#Review: Now, Now – Saved


   

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Now, Now are an American indie duo originally from Blaine, Minnesota (USA), now based in Minneapolis. The band now consists of founding members, KC Dalager (vocals/guitar/keyboard) and Brad Hale (drums/backing vocals) after a recent departure from their line-up. To date, they have had two, somewhat heavier albums and this, Saved, will be their third, full-length release. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Now, Now - Saved.jpg

It’s been a decade since their more thrashy, emo-esque debut album, Cars, was released (back when they were called Now, Now Every Children) but since then, Now, Now have clearly been working hard on mastering the art of slick production.

This is an album that successfully merges emotive, thought-provoking lyricism based upon relatable topics, with warm, summery production; it’s credible songwriting with certain mainstream, pop sensibilities.

Saved is a stunning record. It has everything from catchy choruses and atmospheric synths to chugging guitars and heavy beats.

It kicks off with the acoustic-led, summer tune ‘SGL’ (short for Shot-Gun Lover) which would be the perfect road trip track, through the open roads of America. From there, you’ve got the captivating ‘MJ’, which makes reference to Michael Jackson‘s ‘Billie Jean’ topped off with a galloping beat (somewhat similar to MJ‘s ‘A Place With No Name’ from 2014’s Xscape)

Another significant track is ‘Window’, with its shimmering synths and manipulated vocals, that continually ascend. It’s a song about desperation for someone;“Every night I’m at your window, Wonder when you’re gonna let me in.”A truly atmospheric track.

Just listening to this album, puts you in an instantly good mood due to its stunning production and uplifting vibes.

‘Powder’ is a massive tune and a superbly powerful and passionate close to the album; it has a catchy, fun start with delicate guitars and subtle synths but as it goes on, descends into a very interesting and heavy breakdown with gritty synths.

There are certainly a lot of resemblances that can be made across the album too: ‘Can’t Help Myself’ has whispery vocals, somewhat similar to Geowulf; ‘Knowme’ is a house-like track with calm, electronica vibes, with elements of Chicane to it; ‘Set It Free’ makes cheeky reference to “wandering hands” and has a certain something about it that reminds me of a cross between The Cardigans and Sixpence None The Richer; ‘Drive’ has a beachy, Lana Del Rey vibe and ‘Holy Water’ is a song which I find merges MUNA with early Dido (with the use of industrial-like sounds) – it’s beautiful and euphoric. That’s in no way saying that they are copying other artists but perhaps making a nod to them; if anything it just goes to show what an eclectic record they have managed to create, with a little something for everyone.

As far as albums go, this is diverse and interesting with a real excitement about it. Just listening to it, puts you in an instantly good mood due to its stunning production and uplifting vibes. They have managed to craft a sound that is somewhere between airy beach-pop and grungy rock, evoking nostalgia and varying emotions throughout. This is fantastic record that is sure to be the soundtrack to many people’s summers this year.

Rating


‘Saved’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/saved/1365088448


Saved on Spotify

AZ (Official Video)

SGL (Official Video)

Yours (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review; what do you make of this band’s latest album, Saved? 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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#Review: Hawthorne Heights – Bad Frequencies


   

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Hawthorne Heights are an American emo/rock band from Dayton, Ohio, which formed in 2001. The band currently consists of JT Woodruff (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Matt Ridenour (bass guitar, backing vocals), Mark McMillon (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Chris Popadak (drums, percussion). To date, the band have released 5 studio albums and been through a variety of line-up changes but now, in 2018, the band are releasing their sixth studio album, Bad Frequencies, through Pure Noise Records. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Hawthorne Heights - Bad Frequencies

This is certainly an album of two mindsets; on the one hand you’ve got a new sound that sees the band edging ever closer to pop punk commerciality and on the other hand they are sticking to their more screamo roots. However you look at it, the band are diversifying and growing their sound at the same time as keeping hold on some of what the fans love.

‘In Gloom’ launches the album with a slow, heartfelt intro from vocalist/guitarist JT Woodruff, but after the first minute, we are thrust into the sound of the full band, making their triumphant return.

The nostalgia continues as first single, ‘Pink Hearts’, reflects on past relationships you carelessly work your way through in your younger years.

An exciting balance of old and new, Hawthorne Heights have made a triumphant return!

More old-school, classic Hawthorne Heights can be heard on tracks such as ‘Crimson Sand’ and ‘Just Another Ghost’ with bassist, Mark McMillion’s, screams coming through in full force.

Meanwhile, ‘Edge Of Town’ and ‘Starlighter (Echo, Utah)’ show us the newer, more pop-punk driven sound that moves this record, and indeed the band, forward.

Possibly one of the most stand-out tracks on the record is ‘Pills’; the song deals with the loss of someone you care deeply about but it demonstrates brilliantly, how the band have grown and continue to push their songwriting and sound; where in the past this might have been a heavy, scream track or an altogether more simplistic affair; a great way to finish the album by showing off where the band’s future lies.

That’s not to say the band that people know and love is gone; there are emo lyrics throughout record and still the occasional screaming, it’s just the instrumentation is slicker and more intricate and in places, JT Woodruff uses falsetto in his vocals; something new and interesting for the band’s sound.

There’s no doubt about it; this band know how to write catchy hooks, tying together some of the heavier, more chaotic parts of the record. Armed with a whole load of history and self-reflection plus a strong sense of where they are heading, this record is definitely representative of both their past and the future for the band. An exciting balance of old and new, Hawthorne Heights have made a triumphant return!

Rating


‘Bad Frequencies’ can be ordered here – http://smarturl.it/HawthorneHeights or downloaded from iTunes, here – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bad-frequencies/1351452415


Bad Frequencies on Spotify

Just Another Ghost (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Hawthorne Heights’ new album! What are your thoughts of it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it, via our socials.


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#Review: Drones – Exiled


   

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Drones are a London-based, in-your-face, all-out, old-school punk rock band made up of Lois McDougall (vocals), Rob King (guitar), Tim Kramer (guitar/backing vocals), James Kerr (bass/backing vocals) and Mitchell Thomas (drums). They’ve just released their album, Exiled, and here’s what we thought…

Drones - Exiled.jpg

Exiled is very much a hardcore, politically-charged, punk rock, concept album, inspired by the current refugee crisis across Europe and as such, is attempting to deal with a very relevant issue. Vocalist, Lois McDougall, further explains,“Exiled is a collection of songs that we began writing after being struck by the misery of the European refugee crisis. Some of the songs are written from the perspectives of fictional characters of those impacted by the crisis, and others of those who prefer to distance themselves from it. Millions of people are suffering every day and it’s a subject that should be kept at the forefront of all of our minds. Music is a great platform for personal connection. We’ve taken a subject that can so easily be viewed as a distant-seeming ‘world-issue’, and tried to make it more personal. In doing so, we hope that people may feel more compassion for the victims, and that those suffering may find an ounce of comfort in these songs. Exiled is dedicated to those fleeing any war-torn country.”

It certainly has managed to deliver this and lyrically addresses the issues it set out to face, however in places, I find the lyrics a bit frank; too obvious and not necessarily clever, however that is often the nature of punk music. In spite of this, it is a fast, furious and fun record, with some very chantable choruses and moshable guitar riffs, particularly the likes of ‘For Those Who Care’‘Inferno’‘Rorschach’ and ‘Anchors’. Then, towards the end of the record, it gets even thrashier.

They’ve delivered a poignant, angry-sounding album that is intent on highlighting current issues.

Conversely to this, the band have a couple of tokenistic ballad-like songs, with the acoustic-driven ‘Black Blood’ and the Metallica-esque, ‘Sickbay’, which add a little depth to this otherwise intense album.

Despite Drones being very much an traditional, politically-fuelled punk band, the production is top-notch, yet still hasn’t lost the charm that an old-school punk band would have had. It’s not over-produced and there a slight imperfections, which all add authenticity to the record. In places, this band remind me of 2004, punk rockers, The Fight (remember ‘Can’t Be Bothered’?).

This is certainly an album you would want to see live, to let yourself lose by bouncing around to your heart’s content. They’ve delivered a poignant, angry-sounding album that is intent on highlighting current issues, but unfortunately they are not going to set the world alight or make any significant changes to music, or punk. However, they know their sound and they execute it well.

Rating
3


‘Exiled’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/exiled/1317378913


Exiled on Spotify

Rorschach (Official Music Video)

Territories (Official Music Video)

Inferno (Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Drones’ new album, Exiled! What do you make of it? Are you a fan? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Prides – A Mind Like The Tide, Pt. 1 (EP)


   

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Prides are a Scottish indie band who originally formed in Glasgow, in 2014, as a three-piece. The act is now comprised of Stewart Brock (lead vocals and keys) and Callum Wiseman (guitar, keys and backing vocals). Since releasing their debut album, The Way Back Up, in July 2015, the pair have worked hard on creating their next release; a two-part album, starting with this, the first half, A Mind Like The Tide – Pt. 1.

A Mind Like The Tide, Pt. 1

The EP opens with ‘Every Story Of Mine Is A Story Of Yours…’ – led by an ethereal synth, the track builds beautifully to a quite cinematic climax comprised of chest-rumbling bass notes, Stewart’s trademark crooning and a collection of people speaking the title of the track, repeatedly. This is surely going to become the song which opens the set for the pair’s live performances, for the foreseeable future and it’s easy to see why…it’s just oozing with atmosphere!

Overall, this EP is an eclectic mix of songs, from the unashamedly feel-good pop qualities of lead single ‘Let’s Stay In Bed All Day’ to the slightly more chaotic and almost grungy moments found in ‘Sweet Time’. I particularly love the energy and catchiness of ‘You’re The Drug’ (which could easily be another single), whilst both ‘A Wilder Heart’ and ‘I Know That I Can Change’ are emotionally charged and ascend to euphoric climaxes. My only criticism of the EP is the fact that ‘I Don’t Ever Want To Live Without You’ feels a little like an interlude (though it’s still a track which remains true to the essence of the band). That, paired with the opening track being more of an intro, you’ve essentially got 5 brilliant, new, sing-a-long tracks. It’s still a great release though and I’m certainly left intrigued to hear the second part of the album, around March next year.

The quality of the production throughout is remarkable and it’s a really comprehensive collection of tracks. Towards the end of ‘You’re The Drug’ there is an incredible break in the beat and just when you think it’s going to drop back in (as is predictable in so many songs), it doesn’t…it keeps you waiting and I love the originality of this! The calming, break in ‘Sweet Time’ is bewitching and melodic with it’s acoustic guitar, synths and falsetto vocals, right before it kicks back in to the heavy guitars and punchy chorus. Lastly, the delicate way ‘I Know That I Can Change’ begins with it’s atmospheric sounds and gradually becomes a massive stadium-filling anthem – it is just the perfect way to close the EP.

This is undoubtedly a brilliant release from the pair and certainly doesn’t disappoint. It may have been a couple of years since their debut album but it’s clear they have spent time working on their songwriting and developing their style. It’s also nice to see that despite a string of stand-alone singles, they haven’t just piled them onto this EP, to pad it out. It’s a beautiful release, crafted with major love and fine attention to detail.

Rating
4


‘A Mind Like The Tide, Pt. 1’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/a-mind-like-the-tide-pt-1/id1295669547


‘A Mind Like The Tide, Pt. 1’ on Spotify

Let’s Stay In Bed All Day (Official Audio Video)


Hopefully you have enjoyed our review of Prides‘ latest EP release! What are your personal thoughts of the EP? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media and don’t forget to share this think. Thanks 😀


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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