#Review: LAUREL – DOGVIOLET


   

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

Laurel - Dogviolet.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating
4


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


Dogviolet on Spotify

Coming soon.

Same Mistakes (Official Video)

Life Worth Living (Official Audio)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of LAUREL’s debut album, DOGVIOLET? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: With Confidence – Love And Loathing 🥀


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerWith Confidence are a pop punk band from Sydney, Australia, who formed back in 2012. Having been through some line-up changes, the band now consists of Jayden Seeley (lead vocals & bass), Inigo Del Carmen (lead guitar & backing vocals) and Joshua Brozzesi (drums). In 2016, the band signed to Hopeless Records and released their debut album Better Weather. Now, in 2018, the band are back with their sophomore record, Love And Loathing. Here’s what we have to say about it…

With Confidence - Love And Loathing.jpg

This feels very much like the band have studied and followed the recipe for making the perfect pop punk record, down to a tee…and that’s not even a bad thing! Somehow, the record feels timeless within the realm of the genre but without sounding like a carbon copy of so many others. After only a couple of listens, it feels just like returning to an old favourite that has been in my collection for years!

Opening track, ‘That Something’, is a stunning way to kick off an album – it’s got catchy vocals (but not obviously so) about finding a new love interest, paired with strong instrumentals of varied tempos, topped off with superb and subtle production flourishes.

Other huge tracks to take note of, include: ‘The Turnaround’ is a massive tune about making a change in your life and grabbing it by the horns, all accompanied by seriously incredible falsetto vocals; ‘Jaded’ which is a fast-paced thrashing track that you might find from the likes of Simple Plan; ‘Better’ is probably my favourite song on the record – about the desire to improve yourself with it’s occasionally satirical lyrics and soaring high-pitched vocal melodies, it’s a track you can easily get lost in.

Diversity spans the record: ‘Spinning’ is much calmer tune that has ‘woohoos’ and the subtle catchiness of a We The Kings or Maroon 5 track; ‘Pâquerette (Without Me)’ wishes an old love well with mellow acoustic vibes and ‘Icarus’ is a far grungier and more aggressive song that bares a resemblance to something by You Me At Six – it’s got heavy guitars and screamy vocals and adds a new depth to the record.

After only a couple of listens, it feels just like returning to an old favourite that has been in my collection for years!

Even in its lower moments, this is an album that feels overall, positive and like a band that’s been revitalised. The tracks each sound unique and interesting in their own ways; some outright pop punk anthems, other mellow, heartfelt ballads and even a couple of slightly more experimental numbers…yet it all still comes together as a cohesive record. Love And Loathing is just that – a record of two halves, covering the excitement of new relationships and hatred of old ones.

It is a tight, well-produced album that, despite some recent, tumultuous events, feels like a band now set for even bigger things! Could this be the next All Time Low or 5 Seconds Of Summer? If you’re a pop punk fan, you will love every second of this record!

Rating
4-5


‘Love And Loathing’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/love-and-loathing/1388719305


Love And Loathing on Spotify

That Something (Official Music Video)

Moving Boxes (Official Music Video)

Jaded (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s second 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 hit us up via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Death Cab For Cutie – Thank You For Today ☁️


   

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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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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Trophy Eyes – The American Dream 🇺🇸


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerTrophy Eyes are an Australian pop punk band consisting of John Floreani (lead vocals), Jeremy Winchester (bass guitar & backing vocals), Andrew Hallett (lead guitar), Kevin Cross (rhythm guitar) and Blake Caruso (drums). To date, the band have released 2 albums and an EP through Hopeless Records and this, The American Dream, is their third full-length album. Here’s what we have to say…

Trophy Eyes - The American Dream.jpg

The American Dream has a much more mature sound to it than either of the band’s previous releases. It’s somewhere in the vein of Sugarcult‘s Lights Out and You Me At Six‘s Cavalier Youth with some of Thirty Seconds To MarsThis Is War epicness thrown in.

The first track, ‘Autumn’, launches the album with a life-spanning and reflective tune that whilst it doesn’t quite burst into frantic action like so many other pop punk albums, sets a more impressive tone for the rest of the record.

Next comes ‘Something Bigger Than This’, a rather emotive track about being something more than we perceive and how life will make more sense at the end. It’s not crass or overly indulgent in insincerity like so many other bands – this feels real and honest.

In my opinion, ‘Friday Forever’ is by far the best track on the record – from it’s frantic, guitar-driven verses, to its suspenseful build-up into the powerhouse that is the chorus, this track just bursts at the seems with euphoric pop punk at its best. This is definitely a track to keep on repeat!

From epic choruses to emotive lyrics and powerful, pained vocals to punchy guitars, The American Dream is an album that will drive this band forward in their career.

Some of the other, most notable songs include: ‘More Like You’ which is certainly a crowd-pleaser, with its “woah ohs” but has the added depth of scream vocals; ‘You Can Count On Me’ is a definite summer anthem with its massive crescendo and satirical look at band life with the chorus hook, “Some of my friends sell drugs but I just sell sad songs to the ones who feel alone”; ‘Broken’ is a beautiful, ballad-esque track that has a understated yet very catchy chorus – a brilliantly-written track that’s very different to some of the other tracks on the album and ‘Lavender Bay’ feels very nostalgic with mellow, melodic verses and a big gang-vocal chorus singing about how the band won’t rest until they’ve “made it” with the addition of a key change!

The album has a beautifully rich and diverse tone to it – ‘A Cotton Candy Sky’ is an intensely dark and haunting song that feels a little out of place but it’s eerily captivating whilst ‘Tip Toe’ is a great little ballad.

‘I Can Feel It Calling’ is a monumental track, coming in at over 6 minutes in length and going through a range of sounds and displaying a variety of influences, bringing this stunning album to a wonderful close.

This is certainly an album you’ll have on repeat as there’s just so much to love about it! From epic choruses to emotive lyrics and powerful, pained vocals to punchy guitars, The American Dream is an album that will drive this band forward in their career, taking a slightly new direction but picking up new fans along the way. 2018 should be an exciting time for the Australian quintet!

Rating
4-5


‘The American Dream’ is out 27/07/18 and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-american-dream/1382478709


The American Dream on Spotify

Available Friday 27th July 2018.

You Can Count On Me (Official Music Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs_7y0ToBcU


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest album, The American Dream? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media.


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Between You & Me – Everything Is Temporary ✊


   

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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 clichés 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.


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#WildCardWednesday: The RPMs – ‘Let Things Happen’


   

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The RPMs are one of Brighton’s home-grown bands, consisting of Jack Valero (Guitar/Lead Vocals), Miguel Cosme (Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals), Callum James (Drums), Ollie Summers (Lead Guitar) and Chris Bowden (Keyboards).

The band are going from strength to strength, with rave reviews across the BBC, including BBC Introducing’s Huw Stephens.

Having added a couple more members and created a bigger sound, the band are back with new single, ‘Let Things Happen’ – a beachy pop anthem that has some deeply-rooted indie and 60s vibes to it. It’s a really interesting and strong track from the quintet.

The music video is simplistic but effective and suits the song well. It’s dreamy with snappy cuts and featuring some strobe effects. Watch it below!

What are your thoughts of this Brighton band? Got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Let Things Happen’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/let-things-happen-single/1365690530


#Two4Tunesday: A R I Z O N A – ‘Freaking Out’ & Andreas Wijk – ‘MADONNA’


   

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A R I Z O N A – ‘Freaking Out’

I love this band so much and they just seem to go from strength to strength with their infectious brand of epic, house-inspired pop music.

The track just builds and builds perfectly – I can see people dancing like mad in a stadium.

The song was released as part of a double A-side single, COLD NIGHTS // SUMMER DAYS. It’s been a couple of years since the band’s debut album but hopefully this signals an upcoming, second album.

This song is also featured on my ‘Save A Life’ playlist. In the few days since it’s release, I’ve had it on repeat and it’s really helped me let loose.


‘Freaking Out’ is on iTunes for downloading now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/freaking-out/1406503425?i=1406503440



Andreas Wijk – ‘MADONNA’

Known on YouTube for doing some covers and notable for being a fashion model, this appears to be one of the first couple of original singles from Andreas Wijk.

The single’s cover caught my eye first with the artist recreating some classic Madonna album covers, but when I checked out the track, was instantly gripped.

The singer’s falsetto vocals stand out stunningly over the fairly relaxed beat but the chorus is damn catchy and even got some sexy vibes going on.

No music video exists yet but we’ll keep you updated when one emerges.


‘MADONNA’ can also be downloaded from iTunes now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/madonna/1400557925?i=1400558686


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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