#Review: Story Of The Year – Wolves


   

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Story Of The Year first captivated my attention with their debut album, Page Avenue, back in 2003. Since then the band have had a string of albums, been involved in a whole host of side-projects, taken a hiatus, reformed and run a successful PledgeMusic campaign, which all lead to this, their sixth studio album, Wolves.

SOTY - Wolves.jpg

The album opens with the title track, ‘Wolves’, which sounds like some sort of background, cinematic sound effects from a horror film, before leading into the intense, fast-paced, gang-vocal-packed song, ‘How Can We Go On’, which perfectly represents the band’s roots in alternative/hard rock. From there, the album weaves its way brilliantly throughout a whole range of powerful, thrashing, metal-like songs and emotionally-driven, rock ballads that you just can’t help but want to belt out loud.

One thing’s for certain; the band have truly poured out their honest feelings and inner-most emotions into every track on this record. It’s also the band’s first album to be recorded in pieces, across several, separate locations, meaning they could really afford to take their time to focus and perfect the sound they wanted to achieve. The album title, Wolves, was chosen to embody the concept of life circling you and closing in on you, just like a pack of wolves.

Some of my favourite and most stand-out tracks on the album have to be, ‘Bang Bang’ (dubbed “a fast-paced, electro-infused rager complete with a catchy chorus” by AltPress), ‘Youth’ (which is a short guitar track that feels anthemic beyond words), ‘I Swear, I’m Okay’ (a synth-driven ballad-esque belter), ‘Can Anybody Hear Me’ (probably one of the catchiest tracks on the record and a real sing-along tune) and ‘Like Ghosts’ (which is just epic and in places the use of synths remind me a little of the Stranger Things theme – this song was born to be in a movie).

Undoubtedly, the quartet have demonstrated how committed they are to making what could well be the best album since their debut.

The record was produced by Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, New Found Glory, Acceptance) and mixed by none other than Tom Lord-Alge and J Hall – which probably explains why it sounds particularly epic! It soars to incredible heights and tantalises the melancholic heart-strings in all the right places.

Undoubtedly, the quartet have demonstrated how committed they are to making what could well be the best album since their debut. It’s an inspired body of work that shows off a real depth to their songwriting and evolution in their style. They have managed to record a soundscape of vulnerability, fear and anxiety and present it in a really exhilarating and cohesive body of music. This is certainly an album not to be missed.

Rating
4


‘Wolves’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/wolves/1300989796


Wolves on Spotify

‘Bang Bang’ (Official Video)

‘I Swear, I’m Okay’ (Official Audio)


We hope you’ve enjoyed this review of Story Of The Year’s latest album! What are your thoughts about it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it via our social media.


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#Review: Prides – A Mind Like The Tide, Pt. 1 (EP)


   

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Prides are a Scottish indie band who originally formed in Glasgow, in 2014, as a three-piece. The act is now comprised of Stewart Brock (lead vocals and keys) and Callum Wiseman (guitar, keys and backing vocals). Since releasing their debut album, The Way Back Up, in July 2015, the pair have worked hard on creating their next release; a two-part album, starting with this, the first half, A Mind Like The Tide – Pt. 1.

A Mind Like The Tide, Pt. 1

The EP opens with ‘Every Story Of Mine Is A Story Of Yours…’ – led by an ethereal synth, the track builds beautifully to a quite cinematic climax comprised of chest-rumbling bass notes, Stewart’s trademark crooning and a collection of people speaking the title of the track, repeatedly. This is surely going to become the song which opens the set for the pair’s live performances, for the foreseeable future and it’s easy to see why…it’s just oozing with atmosphere!

Overall, this EP is an eclectic mix of songs, from the unashamedly feel-good pop qualities of lead single ‘Let’s Stay In Bed All Day’ to the slightly more chaotic and almost grungy moments found in ‘Sweet Time’. I particularly love the energy and catchiness of ‘You’re The Drug’ (which could easily be another single), whilst both ‘A Wilder Heart’ and ‘I Know That I Can Change’ are emotionally charged and ascend to euphoric climaxes. My only criticism of the EP is the fact that ‘I Don’t Ever Want To Live Without You’ feels a little like an interlude (though it’s still a track which remains true to the essence of the band). That, paired with the opening track being more of an intro, you’ve essentially got 5 brilliant, new, sing-a-long tracks. It’s still a great release though and I’m certainly left intrigued to hear the second part of the album, around March next year.

The quality of the production throughout is remarkable and it’s a really comprehensive collection of tracks. Towards the end of ‘You’re The Drug’ there is an incredible break in the beat and just when you think it’s going to drop back in (as is predictable in so many songs), it doesn’t…it keeps you waiting and I love the originality of this! The calming, break in ‘Sweet Time’ is bewitching and melodic with it’s acoustic guitar, synths and falsetto vocals, right before it kicks back in to the heavy guitars and punchy chorus. Lastly, the delicate way ‘I Know That I Can Change’ begins with it’s atmospheric sounds and gradually becomes a massive stadium-filling anthem – it is just the perfect way to close the EP.

This is undoubtedly a brilliant release from the pair and certainly doesn’t disappoint. It may have been a couple of years since their debut album but it’s clear they have spent time working on their songwriting and developing their style. It’s also nice to see that despite a string of stand-alone singles, they haven’t just piled them onto this EP, to pad it out. It’s a beautiful release, crafted with major love and fine attention to detail.

Rating
4


‘A Mind Like The Tide, Pt. 1’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/a-mind-like-the-tide-pt-1/id1295669547


‘A Mind Like The Tide, Pt. 1’ on Spotify

Let’s Stay In Bed All Day (Official Audio Video)


Hopefully you have enjoyed our review of Prides‘ latest EP release! What are your personal thoughts of the EP? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media and don’t forget to share this think. Thanks 😀


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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Natalie McCool


   

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We recently had the opportunity to catch up with the amazing singer/songwriter, Natalie McCool, about how she’s found releasing her album The Great Unknown, through Pledge Music, what really grinds her gears, her most embarrassing moment and much more. What a lovely lass for taking the time to talk to us! Here’s what she had to say…


1. What’s it been like writing and recording your album, The Great Unknown? How was the experience of launching it through Pledge Music?
Recording and being in the studio is my favourite part of the whole process. I recorded the album in two parts – 5 tracks each time. I was initially going to do an EP but then decided to do an album. The track which inspired this album is ‘Oh Danger’, one of the first tracks I wrote which I have been toying with for a few years now and which I finally made a home for on The Great Unknown – and I think the rest of the tracks really fit around that. Launching the album through PledgeMusic was fantastic – that level of connection with fans is amazing. Everyone supported the album so much and when I sent it out to all the pledgers before the tour I got an overwhelming response – everyone absolutely loved it!

2. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you, either through your music career, or in life?
That’s a hard one. Obviously there are lots of things but thinking of THE WORST is hard. One of the worst was me and my friend wrote a love letter to a boy at school which we never meant for him to read – it was hilarious. But then he found it in her folder and read it out loud to the whole class!! We actually died. Looking back though it was so funny. Comedy history.

3. What really grinds your gears?
Rude people!!! And people who clearly hate their job and take it out on everyone else. No need for that! Also aggressive drivers. You people make the world suck!

4. Is there anything other than music you’re really passionate about?
Yeah I love art and history, I love going to see different types of art – my favourite is pop art & conceptual art. Whenever I go to a new city I always have to go to the art galleries and museums. I love history too – visiting historical locations and places where huge events have taken place, I think everyone should do those things whenever they get the chance, that’s how we learn!

5. What music have you been listening to most recently? Have you got a favourite song right now?
Favourite song right now? Probably Ariana Grande’s Into You. Such a great song and brilliant production too!

6. Has anything really scary ever happened to you on tour? If so, what?
Probably staying in dodgy hotels!! We stayed at a really dodgy one in Nottingham – it was like the Overlook Hotel from the Shining but totally not as glamorous. We walked into the hotel and were just like…yeah lets go out in Nottingham so we don’t have to spend any more time here than necessary!!!

7. Have you got any disgusting habits?
Probably biting my fingernails. It drives my mum mad. But I play guitar so don’t like having long fingernails. So at least it’s a useful habit.

8. What is your usual process for writing and recording? And where do you take your inspirations for songs from?
My new album is about challenging yourself and about self discovery. There are songs on it which deal with issues I’ve had in my life – common issues that affect everyone at least once – but very personal to me. It’s about making peace with that. I normally write about my own relationships with other people and the relationship between my conscious mind and unconscious mind. It’s a fascinating thing to write about.

9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Just enjoy yourself. Whatever happens in life you only get one life – make the most out of it and make sure you enjoy it.

10. Would you rather live in a Disney or Looney Tunes universe and why?
Looney Tunes DEFINITELY. Anything can happen. Also you can get hit by a bus or have a piano drop on your head – and still be alive!


Natalie McCool‘s releases are all available:

  • To purchase on iTunes – Natalie McCool
  • To listen to on Spotify –


Enjoyed this? Check out our other interviews with:

Frankmusik

Prides

Lucy Spraggan

Joe Ragosta from Patent Pending

Ali Tabatabaee from Zebrahead

David Ford

Chris Bourne

Race The Horizon

Life Of Dillon

Platnum

Skip from Almost July

Tom Ryder