#Review: Millencolin – SOS ūüöÄūüÜė

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Millencolin are a punk rock band from Sweden, consisting of all four original members,¬†Nikola Sarcevic¬†(vocals & bass),¬†Mathias F√§rm¬†(lead guitar), Erik Ohlsson¬†(rhythm guitar) and Fredrik Larzon¬†(drums). To date, the band have had eight studio albums and played all around the world, including at America’s prestigious Warped Tour. Now, 2019 marks the release of SOS, the band’s ninth studio album since their 1992 inception, some 27 years later! Here’s what we have to say about the record…

Millencolin - SOS.jpg

SOS kicks straight in with the intense, apocalyptic-sounding title track, gripping you with its chugging guitars and haunting vocal chants, making it instantly clear that this is very much a punk rock album and not a commercialising into the pop punk realm.

That said, there is something very commercial about the album’s glistening production; vastly different from that of some of the band’s earlier records.

Additionally, there’s actually something very traditional about this album, like Millencolin have followed the recipe for the perfect skate rock record – ‘For Yesterday’ and ‘Nothing’ are perfect examples of this and particularly reminiscent of early Goldfinger or Alkaline Trio. However, in saying this, it also demonstrates that the band have not quite made any moves to vary their sound or try to push the boundaries of the genre, though there are bound to be countless fans that will appreciate this.

‘Sour Days’ and ‘Reach You’ particularly stand out, and although some of the most “radio friendly” tracks on the record due to their big choruses, they’re possibly the most vocally and instrumentally interesting with great harmonies and pristine changes in tempo across both.

It’s definitely a well-produced record with some strong choruses and impeccable instrumentation.

‘Yanny & Laurel’ is a good, story-telling song and interestingly named after the 2018 debate about whether a sound clip was saying the word ‘yanny’ or ‘laurel’ and is cleverly reflected with an auto-tuned chorus around the two words.

Sadly, there are some songs that just lack sincerity and would sit better on blink-182 or Green Day album (though don’t get me wrong I love both those bands), like ‘Do You Want War’ and ‘Caveman’s Land’. Both tracks have strong instrumentals but lyrically border on cringe-worthy.

‘Carry On’ really brings the album home with a strong, nostalgic-feeling chorus, which sounds almost like an audible farewell. The drums at the start, instantly draw you in and by the end of the track, it’s descended into just the right amount of chaos that you’re both satisfied and left wanting more.

Overall, SOS is a politically charged public service announcement, and takes a rather negative take on the current state of the world, even referencing the decline in society and impending end of the world as we know it. But then isn’t that what all punk rock is about?

It’s definitely a well-produced record with some strong choruses and impeccable instrumentation, however there are certainly the odd lyrical improvements and risk-taking elements that could be adopted by the band, going forward. I guess it could just be put down to, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Rating
3.5


‘SOS’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sos/1441157359


SOS on Spotify

SOS (Official Video)

Nothing (Audio Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Millencolin’s latest album,¬†SOS? Are you a fan? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#Review: Hold Close – Time ūüēź

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerHold Close¬†are a Pop Punk band hailing from Springfield, Missouri in the USA. To date, they have had a couple of EP releases through¬†Hopeless Records, across 2016 and 2017 but now, 2019 sees the release of their debut album,¬†Time. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Hold Close - Time

We’re eased into the album with title track,¬†‘Time’ – an intro-style song, which starts off calm and rather understated, with a nice little gang vocal, riding on top of the acoustic guitar. It has quite a wholesome sound to the opening, with the lyrics, ‚ÄúYou know time will always heal,” but by half way, bursts into a chaotic moment and a slightly heavier tone, giving us a sense of what‚Äôs to come…before calming back to the way it begins. It doesn’t last long before swiftly leading into ‘Hang Tight’, dramatically picking up the pace.

‘Hang Tight’ has an intense beat, you can‚Äôt help but get swept up in, especially as there’s a huge sense of ecstasy in the calmer moments. Near the end of the track, there‚Äôs a note that’s almost screamed before a moment of calm that comes back round as if the track is starting again – it’s marvellous.

The best tracks on the record have to be: ‘Breath’ – a beautiful track about losing someone. It‚Äôs so stunningly passionate and heartfelt that you hang on every word. The line, ‚ÄúSometimes I pretend like you‚Äôre still here,‚ÄĚ really gets me; ‘Tropical Depression’ is deeply engrossing track due to the vocal effects and the metaphor of a relationship being a-likened to a tropical depression is wonderfully poetic; ‘Here Again’ depicts a longing for someone you miss. Subtle synths swirl around powerful vocals in the chorus, which makes for a touching outpouring of emotion; lastly, ‘Separation’ makes for an epic close to the album – hauntingly beautiful guitar melodies in the chorus are met with great instrument pushes and gang vocals to really hit it home, dropping into a long, synth outro and subtle vocals.

Other tracks include: ‘Cast Me Away’ which makes for a slightly more traditional pop punk track, ‘Absent To Reality’ has a much darker tone than most on the record whilst ‘Cloud9’ has something similar about the synth sound and melody to Keane‚Äôs ‚ÄėShe Has No Time‚Äô – it’s the lyrics that mostly resonate with me; ‚ÄúWill I ever learn to dream again, Escape from all the things I fear and then, Find my path to seeing clear again, Make my way through what‚Äôs to come from this.”

The only real drawback about Time is that 3 of the 11 tracks are pretty short, acting as intros/interludes – sure they are haunting and give the listener a few seconds to pause, but it would have just been amazing if there were more tracks.

There‚Äôs a real maturity to this record that a lot of bands can only dream of – it‚Äôs not quite pop punk, it‚Äôs not quite alternative rock – it’s just damn good!

The occasional echo effects on the vocals, interspersed throughout the album, alongside the diverse song-writing and instrumentation, induce real moments and feelings of euphoria – it’s the kind of album you can just turn up loud and get completely lost in – engulfed by the melodies and production.

There‚Äôs a real maturity to this record that a lot of bands can only dream of – it‚Äôs not quite pop punk, it‚Äôs not quite alternative rock – it’s just damn good! The instrumentation is intricate and well-crafted, with deeply considered, honest and relatable lyrics that must have taken a lot of self-reflection.

There is a lot of emphasis placed on memories of love and people lost, right across the album and a very clear theme of time passing, reminiscing and some degree of healing coming from that. ‚ÄúTime will always heal‚ÄĚ is very much a repeated phrase. A mantra.

Time is very much like the record of a pop punk band who have already had a lengthy career and matured, going on to create an album of well-considered, thought-provoking and sonically captivating music to push the boundaries of the genre…it’s just that Hold Close have achieved it early on in their career than others. The band have produced something wonderful with this album and I truly can’t wait to hear what they create next.

Rating

4-5


‘Time’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/time/1437338395


Time on Spotify

Tropical Depression (Official Music Video)

Breath (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Hold Close’s album, Time? 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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#Review: Afterlife – Breaking Point ūüĆ°


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerAfterlife are a metal quartet from West Palm Beach, Florida, consisting of Tyler Levenson (vocals), Andrew McGuire (guitar), Tristan Edwards (bass) and Luke Walkinshaw (drums). Since signing to Hopeless Records, the band are now putting out their debut album, Breaking Point. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Afterlife - Breaking Point.jpg

The album bursts into life with serious tenacity, in the form opening track, ‘Sacrifice’¬†– a song laden with creepy vocal effects (somewhere in the same vein as Marilyn Manson) and come¬†served up with a huge dose of angry, metal instrumentation.

From there, the album takes off into a flurry of metal-induced fury and it’s clear throughout, that the production quality of the record is impeccable. Not only is it a great quality record but there are a lot of layers to the tracks, making¬†it interestingly chaotic, in parts. Unfortunately though, in places it feels like there is more style over substance and that the production and intricate instrumentation outweigh the lyrical content. For example,¬†‘Giving Back The Pain’ is a great song for crowds to mosh to and it has a certain commercial quality to it, but I hate to say it – lyrically, it is bordering on cringe-worthy. It’s clear what they’re trying to achieve, but I’m just not feeling it.

That’s not to say it’s all bad, by any means.¬†‘Throat’¬†has some quirky, downward spiral sounds and a catchy melody to it that is actually reminiscent of the early¬†Eminem track, ‘Kim’, though the lyrics attempt to be profound but end up somewhat disjointed.¬†‘Breaking Point’¬†focuses on getting angry to the point that you snap and the¬†motion of the chorus vocal is pretty captivating, while¬†‘Holding On’ has this brilliant bass-line leading into the track (and underpinning the chorus) with a well-written rap-style verse and an understated melody leading into the chorus, that make for a brilliant listen.

‘Grey Sky’ has¬†a wonderful melody to the chorus line, ‚ÄúWhere did your mind go?‚ÄĚ that you can’t help but love¬†– it’s gritty and raspy and really captivates the lyrical content about being trapped in your own dark thoughts.

The band’s performance throughout, is brilliant and¬†Tyler Levenson‘s¬†screaming is incredible – he has a great singing vocal too.

Possibly the best tracks on the record have to be¬†‘Karma’,¬†which is¬†a really great angry anthem to blare out when you just want someone to get what they deserve. ‚ÄúTry to run, try to run, try to hide, Karma‚Äôs coming for you bitch‚ÄĚ – I mean God, it just oozes rage! And¬†‘Broken Home’ – the album doesn‚Äôt really let up on the anger front until this track, where suddenly it seems to get a little lighter in tone and whilst the subject is sad and there‚Äôs still a little grunginess to it, it‚Äôs not so fuelled by hatred and dark screaming – it‚Äôs more honest and self-reflective. It’s quite possibly the best track on the album.

As far as Hopeless Records releases go, this is not your typical release from the label – it’s a lot heavier but undoubtedly, it will have an appeal to corners of the metal market. In fact, it‚Äôs got elements of rap merged with metal, like Linkin Park meets Rage Against The Machine, but just not quite as well-crafted.

That all being said, the band’s performance throughout, is brilliant and¬†Tyler Levenson‘s¬†screaming is incredible – he has a great singing vocal too, but the frequently-used, rap-style verses just don’t quite make the mark (lyrically and stylistically) – perhaps as the band continue to mature, they will grow lyrically too.

I’m sure there will be a lot of support for this album, particularly from fans of Hopeless Records and perhaps those who’ve begun to venture more into the metal realm, from the softer, pop punk genre. However, for the band’s next release, I hope they¬†will work on their lyrical content to match the great instrumental performances.

Rating

2.5


‘Breaking Point’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/breaking-point/1435412838


Breaking Point on Spotify

Throat (Official Music Video)

Holding On (Official Music Video)

Sacrifice (Visual)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s new album? Is our review fair? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#ThrowbackThursday: Goldfinger – ‘Get Up’


   

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I can’t believe it’s already been a decade since¬†Goldfinger released their sixth album,¬†Hello Destiny…¬†(SideOneDummy Records, 2008) but it has.

The first single to be taken from the album was in fact¬†‘One More Time’, which although a great track, I couldn’t resist sharing¬†‘Get Up’¬†in all of its pop punk/ska punk glory! In fact, on iTunes, it is actually the most popular track on the record!

It actually wasn’t released as a single, so no music video exists but it’s chock full of political messages that really pack a punch! It’s the sort of song you can really visualise a politically-driven video for though; the kind that would feature news clips, etc.!

Great song, great message, incredible band!

What are your thoughts of this 2008 pop punk/ska punk belter? Are you still a fan of the 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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‘Get Up’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/get-up/993329380?i=993329394


#Review: The Story So Far – Proper Dose ūüŹĒ


   

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The Story So Far are a five-piece band from¬†Walnut Creek, California, consisting of members;¬†Parker Cannon (lead vocals),¬†Kelen Capener¬†(bass), Kevin Geyer¬†(guitar & keyboards), Will Levy (Guitar) and Ryan Torf¬†(drums/percussion). The band are currently signed to¬†Pure Noise Records and¬†Proper Dose¬†(produced by Sam Pura, mixed by Eric Valentine) marks the band’s fourth studio album. Here’s what we have to say about it…

The Story So Far - Proper Dose.jpg

In honesty, this is the first album I’ve listened to by¬†The Story So Far¬†(I’ve failed as a pop punk fan…I know!) but right from the very first listen, you can tell it’s something special; at its core, it is a pop punk album but there is something incredibly mature about its sound too. I remember being blown away by¬†Sugarcult when they released their album, Lights Out; this feels just like that!

This is an album that doesn’t mess around; right from the start, it kicks into gear, exactly as it means to go on! Title track, ‘Proper Dose’, is a beautifully chaotic introduction to the album which continuously builds into a euphoric crescendo that you just can’t help but be consumed by.

It leads straight into ‘Keep This Up’; a personal and intense track that sees singer,¬†Parker Cannon,¬†look at disconnecting himself from the world around him, using drugs to help, but facing the fact that he could lose those around him.

Some of the must-hear tracks include:¬†‘Take Me As You Please’ – a rather enchanting track, led by the hum of the acoustic guitar, seeing¬†Parker Cannon¬†facing some relationship woes;¬†‘Let It Go’ is rich in texture and tone due to the blend of acoustic and electric guitars – it’s a track you just want to play loud, drive fast, windows down, with the sun in your face and wind in your hair whilst¬†‘Need To Know’ is more a traditional pop punk song with it’s fast-paced, double-time drums that are so indicative of the likes of early New Found Glory, yet towards the end it completely changes pace and becomes far more mellow and reflective.

It’s a self-reflective look at finding your way from the person you were and paving the way to the person you want to be.

Other tracks that also grab your attention are¬†‘Out Of It’¬†with its rather in-your-face verses that switch up to a far more epic, drawn-out chorus,¬†‘Upside Down’¬†is a¬†truly tear-jerking ballad that will bring a tear to the eye and¬†‘Line’ is a really wonderful interlude that leads out of¬†‘Need To Know’ – it has great drum pads, beach-like guitars and hauntingly distant vocals; it’s like something you’d expect to hear from the likes of¬†Moby or The¬†Avalanches but it’s a welcome difference from the rest of the record…only adding further dynamism to it.

This is an album that truly takes you on a journey – it’s a self-reflective look at finding your way from the person you were and paving the way to the person you want to be; it’s about transformation. Evolution. Maturity.

I truly believe this record has achieved something incredible – it’s managed to maintain a well-loved and often, over-saturated genre but at the same time, taken it in a completely new direction, with a wonderfully dynamic sound to it. This is sure to be a very exciting time for the band – it is certainly a very exciting record to listen to!

Rating
4.5


‘Proper Dose’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/proper-dose/1412097802


Proper Dose on Spotify

Upside Down (Official Music Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgc8a7ikd2w

Let It Go (Official Audio)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2hrXCeXtrY


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s fourth offering? 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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#Review: With Confidence – Love And Loathing ūü•Ä


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerWith Confidence are a pop punk band from Sydney, Australia, who formed back in 2012. Having been through some line-up changes, the band now consists of¬†Jayden Seeley (lead vocals & bass),¬†Inigo Del Carmen¬†(lead guitar & backing vocals) and¬†Joshua Brozzesi (drums).¬†In 2016, the band signed to Hopeless Records and released their debut album¬†Better Weather. Now, in 2018, the¬†band are back with their sophomore record,¬†Love And Loathing. Here’s what we have to say about it…

With Confidence - Love And Loathing.jpg

This feels very much like the band have studied and followed the recipe for making the perfect pop punk record, down to a tee…and that’s not even a bad thing! Somehow, the record feels timeless within the realm of the genre but without sounding like a carbon copy of so many others. After only a couple of listens, it feels just like returning to an old favourite that has been in my collection for years!

Opening track, ‘That Something’, is a stunning way to kick off an album – it’s got catchy vocals (but not obviously so) about finding a new love interest, paired with strong instrumentals of varied tempos, topped off with superb and subtle production flourishes.

Other huge tracks to take note of, include: ‘The Turnaround’ is a massive tune about making a change in your life and grabbing it by the horns, all accompanied by seriously incredible falsetto vocals; ‘Jaded’ which is a fast-paced thrashing track that you might find from the likes of Simple Plan; ‘Better’ is probably my favourite song on the record – about the desire to improve yourself with it’s occasionally satirical lyrics and soaring high-pitched vocal melodies, it’s a track you can easily get lost in.

Diversity spans the record: ‘Spinning’ is much calmer tune that has ‘woohoos’ and the subtle catchiness of a We The Kings or Maroon 5 track;¬†‘P√Ęquerette (Without Me)’ wishes an old love well with mellow acoustic vibes and¬†‘Icarus’ is a far grungier and more aggressive song that bares a resemblance to something by You Me At Six – it’s got heavy guitars and screamy vocals and adds a new depth to the record.

After only a couple of listens, it feels just like returning to an old favourite that has been in my collection for years!

Even in its lower moments, this is an album that feels overall, positive and like a band that’s been revitalised. The tracks each sound unique and interesting in their own ways; some outright pop punk anthems, other mellow, heartfelt ballads and even a couple of slightly more experimental numbers…yet it all still comes together as a cohesive record. Love And Loathing is just that – a record of two halves, covering the excitement of new relationships and hatred of old ones.

It is a tight, well-produced album that, despite some recent, tumultuous events, feels like a band now set for even bigger things! Could this be the next All Time Low or 5 Seconds Of Summer? If you’re a pop punk fan, you will love every second of this record!

Rating
4-5


‘Love And Loathing’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/love-and-loathing/1388719305


Love And Loathing on Spotify

That Something (Official Music Video)

Moving Boxes (Official Music Video)

Jaded (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s second 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 hit us up via our social media.


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#Review: Trophy Eyes – The American Dream ūüáļūüáł


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerTrophy Eyes are an Australian pop punk band consisting of John Floreani (lead vocals), Jeremy Winchester (bass guitar & backing vocals), Andrew Hallett (lead guitar), Kevin Cross (rhythm guitar) and Blake Caruso (drums). To date, the band have released 2 albums and an EP through Hopeless Records and this,¬†The American Dream, is their third full-length album. Here’s what we have to say…

Trophy Eyes - The American Dream.jpg

The American Dream has a much more mature sound to it than either of the band’s previous releases. It’s somewhere in the vein of¬†Sugarcult‘s¬†Lights Out¬†and You Me At Six‘s Cavalier Youth¬†with some of¬†Thirty Seconds To MarsThis Is War¬†epicness thrown in.

The first track,¬†‘Autumn’, launches the album with a life-spanning and reflective tune that whilst it doesn’t quite burst into frantic action like so many other pop punk albums, sets a more impressive tone for the rest of the record.

Next comes¬†‘Something Bigger Than This’, a rather emotive track about being something more than we perceive and how life will make more sense at the end. It’s not crass or overly indulgent in insincerity like so many other bands – this feels real and honest.

In my opinion, ‘Friday Forever’ is by far the best track on the record – from it’s frantic, guitar-driven verses, to its suspenseful build-up into the powerhouse that is the chorus, this track just bursts at the seems with euphoric pop punk at its best. This is definitely a track to keep on repeat!

From epic choruses to emotive lyrics and powerful, pained vocals to punchy guitars, The American Dream is an album that will drive this band forward in their career.

Some of the other, most notable songs include:¬†‘More Like You’¬†which is certainly a crowd-pleaser, with its “woah ohs” but has the added depth of scream vocals;¬†‘You Can Count On Me’ is a definite summer anthem with its massive crescendo and satirical look at band life with the chorus hook, “Some of my friends sell drugs but I just sell sad songs to the ones who feel alone”;¬†‘Broken’ is a beautiful, ballad-esque track that has a understated yet very catchy chorus – a brilliantly-written track that’s very different to some of the other tracks on the album and¬†‘Lavender Bay’ feels very nostalgic with mellow, melodic verses and a big gang-vocal chorus singing about how the band won’t rest until they’ve “made it” with the addition of a key change!

The album has a beautifully rich and diverse tone to it – ‘A Cotton Candy Sky’ is an intensely dark and haunting song that feels a little out of place but it’s eerily captivating whilst¬†‘Tip Toe’ is a great little ballad.

‘I Can Feel It Calling’ is a monumental track, coming in at over 6 minutes in length and going through a range of sounds and displaying a variety of influences, bringing this stunning album to a wonderful close.

This is certainly an album you’ll have on repeat as there’s just so much to love about it! From epic choruses to emotive lyrics and powerful, pained vocals to punchy guitars,¬†The American Dream¬†is an album that will drive this band forward in their career, taking a slightly new direction but picking up new fans along the way. 2018 should be an exciting time for the Australian quintet!

Rating
4-5


‘The American Dream’¬†is out 27/07/18¬†and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-american-dream/1382478709


The American Dream on Spotify

Available Friday 27th July 2018.

You Can Count On Me (Official Music Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs_7y0ToBcU


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest album, The American Dream? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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