#Review: Against The Current – Past Lives ūüĎĀ


   

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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.


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#EventSpeaks: Brighton Pride 2018 @ Preston Park, Brighton – 04/08/18


   

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On Saturday 4th August 2018, Preston Park was brought to life with the UK’s largest, annual Pride Festival and this year was especially huge, with over 57,000 people partying the day away. This was, in part, due to the presence of the one and only Britney Spears, headlining the main stage. Also performing were Louise, MNEK, Mabel, Pixie Lott and Ella Eyre. The afternoon was utterly incredible and people had a truly unforgettable time…the best Brighton Pride yet!

Relive the whole thing with our Brighton Pride Weekender playlist.


Mabel

Mabel‘s performance was great – considering she’s not released an album yet, I still knew most of the songs she performed (through their online presence and radio airplay), such as¬†‘Fine Line’,¬†‘Ring Ring’,¬†‘My Lover’¬†and¬†‘Finders Keepers’¬†(which can be seen in the YouTube video below). However,¬†even those I didn’t know were captivating to watch due to her excellent live vocals and high energy. A lot of her songs have clear R&B and reggae influences which means her debut album (that she is currently working on) should be really interesting!


Pixie Lott

It’s been a while since¬†Pixie Lott‘s last album (the self-titled¬†Pixie Lott in 2014) but she sure showed how sensational her voice and just how many massive hits she’s had with this fun-filled performance. Some of the stand-out performances included¬†‘Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)’,¬†‘Boys And Girls’,¬†‘Turn It Up’ and¬†‘All About Tonight’ (which can be seen in the YouTube video below).¬†I’m just gutted she didn’t perform her summery 2017 collaboration with Anton Powers,¬†‘Baby’. Regardless, her vocals were flawless and she looked like she was having the time of her life…let’s just hope it won’t be long until a new album emerges!


Ella Eyre

Considering she’s only had one album, Ella Eyre has had a lot of hits, not only through her own tracks but also through her incredible collaborations. The set was packed with notable performances and in fact I could mention them all for different reasons…she was just truly remarkable.

‘Good Times’ followed by ‘Together’¬†really got the crowd going;¬†‘LOV(E)’¬†had some great audience participation elements with a real Caribbean feel to it; her cover of¬†Jermaine Stewart‘s¬†‘We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off’¬†was pure perfection and then her final tracks were all some of her most notable collaborations –¬†‘Waiting All Night’ (originally with¬†Rudimental), ‘Answerphone’ (originally with¬†Banx & Ranx) and it all came to a close with the monster hit¬†‘Came Here For Love’ (originally with Sigala).¬†Her vibe is very dancehall meets drum & bass topped off with a touch of soul…it was the perfect summer sound to bop around to at this year’s Pride and get everyone warmed up for¬†Britney!

Highlights:

  • Her vocals were flawless and crowd interaction was top notch.
  • The songs she performed were perfect – the audience pretty much knew them all and if they didn’t, she taught them to us.
  • Her use of audience participation was brilliant, particularly on¬†‘LOV(E)’.
  • The energy she pours into her performance is truly contagious and certainly got people moving!

Setlist

Good Times*
Together
LOV(E)
Ego
We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off (Jermaine Stewart Cover)*
Waiting All Night
Answer Phone
Came Here For Love*

* These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Britney Spears

BRITNEY. WAS. AMAZING! Sure, she didn’t sing a word live, but when you look past that, her performance was out of this world!

It had everything you could want from a superstar of her calibre; it was fast-paced with high energy, superb choreography, several costume changes, interesting set pieces and video backdrops, a live band and it was packed to bursting point with hit after hit. Including some off her most recent album, Glory, which I was really pleased about!

Her set was further diversified with different versions or intros to some of her hits, such as ‘…Baby, One More Time’ and Toxic’.

With someone like Britney it’s very difficult to pick out favourite performances of tracks as it’s just one big, epic show that you can’t help but enjoy from start to finish but if I had to pick some; ‘Work Bitch’ was an incredible way to start the set and had the audience going wild, ‘Me Against The Music’ had some amazing set pieces just like the music video (cracked walls), ‘Slumber Party’ as the choreography was sexy and the song is just sensational and ‘Till The World Ends’ as the audience were loving every second of it and at the end, the confetti canon exploded with rainbow colours…it was magical!

It is a shame that Britney doesn’t really sing live but there are so many other ways she makes up for it and I still can’t believe she headlined Brighton Pride…it was certainly a performance you did not want to miss!

Highlights:

  • There really are so many highlights to choose from; the colours, the lights, the sounds, the movements; she is just a sensational performer that puts her every effort into what she does – she’s remarkable!
  • Oh and Britney getting someone out of the audience to chain up and be a part of the choreography for a song was hilarious!

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Setlist

Act I
BRITNEY (Introduction)
Work Bitch*
Womanizer*
Break The Ice/Piece Of Me*

Act II
Darkness (Interlude)
…Baby One More Time/Oops!… I Did It Again

Act III
If I’m Dancing (Interlude)
Me Against The Music*
Gimme More
Clumsy/Change Your Mind

Act IV
Scream & Shout (will.i.am Interlude)*
Boys
Do You Wanna Come Over?
Work It/Get Ur Freak On/WTF (Where They From) (Dance Interlude)

Act V
Get Naked (I Got A Plan) (Interlude)
I’m A Slave 4 U
Make Me…*
Freakshow
Do Somethin’

Act VI
Magic Circus (Interlude)
Circus
If U Seek Amy
Breathe On Me
Slumber Party*
Touch Of My Hand

Act VII
Jungle Fever (Interlude)
Toxic
Stronger/(You Drive Me) Crazy*

Encore
Till The World Ends*

* These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally,¬†I want to say a massive thanks to the Brighton Pride organisers for putting together such an incredible line-up for this year’s Pride…it was amazing! Now…how the hell are you gonna top Britney next year?!


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

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#Two4Tunesday: James Arthur – ‘You Deserve Better’ & MNEK – ‘Colour’ featuring Hailee Steinfeld


   

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James Arthur – ‘You Deserve Better’

James Arthur has just returned with not one, but two, new songs in the form of a double A-side single, You Deserve Better/At My Weakest.

‘You Deserve Better’ is an acoustic-driven track at the start but then goes on to see the introduction of funky bass guitars, pounding drums and rhythmic claps. The almost understated repetition of the track’s title in the pre-chorus is catchy and seems to take a hold on the listener, before James Arthur bursts into his full, powerful vocals in the chorus. It’s a brilliantly written track!

Does this signify the coming of a third album for the artist?!

No official video has been released as yet, but the paper-themed lyric video (below) should keep you going for now.


‘You Deserve Better’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/you-deserve-better-at-my-weakest-single/1389804905



MNEK – ‘Colour’ featuring Hailee Steinfeld

To much delight from fans, MNEK recently announced that his debut album is finished and in the process of being mixed.

Earlier this year, he released the tantalising ‘Tongue’ and now he’s back with ‘Colour’ (presumably the second single from the upcoming album), which is a collaboration with singer and actress, Hailee Steinfeld.

The track comes just in time for Pride season and with the mention of rainbows ūüĆą and MNEK himself being gay, we’re sure this is going to receive a lot of spins around the world, this summer.

The track is tropical house-flavoured with and almost reggae beat to it. The playful, loved-up lyrics are fun and catchy and the way the pair bounce off each other and harmonise is just perfect!

Again, no music video has been released for this track yet but the wonderfully colourful lyric video (below) should hopefully brighten up your day.


‘Colour’¬†can also be downloaded from iTunes now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/colour-feat-hailee-steinfeld/1386508884?i=1386509174


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#ThrowbackThursday: B*Witched – ‘C’est La Vie’


   

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B*Witched are an Irish quartet, consisting of twins, Edele and Keavy Lynch, Lindsay Armaou and Sin√©ad O’Carroll, who burst onto the scene with their debut single, ‘C’est La Vie’, back in 1998.

The song was such a huge success with its unique brand of upbeat, Irish-themed pop and peaked at Number 1 in the UK Charts. The track was filled with a series of double entendres and in 2013, the girl group revealed that it was in fact about sex.

This song kicked off a hugely successful (albeit relatively short) career, with their next three singles all peaking at Number 1 in the UK Charts, and both their albums also reached inside the Top 5!

The music video was bright, vibrant, super cheesy and downright fun, featuring the girls’ iconic denim-on-denim style, which became a signature part of their branding.

What are your thoughts of this pop quartet’s Irish-flavoured, Number 1 hit? Did you love it first time around? Are you still a fan today? Got a #ThrowbackThursday 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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‘C’est La Vie’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/cest-la-vie/298026093?i=298026101


#Two4Tunesday: Dappy – ‘Oh My’ featuring Ay Em & OneRepublic – ‘Start Again’ featuring Logic


   

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Dappy – ‘Oh My’ featuring Ay Em

Dappy is finally back with the epic new tune, ‘Oh My’ featuring Ay Em. The track has a distinct afrobeat vibe to it.

The tune is less obviously catchy than some of his previous hits, but it’s still a superb track; a real urban, summer song! Hopefully this will signal the upcoming release of his second album, tentatively titled Miracles.

The music video is based in London and sees Dappy and Ay Em performing on the streets, with some quirky animations weaving their way throughout.


‘Oh My’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/oh-my-feat-ay-em-single/1380654873



OneRepublic – ‘Start Again’ featuring Logic

Take from the soundtrack to the second season of Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, Colorado pop rock back, OneRepublic, have teamed up with American rapper, Logic, to create an incredibly fitting track.

The band’s latest single features¬†Ryan Tedder‘s stunning and passionate vocals, on top of a thumping, almost¬†empowering beat, accompanied by a verse about suicide, by mental health advocate,¬†Logic. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the latest series of the mysterious teen drama.

OneRepublic¬†have released a string of new singles now, but no album has been announced…hopefully these are all signs of one to come!

No music video has been released, as yet, but the audio video can be seen below. If one is released, we’ll be sure to keep you updated.


‘Start Again’¬†can also be downloaded from iTunes now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/start-again-feat-logic/1381914023?i=1381916994


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Two4Tunesday: Jason Derulo – ‘Colors’ & Janelle Mon√°e – ‘PYNK’ featuring Grimes


   

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Jason Derulo – ‘Colors’

Jason Derulo is one of those artists who is instantly recognisable! Often just from the start of a tune, you can tell it’s by him, and then again when his voice kicks in.

This isn’t the first time Derulo has teamed up with Coca-Cola (remember 2012’s ‘Undefeated’?). Now he’s back with Coca-Cola’s anthem for the FIFA World Cup 2018.

‘Colors’ is certainly a world anthem, promoting pride and patriotism for your county but at the same time, celebrating everyone else’s, not seeing rivalry.

This is a positive, uplifting track that is sure to get people going and excited for the tournament ahead. Also, the video is pretty fun too!


‘Colors’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/colors/1356224861?i=1356224875



Janelle Mon√°e – ‘PYNK’ featuring Grimes

Janelle Mon√°e has just released her third album, Dirty Computer, and ‘Pynk’ is one of my favourite singles from the record.It’s a collaboration with Canadian art pop artist, Grimes and is a song all about female empowerment, self-love…and there are certainly strong references to female genitalia! This can be seen from the music video too (see below).

The track actually interpolates parts of Aerosmith‘s ‘Pink’, and as such, are credited as writers of the song.

This is a strong song to kickstart your Tuesday, so turn it up loud and enjoy!


‘Pynk’¬†can also be downloaded from iTunes now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/pynk-feat-grimes/1350021308?i=1350021466


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Two4Tunesday: Ariana Grande – ‘No Tears Left To Cry’ & Emma Blackery – ‘Dirt’


   

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Ariana Grande – ‘No Tears Left To Cry’

Ariana Grande¬†is back with the first single to be taken from her upcoming fourth album, ‘No Tears Left to Cry’. Written by Grande herself, alongside¬†Savan Kotecha¬†and its producers¬†Max Martin¬†and¬†Ilya, it is a rather different pop track to her normal style.

Don’t be mistaken, it’s still dance-pop at the core with a powerful vocal chorus, but it’s got some quite 90s pop and R&B influences to it and it’s certainly not an instant and obvious standout hit; this track is much more of a grower.

The video features Grande performing amongst a lot of disorientated scenery (which corresponds with the upside-down text of the single cover and leaks of Grande in a corresponding sweatshirt). It’s an interesting concept for the video, which was directed by Dave Meyers.


‘No Tears Left To Cry’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/no-tears-left-to-cry/1374085537?i=1374087460



Emma Blackery – ‘Dirt’

Emma Blackery is a singer-songwriter, YouTuber and author from Basildon in Essex, UK. To date she has 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube, with 148 million views and in 2016, she supported Busted on their Pigs Can Fly Tour.

Now, in 2018,¬†Emma Blackery is releasing her new single,¬†‘Dirt’. With a decidedly electro-pop foundation, this track is topped off with Blackery’s rather British-sounding voice (which is quite refreshing!) and some explicit vocals; making it edgier than your normal dance-pop songs.

The video is a bit of fun with it’s quirky dances and neon pink and blue colours throughout; it’s not breaking any boundaries but it’s light-hearted and funky.

This is a great track by a great up-and-coming artist on the pop scene!


‘Dirt’¬†can also be downloaded from iTunes now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/dirt-single/1353482430


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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