#Review: Panic! At The Disco – Pray For The Wicked ūüôŹ


   

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Panic! At The Disco¬†is an American band notable for its combination of alternative rock, synth-pop and emo lyrics, creating a very unique sound. After the huge success of the band’s debut album,¬†A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, back in 2005, they have had a string of albums, continuously kept their sound fresh and built up a very loyal following. Now, in 2018, and with only Brendon Urie¬†in the official line-up, the now-solo project is releasing a sixth studio album,¬†Pray For The Wicked. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Panic At The Disco - Pray For The Wicked

Let’s just start by saying that this album couldn’t be further from their 2005 debut but somehow still manages to have a distinctive Panic! At The Disco sound… mostly due to Brendon‘s instantly recognisable vocals!

Throughout the band’s life, they have had many incarnations, from the cabaret-infused emo-pop of their debut, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (2005), to their Beatles-inspired, Pretty. Odd (2008) and even their remarkably elaborate 2016 offering, Death Of A Bachelor. Well, Pray For The Wicked is no different…it’s another eccentric overhaul of the act and with that, brings a new and exciting sound.

It all opens with the show-stopper, ‘(Fuck A) Silver Lining’; an all-out, overly-extravagant anthem that oozes an air of success about the guy. The production is top-notch and unapologetic about its use of heavy drum fills and lavish symphony instrumentation. I particularly love the use of the one-off beep where a “fuck” should be – a great little production addition.

This is a theatrical record that doesn’t hold back in any way, shape or form!

As with any Panic! album, there is a great deal of sass behind the lyrics but this record also serves as an honest reflection on certain aspects of his life; his religious upbringing coupled with his rise to fame but rather than focusing on him living the high-life (as was the case on 2016’s Death Of A Bachelor), delves further into the journey to get there. This is a theatrical record that doesn’t hold back in any way, shape or form! It could easily be the soundtrack to a film like The Greatest Showman or feature on Broadway.

Some of key tracks to listen to on this record include, the quietly catchy, ‘Hey Look Ma, I Made It’; the pop-infused ‘High Hopes’ which you can’t help but sing at full pelt; the aptly-named ‘Dancing’s Not A Crime’ – which is a bloody good thing, as you’re unable to hear this without busting out some moves; and the beautifully heartfelt ‘Dying In LA’.

There is a real amalgamation of sounds on this album, from the superbly-integrated brass sections throughout (which add a certain class and almost seem to flaunt the budget that must have been spent making it), to the urban flourishes, such as gritty vinyl sounds, ballsy trap beats and even hip hop-tinted, high-pitched vocal samples. There’s no escaping the fact that Brendon sounds like he had a friggin’ great time making this record and at the same time, was not afraid to push some boundaries.

One thing’s for sure; fans of label-mates, Fall Out Boy‘s, newer sound, as well as die-hard Panic! fans, will undoubtedly love this record…but I have a feeling that with this new direction, he might well be picking up a whole new army of fans too! There are moments here and there that I could give or take, but on the whole, this is an outstanding, current and contemporary album that I would just LOVE to see performed live!

Rating


‘Pray For The Wicked’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/pray-for-the-wicked/1361152002


Pray For The Wicked on Spotify

Hey Look Ma, I Made It (Official Video)

Say Amen (Saturday Night) (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s sixth album? Are you a fan? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media.


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#Review: Mayday Parade – Sunnyland ‚ėÄÔłŹ


   

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Mayday Parade are a relatively unique blend of pop punk but with a more mature, almost alternative rock sound than some other bands in the genre. They have had five albums, prior to this, but Sunnyland not only marks their sixth album release, but it’s their first with new label, Rise Records. Here are our thoughts…

Mayday Parade - Sunnyland.jpg

The album is launched into full swing by opening track, ‘Never Sure’; a fast-paced pop punk summer anthem that is begging for festival-goers to be jumping around like maniacs. This has surely got to be their set opener for their tours this year?!

Then there’s the band’s recent single, ‘It‚Äôs Hard To Be Religious When Certain People Are Never Incinerated By Bolts Of Lightning’, an angry anthem about feeling screwed over by someone. There are some stunning, echoey vocals in the last minute of the track where singer, Derek Sanders‘ voice really shines.

The tempo drops for the album’s lead single, ‘Piece Of Your Heart’, which certainly wasn’t an obvious choice to launch the album, but nevertheless it is a dreamy and romantic ballad that features some stadium-filling instrumentation and stunning gang vocals.

In fact, a large portion of the album feels self-reflective and relatively mellow in comparison to some of their previous releases but perhaps this is a maturing of the band’s musical direction? It can at times, feel a little stop-start due to the number of mellower tracks, but it’s definitely got a late summer/early autumn feel to it. ‘Take My Breath Away’ (almost sounds like something byThe Barr Brothers) and ‘Where You Are’ see the full band sound swapped for a more unplugged feel.

The highs are powerful and stratospheric, whilst the lows are both beautiful, vulnerable and unapologetic.

However, tracks such as ‘Is Nowhere’ and ‘How Do You Like Me Now’ showcase a much heavier, maybe even angrier, side to the band.

Favourite tracks have to be:¬†‘How Do You Like Me Now’ for its no holds barred lyrics and progressively chaotic instrumentation;¬†‘If I Were You’¬†as it’s just a fun, classic pop punk mosh anthem about getting away from it all and¬†‘Satellite’ that is a truly remarkable song with harmonic guitars and euphoric vocals that excite and induce a rush of ecstasy from start to finish.

There is something very similar to the likes of You Me At Six (like on ‘It’s Hard To Be Religious…’ and ‘Is Nowhere’) and Funeral For A Friend about this record; the highs are powerful and stratospheric, whilst the lows are both beautiful, vulnerable and unapologetic.

This is very much an album that weaves its way through calm, reflective tracks and punchy pop punk thrash anthems to target a mixed audience – and it is packed full of emotions too. This is mainly one for the fans, but I’m sure will pick up a few new listeners along the way.

Rating
4


‘Sunnyland’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sunnyland/1375751341


Sunnyland on Spotify

It’s Hard To Be Religious When Certain People Are Never Incinerate By Bolts Of Lightning¬†(Official Music Video)

Piece Of Your Heart (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s sixth album? Are they headed in a direction you like? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media.


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#ThrowbackThursday: Bowling For Soup – ‘Punk Rock 101’


   

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This year sees the 15th anniversary since Bowling For Soup released their single, ‘Punk Rock 101’.

The band are known for their punk rock sound but married up with comedy and a pinch of not taking themselves too seriously, and this is certainly no different. The song serves as a lesson in writing a punk rock song, making references to other songs or things from the world of music, such as Bon Jovi‘s ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’, Fat Mike from NOFX and even the title itself is a nod to Kurt Cobain‘s suicide note.

The track is catchy as hell, fast-paced, cheeky and just downright fun!

And the music video (below) is even funnier – picturing the band amongst a large group of recruits at an army-like boot camp for rigorous training in the art of punk rock. Hilarious!

A great track that never gets old – a timeless punk rock classic!

Do you remember this song when it was released? Is this your first time hearing it? Have you got a #ThrowbackThursday 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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‘Punk Rock 101’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/punk-rock-101/418436938?i=418437191


#ThrowbackThursday: The All-American Rejects – ‘Gives You Hell’


   

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The All-American Rejects released their monster hit, ‘Gives You Hell’, back in 2008, which went on to become their most successful single, to date.

It reached Number 18 in the UK Charts and received regular rotation on radio and music video channels. It was also the first single to be taken from their third studio album, When The World Comes Down. Since then, the band have released another album and recently a single; we’re just waiting for the announcement of their fifth album!

‘Gives You Hell’ is certainly and in-your-face break-up anthem but the chorus can also apply to many other situations; it’s just an all-round good belter to let off some steam and what’s amazing is it’s timeless.

The music video is pretty original too and damn funny; it’s well worth a watch!

What are your thoughts of this awesome 2008 track? Doesn’t it still sound sick?! Do you still love it as much as you did back then? Have you got a #ThrowbackThursday 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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‘Gives You Hell’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/gives-you-hell/304613492?i=304613499


#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‚Äôs, 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: Dashboard Confessional – Crooked Shadows


   

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Dashboard Confessional are¬†an American rock¬†band from Boca Raton, Florida, led by frontman, singer and principle songwriter, Chris Carrabba. Since their debut album release, back in 2000, the band have gained a massive, loyal following and are now releasing their seventh album,¬†Crooked Shadows. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Dashboard Confessional -Crooked Shadows.jpg

It’s been eight years since the band’s last album but Chris Carrabba and the rest of Dashboard Confessional are back with a new studio album, however this one has just 9 tracks, making it more of a mini album. Also, traditionally known to be a fairly emo band, this album sees them venturing into slightly newer territories.

It all kicks off with ‘We Fight’, which is an all-out, scream-it-at-the-top-of-your-lungs anthem for anyone and everyone that’s got something to fight for…or against, whilst ‘Heartbeat Here’ is a mellower, acoustic, crowd pleaser that is just begging for an audience to chant along with it. ‘Catch You’ and ‘About Us’ have some simply stunning yet powerful vocal harmonies, epic choruses and great, subtle use of synths. Then there’s ‘Belong’ (a collaboration with Cash Cash) – this is the most unique track on the album, and sees the band take on a much more modern sound (almost venturing into Maroon 5 territory). On first listen, I actually felt like it was almost confusing the direction of the album a bit, but it’s actually become one of my favourite tracks on the record…plus it provides a welcome change in vibe at the midway point. However, I’m certain that this track will be divisive amongst fans and that many will not like tropical-house feel or over-produced nature.

Crooked Shadows is very much an album that has something for everyone – it demonstrates that they aren’t afraid to update their sound with the times.

There are also couple of slower, more emo-style, heartstring-pullers, ‘Open My Eyes’ and the almost ‘Time Of My Life’-esque (Green Day), ‘Just What To Say’ (featuring Chrissy Costanza) that expose Carrabba’s raw emotion and vulnerable lyric-writing abilities. Whilst the title track, ‘Crooked Shadows’ and ‘Be Alright’ are big, rock-out songs.

Crooked Shadows is very much an album that has something for everyone and whilst it’s probably never going to quite live up to the fans’ love of A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar, it really is a fantastic new release and a great comeback record. It demonstrates that they aren’t afraid to update their sound with the times. I thoroughly enjoyed it; it’s just a shame that there aren’t more tracks.

Rating


‘Crooked Shadows’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/crooked-shadows/1334380586


Crooked Shadows on Spotify

We Fight (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Dashboard Confessional’s seventh studio album? Do you agree with our rating? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or share your feelings about it with us on our socials.


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#Review: The Dangerous Summer ‚Äď The Dangerous Summer (Self-Titled)


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerThe Dangerous Summer are a rock band from Maryland, USA who formed back in 2006. Since then, they have had 3 main studio albums (if you exclude the acoustic version of their debut), making this, self-titled album (The Dangerous Summer), their fourth.

The Dangerous Summer Cover.jpg

After frontman AJ Perdomo took some time away to concentrate on fatherhood, and having cut down to a trio, the band are back with their fourth full-length album, to much excitement from fans.

Whilst I wouldn’t say this is an emo band per se, they are a far cry from their slightly more light-hearted debut,¬†Reach For The Sun, with vocals that sound more beaten and weathered and lyrics that feel as though AJ Perdomo is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.

There is something very nostalgic and reminiscent about this album (both sonically and lyrically) and it appears that a lot of self-reflection has gone into the writing of it. Some of the intricate work and echoing effects on the guitars of¬†‘This Is Life’ and ‘Fire’¬†leave audible space for the listener to be taken in and reflect too – something I believe was done deliberately, in order to allow the lyrics to reach out, for maximum effect.

It is an album of poetic melancholy, even in some of its lighter moments –¬†a solid, interesting and well-rounded collection of songs that work brilliantly together and will be appreciated by fans new and old.

Some of the stand-out tracks for me, include:¬†‘Color’ for the sheer force with which it launches the album, starting off as a mellow but tortured cry before descending into a more chaotic scream of atmospheric noise with the lyrics “I’m not quite myself”¬†ringing aptly; as mentioned before,¬†‘This Is Life’¬†and¬†‘Fire’ for their beautiful sound and wonderful lyricism,¬†‘Luna’,¬†which is a touching dedication to his daughter – I particularly love the lyric,¬†“You are the architect to all your dreams,”¬†and lastly,¬†‘When I Get Home’ which is a welcome break in the record, for its slightly more up-beat yet still edgy pop punk feel (and appreciation for their friends and the place they call home) and whilst it’s quite different to the other tracks on the album, somehow it manages not to feel out of place.

This album is definitely not one which is pushing the boundaries of the genre by any means, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – sticking to what they know and doing it well, shows that they are a band who know themselves. It is an album of poetic melancholy, even in some of its lighter moments, so if you’re feeling like indulging in a little self-loathing or reflecting on darker times and trying to find solace in them, then this is an album for you. It is a solid, interesting and well-rounded collection of songs that work brilliantly together and will be appreciated by fans new and old. Whether you’re into edgy, alternative rock with a large portion of emo lyricism and a gravelly vocalist or you simply enjoy the sonic beauty of a band like this, then you’re bound to love it. I honestly do think it’s a fantastic album; a triumphant returning record for the band and I thoroughly enjoy listening to it – the only reason I’ve rated it 3.5/5 is purely because I’m not sure how well it’ll stand out, over time.

Rating
3.5


‘The Dangerous Summer’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-dangerous-summer/1297025337


The Dangerous Summer on Spotify

Fire (Official Music Video)

Ghosts (Official Music Video)


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


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