20 Albums Turning 20 in 2022!

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It’s a new year! It’s new you, new things to try and new starts. Unless you’re a millennial in which case it’s, “give me all the nostalgia you can!” We are the kings/queens of nostalgia and this list aims to wrap you in cosy 2000s comfort. So mix yourself up a snakebite black, attach your keys to a chain and pull on your baggy jeans, these are 20 albums turning 20 years old in 2022!

Happy New Year!!!

Matt & Rob


20. Finch – What it is to Burn

What does Rob say:

What it is to Burn introduced so many of us to the Post Hardcore genre and helped propel it more into the mainstream. Like so many Emo/Post Hardcore bands of the time, Finch never really lived up to the hype past this album, but What it is to Burn is an absolute classic of the time.


19. Alexisonfire – Alexisonfire

What does Rob say:

Three members of Alexisonfire were just 17 when they released their self-titled album! It brought a raw sound to the ‘scene’ beautifully complemented by Dallas Green’s melodic vocals. This album thrust Alexisonfire firmly into the lime light, and they went on to influence so many bands that it had to make our list!


18. Queens of the Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf

What does Rob say:

QOTSA rocketed to mainstream with Songs for the Deaf. Singles like ‘No One Knows’ and ‘Go with the Flow’ were brilliant rock anthems in their own right, but as an album Songs for the Deaf was wonderfully crafted with interlude tracks to make it a now old-school full, album listening experience.


17. Craig David – Slicker Than Your Average

What does Matt say:

Craig David returned with his second album in 2002 and whilst it didn’t reach Number 1, like his debut, this is actually packed with some pretty cool bangers; ‘What’s Your Flava?’ and ‘Hidden Agenda’ are my favourites on the record and some of the poppiest tracks but then you’ve got some real urban-influenced songs like ‘Fast Cars’ and ‘Eenie Meenie’ too.


16. Toploader – Magic Hotel

What does Matt say:

Magic Hotel was Toploader‘s second album and the follow-up to 1999’s Onka’s Big Moka – although it actually charted higher than their debut. The record is filled with big song after big song and is one of those albums that I just couldn’t get enough of. If you’re looking for stand-out songs, I’d say try ‘Time of My Life’, ‘Cloud 9’, ‘Only Desire’ and ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’.


15. Hundred Reasons – Ideas Above Our Station

What does Rob say:

We had to include this really as it epitomises UK alternative bands of the early 2000s. Hundred Reason’s debut album had emotionally felt lyrics spilled over upbeat guitar licks; it was a wonderful mashup. Twenty years on and I still find myself humming the opening guitar riff to ‘Silver’ because it is just that good!


14. Taking Back Sunday – Tell All Your Friends

What does Rob say:

How can I describe this album in such few words?! For me this is one of the most influential albums of the 2000’s emo scene. TBS’s clever writing got us either clambering to scrawl down our own clumsy metaphors or trying our best to chase down Adam Lazarra at ‘Give it a Name’ (just me, no?). Either way this album started a huge trend for the US emo scene to go global.


13. Vanessa Carlton – Be Not Nobody

What does Matt say:

Vanessa Carlton is often only known for the massive hit taken from this album, ‘A Thousand Miles’ (remember the video with the travelling piano too?!), however this album is actually packed with some pretty terrific songs, including ‘Ordinary Day’, ‘Unsung’ and a cover of The Rolling Stones‘Paint it Black’. It’s an album well worth a listen past the obvious hit.


12. Brandy – Full Moon

What does Matt say:

Brandy‘s Full Moon is actually probably one of my favourite albums on this list. I remember I actually bought it on CD whilst on holiday in France with my parents and remember listening to it on repeat the whole holiday. It’s actually quite a revolutionary R&B record with some seriously funky bass lines and synth sounds. Produced mostly by Darkchild, it’s a banger of a record. Besides the title track, other must-listens include, ‘I Thought’, ‘Apart’ and ‘What About Us?’.


11. Darren Hayes – Spin

What does Matt say:

2002 saw the release of Darren Hayes‘ debut solo album, following the split of Savage Garden and what an incredible record it was too! Still in a similar vein to his Savage Garden days on certain tracks, this wasn’t too much of a departure for him but there are some truly stunning tracks on the record, including my personal favourite, ‘I Miss You’. Others to listen to are ‘Crush (1980 Me)’, ‘Strange Relationship’ and ‘Creepin’ Up On You’ as well as the album’s lead single, ‘Insatiable.


10. Feeder – Comfort in Sound

What does Matt say:

Comfort in Sound is the fourth album from Welsh rock band, Feeder, (and the first following the suicide of their drummer, Jon Lee) and what an incredible rock album it is! It’s the perfect mixture of melodic vocals with grungy guitars and cool synth sounds too. ‘Forget About Tomorrow’ and ‘Find the Colour’ are definite favourites of mine.


9. Good Charlotte – The Young and the Hopeless

What does Matt say:

I can’t believe Rob didn’t let me put this higher on the list to be honest! This was certainly one of my favourite albums to come from 2002 as it not only propelled Good Charlotte into the mainstream but it paved the way for so many other pop punk bands to gain attention too. In fact it’s one of those albums that introduced me to the world of pop punk. The Young and the Hopeless was actually GC‘s second album but it‘s the one that really propelled them into the limelight with the singles ‘Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous’, ‘The Anthem’ and ‘Girls & Boys’ but this album is so much more than that – it’s quite frankly incredible from start to finish!


8. Simple Plan – No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls

What does Rob say:

It is quite simple, good old, jump up and down pop-punk. Everyone (even secretly) loves Simple Plan. Every track on this album is catchy as fuck and speaks to our inner 13-year-old, even to this day (I’m still a kid and life is a nightmare!). It graced every house party from its release until we all went away to uni or on to proper life and jobs. It still gets a spin whenever we meet up again.


7. Box Car Racer – Box Car Racer

What does Rob say:

Some say this was the beginning of the end for Blink (I’m team Mark btw, get well soon!) others, like me, say it allowed Blink-182 to write their greatest album. Box Car Racer was a strong departure for Tom and Travis from their usual comical stylings. Box Car Racer was serious, angry and spoke to many of us at the time. It’s a great album with many emotional tracks… and one ‘punk’ song.


6. The All-American Rejects – The All-American Rejects

What does Matt say:

The All-American Rejects originally released their self-titled debut album back in 2002 via Doghouse Records before re-releasing it on DreamWorks Records in 2003. The album was incredible and although production-wise it obviously wasn’t recorded on the highest budget, it was packed full of some real gems and wonderful quirks. It’s a stunning debut from another pop-punk band that I now follow and love.


5. Foo Fighters – One by One

What does Rob say:

Whilst the Foo Fighters need no introduction, they weren’t always the powerhouse of Rock they are considered today. Not saying that they weren’t popular before this album, but One by One was the driving force that allowed the Foo Fighters to stamp their influence on a decade and a generation of rock lovers. It’s just a straight up rock album and that’s why so many of us loved it. Done, and I’m onto the next one…


4. Justin Timberlake – Justified

What does Rob say:

I am no pop fan, anyone who knows me will testify to that, but a friend once told me to be less snobbish about pop music and shoved Justified into my ears. I love this album because every song is different but it still holds together as an album. It showed me and lots of others that pop music didn’t have to be shit, and the coming out of the 90s there was a lot of shit. This album, is full of great sing-a-long beauties.


3. New Found Glory – Sticks and Stones

What does Rob say:

Matt! Why isn’t this number one?! Ok I am bias when it comes to Pop Punk but this album influenced so many amazing bands that went on to even greater things than NFG managed at their peak. EVERY song is jump up and down excitement with great hooks and the introduction of breakdowns outside of metal. In a year where the other big hitters in pop punk weren’t releasing any new albums, New Found Glory stepped in and filled the void. It’s peak Warped Tour, Drive-Thru Records and giant skater shoes. If you know what those things are then 2002 was definitely your year!


2. Avril Lavigne – Let Go

What does Matt say:

Let Go was the debut album from pop punk princess, Avril Lavigne and was credited as the biggest pop debut of 2002; it was certified seven-times Platinum in the United States alone! Let Go had sold over 16 million copies worldwide becoming Lavigne’s biggest-selling album to date and the best selling album of the 21st century by a Canadian artist. It’s packed with huge tracks that are pure gold; from ‘Complicated’, ‘Sk8er Boi’ and ‘I’m With You’, to ‘Anything But Ordinary’ and ‘Things I’ll Never Say’ this is a massive debut album that has stood the test of time.


1. Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head

What does Matt say:

Well, we’re at the Number 1 spot and who else could we have chosen but the superb Coldplay and their remarkable second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head. This record makes greater use of the electric guitar and piano than the band’s debut and scored the band 3 Grammy Awards. It’s packed to the brim with beautiful melodies and euphoric soundscapes from the likes of ‘In My Place’, ‘The Scientist’ and of course, the massive single, ‘Clocks’. This deserves top spot on our list for being so wonderfully crafted and such a brilliant album, from a cracking British band that have gone from strength to strength since their debut.


HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of 20 albums turning 20 years old in 2022! What do you think of them? How would you have rated and ranked them? Are there any other albums you’d have included on the list? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#Review: The Young Hearts – The Modern State

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The Young Hearts are an alternative punk rock band from Kent, UK. Recently signed to Year Of The Rat Records, the band have made a name for themselves by extensively touring and sharing stages with the likes of Can’t Swim, Mallory Knox, Junior, Bellevue Days and more. Having already released a string of singles and EPs, 2021 sees the band release their debut album, The Modern State. Here’s what we have to say about it…

The Modern State launches spectacularly with opening track, ‘Wild & Reckless’ – a fast-paced song which is the perfect opener to an album – an epic start with some killer, catchy vocals in the chorus. It’s also the perfect song to open a set with!

‘London’ and ‘Old Familiar’ are possibly the highlights of the album with their sing-along-ability, plus they really give you that urge to want to be packed into a crowded venue, jumping along with others in the audience and singing at the top of your lungs.

‘Cold Nights’ takes on a slightly slower pace in the verses but the chorus is still superbly powerful (like much of the rest of the album). ‘Still Wander’ has some great guitar breakdowns throughout whilst ‘Fool’s Gold’ is a nearly five-minute masterpiece that reminds me of the likes of The Fray yet entirely changes pace around 3 and a half minutes in, to something quite ethereal.

As far as debut albums go, this isn’t perfect, but it’s not far off!

Unfortunately, ‘Swim’ and ‘Anchors’ are somewhat forgettable and that’s not just because they’re slower-paced – they just don’t quite have the same edge as the rest of the album, which is the main reason for the rating below.

However, the album draws to a spectacular conclusion with ‘Don’t Tell A Soul’ – another monumental track that in its last minute, breaks down into a piano and guitar-led epic close that would make the perfect end to a perfect set.

As far as debut albums go, this isn’t perfect, but it’s not far off! It’s got repeat listenability and has a certain quality that keeps you coming back for more. It’s well-produced, catchy and has a diversity of tracks that are highly entertaining to listen to. I would strongly recommend a few listens of this masterpiece debut to really let it sink in, just how brilliant it is.

Rating
4


‘The Modern State’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/the-modern-state/1544490658

Or physical copies can be bought from the band’s website – https://www.theyounghearts.co.uk/shop


The Modern State on Spotify

London (Official Music Video)

Fool’s Gold (Official Music Video)


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#ThrowbackThursday: Avril Lavigne – ‘What The Hell’

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Avril Lavigne is a Canadian singer-songwriter most notable for her pop punk style and hits such as Complicated, Sk8r Boiand Girlfriend.

In January 2011 (already a decade ago!), Lavigne released her massive single, ‘What The Hell’. The single received critical acclaim with people comparing it to her monster hit, ‘Girlfriend’ for it’s pop punk catchiness.

The song features an iconic organ sound to start with before breaking out into chugging bass guitars and eventually a kick of distorted guitars and the singer’s trademark high-pitched, catchy vocals.

The song actually only ever reached Number 16 in the UK Charts but still received good rotation on radio and music channels alike.

The music video sees Lavigne in bed with her love interest before locking him in a closet and going out, stealing and destroying a taxi, playing basketball with some other men, all the while evading her love interest, who is chasing after her. Eventually she ends up performing at a venue and the video ends up with the couple back in bed. It’s a fun, quirky, typically Avril Lavigne video that’s well worth a watch (although the video is not great quality for some reason).

What are your thoughts of this track, 10 years on? Do you have 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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‘What The Hell’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/what-the-hell/532457427?i=532458095


#Review: State Champs – Unplugged

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State Champs return to the scene after a two year absence from releasing new material and it’s probably not what was expected but it’s certainly not unwelcome. ‘Unplugged’ is a self described stripped back affair from the New York Pop-Rockers which doesn’t feel out of place in their back catalogue. In fact I think fans will welcome it. Although two tracks are reworks for the EP, we have four brand new tracks written for this release to wet the appetite of fans awaiting a full blown LP soon.

state-champs-unplugged

‘Unplugged’ opens with ‘A Thousands Hearts’ which immediately pulls in the classic State Champs sound. Despite being stripped back, there are a lot of melodic elements going on, this isn’t just a case of shoving the chords underneath the vocal lines. In this track and also ‘The Recipe’ there are beautifully crafted guitar lines woven together alongside a strong vocal presence from DiScanio. It all fits together nicely and makes it an enjoyable listen across the whole EP. It feels like the tracks were written in one go rather than being revisited and tweaked over and over.

The EP moves onto ‘10am’ and ‘Crying Out Loud’ both of which have that classic American Pop-Rock feel. These are the kinds of tracks I would imagine in my head when walking along a Californian beach. It’s cliched but it best captures the essence of these tracks to a British ear! ‘10am’ has a lot of weight to it for a stripped back number. It could easily slot onto a full release and wouldn’t feel out of place and that really shows how these tracks were specifically written for an acoustic release. It’s a welcome lift to the EP which shows that there is a lot of dynamism despite being an acoustic release. ‘Crying Out Loud’ is the stand out track from the new material and it rubber stamps this as a State Champs record. The chorus is gloriously catchy with an infectious repetitive hook. The verse is simple with a guitar and piano chords which allow the vocal lines to speak for themselves and help to lift the track into the big chorus. It’s an upbeat number hitting on more emotional feelings, which is a classic feel for this genre. This is a track that deserves a full band and release. If they felt the need to do this it would easily be one of State Champs best tracks.

Don’t think of this as a stripped back EP (because as I said, it’s not that stripped back!) but more of a different direction for the band and then it makes perfect sense.

The reworks of ‘Criminal’ and ‘Dead & Gone’ will make for interesting listening for existing fans. ‘Criminal’ has a country feel which takes the track in a welcome direction away from it’s Pop-Punk beginnings without completely losing the feel of the track. It works surprisingly well even for a track that sounds so different in its original form. As for ‘Dead & Gone’ it comes across as a completely different track. It’s now a slow paced, laid back ballad and it really works with the existing lyrics. State Champs are great at running emotional charged lyrics in upbeat tracks as the original of this track did, so the switch to an acoustic ballad was only natural. Again though it’s not a quick easy, through the chords in and hope for the best. The acoustic nature of the track is well thought through.

There is one smudge on an otherwise perfect window pane of an EP, in that it’s not all that ‘unplugged’. There is still a lot going on instrumentally on many of these tracks. ‘10am’ and ‘Criminal’ are still using a full band although granted the acoustic guitar takes the bulk of the work. It might sound like a small issue until you hear the second half of ‘A Thousand Hearts’ which breaks into full band for its middle eight along with a saxophone solo?!? As a sax player myself I should be delighted but I just don’t think it fits on this ‘unplugged’ record. It sounds like an 80s pop track but not in a good way (think George Michael – Careless Whisper). The band clearly want to show their great range of influences, but it just stands out too much on a record like this. It’s the only thing really on an otherwise awesome EP.

Sometimes a band can drop an acoustic release and it’s just so flat. It can expose vocal weaknesses and uninspired, lazy musicianship. But for State Champs it just highlights their songwriting prowess and a keen ear for how to craft some great songs. Don’t think of this as a stripped back EP (because as I said, it’s not that stripped back!) but more of a different direction for the band and then it makes perfect sense. The band said they wanted to get back to their roots with just hanging out and writing songs on acoustic guitars and having fun and this EP perfectly shows how that is the process for writing great songs. Released on Pure Noise Records 14th August 2020

Rating
4


‘Unplugged’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/unplugged-ep/1514347756



We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest, acoustic EP? 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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Rob Manhire
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#Review: Neck Deep – All Distortions Are Intentional 🍊

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerNeck Deep are a Welsh pop punk band who initially formed in 2012. They quickly released a couple of EPs in 2012 and 2013 before signing to Hopeless Records in the August of 2013. To date, the band have released 3 studio albums and now 2020 sees the release of their fourth, full-length LP, All Distortions Are Intentional. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Neck Deep - All Distortions Are Intentional.jpg

From the moment this record starts, with opening track, ‘Sonderland’, it’s obvious that Neck Deep have progressed their sound and lyricism, as we’re hearing a more mature band than on previous albums. This could well be their Coming Home to New Found Glory or Lights Out to Sugarcult. The opening track is quite apt for what’s going on in the world right now too with the bridge line, “These strange times that we live in, Will slowly eat you alive if you don’t fit in.” The new Neck Deep continues with the subtle production quirks and repetitive chorus of ‘Fall’ that has one of those classic, clap-along breakdowns.

That said, there are still some obvious pop punk belters throughout the record too, but somehow there’s a more mature take on them. ‘Telling Stories’ is a great example of this (and one of my favourites on the record) and whilst it’s full of those chugging riffs and fast-paced drums, it does as the title says and tells a variety of stories throughout the track. ‘Sick Joke’ is another favourite of mine and a melancholic look at life but it’s catchy as hell – think All Time Low but with an epic guitar solo. Even single, ‘I Revolve (Around You)’ has it’s classic pop punk elements – it starts out like a ballad which compares the love of two people to the stars and planets but it quickly steps up a gear and explodes into a catchy chorus.

What you get with this record is an evolution of the band trying to create something new and exciting for the genre, and it works…really well!

There’s plenty of other great tracks on the record too; ‘Lowlife’ is an anthem for millennials with its chant-along chorus and grungy riffs, ‘When You Know’ is an infectious love song, that’s upbeat appeal demonstrates the band’s musical progression and further maturity is shown on both ‘What Took You So Long?’ and ‘Empty House’, the latter of which starts with a great melodic acoustic guitar before exploding into a gritty, pop punk riff – like something by New Found Glory.

‘Little Dove’ is a real contender for a fan favourite – it’s just begging to be belted out by a crowd at one of the band’s shows, during a quiet moment in the set. Quirky, not-quite-fitting-the-rest-of-the-record track, ‘Quarry’, is an interlude that changes pace of the record for a moment by becoming a little bit dark and emo – it’s a bit of a self-help track defining the “root of it all” being stress. Album closer, ‘Pushing Daisies’, leaves the listener with a positive outlook and a sense to keep pressing on with their life. In light of the world’s current climate (corona virus and black lives matter protests), there is a real sense of hope and strength in lines such as, “Know that I can change the world, And that’s just how it is.” It ends perfectly, with aggression and a series of “Fuck” various things, that an audience will love to scream out in angst.

Hardcore pop punk fans may struggle with this album if they’re looking for a repeat of Life’s Not Out To Get You or even The Pain And The Panic (however the latter began to see some transitions), but what you get with this record is an evolution of the band trying to create something new and exciting for the genre, and it works…really well! That’s not to say pop punk fans won’t love this record; they definitely will! This is an exciting step in their career and shows real progression in their songwriting and lyricism. A great record that will hopefully lead on to great things!

Rating
4.5


‘All Distortions Are Intentional’ is out 24/07/20 and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/all-distortions-are-intentional/1498663190


All Distortions Are Intentional on Spotify

Coming Friday 24th July 2020.

I Revolved (Around You) [Official Music Video]

Fall (Official Music Video)

Lowlife (Official Music Video)

When You Know (Official Music Video)

Sick Joke (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’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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#TunefulTuesday: Simple Creatures – ‘One Little Lie’

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Simple Creatures are an American pop rock duo made up of Mark Hoppus (blink-182, +44) and Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low).

To date, the pair have released a couple of EPs – both in 2019 – and had a string of singles but possibly their most catchy song is this track, ‘One Little Lie’. This is such a great crossover between pop and pop punk with it’s rockier verses and synthpop style choruses that you can’t help but just want to listen to it over and over again.

Lyrically it is diverse too and resonates with quite a few people, I’m sure – I know it means a lot to me and provides an anthem for my own recent struggles, so I’m sure it does for others too.

The video for the song is pretty fun too, packed with facts and lies, leaving the viewer to decipher between fact and fiction as the pair become increasingly surrounded by objects referenced in some of the lyrics.

Turn this track up loud, put it on repeat and enjoy the video!

What are your thoughts of this duo’s catchy track and fun video? Do you have a #TunefulTuesday 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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‘One Little Lie’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/one-little-lie/1475817979?i=1475817985


#Review: Four Year Strong – Brain Pain

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Can you believe it’s been almost five years since we’ve had a full release from the boys hailing from Massachusetts?! Four Year Strong helped carved a path for many of our favourite easy-core bands, bringing that fantastic blend of heavy breakdowns and super catchy hooks. The question is, has the wait for the fathers of the genre been worth it?

Four Year Strong - Brain Pain

According to FYS the album has been two years in the making, ensuring that everything was right from initial ideas to production. They have hooked up with producer Will Putney who worked with them on Enemy of the World and this immediately got me excited, as I haven’t really been blow away by much of the band’s work since then. 

You can immediately tell from the first track ‘It’s Cool’ that this is Four Year Strong back at their best. The track comes across as an extended into but I think still is a great song in its own right. Their hardcore influences shine through in the chuggy guitar work and the epic off beat breakdown, but the thing that has been missing with Four Year Strong over their last few releases is that signature melodic hook and harmonic vocal. It’s back! The album drips with the super catchy melodic lines right from the off. As well as the intro, tracks such as ‘Talking Myself In Circles’, carry some great vocal work by Day & O’Connor and ‘Learn To Love The Lie’, which I swear just fell straight out of a teen comedy soundtrack from the 2000s, shows that catchiness is there by the bucket load.

The album drips with the super catchy melodic lines right from the off.

The album changes up tempo and feel a bit as it goes into title track ‘Brain Pain’ which starts with a slow trudge towards a classic super-fast pop-punk chorus. In places Four Year Strong have gone pretty heavy from what we are used to seeing. This comes through in a few ways. Firstly, the production values on the drums which have that stadium reverberation feel that you usually find on much heavier albums. Secondly the harmonic riff work from the guitars which is found across the whole record but most notably in this track and ‘The Worst Part Of Me’. Thirdly the breakdowns are quite brutal (in context of Four Year Strong) but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is very much a pop-punk album at heart.

Tracks such as ‘Mouth Full Of Dirt’ and ‘Seventeen’ encapsulate this perfectly with Four Year Strong’s classic blend of upbeat, major key progressions underpinned by some heavy riff work on the guitars. There is also a lot of dynamic shifts with these tracks which help to keep you interested between those catchy choruses, jumping into half time drum breaks such as those found in ‘Usefully Useless’. The album ends with ‘Young At Heart’ which in itself is a big dynamic change up from the rest of the album. We’ve heard a lot of bands do this. Lots of layering of delayed guitars, synth and keeping it nice a slow leading into an epic ending. On first listen, it felt out of place, but after getting used to the album as a whole, it actually rounds it of well and makes it feel like a complete record rather than an assortment of ideas.

If there was one weakness in the record, it’s perhaps the lyric writing. Aside from ‘Be Good When I’m Gone’, which is a nice ballad and really adds to the dynamic tempo of the album, it all feels a bit generic. Some might argue that pop-punk has moved on a bit from this, but that’s never been the point with FYS, or any bands in this style. It’s about writing catchy, positively aggressive tunes that make you want to kick the windows out of your car during a long summer road trip with your mates, so everyone can get in on the action.

Brain Pain was released on 28th February 2020 on Pure Noise Records.

Rating
4


‘Brain Pain’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/brain-pain/1490648897


Brain Pain on Spotify

Talking Myself In Circles (Official Music Video)

Learn To Love The Lie (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’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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Rob Manhire
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#FeelGoodFriday: Midnight Skies – ‘Falling Apart’

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When Matt emailed me to say we had some Pop-Punk to review, I was on it like skaters on a freshly waxed library fire escape. Anyone who knows me, knows I love Pop-Punk and I’ve ruined a fair few Spotify algorithms whilst DJing in the passenger seat, to prove the point (sorry Allen!). Here’s what we had to make of ‘Falling Apart’ from Pop-Punkers Midnight Skies

‘Falling Apart’ is the third single from Seattle’s Midnight Skies. The trio only formed in the summer of 2018 but have been steadily releasing content and building a decent following in that time. As always, the Pop-Punk scene is awash with bands claiming “energetic live shows”, “fun-loving” and “always up for a party” but at the end of the day, good tracks in this genre need three things and this review is broken down across such things:

Thing #1It needs to be “short and sweet” – and unfortunately ‘Falling Apart’ is a full 4 minutes long. Now it would be wrong to judge purely on the length of a song but it doesn’t feel like the track uses the time well. This single could have easily ended prior to its middle 8 and no one would have noticed, but the change of pace here is welcome and worth the wait. The song then classically falls back into its chorus, as it should, but rather than ending here, there is a 30-second outro that dampens the energy of the song by drawing it out for too long. It feels like the band are trying to crowbar in all the features we enjoy in a good Pop-Punk song, some of which really work, others not so much.

Thing #2It’s gotta be catchy! All great Pop-Punk anthems have great hooks and this is no exception. The chorus has a great melodic and lyrical hook which I haven’t stopped humming around the house since my first listen. Its initial repetitiveness, followed by the falling melody with the title lyrics bring memories back to classics from Hit The Lights and Forever The Sickest Kids, leaning slightly more towards the pop than punk element of the genre. This also comes through in the production of the track, which contains many effects across the track, especially on the vocals. Personally, I have never been a big fan of this, but I know some will love it!

Finally Thing #3Does it get the party started? Absolutely! It’s definitely a track that will at least get your head nodding, but stick it on at a party and I think it would get people dancing. Mostly this is down to the driving rhythm and the use of the double snare hits on the drums that give the track a lot of pace. This only relents within that middle 8 section which slows the pace down and adds some nice dynamics to the track.

Overall, this is a good track but it struggles to stand out in an already dominated field. However, if you saw these guys live and heard this track, you would remember it and hearing it again would send you back to a good night out. It feels like a blank canvas ready for you to attach your own good times and every time you put it on, I hope it would cast you back to a good night out with friends.

For Fans Of:
Forever The Sickest Kids, All Time Low, The Summer Set

3

What are your thoughts of this Pop-Punk band? Do you have a #FeelGoodFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via our social media.

Rob Manhire
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‘Falling Apart’ is out on We Are Triumphant and can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/falling-apart/1485448144?i=1485448820


#Review: The Dangerous Summer – Mother Nature 🌊

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerThe Dangerous Summer are a rock band from Maryland, USA who formed back in 2006.

The band released 3 studio albums before parting ways in 2014. However, since reforming in 2017, and releasing their fourth, self-titled album (The Dangerous Summer), the band are now unleashing their fifth studio album to the world, Mother Nature. Here are our thoughts on the record…

The Dangerous Summer - Mother Nature.jpg

This feels very much like the album that should have arrived in 2018 to mark the band’s resurrection, because this album is pretty sublime. It’s a unique brand of melodic and mature emo-esque rock that isn’t afraid to talk about feelings in a direct way.

It opens with ‘Prologue’ a track led with a positive voice message from a female, letting the recipient know that she’s there for them. It’s actually a nice, uplifting message that somehow manages to feel personal to us, the listener. Pretty quickly, we’re then catapulted seamlessly into ‘Blind Ambition’, a track with a pretty amazing guitar line that somehow feels forcefully positive, to the point it gives me goosebumps.

There is something quite beautifully simplistic about the way difficult, even tumultuous events in our own lives can be compared to the unstoppable forces of Mother Nature, at times, leaving us weak and powerless – it’s truly poetic. This is displayed with wonderful imagery on tracks such as ‘Virginia’ and ‘Bring Me Back To Life’ with powerful lyrics like “I must be weak, if you couldn’t tell, I couldn’t breathe, bring me back to life now, bring me back to peace, give me back the sun now, can you give it back to me?”

It’s not quite a concept album, yet at the same time kind of is; whatever it is, it works…really well!

‘Mother Nature’ itself is a track that really encapsulates the tone of the record. It’s a song about having hope, accepting changes we face in life and being bold enough to embrace changes within ourself. Perdomo successfully evokes powerful imagery of mother earth and nature, and sells his own willingness to become a part of it.

Equally, the album’s lead single, ‘Where Were You When The Sky Opened Up’, has an apocalyptic feel to it, describing facing demons head-on and attempting to mature.

Other tracks to pay attention to include: ‘Starting Over / Slow Down’ a track of two halves – the first half is slow and melodic with vocals that cross over each other, whilst the second half is more synth-driven and up tempo with an amazing, all-consuming, drum ending. ‘It Is Real’ see Perdomo sing of drug-taking and trying to understand the world with a deep sense of nostalgia. The metronome sound throughout is pretty cool too. ‘Better Light’ has this amazing vocoder-esque intro that sounds somewhat like an Imogen Heap track that builds with soaring falsetto vocals – it’s very euphoric and ethereal. Lastly, there’s ‘Consequence Of Living’, an almost a positive look back at the end of your life and being able to observe how you lived your life.

One major thing that can’t go unnoticed is AJ Perdomo‘s sensational vocals throughout the album! He delivers emotion with utter sincerity from incredible falsetto to aching melancholy with some seriously angst-ridden screams on the likes of ‘Way Down’ – an angry, heavy rock song about dark thoughts; possibly one of the best tracks on the record?!

Mother Nature is an exciting return for the band – it feels like they’ve found a sound and style that works for them. It’s not quite a concept album, yet at the same time kind of is; whatever it is, it works…really well! I defy people not to find themselves drawn to this record time and again to indulge on its honesty to reflect on life’s big events. There’s a real feeling of excitement I get from listening to this album and I can’t wait to see what the band do next!

Rating


‘Mother Nature’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/mother-nature/1458152823


Mother Nature on Spotify

Where Were You When The Sky Opened Up (Official Music Video)

Way Down (Official Music Video)

Bring Me Back To Life (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our latest review! What do you think of this band’s fifth record, Mother Nature? 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
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#Review: As It Is @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 15/03/19

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On Friday 15th March 2019, As It Is arrived in Brighton for the final date of their The Intimate Depression Tour, in support of their latest album release, The Great Depression. The band were supported by Modern ErrorBellevue Days and Klae. It was an extra-special evening, not only because it was the last night of the tour, but it was a return to the city they started in! Here’s what we thought of the evening…


Klae

Klae are five-piece, female-fronted band from Brighton, who kicked off the evening with their blend of gritty pop rock. They have a tight, commercial sound to them, and clearly a loyal following is already building for them. They’ll be a local band to keep an eye out for with their atmospheric, airy guitar melodies and honest lyricism…though at times, some of the dancing seems a little contrived.

Klae


Bellevue Days

Next up, was the rather slick Bellevue Days – their performance was flawless and they have obviously honed their songwriting skills to perfection, with little fills and quirks in all the right places; whilst it makes their songs stand out, at times they change pace a little too often, meaning you can’t quite get into the groove, or the song appears to end, just as it seems to be building up to something more.

Personally, I preferred the backing singer’s voice, when he took the lead on ‘Faith’ and think he should definitely take the lead a little more, however, between the three vocalists, their harmonies are sensational!

They’re very much Weezer meets Brand New with a little Blur thrown in…one song in particular was almost like a carbon copy of Brand New though. All round, they’re a great live band and certainly have a good stage presence…even if the drummer did look petrified throughout the performance.


Modern Error

The last support to take to the stage was the intense, high-energy, Modern Error – an in-your-face, scream-metal band with solid production (in the form of atmospheric backing tracks) interwoven seamlessly with their skilful performance.

The band are nicely topped off with the lead singer’s screaming vocal which seems to come so effortlessly – though his attempts at more melodic singing weren’t quite as strong.

It’s clear that this band have found inspiration in the likes of Underoath‘s album, They’re Only Chasing Safety, as far as synth sounds merging with post-hardcore or metal sensibilities go.

The band’s octane-infused set really ignited the audience into a frenzy, creating swirling circle-pits and people manically moshing around. Modern Error are a well-rounded band with a clearly well-rehearsed stage presence and really know how to work a crowd; the only criticism…a little too much reaching out with one hand.


As It Is

Finally, As It Is took to the stage! Although each of the supports were well-rehearsed and their performances polished, the quality of this band is truly next-level impeccable, instantly demonstrating just how professional they are at this.

It might well have been the last night of their UK tour, and by their own admission, they were exhausted, but you definitely couldn’t tell…the energy they brought was magical, captivating even. The band are very much at home on stage – standing on speakers, thrashing round wildly, swinging the microphone round, for some perfectly-timed manoeuvres and Ronnie Ish even pulled off a little crowd-surfing…simply put, they owned that stage!

Having started out in this very city, the band shared their gratitude (a few times) for finally being able to headline their own show at the iconic Concorde 2, having watched some of the bands that inspired them, performing on that very stage. It was special thanks that went out to their fans, throughout the show, for getting them to where they are today and you could tell, their appreciation is genuine.

They may have visually changed their style since their last record, and their sound may have got a touch heavier than before, but at their core, they’re still quite the pop punk band they always were – they just have a little more ’emo’ edge to them now. They’re writing and singing about more taboo subjects, like anxiety, depression, self-harm, etc. but are managing to do so with sincerity and integrity. You can tell that their fans admire it too, singing back every word with equal the passion that Patty Walters sings out to them.

Watching this set, truly felt like watching the early days of the iconic punk rock/pop punk/emo bands I used to love, growing up – the likes of Good CharlotteNew Found GloryMy Chemical RomanceThe Used, etc. It was really something special and I’m certain that if this show was anything to go by, this band are only going to continue to grow to new heights in their career, from here. I would highly recommend seeing them live – they’ll draw you in and have you moshing around in an instant!

Highlights:

  • The way the band use the whole stage, to jump and spin around, interact with each other and even swing the microphone round, made the show something spectacular to behold.
  • Whilst the set was predominantly filled with material from their latest album, The Great Depression, there was also a good deal of older songs to please fans old and new.
  • Patty Walters‘ honest out-pouring of emotion and sharing of personal anecdotes with the audience, let them know that this is more like a family than just a band and their fanbase, even referring to them as family. His speech around mental health, and the way talking about this is sometimes perceived within the genre, was actually very touching and heart-felt – things like this can so often be cringey, when delivered by someone in his position, but actually, I found myself hanging on his every word, and if this is enough to save even one life, then it can only be a good thing!
  • The audience’s love for this band is raw and emotionally-driven too, making the atmosphere in the venue, electric. A few people were even brought to tears by their presence, their lyrics and the passion the band pour into their art.
  • It was actually a highlight in itself, just to see this band (who could so easily sell out a larger venue) performing to a smaller audience, in a more intimate setting, but without compromising any of the quality of their set and stage presence. It was a truly marvellous event!

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📸 All of the photos of As It Is are credited to Chloe Hashemi 📷
Go and give her a follow on Instagram and Twitter, and visit her website.


 Setlist

The Wounded World
The Two Tongues (Screaming Salvation)
The Great Depression
The Reaper
The Handwritten Letter
No Way Out
The Fire, The Dark
The Haunting
Cheap Shots & Setbacks
Such Great Heights (The Postal Service cover)
The Truth I’ll Never Tell
You, The Room & The Devil On Your Shoulder
The Question, The Answer
Winter’s Weather
Patchwork Love

Encore
Okay
Dial Tones
The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry)*

This song can be viewed in the YouTube video, below.


Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Patrick Marsden at Lout Promotions for enabling this review to happen but also to As It IsModern ErrorBellevue Days and Klae for making the evening such a special one!


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

Muzik Speaks Live Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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