#Review: Reel Big Fish – Life Sucks…Let’s Dance! ūüíÉūüŹĹ


   

facebook-like   Instagram


Reel Big Fish are a ska punk band from Orange County, California. They have had many members over the years, with Aaron Barrett (lead vocals, synths/keyboards and guitars) being the only member left from the original lineup. However the sextet also comprises of John Christianson (trumpet & backing vocals), Derek Gibbs (bass guitar & backing vocals), Matt Appleton (saxophone & backing vocals), Lucky LaPenta (trombone & backing vocals) and Edward Larsen (drums). Since their debut album in 1995, the band have been through a major label (Jive) and come out the other side, to establish their own independent label, with a heap of album releases in between. Now, the end of 2018 marks the release of the band’s 9th album, Life Sucks… Let’s Dance! Here’s what we have to say about it…

Reel Big Fish - Life Sucks...Let's Dance.jpg

There are some albums that you can just stick on and relax to, lie in bed and get lost in, or have an easy Sunday morning with. Not this one! Reel Big Fish have crafted another hugely successful record that just begs to be skanked out to!

Life Sucks… Let’s Dance! sets a much happier tone than their last release, Candy Coated Fury (2012), and there is even a sense of a renewed purpose to the band, evident across the record. The song subjects are generally quite tongue-in-cheek, ranging from the bizarre and witty (‘Bob Marley’s Toe’) to the sarcastic and even outright cheeky (‘Bleached Thang, Baby’). One thing is for certain; their outlook on life seems pretty damn chirpy and while listening, all you want to do is dance along from start to finish!

Good vibes run throughout the album and the songwriting, brilliantly diverse instrumentals and top-notch production result in a record that you can’t help but fall in love with.

Barrett states, ‚ÄúRecording the album with this line up was really fun, we all get along really well these days and everybody was excited to make a new record. Everybody had lots of great ideas and really got creative with everything and I really think it shows.” And he’s right; it does! The excitement they felt about recording this album, clearly emanates through to the listener.

Their outlook on life seems pretty damn chirpy and when listening, all you want to do is dance along from start to finish!

It’s so damn hard to narrow it down but some of the best tracks on the record are, ‘Pissed Off’ for its humour and incredible overlapping vocals at the end, ‘Tongue Tied And Tipsy Too’ with its frantic, grungy and very punk guitar riffs, making it a massive moshable anthem and ‘Bleached Thang, Baby’ which is a sassy track with sexy guitar licks throughout – it’s very skankable, chaotic and just makes you want to let loose. The guitar riff at the end is sensational too!

That’s not to say there aren’t other hugely loveable tracks too, the title track, ‘Life Sucks… Let’s Dance’ is a big-hitter; ‘You Can’t Have All Of Me’ has some stunning vocal harmonies at the end, ‘In Love Again’ contains country-like vocals and guitar slides; ‘Another Beer Song’ is a humorous account of getting drunk to get over someone; ‘Ska Show’ is just a damn good song and ‘Walter’s Highlife’ is an uplifting instrumental track that brings the album to a close nicely.

When you hear their first record (released back in 1995) you can hear just how much this band have evolved, to become the well-loved, polished party anthem machine they are today! Regardless of whether you are a long-term RBF fan or new to the genre, there’s no way you will be able to stop yourself dancing manically to this record and easily picking up the lyrics to sing along with! 23 years and 9 albums later, this band are still going strong and showing no signs of stopping…bring on album 10!!!

Rating
4


‘Life Sucks…Let’s Dance!’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/life-sucks-lets-dance/1442723388


Life Sucks…Let’s Dance! on Spotify

You Can’t Have All Of Me (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Reel Big Fish’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:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
www.facebook.com/muzikspeaks
www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks

Advertisements

#Review: Against The Current – Past Lives ūüĎĀ


   

facebook-like   Instagram


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.


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
www.facebook.com/muzikspeaks
www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks

#Review: Now, Now – Saved


   

facebook-like   Instagram


Now, Now are an American indie duo originally from¬†Blaine, Minnesota (USA), now¬†based in¬†Minneapolis. The band now consists of founding members, KC Dalager (vocals/guitar/keyboard) and Brad Hale (drums/backing vocals) after a recent departure from their line-up. To date, they have had two, somewhat heavier albums and this,¬†Saved, will be their third, full-length release. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Now, Now - Saved.jpg

It’s been a decade since their more thrashy, emo-esque debut album,¬†Cars, was released (back when they were called¬†Now, Now Every Children)¬†but since then,¬†Now, Now have clearly been working hard on mastering the art of slick production.

This is an album that successfully merges emotive, thought-provoking lyricism based upon relatable topics, with warm, summery production; it’s credible songwriting with certain mainstream, pop sensibilities.

Saved is a stunning record. It has everything from catchy choruses and atmospheric synths to chugging guitars and heavy beats.

It kicks off with the acoustic-led, summer tune ‘SGL’ (short for Shot-Gun Lover) which would be the perfect road trip track, through the open roads of America. From there, you’ve got the captivating ‘MJ’, which makes reference to Michael Jackson‘s ‘Billie Jean’ topped off with a galloping beat (somewhat similar to MJ‘s ‘A Place With No Name’ from 2014’s Xscape)

Another significant track is ‘Window’, with its shimmering synths and manipulated vocals, that continually ascend. It’s a song about desperation for someone;‚ÄúEvery night I‚Äôm at your window, Wonder when you‚Äôre gonna let me in.‚ÄĚA truly atmospheric track.

Just listening to this album, puts you in an instantly good mood due to its stunning production and uplifting vibes.

‘Powder’ is a massive tune and a superbly powerful and passionate close to the album; it has a catchy, fun start with delicate guitars and subtle synths but as it goes on, descends into a very interesting and heavy breakdown with gritty synths.

There are certainly a lot of resemblances that can be made across the album too: ‘Can’t Help Myself’ has whispery vocals, somewhat similar to Geowulf; ‘Knowme’ is a house-like track with calm, electronica vibes, with elements of Chicane to it; ‘Set It Free’ makes cheeky reference to “wandering hands” and has a certain something about it that reminds me of a cross between The Cardigans and Sixpence None The Richer; ‘Drive’ has a beachy, Lana Del Rey vibe and ‘Holy Water’ is a song which I find merges MUNA with early Dido (with the use of industrial-like sounds) – it’s beautiful and euphoric. That’s in no way saying that they are copying other artists but perhaps making a nod to them; if anything it just goes to show what an eclectic record they have managed to create, with a little something for everyone.

As far as albums go, this is diverse and interesting with a real excitement about it. Just listening to it, puts you in an instantly good mood due to its stunning production and uplifting vibes. They have managed to craft a sound that is somewhere between airy beach-pop and grungy rock, evoking nostalgia and varying emotions throughout. This is fantastic record that is sure to be the soundtrack to many people’s summers this year.

Rating


‘Saved’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/saved/1365088448


Saved on Spotify

AZ (Official Video)

SGL (Official Video)

Yours (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review; what do you make of this band’s latest album, Saved? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? 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


Matt – Muzik Speaks
www.facebook.com/muzikspeaks
www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks

#Review: Hawthorne Heights – Bad Frequencies


   

facebook-like   Instagram


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.


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
www.facebook.com/muzikspeaks
www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks

#FeelGoodFriday: Shawn Mendes – ‘In My Blood’ & ‘Lost In Japan’


   

facebook-like   Instagram


March 2018 saw the return of¬†Shawn Mendes, who brought us not just one, but two brand new singles, both of which vary greatly in style but have equally brilliant Feel-Good Friday vibes. We just couldn’t decide which one to share, so figured, why not share both?!

‘In My Blood’¬†is a (pop)-rock ballad that transcends from a soft, despairing beginning into a thunderous, passionate anthem by the very first chorus and continues to soar from there. This track shows off just how incredible Mendes’ vocals are with their raspy tones that show just how intensely meaningful this song is.

Meanwhile,¬†‘Lost In Japan’ is a melting pot of contemporary funk with R&B and pop flavours too; it’s very reminiscent of something by¬†Justin Timberlake. This track is also passionate but in a very different way; lyrically the song expresses how Mendes would happily travel the globe just to be close to his lover, all of which sits atop a heavy bassline and groovy guitar rhythms.

Sadly, no music videos have been released as yet, but as soon as they do, we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

What are your thoughts of Shawn Mendes’ two new singles? Are you as much of a fan as us? Have you got a #FeelGoodFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
www.facebook.com/muzikspeaks
www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks

Shawn Mendes – ‘In My Blood’


‘In My Blood’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/in-my-blood-single/1359906692



Shawn Mendes – ‘Lost In Japan’


‘Lost In Japan’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/lost-in-japan-single/1360548138


#EventSpeaks: Jake Bugg @ Brighton Dome, Brighton – 13/03/18


   

facebook-like   Instagram


On Tuesday 13th March 2018, Jake Bugg concluded his acoustic, UK tour at Brighton Dome, in Brighton. The set was packed with a string of hits and supported by up-and-comer, Georgie (interview here).


Georgie

Georgie took to the stage with quiet confidence and launched into her first song, which by the end, had the audience in the palm of her hand and breaking out into waves of cheers. Her voice is beautiful and powerful and her inspiration from the likes of Sheryl Crow, really shine through. Her songwriting is honest and humble. She is a raw talent that is surely headed for big things.

Highlight:¬†The sheer power and tone behind her voice was something very special to watch. ‘Too Much TV’ (her latest single) was great to see live too!


Jake Bugg

By 9pm, the audience were ready for Jake Bugg to take the stage, and he did so to massive applause and cheering from the crowd.

I must confess that I only knew a couple of his tracks prior to this show (namely ‘Lightning Bolt’) but this show proved he is SO much more than that! His songwriting is exceptional and considering this was an acoustic tour, each song really held its own as a stripped back version.

His voice is incredibly distinctive with a real stamina behind it and he was note perfect from start to finish; not something to brush off, considering he was so exposed by doing an entirely acoustic set. Some of the intonation and speed of his vocals is impressive too.

His guitar-playing was sensational too and by doing this stripped-back show, really allowed you to marvel at how talented you have to be (and he is), to sing and play the guitar at the same time. I actually came away wishing that he would put out a live album of the show, or even just an acoustic studio album, of all the versions he sung; something I really think he should do.

If you haven’t seen this guy live before or only know a couple of his songs, I can’t recommend going to see him, highly enough; he doesn’t disappoint and you’ll come away waning to hear more.

Highlights:

  • The sheer stamina and speed behind Jake’s voice were remarkable.
  • Variation between the songs was remarkably dynamic, considering it was solely him and a guitar.
  • The tones, rhythms and volumes he produced on his guitars added further diversity to his set.
  • About half way through the set, Jake asked the audience what they wanted to hear but from then on, whenever there was an opportunity, people shouted out requests. His responses to some of the calls were witty and well handled.

¬†ūüďłÔŅľ All of the photos in this post are credited to Damon Peirce¬†ÔŅľūüď∑
Go and give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter.


Setlist

How Soon The Dawn
Saffron
Strange Creatures
Slide
Indigo Blue
Taste It
Two Fingers
Bigger Lover
Someone Told Me
Old Man (Neil Young Cover)
Simple As This
Me And You
Country Song
Trouble Town
There’s A Beast And We All Feed It
Broken
In The Event Of My Demise
Slumville Sunrise
Seen It All
Waiting
Lightning Bolt*

* This song can be viewed in the YouTube video, below.


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to Thom Williams for setting up this review and arranging the interview with Georgie. Also, massive thanks to Jake Bugg and Georgie for putting on a fantastic show Рthe crowd loved it!


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

Muzik Speaks Live Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
www.facebook.com/muzikspeaks
www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks

#Review: Drones – Exiled


   

facebook-like   Instagram


Drones are a London-based, in-your-face, all-out, old-school punk rock band made up of¬†Lois McDougall (vocals), Rob King (guitar),¬†Tim Kramer (guitar/backing vocals),¬†James Kerr (bass/backing vocals) and Mitchell Thomas¬†(drums). They’ve just released their album, Exiled, and here’s what we thought…

Drones - Exiled.jpg

Exiled is very much a hardcore, politically-charged, punk rock, concept album, inspired by the current refugee crisis across Europe and as such, is attempting to deal with a very relevant issue. Vocalist, Lois McDougall, further explains,“Exiled is a collection of songs that we began writing after being struck by the misery of the European refugee crisis. Some of the songs are written from the perspectives of fictional characters of those impacted by the crisis, and others of those who prefer to distance themselves from it. Millions of people are suffering every day and it’s a subject that should be kept at the forefront of all of our minds. Music is a great platform for personal connection. We’ve taken a subject that can so easily be viewed as a distant-seeming ‘world-issue’, and tried to make it more personal. In doing so, we hope that people may feel more compassion for the victims, and that those suffering may find an ounce of comfort in these songs. Exiled is dedicated to those fleeing any war-torn country.”

It certainly has managed to deliver this and lyrically addresses the issues it set out to face, however in places, I find the lyrics a bit frank; too obvious and not necessarily clever, however that is often the nature of punk music. In spite of this, it is a fast, furious and fun record, with some very chantable choruses and moshable guitar riffs, particularly the likes of¬†‘For Those Who Care’,¬†‘Inferno’,¬†‘Rorschach’¬†and¬†‘Anchors’. Then, towards the end of the record, it gets even thrashier.

They’ve delivered a poignant, angry-sounding album that is intent on highlighting current issues.

Conversely to this, the band have a couple of tokenistic ballad-like songs, with the acoustic-driven¬†‘Black Blood’ and the¬†Metallica-esque,¬†‘Sickbay’, which add a little depth to this otherwise intense album.

Despite¬†Drones¬†being very much an traditional, politically-fuelled punk band, the production is top-notch, yet still hasn’t lost the charm that an old-school punk band would have had. It’s not over-produced and there a slight imperfections, which all add authenticity to the record. In places, this band remind me of 2004, punk rockers,¬†The Fight¬†(remember¬†‘Can’t Be Bothered’?).

This is certainly an album you would want to see live, to let yourself lose by bouncing around to your heart’s content. They’ve delivered a poignant, angry-sounding album that is intent on highlighting current issues, but unfortunately they are not going to set the world alight or make any significant changes to music, or punk. However, they know their sound and they execute it well.

Rating
3


‘Exiled’¬†is out now¬†and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/exiled/1317378913


Exiled on Spotify

Rorschach (Official Music Video)

Territories (Official Music Video)

Inferno (Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Drones’ new album, Exiled! What do you make of it? Are you a fan? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media.


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
www.facebook.com/muzikspeaks
www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks