#Review: ONE OK ROCK – Eye Of The Storm ūüĆ™

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ONE OK ROCK are a Japanese rock band who formed in Tokyo, in 2005. The band currently consists of Takahiro Moriuchi (vocals), Toru Yamashita (guitar), Ryota Kohama (bass), and Tomoya Kanki (drums). Since forming, the band have played many different styles of music, from alternative rock to emo and even post-hardcore to their most recent, pop rock style. In 2016, the band signed to Fueled By Ramen, releasing their eighth studio album, Ambitions, featuring collaborations with Avril Lavigne5 Seconds Of Summer and Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low). This year, (2019) sees the release of their ninth studio album (although only their third US release), Eye Of The Storm. Here’s what we have to say about it…

one ok rock - eye of the storm

From the very start of Eye Of The Storm, it’s clear that ONE OK ROCK have made a conscious departure from the previous, emo, alternative rock and post-hardcore incarnations, favouring a much more pop-led sound. That’s not a bad thing though, as this is a brilliantly-crafted pop powerhouse of a record, that is sure to further cement their position as one of big players in the pop rock genre (alongside label mates like Panic! At The Disco and Against The Current. In fact ‘Eye Of The Storm’ and ‘Worst In Me’ are almost an obvious transitioning from their old sound to their new, blending their alternative rock roots with their new, more synth-driven pop elements.

There’s a real passion and raw talent to singer Takahiro ‚ÄúTaka‚ÄĚ Moriuchi‘s vocals throughout the record too, as he explores the full extent of his vocal range, pulling off some stunning falsetto notes, intertwined with soaring choruses and exquisitely long-held notes.

‘Stand Out Fit In’ is testament to this – it’s very much an anthem about embracing people‚Äôs differences, with the goosebump-inducing, falsetto lines, ‚ÄúThey yell, they preach, I‚Äôve heard it all before. Be this, be that, I‚Äôve heard it before.‚ÄĚ It’s definitely a track that‚Äôs going to capture the hearts of many!

It’s actually very hard to pin-point just a few favourite tracks but ‘Push Back’ is wonderful for its gang vocal harmonies, like a modern-day Queen track. The descending melody echoing throughout the song is truly captivating too. ‘Wasted Nights’ is all about making the most of your life and enjoying each other’s company and the line, ‚ÄúLet‚Äôs live like we‚Äôre immortal, Maybe just for tonight, We’ll think about tomorrow (yeah), When the sun comes up,‚ÄĚ is poetic, conjuring up nostalgic imagery and the underlying gospel vocals are stunning. The video only makes the track even more epic too (see below)! Even ‘Change’ – there’s definitely something a little boyband about the song (like 5 Seconds Of Summer meets One Direction), with the synth-sounding guitar lines, but the melodies are passionate and the message is poignant, positive and uplifting, ‚ÄúHey, You know it’s not too late for us to make a change, You gotta listen to your heart what does it say? No matter how much we might bend, we will not break.‚ÄĚ

It’s great to see that after nine albums in thirteen years, a band can still find ways to push themselves to adapt and grow, and be completely unafraid to try new directions.

That’s not to say there aren’t other special moments throughout the album; ‘Head High’ is definitely a pop track and whilst there isn’t much depth behind the lyrics or songwriting on it, it’s certainly catchy! ‘Letting Go’ really stands out for being so unique to the rest of the record – a calm little, acoustic-led track that is so beautifully understated, dealing with getting over a relationship and coming to terms with it. ‘Unforgettable’ has some definite dance music vibes to it, with the intense drum beats and whistling in the chorus, but with guitars thrown in. It’s quite a unique blend of genres.

‘Giants’ leads from delicate verses into a big chorus and has a strong Take That vibe to it, whilst ‘In The Stars’ adds a little vocal diversity with Kiiara featuring on the track, accompanied by a military-style beat.

‘Grow Old Die Young’ is a perplexing track though; it has a strong melody in the chorus but certain elements of it are very mediocre – a synth sound which doesn’t really fit the song and then there’s the lyrics, ‚ÄúI want the cause of my death, to be amazing sex,‚ÄĚ which is honestly pretty cringe!

The album actually draws to a powerful close with ‘The Last Time’, led by a really strong chorus melody, topped off with a raspy, scream-like vocal that just knocks the record out of the park, right at the last second.

Eye Of The Storm is an interesting release for the band, as it’s their most commercial-sounding release to date, meaning it’s very palatable, for a broad range of listeners and is certainly bound to pick up a lot of new fans along the way. However, it could be argued that elements of depth and sincerity about their songwriting have been somewhat lost, rendering some of the tracks a little forgettable.

The drastic change in sound is definitely going to be felt by fans of their previous release, Ambitions, as some of the more emotive lyricism and raw instrumentation, has been exchanged for top-rate production values but at its heart, it is clearly still a ONE OK ROCK album.

That said, it’s equally great to see that after nine albums in thirteen years, a band can still find ways to push themselves to adapt and grow, and be completely unafraid to try new directions, and for that, this album should be admired. It’s a great record, with some banging tunes on and I can’t wait to hear what the band do next!

Rating
4


‘Eye Of The Storm’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/eye-of-the-storm/1441817576


Eye Of The Storm on Spotify

Stand Out Fit In (Official Video)

Wasted Nights (Official Video)

Change (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s ninth studio album, Eye Of The Storm? 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 join the conversation via our social media.


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#Review: Against The Current – Past Lives ūüĎĀ


   

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Against The Current are¬†an American¬†pop rock¬†band from¬†New York, who formed in 2011. The band is made up of Chrissy Costanza (lead vocals), Dan Gow (guitars)¬†and Will Ferri (drums). The band are notable for regularly posting covers on YouTube as well as delighting fans with original tracks too. In 2016, after signing to¬†Fueled By Ramen, the band released their debut album, In Our Bones. Now, 2018 sees the band releasing their second full-length record,¬†Past Lives. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Against The Current - Past Lives.jpg

This stunningly diverse and charming record opens with the almost haunting ‘Strangers Again’, dealing with getting over a relationship and cutting ties. The guitar line is dreamy and the vocal breakdown towards the end is a rather quiet and personal moment that really draws you in. It’s a brilliant way to open a record; it doesn’t go in all guns blazing but instead captivates the audience with its beautiful soundscapes.

Next is probably the best track on record, ‘The Fuss’. With Daft Punk-esque, 80s synths, funky guitar rhythms and one hell of a catchy chorus, this is a track you will just want to play really loud and dance like mad to!

Other significant songs include: ‘I Like The Way’ – a track all about new love that almost reaches EDM territory with its strong piano line. It’s something you might expect from the likes of Sigala‘s¬†Easy Love or¬†Sweet Lovin’; ‘Voices’ is a slightly more grungy offering about being self-conflicted and trying to ignore the internal voices (which is reflected perfectly with whispering backing vocals) – it’s very¬†Paramore¬†meets¬†Fickle Friends,¬†whilst¬†‘Scream’ is a rather floaty and dreamy song – for some reason it evokes images of the perfect all-American family from the 1960s (no idea why!) It’s an uplifting yet subtle track; I keep finding myself going back for more.

‘Personal’ has a Taylor Swift-like quality to it and the production is incredible – the vocal harmonies sit beneath the rest of the production in the chorus, but it’s truly enchanting.¬†‘P.A.T.T.’ (short for Pretty All The Time)¬†is an out and out female empowerment anthem – it’s fast-paced, punchy and relatively simplistic but the message is fun and powerful about girls feeling like they should be allowed to be themselves without having to look “pretty all the time”…calling all, “Girls!”

It’s an impeccably well-crafted record which has very successfully merged the boundaries between dance, pop and rock music, with a sprinkling of 80s vibes on top.

Lastly,¬†‘Friendly Reminder’ is another notable song, it’s certainly an album track rather than a potential single but the use of a phaser effect on the vocals and an epic clap-along chorus towards the end make it really stand out…again, there’s a big 80s vibe to it.

What Against The Current manage to do so well throughout, is take you on a journey with them; when they’re soaring high, you’ll feel all the sparks of excitement with them brought about with big synth sounds, intense beats and tons of reverb but equally when melancholy reigns, you’ll feel their heartache too.

Whilst I could say something about every track on the record, I won’t – you just need to experience it for yourself.¬†I really can’t recommend this highly enough…the only reason it didn’t get a 5 is because there are one or two less stand-out, album-fillers but even those are pretty damn good. It is very much an album which marks a band that have found their feet; they’ve created something wonderfully catchy yet utterly credible with sincere lyricism, interesting melodies and top-notch production.

It’s an impeccably well-crafted record which has very successfully merged the boundaries between dance, pop and rock music, with a sprinkling of 80s vibes on top; it’s difficult to pigeonhole this band…in a good way! It’s a truly exciting time for the band; this will certainly make waves in the genre and undoubtedly pave an exciting path for their future!

Rating
4-5


‘Past Lives’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/past-lives/1425108766


Past Lives on Spotify

Almost Forgot (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s sophomore release, Past Lives? 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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#EventSpeaks: Brighton Pride 2018 @ Preston Park, Brighton – 04/08/18


   

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On Saturday 4th August 2018, Preston Park was brought to life with the UK’s largest, annual Pride Festival and this year was especially huge, with over 57,000 people partying the day away. This was, in part, due to the presence of the one and only Britney Spears, headlining the main stage. Also performing were Louise, MNEK, Mabel, Pixie Lott and Ella Eyre. The afternoon was utterly incredible and people had a truly unforgettable time…the best Brighton Pride yet!

Relive the whole thing with our Brighton Pride Weekender playlist.


Mabel

Mabel‘s performance was great – considering she’s not released an album yet, I still knew most of the songs she performed (through their online presence and radio airplay), such as¬†‘Fine Line’,¬†‘Ring Ring’,¬†‘My Lover’¬†and¬†‘Finders Keepers’¬†(which can be seen in the YouTube video below). However,¬†even those I didn’t know were captivating to watch due to her excellent live vocals and high energy. A lot of her songs have clear R&B and reggae influences which means her debut album (that she is currently working on) should be really interesting!


Pixie Lott

It’s been a while since¬†Pixie Lott‘s last album (the self-titled¬†Pixie Lott in 2014) but she sure showed how sensational her voice and just how many massive hits she’s had with this fun-filled performance. Some of the stand-out performances included¬†‘Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)’,¬†‘Boys And Girls’,¬†‘Turn It Up’ and¬†‘All About Tonight’ (which can be seen in the YouTube video below).¬†I’m just gutted she didn’t perform her summery 2017 collaboration with Anton Powers,¬†‘Baby’. Regardless, her vocals were flawless and she looked like she was having the time of her life…let’s just hope it won’t be long until a new album emerges!


Ella Eyre

Considering she’s only had one album, Ella Eyre has had a lot of hits, not only through her own tracks but also through her incredible collaborations. The set was packed with notable performances and in fact I could mention them all for different reasons…she was just truly remarkable.

‘Good Times’ followed by ‘Together’¬†really got the crowd going;¬†‘LOV(E)’¬†had some great audience participation elements with a real Caribbean feel to it; her cover of¬†Jermaine Stewart‘s¬†‘We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off’¬†was pure perfection and then her final tracks were all some of her most notable collaborations –¬†‘Waiting All Night’ (originally with¬†Rudimental), ‘Answerphone’ (originally with¬†Banx & Ranx) and it all came to a close with the monster hit¬†‘Came Here For Love’ (originally with Sigala).¬†Her vibe is very dancehall meets drum & bass topped off with a touch of soul…it was the perfect summer sound to bop around to at this year’s Pride and get everyone warmed up for¬†Britney!

Highlights:

  • Her vocals were flawless and crowd interaction was top notch.
  • The songs she performed were perfect – the audience pretty much knew them all and if they didn’t, she taught them to us.
  • Her use of audience participation was brilliant, particularly on¬†‘LOV(E)’.
  • The energy she pours into her performance is truly contagious and certainly got people moving!

Setlist

Good Times*
Together
LOV(E)
Ego
We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off (Jermaine Stewart Cover)*
Waiting All Night
Answer Phone
Came Here For Love*

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


Britney Spears

BRITNEY. WAS. AMAZING! Sure, she didn’t sing a word live, but when you look past that, her performance was out of this world!

It had everything you could want from a superstar of her calibre; it was fast-paced with high energy, superb choreography, several costume changes, interesting set pieces and video backdrops, a live band and it was packed to bursting point with hit after hit. Including some off her most recent album, Glory, which I was really pleased about!

Her set was further diversified with different versions or intros to some of her hits, such as ‘…Baby, One More Time’ and Toxic’.

With someone like Britney it’s very difficult to pick out favourite performances of tracks as it’s just one big, epic show that you can’t help but enjoy from start to finish but if I had to pick some; ‘Work Bitch’ was an incredible way to start the set and had the audience going wild, ‘Me Against The Music’ had some amazing set pieces just like the music video (cracked walls), ‘Slumber Party’ as the choreography was sexy and the song is just sensational and ‘Till The World Ends’ as the audience were loving every second of it and at the end, the confetti canon exploded with rainbow colours…it was magical!

It is a shame that Britney doesn’t really sing live but there are so many other ways she makes up for it and I still can’t believe she headlined Brighton Pride…it was certainly a performance you did not want to miss!

Highlights:

  • There really are so many highlights to choose from; the colours, the lights, the sounds, the movements; she is just a sensational performer that puts her every effort into what she does – she’s remarkable!
  • Oh and Britney getting someone out of the audience to chain up and be a part of the choreography for a song was hilarious!

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Setlist

Act I
BRITNEY (Introduction)
Work Bitch*
Womanizer*
Break The Ice/Piece Of Me*

Act II
Darkness (Interlude)
…Baby One More Time/Oops!… I Did It Again

Act III
If I’m Dancing (Interlude)
Me Against The Music*
Gimme More
Clumsy/Change Your Mind

Act IV
Scream & Shout (will.i.am Interlude)*
Boys
Do You Wanna Come Over?
Work It/Get Ur Freak On/WTF (Where They From) (Dance Interlude)

Act V
Get Naked (I Got A Plan) (Interlude)
I’m A Slave 4 U
Make Me…*
Freakshow
Do Somethin’

Act VI
Magic Circus (Interlude)
Circus
If U Seek Amy
Breathe On Me
Slumber Party*
Touch Of My Hand

Act VII
Jungle Fever (Interlude)
Toxic
Stronger/(You Drive Me) Crazy*

Encore
Till The World Ends*

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


Finally,¬†I want to say a massive thanks to the Brighton Pride organisers for putting together such an incredible line-up for this year’s Pride…it was amazing! Now…how the hell are you gonna top Britney next year?!


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

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#Two4Tunesday: Ariana Grande – ‘No Tears Left To Cry’ & Emma Blackery – ‘Dirt’


   

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Ariana Grande – ‘No Tears Left To Cry’

Ariana Grande¬†is back with the first single to be taken from her upcoming fourth album, ‘No Tears Left to Cry’. Written by Grande herself, alongside¬†Savan Kotecha¬†and its producers¬†Max Martin¬†and¬†Ilya, it is a rather different pop track to her normal style.

Don’t be mistaken, it’s still dance-pop at the core with a powerful vocal chorus, but it’s got some quite 90s pop and R&B influences to it and it’s certainly not an instant and obvious standout hit; this track is much more of a grower.

The video features Grande performing amongst a lot of disorientated scenery (which corresponds with the upside-down text of the single cover and leaks of Grande in a corresponding sweatshirt). It’s an interesting concept for the video, which was directed by Dave Meyers.


‘No Tears Left To Cry’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/no-tears-left-to-cry/1374085537?i=1374087460



Emma Blackery – ‘Dirt’

Emma Blackery is a singer-songwriter, YouTuber and author from Basildon in Essex, UK. To date she has 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube, with 148 million views and in 2016, she supported Busted on their Pigs Can Fly Tour.

Now, in 2018,¬†Emma Blackery is releasing her new single,¬†‘Dirt’. With a decidedly electro-pop foundation, this track is topped off with Blackery’s rather British-sounding voice (which is quite refreshing!) and some explicit vocals; making it edgier than your normal dance-pop songs.

The video is a bit of fun with it’s quirky dances and neon pink and blue colours throughout; it’s not breaking any boundaries but it’s light-hearted and funky.

This is a great track by a great up-and-coming artist on the pop scene!


‘Dirt’¬†can also be downloaded from iTunes now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/dirt-single/1353482430


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Two4Tunesday: Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey – ‘The Middle’ & Lil Dicky – ‘Freaky Friday’ featuring Chris Brown


   

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Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey – ‘The Middle’

Zedd‘s latest track,¬†‘The Middle’ features the American electronic music duo,¬†Grey (aka brothers Kyle Trewarth and Michael Trewartha) and vocals by American country singer,¬†Maren Morris.

This track may well have come out at the start of 2018 but 10 weeks later, it’s still at Number 10 in the UK charts, following the success of 2017’s¬†Stay with Alessia Cara, however this track performed even better than that.

It’s a fun, uplifting track which has a very similar feel to ‘Stay’ with it’s combination of raw, powerful and digitised/vocoder vocals, atop a blend of 90s pop sensibilities and modern EDM vibes, making for a very distinctive sound.

The video is great fun too, with it’s stunning set and extravagant use of visual lighting. All-round this is just a fantastic piece of modern pop that will undoubtedly get stuck in everyone’s head; a true favourite of mine right now!


‘The Middle’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-middle/1336771022?i=1336771388



Lil Dicky – ‘Freaky Friday’ featuring Chris Brown

The second track this week is¬†Lil Dicky‘s Number 1, smash hit,¬†‘Freaky Friday’, featuring guest vocals from¬†Chris Brown.

The track itself is a combination of  hip hop, pop and comedy (think similar to The Lonely Island), centring on the film(s) of the same name and continually references Chris Brown himself, throughout.

Whilst this track is intentionally comedic and works hilariously with its accompanying music video, there’s no doubt about it that this is one heck of a catchy tune too; it’s easy to see how it’s managed to top the UK Charts!

The music video itself parodies the 2003 film¬†Freaky Friday (starring Jamie Lee Curtis¬†and¬†Lindsay Lohan)¬†and features cameos from¬†Jimmy Tatro,¬†Ed Sheeran,¬†DJ Khaled¬†and¬†Kendall Jenner. It’s a must-watch video but also, I defy anyone not to end up singing along to this earworm of a track!


‘Freaky Friday’¬†can also be downloaded from iTunes now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/freaky-friday-feat-chris-brown/1351005381?i=1351005400


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#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: Petit Biscuit – ‘Sunset Lover’


   

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Petit Biscuit (less frequently known by his real name of Mehdi Benjelloun) is a French DJ and music producer, born November 10th 1999.

His song,¬†‘Sunset Lover’,¬†was released in 2015 onto the music platform Soundcloud,¬†when he was at the young age of 15. The song has been stripped back in terms of style compared to the mainstream electronica music which you frequently hear in the charts. What we are left with, is a melody that includes a simplistic yet heavily relaxing guitar line, single short notes, a basic kick drum, occasional clapping and strange yet intriguing vocals, which could be seen to mimic an infant sounding out words for the first time.

The song has now reached over 180 million streams on Soundcloud and Spotify combined, as well as it reaching No. 13 on the Hot/Dance/Electronic song chart. It can be found on his newest album titled Presence, which was released last year (2017).

“Sunset Lover is more about the chorus and verse, even if there aren’t lyrics”Petit Biscuit

I personally find that the creative rhythm, melodic presence and unique style of this song is calming, relaxing and thought provoking. I frequently listen to Petit’s music while studying or occasionally when trying to sleep in the evenings after a particularly stressful day.

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‘Sunset Lover’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sunset-lover/1288742033?i=1288743028