#Review: Normandie – Dark & Beautiful Secrets

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Dark & Beautiful Secrets is the third full-length release from Sweden’s very own Normandie. They claim this album is the true sound of the band with vocalist, Philip Strand (also a producer/writer for a number of pop artists & he even penned the Irish Eurovision entry for 2021), claiming that the album is much darker and delves more intimately into their personal lives than they have been before. Let’s see if it matches their ambitions…

Normandie - Dark & Beautiful Secrets

Overall the album is very pacy and it doesn’t let up often. Dynamically, it’s fairly steady in that it keeps up the initial pace of ‘Babylon’ and ‘Hostage’, which are very anthemic in their presence at the start of the album. Which is great. However, for an album claiming intimacy, it lacks interest in how it flows. It has more of a dance anthems playlist vibe than a gritty window into the soul. Having said that, there is some let up within the tracks themselves with stripped back choruses that then smash back into very catchy choruses. It’s the kind of thing we’ve seen from bands in a similar vein such as Don Broco and Thirty Seconds To Mars. Unlike those bands though, all the tracks feel pretty much the same, very driven and super catchy in the choruses, but that’s all.

Speaking of catchy choruses, ‘Jericho’ and ‘Holy Water’ are particular highlights on this record, but to be honest, any of the tracks would easily pass as a single release. Lyrically, the choruses are just straight to the point, trying to encompass the track as a whole with one or two lines. Again though, the album lacks imagination in its writing. The lyrics feel quite generic and although the use of some good concepts such as the idea of Holy Water drowning you (a reference to Strand turning his back on the church at the age of 14), it cannot shake some very over-used lines and clichés.

Dark & Beautiful Secrets is not a bad album, but it’s nothing that stands out from the crowd.

‘Atmosphere’ tries to break both of the issues above. It is a much slower track than the rest and is a nice relief from the driving beats and heavy melodies on the rest of the album. It really is a standout track which is unfortunately lost amongst everything else. It’s a track about losing yourself and true to its title, really has some atmosphere about it. Lyrically, it feels much stronger than the rest, less forced and the production really adds to the feeling of the track as a whole. There are some heavier elements to the album too which are ear-catching. Most notably, is the riff in ‘Mission Control’, which really throws me back to some old Muse tracks, that I haven’t visited in a while and ‘Renegade’ feels influenced by the newer Bring Me The Horizon tracks of recent times. I would say these are the only varying elements to this album but it still feels quite ‘samey’ as mentioned before.

Dark & Beautiful Secrets is not a bad album, but it’s nothing that stands out from the crowd. If you enjoy similar bands such as Don Broco, Bring Me The Horizon (later releases) and PVRIS then you will enjoy this, but I think you’ll forget about it a few weeks later. Add ‘Atmosphere’ to your favourite playlist and that will do you right.

Rating
3


‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’ is out 19/02/21 on Easy Life Records and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/dark-beautiful-secrets/1539052326


Dark & Beautiful Secrets on Spotify

Coming Friday 19th February 2021.

Babylon (Official Music Video)

Holy Water (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest album? 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 Young Hearts – The Modern State

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The Young Hearts are an alternative punk rock band from Kent, UK. Recently signed to Year Of The Rat Records, the band have made a name for themselves by extensively touring and sharing stages with the likes of Can’t Swim, Mallory Knox, Junior, Bellevue Days and more. Having already released a string of singles and EPs, 2021 sees the band release their debut album, The Modern State. Here’s what we have to say about it…

The Modern State launches spectacularly with opening track, ‘Wild & Reckless’ – a fast-paced song which is the perfect opener to an album – an epic start with some killer, catchy vocals in the chorus. It’s also the perfect song to open a set with!

‘London’ and ‘Old Familiar’ are possibly the highlights of the album with their sing-along-ability, plus they really give you that urge to want to be packed into a crowded venue, jumping along with others in the audience and singing at the top of your lungs.

‘Cold Nights’ takes on a slightly slower pace in the verses but the chorus is still superbly powerful (like much of the rest of the album). ‘Still Wander’ has some great guitar breakdowns throughout whilst ‘Fool’s Gold’ is a nearly five-minute masterpiece that reminds me of the likes of The Fray yet entirely changes pace around 3 and a half minutes in, to something quite ethereal.

As far as debut albums go, this isn’t perfect, but it’s not far off!

Unfortunately, ‘Swim’ and ‘Anchors’ are somewhat forgettable and that’s not just because they’re slower-paced – they just don’t quite have the same edge as the rest of the album, which is the main reason for the rating below.

However, the album draws to a spectacular conclusion with ‘Don’t Tell A Soul’ – another monumental track that in its last minute, breaks down into a piano and guitar-led epic close that would make the perfect end to a perfect set.

As far as debut albums go, this isn’t perfect, but it’s not far off! It’s got repeat listenability and has a certain quality that keeps you coming back for more. It’s well-produced, catchy and has a diversity of tracks that are highly entertaining to listen to. I would strongly recommend a few listens of this masterpiece debut to really let it sink in, just how brilliant it is.

Rating
4


‘The Modern State’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/the-modern-state/1544490658

Or physical copies can be bought from the band’s website – https://www.theyounghearts.co.uk/shop


The Modern State on Spotify

London (Official Music Video)

Fool’s Gold (Official Music Video)


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


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#WildCardWednesday: Blackout Problems – ‘DARK’

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Blackout Problems are a band hailing from Munich, Germany that have done well to flip the rock genre on its head with their unique blend of sounds.

Whilst it’s not hard rock, ‘DARK’ (the title track from their latest album) is an epic anthem that begs to be sung along to. Its shimmering guitars in the verses are met by powerful vocals in the choruses before breaking down to a bass-heavy, almost hip hop segment and child-chanted closing chorus. The song is a real masterpiece of intrigue.

The music video is pretty damn epic too with its somewhat eerie imagery of the band playing about with a shopping trolley, in an abandoned building with red lasers flashing throughout. That’s met by scenes of members of the band hanging upside down with a bloodlike substance dripping down their cellophane-wrapped bodies. It’s bizarre but well worth a watch.

This band are definitely one to watch out for and have been releasing a string of songs from their latest album, DARK, with interesting music videos to accompany them – they clearly mean business when it comes to pairing their songs with visual art. Go check them out.

What are your thoughts of this German band? Do you have a #WildCardWednesday 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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‘DARK’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/dark/1527279107?i=1527279114


#TunefulTuesday: Pale Waves – ‘Easy’

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Pale Waves are an English, indie rock/pop band from Manchester, who formed in 2014. To date, the quartet have released an EP and their debut album, My Mind Makes Noises (through Dirty Hit) and are currently gearing up to release their sophomore album, Who Am I?

‘Easy’ is a melodic, dream pop anthem taken from their upcoming second album, and is a track that is just crying out to be sung along to.

It’s actually got a certain, 2002 Avril Lavigne feel to it, somewhere along the lines of Complicated‘Anything But Ordinary’ and ‘Things I’ll Never Say’ but with a more modern twist to it.

The music video is pretty cool too with its juxtaposed imagery, seeing the band rocking goth-like appearances, whilst performing amongst twinkling lights – it’s beautifully shot and makes for a really interesting watch. Check it out below.

If this song and the others they have released so far from their second record are anything to go by, then it promises to be a very exciting release!

What are your thoughts of this band’s latest single? Do you have a #TunefulTuesday 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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‘Easy’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/easy/1534665229?i=1534665668


#ThrowbackThursday: Bloodhound Gang – ‘The Bad Touch’

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Who doesn’t remember this song from 20 years ago?! Bloodhound Gang released ‘The Bad Touch’ in the UK back in April 2000 and, with their unique brand of comedic hip-hop that had slightly punk rock tendencies too, the band went on to score a Top 5 hit, reaching Number 4 in the UK Charts.

The quintet filmed a rather hilarious video to accompany the track too – seeing the band dressed in “MonkeyRat” costumes causing havoc around Paris by capturing various stereotypes and putting them in a cage before releasing them to dance in formation with their captives.

The video caused some controversy due to some versions featuring a French gay couple being hit over the heads with baguettes, however lead singer, Jimmy Pop was quoted a saying, “I would give any gay man two tickets to the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of his choice if he could describe exactly who’s going to become violent based on that scene”.[1] Is this “gay bashing” or simply a bit of light-hearted comedy? I’d suggest the latter given the rather witty nature of a lot of their back catalogue and if titles of their albums, such as Hooray For Boobies, are anything to go by.

What are your thoughts of this band’s banterous single, 20 years on? Did you love or hate it back then? What do you think of it now? Do you have a #ThrowbackThursday track from 20 years ago, to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘The Bad Touch can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/the-bad-touch/1440807607?i=1440808397


#TunefulTuesday: Simple Creatures – ‘One Little Lie’

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Simple Creatures are an American pop rock duo made up of Mark Hoppus (blink-182, +44) and Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low).

To date, the pair have released a couple of EPs – both in 2019 – and had a string of singles but possibly their most catchy song is this track, ‘One Little Lie’. This is such a great crossover between pop and pop punk with it’s rockier verses and synthpop style choruses that you can’t help but just want to listen to it over and over again.

Lyrically it is diverse too and resonates with quite a few people, I’m sure – I know it means a lot to me and provides an anthem for my own recent struggles, so I’m sure it does for others too.

The video for the song is pretty fun too, packed with facts and lies, leaving the viewer to decipher between fact and fiction as the pair become increasingly surrounded by objects referenced in some of the lyrics.

Turn this track up loud, put it on repeat and enjoy the video!

What are your thoughts of this duo’s catchy track and fun video? Do you have a #TunefulTuesday 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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‘One Little Lie’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/one-little-lie/1475817979?i=1475817985


#Review: The Darkness @ Brighton Dome, Brighton – 10/12/19

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On Tuesday 10th December 2019, The Darkness brought their Easter Is Cancelled Tour to Brighton Dome! The event was packed with people and full of fun, with support from Rews. Here’s what we have to say about the event…


Rews

This duo (accompanied by a drummer) are a riotous, girl-powered pair that are unafraid to pack a punch! For just three instruments and a butt-load of distortion, they sure bring about a lot of noise – they kind of reminded me of a more serious, angry-sounding Pink Slip (remember them from Disney’s remake of Freaky Friday, with Lindsay Lohan?!) Although they’re quite the raucous act, the vocal harmonies between them are nothing short of immense and clearly must have been rehearsed for hours! The bassist is full of charisma too, working the stage with conviction, at times, capturing the most attention. An interesting act with some fairly catchy tunes – they made for a good support.

Highlight: The vocal harmonies – honestly, they were awesome!

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The Darkness

As The Darkness took to the stage, dressed all in white, the crowd errupted with excitement, to see the rock band strike out the first notes of Easter Is Cancelled‘s opening track, ‘Rock And Roll Deserves To Die’. After a couple of songs, Justin explained that on this tour, the band were playing the entirety of their latest album, from start to finish, before doing a selection of their greatest hits…and it was awesome! He made a joke about people only coming for their Christmas single or their older songs but people were lapping it all up – both the new and old material.

If you haven’t already heard it, their latest record (Easter Is Cancelled) is great – it’s packed with the usual The Darkness lyrical wit, falsetto vocals, incredible musicianship and powerful rock anthems and is probably one of their best albums in recent years – so it was amazing to be able to see it all performed live.

The stage set was visually stunning too – with three, church window-shaped screens, surrounded by flashing lights, the backdrop for each song was unique, diverse and sometimes just outright bonkers (think cartoon dancing cows moshing!)

After finishing the run-through of their latest album, the band retired for a very quick costume change, before coming back to perform an array of their back catalogue, to much enthusiasm from the crowd. They performed a selection of tracks from nearly all their albums, from ‘Japanese Prisoner of Love’ and ‘Solid Gold’ (from 2017’s Pinewood Smile) to ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ (from their 2003 debut, Permission To Land).

It didn’t matter whether they were playing new or old material, people were singing along with every word, jumping around and having the best time! They perform with high energy, good humour and flawlessness, ensuring their audience come away from the show feeling euphoric. The Darkness are a lot of fun to watch live and whether you know all their songs or not, you are guaranteed to have the best night with them – I really can’t recommend them highly enough!

Highlights:

  • Justin‘s live vocals are powerful and flawless, whilst his charisma oozes with dry humour and a stage presence like no other.
  • The band themselves perform to perfection with impeccable professionalism and high energy and their individual talent for each of their instruments is spell-binding.
  • Justin doing a headstand in front of the kick drum during a song, before casually returning to the microphone to finish the song, was pretty damn impressive!
  • There was one point that someone did something to make Justin laugh at the start of a song, which was touching to see.
  • During the set, Justin brought up that it was Dan‘s birthday coming up and the audience spontaneously burst out with a round of ‘Happy Birthday’ which Justin then led into ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow’.
  • The ad-libs between songs, like a funky riff and vocal melody Justin bust out with before ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ (in the video below) and some of the between-song banter is pretty amusing.
  • I just highly recommend watching them live – already, I would love to see them again!

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📷 All of the photos in this post are credited to Damon Peirce  📸
Why not give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter or check out his website.


 Setlist

Easter Is Cancelled
Rock And Roll Deserves To Die*
How Can I Lose Your Love
Live ‘Til I Die
Heart Explodes
Deck Chair
Easter Is Cancelled
Heavy Metal Lover
In Another Life
Choke On It
We Are The Guitar Men

Greatest Hits
One Way Ticket*
Barbarian
Growing On Me*
Japanese Prisoner Of Love
Love Is Only A Feeling
Solid Gold
Givin’ Up*
Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Get Your Hands Off My Woman
I Believe In A Thing Called Love*

Encore
Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)*

These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say a massive thanks to The Darkness and Rews for putting on a great show as well as Warren and Charleigh from Chuff Media for enabling this review to happen.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: The Darkness – Easter Is Cancelled ✞

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The Darkness are an English rock band from Lowestoft, Suffolk who first came to the public’s attention in 2003, with their debut album, Permission to Land. In particular, their debut single, ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’, was a monster hit, reaching Number 2 in the UK Charts. With 5 albums already under their belt, 2019 sees the release of the band’s sixth album, Easter Is Cancelled. Here’s what we have to say about it…

The Darkness - Easter Is Cancelled.jpg

It may have only been a couple of years since The Darkness released their last album, Pinewood Smile, but the band are now back with a bang and have possibly created an even better album than their last!

As with their previous record, the standard edition comes with just 10 tracks, whilst the deluxe edition comes with an extra 4, but that said, the standard version alone, is excellent!

The album opens with single, ‘Rock And Roll Deserves To Die’, a song which starts out quite calm yet epic – almost soundtrack-like – with middle-eastern vibes, alongside an accompanying acoustic guitar. It’s satirical and once it fully kicks in, serves up something very Tenacious D about it, with edgy, hair metal qualities too- especially with the sensational, chaotic guitar solo to finish.

Whilst the album is very much a rock record and clearly, at it’s heart, still very much The Darkness, they have managed to bring some great diversity too. From the wonderful 80s-like guitar licks (with a hint of country vibes thrown in for good measure?!) and sensational falsetto vocals of ‘Live ‘Til I Die’, to the more “middle of the road”, mellow and beautiful tones of ‘In Another Life’ – a great, acoustic-driven, country-style power ballad with clean guitars in the verses and a slightly heavier chorus; Easter Is Cancelled could easily become a classic album for the more recent era of the band.

It certainly has its quirks too though – ‘Deck Chair’ is a serious-sounding, acoustic-led ballad about…a deck chair! Whilst the subject matter is somewhat insincere, there’s a very Queen/Freddie Mercury quality to this song. It’s particularly hilarious when whispered French vocals come in, as well as shimmering guitar effects and plucked violins. ‘Choke On It’ seeks Hawkins sing about gold diggers riding off their success and even busts out a random northern accent at one point before pulling off a strong chorus with his trademark falsetto voice and gritty gang vocals to accompany. Additionally, ‘Easter Is Cancelled’ feels very old school metal, with some great gang vocals, yet is possibly the weakest track on the album – whilst it is still good and the guitar lines are great, it’s just not as strong as the rest of the record, despite being the title track.

Easter Is Cancelled could easily become a classic album for the more recent era of the band.

Moments that impress most are the surefire, new fan-favourite (and mine too!) ‘How Can I Lose Your Love’; sweeping, grungy synths open and build as if it’s going to be an intense beat, before becoming a suddenly, more calm chorus. It’s unusual to have a fast verse and slow chorus – such a great, unexpected yet catchy-as-hell track. ‘Heart Explodes’ is dramatic with wailing, ghost-like vocals during the breakdown and haunting guitar solos too. Also, ‘Heavy Metal Lover’ is a hilariously witty track about a lover being really into heavy metal. Juxtaposition is rife with chaotic and heavy metal-inspired, guitar breakdowns following the sweet-sounding, lovey-dovey, harmony-filled choruses.

The album draws to a strong close with ‘We Are The Guitar Men’, a lyrically diverse ode to the band’s guitars, demonstrating great personification, as though the guitar a beautiful woman. The chorus feels full of nostalgia, like a solid 80s rock tune, blending electric and acoustic guitars, with the occasional synth thrown in too. Ascending vocals lead into a lovely show-off guitar solo at the very end of the track.

I remain captivated by The Darkness, even after them having been around for 16 years now. And sure, they are predominately a modern, not-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek version of a 70s/80s rock band, that doesn’t often deviate from the recipe for their successes, but somehow they are still great to listen to and bring about just enough diversity in each of their records, to still keep them fresh and their fans interested, that you can’t help but love them.

Whilst the band have not had another Number 1 album since their debut, Permission To Land, I’m sure that this record will still do very well and hopefully become a modern classic and fan favourite, since the band reunited in 2011…it’s near perfect!

Rating
4.5


‘Easter Is Cancelled’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/easter-is-cancelled-deluxe/1473988829


Easter Is Cancelled on Spotify

Rock And Roll Deserves To Die (Official Video)

Heart Explodes (Official Video)


THE DARKNESS ‘EASTER IS CANCELLED’ 2019 TOUR

The band are also heading out on tour across November and December 2019. Tickets are available here.

NOVEMBER
26th – Belfast, Limelight
27th – Dublin, Academy
29th – Nottingham, Rock City

DECEMBER
1st – Birmingham, O2 Academy
2nd – Leicester, O2 Academy
3rd – Southend, Cliffs Pavilion
5th – Norwich, UEA
6th – Cambridge, Corn Exchange
7th – Bath, Pavilions
9th – Portsmouth, Pyramids
10th – Brighton, Dome
11th – Watford, Colosseum
13th – Manchester Academy
14th – Newcastle, O2 Academy
15th – Glasgow, O2 Academy
17th – York, Barbican
18th – Liverpool, O2 Academy
20th – London, Roundhouse


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


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Mallory Knox – Mallory Knox

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Mallory Knox are an alternative rock band from Cambridge and began as a five-piece back in 2009. Following the release of their third album, Wired, news came that lead vocalist, Mikey Chapman, was leaving the band in 2018. With co-lead vocalist, Sam Douglas, taking up the post of lead vocals, alongside the other three original band members; James Gillett (rhythm guitar & backing vocals), Joe Savins (lead guitar & backing vocals) and Dave Rawling (drums), the band are back with their self-titled fourth album (Mallory Knox) as a four-piece. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Mallory Knox - Mallory Knox.jpg

It was a brave choice for Sam Douglas to step into the position of lead vocals, as vocally he is quite different to Mikey Chapman, but he’s certainly come in all guns blazing on lead track, ‘Psycho Killer’ – a massive, garage rock sounding track with a hint of Foo Fighters about the vocals throughout, before careening into a heavy guitar breakdown at the end.

This is certainly a more raw and gritty album than some of their previous releases, with tracks like ‘The World I Know’ taking sonic influences from noughties punk rock and adding in grungy elements and ‘Wherever’ with its muscle guitars and intense drums, giving the illusion of travelling at speed.

Lead single, ‘White Lies‘, has a bit more of an indie feel to it than a lot of the rest of the record and is clear to see why it was chosen to launch the album.

Also, ‘4’ is quite commercial with its “Na, na, nas” and lyrics about vacuous pop market and record labels, such as, “You never mattered anyway.” Is it addressing negativity they have faced and the fact they band went from 5 members to 4, as the track title might suggest? Not sure. You’ll have to make up your own mind on that.

Possibly some the best tracks on the album are: ‘Livewire’ which has changes in pace throughout and echoing breakdowns to really get the listener going; ‘Freaks’ has some really interesting melodies with guitar frills, captivating (and sometimes aggressive) vocal acrobatics (with some serious power behind them) and a great all-round tone to it and ‘Black Holes’ with its chugging guitars and yet more, distinctly Foo Fighters vibes in the intense, shouty chorus.

It’s a risk to continue as a four-piece, with someone new taking up the role of lead vocalist, but it appears to have paid off.

By far, the best track on the album is ‘Gut’ – it’s an intense, fast-paced close to the album, with some insane vocal harmonies, brilliant drums and fast guitars – it’s a generally chaotic moment of ecstatic mosh-out madness that fans are sure to love live.

There are definitely moments when you can tell Douglas doesn’t quite have the power behind his voice that he might have liked and even one track (‘Heartbreak Lover’) that feels like his vocal is lacking in energy – albeit it’s a very commercial-sounding track with a guitar line that plays around the same melody as the chorus.

Additionally, there are the odd places here and there that lyrically feel a bit flat and not quite written with as much depth or maturity as perhaps you might like (‘Fine Lines’ with its candid take on a relationship breakdown) and other tracks, such as ‘Radio’ that are a little forgettable but overall, it’s a solid effort from the now quartet.

It’s been a risk to continue as a four-piece, with someone new taking up the role of lead vocalist, but it appears to have paid off. The album is consistently confident in its approach and hopefully with have old fans excited and on board for the ride as well as pick up new fans with their edgier sound.

Rating


‘Mallory Knox’ is out 16/08/19 and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/mallory-knox/1461295820


Mallory Knox on Spotify

White Lies (Official Music Video)

Livewire (Official Music Video)


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


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

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#Review: The Rocket Summer – Sweet Shivers 🐝

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The Rocket Summer is the solo project from singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Bryce Avary. Since self-releasing his first EP in 2000, at the age of 17, Avary has gone on to release a total of 7 EPs, 7 full-length albums and a live album too! Now, 2019 sees the release of his seventh studio album, Sweet Shivers. Here’s our thoughts on it…

The Rocket Summer - Sweet Shivers.jpg

From the offset, it’s clear that Sweet Shivers is a much more experimental album than his previous efforts, thought it’s still distinctly The Rocket Summer.

We’re instantly thrown in at the deep end with opening track, ‘Morning Light’, a much darker introductory track than some of his previous efforts – there’s a twinge of a more mainstream Nine Inch Nails vibe to it!

We’re then led nicely into ‘Shatter Us’– whilst I’m not keen on the trumpet-like synth effect, the vocal melodies in the chorus and the plonky piano are incredible, especially paired with the very personal lyrics.

‘Blankets’ is possibly one of my favourite tracks on the album – the full-on verses are juxtaposed by the beautifully whispered chorus, making it powerful and captivating. Melodically it is a stunning track and has something a bit Biffy Clyro about it.

We’re then treated to ‘Gardens’ – like an experimental pop track where Avary has clearly played around with production – Jamiroquai inspirations seem to come through in places. ‘Peace Signs’ has a lovely yet simple, descending guitar melody that loops throughout and a strong vocal melody to the chorus. And in the spirit of looping, ‘5 4 3 2 1 Z’ has a looping piano melody, combined with brass sounds and an understated vocal melody. Maybe the most commercial-sounding track on the record, though it completely changes pace two-thirds of the way through before coming back to the original chorus.

‘Wannalife’ then seems to act as an interlude between the first and second half of the record. A nice little acoustic number about his life’s desires.

Overall though, this is a well-written, if slightly more experimental album, that could divide the fans.

As a long-time lover of The Rocket Summer, it pains me to say that ‘Sweet Shivers’ is very much an album of two halves – the first half being a lot stronger than the second. The second half has a lot of melodies that kind of blend into one.

Additionally, throughout the record, there are some rather quirky synth sound choices that I’m not convinced work, at times sounding a little cheap and underwhelming.

‘Slomo’ and ‘Keep Going’ are both pretty forgettable, while ‘Together In TX’ has an edgy breakdown, which stopped me from skipping the track. ‘Apartment 413’ has a dark melody and this is lyrically reflected in the tone too.

It’s the final two tracks that are saving graces for the latter part of the record. ‘World’s Greatest’ has some great deep vocal melodies and heavy bass synths with an amazing breakdown that continually builds back up to the end of the track. Whilst ‘m & m’ is possibly the strongest track in the second half, bringing the album to a strong close – there are intense vocal melodies and a fast-paced drum beat, plus funky guitar riffs and a Busted-esque synth at the end. A great track to end on!

Overall though, this is a well-written, if slightly more experimental album, that could divide the fans. That said, there are plenty of moments to enjoy, so fans will still find parts they love. I’m certainly still a lover of The Rocket Summer and appreciate his artistic license to be experimental, but I hope his next record might return a little more to his roots.

Rating


‘Sweet Shivers’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/sweet-shivers/1473282206


Sweet Shivers on Spotify

Morning Light [Official Music Video]

Shatter Us (Official Music Video)

Blankets (Official Music Video)

Peace Signs (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of The Rocket Summer’s latest album? Do you share the same opinions 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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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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