#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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#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 ‚ÄėCovers‚Äô 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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#Review: Bars & Melody – Generation Z


   

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Bars & Melody¬†(check out our 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.

Bars & Melody - Generation Z

The album opens with heavy-hitting¬†‘Allergic to the Sun’ which sets the tone perfectly for the album, showing the duo’s departure from conventional pop music into a far more edgy sound. It’s quite apocalyptic in it’s feel and reflects the album artwork brilliantly.

Not only has¬†Leondre‘s voice got deeper…so have the lyrics and the styles of the songs – there are quite a few songs based on relationships and dealing with issues related to growing up but the pair are truly writing from the heart. Some of the biggest standout tracks are:¬†‘Apologise’ (with its beautiful simplicity and captivating chorus);¬†‘Faded’¬†(for its anthemic chorus and club-like sound);¬†‘Serious’¬†(probably one of the most pop tracks on the album – it reminds me somewhat of Olly Murs)¬†and¬†‘I Won’t Let You Go’¬†(Charlie’s vocals are so full-on and passionate on this track – I would really like to hear him use this tone more often).

There is a certain mixtape quality to the record – it is somewhat experimental in its approach, but that’s not a bad thing!

The production of the album is tinted with urban flavours throughout; each song is unique in its own way and whilst it does come together as a brilliant body of work, overall, there is a certain mixtape quality to the record. There are some fantastic songs with catchy hooks and deep lyrics and although there are stand-out tracks, it is somewhat experimental in its approach. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing – it should be celebrated that the pair have spent time finding their own sound and crafting something which not only works for them but makes them stand out.

Considering just a couple of years ago, the pair put out an album (143)¬†which was very pop in style, this follow-up (originals) album is quite a welcome departure from that, demonstrating that they’re maturing, not only in terms of their songwriting but their musical style too. It seems that they’re now truly finding their own feet.

What must be said for this album is that Charlie‘s vocal abilities are truly incredible but to hear him use his full voice more (like in ‘I Won’t Let You Go’), would be amazing. Meanwhile, Leondre‘s rapping has really progressed – his tone is great and his lyrics show maturity. This album is well worth listening to, I certainly found that the more you listen, the more little gems you hear weaving their way throughout – it’s a real grower!

Rating
4


‘Generation Z’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/generation-z/id1262081707


‘Generation Z’ on Spotify

Thousand Years (Official Video)

‘Generation Z’ Track-By-Track

Find out more about the meanings behind the songs with this track-by-track video.


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of the duo’s latest album! What are your thoughts on Generation Z? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media.


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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