#Review: Cory Wells – The Way We Are

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Cory Wells is a singer-songwriter hailing from Redondo Beach, California. Wells’ past lies in that of the metal scene and although his solo career has taken a lighter path, his debut album, The Way We Are, never forgets his roots. Here’s our take on it…

Cory Wells - The Way We Are.jpg

We all mellow out eventually. As time goes on, our tastes ‘mature’ and many of us fall away from our respective scenes, perhaps in search of something musically that fits our changing needs. It feels like Cory Wells is trying to fill this need and it is clear right from the start in ‘Distant‘, that emo toil and angst are the order of the day. It’s a beautiful introduction to the album which highlights just some of Wells’ vocal talent but it doesn’t give too much away of what this record will deliver. ‘Keiko‘ follows this with a slight tweak up in the mood, which is a feature of the whole album. Wells is constantly shifting the dynamic but not dramatically enough to take away from what is clearly an outpouring from the heart, for himself. Furthermore, these small dynamic shifts help the album to flow in and out of each track.

A particular highlight of the album is ‘Wildfire’. This track delivers brilliant vocal hooks across the chorus and seamlessly blends Wells’ metal influence with the introduction of screamed vocals. It’s a feature also found across the album in ‘Walk Away‘ but it’s not shoehorned in for effect. It works to show Wells’ breaking emotion in the music and it never overstays its welcome, on what is an acoustic-based album. This screamed vocal is also heard on ‘Harbor‘ which throws reminders back to early City and Colour with its falling guitar melodies and stunning vocal range. Across the album, Wells shows great talent both vocally and musically – his voice seamlessly moves from a smooth Dallas Green style, to a more driven feel like those of Tim McIlrath (Rise Against) and of course that vocal scream!

Overall this doesn’t feel like a debut album – Wells shows his prior experience from other projects to produce a truly complete feel to the record.

Don’t be lured into thinking this album is all about the slow pace of that “sucker for anything acoustic” vibe of the mid 2000s emo days (although ‘Fall Apart‘ featuring Lizzy Farrall is a great pastiche to this). Upbeat tracks such as ‘Broken’, ‘Patience’ and ‘Cement’ musically provide some light relief, but lyrically follow a similar trend to the rest.

Overall this doesn’t feel like a debut album. They usually feel like a collection of tracks in this genre, but Wells shows his prior experience from other projects to produce a truly complete feel to the record. Tracks like ‘End of a Good Thing’ and previously mentioned ‘Wildfire‘ are great tracks on their own, highlighting Wells’ writing talent for building suspense and emotion, but the album deserves to be listened to as a whole. There is a well-written narrative here, both musically and lyrically; it’s the kind of album ready to be the soundtrack to your late-night drive.

For fans of: City and Colour, Deaf Havana, This Wild Life.

Rating
4


‘The Way We Are’ is out now on Pure Noise Records and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/the-way-we-are/1480535816


The Way We Are on Spotify

Walk Away (Official Music Video)

Patience (Official Music Video)

Wildfire [Official Music Video]


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this singer-songwriter’s debut 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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Rob Manhire
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#Review: LAUREL – DOGVIOLET


   

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LAUREL (aka Laurel Arnell-Cullen) is a British indie musician originating from London. She has had a string of critically acclaimed songs since posting her first demo back in 2013 and gained a lot of bloggers’ and radio DJs’ attention for writing, recording and producing most of her early music in her bedroom studio. Since signing to Counter Records (a division of Ninja Tune Records) in August 2016, she has released an EP and headlined her own UK tour. Now, 2018 sees the singer and songwriter releasing her debut album, DOGVIOLET. Here are are thoughts on the record…

Laurel - Dogviolet.jpg

LAUREL is finally releasing her debut album, DOGVIOLET and it’s a real corker! From the moment it opens with the catchy ‘Life Worth Living’ which bursts into life with its heavy drums, we are taken on a personal journey through LAUREL‘s heart and mind.

Some of the other tracks that really stand out are: ‘All Star’ has a really unique guitar line to it and it’s about putting a partner on a pedestal; ‘Hold Tight’ which has some relaxing, summer-by-the-beach vibes about being close to someone; ‘Adored’ for its slightly more grungy sound; ‘Crave’ which builds to a rather haunting chorus and ‘Take It Back’ for its very different and incredibly catchy chorus that lies somewhere along the lines of HAIM and MUNA.

‘Empty Kisses’ is a beautifully melancholic track too about a relationship that’s essentially over and the passion’s gone.

There’s something beautiful about the occasional cracks in her voice – it’s stunningly imperfect.

Undoubtedly, comparisons could be made with the likes of Lana Del Rey or Florence Welch due to her ethereal vocals and melancholic tones but there’s something beautiful about the occasional cracks in her voice too – it’s stunningly imperfect.

The production is artistic and evokes imagery of an artistic independent film; it certainly serves as a soundtrack to this period in her life, with real, introspective lyricism and reflection that must have taken her to some deep, dark places in her memories. This is surely the start of a wonderful career ahead – with her intensely mesmerising vocals and remarkably honest and personal writing style that certainly stands her out from so many others right now. This year is certainly going to be a big one for LAUREL and I can’t wait to see where it takes her next.

Rating
4


‘Dogviolet’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/dogviolet/1373664343


Dogviolet on Spotify

Coming soon.

Same Mistakes (Official Video)

Life Worth Living (Official Audio)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of LAUREL’s debut album, DOGVIOLET? 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 chat to us about it via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Milestones – Red Lights


   

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Milestones are a British pop punk band, hailing from Manchester. The quartet, fronted by singer Matt Clarke, have worked with producer, Phil Gornell (Bring Me The Horizon and All Time Low) to produce their debut album, Red Lights; their first full-length record with Fearless Records. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Milestones - Red Lights.jpg

Milestones are certainly making a mark on the pop punk scene with this strong, punchy debut…but are they bringing anything new to the table? Not really, but nevertheless it works!

The album is quite formulaic with its use of ‘Woah ohs’, ‘Na na nas’ and other gang vocals, amongst a whole host of stop pushes, grungy guitars, semi-cliché lyrics about being against the world and such like, and to top it all off, are some straight-up, damn-catchy choruses.

It’s quite easy to make comparisons with bands like All Time Low, We The Kings and to some extent You Me At Six, but most notably, The Friday Night Boys, due to their pop punk precision and following of the modern tendency to over-produce these types of songs. Furthermore, being a British pop punk outfit, they’ve followed in the footsteps of so many others, by adopting the faux-American accent and referencing places in the USA (probably due to the amount of time the band have spent touring over there), but this band will still undoubtedly have made a name for themselves with this actually, pretty great album.

There are huge, sing-a-long choruses that would easily fill a stadium and Matt Clarke‘s epic vocals are delivered with massive power and heaps of conviction. It sure shows a band who know their sound and have the strength to produce a powerful album.

There are some mammoth highs, with powerhouse songs like ‘BitterSweetHeart’‘Once Upon A Time’‘Paranoid’ and ‘Liar’ and trademark, heartfelt “ballads”, exposing their more vulnerable side, with tracks such as ‘Against The World’‘Hold On’ and ‘Counting Cars’, all of which further fits themselves in to the mould. With its minute-long intro, ‘This Is My Life’ provides a moment of calm amid the album, almost splitting it into two parts, before kicking into the main song and ‘Eighteen’ is just a bit of fun, though lyrically lacking in some ways, whilst ‘Forever Or Never’ is a big track, bringing the album to a good conclusion.

Whilst it might sounds like I’m slating this record, I’m not trying to; I’m merely pointing out the current trends in the pop punk genre, but I actually thoroughly enjoyed it and have had it on repeat since receiving it. There are huge, sing-a-long choruses that would easily fill a stadium and Matt Clarke‘s epic vocals are delivered with massive power and heaps of conviction; he sings ‘Now I’m stuck in this fucking rut’, almost spitting out ‘fuck’ like no one I’ve ever heard. Overall, there are some stunning moments on this album (the harmonies in the middle 8 of ‘BitterSweetHeart’ being one of my favourite) and though it may not blaze trails within the genre or lead to world domination of the market, it sure shows a band who know their sound and have the strength to produce a powerful album.

Rating
3.5


‘Red Lights’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/red-lights/1336609728


Red Lights on Spotify

‘Paranoid’ (Official Music Video)

‘BitterSweetHeart’ (Official Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Milestones’ debut album, but what do you think of it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it via our social media accounts.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Story Untold – Waves


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerStory Untold are a pop punk five-piece band based in Montreal, Canada, who formed back in 2012. In 2016, not long after signing to Hopeless Records, the band released their debut, self-titled EP. Now, they’re releasing their first full-length album, Waves, and here’s what we have to say about it…

Story Untold - Waves

The opening track, ‘In Or Out’, is a well-written, punchy, pop rock song with an uber-catchy, sing-along chorus that instantly had me excited for what more was to come, and rightly so…this is a very strong debut album!

Citing some of their influences as Green Day, Blink-182, Sum 41 and Fall Out Boy, it’s easy to hear how they have become the type of band they have. Think early Simple Plan meets more recent All Time Low but recorded in an even more polished way – that is this album! It’s superbly produced, filled with catchy songs and has highs and lows in all the right places.

Some of the main themes across the album include relationships and break-ups – pretty standard stuff – but the delivery is very current, with songs like ‘Delete’ referencing modern technologies (“Now you’re just a photo on my iPhone screen.”). Usually I find this sort of thing in songs a little cringe, but somehow the melodies the band have used and the conviction with which Janick Thibault sings the lyrics is so well executed that I really don’t mind it.

The band have compiled a sound, well-written, pack-a-punch, pure pop punk album…and it’s glorious.

Overall, this is an incredible debut and each track has their own great qualities but in my opinion, some of the best tracks on this record include; ‘In Or Out’ as it is just a fantastic opener for the record, ‘The 3ND’ has a great push in the chorus accompanied by quite choppy lyrics and varied vocals, ‘Drown In My Mind’ as it has a very intricate quality to it and ‘California’ for being a straight-up pop punk anthem (very Simple Plan-esque). To be honest it’s quite hard to pick stand-out songs as almost all of them are incredible – it’s even got your typical piano-style ballad, ‘Invisible’. The only track I thought let down the album a bit, was the last track, ‘Chasing Feelings’ – I loved the way the album began with a huge kick and I actually wanted it to end the same way; with a massive, all-out pop punk track – I felt that it was a bit of a weak end to such a great album. Other than that, it’s superb!

This is definitely an record I would love to see played live – from listening to their recording alone, you get a real sense of what their performances would be like. The band have compiled a sound, well-written, pack-a-punch, pure pop punk album…and it’s glorious – I haven’t been this excited about a new pop punk band for quite a while. With the sound they have created for themselves and the energy and buzz about them, I’m sure there will be a lot more to come from them in the future. Well done guys!

Rating
4.5.jpg


‘Waves’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/waves/1298835393


Waves on Spotify

In Or Out (Official Music Video)

Delete (Official Music Video)

Drown In My Mind (Official Music Video)

All The Same (Once A Liar, Always A Liar) (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Story Untold’s debut album, Waves. What do you think of it? Are you as much of a fan as us? Would you give it the same rating as us or rate it differently? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our socials.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#FeelGoodFriday: DNCE – ‘Kissing Strangers’ featuring Nicki Minaj


   

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This is the first new music from DNCE since their debut album in 2016 and it features guest vocals from serial collaborator, Nicki Minaj.

The song has sun-kissed guitar riffs and bass licks throughout; it’s a summery track oozing with gang vocals and beautiful harmonies. The lyrics are saucy and the artwork is 60s in style; reinforcing that it’s a track all about free love. Surely this is the signs of a new album on the horizon?!

No official video has been released yet but undoubtedly one will emerge soon and I’m sure it’ll be fun-filled if the band’s previous releases are anything to go by.

*UPDATE* The official video has now been released and it’s just as tongue-in-cheek, fun-filled and raunchy as I expected. I’m pleased to see Nicki Minaj featured in the video too – not just stylised in the background, like sometimes happens to featured artists and rappers.

What are your thoughts of the band’s new direction? Got any #FeelGoodFriday tunes for us to check out? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or hit us up via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Kissing Strangers’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/kissing-strangers-feat-nicki-minaj-single/id1223544918


#WildCardWednesday: KYAN – ‘Burn Mona Lisa’

 


 

   

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KYAN (Kyan Palmer) is the definition of #WildCardWednesday – he’s seemingly come out of nowhere with this incredible debut single! He originally recorded ‘Burn Mona Lisa’ as part of a thesis project but stated that he was surprised at how easily everything appeared to come together during the recording process, especially considering it was his first time recording.

“Overall, it probably took about an hour and a half to record, mix and everything,” Palmer explains. “I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect since it was my first time doing anything like that, but I really like how the song came together.”

Palmer’s relatable lyrics and silky voice make this track an impressive debut single and will undoubtedly ensure his followers continue to grow. Although it would seem that the track is in reference to a relationship ending, KYAN stated that they were intended to be somewhat ambiguous and that this was one of his favourite aspects of the song.

What are your thoughts of this impressive debut single? Heard anything similar that you could recommend us for #WildCardWednesday? Please leave us a comment or hit us up via our social media accounts.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Burn Mona Lisa’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/burn-mona-lisa-single/id1202686488


NOTE: Some of the quotes are referenced from the following article – http://www.statepress.com/article/2016/03/barrett-student-kyan-palmer-single-debut-new-york-city