#Review: Wallows – Nothing Happens

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerWallows are a 3-piece, indie rock band from Los Angeles, consisting of actors Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why) and Braeden Lemasters (Men of a Certain Age) plus drummer, Cole Preston. The trio first formed under their current moniker back in 2017, self-releasing their debut single, before signing to Atlantic Records in early 2018. Now, 2019 sees the release of the band’s debut album, Nothing Happens. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Wallows have successfully crafted a blend of 80s new wave, alternative rock and indie, right from the very first notes of the intense opening track, ‘Only Friend’, that instantly engage the listener and force you to turn it up, before blending seamlessly into second track, ‘Treacherous Doctor’; by far the best track on the record – it’s catchy as hell and ballsy with its heavy interludes, making it really stand out.

Catchy melodies are not lacking on this record either! Lead single, ‘Are You Bored Yet?’ (featuring Clairo) demonstrates perfectly, the sort of thing to expect from the album, and is a great marriage of male and female vocals. Whilst second single, ‘Scrawny’, would sit well on a soundtrack, switching up the tone, part way through the song. Then there’s ‘What You Like’ with its electronic, 80s vibes – a strong verse vocal and intense reverb, like something by Sparks, and ‘Remember When’ offers a hook that will stay with you for days. ‘Ice Cold Pool’ offers a musically uplifting tempo and shimmering guitar lines.

There’s no doubt that this is a summer soundtrack and would fit well in a teen programme, like The OC, conjuring up images of a road trip in a convertible, with friends, shot with a vintage camera. It’s the sort of record that you could either sit back and relax to, or get lost in at a summer BBQ – it’s dynamic and delightfully enthralling.

This is quite possibly one of the most interesting and exciting, American indie bands I’ve heard for some time.

Generally, this is a fairly fast-paced album but ‘Sidelines’ offers a more downtempo reprieve and a synth line that reminds me of Caesars’ ‘Jerk It Out’ (just not as upbeat), as does the album closer, ‘Do Not Wait’ – a haunting, dream-like instrumentation in the first half, that builds to a more frantic, psychedelic close, with it’s spoken-word vocal.

The whole album is written solely by the band themselves and produced by John Congleton (Lana Del Rey, Franz Ferdinand & Jamie T) – this might explain why the record sets them up as the kings of interesting breakdowns and unusual soundscapes that weave their way throughout the record. They take unexpected, sonically captivating twists and turns throughout and Dylan’s vocals are, at times, monotonous and somewhat apathetic, but it works so delightfully well! It’s definitely an album for all ages – millennials are bound to love it, as will original fans of 80s synth rock.

I’m sure some people will turn their noses up at Wallows for the fact that they’re established actors, but that shouldn’t detract from what a great record, and band, this is! Nothing Happens is a very strong, well-written and well-produced album that although very indie on the surface, at its core, takes a lot of influence from a fair few 70s and 80s tracks. Having listened to this captivating record several times now, I am left excited for what more they have to offer, and if their next album is as strong as this, they will continue to pave a great career for themselves. This is quite possibly one of the most interesting and exciting, American indie bands I’ve heard for some time.

Rating
4


‘Nothing Happens’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/nothing-happens/1450670646


Nothing Happens on Spotify

Scrawny (Official Music Video)

Are You Bored Yet? (Official Music Video)


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

Advertisements

#Review: Tom Walker – What A Time To Be Alive

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


Tom Walker is a Scottish-born, singer-songwriter that has continued to grow and rise to fame over the past 12 months or so. Aside from relentless touring, he started gathering mainstream attention with the BBC putting him in the running for their Sound of 2018 accolade. Then came the release of his massive single, ‘Leave A Light On’, which received heavy radio airplay, leading to a performance on X Factor. Now 2019 has kicked off with in style, with him winning the Brit Award for 2019’s British Breakthrough Act…and all of this has happened before the release of his debut album! Well, it’s finally here, What A Time To Be Alive and here’s what we have to say about it…

Tom Walker - What A Time To Be Alive.jpg

Passion. Power. Personal. Three words that can’t help but swim through my mind as I listen to Tom Walker‘s debut album, What A Time To Be Alive. All three qualities are beautifully and intricately interwoven too – there is passion and power behind his vocals – both in what he sings and the way he sings it – and the personal songwriting leads to their prominence…and this wouldn’t be such a remarkable record without even one of those elements.

We’re catapulted into the album with ‘Angels’; a track starting out raw and edgy but endlessly continuing to build to a huge crescendo, complete with bells and strings, becoming an intricately layered behemoth of a track by the end, topped off with Tom’s intensely passionate and gritty vocals.

This is soon followed by the hit single, ‘Leave A Light On’, which despite being such a massive single, is interestingly, probably one of my least favourite tracks on the album. It’s a great song lyrically and thematically and I can see exactly why it was such a hit but I honestly preferred the original version, before the off-key synth sounds became so prominent. Also, there’s so much more to love about the album!

He has successfully crafted an outstanding debut album that takes elements from many different genres and styles, mashing them up into the perfect concoction of contemporary pop.

The biggest tracks on the record have to be: ‘Not Giving In’ – haunting wind chimes trickle delicately into the intense track, where echoing vocals and programmed drums lead the verses into the passionate chorus that seems to swirl around you, engulfing with its honest emotion; ‘How Can You Sleep At Night?’ is vocally one of the most diverse songs on the album – quiet, low tones in the verses are pushed by thunderous drums to a chorus of what could be described as vocal hoots and a downward zigzagging of his voice. Melodically, it’s a rather playful track, even though it’s about an intimate subject.

‘My Way’ is a real genre-bender; hip-hop-style drum beats, oriental-tinted synths, a repetitive hook and wonderful production trills, such as subtle, underlying female vocals, make this one of the best songs on the record. An effortless breakdown calms the mood right before bursting back into the repetitive, yet highly addictive chorus. Think EDM elements meet rock with a slightly Asian-flavoured edge.

And of course there’s ‘Fade Away’ which has a very Tom Odell-sounding melody, in places. It’s an emotionally devastating, piano and string-led track, that honestly brings tears to the eyes. Naturally, in its more heightened moments, Tom’s signature, raspy vocals shine through but during the quieter parts, his interesting annunciation and poetic lyricism make this track truly bewitching.

This is a stunning, diverse album that is sure to make massive waves throughout the industry and I’m certain will be a benchmark album for years to come.

‘Now You’re Gone’ featuring Zara Larsson is very electronic in tone with laser-like bass notes and a broken-up rhythm, ‘Blessings’ has an Ed Sheeran vibe and takes a candid look at the modern lifestyle, whilst ‘Dominoes’ is a very political track and another honest take on the state of the world right now, becoming wonderfully chaotic and grungy by the end.

Intrigue doesn’t stop there either, ‘Cry Out’ is like a dark western soundtrack (somewhat reminding me of the Peaky Blinders theme) with chain-clinking sounds giving it a laborious edge and ‘Just You And I’ is an old fan favourite – a big, positive love song. Possibly the most captivating track on the record has to be ‘The Show’ – a story-like track about London that really gives the sense of physically moving through the city streets, just listening to it. It has a real jazzy feel which sound effects weaving throughout the storytelling.

One thing’s for certain, Tom Walker has a very unique blend of styles throughout his music; reggae and urban vibes, with subtle hip-hop undertones are met by electronic synth elements and drum pads, combined with real instruments and rock-tinted vocals all underpinned by sincere, heartfelt (and even occasionally political) lyrical themes. I think I can even detect Bob Marley influences in places – reggae sounds and political themes…or is that just me? Sure, at times his voice is quirky and high-pitched but that is met in equal measure by the grittier, growlier and more powerful moments.

You can’t help but want to compartmentalise him as a singer-songwriter or a pop star but he truly breaks every mould you try to apply him to. He has successfully crafted an outstanding debut album that takes elements from many different genres and styles, mashing them up into the perfect concoction of contemporary pop. Despite being an eclectic collection, it still manages to be entirely cohesive. This is a stunning, diverse album that is sure to make massive waves throughout the industry and I’m certain will be a benchmark album for years to come.

It can only get bigger for him from here and I can’t wait to see what new heights Tom Walker soars to next…I’m just pleased I got to see him at The Green Door Store in Brighton (review here) before it all took off.

Rating
5


‘What A Time To Be Alive’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/what-a-time-to-be-alive/1435094194


What A Time To Be Alive on Spotify

Leave A Light On (Official Video)

Just You and I (Official Video)

Angels (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Tom Walker’s stunning debut, What A Time To Be Alive? Are you as much of a fan as us? 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: P!nk – ‘Walk Me Home’

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


P!nk is a truly inspirational artist and is always true to herself, which is why she has just become the very worthy winner (and first ever international artist) of this year’s Outstanding Contribution to Music Award at the Brit Awards 2019.

With 7 albums already under her belt and an upcoming UK tour in support of her last album, Beautiful Trauma (2017), it seems a fitting time for her to put out a new song.

‘Walk Me Home’ is the lead single taken from her upcoming eighth album, Hurts 2B Human. It’s a strong, acoustic-led track with a really cutting vocoder vocal that reverberates right through you. It was even penned with previous duetting partner, Nate Ruess as well as Grammy Award-winner, Scott Friedman, so it’s bound to be a big hit!

Although the track is somewhat somber in tone through the verses, it kicks in to a powerful, all-consuming chorus that just elevates. It’s uplifting and puts out big positive vibes – perfect for a #FeelGoodFriday!

No video has been put out yet but when one does, I’m sure it’ll be epic!

Photo Credit 📸 – Sølve Sundsbø

What are your thoughts of this incredible artist’s latest single, Walk Me Home? Do you have a #FeelGoodFriday 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


‘Walk Me Home’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/walk-me-home-single/1453199363


#WildCardWednesday: Jasmine Thompson – ‘Loyal’

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


Jasmine Thompson is a London-based singer-songwriter, born to an English father and Chinese mother and says that, “Having one immigrant parent always provides a unique perspective growing up, a sense of one foot in two different worlds.” Maybe that is part of what makes her sound and voice so utterly captivating…or maybe it’s just her undeniable, raw talent.

At just 18 years old, it’s remarkable just how talented she really is, with a voice that sounds soulful beyond her years. And, whilst she might be a new artist to many, she already has a massive following, which was kicked off by her acoustic cover of Chaka Khan‘s ‘Ain’t Nobody’, that was then remixed and re-released by Felix Jaehn in 2015. From there, she has posted and released countless covers and a string of original songs too.

Now, following the ending of a recent relationship, comes her latest single, ‘Loyal’, on which she reunited with songwriter and producer, Eg White. The song actually began life a year prior to the relationship ending, but was written about the trust issues from within it, so this song is bound to resonate with many people. Especially, as despite the way it ended, she still sings, “I will always be loyal babe,” about the person she met at the beginning.

Throughout the track, her voice is ageless, wise and achingly lonely in tone, conveying the emotion to perfection. It’s a progressive track with some crackling, slow jazz-tinted brass from the beginning, sitting on top of a modern beat, before breaking down to a piano-led interlude in the middle, and then breaking out with some epic string sections, to bring the song to a dramatic close. This is an epic tale, told in just under 4 minutes – a true musical masterpiece!

The music video is great too – there’s a very rustic feel to it with it’s interpretive dance elements inside a quirky, captivating timber-frame location, all shot with a home-video style, giving it a very organic feel.

She is definitely going to be one to watch in 2019!

Jasmine’s EP, Colour, will be out 29th March, on Atlantic Records.

Photo Credit 📸 – Kate Bellm

What are your thoughts of this stunning track from the unique singer-songwriter? 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


‘Loyal’ can be downloaded on iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/loyal-single/1451236610


#TunefulTuesday: Lauv & Troye Sivan – ‘i’m so tired…’

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


There’s something instantly gripping about Lauv and Troye Sivan‘s recent collaboration, ‘i’m so tired…’, meaning I just can’t get this song out of my head!

Maybe it’s the repetitiveness of the chorus, the brilliantly-used vocal distortion and electronic harmonies, used periodically throughout, or perhaps it’s the combination of a light guitar tied with the electro drum beat and sharp finger clicks that have created something wonderfully unique, resulting in the song living on repeat for me.

One thing’s for certain – this track is already one of my favourite songs of 2019 and the year has barely begun! I’d love to hear a collaboration album from the pair!

The video for the song is pretty cool too – I love how it’s stylised to be like an old 70s/80s camcorder capturing home video-style footage, such as Troye Sivan riding on top of a car, through the neighbourhood. Equally, the lyrics are brilliantly reflected, with Lauv performing amongst various couples, as though he’s not there; a great little storyboarding idea!

What are your thoughts of this incredible collaboration between Lauv and Troye Sivan? Do you have your own #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


‘i’m so tired…’ can be downloaded from iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/im-so-tired/1448700180?i=1448700185


#Review: Millencolin – SOS 🚀🆘

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


Millencolin are a punk rock band from Sweden, consisting of all four original members, Nikola Sarcevic (vocals & bass), Mathias Färm (lead guitar), Erik Ohlsson (rhythm guitar) and Fredrik Larzon (drums). To date, the band have had eight studio albums and played all around the world, including at America’s prestigious Warped Tour. Now, 2019 marks the release of SOS, the band’s ninth studio album since their 1992 inception, some 27 years later! Here’s what we have to say about the record…

Millencolin - SOS.jpg

SOS kicks straight in with the intense, apocalyptic-sounding title track, gripping you with its chugging guitars and haunting vocal chants, making it instantly clear that this is very much a punk rock album and not a commercialising into the pop punk realm.

That said, there is something very commercial about the album’s glistening production; vastly different from that of some of the band’s earlier records.

Additionally, there’s actually something very traditional about this album, like Millencolin have followed the recipe for the perfect skate rock record – ‘For Yesterday’ and ‘Nothing’ are perfect examples of this and particularly reminiscent of early Goldfinger or Alkaline Trio. However, in saying this, it also demonstrates that the band have not quite made any moves to vary their sound or try to push the boundaries of the genre, though there are bound to be countless fans that will appreciate this.

‘Sour Days’ and ‘Reach You’ particularly stand out, and although some of the most “radio friendly” tracks on the record due to their big choruses, they’re possibly the most vocally and instrumentally interesting with great harmonies and pristine changes in tempo across both.

It’s definitely a well-produced record with some strong choruses and impeccable instrumentation.

‘Yanny & Laurel’ is a good, story-telling song and interestingly named after the 2018 debate about whether a sound clip was saying the word ‘yanny’ or ‘laurel’ and is cleverly reflected with an auto-tuned chorus around the two words.

Sadly, there are some songs that just lack sincerity and would sit better on blink-182 or Green Day album (though don’t get me wrong I love both those bands), like ‘Do You Want War’ and ‘Caveman’s Land’. Both tracks have strong instrumentals but lyrically border on cringe-worthy.

‘Carry On’ really brings the album home with a strong, nostalgic-feeling chorus, which sounds almost like an audible farewell. The drums at the start, instantly draw you in and by the end of the track, it’s descended into just the right amount of chaos that you’re both satisfied and left wanting more.

Overall, SOS is a politically charged public service announcement, and takes a rather negative take on the current state of the world, even referencing the decline in society and impending end of the world as we know it. But then isn’t that what all punk rock is about?

It’s definitely a well-produced record with some strong choruses and impeccable instrumentation, however there are certainly the odd lyrical improvements and risk-taking elements that could be adopted by the band, going forward. I guess it could just be put down to, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Rating
3.5


‘SOS’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sos/1441157359


SOS on Spotify

SOS (Official Video)

Nothing (Audio Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Millencolin’s latest album, SOS? Are you a fan? 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: Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water 🌊

facebook_logos_PNG19751.png    ios_homescreen_icon.png   app-icon2.png


It’s hard to believe that Avril Lavigne dropped her first single, ‘Complicated’, back in 2002 but since then, the songstress has had 5 studio albums, 23 singles, 27 music videos (including ‘Girlfriend’, which became the “first music video to reach 100 million views on YouTube”) and has even appeared on several television shows and films. Now, six years since her last, self-titled album, 2019 sees the singer-songwriter putting out her sixth studio album, Head Above Water; a personal account of the trials and tribulations she been through over the past few years. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Avril Lavigne - Head Above Water.jpg

Head Above Water is probably Avril Lavigne‘s most mature album to date, seeing a real evolution in her songwriting. Throughout the record, she paints a candid, honest and deeply introspective portrait of a truly tumultuous period in her life.

It all begins with the album’s title track, ‘Head Above Water’, which is in fact the song that kick-started the writing of the whole album. She stated, “One night, I thought I was dying, and I had accepted that I was going to die. My mom laid with me in bed and held me. I felt like I was drowning. Under my breath, I prayed, ‘God, please help to keep my head above the water.’ In that moment, the song writing of this album began. It was like I tapped into something. It was a very spiritual experience. Lyrics flooded through me from that point on.” In this truly stunning track alone, Avril Lavigne documents her fight with Lyme Disease (as a result of which, she set up The Avril Lavigne Foundation, to raise awareness of the condition – visit http://www.TheAvrilLavigneFoundation.org for more information), showing her strength of character to fight and overcome it.

As if that song wasn’t different enough, ‘Birdie’ demonstrates a diverse instrumental with intricate production where stripped-back moments show off her voice beautifully and a distorted vocal break adds another dimension to the track in which compares herself to a caged bird.

Equally, ‘I Fell In Love With The Devil’ and ‘Tell Me It’s Over’ are both tinted with Lana Del Rey-esque vibes. The first blends both high and low-pitched vocal harmonies to create an ominous tone to the track, perfectly mirroring the theme of a toxic relationship, whilst the latter’s sultry vocals and brass elements in the verses lead into a massive, soulful chorus, making it possibly the most unique song Avril has ever released.

There is a bit of a lull in the uptempo vibes towards the middle-end of the record (but still great tracks!) ‘Souvenir’ is a cute little love song that although a touch juvenile, is actually very endearing, whilst ‘Crush’ is a sparkly-sounding, soulful number.

It might not be her most obviously banging release, but it certainly packs a punch on the emotive side, with such wonderfully poetic lyricism.

‘Bigger Wow’ isn’t the most memorable song though it’s incredibly catchy and unequivocally pop, however I can’t help but feel it’s virtually a carbon copy of Hailee Steinfeld‘s single, ‘Starving’ with Zedd.

That said, although on the whole Head Above Water is quite the far cry from any of her previous releases, there are definite nods to her former sounds. ‘Dumb Blonde’ (featuring none other than Nicki Minaj – which was clearly a last-minute addition to the track, as the review version of the album did not feature her at all) takes a massive leaf out of her 2007 smash hit, ‘Girlfriend’. Additionally, ‘It Was In Me’ has a massive throwback vibes to her 2002 hit, ‘I’m With You’, but nevertheless, it’s amazing and the build up at the end is truly goosebump-inducing!

The album draws to a close with ‘Warrior’, thematically bringing us back full circle to where we began. The lyrics possibly aren’t the most imaginative on the record but they certainly show the strength she has found within herself, to get through some of the toughest years of her life and with that comes an audible gratitude and renewed lease of life.

Whatever you think of Avril Lavigne‘s previous incarnations, you can’t hear this album and deny that it’s a passionate and very personal offering from the star and although there isn’t a completely cohesive style throughout, it’s refreshing to hear her trying something new. The break has done her voice good too – there’s a renewed power and technique behind it and she’s using it in ways she hasn’t much before.

Of course, there are bound to be people that will slate her for moving away from her old sound and those who will criticise her for trying something new, but personally I love and commend this record for being evolutionary and so clearly therapeutic. It might not be her most obviously banging release, but it certainly packs a punch on the emotive side, with such wonderfully poetic lyricism. Now it’s time to return to the top Avril Lavigne – welcome back!

Rating
4-5


‘Head Above Water’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/head-above-water/1442724476


Head Above Water on Spotify

Head Above Water (Official Video)

Tell Me It’s Over (Official Video)

Dumb Blonde featuring Nicki Minaj (Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Avril’s sixth studio album, Head Above Water? 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