#Review: Alan Walker – Different World ūüĆć


   

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Alan Walker¬†is a young, Norwegian DJ and record producer who burst onto the scene with his¬†2015 single,¬†‘Faded’ (featuring uncredited vocals by Iselin Solheim) –¬†now platinum certified in over 10 countries and as of December 2018, the music video has received well over 2 billion views! Since then, he has had many successful singles which have received tons of attention online, through countless YouTube views and Spotify streams. Alan has also collaborated with and remixed music for likes of Noah Cyrus, Sia, Bruno Mars, Avicii, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Kygo, Charli XCX, Julia Michaels and more. Now, December 2018 sees the release of his debut album,¬†Different World. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Alan Walker - Different World

Alan Walker‘s debut album makes an atmospheric opening with the haunting use of synths and wordless vocal melodies, building continuously, however, just as you think it’s reaching a crescendo that will surely lead into the first track…it goes quiet! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for atmospheric album tracks that build into the next but the 3 tracks on the album (out of 15), that are intended to prelude something bigger, just drop off like this, leaving a lot to be desired in this respect – they should flow right into the next track, seamlessly!

Some of the best tracks on the record include: ‘I Don‚Äôt Wanna Go’ (featuring Julie Bergan) with its really interesting, low vocals throughout the verses before breaking out into a wonderfully powerful chorus yet it’s obviously very Alan Walker in style, with the almost bubbly synths. Then you’ve got ‘Lily’ (featuring K-391 & Emelie Hollow), an almost story-like track, with a rather dark undertone to it. The high-pitched vocals contrast incredibly with somewhat sinister-sounding electronic elements to the instruments.

‘Do It All For You’ (featuring Trevor Guthrie) begins with a haunting, nursery rhyme vibe to the instrumental; its warbling chime sounds and hip-hop-style beat bring something fresh to the ears. It isn’t an instantly or obviously catchy track yet it’s very well written and you quite easily find yourself singing it several hours later. ‘Sing Me to Sleep’ (also featuring uncredited vocals by Iselin Solheim) is a very powerful song containing shakingly beautiful vocals (somewhat like Ellie Goulding), accompanied by the haunting sounds of children playing throughout the start and verse. Meanwhile, the synths a like a blend of some well-know Chicane and Owl City instrumentals.

However, possibly the best, most commercial-sounding song on the album, is single, ‘All Falls Down’ (featuring Noah Cyrus, Digital Farm Animals & Juliander). It’s just catchy, fun and despite the slightly down-hearted subject matter, is strangely uplifting.

It’s actually an album that depicts a rarely heard, somewhat dark and edgy side of EDM and it’s brilliant!

Both ‘Lost Control’ (featuring Sorana) and ‘Lonely’ (featuring Steve Aoki, IS√ĀK & Omar Noir) have an urban/Indian edge to them, mashed up with a gritty, broken quality to the synth sounds. Whilst, ‘Darkside’ (featuring Au/Ra & Tomine Harket) sounds a lot like ‘I’d Do Anything’ from the musical, Oliver! in the chorus – it has sensational production with a lot of subtle flourishes underlying the main melodies and ‘Diamond Heart’ (featuring Sophia Somajo) makes good use of rain sounds to add to the atmosphere, topped off with a strong vocal like Dua Lipa meets Sia.

Unfortunately, ‘Alone’ is nothing more than a solid album track, that I am certain fans will love, but it’s not the most memorable track, by far, despite the typical Alan Walker-style synth breaks.

Of course, it wouldn’t be right not to mention ‘Faded’; the track that really launched the producer and songwriter into the limelight – as with a couple of my favourite debut albums released by fellow EDM producers this year, it’s a really touching way to end a debut album; bringing it all back round full-circle to where their career began. A great little touch!

It’s clear that Walker likes to use real sounds to enhance the soundscapes he creates, which really add to the ambience throughout the record – it might just be one of the saving graces of the record, making him stand out from so many other EDM producers.

All in all, it’s actually an album that depicts a rarely heard, somewhat dark and edgy side of EDM and it’s brilliant! As I’ve previously stated, if Sigala‘s album was the soundtrack to the party and Jonas Blue‘s was the soundtrack to the after party, then Alan Walker‘s debut album is the soundtrack to the gritty underground club after that!

Whilst I think there are several things lacking in this record, he has certainly spent a long time crafting a production-perfect debut with some interesting sounds or synth choices here and there that add just enough variety to delight your ears and make it stand out.

After the success of ‘Faded’ and the loyal online following he’s built up, I’m sure Alan Walker will have an illustrious career ahead within the genre…it’ll be interesting to see how he develops and grows from here.

Rating


‘Different World’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/different-world/1445140820


Different World on Spotify

Faded (Official Video)

All Falls Down featuring Noah Cyrus, Digital Farm Animals and Juliander (Official Video)

Darkside featuring Au/Ra and Tomine Harket (Official Video)

Diamond Heart featuring Sophia Somajo (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Alan Walker’s debut album, Different World! What do you make of it? 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 hit us up 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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#Review: The Story So Far – Proper Dose ūüŹĒ


   

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The Story So Far are a five-piece band from¬†Walnut Creek, California, consisting of members;¬†Parker Cannon (lead vocals),¬†Kelen Capener¬†(bass), Kevin Geyer¬†(guitar & keyboards), Will Levy (Guitar) and Ryan Torf¬†(drums/percussion). The band are currently signed to¬†Pure Noise Records and¬†Proper Dose¬†(produced by Sam Pura, mixed by Eric Valentine) marks the band’s fourth studio album. Here’s what we have to say about it…

The Story So Far - Proper Dose.jpg

In honesty, this is the first album I’ve listened to by¬†The Story So Far¬†(I’ve failed as a pop punk fan…I know!) but right from the very first listen, you can tell it’s something special; at its core, it is a pop punk album but there is something incredibly mature about its sound too. I remember being blown away by¬†Sugarcult when they released their album, Lights Out; this feels just like that!

This is an album that doesn’t mess around; right from the start, it kicks into gear, exactly as it means to go on! Title track, ‘Proper Dose’, is a beautifully chaotic introduction to the album which continuously builds into a euphoric crescendo that you just can’t help but be consumed by.

It leads straight into ‘Keep This Up’; a personal and intense track that sees singer,¬†Parker Cannon,¬†look at disconnecting himself from the world around him, using drugs to help, but facing the fact that he could lose those around him.

Some of the must-hear tracks include:¬†‘Take Me As You Please’ – a rather enchanting track, led by the hum of the acoustic guitar, seeing¬†Parker Cannon¬†facing some relationship woes;¬†‘Let It Go’ is rich in texture and tone due to the blend of acoustic and electric guitars – it’s a track you just want to play loud, drive fast, windows down, with the sun in your face and wind in your hair whilst¬†‘Need To Know’ is more a traditional pop punk song with it’s fast-paced, double-time drums that are so indicative of the likes of early New Found Glory, yet towards the end it completely changes pace and becomes far more mellow and reflective.

It’s a self-reflective look at finding your way from the person you were and paving the way to the person you want to be.

Other tracks that also grab your attention are¬†‘Out Of It’¬†with its rather in-your-face verses that switch up to a far more epic, drawn-out chorus,¬†‘Upside Down’¬†is a¬†truly tear-jerking ballad that will bring a tear to the eye and¬†‘Line’ is a really wonderful interlude that leads out of¬†‘Need To Know’ – it has great drum pads, beach-like guitars and hauntingly distant vocals; it’s like something you’d expect to hear from the likes of¬†Moby or The¬†Avalanches but it’s a welcome difference from the rest of the record…only adding further dynamism to it.

This is an album that truly takes you on a journey – it’s a self-reflective look at finding your way from the person you were and paving the way to the person you want to be; it’s about transformation. Evolution. Maturity.

I truly believe this record has achieved something incredible – it’s managed to maintain a well-loved and often, over-saturated genre but at the same time, taken it in a completely new direction, with a wonderfully dynamic sound to it. This is sure to be a very exciting time for the band – it is certainly a very exciting record to listen to!

Rating
4.5


‘Proper Dose’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/proper-dose/1412097802


Proper Dose on Spotify

Upside Down (Official Music Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgc8a7ikd2w

Let It Go (Official Audio)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2hrXCeXtrY


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s fourth offering? 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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#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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#Review: Death Cab For Cutie – Thank You For Today ‚ėĀÔłŹ


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerDeath Cab For Cutie are an alternative, indie rock band hailing from Washington, USA, consisting for five members; Ben Gibbard (lead vocals, guitar & piano), Nick Harmer (bass guitar & backing vocals), Jason McGerr (drums), Dave Depper (guitar, keyboards & backing vocals) and Zac Rae (keyboards & guitar). Thank You For Today is the ninth studio album to be released by the band since they started, over 20 years ago, in 1997. Here is what we have to say about it…

Death Cab For Cutie - Thank You For Today.jpg

This is an album that sees the band further perfect their unique blend of forlorn airiness with breezy, somewhat understated pop hooks that have inspired so many other bands since; Vampire Weekend, Foster The People and Foals to name a few.

The record begins with the solemn ‘I Dreamt We Spoke Again’, a track laden with hauntingly beautiful, shaky and untuned keys (an effect also used on the piano of dark and contemplative closing track, ’60 & Punk’; taking a candid approach to mortality) that perfectly reflects the mood of being disturbed by an ex’s unwanted appearance in your dreams. A track that could easily fall between The Cure and Lana Del Rey.

There are certainly a couple of moments on this record that appear to be influenced by Pet Shop Boys too; ‘Summer Years’ and ‘When We Drive’ both have similar vocal styles and spacey instrumentation, to the iconic 80s duo. Easily a couple of the best tracks on the record!

All-in-all, this is a strong, reflective, honest and sentimental album that will not only have old fans immersed but is bound to pick up and grip new alternative and indie fans along the way.

Lead single, ‘Gold Rush’, is a wonderful country-inspired, modern-folk sounding take on the renovation of aspects of the world, whilst ‘Near/Far’ is a synth-driven, 80s-inspired, euphoric tune that is truly nostalgic and reflective.

There are also a few other tracks that embrace a similar feel to each other; ‘Your Hurricane’, ‘Autumn Love’ and ‘Northern Lights’ all have a very laidback vibe with moments of soaring melodies; I wouldn’t say they’re the most stand-out tracks on the album, but certainly captivating in their own ways.

All-in-all, this is a strong, reflective, honest and sentimental album that will not only have old fans immersed but is bound to pick up and grip new alternative and indie fans along the way. One thing’s for sure, this band are definitely a long-standing inspiration to many of their successors and still continue to push forward with their well-deserved and lengthy career.

Rating


‘Thank You For Today’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/thank-you-for-today/1396106377


Thank You For Today on Spotify

Gold Rush (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s ninth studio offering? Is it up there with some of their best work? Are you a long-time fan or only just discovering them? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media.


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#Review: Between You & Me – Everything Is Temporary ‚úä


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerBetween You & Me are a pop punk band from Melbourne, Australia. With the success of their stand alone single, ‘Overthinking’, after signing to Hopeless Records, the band are releasing their debut album, Everything Is Temporary. Here are our thoughts on the record…

Between You & Me - Everything Is Temporary

The pop punk genre is saturated with bands that often sound the same, all pumping out new albums constantly, making it pretty difficult to stand out in the market. I actually only gave this one listen before starting to write the review and have to say on first listen I thought this could just be another one of those bands. I’m pleased I gave it a second listen though as this truly is a strong debut.

It kicks off with the punchy ‘Twice Shy’ that shows off some fancy finger work on the guitars, though I would say this is quite a typical album opener for a pop punk band.

‘Move On’ is another great track that continually builds into the final chorus after a stunning little euphoric breakdown. It’s filled with some superb pushes and there are even some subtle happy hardcore vibes going on.

A mixture of angry and heartfelt lyrics, thrashing guitars you can mosh to and highs and lows in all the right doses.

Some of the best tracks on the record have to be: ‘Dakota’ for being an angry break-up anthem with amazing melodies and a hella catchy chorus; ‘Good Intentions’ which completely changes pace and tone part way through – it’s a wonderfully interesting track; ‘Floral Glass’ is a powerful song about losing someone and remaining strong and the “don’t-give-a-fuck anthem, ‘Everything Is Temporary’, all about living life in the moment and having no regrets, knowing that you have to make the most of the good things in life, as they won’t last forever, whilst also knowing that neither will the bad.

There are a few clich√©s here and there, but that’s almost to be expected with this genre; ‘I Can’t Help It…’ is a short, self-indulgent cry for help and whilst it’s a great song, ‘Friends From ’96’ is an emotive reflection on times passed, starting with a mellow, acoustic intro before building into a full-band song.

That said, it has a bit of everything you could want from an album of this genre; a mixture of angry and heartfelt lyrics, thrashing guitars you can mosh to and highs and lows in all the right doses.

The album is a solid effort and a strong debut from the Aussie pop punkers; it doesn’t necessarily push the boundaries of the genre, but it will certainly have a place in every pop punk fan’s collection. It’s a real shame it’s only just over half an hour long as it’d be good to hear what more they have to offer, but this is surely the start of something great for the quintet!

Rating


‘Everything Is Temporary’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/everything-is-temporary/1372365918


Everything Is Temporary on Spotify

Dakota (Official Music Video)

Friends From ’96 (Official Music Video)


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


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#TunefulTuesday: Jordan Mackampa – ‘One In The Same’


   

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Jordan Mackampa is a¬†Coventry-born, singer-songwriter who has managed to combine his Congolese roots and Midlands upbringing and is deeply inspired by his mother’s love of the great soul singers, as such, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers and Curtis Mayfield.

‘One In The Same’¬†is a combination of timelessly soulful vocals with catchy melodies, stunning harmonies and beautifully heartfelt lyrics, creating a captivating blend of folk and soul. The track was in fact co-written¬†by Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Matt Ingram and produced by Cam Blackwood.

This is definitely the start of something magical for this artist and I look forward to hearing more from him in the months to come.

Unfortunately no music video exists for this track, as yet, but if one appears online, we’ll be sure to share it with you.

What are your thoughts of this singer-songwriter? Got a #TunefulTuesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

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‘One In The Same’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/one-in-the-same/1374225159?i=1374225843