#Review: Bastille – Give Me The Future

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Bastille are a British, indie-pop band that formed in 2010. The band started out as a solo project by lead vocalist, Dan Smith, but eventually morphed into the band it is today. So far, the band have released 3 incredible studio albums (plus a bunch of massive cover projects too!). Now, 2022 sees the release of their fourth full-length album, Give Me The Future. Here’s what we have to say about it…

bastille-give-me-the-future

From the outset, it’s clear that this is a different sound from the band’s previous works, with opening track and lead single, ‘Distorted Light Beam’; an electronic song with cool vocoder use in the latter half, that builds wonderfully throughout.

From there, the listener is taken on an epic journey through a much more electronic soundscape than some of their previous releases but with a much darker lyrical twist. The beats are heavy and laden with many synthesiser elements and the focus is very much on a future that’s full of uncertainty and at times, almost apocalyptic.

That said, it’s counteracted by the upbeat rhythms and dance-inspired music throughout. From the catchy single, ‘Thelma + Louise’ which oozes typical Bastille goodness to the more morbid look at the future of ‘Plug In…’ that looks at the future fate of the world and singer Dan Smith, begging to know everything will be alright; this is an album that deserves to be listened to in its entirety.

This is an album that deserves to be listened to in its entirety.

Executive produced by OneRepublic‘s, Ryan Tedder, it’s easy to see how this album is so catchy and intricate, however there are some parts where I feel it is lacking slightly. The interludes, whilst cinematic in their sound, feel somewhat unnecessary (although can imagine would be amazing to break up a live set!). Don’t get me wrong, they’re definitely worth a listen, particularly ‘Promises’ which is a spoken word poem by actor and rapper Riz Ahmed, who speaks of a less apocalyptic future but instead of one that adores a world filled with love and intimacy. However, in my opinion, whilst they add a nice break in pace of the album, I could take or leave them when relistening to it. Additionally, without these, there are only 10 tracks to the record, so my biggest wish is that there was more to it…but I guess it’s a good thing to leave the listener wanting more?!

Some of the best songs on the album, include: ‘Back To The Future’ (my personal favourite) – an epic disco-esque song with funky guitar and bass lines and movie references throughout; ‘Shut Off The Lights’ with its rhythmic vocal melodies and brilliant gang vocals, making it really stand out and album closer, ‘Future Holds‘ (featuring BIM). The close to the album is fitting both in terms of lyrical content but also its incredible use of gospel backing harmonies and broken-up beat, making it a great end to a great record.

The dystopian themes and darker lyrical content are really prevolent on tracks like ‘No Bad Days’ which features echoing vocals across its many different parts (including a wonderful piano interlude and autotune vocals at the end), ‘Stay Awake? that contains the rather captivating line “stop the world, I want to get off” and the Phil Collins-like beat of the apocalyptic sounding, ‘Give Me The Future’. They are all tracks that weave their way into your subconscious and leave the listener with a lot of food for thought.

In contrast to all the future imagery though, is the rather quirky track, ‘Club 57’ that recalls back at the 70s/80s New York nightclub scene, underpinned by whistling melodies and a seriously electronically distorted soundscape, where even the acoustic guitar is distorted.

Overall, this is a very cinematic-sounding album yet incredibly electronic and there’s so much to love about it. Whilst there’s some darkness to the lyrics, in places, there is a still a degree of optimism too and a massive dose of fun to be had whilst listening to it. The production and arrangements are beautifully crafted and the album truly showcases the band’s ability to grow and evolve, in order to remain current, while still maintaining that distinctive Bastille sound. I can’t wait to see what direction the band take next!

Rating
4.5


‘Give Me The Future’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/give-me-the-future/1580064966


Give Me The Future on Spotify

Shut Off The Lights (Official Video)

No Bad Days (Official Video)

Distorted Light Beam (Official Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s fourth 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: Years & Years – Night Call 🧜🏻‍♂️

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Years & Years is the now solo project from singer and songwriter, Olly Alexander. It originally started out as a band back in 2010, who found great success with two remarkable pop albums before Alexander decided to continue the project as a solo venture in 2021. Now, 2022 sees the release of Years & Years‘ third album (and first as a solo project), Night Call. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Years & Years - Night Call

The album launches perfectly with the funky-bass driven, ‘Consequences’ that aptly repeats the track title with a quirky robotic vocal. It’s an upbeat track which opens the album up in the way it means to go on.

From start to finish, Night Call is an album packed with massive, electro-pop tracks that has a wonderful diversity to its sound. From massive pop singles, like ‘Starstruck’ and the club anthem, ‘Sweet Talker’, with Galantis, to more ethereal and oddly satisfying tracks like ‘Strange And Unusual’, there’s a bit of something for everyone.

There are a couple of pretty sexy tracks on the record, including ‘Intimacy’ which is sexy in both lyrical content and the beat too and ‘Muscle’ with its rumbling bass notes underpinned by a shuffling drum beat. Both songs are growers and could be overlooked but on second and third listens, have a lot to offer to the diversity of the record.

This is undoubtedly a major pop record through and through… this is the new Years & Years.

Title track, ‘Night Call’ is a fun, upbeat song with a cool, telephone dial tone used throughout whilst hit single, ‘Crave’, sees club beats meeting drawn-out and altogether hypnotic vocals.

Some of the best tracks on the album include, ’20 Minutes’ with its falsetto, dreamy vocals atop a modest beat (probably my favourite track on the record), ‘Make It Out Alive’ which has catchy chorus vocals on top of shimmering synths and ‘Immaculate’ a superb, Arabian-esque sounding song, complete with funky guitars and a truly danceable chorus. It’s easy to get lost in these tracks, with their wonderful production quirks and interesting styles.

‘Reflection’ is an unusual close to the album, it has an eerie-sounding beat with some funky aspects to it and the vocals sound different than usual too. It’s not a typical Years & Years song and whilst it’s possibly not the best close to the album, it’s still a good song nonetheless.

This is undoubtedly a major pop record through and through and whilst it’s not quite the same style as the old Years & Years records, it’s an amazing first solo effort from the singer/songwriter. It shows just how much he’s developed as an artist and clearly demonstrates that he has what it takes to stay relevant and one of pop’s biggest hitters.

This is the new Years & Years and I can’t wait to hear what he has to release next.

Rating
4.5


‘Night Call’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/night-call-deluxe/1586653480


Night Call on Spotify

Sweet Talker (Official Video)

Crave (Official Video)

Starstruck (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the singer’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.


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Chicane – Everything We Had To Leave Behind

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Chicane (aka Nick Bracegirdle) is a British musician, composer, songwriter and producer who has had a string of hits that have been massive on the Ibiza club scene, including ‘Saltwater’ (featuring vocals by Máire Brennan from Clannad), ‘Offshore’, ‘Don’t Give Up’ (featuring Bryan Adams) and ‘Stoned In Love’ (with vocals by the legendary Tom Jones). Now, 2021 sees the release of his eighth album, Everything We Had To Leave Behind (released through Modena Records and Armada Music); here’s what we have to say about it…

chicane-everything-we-had-to-leave-behind

Atmospheric is the only way to describe the opening, title track of the album with its rumbling bass, euphoric synths and haunting vocals from Maltese singer Joseph Aquilina.

In fact, atmospheric is an accurate description for much of the album. Having spent the past year writing and recording the record in his studio, there is a real sense of peaceful reflection, hope and even isolation – something so many people can relate to right now.

With this reflection come some tracks which reminisce of a more youthful Chicane yet still manage to show just how much he has grown over the past twenty years or so too. Such tracks include ‘Never Look Back’ with it’s heavy, Chicane-esque synth line and ‘One Foot In The Past, One Foot In The Future’ – a deep house cut that builds beautifully throughout.

This is an album with no fillers, only epic tracks that each have so much to offer. However, some of the standout songs have to be, ‘Sailing’ featuring vocals from Christopher Cross (Bon Ivor) which is an upbeat house anthem that evolves throughout; ‘Don’t Look Down’, an all-consuming, track of ecstasy that although never fully takes off, has highs and lows in all the right places; ‘Now Or Never’ is a rather commercial offering that begs the listener to get up and dance and ‘An Ocean Apart’ has some seriously soaring vocals that ride atop a juddering synth soundscape.

This is an album of epic proportions that is begging to be played loudly and in it’s entirety.

That’s not to say the rest of the record is not filled with gems; ‘8 (Circle)’ has some moments of pure serenity amid a wonderfully chaotic beat and echoing vocals and ‘Juno’ which is pure Chicane goodness that reminds of a crystal-clear summer’s day.

Possibly one of my favourite tracks on the album is the superbly diverse, closing track, ‘Hello, Goodbye’. It offers space for synths that reverberate through you before kicking into a chest-thumping bass-driven beat. It constantly adapts throughout the 7-and-a-half-minute epic whilst still remaining a euphoric daydream.

There’s a wonderful structure that lies at the heart of Chicane‘s latest album, and that’s that you could be basking in the sun one minute and feeling the call to the dance floor the next.

This is an album of epic proportions that is begging to be played loudly and in it’s entirety. It flows beautifully and wholeheartedly captivates the listener from start to finish.

Another wonderful album by a truly talented producer that leaves the listener fulfilled. It’s definitely one to have on repeat this summer!

Rating
5


‘Everything We Had To Leave Behind’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/everything-we-had-to-leave-behind/1553835994


Everything We Had To Leave Behind on Spotify

Everything We Had To Leave Behind (Official Music Video)

Don’t Look Down (Official Music Video)

Hello, Goodbye (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this producer’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.


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#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:

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Rob Manhire – Muzik Speaks
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#FeelGoodFriday: Alphalove – ‘Don’t Wanna Stop’ featuring Conor Maynard

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Alphalove (aka Alex & Chris) are a pair of music producers from the UK, who signed with Insanity Records (Sony UK) in 2020.

The pair teamed up with internet sensation Conor Maynard to create this remake of a Luther Vandross classic, modernising it for the year 2021.

The EDM/dance take on the track brings something completely new to it and features a series of classic EDM traits, from the piano-led lead to the thumping basslines and drum patterns; it’s a song I’ve had on repeat for days and one you can’t get enough of. It’s the perfect end to the week for #FeelGoodFriday!

No official music video exists at present, so for now you’ll just have to enjoy the lyric video below.

What are your thoughts of this dance duo’s remake of a classic? Do you have a #FeelGoodFriday 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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‘Don’t Wanna Stop’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/dont-wanna-stop-feat-conor-maynard-single/1543753386


#TunefulTuesday: Troye Sivan & Kacey Musgraves – ‘Easy’ featuring Mark Ronson

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Troye Sivan is a South African-born, Australian singer-songwriter, actor and YouTuber with a series of singles, albums, EPs, movies and vlogs under his belt.

This particular version of the song, ‘Easy’, is a remix of his original track, and was released in December 2020. It features vocals from American singer-songwriter, Kacey Musgraves and production from British musician and producer Mark Ronson. In fact, Musgraves actually co-wrote and performed a new verse specially for the song, whilst Ronson added a really cool disco-pop vibe to the track.

The song is catchy as hell and the perfect song for Tuneful Tuesday, as I’ve had it on repeat for days!

The music video for the track is pretty awesome too – featuring both Sivan and Musgraves as two people on the run, driving vintage cars, dyeing their hair and perfoming in a motel room as well as going to over-the-top drag shows and dancing the night away. It’s a must-watch!

What are your thoughts of this pop banger? Do you have a #TunefulTuesday 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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‘Easy’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/easy-feat-mark-ronson-single/1543288293


#MellowMonday: Gabrielle Aplin – ‘When The Lights Go Out’

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Gabrielle Aplin is an English singer-songwriter who amassed a following after uploading a series of acoustic music covers to YouTube, before signing to Parlophone in February 2012.

Her style falls anywhere from folk and indie rock to synthpop, with her latest single, ‘When The Lights Go Out’, being a mellow, synth-driven anthem.

This particular song was written shortly after the release of her latest album, Dear Happy. Aplin says, “I wanted to make a song that felt like a hug that you can also dance to and I’m considering it the song that closes the Dear Happy book.”

It does just that – it manages to be a somewhat upbeat record that you can have a boogie too, whilst also being something mellow, easy listening and like the closing of the Dear Happy chapter in her career. It’s a brilliant amalgamation of happiness and calmness and is mellow enough to be a great #MellowMonday start to the week.

I can’t get enough of this track right now!

What are your thoughts of this singer-songwriter’s latest single? Do you have a #MellowMonday 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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‘When The Lights Go Out’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/when-the-lights-go-out-single/1543733734


#FeelGoodFriday: Jonas Blue & MAX – ‘Naked (Club Mix)’

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Since its release a couple weeks ago, the anthemic ‘Naked’ has amassed over 13 million global audio and video streams, but now the hit-maker Jonas Blue and exciting young talent MAX are releasing the club mix of their collaboration, which sees Jonas create a mix true to his roots.

This particular track is a high-octane display of the pop hitmaker’s specialist production talents. Armed with pumping kick drums and euphoric piano keys, the club mix adds a fresh dimension to the already, highly-infectious original, making it the perfect track for this week’s #FeelGoodFriday.

No music video has been released for the club mix but the original music video can be seen below, featuring the pair performing amongst neon and silhouetted ladies.

What are your thoughts of the club mix of this pair’s new single, ‘Naked’? Do you have a #FeelGoodFriday 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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‘Naked (Club Mix)’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/naked-club-mix-single/1520494645


#FeelGoodFriday: Big Wild – ‘Touch’

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Singer, songwriter and producer Big Wild (aka Jackson Stell) is back with his first new music since his 2019 debut album, Superdream, in the form of brand new single, ‘Touch’. This time he has taken on a new edge with a blend of almost western movie soundtrack vibes and electronic production, creating something perfect for Feel-Good Friday.

‘Touch’ is a disco-infused, bright indie single with seriously catchy pop undertones that really increase the rich, colourful emotion that Big Wild has become known for.

Although it was written before the current coronavirus pandemic, the song is about longing for a loved one – something that will probably resonate all too well with people during lockdown.

Speaking on the new single, Stell added: “I’m sure with the current state of the world ‘Touch’ will take on a different meaning than I intended but that’s the best part of writing music, seeing where a song goes. I can’t claim any foresight, but the feeling of deep longing and desire is universal. It’s interesting because I was writing from a personal place but this theme is something we’re feeling on a societal level right now. People need connection.”

The lyric video suits this song perfectly too with it’s spaghetti western edge to it. No music video has been released as yet.

What are your thoughts of this producer’s latest single? Do you have a #FeelGoodFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt Wright – Muzik Speaks
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‘Touch’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/touch-single/1501740551


#WildCardWednesday: Firing All Cylinders – ‘What Is Love’ (Haddaway Cover)

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I am a huge sucker for 90s dance classics, so when I saw that Firing All Cylinders had done a metal version of ‘What Is Love’ by Haddaway, I was all ears. The Californian metallers toyed with the idea that initially started as a joke but we are happy they went with it!

If you don’t know the song by title, you will certainly know it by its opening synth hook. ‘What Is Love’ charted across the world in 1993, but by no means set it on fire, however, it has become a cult classic along 90s music fans. Firing All Cylinders have kept the essence of the track by keeping that oh so recognisable synth motif almost exactly as it sounds on the original, but have brought their own metal chug and groove underneath.

Personally I love it, but I know it will divide a lot of people. It’s not the first time we’ve seen metal bands do this to beloved pop songs, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. 90s dance just seems to lend itself well to this kind of thing. However unlike others, I feel the band have not strayed too far away from the original that it is not recognisable. There are no heavy breakdowns, no guttural screams just a homage to a classic.

The video really stretches the idea of what love is. The original video had a slight dark feel to it (for the 90s anyway), but Firing All Cylinders have taken it about 1,000 steps further. It’s dark, it’s ritualistic and involves sacrifice and is probably more what fans of the band would expect.

We aren’t too fussed by the video, but the track is definitely worth a listen for all you 90s dance cross metal fans out there!


What are your thoughts of this metal band’s cover of the 90s dance classic? Do you have a cool cover for #WildCardWednesday to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Rob Manhire
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‘What Is Love’ can be downloaded off Apple Music now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/what-is-love-single/1505584706