#Review: Emarosa – Peach Club ūüćĎ

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerEmarosa are an alternative rock band from Kentucky, consisting of only original founding member, ER White (lead guitar), as well as¬†Bradley Walden¬†(lead vocals), Robert Joffred¬†(bass) and Matthew Marcellus (rhythm guitar). The band have been through quite a few line up changes since their inception in 2006 and in 2016, signed to their current label,¬†Hopeless Records. Now, 2019 sees the release of the band’s fifth studio album (and second through¬†Hopeless Records),¬†Peach Club. Here’s what we have to say about it…

EMAROSA - Peach Club.jpg

From the start of the opening track,¬†‘Givin’ Up’, it’s clear that¬†Emarosa have made a definitive departure from their previous, alternative rock sound, favouring a moreretro synth, heavy bass and ascending pop-chorus sound on this latest record. What’s more, they’ve done it so effortlessly with the opening, no holds barred, funky guitar-drive pop anthem that even has a saxophone solo!

It’s very much a record of two halves – the first half is both strong and diverse but the second half, by comparison, is somewhat lacking in the same depth.

80s synths and vibes run prominently throughout the album – ‘Don’t Cry’ is a very synth-heavy track with some incredible, underlying guitar riffs and this wonderful, descending vocal melody to the chorus, whilst¬†‘So Bad’ has a glossy, 80s funk to it, both in terms of the guitar and beat, topped off with an overtly catchy chorus.

Possibly the best track on the record has to be¬†‘Cautious’¬†– the calm verse, with great falsetto vocals leads into an all-consuming and powerful chorus – the passion behind the lines, ‚ÄúI believe in ecstasy, but you might never love me,‚ÄĚ honestly gives you goosebumps!

A couple of the tracks even give off a similar feel to¬†You Me At Six –¬†‘Get Back Up’ has a vocal style like that of Josh Franceschi but there’s a hip hop-like beat behind the song – I hate to say it, but a rapper feature would actually sit quite well on this. Equally, the heavier parts of¬†‘Help You Out’ have those same¬†YMAS vibes – dreamy falsetto vocal parts and a great clap-along breakdown.

Sonically, this is an album that’s about as far from their former selves as it can be, but it is also a record that demonstrates huge growth from the band and a relentless willingness to try out new sounds.

‘xo’¬†kind of marks a break and turning point in the record. It’s a song made up of just vocals and an electric guitar but it really shows off Bradley Walden‘s¬†raw vocal talent. It’s a very different vibe to the rest of the album and has a soulful feel to it.

I hate to say it, but it’s from here on that things get a little weaker.¬†‘Hell Of It’¬†is definitely an album filler, and although it is a slight nod to their alternative rock roots, it’s very repetitive.¬†‘Comfortable’¬†somehow reminds of Seal‚Äôs ‘Kiss From A Rose’ in places – it’s rather atmospheric but never quite goes to the places it‚Äôs aiming to reach, and then kind of just fades out.¬†‘IW2DWY’¬†(aka I Wanna Die With You) also feels quite empty, lacking any sincerity. Instrumentally it’s probably the weakest track on the record too.

That being said, the album finishes a lot stronger, with¬†‘Wait, Stay’. It features delicate falsetto vocals and intricate guitar lines, building up into a far more full-on sound, than the previous few tracks, making for an epic close to the album. Its subtly catchy chorus makes it quite an understated yet big song.

Sonically, this is an album that’s about as far from their former selves as it can be, but it is also a record that demonstrates huge growth from the band and a relentless willingness to try out new sounds. They haven’t lost their credibility though – they’re still packing a vulnerability to their lyricism and putting enough edginess into the tracks to still show parts of their previous incarnations and due to its diversity,¬†Peach Club¬†is¬†bound to have something you’ll love.

It’s been really interesting to see this band’s evolution with this latest release and it’s bound to pick up a whole new fan base along the way. I’ll be intrigued to see where the band take their sound next!

Rating
3.5


‘Peach Club’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/peach-club/1439380906


Peach Club on Spotify

Givin’ Up (Official Music Video)

Don’t Cry (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest album, Peach Club? 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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#WildCardWednesday: Broken Hands – ‘Split In Two’

 

 


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerLast week (18th October 2018), Canterbury rockers,¬†Broken Hands, announced that they had signed to Atlantic Records by releasing a pair of brand new singles,¬†‘Split In Two’ and¬†‘Friends House’; their first new music since the release of the 2015 full-length debut,¬†Turbulence.

The five-piece band, which consists of Dale Norton (vocals), his brother, Callum Norton (drums), Jamie Darby (lead guitar), Thomas Ford (bass) and David Hardstone (rhythm guitar & keys),¬†have been busy working with Tom Dalgety¬†(notable for mixing a lot of Royal Blood‘s work)¬†on these two tracks – his style is particularly reflected on¬†‘Split In Two’, which has an amalgamation of both psychedelic and grunge vibes.

The band’s style is further reinforced by the fact they have played shows with the likes of¬†Rolling Stones,¬†Black Sabbath, Blur¬†and Deaf Havana.

The music video for ‘Split In Two’ sees the band¬†performing amongst a glowing green light with a Matrix-style code backdrop.

No details about their forthcoming album have emerged, as yet, but we’ll keep you updated.

Cover Photo ūüďł –¬†Hollie Fernando

What are your thoughts on this band’s latest release, since signing to Atlantic Records? Have you got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or chat to us via social media.

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‘Split In Two’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/split-in-two/1438777475?i=1438777478


#Review: Against The Current – Past Lives ūüĎĀ


   

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Against The Current are¬†an American¬†pop rock¬†band from¬†New York, who formed in 2011. The band is made up of Chrissy Costanza (lead vocals), Dan Gow (guitars)¬†and Will Ferri (drums). The band are notable for regularly posting covers on YouTube as well as delighting fans with original tracks too. In 2016, after signing to¬†Fueled By Ramen, the band released their debut album, In Our Bones. Now, 2018 sees the band releasing their second full-length record,¬†Past Lives. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Against The Current - Past Lives.jpg

This stunningly diverse and charming record opens with the almost haunting ‘Strangers Again’, dealing with getting over a relationship and cutting ties. The guitar line is dreamy and the vocal breakdown towards the end is a rather quiet and personal moment that really draws you in. It’s a brilliant way to open a record; it doesn’t go in all guns blazing but instead captivates the audience with its beautiful soundscapes.

Next is probably the best track on record, ‘The Fuss’. With Daft Punk-esque, 80s synths, funky guitar rhythms and one hell of a catchy chorus, this is a track you will just want to play really loud and dance like mad to!

Other significant songs include: ‘I Like The Way’ – a track all about new love that almost reaches EDM territory with its strong piano line. It’s something you might expect from the likes of Sigala‘s¬†Easy Love or¬†Sweet Lovin’; ‘Voices’ is a slightly more grungy offering about being self-conflicted and trying to ignore the internal voices (which is reflected perfectly with whispering backing vocals) – it’s very¬†Paramore¬†meets¬†Fickle Friends,¬†whilst¬†‘Scream’ is a rather floaty and dreamy song – for some reason it evokes images of the perfect all-American family from the 1960s (no idea why!) It’s an uplifting yet subtle track; I keep finding myself going back for more.

‘Personal’ has a Taylor Swift-like quality to it and the production is incredible – the vocal harmonies sit beneath the rest of the production in the chorus, but it’s truly enchanting.¬†‘P.A.T.T.’ (short for Pretty All The Time)¬†is an out and out female empowerment anthem – it’s fast-paced, punchy and relatively simplistic but the message is fun and powerful about girls feeling like they should be allowed to be themselves without having to look “pretty all the time”…calling all, “Girls!”

It’s an impeccably well-crafted record which has very successfully merged the boundaries between dance, pop and rock music, with a sprinkling of 80s vibes on top.

Lastly,¬†‘Friendly Reminder’ is another notable song, it’s certainly an album track rather than a potential single but the use of a phaser effect on the vocals and an epic clap-along chorus towards the end make it really stand out…again, there’s a big 80s vibe to it.

What Against The Current manage to do so well throughout, is take you on a journey with them; when they’re soaring high, you’ll feel all the sparks of excitement with them brought about with big synth sounds, intense beats and tons of reverb but equally when melancholy reigns, you’ll feel their heartache too.

Whilst I could say something about every track on the record, I won’t – you just need to experience it for yourself.¬†I really can’t recommend this highly enough…the only reason it didn’t get a 5 is because there are one or two less stand-out, album-fillers but even those are pretty damn good. It is very much an album which marks a band that have found their feet; they’ve created something wonderfully catchy yet utterly credible with sincere lyricism, interesting melodies and top-notch production.

It’s an impeccably well-crafted record which has very successfully merged the boundaries between dance, pop and rock music, with a sprinkling of 80s vibes on top; it’s difficult to pigeonhole this band…in a good way! It’s a truly exciting time for the band; this will certainly make waves in the genre and undoubtedly pave an exciting path for their future!

Rating
4-5


‘Past Lives’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/past-lives/1425108766


Past Lives on Spotify

Almost Forgot (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s sophomore release, Past Lives? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#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: LAUREL – DOGVIOLET


   

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LAUREL (aka¬†Laurel Arnell-Cullen)¬†is a British indie¬†musician originating from¬†London. She has had a string of critically acclaimed songs since posting her first demo back in 2013 and gained a lot of bloggers’ and radio DJs’ attention for writing, recording and producing most of her early music in her bedroom studio. Since signing to¬†Counter Records (a division of Ninja Tune Records) in August 2016, she has released an EP and headlined her own UK tour. Now, 2018 sees the singer and songwriter releasing her debut album,¬†DOGVIOLET. Here are are thoughts on the record…

Laurel - Dogviolet.jpg

LAUREL is finally releasing her debut album, DOGVIOLET and it’s a real corker! From the moment it opens with the catchy ‘Life Worth Living’ which bursts into life with its heavy drums, we are taken on a personal journey through LAUREL‘s heart and mind.

Some of the other tracks that really stand out are: ‘All Star’ has a really unique guitar line to it and it’s about putting a partner on a pedestal; ‘Hold Tight’ which has some relaxing, summer-by-the-beach vibes about being close to someone; ‘Adored’ for its slightly more grungy sound; ‘Crave’ which builds to a rather haunting chorus and ‘Take It Back’ for its very different and incredibly catchy chorus that lies somewhere along the lines of HAIM and MUNA.

‘Empty Kisses’ is a beautifully melancholic track too about a relationship that’s essentially over and the passion’s gone.

There’s something beautiful about the occasional cracks in her voice – it’s stunningly imperfect.

Undoubtedly, comparisons could be made with the likes of Lana Del Rey or Florence Welch due to her ethereal vocals and melancholic tones but there’s something beautiful about the occasional cracks in her voice too – it’s stunningly imperfect.

The production is artistic and evokes imagery of an artistic independent film; it certainly serves as a soundtrack to this period in her life, with real, introspective lyricism and reflection that must have taken her to some deep, dark places in her memories. This is surely the start of a wonderful career ahead – with her intensely mesmerising vocals and remarkably honest and personal writing style that certainly stands her out from so many others right now. This year is certainly going to be a big one for LAUREL and I can’t wait to see where it takes her next.

Rating
4


‘Dogviolet’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/dogviolet/1373664343


Dogviolet on Spotify

Coming soon.

Same Mistakes (Official Video)

Life Worth Living (Official Audio)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of LAUREL’s debut album, DOGVIOLET? 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 chat to us about it via our social media.


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