#Review: Neck Deep – All Distortions Are Intentional 🍊

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerNeck Deep are a Welsh pop punk band who initially formed in 2012. They quickly released a couple of EPs in 2012 and 2013 before signing to Hopeless Records in the August of 2013. To date, the band have released 3 studio albums and now 2020 sees the release of their fourth, full-length LP, All Distortions Are Intentional. Here’s what we have to say about it…

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From the moment this record starts, with opening track, ‘Sonderland’, it’s obvious that Neck Deep have progressed their sound and lyricism, as we’re hearing a more mature band than on previous albums. This could well be their Coming Home to New Found Glory or Lights Out to Sugarcult. The opening track is quite apt for what’s going on in the world right now too with the bridge line, “These strange times that we live in, Will slowly eat you alive if you don’t fit in.” The new Neck Deep continues with the subtle production quirks and repetitive chorus of ‘Fall’ that has one of those classic, clap-along breakdowns.

That said, there are still some obvious pop punk belters throughout the record too, but somehow there’s a more mature take on them. ‘Telling Stories’ is a great example of this (and one of my favourites on the record) and whilst it’s full of those chugging riffs and fast-paced drums, it does as the title says and tells a variety of stories throughout the track. ‘Sick Joke’ is another favourite of mine and a melancholic look at life but it’s catchy as hell – think All Time Low but with an epic guitar solo. Even single, ‘I Revolve (Around You)’ has it’s classic pop punk elements – it starts out like a ballad which compares the love of two people to the stars and planets but it quickly steps up a gear and explodes into a catchy chorus.

What you get with this record is an evolution of the band trying to create something new and exciting for the genre, and it works…really well!

There’s plenty of other great tracks on the record too; ‘Lowlife’ is an anthem for millennials with its chant-along chorus and grungy riffs, ‘When You Know’ is an infectious love song, that’s upbeat appeal demonstrates the band’s musical progression and further maturity is shown on both ‘What Took You So Long?’ and ‘Empty House’, the latter of which starts with a great melodic acoustic guitar before exploding into a gritty, pop punk riff – like something by New Found Glory.

‘Little Dove’ is a real contender for a fan favourite – it’s just begging to be belted out by a crowd at one of the band’s shows, during a quiet moment in the set. Quirky, not-quite-fitting-the-rest-of-the-record track, ‘Quarry’, is an interlude that changes pace of the record for a moment by becoming a little bit dark and emo – it’s a bit of a self-help track defining the “root of it all” being stress. Album closer, ‘Pushing Daisies’, leaves the listener with a positive outlook and a sense to keep pressing on with their life. In light of the world’s current climate (corona virus and black lives matter protests), there is a real sense of hope and strength in lines such as, “Know that I can change the world, And that’s just how it is.” It ends perfectly, with aggression and a series of “Fuck” various things, that an audience will love to scream out in angst.

Hardcore pop punk fans may struggle with this album if they’re looking for a repeat of Life’s Not Out To Get You or even The Pain And The Panic (however the latter began to see some transitions), but what you get with this record is an evolution of the band trying to create something new and exciting for the genre, and it works…really well! That’s not to say pop punk fans won’t love this record; they definitely will! This is an exciting step in their career and shows real progression in their songwriting and lyricism. A great record that will hopefully lead on to great things!

Rating
4.5


‘All Distortions Are Intentional’ is out 24/07/20 and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/all-distortions-are-intentional/1498663190


All Distortions Are Intentional on Spotify

Coming Friday 24th July 2020.

I Revolved (Around You) [Official Music Video]

Fall (Official Music Video)

Lowlife (Official Music Video)

When You Know (Official Music Video)

Sick Joke (Official Music Video)


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


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#Review: Oliver Tree – Ugly Is Beautiful

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerOliver Tree is one of those artists it’s hard to define. Whilst there are some who insist that he is nothing more than an internet meme, his artistry is undeniable and there’s something instantly captivating about him. Having released a heap of singles since signing to Atlantic Records in 2017, it’s only now, in 2020, we’re seeing the release of his debut album, Ugly Is Beautiful. Here’s what we have to say about it…

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Ugly Is Beautiful is the first full-length release from Oliver Tree, who announced his early retirement in March 2020 – only to return in May with the announcement of his debut record, after a hacker held Oliver hostage in exchange for 1 million Instagram likes (which he logged in under 24 hours).

Having already been delayed twice (once due to Covid-19 and once due to the George Floyd and anti-racism protests), this highly-anticipated debut album proves to be worth the wait. Whilst his appearance, to some, is outlandish, this internet personality, musician and filmmaker has made a genre-defying record if ever there was one. Right from the off, Oliver Tree makes his way through a wide variety of genres, from alternative indie rock to hip hop and pop punk to electronic with a great sense of conviction that is nothing short of highly infectious.

One thing that is incredibly impressive about Tree, throughout the album, is his ability to ensure the listener doesn’t take any one moment too seriously or equally to pass it off as a joke either, using lyrical whit to guide the way. One such track is ‘Joke’s On You!’ where Tree makes his feelings known in the line, “Well yes in fact, my dignity’s intact, while I listen to ‘em laugh,” – here he is obviously making light of the fact that people often see him as a joke yet he’s made something of himself and maintained his dignity in doing so.

There is definitely a sense of nostalgia about Ugly Is Beautiful.

One of my favourite tracks has to be the distortion-heavy, electronic-laiden ‘1993’ (featuring Little Ricky ZR3), which was an instant favourite for me as it sort of epitomises much of the album. He uses tasteful electronic elements alongside intentional distortion giving it a real grungy, edgy feel – like much of the record. ‘Again & Again’ is another track that uses those gritty, distorted vocal effects but it equally has a certain radio-like quality to it, due to its indie-rock vibes.

There is definitely a sense of nostalgia throughout Ugly Is Beautiful too with tracks like ‘Jerk’ reminiscing of a down-tempo Nirvana song, ‘Bury Me Alive’ with its quick-fire delivery, like that of a Beastie Boys track or the David Bowie-esque qualities of ‘Miracle Man’.

However, the only time Tree feels truly familiar is on his previously-released singles, ‘Let Me Down’‘Alien Boy’ and ‘Hurt’, whilst the rest of the record feels new, exciting and refreshingly undefinable. This is a vision that is truly unique and entirely his – this is less an act and more of a glimour into the world of Tree, through his eyes.

Although Tree insists this is his “magnum opus” and that he is to retire from music and focus on film-making and producing instead, his label (Atlantic Records) say, “Ugly Is Beautiful is only the beginning. Stay tuned for more from Oliver Tree.” So I guess we will just have to wait and see! Either way, it would be a real shame if this were to be all we hear from him again.

Rating
4


‘Ugly Is Beautiful’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/ugly-is-beautiful/1514394064


Ugly Is Beautiful on Spotify

Hurt (Official Music Video)

Let Me Down (Official Music Video)

Bury Me Alive (Official Unofficial Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Oliver Tree’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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#Review: The Chicks – Gaslighter

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Dixie Chicks are a well known country pop band comprised of singer Natalie Maines and multi-instrumentalist sisters Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Strayer. The group initially formed in 1989 , in Dallas, Texas and have, to date, released 7 studio albums. Now, 2020 sees the band release their eighth record and their first album in 14 years, Gaslighter. It is also the first record to be released under the new name, The Chicks, following the George Floyd protests. Here’s what we have to say about it…

The Chicks - Gaslighter.jpg

The album launches with title track, ‘Gaslighter’, a no holds barred anthem about the breakdown of Maines’ relationship and ultimate divorce. In fact, this particular topic provides a lot of material for the album – it was originally slated to be a simple record of covers in order to fulfill their contract with Sony, but following her divorce, she was inspired to start songwriting again.

‘Tights On My Boat’ is another one of those tell-all tracks detailing an affair her ex-husband had, with a lover, on the couple’s boat, on which she discovered a tell-tale pair of tights. The track (along with a couple of others) is written with pop songwriter and artist, Julia Michaels. Additionally, the trio collaborated heavily with Taylor Swift‘s 1989 producer, Jack Antonoff, seeing him take production credits for the record and some songwriting credits too.

This album certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to personal or political songwriting. ‘March March’ takes a look at issues of gun control, climate change and underfunded education and puts them through a contemporary bluegrass lens. Whilst ‘Set Me Free’ is all about Maines looking to be released from her marriage.

It’s an exciting pop take on a country record that is likely to reignite fans’ passions for the band and pick up a whole host of new ones along the way too.

Possibly some of the best tracks on the album come in the form of ‘Sleep At Night’, a banjo-led candid look at her ex-husband’s affair; ‘Texas Man’ with its upbeat rhythm combined with rousing lyrics and the captivating vocal riffs of ‘Young Man’.

Possibly my favourite track on the record has to be ‘Julianna Calm Down’ – it builds beautifully throughout with a really catchy, contemporary pop edge to it. Whilst ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ has some wonderful vocal harmonies and a sense of honesty about reflecting on how Maines met her ex-husband.

The Chicks may have changed their name and their new music may well have a certain degree of poppiness that die-hard country fans could cringe at, but this is exactly the evolution you would expect from the band’s last album back in 2006, to where they are today. It’s an exciting pop take on a country record that is likely to reignite fans’ passions for the band and pick up a whole host of new ones along the way too.

Rating
4


‘Gaslighter’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/gaslighter/1499733036


Gaslighter on Spotify

Gaslighter (Official Video)

Sleep At Night (Official Video)

March March (Official Lyric Video)

Julianna Calm Down (Official Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s eighth studio 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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#Review: Paul Weller – On Sunset 🌅

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Paul Weller is an English singer-songwriter and musician, who first achieved fame as part of the band, The Jam between 1972 and 1982. It was then until 1989 that he was part of the blue-eyed soul group,  The Style Council, before establishing himself as a solo artist in 1991. Since 1992, the artist has released a whole string of albums, with 2020’s latest record, On Sunset, being his fifteenth studio album. Here’s what we have to say about it…

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Paul Weller has a career spanning more than four-and-a-half decades and it can only be admired just how active and contemporary he still remains at 62 years old.

Right from the opening moments of ‘Mirror Ball’; a seven-and-a-half minute epic that starts out with ethereal synths before breaking into a vast soundscape of overdriven guitars and juddering synths married with melodic pop elements, some distorted vocals and even some crowd applause thrown in; it’s clear that this is going to be an exciting record.

This rather avante-garde opener is quickly followed by ‘Baptiste’ – a rather safe, summery, soulful number that has become a familiar sound for the songwriter.

However the experimentalism of this record is once again demonstrated on tracks like ‘More’ – an extended, progressive soulful track that features female French vocals; the almost psychedelic title track, ‘On Sunset’; or on the very synth-driven and rather trippy ‘Earth Beat’, that seems to ever build, beautifully.

This is something of a captivating collection of contemporary songs.

It’s clear that there is a whole load of inspiration on this record – from rock to soul and folk to funk – this is something of a captivating collection of contemporary songs. Weller‘s vocals are sublime too – he has both smoothness and raspiness in all the right places.

There’s definitely a sense of reflection and revisiting sounds too – ‘Village’ is a beautiful number that soars and leaves a sense of nostalgia on the listener, whilst tracks like ‘Rockets’ and ‘Equanimity’ have a strong sense of early David Bowie and The Kinks (respectively), emanating a certain relaxed, contemporary appeal too.

‘Old Father Tyme’ can’t go unmentioned either – its fading in and out of a drum machine with funky guitars, brass notes and echoing vocals make it one of the focal points of the album.

The songs are so well-written and focus on central themes of contentment and growing into oneself. You would have a hard time debating that this album doesn’t work as collective body, despite all the fluctuating influences and whilst it feels like there could be more experimental sounds to come from him, Paul Weller should be proud of his fifteenth release.

Rating
4


‘On Sunset’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/on-sunset-deluxe/1503362089


On Sunset on Spotify

Earth Beat (Lyric Video)

Village (Lyric Video)

More (Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this singer-songwriter’s fifteenth studio album? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#Review: Mallory Knox – Mallory Knox

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Mallory Knox are an alternative rock band from Cambridge and began as a five-piece back in 2009. Following the release of their third album, Wired, news came that lead vocalist, Mikey Chapman, was leaving the band in 2018. With co-lead vocalist, Sam Douglas, taking up the post of lead vocals, alongside the other three original band members; James Gillett (rhythm guitar & backing vocals), Joe Savins (lead guitar & backing vocals) and Dave Rawling (drums), the band are back with their self-titled fourth album (Mallory Knox) as a four-piece. Here’s what we have to say about it…

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It was a brave choice for Sam Douglas to step into the position of lead vocals, as vocally he is quite different to Mikey Chapman, but he’s certainly come in all guns blazing on lead track, ‘Psycho Killer’ – a massive, garage rock sounding track with a hint of Foo Fighters about the vocals throughout, before careening into a heavy guitar breakdown at the end.

This is certainly a more raw and gritty album than some of their previous releases, with tracks like ‘The World I Know’ taking sonic influences from noughties punk rock and adding in grungy elements and ‘Wherever’ with its muscle guitars and intense drums, giving the illusion of travelling at speed.

Lead single, ‘White Lies‘, has a bit more of an indie feel to it than a lot of the rest of the record and is clear to see why it was chosen to launch the album.

Also, ‘4’ is quite commercial with its “Na, na, nas” and lyrics about vacuous pop market and record labels, such as, “You never mattered anyway.” Is it addressing negativity they have faced and the fact they band went from 5 members to 4, as the track title might suggest? Not sure. You’ll have to make up your own mind on that.

Possibly some the best tracks on the album are: ‘Livewire’ which has changes in pace throughout and echoing breakdowns to really get the listener going; ‘Freaks’ has some really interesting melodies with guitar frills, captivating (and sometimes aggressive) vocal acrobatics (with some serious power behind them) and a great all-round tone to it and ‘Black Holes’ with its chugging guitars and yet more, distinctly Foo Fighters vibes in the intense, shouty chorus.

It’s a risk to continue as a four-piece, with someone new taking up the role of lead vocalist, but it appears to have paid off.

By far, the best track on the album is ‘Gut’ – it’s an intense, fast-paced close to the album, with some insane vocal harmonies, brilliant drums and fast guitars – it’s a generally chaotic moment of ecstatic mosh-out madness that fans are sure to love live.

There are definitely moments when you can tell Douglas doesn’t quite have the power behind his voice that he might have liked and even one track (‘Heartbreak Lover’) that feels like his vocal is lacking in energy – albeit it’s a very commercial-sounding track with a guitar line that plays around the same melody as the chorus.

Additionally, there are the odd places here and there that lyrically feel a bit flat and not quite written with as much depth or maturity as perhaps you might like (‘Fine Lines’ with its candid take on a relationship breakdown) and other tracks, such as ‘Radio’ that are a little forgettable but overall, it’s a solid effort from the now quartet.

It’s been a risk to continue as a four-piece, with someone new taking up the role of lead vocalist, but it appears to have paid off. The album is consistently confident in its approach and hopefully with have old fans excited and on board for the ride as well as pick up new fans with their edgier sound.

Rating


‘Mallory Knox’ is out 16/08/19 and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/mallory-knox/1461295820


Mallory Knox on Spotify

White Lies (Official Music Video)

Livewire (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s fourth album? 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 Rocket Summer – Sweet Shivers 🐝

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The Rocket Summer is the solo project from singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Bryce Avary. Since self-releasing his first EP in 2000, at the age of 17, Avary has gone on to release a total of 7 EPs, 7 full-length albums and a live album too! Now, 2019 sees the release of his seventh studio album, Sweet Shivers. Here’s our thoughts on it…

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From the offset, it’s clear that Sweet Shivers is a much more experimental album than his previous efforts, thought it’s still distinctly The Rocket Summer.

We’re instantly thrown in at the deep end with opening track, ‘Morning Light’, a much darker introductory track than some of his previous efforts – there’s a twinge of a more mainstream Nine Inch Nails vibe to it!

We’re then led nicely into ‘Shatter Us’– whilst I’m not keen on the trumpet-like synth effect, the vocal melodies in the chorus and the plonky piano are incredible, especially paired with the very personal lyrics.

‘Blankets’ is possibly one of my favourite tracks on the album – the full-on verses are juxtaposed by the beautifully whispered chorus, making it powerful and captivating. Melodically it is a stunning track and has something a bit Biffy Clyro about it.

We’re then treated to ‘Gardens’ – like an experimental pop track where Avary has clearly played around with production – Jamiroquai inspirations seem to come through in places. ‘Peace Signs’ has a lovely yet simple, descending guitar melody that loops throughout and a strong vocal melody to the chorus. And in the spirit of looping, ‘5 4 3 2 1 Z’ has a looping piano melody, combined with brass sounds and an understated vocal melody. Maybe the most commercial-sounding track on the record, though it completely changes pace two-thirds of the way through before coming back to the original chorus.

‘Wannalife’ then seems to act as an interlude between the first and second half of the record. A nice little acoustic number about his life’s desires.

Overall though, this is a well-written, if slightly more experimental album, that could divide the fans.

As a long-time lover of The Rocket Summer, it pains me to say that ‘Sweet Shivers’ is very much an album of two halves – the first half being a lot stronger than the second. The second half has a lot of melodies that kind of blend into one.

Additionally, throughout the record, there are some rather quirky synth sound choices that I’m not convinced work, at times sounding a little cheap and underwhelming.

‘Slomo’ and ‘Keep Going’ are both pretty forgettable, while ‘Together In TX’ has an edgy breakdown, which stopped me from skipping the track. ‘Apartment 413’ has a dark melody and this is lyrically reflected in the tone too.

It’s the final two tracks that are saving graces for the latter part of the record. ‘World’s Greatest’ has some great deep vocal melodies and heavy bass synths with an amazing breakdown that continually builds back up to the end of the track. Whilst ‘m & m’ is possibly the strongest track in the second half, bringing the album to a strong close – there are intense vocal melodies and a fast-paced drum beat, plus funky guitar riffs and a Busted-esque synth at the end. A great track to end on!

Overall though, this is a well-written, if slightly more experimental album, that could divide the fans. That said, there are plenty of moments to enjoy, so fans will still find parts they love. I’m certainly still a lover of The Rocket Summer and appreciate his artistic license to be experimental, but I hope his next record might return a little more to his roots.

Rating


‘Sweet Shivers’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/sweet-shivers/1473282206


Sweet Shivers on Spotify

Morning Light [Official Music Video]

Shatter Us (Official Music Video)

Blankets (Official Music Video)

Peace Signs (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of The Rocket Summer’s latest album? Do you share the same opinions 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 Dangerous Summer – Mother Nature 🌊

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerThe Dangerous Summer are a rock band from Maryland, USA who formed back in 2006.

The band released 3 studio albums before parting ways in 2014. However, since reforming in 2017, and releasing their fourth, self-titled album (The Dangerous Summer), the band are now unleashing their fifth studio album to the world, Mother Nature. Here are our thoughts on the record…

The Dangerous Summer - Mother Nature.jpg

This feels very much like the album that should have arrived in 2018 to mark the band’s resurrection, because this album is pretty sublime. It’s a unique brand of melodic and mature emo-esque rock that isn’t afraid to talk about feelings in a direct way.

It opens with ‘Prologue’ a track led with a positive voice message from a female, letting the recipient know that she’s there for them. It’s actually a nice, uplifting message that somehow manages to feel personal to us, the listener. Pretty quickly, we’re then catapulted seamlessly into ‘Blind Ambition’, a track with a pretty amazing guitar line that somehow feels forcefully positive, to the point it gives me goosebumps.

There is something quite beautifully simplistic about the way difficult, even tumultuous events in our own lives can be compared to the unstoppable forces of Mother Nature, at times, leaving us weak and powerless – it’s truly poetic. This is displayed with wonderful imagery on tracks such as ‘Virginia’ and ‘Bring Me Back To Life’ with powerful lyrics like “I must be weak, if you couldn’t tell, I couldn’t breathe, bring me back to life now, bring me back to peace, give me back the sun now, can you give it back to me?”

It’s not quite a concept album, yet at the same time kind of is; whatever it is, it works…really well!

‘Mother Nature’ itself is a track that really encapsulates the tone of the record. It’s a song about having hope, accepting changes we face in life and being bold enough to embrace changes within ourself. Perdomo successfully evokes powerful imagery of mother earth and nature, and sells his own willingness to become a part of it.

Equally, the album’s lead single, ‘Where Were You When The Sky Opened Up’, has an apocalyptic feel to it, describing facing demons head-on and attempting to mature.

Other tracks to pay attention to include: ‘Starting Over / Slow Down’ a track of two halves – the first half is slow and melodic with vocals that cross over each other, whilst the second half is more synth-driven and up tempo with an amazing, all-consuming, drum ending. ‘It Is Real’ see Perdomo sing of drug-taking and trying to understand the world with a deep sense of nostalgia. The metronome sound throughout is pretty cool too. ‘Better Light’ has this amazing vocoder-esque intro that sounds somewhat like an Imogen Heap track that builds with soaring falsetto vocals – it’s very euphoric and ethereal. Lastly, there’s ‘Consequence Of Living’, an almost a positive look back at the end of your life and being able to observe how you lived your life.

One major thing that can’t go unnoticed is AJ Perdomo‘s sensational vocals throughout the album! He delivers emotion with utter sincerity from incredible falsetto to aching melancholy with some seriously angst-ridden screams on the likes of ‘Way Down’ – an angry, heavy rock song about dark thoughts; possibly one of the best tracks on the record?!

Mother Nature is an exciting return for the band – it feels like they’ve found a sound and style that works for them. It’s not quite a concept album, yet at the same time kind of is; whatever it is, it works…really well! I defy people not to find themselves drawn to this record time and again to indulge on its honesty to reflect on life’s big events. There’s a real feeling of excitement I get from listening to this album and I can’t wait to see what the band do next!

Rating


‘Mother Nature’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/mother-nature/1458152823


Mother Nature on Spotify

Where Were You When The Sky Opened Up (Official Music Video)

Way Down (Official Music Video)

Bring Me Back To Life (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our latest review! What do you think of this band’s fifth record, Mother Nature? 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: Frank Iero And The Future Violents – Barriers

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Frank Iero initially rose to fame as the rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist of My Chemical Romance but following the break-up of the band in 2013, Iero set off on his own with his first solo project, in 2014. So far, the project has changed incarnations with each album (first as frnkiero and the cellabration, then Frank Iero and the Patience) and this third album is no different. 2019 sees him return as Frank Iero and the Future Violents with his third album, Barriers. Here’s what we have to say about it…

For this album, Frank and the band recorded 17 songs in just 15 days, all of which were recorded live and directly on to tape, giving the whole record a very raw feel.

The album opens with the aptly-named, ‘A New Day’s Coming’ – an organ led opening that serves as a sort of religious sermon before becoming slightly Country-tinted and like a song you might hear at a dive bar in the Deep South of America. The pairing of Frank’s vocal with a female’s makes for a great sound and the guitar solo is pretty epic too!

‘Young and Doomed’ (the lead single for the album) quickly follows, changing the pace of the record with a definite grungy, garage-rock anthem sound and a little nod to his My Chemical Romance days in the line, “And I promise that I’m not OK (Oh, wait, that’s the other guy.”

Other songs to take note of include: ‘Basement Eyes’ which is sort of like an early My Chemical Romance track – it’s a melodic, sorrowful and impactful track; ‘The Unfortunate’ has a folky vibe with violin and piano instrumentation making it a rather beautiful track and ‘Moto Pop’ conjures up images of the circle pits that will ensue when this track is played live. It’s possibly one of the best tracks on the record for its edgy, intense and fast-paced demeanour.

There’s a lot to be admired about what Frank stands for in terms of his writing and recording process and certainly a lot of magic is captured by the process this was recorded with.

There are other rather magical moments throughout the album, such as off-key harmonies on ‘Medicine Square Garden’, the haunting piano and a vocal reminiscent of the Deja Entendu days of Brand New on ‘Police Police’ and ‘The Host’ which is a dreamy, mellow rock track.

There are a few tracks however that seem to merge into one and don’t quite stand out from the rest; ‘Great Party’ displays somewhat naive songwriting – it’s rather angsty and stroppy as it details lusting after someone you miss whilst ‘Fever Dream’ and ‘Ode to Destruction’ are more traditional, screamy punk songs.

The final two tracks on the record particularly make for a memorable impact on the listener though. ‘Six Feet Down Under’ addresses the accident Frank Iero had in Australia a couple of years back that proved nearly fatal. It has interesting vocal intonation on the verses, that are almost conversational. Finally, ’24k Lush’ brings Barriers to a rather epic-sounding close – it starts off mellow and even a little drab but builds to a rather melodic close, making the album appear to come full circle.

Barriers certainly has a garage rock band feel to it and a raw edginess of bands gone by, where albums were not over-produced to perfection. Flaws in Frank’s voice are able to stand out, meaning there’s a real vulnerability to the whole record.

There’s a lot to be admired about what Frank stands for in terms of his writing and recording process and certainly a lot of magic is captured by the process this was recorded with. It’s got a lot of wonderfully unique moments, however you certainly have to be someone that appreciates imperfections.

That said, some of the songs sound fairly similar in places, perhaps because the speed of recording and writing did not allow for much time to really tweak the sounds of the instruments and therefore differentiate between tracks?

However, there’s enough to be enjoyed about the unique, rawness of the songs that make it worth listening to and appreciating the craftsmanship.

Rating


‘Barriers’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/barriers/1454839419


Barriers on Spotify

Young and Doomed (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Frank Iero’s latest incarnation for his third full-length album release? Do you love it or loathe it? 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: Siamese – Super Human 🦸‍♂️

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Siamese are a 4-piece metal-pop band from Denmark (read our interview with Mirza here) who made serious waves on the scene with their 2018 album, Shameless. Since touring with that album, the band have once again, been busy in the studio and now return with their latest record, Super Human, alongside a mini UK tour too. Here are our thoughts on the album.

Siamese - Super Human

At times, Siamese have found it difficult to be taken seriously within the genre and it’s easy enough to see why – they are not just a straightforward metal band, and Super Human is no exception. They merge Metal with genres like Pop, R&B and Dance and for die-hard fans of metal, this just doesn’t cut it. However, the band have stuck to their guns with their unique take on the genre and that shows conviction for what they believe in…and it’s a good thing!

From the opening track and lead single, ‘B.A.N.A.N.A.S’, with its reference to Gwen Stefani‘s, ‘Hollaback Girl’, on top of an intense metal instrumental – the pace for the record is set.

Other tracks that really stand out, include ‘Ocean Bed’ – an intensely emotive song with a grungy, heavy metal breakdown; the incredibly unique ‘Super Human’ – an urban-tinted affair with powerful lyrics about inner strength and guest vocals from Olivio Antonio and ‘Unified’ – a very personal track on which Mirza opens up about his background as a refugee.

Super Human is a good album and certainly isn’t lacking in musical diversity throughout. Siamese have managed to successfully amalgamate different genres to create a really cohesive body of work.

There are other moments to enjoy throughout the album though; ‘Animals’ begins with a church-like organ and builds like a Dance track would before launching into chugging metal; ‘You’re Not Alone’ is an uplifting song not only lyrically but reflected in the instrumental too, plus there are great vocal harmonies at the end (even if they are heavily autotuned) and ‘Give Me Up’ has Asian-tinted drums to open and a monasterial gang-vocal breakdown at the end – it’s very confessional in tone.

The only track which feels slightly out of place is ‘Party Monster’. It makes almost tongue-in-cheek jibes at vacuous pop songs however it feels like it might be trying to be serious too – it just doesn’t quite land.

The album is brought to a close by ‘Not Coming Home’ – 90s/00s-style Prodigy-esque Dance opening and drum beat that ends in chaos, leaving the listener wanting more.

Super Human is a good album and certainly isn’t lacking in musical diversity throughout. Siamese have managed to successfully amalgamate different genres to create a really cohesive body of work, mostly self-produced, allowing them freedom to create what they want. However, there are moments when the integrity behind the lyrics is not always sincerely delivered, focusing more on the style than the substance. Plus, one or two of the songs sound fairly similar – overall though, it’s a pretty solid record. The artwork is unusually well-matched to the album too, with several of the songs having an underlying religious or spiritual undertone to them, even if, in parts, it’s just in the musical composition rather than the lyrical content.

This album is surely going to further cement the band’s place within the genre though and demonstrates that they are seriously players on the scene. Personally, the genre-bending brings something interesting to the table, meaning they stand out from the rest, and it’s intriguing to see where they take their style next!

Rating


‘Super Human’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/super-human/1455133470


Super Human on Spotify

B.A.N.A.N.A.S (Official Video)

Super Human featuring Olivio (Official Video)

Animals (Official Video)

Ocean Bed (Official Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s latest album? Is Super Human going to be your soundtrack to 2019? 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: Against The Current – Past Lives 👁


   

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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.


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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