#FeelGoodFriday: Shawn Mendes – ‘In My Blood’ & ‘Lost In Japan’


   

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March 2018 saw the return of Shawn Mendes, who brought us not just one, but two brand new singles, both of which vary greatly in style but have equally brilliant Feel-Good Friday vibes. We just couldn’t decide which one to share, so figured, why not share both?!

‘In My Blood’ is a (pop)-rock ballad that transcends from a soft, despairing beginning into a thunderous, passionate anthem by the very first chorus and continues to soar from there. This track shows off just how incredible Mendes’ vocals are with their raspy tones that show just how intensely meaningful this song is.

Meanwhile, ‘Lost In Japan’ is a melting pot of contemporary funk with R&B and pop flavours too; it’s very reminiscent of something by Justin Timberlake. This track is also passionate but in a very different way; lyrically the song expresses how Mendes would happily travel the globe just to be close to his lover, all of which sits atop a heavy bassline and groovy guitar rhythms.

Sadly, no music videos have been released as yet, but as soon as they do, we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

What are your thoughts of Shawn Mendes’ two new singles? Are you as much of a fan as us? Have you got a #FeelGoodFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via our social media.

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Shawn Mendes – ‘In My Blood’


‘In My Blood’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/in-my-blood-single/1359906692



Shawn Mendes – ‘Lost In Japan’


‘Lost In Japan’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/lost-in-japan-single/1360548138


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#Review: The Wonder Years – Sister Cities


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerThe Wonder Years are an an American pop punk band from Pennsylvania, USA that formed in July 2005. Since their humble beginnings, the band have released five full-length albums, two EPs, and had several split releases with other bands. Now, 2018 sees their sixth album release and possibly their most unique record to date. Here are our thoughts on Sister Cities

One thing is for certain; with this album, the band have all but shed their iconic pop punk sound and become more of an alternative rock outfit. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as it shows a certain maturity and evolution, but with that comes a much darker tone to their sound and far heavier themes to their songs. This is something fresh and rare for the genre.

The conception of this album stems from the band’s huge, 2 year tour in support of their 2015 release, No Closer To Heaven, which had frontman Dan Campbell (or “Soupy”, as he’s known to his close friends) reflecting about life on the road. It was whilst touring that he experienced heartbreak and took a somewhat emotional beating and this can be heard by the cracks and subtle imperfections in his vocals, showing a very real and very raw set of emotions.

From the thunderous and kinetic energy of opening track, ‘Raining In Kyoto’, we are taken on a journey from the bustling heights of Japan, through the catchy-as-hell choruses of title track ‘Sister Cities’ before ultimately ending on the thought-provoking, ‘The Ocean Grew Hands To Hold Me’.

The poetic lyricism and excellent musicianship make this an inspiring collection of eleven, achingly mesmerising tracks.

This is an album that is steeped with references of death and a genuine sense of nostalgia. Its realness is altogether dark; it’s both tense and intense. From the wonderful lyrics, “There’s a bird inside your rib cage,” on ‘Pyramids of Salt’, which starts as quite a twisted and emo ballad, before becoming a desperate plea for forgiveness, to the beautifully poetic language and crisp-sounding voice of the passionate ‘Flowers Where Your Face Should Be’, the band have captured their raw emotions with perfection.

The sounds on the record lie somewhere along the lines of Brand New but married up with a grittier sounding Panic! At The Disco vocal (as on ‘Raining In Kyoto’) and the melancholic intensity of Sonny Moore‘s days in From First To Last (like that of the rather heavy track, ‘The Ghosts Of Now’).

Kudos must go to The Wonder Years for taking a brave step away from a more mainstream sound and venturing into a more post-hardcore realm with certain emo qualities, to ultimately create a somewhat concept album; something that’s no mean feat to achieve. You won’t necessarily walk away from this album feeling as uplifted as you would after hearing bop-along, perfectly-(over)produced pop punk record, but the poetic lyricism and excellent musicianship make this an inspiring collection of eleven, achingly mesmerising tracks, documenting a 2-year insight into the band’s lives.

Rating


‘Sister Cities’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sister-cities/1337276526


Sister Cities on Spotify

Sister Cities (Official Video)

Pyramids of Salt (Visual Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest album, Sister Cities? Are you a fan? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or talk to us about it via our socials.


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#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.


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#Review: Milestones – Red Lights


   

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Milestones are a British pop punk band, hailing from Manchester. The quartet, fronted by singer Matt Clarke, have worked with producer, Phil Gornell (Bring Me The Horizon and All Time Low) to produce their debut album, Red Lights; their first full-length record with Fearless Records. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Milestones - Red Lights.jpg

Milestones are certainly making a mark on the pop punk scene with this strong, punchy debut…but are they bringing anything new to the table? Not really, but nevertheless it works!

The album is quite formulaic with its use of ‘Woah ohs’, ‘Na na nas’ and other gang vocals, amongst a whole host of stop pushes, grungy guitars, semi-cliché lyrics about being against the world and such like, and to top it all off, are some straight-up, damn-catchy choruses.

It’s quite easy to make comparisons with bands like All Time Low, We The Kings and to some extent You Me At Six, but most notably, The Friday Night Boys, due to their pop punk precision and following of the modern tendency to over-produce these types of songs. Furthermore, being a British pop punk outfit, they’ve followed in the footsteps of so many others, by adopting the faux-American accent and referencing places in the USA (probably due to the amount of time the band have spent touring over there), but this band will still undoubtedly have made a name for themselves with this actually, pretty great album.

There are huge, sing-a-long choruses that would easily fill a stadium and Matt Clarke‘s epic vocals are delivered with massive power and heaps of conviction. It sure shows a band who know their sound and have the strength to produce a powerful album.

There are some mammoth highs, with powerhouse songs like ‘BitterSweetHeart’‘Once Upon A Time’‘Paranoid’ and ‘Liar’ and trademark, heartfelt “ballads”, exposing their more vulnerable side, with tracks such as ‘Against The World’‘Hold On’ and ‘Counting Cars’, all of which further fits themselves in to the mould. With its minute-long intro, ‘This Is My Life’ provides a moment of calm amid the album, almost splitting it into two parts, before kicking into the main song and ‘Eighteen’ is just a bit of fun, though lyrically lacking in some ways, whilst ‘Forever Or Never’ is a big track, bringing the album to a good conclusion.

Whilst it might sounds like I’m slating this record, I’m not trying to; I’m merely pointing out the current trends in the pop punk genre, but I actually thoroughly enjoyed it and have had it on repeat since receiving it. There are huge, sing-a-long choruses that would easily fill a stadium and Matt Clarke‘s epic vocals are delivered with massive power and heaps of conviction; he sings ‘Now I’m stuck in this fucking rut’, almost spitting out ‘fuck’ like no one I’ve ever heard. Overall, there are some stunning moments on this album (the harmonies in the middle 8 of ‘BitterSweetHeart’ being one of my favourite) and though it may not blaze trails within the genre or lead to world domination of the market, it sure shows a band who know their sound and have the strength to produce a powerful album.

Rating
3.5


‘Red Lights’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/red-lights/1336609728


Red Lights on Spotify

‘Paranoid’ (Official Music Video)

‘BitterSweetHeart’ (Official Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Milestones’ debut album, but what do you think of it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it via our social media accounts.


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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Everywhere


   

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Everywhere released their most recent single, ‘Moments’, back in 2017 and their fantastic EP, Fiction Act back in 2016, but have been busy doing a whole range of things, from writing to gigging and much more, since then. We were lucky enough to get some time to catch up with them and chat about a few things. Here’s what they had to say…


Hey, how’s it going?
Hey man! Awesome, how about you??

Very well thank you. Obviously you recently released your awesome new single, ‘Moments’, and the reception seems to have been great. Is this a sign of a new EP or album in the pipeline?
Thank you so much! Yes, ‘Moments’ was a sort of in the middle kind of track to keep the juice flowing. We’re currently penning another bunch of tunes that should end up on another EP, hopefully around this fall!

What other future plans have you guys got?
We’re looking at getting out on another tour to promote some new music, also doing loads of writing for film and TV in Hollywood. We’ve become kind of a factory 🙂

That sounds incredible! Where do you take inspirations from when writing your music?
We recently discovered a pretty neat trick, think it was Taylor Swift who said it. Basically, we write down fun and cool titles as they come to mind and during our daily writing sessions, we work these titles around tracks that we make. It’s an easy was to stay creative and never let the process stall.

What’s your usual process for writing/recording?
Our frontman Max has his daily sessions, when he sits down and builds tracks in Logic, he then takes those tracks into writing sessions with London writers and producers and builds demos. He then takes those demos to the rest of the band who expands on those arrangements. When we have a good amount of songs, or sketches we then head into a bigger studio such as Abbey Road, or if we happen to be over in LA we go to East West where we create the final master.

Wow! Abbey Road…pretty cool. So, if you could do a collaboration with anyone, who would it be and why?
It would be a pure pleasure to work with Max Martin. Just for the pure fact that he’s had so many Billboard hits and is a fellow Swede.

What music have you been listening to most recently?
Mostly our own, as we’re currently doing loads of writing. Other than that it’s the usual suspects, a good mix of classic rock and top 40 hits. Recently rediscovered Echo & the Bunnymen, The Cure and loads of other nice little nuggets from the past.

If you had to cover a recent chart song, which song would it be and why?
It would probably be ‘Rockstar’ by Post Malone, such a masterpiece.

What makes a great show for you?
One where people turn up and go nuts. A sold-out show is always a great one.

Do you have any pre-show or post-show rituals?
The singer, Max, always stays sober but drinks a Red Bull while the rest of the band get hammered.

Haha! Has anything scary ever happened to you on tour?
This would be a perfect place to deliver a well crafted lie, but unfortunately, besides a few heavily overweight old women going for a good grab from behind, that large disaster is yet to arrive *knock on wood*

Do you have any other passions outside of music?
Politics, painting and reading.

What really grinds your gears?
Death Metal, not the greatest thing since bread. Wouldn’t categorically call it bad but generally it’s not up our street.

What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
I must say The Disaster Artist was amazing, just had me nailed from beginning to end and would warmly recommend it to anyone.

If, in say 20 years time, a film was made about your life, who would you want to play you?
Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Edward Norton and Mark Wallberg, directed by Michael Bay.

Haha! That’d be one EPIC movie! If you could be any chocolate bar, which one would you be?
Snickers.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Focus on your craft and the rest will follow. People tend to overestimate their skills and always wonder why the success never happens.


Everywhere‘s releases are all available:


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#Review: Story Untold – Waves


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerStory Untold are a pop punk five-piece band based in Montreal, Canada, who formed back in 2012. In 2016, not long after signing to Hopeless Records, the band released their debut, self-titled EP. Now, they’re releasing their first full-length album, Waves, and here’s what we have to say about it…

Story Untold - Waves

The opening track, ‘In Or Out’, is a well-written, punchy, pop rock song with an uber-catchy, sing-along chorus that instantly had me excited for what more was to come, and rightly so…this is a very strong debut album!

Citing some of their influences as Green Day, Blink-182, Sum 41 and Fall Out Boy, it’s easy to hear how they have become the type of band they have. Think early Simple Plan meets more recent All Time Low but recorded in an even more polished way – that is this album! It’s superbly produced, filled with catchy songs and has highs and lows in all the right places.

Some of the main themes across the album include relationships and break-ups – pretty standard stuff – but the delivery is very current, with songs like ‘Delete’ referencing modern technologies (“Now you’re just a photo on my iPhone screen.”). Usually I find this sort of thing in songs a little cringe, but somehow the melodies the band have used and the conviction with which Janick Thibault sings the lyrics is so well executed that I really don’t mind it.

The band have compiled a sound, well-written, pack-a-punch, pure pop punk album…and it’s glorious.

Overall, this is an incredible debut and each track has their own great qualities but in my opinion, some of the best tracks on this record include; ‘In Or Out’ as it is just a fantastic opener for the record, ‘The 3ND’ has a great push in the chorus accompanied by quite choppy lyrics and varied vocals, ‘Drown In My Mind’ as it has a very intricate quality to it and ‘California’ for being a straight-up pop punk anthem (very Simple Plan-esque). To be honest it’s quite hard to pick stand-out songs as almost all of them are incredible – it’s even got your typical piano-style ballad, ‘Invisible’. The only track I thought let down the album a bit, was the last track, ‘Chasing Feelings’ – I loved the way the album began with a huge kick and I actually wanted it to end the same way; with a massive, all-out pop punk track – I felt that it was a bit of a weak end to such a great album. Other than that, it’s superb!

This is definitely an record I would love to see played live – from listening to their recording alone, you get a real sense of what their performances would be like. The band have compiled a sound, well-written, pack-a-punch, pure pop punk album…and it’s glorious – I haven’t been this excited about a new pop punk band for quite a while. With the sound they have created for themselves and the energy and buzz about them, I’m sure there will be a lot more to come from them in the future. Well done guys!

Rating
4.5.jpg


‘Waves’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/waves/1298835393


Waves on Spotify

In Or Out (Official Music Video)

Delete (Official Music Video)

Drown In My Mind (Official Music Video)

All The Same (Once A Liar, Always A Liar) (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Story Untold’s debut album, Waves. What do you think of it? Are you as much of a fan as us? Would you give it the same rating as us or rate it differently? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our socials.


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#Review: The Dangerous Summer – The Dangerous Summer (Self-Titled)


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerThe Dangerous Summer are a rock band from Maryland, USA who formed back in 2006. Since then, they have had 3 main studio albums (if you exclude the acoustic version of their debut), making this, self-titled album (The Dangerous Summer), their fourth.

The Dangerous Summer Cover.jpg

After frontman AJ Perdomo took some time away to concentrate on fatherhood, and having cut down to a trio, the band are back with their fourth full-length album, to much excitement from fans.

Whilst I wouldn’t say this is an emo band per se, they are a far cry from their slightly more light-hearted debut, Reach For The Sun, with vocals that sound more beaten and weathered and lyrics that feel as though AJ Perdomo is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.

There is something very nostalgic and reminiscent about this album (both sonically and lyrically) and it appears that a lot of self-reflection has gone into the writing of it. Some of the intricate work and echoing effects on the guitars of ‘This Is Life’ and ‘Fire’ leave audible space for the listener to be taken in and reflect too – something I believe was done deliberately, in order to allow the lyrics to reach out, for maximum effect.

It is an album of poetic melancholy, even in some of its lighter moments – a solid, interesting and well-rounded collection of songs that work brilliantly together and will be appreciated by fans new and old.

Some of the stand-out tracks for me, include: ‘Color’ for the sheer force with which it launches the album, starting off as a mellow but tortured cry before descending into a more chaotic scream of atmospheric noise with the lyrics “I’m not quite myself” ringing aptly; as mentioned before, ‘This Is Life’ and ‘Fire’ for their beautiful sound and wonderful lyricism, ‘Luna’, which is a touching dedication to his daughter – I particularly love the lyric, “You are the architect to all your dreams,” and lastly, ‘When I Get Home’ which is a welcome break in the record, for its slightly more up-beat yet still edgy pop punk feel (and appreciation for their friends and the place they call home) and whilst it’s quite different to the other tracks on the album, somehow it manages not to feel out of place.

This album is definitely not one which is pushing the boundaries of the genre by any means, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – sticking to what they know and doing it well, shows that they are a band who know themselves. It is an album of poetic melancholy, even in some of its lighter moments, so if you’re feeling like indulging in a little self-loathing or reflecting on darker times and trying to find solace in them, then this is an album for you. It is a solid, interesting and well-rounded collection of songs that work brilliantly together and will be appreciated by fans new and old. Whether you’re into edgy, alternative rock with a large portion of emo lyricism and a gravelly vocalist or you simply enjoy the sonic beauty of a band like this, then you’re bound to love it. I honestly do think it’s a fantastic album; a triumphant returning record for the band and I thoroughly enjoy listening to it – the only reason I’ve rated it 3.5/5 is purely because I’m not sure how well it’ll stand out, over time.

Rating
3.5


‘The Dangerous Summer’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-dangerous-summer/1297025337


The Dangerous Summer on Spotify

Fire (Official Music Video)

Ghosts (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our latest album review! What do you think of The Dangerous Summer’s latest album? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or join the conversation via our social media.


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