#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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#EventSpeaks: Now, Now @ The Great Escape 2018, Brighton Beach – 18/05/18


   

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On Friday 18th May 2018 (the same day they released their brand new album,¬†Saved – review here), American band,¬†Now, Now¬†performed their second set at Brighton’s¬†The Great Escape Festival 2018.

Upon arrival at The Hub, we waited patiently for the band to take to the stage but no sooner had KC taken to the stage, than she announced that they were in fact going to take the set out to the beach, for a short, impromptu, acoustic show.

The audience happily followed them out to a spot in the middle of Brighton beach, where everyone sat down and gathered closely around the band for one of the most intimate shows I have ever witnessed.

The modest set consisted of just 5 songs (4 from their new album, Saved) and showcased the brilliance of the songwriting itself, regardless of the slick production on the record.

In honesty, the first song was quite tricky to hear, due to there being no PA system and the beach being fairly busy, but after the band warmed up and the crowd had adjusted, we could make out the songs perfectly…in fact it was almost like the beach quietened down, just for them.

After the short, 5-song set, the band thanked people for coming and stuck around to chat with people and it became quite the intimate gathering. This was far from a conventional gig, but it was definitely something special…something you would have been privileged to have witnessed.

Highlights:

  • The sheer fact that the band took their show outside, to the beach, was a wonderful thing.
  • KC’s clear range of emotions at being able to put out the band’s third album, showed a very vulnerable and sweet side to her. There was a lot of gratitude for the support they receive too.
  • The time they took to speak to their fans and members of audience, on the beach, was really special too.

 Setlist

SGL
Drive
Set It Free
Prehistoric
AZ*

* These songs can be viewed in the YouTube video, below.


Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Now, Now for making this a wonderfully unique experience, and to Isobel and Rick at Whiteboard PR for letting me know about this special show.


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#Review: Isaac Gracie – Isaac Gracie (Self-Titled)


   

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Isaac Gracie is an incredibly talented singer-songwriter, hailing from London. From humble beginnings, his 2016 demo, ‘Last Words’ caused a big stir online, leading to the head of Universal Music flying over from LA just to see him perform, resulting in his signing to Virgin EMI. Now, in 2018, the songsmith is releasing his debut, self-titled album. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Isaac Gracie.jpg

Every so often an album comes along that is both exciting, inspirational and sonically diverse; groundbreaking even…this is definitely one of those albums! (The last album I felt like this about was Will Joseph Cook‘s Sweet Dreamer.)

Whilst growing up, Gracie’s father left the family home and since signing to Virgin EMI, his longterm relationship sadly ended, but out of the ashes of these life-influencing events came some fantastic songwriting material, resulting in this incredibly powerful debut. As such, throughout the album, there are strong themes of abandonment, guilt and heartbreak; this honest approach and willing exposure of his emotional vulnerabilities is nothing new to songwriting but the way it marries up with the instrumentation is simply marvellous.

Opening track,¬†Terrified’¬†(think¬†Elbow¬†meets Harry Styles‘Two Ghosts’)¬†chronicles Gracie’s own fears and insecurities surrounding the hype about him, singing,¬†“I’m terrified that maybe, I wasn’t cut out for this.” He really needn’t worry though; he certainly is cut out for this!

‘Last Words’ is a huge track for him; it’s the song that kick-started the buzz about him and whilst it’s very different from the demo, he admitted that he spent quite some time playing around with different versions before settling on the one that’s now on the record. He’s managed to strike a great balance between the original demo, maintaining some of it’s raw essence but also brought more depth to it with the addition of strings. Imagine a track by¬†The¬†Beatles¬†that’s been countryfied and you get this!

The brilliant blend of highs and lows, and fusion of indie, rock, country and latin flavours has genuinely created one of the most genre-bending albums heard in a long time!

‘The Death Of You & I’¬†is a personal favourite – it’s got an almost latin beat behind it before it unleashes a hidden ferocity. The calm verses that erupt into the heavy, chaotic choruses make this an intense and fun song which you can’t help but want to thrash around to, wildly. There’s even an almost salsa-esque breakdown before the final chorus, making this one of the most intriguing songs I’ve heard in years.

Other stand-out tracks include;¬†‘Running On Empty’, which is relatively mainstream and quite indie (like something you might expect to hear from¬†The Killers or¬†Maccabees),¬†‘Telescope’ with its beautiful overlapping vocals at the end,¬†‘That Was Then’, which has stunning, dynamic vocals, ranging from deep to falsetto, topped off with a powerful and melodic chorus and¬†‘When You Go’, which is a track you would expect to hear from the likes of The Barr Brothers or¬†Vance Joy¬†and be accompanied by a music video shot with an old, handheld, film-reel camera; it’s strongly folk flavoured.

Gracie has been quoted as saying that he set out to create the best record of all time and whilst there are bound to be people who have differing opinions, he certainly has created a masterpiece! The brilliant blend of highs and lows, and fusion of indie, rock, country and latin flavours has genuinely created one of the most genre-bending albums heard in a long time…yet somehow it still works as a comprehensive body of work that is uniquely identifiable as him. This is an album I am certain will make a big impact this year and will definitely carve out an exciting future for his music career. Utter brilliance!

Rating
4-5


‘Isaac Gracie’¬†is out now¬†and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/isaac-gracie/1345686455


Isaac Gracie on Spotify

Terrified (Official Video)

Silhouettes Of You (Official Video)

Last Words (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Isaac Gracie’s self-titled debut album? Are you as much of a huge fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it via our socials.


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#Review: Vance Joy – Nation Of Two


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerVance Joy is an Australian, folk singer-songwriter who, having released his debut solo album, Dream Your Life Away, back in 2014,¬†is now back with his sophomore offering,¬†Nation Of Two; a powerful tale of a couple’s love.

Vance Joy - Nation Of Two.jpg

Vance Joy has crafted his own unique brand of folk-pop, using instruments such as the ukulele and banjo to make his style stand out and Nation Of Two continues with this tradition; this time telling a story throughout the 13-track collection.

Vance¬†himself explains that¬†“Nation of Two¬†describes a perfectly self-contained couple; their world beginning and ending at the bed they share, the car they ride in, or any other place where they’re together… the idea that their love for each other gives them their bearings; a point of reference that makes sense of life.” (Reference)

The album, as a collection, tells the tale of two lovers across a beautiful array of styles.

The album starts out very strong with stand-out songs, including leading single,¬†‘Lay It On Me’¬†(with it’s funky brass sections), plus¬†‘We’re Going Home’ and the fun-filled,¬†‘Saturday Sun’. Other great songs include the punchy, almost alt-rock-like¬†‘One Of These Days’ and the beautiful banjo ballad,¬†Where We Start’. The album, as a collection, tells the tale of two lovers across a beautiful array of styles, however a couple of the tracks, I felt, could easily be skipped, but as a whole body, it is great.

This is definitely going to sit well with fans of Mumford & Sons,¬†Ray LaMontagne, Seth Lakeman and possibly even Ed Sheeran¬†– it’s folky, pop-tinted and got a real honest feel to it. It’s well produced but not over-produced and stands out as a quality, folk-pop album.

The first half of the album is strong and I certainly think this album will bring new success to¬†Vance Joy, but the second half is lacking in a couple of places. This is however, as a whole, a wonderful way to tell the story of a couple’s love and life together and is well worth a listen.

Rating
3.5


‘Nation Of Two’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/nation-of-two/1325861276


Nation Of Two on Spotify

We’re Going Home (Official Video)

Lay It On Me (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our latest review of Vance Joy’s second album, but what are your thoughts? Are you a huge fan or do you think it will go straight in to the bargain bin? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or share your feelings with us, via our social media accounts.


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#Review: Dashboard Confessional – Crooked Shadows


   

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Dashboard Confessional are¬†an American rock¬†band from Boca Raton, Florida, led by frontman, singer and principle songwriter, Chris Carrabba. Since their debut album release, back in 2000, the band have gained a massive, loyal following and are now releasing their seventh album,¬†Crooked Shadows. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Dashboard Confessional -Crooked Shadows.jpg

It’s been eight years since the band’s last album but Chris Carrabba and the rest of Dashboard Confessional are back with a new studio album, however this one has just 9 tracks, making it more of a mini album. Also, traditionally known to be a fairly emo band, this album sees them venturing into slightly newer territories.

It all kicks off with ‘We Fight’, which is an all-out, scream-it-at-the-top-of-your-lungs anthem for anyone and everyone that’s got something to fight for…or against, whilst ‘Heartbeat Here’ is a mellower, acoustic, crowd pleaser that is just begging for an audience to chant along with it. ‘Catch You’ and ‘About Us’ have some simply stunning yet powerful vocal harmonies, epic choruses and great, subtle use of synths. Then there’s ‘Belong’ (a collaboration with Cash Cash) – this is the most unique track on the album, and sees the band take on a much more modern sound (almost venturing into Maroon 5 territory). On first listen, I actually felt like it was almost confusing the direction of the album a bit, but it’s actually become one of my favourite tracks on the record…plus it provides a welcome change in vibe at the midway point. However, I’m certain that this track will be divisive amongst fans and that many will not like tropical-house feel or over-produced nature.

Crooked Shadows is very much an album that has something for everyone – it demonstrates that they aren’t afraid to update their sound with the times.

There are also couple of slower, more emo-style, heartstring-pullers, ‘Open My Eyes’ and the almost ‘Time Of My Life’-esque (Green Day), ‘Just What To Say’ (featuring Chrissy Costanza) that expose Carrabba’s raw emotion and vulnerable lyric-writing abilities. Whilst the title track, ‘Crooked Shadows’ and ‘Be Alright’ are big, rock-out songs.

Crooked Shadows is very much an album that has something for everyone and whilst it’s probably never going to quite live up to the fans’ love of A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar, it really is a fantastic new release and a great comeback record. It demonstrates that they aren’t afraid to update their sound with the times. I thoroughly enjoyed it; it’s just a shame that there aren’t more tracks.

Rating


‘Crooked Shadows’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/crooked-shadows/1334380586


Crooked Shadows on Spotify

We Fight (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Dashboard Confessional’s seventh studio album? Do you agree with our rating? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or share your feelings about it with us on our socials.


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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 ‚Äď 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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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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