#Review: Hold Close – Time ūüēź


   

facebook-like   Instagram


Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerHold Close are a Pop Punk band hailing from Springfield, Missouri in the USA. To date, they have had a couple of EP releases through Hopeless Records, across 2016 and 2017 but now, 2019 sees the release of their debut album, Time. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Hold Close - Time

We’re eased into the album with title track, ‘Time’ – an intro-style song, which starts off calm and rather understated, with a nice little gang vocal, riding on top of the acoustic guitar. It has quite a wholesome sound to the opening, with the lyrics, ‚ÄúYou know time will always heal,” but by half way, bursts into a chaotic moment and a slightly heavier tone, giving us a sense of what‚Äôs to come…before calming back to the way it begins. It doesn’t last long before swiftly leading into ‘Hang Tight’, dramatically picking up the pace.

‘Hang Tight’ has an intense beat, you can‚Äôt help but get swept up in, especially as there’s a huge sense of ecstasy in the calmer moments. Near the end of the track, there‚Äôs a note that’s almost screamed before a moment of calm that comes back round as if the track is starting again – it’s marvellous.

The best tracks on the record have to be: ‘Breath’ – a beautiful track about losing someone. It‚Äôs so stunningly passionate and heartfelt that you hang on every word. The line, ‚ÄúSometimes I pretend like you‚Äôre still here,‚ÄĚ really gets me; ‘Tropical Depression’ is deeply engrossing track due to the vocal effects and the metaphor of a relationship being a-likened to a tropical depression is wonderfully poetic; ‘Here Again’ depicts a longing for someone you miss. Subtle synths swirl around powerful vocals in the chorus, which makes for a touching outpouring of emotion; lastly, ‘Separation’ makes for an epic close to the album – hauntingly beautiful guitar melodies in the chorus are met with great instrument pushes and gang vocals to really hit it home, dropping into a long, synth outro and subtle vocals.

Other tracks include: ‘Cast Me Away’ which makes for a slightly more traditional pop punk track, ‘Absent To Reality’ has a much darker tone than most on the record whilst ‘Cloud9’ has something similar about the synth sound and melody to Keane‚Äôs ‚ÄėShe Has No Time‚Äô – it’s the lyrics that mostly resonate with me; ‚ÄúWill I ever learn to dream again, Escape from all the things I fear and then, Find my path to seeing clear again, Make my way through what‚Äôs to come from this.”

The only real drawback about Time is that 3 of the 11 tracks are pretty short, acting as intros/interludes – sure they are haunting and give the listener a few seconds to pause, but it would have just been amazing if there were more tracks.

There‚Äôs a real maturity to this record that a lot of bands can only dream of – it‚Äôs not quite pop punk, it‚Äôs not quite alternative rock – it’s just damn good!

The occasional echo effects on the vocals, interspersed throughout the album, alongside the diverse song-writing and instrumentation, induce real moments and feelings of euphoria – it’s the kind of album you can just turn up loud and get completely lost in – engulfed by the melodies and production.

There‚Äôs a real maturity to this record that a lot of bands can only dream of – it‚Äôs not quite pop punk, it‚Äôs not quite alternative rock – it’s just damn good! The instrumentation is intricate and well-crafted, with deeply considered, honest and relatable lyrics that must have taken a lot of self-reflection.

There is a lot of emphasis placed on memories of love and people lost, right across the album and a very clear theme of time passing, reminiscing and some degree of healing coming from that. ‚ÄúTime will always heal‚ÄĚ is very much a repeated phrase. A mantra.

Time is very much like the record of a pop punk band who have already had a lengthy career and matured, going on to create an album of well-considered, thought-provoking and sonically captivating music to push the boundaries of the genre…it’s just that Hold Close have achieved it early on in their career than others. The band have produced something wonderful with this album and I truly can’t wait to hear what they create next.

Rating

4-5


‘Time’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/time/1437338395


Time on Spotify

Tropical Depression (Official Music Video)

Breath (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Hold Close’s album, Time? 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: Reel Big Fish – Life Sucks…Let’s Dance! ūüíÉūüŹĹ


   

facebook-like   Instagram


Reel Big Fish are a ska punk band from Orange County, California. They have had many members over the years, with Aaron Barrett (lead vocals, synths/keyboards and guitars) being the only member left from the original lineup. However the sextet also comprises of John Christianson (trumpet & backing vocals), Derek Gibbs (bass guitar & backing vocals), Matt Appleton (saxophone & backing vocals), Lucky LaPenta (trombone & backing vocals) and Edward Larsen (drums). Since their debut album in 1995, the band have been through a major label (Jive) and come out the other side, to establish their own independent label, with a heap of album releases in between. Now, the end of 2018 marks the release of the band’s 9th album, Life Sucks… Let’s Dance! Here’s what we have to say about it…

Reel Big Fish - Life Sucks...Let's Dance.jpg

There are some albums that you can just stick on and relax to, lie in bed and get lost in, or have an easy Sunday morning with. Not this one! Reel Big Fish have crafted another hugely successful record that just begs to be skanked out to!

Life Sucks… Let’s Dance! sets a much happier tone than their last release, Candy Coated Fury (2012), and there is even a sense of a renewed purpose to the band, evident across the record. The song subjects are generally quite tongue-in-cheek, ranging from the bizarre and witty (‘Bob Marley’s Toe’) to the sarcastic and even outright cheeky (‘Bleached Thang, Baby’). One thing is for certain; their outlook on life seems pretty damn chirpy and while listening, all you want to do is dance along from start to finish!

Good vibes run throughout the album and the songwriting, brilliantly diverse instrumentals and top-notch production result in a record that you can’t help but fall in love with.

Barrett states, ‚ÄúRecording the album with this line up was really fun, we all get along really well these days and everybody was excited to make a new record. Everybody had lots of great ideas and really got creative with everything and I really think it shows.” And he’s right; it does! The excitement they felt about recording this album, clearly emanates through to the listener.

Their outlook on life seems pretty damn chirpy and when listening, all you want to do is dance along from start to finish!

It’s so damn hard to narrow it down but some of the best tracks on the record are, ‘Pissed Off’ for its humour and incredible overlapping vocals at the end, ‘Tongue Tied And Tipsy Too’ with its frantic, grungy and very punk guitar riffs, making it a massive moshable anthem and ‘Bleached Thang, Baby’ which is a sassy track with sexy guitar licks throughout – it’s very skankable, chaotic and just makes you want to let loose. The guitar riff at the end is sensational too!

That’s not to say there aren’t other hugely loveable tracks too, the title track, ‘Life Sucks… Let’s Dance’ is a big-hitter; ‘You Can’t Have All Of Me’ has some stunning vocal harmonies at the end, ‘In Love Again’ contains country-like vocals and guitar slides; ‘Another Beer Song’ is a humorous account of getting drunk to get over someone; ‘Ska Show’ is just a damn good song and ‘Walter’s Highlife’ is an uplifting instrumental track that brings the album to a close nicely.

When you hear their first record (released back in 1995) you can hear just how much this band have evolved, to become the well-loved, polished party anthem machine they are today! Regardless of whether you are a long-term RBF fan or new to the genre, there’s no way you will be able to stop yourself dancing manically to this record and easily picking up the lyrics to sing along with! 23 years and 9 albums later, this band are still going strong and showing no signs of stopping…bring on album 10!!!

Rating
4


‘Life Sucks…Let’s Dance!’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/life-sucks-lets-dance/1442723388


Life Sucks…Let’s Dance! on Spotify

You Can’t Have All Of Me (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Reel Big Fish’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

#WildCardWednesday: Mark Ronson – ‚ÄėNothing Breaks Like A Heart‚Äô featuring Miley Cyrus


   

facebook-like   Instagram


Mark Ronson is certainly a household name already and having¬†released several collaborative hit tracks this year, the five-time Grammy¬†Award-winning artist and producer¬†now returns with a brand new single of his own, ‘Nothing Breaks¬†Like A Heart’ featuring the incredible Miley Cyrus.

The track was co-written by both Ronson and Cyrus, alongside Ilsey Juber, Thomas Brenneck, The Picard Brothers and Conor Rayne Syzmanski, and produced by Ronson, The Picard Brothers and Jamie XX.

The track serves as the first single to be taken from Mark Ronson‚Äôs forthcoming studio album, coming in 2019. It’s also his first pop single as a recording artist since the musical phenomenon that was¬†Uptown Funk! However he’s been busy since then, co-writing the Number 1 song, ‘Shallow’ performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, featured in Cooper‚Äôs directorial debut, A Star Is Born, as well as being¬†a member of supergroup, Silk City¬†(with Diplo), releasing the Top 5 UK Chart hit, ‘Electricity’ featuring Dua Lipa.

The track is already making waves around the world, with video trending highly on YouTube. The high-energy video was filmed in Kiev, Ukraine, directed by WAFLA (We Are From LA) and executive-produced by Romain Gravas (M.I.A, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Jamie XX). It features Miley Cyrus being pursued by police with a tongue-in-cheek approach to the reasons behind it. It’s clearly a big-budget affair and really well shot – definitely worth a watch!

ūüﳬ†Benoit Debie

What are your thoughts of this duo’s collaboration? Does it top ‘Uptown Funk’? Do you have¬†a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or hit us up via social media, using the hashtag.

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


‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/nothing-breaks-like-a-heart-feat-miley-cyrus-single/1444462437


#MellowMonday: Zara Larsson – ‘Ruin My Life (Piano Version)’


   

facebook-like   Instagram


Zara Larsson is an incredible pop singer-songwriter from Sweden, who has collaborated with the likes of Clean Bandit¬†(Symphony) and MNEK¬†(‘Never Forget You‘), and released a whole heap of monster solo hits too.

Since the release of her debut album,¬†So Good, back in 2017, she has been busy touring and undoubtedly working on new music with her latest single,¬†‘Ruin My Life’ being her first new music since then.

The song itself is a very up-beat pop track that has some rather wonderful production but since the release of the piano version, I haven’t been able to get enough of it. It’s amazing how such a catchy pop track can be made into such a beautiful ballad just by stripping it back to a piano!

Sit back, relax, turn it up loud and get lost in all of its beauty!

What are your thoughts on the piano version of this pop song? 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


‘Ruin My Life (Piano Version)’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/ruin-my-life-piano-version-single/1443604009


#Review: You Me At Six – VI


   

facebook-like   Instagram


You Me At Six are an English¬†rock¬†band from¬†Surrey. Since forming in 2004, the band have enjoyed various successes with all of their albums (except their first) reaching the Top 5 of the UK Album Charts and their fourth album,¬†Cavalier Youth, reached Number 1! Now, 2018 sees the band return with their aptly-named sixth studio album,¬†VI. Here’s what we have to say about it…

You Me At Six - VI.jpg

One thing is for certain, this band are superb at adapting their sound and have continued to evolve throughout their already pretty lengthy career. Their previous album, Night People, received rather mixed reviews suggesting it was a rather disjointed effort Рalthough credit to them for trying something new! However, this is all about to change with VI!

The album bursts into life with the very gritty and rather explosive¬†‘Fast Forward’,¬†which sees Franceschi screaming, “Pour some gasoline on,”¬†with his trademark gravelly voice.¬†The track has highs and lows in all the right places – prominent, grungy synths make this a strong album opener…think¬†U2¬†but heavier!

Next to follow is the hugely atmospheric, stadium-filler,¬†‘Straight To My Head’ with 80s-style synths, strong bass lines and an incredibly catchy, chant-able chorus – possibly the best track on the record.

There is a distinctly indie meets disco sound across the album too. Lead single¬†‘3AM’ epitomises the vibe of the record; like something by¬†The Killers,¬†The Maccabees¬†or even Bastille maybe,¬†with a running rhythm to the vocals, whilst¬†‘Back Again’ is possibly the most pop-like track on the album, seeing Franceschi using his falsetto – a great, feel-good track.

They’ve once again diversified their sound, kept it fresh and refused to stick to a sound that’s previously brought them success.

Possibly the weakest songs have to be¬†‘I O U’ – a bass-led affair that feels disjointed in places; it’s quite experimental, in that it changes pace and sound throughout. Also,¬†‘Predictable’ is quite similar to something by¬†Arctic Monkeys; it’s a little droning and not particularly memorable. Whilst¬†‘Pray For Me’ is a wonderfully euphoric song but throughout feels like it’s going to a place that it never actually goes.

‘Danger’¬†instantly grabs your attention with a beat that starts almost identically to¬†Toni Basil‘s¬†‘Mickey’, but quickly demonstrates it’s much more edgy than that. It’s an upbeat track with some incredible, diverse vocals – a really strong track!

Probably the most controversial song on the album, is closing track,¬†‘Losing You’ – it¬†builds beautifully with some captivating vocal effects and all-consuming reverb on the synths and guitars. It is bound to be a real mixed-bag with the fans.

It has to be said that¬†You Me At Six¬†have done a superb job with this record – they’ve once again diversified their sound, kept it fresh and refused to stick to a sound that’s previously brought them success. They’re a band that press forward and continue to grow and¬†VI clearly shows that the band have made an album they wanted to make – for that, they should be very proud.

Rating
3.5


‘VI’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/vi/1380831965


VI on Spotify

3AM (Official Video)

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


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s…? 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: Against The Current – Past Lives ūüĎĀ


   

facebook-like   Instagram


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
www.facebook.com/muzikspeaks
www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks