#Review: Bars and Melody – Carpe Diem – EP

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Bars & Melody (check out our 2017 interview with the guys, here) first rose to fame as contestants on Britain’s Got Talent in 2014. The pair were automatically sent into the semi-finals of the competition, when Simon Cowell pressed the “golden buzzer” after watching their performance of ‘Hopeful’ (later released as their debut single). The duo ultimately finished in third place in the series but since then have gone on to build a very loyal following and built up a big name for themselves, returning to feature in 2019’s, Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions. To date, they have released 3 albums and a couple of EPs but now 2021 sees the pair take on a new sound with the release of Carpe Diem. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Bars and Melody - Carpe Diem

What is immediately clear from the opening bars of ‘Santorini’ is that this is a new Bars & Melody. The pair have taken on a surprising new sound and one that’s clearly been itching to surface for some time.

Their 2020 album, Sadboi, was a mixture of pop hits and the start of experimenting with a new sound but ultimately was a successful crowd-pleaser in preparation for Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.

Since then though, the pair have taken the opportunity to go out as independent artists and create something new and altogether more mature in sound, in the form of new EP, Carpe Diem.

This is a mini-album that emanates a new-found confidence.

Throughout the EP, the auto-tune has been applied heavily and the bass and beats are booming, creating a more mumble-rap and at times, even trap-sounding beat – it’s their most credible and urban sound to date. It’s something new and exciting from the pair and undoubtedly shows the type of music they’ve been dying to make for some time, after now not being held back by major labels.

This is a mini-album that emanates a new-found confidence and sees the pair using explicit and at times, even risqué lyrics. It’s a clear departure from their former, squeaky-clean image and sees the pair rapping and singing about more adult concepts.

‘Santorini’ is a sure-fire hit for fans and the pair indicate it being one of their favourites on the EP too, despite it’s risqué lyrics. Meanwhile, ‘Little Missy’ showcases Leondre Devries’ rapping skills and Charlie Lenehan’s lyricism at their best. ‘Own Ways’ is another banger and a great way to end the EP with its thumping bass and its catchy hook.

Some of the lyrics could be thought of as being a little vacuous in places, like ‘No Type’s, “You a perfect 10, yeah” and that of the ‘Russian Model’ chorus but somehow the credibility of the beats and the fact it fits with the genre itself make up for it.

Whatever you think, Devries and Lenehan have demonstrated a new-found maturity and set of writing and rapping skills across the EP, showing that they are diverse and have the longevity to adapt and make something new of themselves. It would just be nice to hear Lenehan with a little less autotune on though as his voice is great without it!

Whilst it’s still somewhat of a shock to hear them now, this is the new-and-improved Bars & Melody and one that leaves me excited for their next full-length album! Let’s hope they don’t keep us waiting too long and continue to grow and develop in sound as they themselves continue to grow up and mature.

Rating
4


‘Carpe Diem – EP’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/carpe-diem-ep/1545462855


Carpe Diem – EP on Spotify

Santorini x Little Missy (Official Music Video)

Own Ways (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the duo’s latest 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.


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#Review: Afterlife – Breaking Point 🌡


   

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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, “Where did your mind go?” 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. “Try to run, try to run, try to hide, Karma’s coming for you bitch” – I mean God, it just oozes rage! And ‘Broken Home’ – the album doesn’t 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’s still a little grunginess to it, it’s not so fuelled by hatred and dark screaming – it’s 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’s 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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#Two4Tunesday: Dappy – ‘Oh My’ featuring Ay Em & OneRepublic – ‘Start Again’ featuring Logic


   

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Dappy – ‘Oh My’ featuring Ay Em

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

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

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


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



OneRepublic – ‘Start Again’ featuring Logic

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

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

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

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


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


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#MellowMonday: Post Malone – ‘Psycho’ featuring Ty Dolla $ign


   

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Post Malone burst onto the UK music scene back in 2017, with his massive, Number 1 hit single, ‘rockstar’. Now, 2018 has seen the release of his second album, beerbongs & bentleys, the third single from which is this, ‘Psycho’, featuring guest vocals from Ty Dolla $ign.

Whilst this song hasn’t quite replicated the success of the album’s lead single, ‘Psycho’ is a fantastic track, which peaked at Number 4 in the UK charts.

Lyrically, the song refers to Malone‘s lifestyle and addresses the theme of trust issues that can arise out of fame; it’s a very personal track. This sits on top of a laidback trap beat with a simplistic, yet seriously catchy melody. It’s a subtle yet powerful song.

The music video is pretty cool too – flames, snow, tanks, deserts…it’s a big-budget, rather epic affair.

What are your thoughts of this hip hop artist? What’s your favourite song of his? Do you have a #MellowMonday 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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‘Psycho’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/psycho-feat-ty-dolla-%24ign/1373516902?i=1373517312


#Two4Tunesday: Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey – ‘The Middle’ & Lil Dicky – ‘Freaky Friday’ featuring Chris Brown


   

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Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey – ‘The Middle’

Zedd‘s latest track, ‘The Middle’ features the American electronic music duo, Grey (aka brothers Kyle Trewarth and Michael Trewartha) and vocals by American country singer, Maren Morris.

This track may well have come out at the start of 2018 but 10 weeks later, it’s still at Number 10 in the UK charts, following the success of 2017’s Stay with Alessia Cara, however this track performed even better than that.

It’s a fun, uplifting track which has a very similar feel to ‘Stay’ with it’s combination of raw, powerful and digitised/vocoder vocals, atop a blend of 90s pop sensibilities and modern EDM vibes, making for a very distinctive sound.

The video is great fun too, with it’s stunning set and extravagant use of visual lighting. All-round this is just a fantastic piece of modern pop that will undoubtedly get stuck in everyone’s head; a true favourite of mine right now!


‘The Middle’ is on iTunes for downloading now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-middle/1336771022?i=1336771388



Lil Dicky – ‘Freaky Friday’ featuring Chris Brown

The second track this week is Lil Dicky‘s Number 1, smash hit, ‘Freaky Friday’, featuring guest vocals from Chris Brown.

The track itself is a combination of  hip hop, pop and comedy (think similar to The Lonely Island), centring on the film(s) of the same name and continually references Chris Brown himself, throughout.

Whilst this track is intentionally comedic and works hilariously with its accompanying music video, there’s no doubt about it that this is one heck of a catchy tune too; it’s easy to see how it’s managed to top the UK Charts!

The music video itself parodies the 2003 film Freaky Friday (starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan) and features cameos from Jimmy TatroEd SheeranDJ Khaled and Kendall Jenner. It’s a must-watch video but also, I defy anyone not to end up singing along to this earworm of a track!


‘Freaky Friday’ can also be downloaded from iTunes now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/freaky-friday-feat-chris-brown/1351005381?i=1351005400


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#MellowMonday: Brunswick – ‘Know No Better’


   

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Brunswick is the moniker of a 19-year-old up-and-comer, who is making some seriously edgy, fusion music. This single, ‘Know No Better’ merges R&B and hip hop with rock and pop to create a unique blend, self-described as “Rhythm & Grunge”. It’s a great sound that is almost like crossing G-Eazy with Conor Maynard and topping it off with some Nirvana; it really is something special.

Very little is known about this artist right now, other than from his Instagram and SoundCloud pages, but a little mystery isn’t always a bad thing.

No music video has been released for the track yet, but as soon as one emerges, we’ll keep you updated.

What are your thoughts of this mysterious artist? Got your own #MellowMonday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or hit us up via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Know No Better’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/know-no-better-single/1361721586


#WildCardWednesday: Kris Evans – ‘Famous’


   

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Kris Evans (previously of The Mend/Race The Horizon) has just dropped his new single, ‘Famous’…and it’s massive!

Think Dappy meets Chris Brown with a slightly more underground, urban edge but topped with a strong chorus and you’ve got this single; it’s genuinely one of the freshest songs I’ve heard recently and I can’t get enough of it!

Also, 2018 is already looking very promising for Kris, who’s been nominated for ‘Best Urban Act Of 2018’ at the Unsigned Music Awards! What’s more, Kris has further big plans ahead, which include more releases and some exciting live performances across the UK.

No music video has been released for this track yet, but if one does emerge, we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

What are your thoughts of this epic singer and monster tune? Got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or hit us up via our socials.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Famous’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/famous-single/1348400033


#ThrowbackThursday: Crazy Town – ‘Butterfly’


   

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Crazy Town are an American rock/rap band who were formed in 1995 by Bret Mazur and Seth Binzer. ‘Butterfly’ is the band’s best known single, which reached Number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts in 2000, which in turn prompted the release of their debut album, The Gift of Game, that went on to sell over 1.5 million units.

Crazy Town - The Gift of Game.jpg

The guitar melody which opens the song is a head-bopping, body-swaying beat that is followed up by a high hat, drum beat and of course vocals.  Even though the lyrics could be argued to be rather simplistic; “Come, my lady. Come, come, my lady. You’re my butterfly. Sugar. Baby.” There is no denying that ‘Butterfly’ is an extremely catchy, throwback tune.

The music video for the song was directed by the team who worked on the well-known movie, The Matrix as well as What Dreams May Come. The video depicts the band in a fantasy, make-believe forest surrounded by butterflies. The fantasy, magical vibe continues as Shifty’s star tattoo flies off into the air, as well as two women sporting butterfly wings, walking around in the forest.

What are your thoughts of this massive hit track? Have you got a #ThrowbackThursday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

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‘Butterfly’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/butterfly/203303461?i=203304621


#WildCardWednesday: Bexey – ‘Suitcase’


   

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Bexey Swan is currently an unsigned British rapper, who was born August 3rd 1996. Bexey‘s previous stage name was Zehtroid Vzn, before he changed it to his current cognomen.

The rapper posts the majority of his music on his SoundCloud account, where he is close to 20k followers.

Some of his most popular songs include ‘Suitcase’ as well as ‘MYTH KILLA’ and ‘YOUNG HEARTBREAKER.’ Before the tragic and unpredicted passing of rapper Lil Peep, the two were close friends and posted frequent collaborations as well as Bexey supporting Peep on his most recent European tour.

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 11.11.10
Source: Spotify.com

In the song ‘Suitcase’, Bexey paints the picture of the struggles and challenges his fast-paced tour and music producing life can present to him. He also talks about how he has grown as a musician, when people doubted him.

“My boy’s ain’t slept in like two days, no way, it’s too late. Life feeling like a movie.”‘Suitcase’, Bexey

The sombre, slightly melancholy vibe of this song is emphasised by his somewhat robotic, synthesised voice. The deep, repetitive beat paired with the guitar gives the track a slow, steady pace which reflects the lyrics where Bexey sings about his lack of sleep, due to the rhythm of his schedule.

What do you think of this unsigned rapper’s honest tune? Have you got anything similar to recommend? Or do you have something of a different genre to recommend us? Use the hashtag, #WildCardWednesday or hit us up via our socials.

Frankie – Muzik Speaks
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‘Suitcase’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/suitcase/1285256440?i=1285257778


#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Bars & Melody


   

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With the recent release of their second album, Generation Z (check out our review), and currently touring around Europe, we were lucky enough to catch up with Bars & Melody about their recent release, how their writing process has developed, who they’d most like to collaborate with and what Charlie’s most disgusting habit is. It’s all here…


Hey guys, how’s it going?
Hey, we’re great!!!

So you released Generation Z in September and the reception seems to have been incredible, how exciting has that been for you?
Generation Z is an milestone in our career. It’s our second album, we’ve grown so much since our first album, and it’s amazing to see the reception, as it is so great.

Where did the idea for the album title come from and what’s the meaning behind it?
So we were out in Florida writing a song called ‘Scream’. The song was about all the problems of the world, and how unfair it was that our generation (Generation Z) have to live with all the mistakes that the people before us had made. One of the lines for that song is “Generation Z more like Generation Dead” and we found that lyric very powerful, so we decided to name the album Generation Z in honour of that.

What’s your usual process for writing/recording an album?
Our creative process when making an album usually consists of us playing around with a guitar, or listening into some ideas our producers have came up with. We take a lot of time writing lyrics and thinking of meanings for every song.

How did this compare to the experience of recording your debut album?
Generation Z‘s recording process was completely different to our debut album. During our debut album, we were very young and didn’t put as much thought into the writing as we did on Gen Z. Although we love our first album 143, Generation Z is our favourite.

Where do you take inspirations from when writing/recording your music?
When we write our music we take a lot of inspiration from the thought process of teenagers. All of the obstacles you encounter going through the teen phase. We also take inspiration from heartbreak, love and the beauty of the world.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
I think if ‘Bars and Melody‘ were to collab with anyone, we would love it to be Justin Bieber, we love his music!

What music have you been listening to most recently?
We love to listen to all different types of music, from Pop to Rock, Rap, Electronic, LoFi and Jazz. We love Music!

If you had to cover a recent chart song (not on your ‘Covers’ album), which song would it be and why?
If we were to cover in the charts right now it would be ‘rockstar’ by Post Malone, We love that song.

You’re heading out on tour at the moment, where are some of your favourite cities/countries to perform at?
We love Asia! Japan is a personal favourite of ours. But we love performing everywhere!

You’ve done shows across the globe but what makes a show particularly amazing for you?
There was one show in Japan where we supported Big Bang, an amazing KPOP group. We performed to over 80,000 people.

Has anything really scary ever happened to you on tour? If so, what?
Nothing really scary has happened to us on tour, luckily.

What are some of the best things that have come out of BAM?
I would say the best thing to come out of BAM is our lifelong friendship. Even after BAM ends, we’ll always have each other.

Have either of you got any disgusting habits?
Leo: Charlie likes to burp a lot and then blow it in my face.

Do you have any other passions outside of music?
Leo: I love to play video games and skateboard!

What really grinds your gears?
I really hate mess!

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you, in life?
The most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me was when I did a school play when I was 5 years old…I wet myself on stage! Oops!

What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
The best film I have seen lately is a movie called Nerve, I watched it with all my friends! It was amazing.

If, in say 20 years time, a film was made about your lives, who would you want to play each of you?
If a movie was made about us, I would like the cast from Stranger Things to play us.

If you were a chocolate bar, which one would you be and why?
Leo: If I was a chocolate bar, I would be a Lion bar because I’m an animal!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Leo: The best advice I’ve ever been given is to always listen to your mum!

Thanks very much for taking the time to chat, good luck with the tour and next time you’re doing a show down near Brighton I’ll have to come and review it.
THANK YOU GUYS!


Bars & Melody‘s releases are all available:


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