#Review: Sum 41 – Order In Decline ūüíÄ

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerSum 41 are a Canadian rock band who first formed back in 1996. The band currently consist of members Deryck Whibley (lead vocals, guitar and keyboard), Dave Baksh (guitar and backing vocals), Tom Thacker (guitar, keyboard and backing vocals), Jason “Cone” McCaslin (bass and backing vocals) and Frank Zummo (drums). The band first enjoyed mainstream success with their 2001 debut album, All Killer No Filler, and from there have gone on to have a rather illustrious career and a few line-up changes. 2019 now sees the band releasing their seventh studio album, Order In Decline, through Hopeless Records. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Sum 41 - Order In Decline.jpg

One thing’s for sure, Sum 41 are a very different band now, to the band they started out as and have sonically changed a lot over the years. From a skate-rock band to being contenders for the pop-punk throne, the band have now transformed into a much darker, grittier and overtly heavier incarnation of themselves that is a far cry from their “Fat Lip” and “In Too Deep” days.

That said, there’s still something distinctly Sum 41 about Order In Decline, though that mostly lies with Deryck Whibley‘s instantly recognisable vocals. It was following a few line-up changes and a spell in hospital to recover from alcohol-induced illness, that the band rose from the ashes with 2016’s comeback album, 13 Voices – an album that further demonstrated their ability to create music that was edgy and more alternative (with the odd ballad thrown in). And now, Order In Decline yet further cements this evolution in the band’s sound.

From the sombre, opening piano notes of ‘Turning Away’, the album quickly kicks into high gear with an exciting and powerful, stammering riff, that by the end of the track, descends into audible chaos with an insanely intense guitar solo. The heavy energy is kept up with ‘Out For Blood’ – a track with elements from their skate-punk days and definite qualities of a Zebrahead song (with the distorted, scream-like backing vocals) plus another epic guitar solo.

As the record continues, ‘The New Sensation‘ takes us in a very different direction with a cleaner, synth-heavy and stadium-filling feel to it – like something you’d expect from the likes of Muse, especially with some of the melodies. ‘A Death In The Family’ is much more of a family sound; whilst it’s definitely heavier than they once were, there are definitely moments that nod to their origins.

Order In Decline is eclectic, exciting, intense and just friggin’ awesome!

‘Heads Will Roll’ is another interesting turn in the album, with a Subways, IDLES and Royal Blood-like vibe to it. ‘Eat You Alive’ is probably the most heavy metal track on the record whilst ‘The People Vs…’ is a much more typical punk rock track with rapidly chugging riffs and intense drums, sure to see the circle pits swirling at live shows.

Whilst the band don’t want to be politically-driven as such, it’s clear that Whibley has allowed his lyrics to be determined by the state of the world he sees around him right now – a world in which he sees division, racism and hate being accepted still. This is certainly evident in ’45 (A Matter Of Time)’, a track that by no coincidence, references the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, that he so marvellously calls out on a few things.

For all it’s intensity, Order In Decline sees a couple of moments when the pace changes and more personal lyrics come into play. ‘Never There’ addresses Whibley‘s absent father, growing up (and sounds like someone such as William Ryan Key had a hand in writing it), whilst ‘Catching Fire’ faces familiar themes of love and loss with wonderfully intricate layering, like something by The Dangerous Summer.

Order In Decline is eclectic, exciting, intense and just friggin‚Äô awesome! And whilst Sum 41 are certainly not the same band they once were, there are undoubtedly qualities that still remain in their core, making them easily recognisable. However the continual evolution in their sound is exciting and impressive to watch and certainly adds to the longevity of their career. I’m already looking forward to hearing the next record!

Rating
4


‘Order In Decline’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/order-in-decline/1458053301


Order In Decline on Spotify

Out For Blood (Official Music Video)

45 (A Matter Of Time) [Official Music Video]

Never There (Official Music Video)

A Death In The Family (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Sum 41’s seventh studio album, Order In Decline? 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: 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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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Will Joseph Cook (April 2017)


   

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It was in November 2016 that I last got to meet and interview Will Joseph Cook before his show at The Hope & Ruin in Brighton. He’s now gearing up to release his debut album, Sweet Dreamer (check out our review) on Friday 14th April 2017 and it seemed a good time to catch up with him and find out what he’s been up to.

He told us all about which track he’s most excited for people to hear, who he’d like to collaborate with, the inspirations behind his music videos and revealed that he’s already starting to write for album number 2! It’s all here…


Hey Will, how’s it going?
I’m good man, how are you?

It’s nice and sunny, so I’m all good thanks. So what have you been up to since we last spoke? I gather your debut album, Sweet Dreamer, drops this Friday?
Yeah, it’s pretty made to be honest. It’s been like a weird couple of months where we’ve been preparing. We were crazy busy with shows earlier this year and then the last couple of weeks I suppose has been kind of looming in preparation, I guess…but it is really exciting. It’s good times.

That’s awesome! Well I’ve been lucky enough to hear the album already and have to say, it’s absolutely incredible and so diverse, where did you take your musical inspirations from?
Thanks man! Well I guess it’s probably too broad for me to list like a bunch of bands. I know that sounds a very pretentious thing to say but like my rule of thumb has always been, I’ll try and have at least like five for each track. Probably, most of the time, I’d say [I] go in blind when recording it, as in very rarely am I setting out with a style in mind or something. I’ll just literally throw some chords or a beat down and then work to that and then it’s only once about three ideas are into it, then it starts to have a bit more of a personality, but I try and keep a good five things that I can say inspired the track whilst I’m making it. Just so it doesn’t end up sounding like one thing.

Which track or tracks are you most excited for people to hear?
I am interested to see what people make of ‘Hands’, which is like the mid track. Just because it’s the breathing point in the middle of the album, I guess and it’s a very personal track that I didn’t at first perceive putting on the album. It was more just for my own listening and I just made it in quite an isolated way, I think. It will interesting, I think, just to see whether people love it or hate it (laughter).

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
I would love to do something with Francis and the Lights; I think he’s amazing. Loads of people to be honest. I was listening to Chance the Rapper this morning and I think his collaboration is almost like his speciality; picking really interesting and inspiring collaborations, like he did a whole EP with Chilly Gonzalez and Boys Noize which are two of my inspirations as well, so working with him would be pretty sick…if he’s got the time, you know…he should hit me up!

Wicked! So after the album is obviously the tour, which places are you looking forward to playing most?
Well, we’ve never done Europe before, so all the European dates are going to be really interesting. Germany and Paris, those will be pretty special I think. But in the UK, I’m excited to come back to Manchester just because it’s been quite overdue I think, since we last played there and the last show was really wicked. So Manchester for those reasons but then obviously the Heaven show’s going to be pretty special because it’s the biggest one.

Yeah, that’ll be cool! If you had to cover a recent chart song, which song would it be?
I don’t even know what’s in the charts (laughter). I’m pretty sure it’s all Drake and Ed Sheeran.

Yeah, pretty much!
Can it be just, if I don’t know how well it charted, but say, I heard it on Radio 1?

Yeah, that’ll do.
Um, I really love…actually, this is definitely a charting song, the Little Mix track. What’s the recent one? It’s basically a dance track.

I think that’s ‘Touch’.
Yeah, ‘Touch’. That’s a tune! (Laughs)

If someone famous was to cover one of your songs, who would you want it to be and which song?
That’s a good question! I definitely love to hear a girl sing the track. (Pause) Um…I’m thinking about this too much aren’t I?

It’s fine. Don’t worry. (laughs)
I think someone like Frank Ocean, he’d do a good job of it. Not that he would (laughs) (I’m a massive fan) but I think he’d take it in an interesting direction and make it really sparse. That’d be cool.

Do you write songs for anyone else?
I would love to. I have lots of songs that are maybe half baked or weren’t right for this album and stuff like that. It’s always something I would love to do – either write with someone or for someone.

Yeah. Who would you like to write for if you were going to do it?
I think maybe something out of my comfort zone or something unexpected. I mean I’d love to do like a massive straight-for-the-gullet pop track, like a Taylor Swift thing or something, but I think those kind of things, it takes maybe a more a super artist-focused thing and you’d probably want to do the writing with that person. But yeah, doing a Taylor Swift song would be pretty fun!

Yeah that’d be cool. Obviously music videos and imagery are a big part of your style, where do you take inspirations for your videos from?
I think there was a golden age of videos in the 90s and early 00s. I kind of like videos, like some Sum 41 videos and stuff like where you acknowledge that it’s a music video. They’re very self-aware and stupid and personality-driven, I guess. I think that music videos, it’s obviously amazing when they become quite a high art form but I think when everyone tried to do that they just became really bland. Something can look cool and really aesthetically pleasing but just be incredibly dull to watch, so I’d rather flip it maybe one way and have just an interesting, fun watch than get too hung up on styling it perfectly or whatever.

Have you got any new videos in the pipeline?
Yeah I do actually. I wrote the treatment for one the other day.

Can you say which track it’s for?
It’s a track called, ‘Treat Me Like A Lover’.

That’s cool, that’s one of my favourite songs on the album!
Oh thanks. I think it’s, you know, kind of similar to ‘Beach’ in that it’ll be very storyline-driven, as opposed to gimmicky, so yeah.

I know you recently put ‘Plastic’ online, have you done one for that track?
I’d love to do one for ‘Plastic’, but I guess it just depends if someone’s going to give me some money to make it (laughter).

That’s a really good track as well. I thought it was really interesting and not like some of the other stuff you’ve done before. It’s quite different – it’s a really good track.
Yeah, for sure! It stays very true to my production demo that I made of it. So all the sounds in there are just like the original stems and samples from my Logic demo of it. I guess its more like a…well, it’s like ‘Hands’; it’s one that I made very much on my own and then took it to someone rather than having this bare framework of a song and then adding the arrangements with someone there. There was already all the arrangements there. I guess it’s maybe more representative of, because it’s one of the newest tracks on there, of maybe where things could go and where I’m kind of taking my writing and production.

That’s cool and leads me on to my next question nicely. Obviously, I know your debut album is only just about to come out, but often it’s a long process. Have you been writing since the recording of ‘Sweet Dreamer’? Have you got more ideas for the next record?
Well that’s what I’m doing today, I’m just in my little writing room. Yeah, I find it kind of weird like lots of people say, ‘Take a break’ but I definitely don’t want to take a longer break than a couple months. It just feels weird having not finished or recorded a song properly in like four months now so I feel like that’s a long enough break, so yeah, I’ve got cracking again.

Will there be pressure on you to produce a second album quite quickly?
Mainly from myself I think. (Laughter) I definitely want to keep sharing it, keep building it and keep surprising people. I have some interesting ideas of where I’m going to take it. There’s definitely no point or no reward for me in making the same thing twice.

What’s your favourite part of being an artist? Live performance? Writing? Recording? PR?
I think obviously it’s all pretty fun; it’s a sick job, for sure, but for me personally, probably the recording process; where it just suddenly starts to sound like something good and you’ve created something that didn’t exist 10 minutes ago and it sounds sweet. You know, for me, that’s the magic rush and the core of it all; you know, without that and if you’ve never had that, then you wouldn’t have everything else. It’s cool.

If you could be any chocolate bar, which one would you be and why?
Which chocolate bar would I be? Um…I think I would be a Snickers; there’s a lot going on. So, yeah…there’s a lot to be gained from a Snickers. (Laughter)

(Laughs) I like that! That’s good! Well thanks very much for taking the time out of your day and your writing, to chat and good luck with your album release.
Thanks dude!


A massive thanks to Isobel for setting up the interview with Will and to will for taking the time to chat – it was great to catch up with him and remember to check out our review of the album, Sweet Dreamer!


Will Joseph Cook‘s releases are all available:


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#reDISCOVERED: Good Charlotte

Welcome to our first re:DISCOVERED post!

Although this post is a trial, to see the reactions it gets, these posts will hopefully be a monthly occurrence, appearing on the first Sunday of every month (the Sunday after our monthly playlist).

This month, we have #reDISCOVERED: Good Charlotte

Good Charlotte Banner2

Good Charlotte originated from Waldorf, Maryland, USA and formed in 1995. Since 1998, the band has consisted of four constant members; twins Joel and Benji Madden, Paul Thomas and Billy Martin; then, since 2005, they have had drummer Dean Butterworth on board.

The band’s frontmen, the Madden twins, had a relatively rough childhood; on Christmas Eve 1995, the pair’s father upped and left, leaving the rest of the family to be evicted from their house. They then went on to work a whole host of jobs to help keep their family in their new home, as their mother had the autoimmune disease, lupus, meaning that she regularly stayed in hospitals. It was in 1996 their band began to take shape and record demos, launching them into their career, slowly but surely. This band and its members are ones I feel truly deserve to be where they are; they’ve worked their way up from nothing, to their global successes and achievements – a true marvel!


Good Charlotte

In September 2000, Good Charlotte released their debut album,¬†Good Charlotte, with their first single,¬†Little Things, being featured in the film, Dude, Where’s My Car?

The band went on to release a couple of other singles from the album, but the next track I want to feature is¬†WaldorfWorldwide which is an album track also taken from their debut album. This song has a very ska-punk feel to it and caught my attention due to it’s interesting vibe.


The Young and the Hopeless

It was in 2002 (USA) and 2003 (Worldwide), when GC released their second album,¬†The Young and the Hopeless, that they fully captured the world’s attention with their first single off the album,¬†Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. This track was iconic dude to its intense pop-punk sound and lyrical content about celebrities and their lack of appreciation for how privileged they are.

Next I’ve chosen single,¬†The Anthem, which literally is an anthem for the band! The video featured cameo appearances from other American pop-punk bands,¬†MEST¬†and¬†Home Grown;¬†New Found Glory were also present at the filming, but weren’t featured in the final video. This particular song has gone on to be featured in a whole host of films, soundtracks and television programmes.

The third single from the album,¬†Girls & Boys, has to be mentioned due to it’s popularity; up to this point this was their highest charting single in the UK, reaching number 6. The song is themed around girls basically being gold-diggers and the video featured elderly people playing video games and ends with Benji Madden, waking up to find an elderly lady in his t-shirt!

The final from this album was¬†Hold On and this song particularly struck a chord with me due to its video. The song was written by the band, in response to letters they received from fans who said they were considering suicide. The video then featured several people talking about their experiences of either surviving suicide attempts or talking about loved ones they’d lost to suicide. This song feels personal and like it speaks out to fans – it’s a song to bring people, going through similar things, together.


The Chronicles of Life and Death

The first single from this 2004 album was¬†Predictable and saw an angrier side to GC. I particularly liked this song at the time, due to its angry, almost-spoken, sections – it really was every emo-kids wet dream to chant along to…and sort of still is! The video was interesting too, taking place in an almost Edward Scissorhands-like town, which was actually drawn by band member, Billy Martin.

Next, I’ve chosen the title track from the album,¬†The Chronicles of Life and Death – this song has quite a plodding feel to its verses before bursting into an anthemic chorus about life and death, as is the song’s theme. It’s quite a simple, yet effective track.

The final song I’ve chosen from this album is the song¬†We Believe; as well as being the final single from the album, this song captured me from the very first listen of the album. I adore the build-up from the mellow verses to the more beautifully chaotic choruses – even the instrumental breakdown feels passionate. It’s a real chanter and makes you feel like you’re part of something special when you sing along. This is possibly one of my favourite GC songs!


Good Morning Revival

Released in 2007, this album saw GC move from pop-punk to dance-punk with its more synth-infused sound. I have chosen the first single off this album, The River, as it is one of my other, favourite GC tracks, featuring M. Shadows and Synyster Gates from the band, Avenged Sevenfold. The song features several Bible references but has a very catchy chorus.

The next song I’d like to mention is¬†Misery, which although was released as the fourth single taken from the album, did not ever have a music video. This song really encapsulates their dance-punk sound from this album; the bridge from the verse to the chorus has an interesting, fast-sung quality to it and works well with the synths underlying the song.

The final song I’ve chosen from this album, was the album track,¬†Broken Hearts Parade, as it’s got a very ska-punk quality to it, similar to their track¬†WaldorfWorldwide¬†from their earlier days.

This album also saw the band support Justin Timberlake on some dates of his FutureSex/LoveSounds Tour.


Cardiology

In 2010, GC released their fifth album. This particular album saw the band return to their more pop-punk sound, with Benji Madden stating that the album would “sound a lot like¬†Blink-182.”

I’ve chosen album track¬†Counting The Days¬†as my first featured song from this album; I love the gang vocals towards the end of the song as it would make a real crowd-pleaser at a live show!

The penultimate track was the second single released from GC’s fifth album,¬†Sex On The Radio. The song’s all-consuming chorus makes you sing along and whilst it’s sort of cheesy, it’s got quite a 1970s/1980s rock feel to it, making it quite a stand-out track.

The last song I’ve chosen is GC’s final single release (to date!),¬†1979. This sound has a very summery feel to it with its predominantly acoustic-driven sound. It also paved the way for¬†The Madden Brothers‘ debut album, Greetings From California, which has a similar vibe, even though it wouldn’t come for another four years after this album. You can read more about The Madden Brothers on our recent¬†#FeelGoodFriday post.


So here it is, the full list of Good Charlotte, re:DISCOVERED. Please feel free to watch the playlist on YouTube or listen to it on Spotify, both of which are found below:

  1. Little Things
  2. WaldorfWorldwide
  3. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
  4. The Anthem
  5. Girls & Boys
  6. Hold On
  7. Predictable
  8. The Chronicles of Life and Death
  9. We Believe
  10. The River featuring M. Shadows and Synyster Gates
  11. Misery
  12. Broken Hearts Parade
  13. Let The Music Play
  14. Sex On The Radio
  15. 1979

As for the future of Good Charlotte, no one is certain. The band are rumoured to be working on a sixth album, but nothing is set in stone, as of yet. We’ll keep you updated though.


I hope you’ve enjoyed our first¬†re:DISCOVERED post about a band who¬†mean a great deal to me. Are you a Good Charlotte fan? What are your favourite songs by the¬†band? Please share this with your friends on your social media¬†accounts and spread the GC love.

Matt – Muzik Speaks