#Review: Oliver Tree – Ugly Is Beautiful

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


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…

Oliver Tree - Ugly Is Beautiful.png

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.


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

*EXCLUSIVE* #Review: Chicane – The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget 💭


   

facebook-like   Instagram


Chicane (aka Nick Bracegirdle) is a British musician, composer, songwriter and producer who has had a string of hits that have been massive on the Ibiza club scene, including ‘Saltwater’ (featuring vocals by Máire Brennan from Clannad), ‘Offshore’, ‘Don’t Give Up’ (featuring Bryan Adams) and ‘Stoned In Love’ (with vocals by the legendary Tom Jones). Now, 2018 sees the release of his seventh album, The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget (released through Modena Records and Armada Music); here’s what we think about it…

Chicane - The Place You Can't Remember, The Place You Can't Forget.jpg

I would go so far as to say that this might be one of Chicane‘s best albums to date; it’s diverse, eclectic and contemporary whilst not compromising on his instantly recognisable sound and style.

The album opens with the stunningly atmospheric ‘Running To The Sea’ which reverberates right through the chest, due to low rumbles and bass notes but meanwhile uses harmonic guitars, making it sound equally euphoric; it’s like the dawn of a beautiful day, but in this instance, the day is the album!

From there, 2017 single, ‘Gorecki’ (featuring vocals by Hannah Robinson), makes an album appearance; very much a classic Chicane track – mesmerising, hypnotic synth plucks, dream-like pads, echoing vocals and deeply rooted in the house genre.

Also, Tracey Ackerman makes a much anticipated return collaboration on single, ‘Serendipity’; a calm and ambient track.

Some of the other, most notable tracks, include: the instant, turn-it-up anthem, ‘A Love That’s Hard To Find’; definitely a song that provides room to breathe throughout but also includes some Daft Punk-esque vocals (from Paul Aiden) on top of a summery, deep house beat; ‘Rainbow’ keeps you in suspense all the way through with its calming vocals (provided by Tyler Lyle) and synths that teeter around the edge of something big, probably making it one of the most ambient songs on the album and two Rosalee O’Connell-sung tracks; ‘Nirvana’ – an EDM meets house affair that has some wonderful, broken falsetto vocals, with a touch of something old-school (like ATB‘s ‘9 PM (Till I Come)’ or York‘s ‘On The Beach’) and ‘I Came Here For You’ which serves up an exotic combination of cascading synths, heavy drums, rhythmic bass and dreamy vocals that sit in the centre of the mix, almost surrounded by the instrumentation.

Somehow this feels very different to some of his previous releases; it is uplifting, fresh, reinvigorating and really pushes the boundaries of what he can produce.

To be perfectly honest though, it’s incredibly hard to find something not to love about every track on the album; ‘Chord – Less Yacht’ slowly builds from a muffled, static-like intro to an angelic-sounding, deep house anthem with shimmering synths and thumping beats, ‘Judder’ sounds like the theme to an 80s fighting game (think Street Fighter) but with dramatic changes in tempo and barely audible vocal notes coursing through it, ‘Ten Deep’ sounds like the film score to a modern sci-fi movie, due to its soaring synths and bold brass sounds and ‘Fear I Must First Let You Go’ (featuring vocals by Chris James) is a positive take on looking to the future – a therapeutic song that has an almost sermon-like quality to it.

Without a doubt, The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget is still an ambient, atmospheric and deep house-filled album that is instantly recognisable as Chicane, but somehow it feels very different to some of his previous releases; it is uplifting, fresh, reinvigorating and really pushes the boundaries of what he can produce.

Lastly, I would like to make a special thanks to Nick and his manager Louis, for allowing us to be the first and only people to have had access to the full album prior to its release. It truly has been a privilege.

Rating


‘The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-place-you-cant-remember-the-place-you-cant-forget/1377444000


‘The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget’ on Spotify

Serendipity (Official Video)

A Love That’s Hard To Find (Official Audio)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this incredible musician and producer’s latest album? Do you love it as much as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or share your views about it 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

#MellowMonday: Brunswick – ‘Know No Better’


   

facebook-like   Instagram


Brunswick is the moniker of a 19-year-old up-and-comer, who is making some seriously edgy, fusion music. This single, ‘Know No Better’ merges R&B and hip hop with rock and pop to create a unique blend, self-described as “Rhythm & Grunge”. It’s a great sound that is almost like crossing G-Eazy with Conor Maynard and topping it off with some Nirvana; it really is something special.

Very little is known about this artist right now, other than from his Instagram and SoundCloud pages, but a little mystery isn’t always a bad thing.

No music video has been released for the track yet, but as soon as one emerges, we’ll keep you updated.

What are your thoughts of this mysterious artist? Got your own #MellowMonday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or hit us up via our social media.

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


‘Know No Better’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/know-no-better-single/1361721586


#Review: Super Whatevr – Never Nothing


   

facebook-like   Instagram


Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerSuper Whatevr is the brainchild of singer and guitarist, Skyler McKee. Self-confessed as a project by a ‘kid [that] left the old band [and] started a new band, telling stuff (using words and sounds),’ he has created a cracking debut!

Super Whatevr - Never Nothing.jpg

The album opens with the intricate and melodic track, ‘Ah Oo Oh (Interlude)’, which features the vocals of singer, Skyler McKee, singing the aptly-titled name of the track, over some airy yet grungy instrumentals, that I find somewhat reminiscent in style to Nirvana. It’s then ‘Bloomfield’ that really kicks the album into gear; there’s something The Automatic-esque about the song, with a hint of Arctic Monkeys too but it’s most definitely unique, in it’s own right! It’s certainly a track to rock out to and is sure to be a real crowd-pleaser at shows.

I find that the most stand-out tracks on this record include, the get-up-and-danceable ‘Why Do I Wonder Why’ (which has some almost ska flavours to it); the punchy-in-all-the-right-places, ‘For You’, with it’s chaotic, rock-out chorus; ‘When Doesn’t The World End?’ with its sombre lyrics and atmospheric instrumentation and ‘Telelelevision’, which feels nostalgic and would fit perfectly in a resolution scene towards the end of an emotionally driven movie…or even over the credits. ‘Misquote’ and ‘Katherin With A K’ are also great album tracks too.

Whilst I don’t think it’s necessarily revolutionary within its genre, it’s brilliantly well-crafted…artistic even, with subtle production flourishes; it feels like it was a real labour of love to create.

There is definitely an almost British indie vibe throughout this record but it’s been turned up to 11 with edgier guitars and deeper lyrics. The lyrics throughout are very self-reflective and honest, telling the tale of a tortured past, however the album feels therapeutic in its approach to tackling these topics.

If I’m completely honest, the album actually didn’t instantly grab me, but over the space of a week, I found myself being automatically drawn back to it, every day, and listening to it all over again…and thoroughly enjoying it! Whilst I don’t think it’s necessarily revolutionary within its genre, and there are still a couple of tracks that I could take or leave, it’s brilliantly well-crafted…artistic even, with subtle production flourishes; it feels like it was a real labour of love to create. That being said, it is most definitely worth a listen (several times through) and I guarantee that there will be at least a couple of tracks for everyone to want to listen to over and over again.

Rating
4


‘Never Nothing’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/never-nothing/1291111449


‘Never Nothing’ on Spotify

Telelelevision (Official Music Video)

Bloomfield (Official Music Video)

For You (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of this band’s debut album! What are your thoughts on it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment, or hit us up via our social media.


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


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