#Review: Millencolin – SOS ūüöÄūüÜė

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Millencolin are a punk rock band from Sweden, consisting of all four original members,¬†Nikola Sarcevic¬†(vocals & bass),¬†Mathias F√§rm¬†(lead guitar), Erik Ohlsson¬†(rhythm guitar) and Fredrik Larzon¬†(drums). To date, the band have had eight studio albums and played all around the world, including at America’s prestigious Warped Tour. Now, 2019 marks the release of SOS, the band’s ninth studio album since their 1992 inception, some 27 years later! Here’s what we have to say about the record…

Millencolin - SOS.jpg

SOS kicks straight in with the intense, apocalyptic-sounding title track, gripping you with its chugging guitars and haunting vocal chants, making it instantly clear that this is very much a punk rock album and not a commercialising into the pop punk realm.

That said, there is something very commercial about the album’s glistening production; vastly different from that of some of the band’s earlier records.

Additionally, there’s actually something very traditional about this album, like Millencolin have followed the recipe for the perfect skate rock record – ‘For Yesterday’ and ‘Nothing’ are perfect examples of this and particularly reminiscent of early Goldfinger or Alkaline Trio. However, in saying this, it also demonstrates that the band have not quite made any moves to vary their sound or try to push the boundaries of the genre, though there are bound to be countless fans that will appreciate this.

‘Sour Days’ and ‘Reach You’ particularly stand out, and although some of the most “radio friendly” tracks on the record due to their big choruses, they’re possibly the most vocally and instrumentally interesting with great harmonies and pristine changes in tempo across both.

It’s definitely a well-produced record with some strong choruses and impeccable instrumentation.

‘Yanny & Laurel’ is a good, story-telling song and interestingly named after the 2018 debate about whether a sound clip was saying the word ‘yanny’ or ‘laurel’ and is cleverly reflected with an auto-tuned chorus around the two words.

Sadly, there are some songs that just lack sincerity and would sit better on blink-182 or Green Day album (though don’t get me wrong I love both those bands), like ‘Do You Want War’ and ‘Caveman’s Land’. Both tracks have strong instrumentals but lyrically border on cringe-worthy.

‘Carry On’ really brings the album home with a strong, nostalgic-feeling chorus, which sounds almost like an audible farewell. The drums at the start, instantly draw you in and by the end of the track, it’s descended into just the right amount of chaos that you’re both satisfied and left wanting more.

Overall, SOS is a politically charged public service announcement, and takes a rather negative take on the current state of the world, even referencing the decline in society and impending end of the world as we know it. But then isn’t that what all punk rock is about?

It’s definitely a well-produced record with some strong choruses and impeccable instrumentation, however there are certainly the odd lyrical improvements and risk-taking elements that could be adopted by the band, going forward. I guess it could just be put down to, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Rating
3.5


‘SOS’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sos/1441157359


SOS on Spotify

SOS (Official Video)

Nothing (Audio Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Millencolin’s latest album,¬†SOS? Are you a fan? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#Review: Alan Walker – Different World ūüĆć


   

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Alan Walker¬†is a young, Norwegian DJ and record producer who burst onto the scene with his¬†2015 single,¬†‘Faded’ (featuring uncredited vocals by Iselin Solheim) –¬†now platinum certified in over 10 countries and as of December 2018, the music video has received well over 2 billion views! Since then, he has had many successful singles which have received tons of attention online, through countless YouTube views and Spotify streams. Alan has also collaborated with and remixed music for likes of Noah Cyrus, Sia, Bruno Mars, Avicii, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Kygo, Charli XCX, Julia Michaels and more. Now, December 2018 sees the release of his debut album,¬†Different World. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Alan Walker - Different World

Alan Walker‘s debut album makes an atmospheric opening with the haunting use of synths and wordless vocal melodies, building continuously, however, just as you think it’s reaching a crescendo that will surely lead into the first track…it goes quiet! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for atmospheric album tracks that build into the next but the 3 tracks on the album (out of 15), that are intended to prelude something bigger, just drop off like this, leaving a lot to be desired in this respect – they should flow right into the next track, seamlessly!

Some of the best tracks on the record include: ‘I Don‚Äôt Wanna Go’ (featuring Julie Bergan) with its really interesting, low vocals throughout the verses before breaking out into a wonderfully powerful chorus yet it’s obviously very Alan Walker in style, with the almost bubbly synths. Then you’ve got ‘Lily’ (featuring K-391 & Emelie Hollow), an almost story-like track, with a rather dark undertone to it. The high-pitched vocals contrast incredibly with somewhat sinister-sounding electronic elements to the instruments.

‘Do It All For You’ (featuring Trevor Guthrie) begins with a haunting, nursery rhyme vibe to the instrumental; its warbling chime sounds and hip-hop-style beat bring something fresh to the ears. It isn’t an instantly or obviously catchy track yet it’s very well written and you quite easily find yourself singing it several hours later. ‘Sing Me to Sleep’ (also featuring uncredited vocals by Iselin Solheim) is a very powerful song containing shakingly beautiful vocals (somewhat like Ellie Goulding), accompanied by the haunting sounds of children playing throughout the start and verse. Meanwhile, the synths a like a blend of some well-know Chicane and Owl City instrumentals.

However, possibly the best, most commercial-sounding song on the album, is single, ‘All Falls Down’ (featuring Noah Cyrus, Digital Farm Animals & Juliander). It’s just catchy, fun and despite the slightly down-hearted subject matter, is strangely uplifting.

It’s actually an album that depicts a rarely heard, somewhat dark and edgy side of EDM and it’s brilliant!

Both ‘Lost Control’ (featuring Sorana) and ‘Lonely’ (featuring Steve Aoki, IS√ĀK & Omar Noir) have an urban/Indian edge to them, mashed up with a gritty, broken quality to the synth sounds. Whilst, ‘Darkside’ (featuring Au/Ra & Tomine Harket) sounds a lot like ‘I’d Do Anything’ from the musical, Oliver! in the chorus – it has sensational production with a lot of subtle flourishes underlying the main melodies and ‘Diamond Heart’ (featuring Sophia Somajo) makes good use of rain sounds to add to the atmosphere, topped off with a strong vocal like Dua Lipa meets Sia.

Unfortunately, ‘Alone’ is nothing more than a solid album track, that I am certain fans will love, but it’s not the most memorable track, by far, despite the typical Alan Walker-style synth breaks.

Of course, it wouldn’t be right not to mention ‘Faded’; the track that really launched the producer and songwriter into the limelight – as with a couple of my favourite debut albums released by fellow EDM producers this year, it’s a really touching way to end a debut album; bringing it all back round full-circle to where their career began. A great little touch!

It’s clear that Walker likes to use real sounds to enhance the soundscapes he creates, which really add to the ambience throughout the record – it might just be one of the saving graces of the record, making him stand out from so many other EDM producers.

All in all, it’s actually an album that depicts a rarely heard, somewhat dark and edgy side of EDM and it’s brilliant! As I’ve previously stated, if Sigala‘s album was the soundtrack to the party and Jonas Blue‘s was the soundtrack to the after party, then Alan Walker‘s debut album is the soundtrack to the gritty underground club after that!

Whilst I think there are several things lacking in this record, he has certainly spent a long time crafting a production-perfect debut with some interesting sounds or synth choices here and there that add just enough variety to delight your ears and make it stand out.

After the success of ‘Faded’ and the loyal online following he’s built up, I’m sure Alan Walker will have an illustrious career ahead within the genre…it’ll be interesting to see how he develops and grows from here.

Rating


‘Different World’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/different-world/1445140820


Different World on Spotify

Faded (Official Video)

All Falls Down featuring Noah Cyrus, Digital Farm Animals and Juliander (Official Video)

Darkside featuring Au/Ra and Tomine Harket (Official Video)

Diamond Heart featuring Sophia Somajo (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Alan Walker’s debut album, Different World! What do you make of it? 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 hit us up via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MellowMonday: Zara Larsson – ‘Ruin My Life (Piano Version)’


   

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Zara Larsson is an incredible pop singer-songwriter from Sweden, who has collaborated with the likes of Clean Bandit¬†(Symphony) and MNEK¬†(‘Never Forget You‘), and released a whole heap of monster solo hits too.

Since the release of her debut album,¬†So Good, back in 2017, she has been busy touring and undoubtedly working on new music with her latest single,¬†‘Ruin My Life’ being her first new music since then.

The song itself is a very up-beat pop track that has some rather wonderful production but since the release of the piano version, I haven’t been able to get enough of it. It’s amazing how such a catchy pop track can be made into such a beautiful ballad just by stripping it back to a piano!

Sit back, relax, turn it up loud and get lost in all of its beauty!

What are your thoughts on the piano version of this pop song? Do you have a #MellowMonday 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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‘Ruin My Life (Piano Version)’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/ruin-my-life-piano-version-single/1443604009


#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Everywhere


   

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Everywhere released their most recent single,¬†‘Moments’, back in 2017 and their fantastic EP,¬†Fiction Act back in 2016,¬†but have been busy doing a whole range of things, from writing to gigging and much more, since then. We were lucky enough to get some time to catch up with them and chat about a few things. Here’s what they had to say…


Hey, how’s it going?
Hey man! Awesome, how about you??

Very well thank you. Obviously you recently released your awesome new single,¬†‘Moments’, and the reception seems to have been great. Is this a sign of a new EP or album in the pipeline?
Thank you so much! Yes, ‘Moments’ was a sort of in the middle kind of track to keep the juice flowing. We‚Äôre currently penning another bunch of tunes that should end up on another EP, hopefully around this fall!

What other future plans have you guys got?
We‚Äôre looking at getting out on another tour to promote some new music, also doing loads of writing for film and TV in Hollywood. We‚Äôve become kind of a factory ūüôā

That sounds incredible! Where do you take inspirations from when writing your music?
We recently discovered a pretty neat trick, think it was Taylor Swift who said it. Basically, we write down fun and cool titles as they come to mind and during our daily writing sessions, we work these titles around tracks that we make. It’s an easy was to stay creative and never let the process stall.

What’s your usual process for writing/recording?
Our frontman Max has his daily sessions, when he sits down and builds tracks in Logic, he then takes those tracks into writing sessions with London writers and producers and builds demos. He then takes those demos to the rest of the band who expands on those arrangements. When we have a good amount of songs, or sketches we then head into a bigger studio such as Abbey Road, or if we happen to be over in LA we go to East West where we create the final master.

Wow! Abbey Road…pretty cool. So, if you could do a collaboration with anyone, who would it be and why?
It would be a pure pleasure to work with Max Martin. Just for the pure fact that he’s had so many Billboard hits and is a fellow Swede.

What music have you been listening to most recently?
Mostly our own, as we’re currently doing loads of writing. Other than that it’s the usual suspects, a good mix of classic rock and top 40 hits. Recently rediscovered Echo & the Bunnymen, The Cure and loads of other nice little nuggets from the past.

If you had to cover a recent chart song, which song would it be and why?
It would probably be ‘Rockstar’ by Post Malone, such a masterpiece.

What makes a great show for you?
One where people turn up and go nuts. A sold-out show is always a great one.

Do you have any pre-show or post-show rituals?
The singer, Max, always stays sober but drinks a Red Bull while the rest of the band get hammered.

Haha! Has anything scary ever happened to you on tour?
This would be a perfect place to deliver a well crafted lie, but unfortunately, besides a few heavily overweight old women going for a good grab from behind, that large disaster is yet to arrive *knock on wood*

Do you have any other passions outside of music?
Politics, painting and reading.

What really grinds your gears?
Death Metal, not the greatest thing since bread. Wouldn’t categorically call it bad but generally it’s not up our street.

What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
I must say The Disaster Artist was amazing, just had me nailed from beginning to end and would warmly recommend it to anyone.

If, in say 20 years time, a film was made about your life, who would you want to play you?
Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Edward Norton and Mark Wallberg, directed by Michael Bay.

Haha! That’d be one EPIC movie! If you could be any chocolate bar, which one would you be?
Snickers.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Focus on your craft and the rest will follow. People tend to overestimate their skills and always wonder why the success never happens.


Everywhere‘s releases are all¬†available:


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#MellowMonday: Frida Sundemo – ‘Gold’


   

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Swedish songstress Frida Sundemo has released her brand new single, ‚ÄėGold‚Äô, ahead of her highly anticipated international debut album,¬†Flashbacks & Futures, due out on 6th October.

This track is a soaring, cinematic masterpiece with its rousing synths, beautiful otherworldly flourishes and Frida‘s sweet-as-honey vocals. This track had me hooked from the very first line, “Take a deep breath.” It’s genuinely a song that feels like a short film and takes you on a journey, like no other song I’ve heard.

Regarding the single,¬†Frida says, “‘Gold’ is about being brave and embracing the beauty of life. It‚Äôs about having the courage to risk something that‚Äôs ‚ÄĚalright‚ÄĚ for the chances of getting something you really dream about.”

No music video has been released as yet, but we’ll keep you posted. The audio can be heard below though.

What are your thoughts of this sensational singer-songwriter? Got your own #MellowMonday 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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‘Gold’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/gold/id1273236455?i=1273236941


#WildCardWednesday: Cazzette – ‘Handful Of Gold’ featuring JONES


   

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Swedish electronic music duo,¬†Cazzette, have recently released¬†an exciting new track¬†that is catching a lot of people’s attention, particularly from the dance music community.

‚ÄėHandful Of Gold‚Äô features¬†London-born vocalist,¬†JONES,¬†who released her debut album last year. The track features a rather light beat, enhanced with dreamy guitars before dropping into a rather intense, horn-sounding slam. The whole track is topped off stunningly, by¬†JONES‘¬†soaring vocals. It’s a song I can picture massive crowds dancing to at big dance festivals this summer.

The track¬†will also be featured on Cazzette‚Äôs upcoming¬†EP,¬†‚ÄėTime‚Äô, which is scheduled to be released on June 23rd 2017. No official video has been released but for now, we have another video featuring the track, below.

What are your thoughts of this club-like banger? Got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or your own song suggestions in a comment or hit us up via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Handful Of Gold’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/handful-of-gold-feat-jones/id1223012347?i=1223012349


#Two4Tunesday: Zara Larsson – ‘I Would Like’ & Starley – ‘Call On Me (Ryan Riback Remix)’


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Zara Larsson – ‘I Would Like’

Swedish singer, Zara Larsson, has been making waves across UK radio since last year and her recent single,¬†‘I Would Like’, is no exception.

The song is a huge pop anthem and sees Larsson put her trademark voice to good use and samples ‘Dat Sexy Body’¬†by the Jamaican singer Sasha.

It is the second single to be taken from Zara’s upcoming, second studio album and has already spent quite a while in the Top 10 of the UK charts, peaking at Number 2!

No official video has been released as of yet, so check out the lyric video below.


‘I Would Like’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/i-would-like/id1174091029?i=1174091103



Starley – ‘Call On Me (Ryan Riback Remix)’

‘Call On Me’ was the debut single from Australian singer¬†Starley back in July 2016 but it was the remix, by Ryan Riback, that¬†has recently found success across Europe.

It takes on that pop/tropical house style that is currently so popular but somehow still¬†remains unique due to Starley‘s fantastic, catchy chorus. I’m definitely excited to see what else she releases in the future!

No video has been released for the remix single release but you can check it out in a YouTube video below.


‘Call On Me (Ryan Riback Remix)’¬†can also be downloaded from iTunes now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/call-on-me-ryan-riback-remix/id1163190877?i=1163191089


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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