#Review: Celeste – Not Your Muse

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Celeste is a British-Jamaican soulful singer songwriter who ahead of releasing her debut album, has already seen a string of successes with the likes of her songs being used in the John Lewis & Waitrose Christmas Advert 2020 and as the theme song for Sky Sports Premiere League. Not Your Muse is her debut album and here’s what we have to say about it…

Celeste - Not Your Muse

The album doesn’t kick off to the best start with a couple of slow, rather forgettable, albeit soulful, tracks and it isn’t until ‘Tonight Tonight’ that the album really kicks into gear. There’s something very Amy Winehouse about the backing track of the song, yet it still remains full of soul; modern soul.

Next comes single and theme to Sky Sports Premier League, ‘Stop This Flame’, an uptempo song with an almost locomotive backing track met by a wonderfully intoxicating vocal in the chorus.

Some of the highlights of the album include: ‘Tell Me Something I Don’t Know’ – an enchanting track with its catchy chorus and the introduction of a brass section towards the end, make it a truly captivating listen; ‘Not Your Muse’ is a beautiful song with its shimmering guitars and ever-evolving, almost chaotic backing track; and ‘Love Is Back’ is another Amy Winehouse-vibed tune that’s upbeat and just a real joy to listen to.

‘Beloved’ is also a beautifully written and intriguing track – it has real Hawaiian vibes to it and in places it’s like the soundtrack to an old romantic film with its string section. There are some seriously powerful falsetto vocals too.

This is a strong debut album, that the more you listen to it, the more you can appreciate just how beautifully crafted and intricate it is.

Unfortunately, ‘A Kiss’, like the first two tracks on the album, is also a somewhat forgettable song that had me reaching for the skip button. However, ‘The Promise’ is beautiful with bird song interwoven throughout.

Of course there’s ‘A Little Love’ which was written and recorded specifically for the John Lewis and Waitrose Christmas advertising campaign, spreading the message of positivity to “give a little love”. She is in fact the first artist to be commissioned to write and perform an original song for the ad, marking another milestone in her unparalleled ascent.

The album draws to a cute close with the acoustic-led ‘Some Goodbyes Come With Hellos’, the perfect closing song for the album.

About the album, Celeste herself said, “Not Your Muse is the power I found when I felt powerless…In making this album I have allowed myself to arrive at a place where I feel empowered, fiercely wide-eyed and fulfilled. I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved on my debut album and to be in this position, after the year that has been, I feel nothing but gratitude and excitement.”

Having already achieved the double win of BBC Sound of 2020 and the BRITS Rising Star Award, Celeste has already had some career-defining moments that look set to make her a household name.

This is a strong debut album, that the more you listen to it, the more you can appreciate just how beautifully crafted and intricate it is. It can’t be helped but draw comparisons to Amy Winehouse throughout her debut due to her modern take on soul and occasionally similar style, but somehow, Celeste has created a modern masterpiece that I’m sure will be played on repeat, by many, for years to come.

Rating
4


‘Not Your Muse’ is out now on Polydor and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/not-your-muse-deluxe/1544501544


Not Your Muse on Spotify

Love Is Back (Official Video)

Stop This Flame (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this soulful singer songwriter’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.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Amy Studt – Happiest Girl In The Universe

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Amy Studt is an English singer, songwriter, musician and actress, who first rose to fame in 2002, with the release of her first single, ‘Just A Little Girl’, followed almost a year later, by ‘Misfit’ and eventually her debut album, False Smiles. Though she’s been through ups and downs in the rather perilous music industry, she is now set to release her third studio album, Happiest Girl In The Universe, independently. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Amy Studt - Happiest Girl In The World

If you knew Amy Studt from her debut album, or even 2008’s Paper Made Men, then you might not instantly recognise her now, as this is quite the far cry from her former artist, self.

Following a breakdown in 2009 and a diagnosis of rapid cycling bipolar, it’s amazing to see how this strong woman, has channeled her mental health, feelings and emotions into a brilliantly artistic project.

Whilst at its core, this record is still Amy Studt, she has created something experimental and unassuming pop music. Happiest Girl In The Universe is a much more mature record than some of her previous releases, dealing with some rather deep emotions and intense feelings. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted – think Lana Del Rey’s more depressing moments…turned up to eleven! That said, she’s crafted something special and undoubtedly therapeutic.

Amy Studt has laid herself bare, with raw, heartfelt vocals and honest, painful lyrics detailing how tortured she has been over the past few years.

If you’re like me, this album might even take you two or three sittings to get through, in order to digest the significance of the messages, understand her crippling depression and comprehend the enormity of the topics, as well as embrace the unusual style of music.

Amy Studt has explored her suffering and documented it like an audio diary – without frills attached! She paints vivid, personal pictures in a most cinematic way, occasionally touching upon moments of hope and redemption.

Her voice remains identifiable, with the occasional twinge of The CranberriesDolores O’Riordan. Possibly one of the best songs is ‘Sleepwalker’, on which she demonstrates a wonderful shouted vocal towards the end of the track, with something Kesha (of all people) about it. There’s a lovely rawness that is almost off-key, but it really doesn’t matter due to the intense delivery. She further demonstrates a tortured scream-like vocal on ‘Violently With Love’, showing off just how impressive her voice is.

‘I Was Jesus In Your Veins’ is a wonderfully diverse track, that seems dark and brooding yet switches to a light-hearted chorus, whilst ‘Let The Music Play’ has a rather twisted-sounding yet catchy chorus.

‘The Water’ stands out for being part spoken word poem, part song, accompanied by a chaotic, hypnotic and rather intense instrumental. Whilst ‘One Is The Only Number’ has haunting, screaming guitars in the background, beautiful falsetto vocals and an underlying, heavy beat, like the pounding of a primal drum on the way to the gallows. Another wonderful track is the rather whispery ‘Troubles Coming In’.

Haunting and haunted are probably the two best words to describe Happiest Girl In The Universe. Amy Studt has laid herself bare, with raw, heartfelt vocals and honest, painful lyrics detailing how tortured she has been over the past few years, creating something mysterious and wonderfully dark, yet utterly captivating. I hope this can put to bed a difficult chapter in her life and that she continues to make music from here – I know I’ll be listening!

Rating
4


‘Happiest Girl In The Universe’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/happiest-girl-in-the-universe/1479696794


Happiest Girl In The Universe on Spotify

Let The Music Play (Official Video)

Overdose (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Amy’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:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#FeelGoodFriday: The 1975 – ‘Give Yourself A Try’

 

   

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The 1975 have just made a triumphant return with their brand new single, ‘Give Yourself A Try’.

Taken from their upcoming third album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships (originally titled Music For Cars, the band are now using this as the moniker for this period of the band’s career, with a second album, Notes On A Conditional Form, already in the pipeline for May 2019), the song is set to kick off the band’s new era with a bang.

The track is much more subtle than some of their more straight-up pop tunes like The Sound and ‘Girls’ but has a rather ‘Chocolate’ feel to it; could this album see the band return to the sound of their debut?

I particularly like their interesting take on the world and certain aspects of it, throughout the verses, particularly the part about, ‘And what would you say to your younger self?’ – it’s a great moment in the song. Equally, whilst it’s not an instant pop anthem, the chorus is majorly catchy and I’ve found myself singing it loads already!

The music video is pretty funky too with it’s split-screen and trippy effects. I particularly love Matty’s dancing and new orange hair (is it just me or is there something a bit My Chemical Romance about it?!) and the clear guitars and drums used by the rest of the band.

This is certainly an exciting new era for the band and I can’t wait to hear their next single, and the rest of the album.

What are your thoughts of the new single from the band? Do you like the direction of their new era? Are you excited about the new album? Got a #FeelGoodFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Give Yourself A Try’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/give-yourself-a-try/1389783331?i=1389783376


#Review: Fickle Friends – You Are Someone Else


   

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Fickle Friends are a Brighton-based, indie-pop band who have gone from strength to strength, since their humble beginnings. Now signed to Polydor, they are releasing their long awaited, debut album, You Are Someone Else. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Fickle Friends - You Are Someone Else.jpg

It’s been a long time coming, but Fickle Friends have finally released their eagerly anticipated, debut album and it certainly doesn’t disappoint! This is an album packed to bursting point with catchy choruses, groovy guitar licks and salacious synth sounds.

The record opens with the darkly addictive and super chant-able, Wake Me Up’ and manages to maintain momentum throughout, whether it be the huge pop anthems like ‘Glue’ (a personal favourite!) and ‘Swim’ or the more placid, mellow offerings such as ‘In My Head. This is an incredibly diverse album that has a little something for everyone, yet still manages to come together as a superb collection of hard work, perfectly crafted and super skilled songwriting. It is also nice to see that the band haven’t followed the current trend of putting out a standard 10-track album, with a special deluxe edition, but instead have just the one version with a very decent, 16 tracks.

There are strong resemblances with the likes of The 1975 (on ‘Say No More’ and ‘Bite’), MUNA (on ‘Hard To Be Myself’ and ‘In My Head’), Shura (as with ‘Hello Hello’) and Rae Morris (on ‘Swim’) and it would certainly fit well with fans of theirs, but could equally find a place in any trendy, pop or indie-lover’s music collection too!

This is an album packed to bursting point with catchy choruses, groovy guitar licks and salacious synth sounds.

One thing is for certain, the band have managed to produce a fantastic sound that is both contemporary, modern pop yet strongly 80s tinted at the same time; something which is even reflected in their music video imagery and album artwork.

Although the sound throughout is fun and uplifting, that is contrary to the deeply personal lyricism, which finds singer, Natti Shiner, touching upon topics like self-doubt and anxiety, as can be heard on ‘Hard To Be Myself’ or rocky relationships, like that of ‘Wake Me Up’.

Other songs to take note of include the beautifully soothing ‘Paris’, the incredibly pop-tastic, ‘Bite’, the incredibly funky ‘Lovesick’ and the mammoth banger that is ‘Glue’. However, ‘Rotation’ is the only track I find to be somewhat disappointing; it’s quite repetitive and stands out from the rest of the album (and not in a particularly good way). That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just not particularly memorable and doesn’t seem to fit nicely amongst the rest of the, otherwise perfect, album.

Fickle Friends have undoubtedly created one heck of a masterpiece; this is not simply shallow, meaningless, throw-away chart hits but rather, relatable pop music with a purpose. The band have made good-quality and fun songs with real depth and meaning, that is definitely going to get stuck in your head. This is sure to be just the beginning for the band. I’m certain this will pave the way for a long and successful career; one which I can’t wait to witness as they continue to grow.

Rating
4.5


‘You Are Someone Else’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/you-are-someone-else/1312920152


You Are Someone Else on Spotify

Hard To Be Myself (Official Video)

Glue (Official Video)

Brooklyn (Official Video)

Swim (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Brighton-based, Fickle Friends’ debut album, You Are Someone Else! What do you think of it? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it via our social media.


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#WildCardWednesday: James Blake – ‘Retrograde’

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James Blake’s music is very unique.

I admire how he is able find a way of taking a large variety of sounds and styles, and make them one. Blake started his public career as an underground dubstep DJ; this is how I first came across his music. However, despite his gradual success in this genre, Blake has now completely changed to a much more mellow, loungey-electronic style of production.

He writes and produces his own songs in a – what I would describe to be – very ‘minimalistic’ way. The lack of instruments or busyness allows for the few instruments which are there, to really be noticed and appreciated.

I feel as if his experiences in the opposing fields of dubstep and mellow-electronica has allowed him to create this halfway point where he constructs his music. I find it intriguing how his songs are able to have a powerful and emotional message hidden between such calming beats. ‘Retrograde’ is very expressive with the lyrics, yet collaborates well with the much softer instrumentals.

His second studio album, Overgrown, won the Mercury Prize in 2013 and then in January 2014, Blake received his first Grammy nomination at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards for Best New Artist.

Blake currently has 2 albums out for download, and is said to have another full-length album being released in the next few months, which I’m very excited for!

Max – Muzik Speaks