur,¬†Pulp and¬†Jamiroquai creating some sort of spliced-together lovechild that’s been brought into the modern, contemporary age and you get¬†Matt Maltese‘s debut,¬†Bad Contestant. A truly alluring debut that is sure to pave the way for an exciting career ahead.

Rating
4


‘Bad Contestant’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bad-contestant/1365077870


Bad Contestant on Spotify

Greatest Comedian (Official Video)

As The World Caves In (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this singer-songwriter’s uniquely captivating debut album? 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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#FreakyFriday: YONAKA – ‘F.W.T.B. (F**king With The Boss)’


   

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YONAKA are an edgy, in-your-face, Brighton-based band that have just released the follow-up to their October 2017 EP,¬†Heavy. Their new single,¬†‘F.W.T.B.’ is a monstrous track that is all about self-empowerment!

Front-woman and lead singer,¬†Theresa Jarvis, has stated that,¬†‚ÄúThe song is a big ‚Äúf**k you‚ÄĚ to anyone who tries to get in your way and tell you no. It‚Äôs about taking back the power, standing up for yourself and being heard.‚Ä̬†

It is a track that reigns very true for me personally and it’s great to hear a song that is about standing up for what you believe in. It’s also the perfect track for our first #FreakyFriday post – something a bit different to our usual #FeelGoodFriday posts.

Not only have the band been gathering a lot of support and notoriety with the press, but they are scheduled for a string of European festival dates this summer with a big headline date at the Electric Ballroom, London on 11th October 2018 too! (Tickets available here).

No music video is available yet, but if one emerges, we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

FESTIVAL DATES

19th May – Gold Sounds Festival, Leeds
26th May – Neighbourhood Festival, Manchester
31st May – Primavera Sound, Spain
17th June – Meltdown Festival, London
22nd June – Southside Festival, Germany
23rd June – Hurricane Festival, Germany
5th July – Opener Festival, Poland
7th July – Roskilde Festival, Denmark
12th July – Musilac Festival, France
14th July – Bilbao BBK Live, Spain
19th July – Electric Castle Festival, Romania
22nd July – Paleo Festival, Switzerland
28th July – Kendal Calling, Kendal
3rd August – Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, Inverness
4th August – Leefest presents Neverworld, Royal Tunbridge Wells
16th August – Pukklepop, Belgium
17th August – Lowlands Festival, Holland
18th August – Frequency Festival, Austria

What are your thoughts of this punk-fuelled, stick-it-to-the-man band? Got a #FreakyFriday 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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‘F.W.T.B.’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/f-w-t-b-single/1380193167


#MellowMonday: Mullally – ‘Sweet Coffee’ featuring Bassette


   

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21-year-old soul singer,¬†Mullally, has just unleashed his new single¬†‘Sweet Coffee’ on the world, featuring London artist¬†Bassette¬†and damn it’s good!

The smooth, soulful vibes are the perfect way to wake up to a week ahead – it truly is like the audible interpretation of your first cup of coffee in the morning. Somehow the pair have created the perfect blend of contemporary R&B/Pop inspirations with the powerful vocals and soft melodies of old-school jazz and soul; it’s truly euphoric.

Having already supported the likes of¬†Anne-Marie, Jess Glynne, RAYE and Clean Bandit, played festivals including¬†Glastonbury, Lovebox¬†and Reading/Leeds¬†and¬†winning Best Solo Male at the Unsigned Music Awards,¬†there’s no doubt that this guy is going to become a big name over the coming months.

No music video has emerged online yet but as soon as one does, we will keep you posted.

What are your thoughts of this soulful singer and songwriter? Do you love this song as much as us? Have you got your own #MellowMonday track to share with us? Please leave your thoughts or own song suggestions in a comment or tell us about it via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Sweet Coffee’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sweet-coffee-feat-bassette-single/1364508986


#Review: Hayley Kiyoko – Expectations


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerHayley Kiyoko is best known for being¬†an American singer-songwriter, actress and dancer. Since starting out as an actress, at a young age, Kiyoko has built up quite a name for herself, both as an all-round entertainer and as an LGBTQ+ activist. Now, with a string of successful EPs and singles under her belt, 2018 sees the release of her long-awaited debut album,¬†Expectations. Here’s what we think…

Hayley Kiyoko - Expectations

This is an album that finds credible, deep songwriting merging with contemporary pop, addressing a range of mature issues, head on. It’s an album packed full of heavy bass lines, quirky synth sounds, upbeat dance rhythms and all-out catchy pop melodies.

The funky Charlie Puth-esque bass opening of first single, ‘Feelings’ sees Kiyoko give a vulnerable account about how intensely she falls for someone. It’s catchy but understated pop.

Then you’ve got ‘What I Need’ featuring Kehlani, which has R&B flavours mixed with current tropical house vibes and it’s all about being there for someone who‚Äôs uncertain about making a commitment.

Other great tracks include; the whispery and subtle ‘Sleepover’ which has a barely noticeable but very beautiful, underlying guitar melody; ‘Curious’ which is undoubtedly the most catchy and most pop track on the record (and my personal favourite) that is about questioning the seriousness of a girl’s relationship and ‘He‚Äôll Never Love You (HNLY)’ with its great guitar lines and reggae feel.

This is a modern pop record that has been crafted well and sees Kiyoko shed her Disney days and address mature issues close to her heart.

There are also similarities with other artists; ‘Under The Blue/Take Me In’ is like a more mainstream pop version of a Lana Del Rey track but a more credible version of Taylor Swift, ‘Mercy/Gatekeeper’ starts out with echoing and rather trippy, distorted vocals but during the second half, becomes quite random and a little Beyonc√©-esque and ‘Palm Dreams’ is very beachy pop, a bit like something by Geowulf.

There’s no doubt that there are strong themes throughout the album; relationships (particularly with girls questioning their sexuality) and inner conflicts Kiyoko herself has faced. The level of sass on the album demonstrates her self-confidence, though at times, the reoccurring topic of girls questioning their sexuality or lusting after other girls, without being able to commit, can become repetitive. However, that’s not to say she isn’t doing something great for the genre and her attempts to normalise lesbian relationships within pop music are fantastic; it just seems to be a very strong theme to the album.

The album starts off very strong and maintains its strength for the majority, but the last couple of tracks do feel a little flat. Overall though, this is a modern pop record that has been crafted well and sees Kiyoko shed her Disney days and address mature issues, close to her heart. It also has a certain excitement to it that could be the start of something big for her! I’m sure this will be a huge success and will take her career to new heights.

Rating


‘Expectations’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/expectations/1332078481


Expectations on Spotify

Curious (Official Video)

Feelings (Official Video)

Sleepover (Official 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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#EventSpeaks: Rae Morris @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 25/03/18


   

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On Sunday 25th March 2017, Rae Morris arrived in Brighton to play a show at Concorde 2, in support of her latest album, Someone Out There (review here). Her performance was superb, her vocals flawless and she was supported by PAULi and Saskia Maxwell.


Saskia Maxwell

The haunting songstress, Saskia Maxwell produced a solid set of interesting songs, merging folk and country sounds with her almost Celtic vocals, making for a truly interesting blend of music. She also performed superb and very intricate guitar work, added to some Newton Faulkner-esque beating of the guitar, to create her rhythms. Considering she was performing alone, with just a guitar and her voice (and a stomp box for her last song), she managed to create a really full sound.


PAULi

Next to take to the stage was¬†PAULi; every so often you witness a performance by an artist or band and get the feeling that you just witnessed the start of something very special and unique and¬†PAULi‘s performance was most certainly one of those times. When his first song began, uncertainty and almost amusement crept through the audience with a real sense of, “What the hell is this we’re listening to?!” but very quickly that moment passed and a huge amount of excitement flooded through the audience. What’s more, as his performance went on, he had the crowd right in the palm of his hand.

His sound is incredibly chaotic (almost off-beat and deliberately off-key in places) as he mixes together vibes from London’s urban music scene, with the funk and soul of¬†Prince, but somehow it all works.

Highlight:¬†‘WAITING (Getting On This Train)’ was a massive song that just filled the room with a wave of excitement and an energy that I’ve not felt in a while. Also,¬†PAULi‘s dancing and crowd interaction was sublime.


Rae Morris

One thing’s for certain,¬†Rae Morris¬†knows how to put on a show! With highs and lows in all the right places and a sound that hits you with full force, I would defy you not to come out having danced to your heart’s content or at the very least singing one of her catchy melodies, all the way home!

From the start of almost understated¬†‘Push Me To My Limit’ to the danceable¬†‘Do It’ and¬†‘Atletico (The Only One)’ this was a show that had something to offer everyone. The audience was truly filled with people of all ages, showing just how diverse her audience is; this must be due to the quirky, credible nature of the pop music she creates and whose appeal spans several generations.

The passion behind her performance shows just how much effort goes in to planning it; some of her more subtle dance moves sync up perfectly with her backing singer, whilst her more elaborate ballet-like, interpretive dances are perfectly calculated and flow effortlessly.

She also manages to play piano whilst delivering her flawlessly powerful vocals and at one point even gives a hand on the synths, all the while, demonstrating just how talented she is.

Some of her most standout performances were¬†‘Wait For The Rain’ due to the storm sounds and lightning effects, immersing the audience and the story behind¬†‘Dancing With Character’, accompanied by her ballet-like moves was enough to bring a tear to the eye.

I can’t recommend seeing Rae Morris¬†highly enough – her energy and passion for the music she creates is infectious and whether you’re already a fan or not, you’ll certainly come away wanting more.

Highlights:

  • Rae‘s cute speaking voice with its almost whispery quality is adorable…and the complete opposite to her powerful singing!
  • The dance moves she busts out are incredible; everything from reggae skanking to ballet – a real treat to behold!
  • The backing vocalist’s voice (and twerking!) was sensational and the instrumentation created by the drummer and synth player were brilliant throughout. The duet she did with her drummer was great too!
  • I liked the part of the show where 2 or 3 of the songs all flowed into one another – great transitioning!
  • The genuine appreciation for her fans’ support was beautiful; she is certainly very modest.
  • The fact she made time to meet her fans to chat after the show and sign merchandise, was a really lovely touch.

ūüď∑ÔŅľ All of the photos of¬†PAULi and¬†Rae Morris¬†are credited to Damon Peirce¬†ÔŅľ¬†ūüďł
Why not go and give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter.


 Setlist

Push Me To My Limit
Reborn
Morne Fortuné
Physical Form
Do It
Cold
Wait For The Rain*
Love Again
Dancing With Character
Dip My Toe
Under The Shadows
Rose Garden
Atletico (The Only One)*

Encore
Lower The Tone
Don’t Go (Short Version)
Someone Out There

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


Finally, I want to say a MASSIVE thanks to Harriet for sorting out this review and to Rae Morris, PAULi and Saskia Maxwell for all putting on incredible performances and taking the time to chat after the show Рit was a fantastic evening!

PAULi & Matt Wright


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