#Review: Normandie – Dark & Beautiful Secrets

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Dark & Beautiful Secrets is the third full-length release from Sweden’s very own Normandie. They claim this album is the true sound of the band with vocalist, Philip Strand (also a producer/writer for a number of pop artists & he even penned the Irish Eurovision entry for 2021), claiming that the album is much darker and delves more intimately into their personal lives than they have been before. Let’s see if it matches their ambitions…

Normandie - Dark & Beautiful Secrets

Overall the album is very pacy and it doesn’t let up often. Dynamically, it’s fairly steady in that it keeps up the initial pace of ‘Babylon’ and ‘Hostage’, which are very anthemic in their presence at the start of the album. Which is great. However, for an album claiming intimacy, it lacks interest in how it flows. It has more of a dance anthems playlist vibe than a gritty window into the soul. Having said that, there is some let up within the tracks themselves with stripped back choruses that then smash back into very catchy choruses. It’s the kind of thing we’ve seen from bands in a similar vein such as Don Broco and Thirty Seconds To Mars. Unlike those bands though, all the tracks feel pretty much the same, very driven and super catchy in the choruses, but that’s all.

Speaking of catchy choruses, ‘Jericho’ and ‘Holy Water’ are particular highlights on this record, but to be honest, any of the tracks would easily pass as a single release. Lyrically, the choruses are just straight to the point, trying to encompass the track as a whole with one or two lines. Again though, the album lacks imagination in its writing. The lyrics feel quite generic and although the use of some good concepts such as the idea of Holy Water drowning you (a reference to Strand turning his back on the church at the age of 14), it cannot shake some very over-used lines and clichés.

Dark & Beautiful Secrets is not a bad album, but it’s nothing that stands out from the crowd.

‘Atmosphere’ tries to break both of the issues above. It is a much slower track than the rest and is a nice relief from the driving beats and heavy melodies on the rest of the album. It really is a standout track which is unfortunately lost amongst everything else. It’s a track about losing yourself and true to its title, really has some atmosphere about it. Lyrically, it feels much stronger than the rest, less forced and the production really adds to the feeling of the track as a whole. There are some heavier elements to the album too which are ear-catching. Most notably, is the riff in ‘Mission Control’, which really throws me back to some old Muse tracks, that I haven’t visited in a while and ‘Renegade’ feels influenced by the newer Bring Me The Horizon tracks of recent times. I would say these are the only varying elements to this album but it still feels quite ‘samey’ as mentioned before.

Dark & Beautiful Secrets is not a bad album, but it’s nothing that stands out from the crowd. If you enjoy similar bands such as Don Broco, Bring Me The Horizon (later releases) and PVRIS then you will enjoy this, but I think you’ll forget about it a few weeks later. Add ‘Atmosphere’ to your favourite playlist and that will do you right.

Rating
3


‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’ is out 19/02/21 on Easy Life Records and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/dark-beautiful-secrets/1539052326


Dark & Beautiful Secrets on Spotify

Coming Friday 19th February 2021.

Babylon (Official Music Video)

Holy Water (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest album? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Rob Manhire – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: Zebrahead @ Brooklyn Bowl, London – 28/11/15


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So, last night (Saturday 28th November 2015) I got the opportunity to see Zebrahead perform at Brooklyn Bowl in London (at the O2). The band were supported by  Man With A Mission and Patent Pending.


Man With A Mission

This bunch of dudes are a Japanese band with elements of hard rock and dance-pop (brought by their enthusiastic DJ) fused together to create some sort of dance-rock blend! It’s not just that which makes them unique…it’s their friggin’ wolf heads! Their set was good and they definitely got the crowd going.

Highlight: The eyes on their wolf-heads lit up!

Man With A Mission


Patent Pending

These guys are a New York-based pop-punk band and my God did they make an entrance! They are possibly one of the most insanely great set of performers I’ve ever seen! The singer, Joe Ragosta, is hilarious and has a really unique personality and he explained how he has ADHD – but man, this guy uses it to its strengths, in the best possible way! Their music was good too!

Highlight: When the singer and guitarist entered the crowd and had a “crowd swimming” competition! Legends!

Patent Pending Jump

Patent Pending


Zebrahead

Then there was Zebrahead; within seconds of taking to the stage, everyone was skanking-out like pros to the Californian rockers!

The band’s entrance was amazing – Gangnam Style blaring out of the speakers, with a flashing, dancing Psy toy on top of one of the amps – which then rolled straight into the punchy, ‘Rescue Me’.

What never ceases to amaze me with these guys, is how when they perform live, their songs are so much faster than on the albums, yet Ali Tabatabaee‘s rapping skills are impeccably timed, at such high speeds!

Working a crowd is not a problem for this group of lads as they each take turns to speak to their audience and there’s even some stage diving going on!

What I think these guys have down to an art, is not playing all their new stuff with just one or two older tracks; they introduce it amongst a string of fan-favourites, but in turn manage to make their new music instant crowd-pleasers with their high levels of energy, crowd interaction and pure damn-awesomeness!

‘Save Your Breath’, ‘Call Your Friends’, ‘Worse Than This’ and ‘Hello Tomorrow’ were my favourite performances of the night – they really got the crowd going and there were circle-pits galore!

I implore everyone to see this band at least once in their life, because only then will you truly know the meaning of fun!

Highlights:

  • The band’s Gangnam Style entrance with a flashing, dancing Psy toy!
  • Ali Tabatabaee standing on some of the crowd’s shoulders to perform!
  • Matty Lewis holding a note for an insane amount of time, whilst checking his watch!
  • Ben Osmundson‘s crowd-rousing speech about his song dedication to London!
  • Dan Palmer‘s moustache! Oh…and his sick guitar skills!
  • Ed Udhus looking so relaxed while beating the hell out of the drums

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 Setlist

  • Rescue Me
  • Save Your Breath
  • Call Your Friends
  • Worse Than This
  • Drink Drink – a fun sea-shanty type song where a couple of their pirate friends come on and chug some beer/vodka!
  • Hello Tomorrow
  • Hell Yeah!
  • Devil On My Shoulder (with guest vocals from Man With A Mission)
  • Mental Health
  • I’m Just Here For The Free Beer
  • Mike Dexter Is A God, Mike Dexter Is A Role Model, Mike Dexter Is An A**Hole
  • Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right, But Three Rights Make A Left
  • Who Brings A Knife To A Gunfight?
  • Sirens

Encore

  • Falling Apart
  • Can Can
  • Anthem

Lastly, I want to say a massive thanks to the band for putting me on the guest-list, so I could come and do this review!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Two4Tunesday: Maroon 5 – ‘This Summer’s Gonna Hurt’ & Walk The Moon – ‘Shut Up + Dance’

This week’s #Two4Tunesday features the new singles from the unstoppable Maroon 5 and indie-pop band Walk The Moon!


Maroon 5 Banner

Maroon 5 are one of those bands who seem to go from strength to strength (just like OneRepublic) and this new track, This Summer’s Gonna Hurt (or for it’s full name This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like A Motherf****r), sees them take on a completely new vibe.

It still remains a pop-rock track, much like the band’s other songs, however this one has a clear crowd-pleaser chant to it and it isn’t as obviously catchy and pop-y as some of their other hits. It will undoubtedly be another hit for the band though, ahead of their re-release of 2014’s album, V.

Maroon 5 – ‘This Summer’ (Lyric Video) (Explicit)

**WARNING** – this video contains explicit lyrics.


Walk The Moon Banner

This next choice is by Ohio-based indie-pop act, Walk The Moon. Although the song Shut Up + Dance was released in the USA back in September 2014, the track is about to get a UK release in June.

The band claimed to take influences for this track from both 1970s and 1980s tracks, which would explain its nostalgic feel, and clearly 80s theme of the music video.

It was also produced by Tim Pagnotta, most famous for being the lead singer of US pop punk band, Sugarcult.

This band could well be set for big things in the UK with this fun-fuelled, dancey little number – keep an ear out for them!


Shut Up + Dance is due out on 7th June 2015 and is available to pre-order on iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/shut-up-and-dance/id915448845?i=915448860


Walk The Moon – ‘Shut Up & Dance’


So that concludes this week’s #Two4Tunesday! Please leave a comment below with your two personal favourite tracks of the week, and also share the link to this post on your social media accounts. Thanks for the continual support!

Matt – Muzik Speaks