#Review: Paul Weller – On Sunset 🌅

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


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…

Paul Weller - On Sunset.jpg

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.


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: Big Wild – ‘Touch’

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


Singer, songwriter and producer Big Wild (aka Jackson Stell) is back with his first new music since his 2019 debut album, Superdream, in the form of brand new single, ‘Touch’. This time he has taken on a new edge with a blend of almost western movie soundtrack vibes and electronic production, creating something perfect for Feel-Good Friday.

‘Touch’ is a disco-infused, bright indie single with seriously catchy pop undertones that really increase the rich, colourful emotion that Big Wild has become known for.

Although it was written before the current coronavirus pandemic, the song is about longing for a loved one – something that will probably resonate all too well with people during lockdown.

Speaking on the new single, Stell added: “I’m sure with the current state of the world ‘Touch’ will take on a different meaning than I intended but that’s the best part of writing music, seeing where a song goes. I can’t claim any foresight, but the feeling of deep longing and desire is universal. It’s interesting because I was writing from a personal place but this theme is something we’re feeling on a societal level right now. People need connection.”

The lyric video suits this song perfectly too with it’s spaghetti western edge to it. No music video has been released as yet.

What are your thoughts of this producer’s latest single? Do you have a #FeelGoodFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

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


‘Touch’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/touch-single/1501740551


#Review: Ruben Dawnson – Echo Emotions (EP)

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


Ruben Dawnson is a Norwegian indie star, notable for his unique style of hazy pop. To date, he’s had a string of singles, but 2020 see’s the release of his debut EP, Echo Emotions. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Ruben Dawnson - Echo Emotions.jpg

Ruben Dawnson has created what can only be described as the perfect indie pop debut – it’s infectiously intimate songs are a superb introduction to this Norwegian artist.

It all opens with the previously released single, ‘SAYIMGOOD’ – a very catchy indie-pop track that is teaming with upbeat, feel-good vibes – from strumming clean guitars to crackling drum beats. It is swiftly followed by the calmer, mumble-sung, R&B-esque ‘Still Moving’ (featuring Hannah Jadagu) which changes the pace and vibe of the EP, really maintaining the listener’s interest.

Next comes the acoustic-driven ‘Rain On My Umbrella’ – a beautifully honest and melodic track that reminsices of NAO with its use of deep vocal effects and urban drum patterns, once it kicks in. It’s ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Alone’ that really stands out on the EP – its catchy chorus and powerful verse vocals contrast the vulnerability of the lyrics wonderfully, and particularly during this coronavirus pandemic, the track really resonates with the listener.

It’s nothing short of a pure delight to listen to and actually an EP you can’t help but keep returning to.

The penultimate track, ‘FYALMA’ serves as an anti-anxiety anthem designed to, once again, contrast the sincere lyricism with upbeat melodies. It’s a track about fighting intrusitve thoughts as it navigates Dawnson’s unique brand of hazy pop atmospheres. This is a quietly catchy song that proves to be a track you can’t help but get moving to.

Ending the EP, is title track, ‘Echo Emotions’ – a calm, guitar-led, vocal-effect powered piece that quietly reflects Dawnson’s emotions throughout the EP before ascending into a futuristic indie-pop masterpiece, to close.

For a debut EP, Echo Emotions is brilliantly intimate – it’s a rather special collection of tracks that deserve to be listened to thoroughly and on repeat. It’s nothing short of a pure delight to listen to and actually an EP you can’t help but keep returning to; Ruben Dawnson should feel so proud of this debut release.

Speaking about the EP, Ruben Dawnson says that, “This is a very special and introspective project for me, a product of reflections and thoughts built over several years. Itʼs about confronting your true self, learning and acknowledging your inner fears, struggles, issues… honesty & fear. Learning to be honest. Realising itʼs okay to tell people. Opening up. Discovering new sides of yourself. Lessons. Change. Growth yet stillness. Itʼs raw, direct and as honest as it can be. Fear, mortality, loss, loneliness, anxiety, sexuality – hope & love. This is the truest expression of me in my moments of existence.”

I personally can’t wait to hear a full album from this guy! If this EP is anything to go by, he has his work cut out for him but should produce something brilliant for his debut record!

Rating
5


‘Echo Emotions’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/echo-emotions-ep/1504707914


Echo Emotions on Spotify

Echo Emotions on YouTube


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this singer’s debut EP? 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: RAC – BOY 🔴

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


RAC (aka André Allen Anjos) is a Portland-based, Portuguese-American Grammy Award-winning songwriter, musician and record producer. To date, he has released a couple of studio albums and already had a career spanning 10 years. Now, 2020 marks the release of his third album, BOY, featuring a wealth of guest talent. Here’s what we have to say about it…

RAC - BOY.jpg

BOY is best described by Anjos himself, who pushed his artistic limits by navigating his way through his complex childhood. “This album is about growing up,” writes Anjos. “I was tapping into melodies that remind me of that period of my life. Rooted in a sense of nostalgia, growing pains and coming of age. It’s an elusive feeling but I tried to capture it and ultimately re-interpret it through a modern lens.”

This nostalgia is evident throughout the album, with a series of 80s synths and funky guitar vibes to bring together this collective body of work, whilst still maintaining a contemporary edge to it. Plus, the wealth of guest talent across the album is a testament to RAC’s creative magnetism. “It’s conversational,” he says of his working style with the artists he features. “We find shared experiences and I give them space to tell their story through my lens.”

Whether it’s the bittersweet melodic ‘Boomerang’ (featuring Luna Shadows); the guitar-heavy ‘MIA’ with captivating vocals from Danny Dwyer or the sweet-sounding ‘Oakland’ (featuring Winnetka Bowling League) about leaving someone behind to start somewhere new, there is something for everyone on this rather summery record.

[RAC has] created a wonderful collection of contemporary pop songs that are beautifully understated yet superbly powerful!

Standout tracks would have to be: ‘Passion’ (featuring Louis The Child) for its light, funkiness, vibing along the lines of Foster The People or Two Door Cinema Club‘Together’ (featuring Evalyn) which is not only a catchy tropical house-like track but the beat almost double-times part way through, making it quite different; and ‘Sweater’ (featuring Maddie Jay) – a straight-up funk track with great guitar melodies that run alongside the vocals yet both give each other space to play in the gaps between them.

That’s not to forget the previously-released singles from the record: ‘Carefree’ (featuring LeyeT) that has crisp, sometimes fast-paces vocals and simplistic production melodies that make it really stand out; ‘Stuck On You’ (featuring Phil Good) with rap-esque verse vocals and a clearly catchy chorus; and ‘Change The Story’ (featuring Jamie Lidell) – a very bass-heavy track with horns and a David Bowie meets Prince vocal to top it off.

The album has a couple of fillers that could easily have been left off, ‘Next To You’ (featuring Emerson Leif) is fairly mumble sung whilst Solo’ (featuring Gothic Tropic) is chaotic in places and not the best track on the album, by far. ‘Better Days’ (featuring St. Lucia) is a little disappointing too – it’s a strong 80s power ballad and though the blend of male and female vocals is nice, St. Lucia is not featured much.

The album is stitched together by a series of musical intros and interludes all around off-key sorts of melodies with nonsensical vocals. ‘Gomas’ is very much 80s meets Game Boy, whilst ‘Dolores Park’ is probably the most beautiful of them all.

It’s easy to see how this producer has taken the theme of growing up and collaborated with others to tell his story with a deep sense of nostalgia, creating a wonderful collection of contemporary pop songs that are beautifully understated yet superbly powerful! It’ll be interesting to see where RAC takes his next album – will it be as thematic or something different?

Rating
4


‘BOY’ is out now and can be downloaded from Apple Music – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/boy/1500009251


BOY on Spotify

Stuck On You featuring Phil Good (Music Video)

Carefree featuring LeyeT (Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this songwriter and producer’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

#FeelGoodFriday / #NewMusicFriday: Angels & Airwaves – ‘All That’s Left Is Love’

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


All of the proceeds from this new single will benefit Feeding America’s COVID-19 relief fund, so go download it from the iTunes link below!

Angels & Airwaves are back with their first single of 2020 and their third potential single from the upcoming album. It’s an uplifting track about love and the message of spreading hope is clear.

What’s unclear is as to when the band recorded this latest song, but the song’s lyrics sure seem to reflect on society’s current self-isolation situation in response to the current coronavirus pandemic.

No music video exists as yet and presumably due to the aforementioned self-isolation, one could be a way off, as with the new album too!

As always, Tom shrouds the new album in mystery as far as a release date is confirmed but it is set to accompany a movie that’s also in the pipeline and the second half of the album is said to score the film, which is yet to enter production – hence the lack of release date yet. One thing is for certain, I’m really friggin’ excited for the follow up to 2014’s The Dream Walker.

What are your thoughts of this band’s latest single? Has it got you excited for their upcoming album? Do you have a #FeelGoodFriday or #NewMusicFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

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


‘All That’s Left Is Love’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/all-thats-left-is-love/1507962753?i=1507963069 


#WildCardWednesday: The Pussycat Dolls – ‘React’

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


The Pussycat Dolls are back, making a return with their sassy new single, ‘React’.

Having taken a 9 year break, the girl group are back (minus Melody Thornton) announcing a new world tour and album in the pipeline. The quintet (made up of Nicole Scherzinger, Carmit Bachar, Ashley RobertsJessica Sutta and Kimberly Wyatt) made a triumphant return on the UK’s X Factor: Celebrity, performing a string of their hits before leading into their brand new song, ‘React. The group’s performance attracted over 400 complaints to ITV due to their raunchy outfits and sexual dance moves – well done girls! Keep up the good work.

The song talks about a relationship where the one person is trying to get a reaction out of the other and topped by a catchy chorus and sexy rhythm.

The video is just as you’d expect, packed with sexy outfits and sexual dance moves, featuring the group performing in scenes of both fire and water, making for a great viewing – it’s not the most interesting video in terms of concept but they sure know what their audience wants to see!

Turn it up loud and check out the girls’ return to form! I can’t wait for the album.

What are your thoughts of this girl band’s first reunion single? Got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

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


‘React’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/react/1494489816?i=1494489827


#TunefulTuesday: Simple Creatures – ‘One Little Lie’

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


Simple Creatures are an American pop rock duo made up of Mark Hoppus (blink-182, +44) and Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low).

To date, the pair have released a couple of EPs – both in 2019 – and had a string of singles but possibly their most catchy song is this track, ‘One Little Lie’. This is such a great crossover between pop and pop punk with it’s rockier verses and synthpop style choruses that you can’t help but just want to listen to it over and over again.

Lyrically it is diverse too and resonates with quite a few people, I’m sure – I know it means a lot to me and provides an anthem for my own recent struggles, so I’m sure it does for others too.

The video for the song is pretty fun too, packed with facts and lies, leaving the viewer to decipher between fact and fiction as the pair become increasingly surrounded by objects referenced in some of the lyrics.

Turn this track up loud, put it on repeat and enjoy the video!

What are your thoughts of this duo’s catchy track and fun video? Do you have a #TunefulTuesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

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


‘One Little Lie’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/one-little-lie/1475817979?i=1475817985


#MellowMonday: Justin Bieber – ‘Intentions (Acoustic)’

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


It’s #MellowMonday and today is all about the acoustic version of Justin Bieber‘s latest single, ‘Intentions’.

The original version features Quavo but for this stripped-back version, Bieber has chosen to go at it alone. This particular rendition shows off his dynamic and impeccably talented vocals perfectly, and is a nice nod to his origins of being more acoustic based.

The almost rap-like flows of some of the vocal melodies make for a really interesting experience on an acoustic track but they work really well.

The overall chill vibes of this track are ideal for a relaxed Monday and although no music video exists for this version, your mind can’t help but wander to summer days and dream of lying on a beach or enjoying a BBQ with friends.

We’re addicted!

What are your thoughts of this acoustic version of Bieber’s latest single? Do you have a #MellowMonday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

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


‘Intentions (Acoustic)’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/intentions-acoustic-single/1503395021


#Review: Belmont – Reflections (EP)

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


Chicago, IL outfit Belmont are about to drop a new EP of tracks they describe as “a collection of new ideas, experimentation and an opportunity to lay down anything we’ve ever wanted to musically”. This make for an interesting prospect for a band who are quite progressive in their approach.

Belmont - Reflections.jpg

I’ve been following the progress of Belmont for a while and really enjoyed their offerings so far. The progressive-punk 5-piece have an appeal for fellow musicians by demonstrating some great technicality in their music, however I always felt they lacked an attraction for a wider audience.

Reflections looks like it’s addressing this. Firstly, there is a good use of synth and samples like those used in the opener ‘By My Side’ and its follow up ‘Deadweight’. This really pulls the tracks towards those big chart hitters you hear when accidently cycling through the radio in the car. If it’s not your thing, it won’t put you off as Belmont incorporate it well into the tracks as it fits nicely with their signature, driving drum lines. ‘Deadweight’ also brings in some quieter sections for the verses which adds to the more radio-friendly appeal – for some reason it reminds me of the likes of Owl City.

The band hasn’t lost any of their progressive nature that they are known for. ‘Back and Forth’ highlights Belmont’s ability to throw you around rhythmically. The fast-changing guitar sections alongside drummer Brian Lada’s ever surprising and chaotic drum fills keep you interested in everything that going on but don’t over power any of the tracks on the EP. This really shows up in ‘Hideout’, which has a beautifully calming verse, but ‘Lada’ can still bring the grooving rhythm without spoiling it.

This EP is a great example of moving a band onto a bigger stage, without losing the essence of what got them there in the first place.

The pop punk vibe shines throughout the EP too. ‘Stay Up’ has that classic, fast-pace feel and gang vocals that are bound to get a crowd up, moving and screaming “Stay Up, Stay Up!”. It’s felt across the EP, with truly catchy chorus lines that really stick with you. It’s not just the catchiness that give it that punk feel, ‘Move Along’ shows Belmont’s pop punk influences further with an awesome verse riff that throw you back to early days of blink-182 and New Found Glory.

Overall, Reflections feels like it’s bridging a gap for Belmont, in connecting with more fans, although I don’t think this was their intention. As they head out on some bigger tours, alongside big hitters like Tiny Moving Parts, this will only put them in great stead to grown their fan base… and deservedly so. This EP is a great example of moving a band onto a bigger stage, without losing the essence of what got them there in the first place.

For fans of: Tiny Moving Parts, Knuckle Puck, Neck Deep.

Rating
4


‘Reflections’ is out now on Pure Noise Records and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/by-my-side/1498675814?i=1498675818


Reflections on Spotify

Deadweight (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest EP? 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


Rob Manhire
http://www.twitter.com/RobManhire
http://www.instagram.com/robmanhire

#FeelGoodFriday: KOOLKID – ‘Feelings’

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


Scottish singer-songwriter, KOOLKID, has just released his captivating new single, ‘Feelings’, written by KOOLKID himself, alongside Lewis Gardiner (ex-drummer of Scottish band, Prides).

The single is a soaring, modern pop ballad which flaunts KOOLKID’s emotion-drenched vocals with engrossing, forward-thinking production.

“Falling in love with someone who is already in a relationship is never a good thing. ‘Feelings’ is an upbeat pop anthem that is sure to make you reminisce being in this situation,” says KOOLKID. “You know you have certain feelings, but you only want to feel them with that one person, but you can’t. I feel like we can all relate to being in this situation at one point in our lives. I have and that is why I wrote this song.”

The singer hails from Glasgow in Scotland, where he was surrounded by live music from a young age. Since the age of 15, he has been building his musical identity with constant songwriting efforts, as well as cutting his teeth with live performances up and down the UK.

An accomplished songwriter, KOOLKID has penned tracks for some prominent pop acts, including K-Pop icons BTS. The Scotsman co-wrote ‘Mikrokosmos’ from the group’s chart-topping EP, Map of the Soul: Persona. The relationship between KOOLKID and BTS looks set to continue with future releases in the pipeline!

This latest single sees one of the UK’s most exciting, up-and-coming young artists continue to leave his mark in the contemporary music market.

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

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


‘Feelings’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/feelings-single/1493801876