#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.


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Two4Tunesday: Troye Sivan – ‘Bloom’ & Jess Glynne – ‘I’ll Be There’


   

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Troye Sivan – ‘Bloom’

Troye Sivan is South African-born, Australian singer, songwriter, actor and YouTuber who has been gathering a huge online following over the past few years.

Openly gay, Sivan describes ‘Bloom’ as a, ‘subversively queer song,’ that sees him take on the role of a passive guy losing his virginity. Although it’s full of innuendo, it is a really fun, subtle track that has an incredibly catchy chorus (but not in an obvious sense). It’s summery and deserves to be played loud…I expect his pride appearances this year will be huge!

No music video (as such) has been released, however a 3D animated lyric video, created by Jason Ebeyer, was released, featuring an animated version of Sivan floating through a fantasy land.


‘Bloom’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bloom-single/1375827482



Jess Glynne – ‘I’ll Be There’

Jess Glynne is finally back with the first single since her 2015 debut, I Cry When I Laugh, indicating that her second album is on its way!

‘I’ll Be There’ is an uplifting track with very soulful and gospel-like qualities to it whilst maintaining a contemporary pop sound. It is a track that transcends as it progresses; this song makes it easy to see why she’s won a Grammy! I hope this is another Number 1 hit for her, like 2015’s debut, ‘Hold My Hand’.

The video itself doesn’t appear to have much of a narrative however the locations she performs in are pretty interesting and vibrant colours certainly play an important part throughout. Well worth a watch.


‘I’ll Be There’¬†can also be downloaded from iTunes now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/ill-be-there/1376766204?i=1376767301


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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*UPDATE* #Playlist: Save A Life – How Music Helped Save Me…


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22nd December 2017

The idea for this post came about whilst I was contemplating creating the annual Christmas playlist I’ve done since I started Muzik Speaks back in 2015, but I quickly realised that I was purely doing it because of the time of year and with the thoughts that as a music blog, I should probably pump out something Christmassy.

Inside though, I’m just not feeling like celebrating Christmas this year and truth be told, I’ve been through a very dark patch for a few months now.I began this blog as a lover of music (ever since I can remember) but also with the old saying in mind that “music speaks louder than words” and I truly believe that in many ways, it does…hence the blog name!

However, since September this year, I was propelled into an incredibly difficult place and since then my head has gone through a very dark, deeply depressive and isolated state and it’s only now, that I’m starting to see some distant, very small rays of light at the end of the long, outstretched tunnel ahead, but with those rays, they have brought just a scrap of positivity into my life.

During the period I mentioned, one of the first things to take a hit was my passion for music – something which has always been an obsession of mine, and looking back, that was a key indicator that I was suffering from depression, although I couldn’t recognise it at the time. I’ll be honest and say that at my lowest point, for a couple of weeks or so, I contemplated suicide almost every day, for what I was being put through and how I was being treated and self-harm was something that alleviated just a tiny bit of the desire/waves of compulsion I felt, to end my life. I wish I hadn’t I let myself get to that stage now, and would never advocate someone do that, but I share this as a plea for people to seek support from whoever and wherever they can, to help give them some much needed strength during their darkest times.

As clich√© as it sounds, the song ‘1-800-273-8255’ by Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid came into my life by happy accident and instantly made an impact on me – it truly kept me going for a couple of weeks straight.

And then slowly but surely over the last few weeks, my passion for music has been really reignited – by mainly angry/empowering rock songs at first; Thirty Seconds To Mars‘This Is War’ was on repeat for a few days and then more recently, Linkin Park‘s ‘Faint’. The tone to those two songs really helped me to channel the anger I was feeling about the place I was in and charged me up with a little renewed strength.

However once I’d started to get over the anger, I began to truly take time to reflect where I was at with my mental state and objectively begin to deal with my dark thoughts and the things that were eating me up inside. It was at that point that a whole host of songs began to play their part in reshaping me and helping me to truly confront with what I was going through.

That is why I decided to create a playlist that is very personal to me and filled it with the songs that had a hand in keeping me alive, helped me to regain a fraction of my normal self and begin to deal with things, each in their own unique way.

Save A Life - Colour

I guess in some way, I’m hoping that this playlist will reach even just one person who is going through a similar rough patch and that it helps them to fight back against their depression and regain their confidence and love of life, or that someone who has already come out the other side can relate to this and appreciate the songs for their unique qualities, thought-provoking lyrics and/or empowering styles.

I should add that I have been very lucky to have my partner, family, some good friends and even my dog (not that she’ll ever know it) to support me through this bleak time and they too have played a vital role in helping me get through this.

Additionally, I sought some counselling – at first it was over the phone but I quickly found that I was craving some human interaction and so went to meet a counsellor and that too has been invaluable to helping me, so I recognise that whilst it’s not entirely the music that has helped me, it was during the times, when I was alone, that this music kept me company, provided me with time to think and played a vital role in aiding me to recover some of my former mental well-being.

I just think that at this time of year, people can feel so alone and having been through what I have, I understand that not everything is joyous for everyone at Christmas time and so I am hoping this playlist will provide something different for people who are feeling down, depressed or suicidal and that it might provide some sort of pick-me-up that you might need or that my story or the music strike a chord with someone and give them something to stop and think about.

My message to anyone who is struggling is just know that things can get better if you hang in there. Believe in yourself and most importantly, take each day as it comes. Fill your time with things you enjoy doing, however small or simple – embrace them. Talk to whoever you feel comfortable talking to, whether it be friends, family or someone anonymous via a helpline – don’t bottle things up. Find joy in music you love, films you enjoy or any other things you like to do and try to take your mind off what you’re worrying about and try to envisage what a happier future would look like.

Finally, I really would like to take the time to ask you to donate to a good cause – if you are going through something similar to me, you have already been through it and managed to come out the other side or even just that you have enjoyed this playlist or felt something for my story, then please visit our JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/muzik-speaks or www.papyrus-uk.org/donate¬†(please quote Muzik Speaks somewhere in your donation) and make a donation – ¬£5 is enough to pay for one phone call, text or e-mail with a young person – you truly can help ‘Save a Life’.
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*UPDATE* – 8th July 2018

Life continues to get better, but I still find I have to take it day by day. My journey through fighting what I’ve been put through continues, but music is certainly helping to empower me. Sure, I still find I have ups and downs and there are certainly days where dark thoughts pass through my mind and there are definitely times where I’m consumed by rage but I suppose that’s all part of the healing process.

I also have to reflect on the good things in life; my loving partner, my beautiful dog and companion, my wonderful family, my ever-supportive friends, music, this blog…there’s lots to be positive about! That’s so important when you’re finding life tough – no matter how hard it is and how hopeless you might feel, take just a minute to try and find something positive, no matter how small it may be and reflect on that. Try to push the dark thoughts out of your mind (or at least to the back of it) and know that life can get better, you just have to hang in there.

And talking. I still maintain that finding someone, anyone, you can trust and talk to, is paramount to fighting your inner demons. The old saying, “A problem shared, is a problem halved,” is very true and should not be underestimated.

I feel this journey may continue for many months to come, until I feel fully back to my normal self, and so undoubtedly this playlist will continue to grow but in the months since I first posted this, I have found 10 new tracks that have continued to help me.From the beautiful¬†William Ryan Key‘s¬†‘Vultures’ to the angry anthem that is¬†‘F.W.T.B.’ by¬†Yonaka;¬†Panic! At The Disco‘s¬†‘(Fuck A) Silver Lining’¬†is a satirical and uplifting track whilst¬†A R I Z O N A‘s¬†‘Freaking Out’¬†helps with those times you just want to let loose and go a bit mental;¬†music is really helping to heal some of the pain.

So, to all of those on this playlist, thank you for making your music. You don’t know how much you’ve helped, and continue to help!

Playlist

  1. Greyson Chance – Seasons
  2. Logic Р1-800-273-8255 featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid
  3. You+Me – Open Door
  4. Kesha – Praying
  5. Years & Years – Eyes Shut
  6. Demi Lovato – Skyscraper
  7. Justin Bieber – I’ll Show You
  8. Kyan Palmer РBurn Mona Lisa
  9. The Fray – How To Save A Life
  10. Angels & Airwaves¬†– A Little’s Enough
  11. SafetySuit – These Times
  12. Jessie J – Who You Are
  13. Nicki Minaj РFly featuring Rihanna
  14. Thirty Seconds To Mars – This Is War
  15. Linkin Park – Faint
  16. Yellowcard – Fighting
  17. Story Of The Year – Can Anybody Hear Me
  18. Jimmy Eat World – Electable (Give It Up)
  19. Angels & Airwaves – Lifeline
  20. Good Charlotte – We Believe
  21. SafetySuit – Looking Up
  22. Remedy Drive – Daylight
  23. Bars & Melody – Scream
  24. MUNA – I Know A Place
  25. Kesha – Learn To Let Go
  26. Superfruit – Future Friends (Brian Robert Jones Choir Remix)
  27. You+Me – Unbeliever
  28. You Me At Six – Carpe Diem
  29. Simple Plan – I Don’t Wanna Be Sad
  30. OneRepublic – I Lived

Update –¬†July 2018

31. William Ryan Key РVultures
32. A R I Z O N A РFreaking Out
33. Shawn Mendes РIn My Blood
34. The 1975 РGive Yourself A Try
35. YONAKA РF.W.T.B.
36. Good Charlotte РActual Pain
37. Ariana Grande РNo Tears Left To Cry
38.¬†Jess Glynne – I’ll Be There
39. Panic! At The Disco Р(Fuck A) Silver Lining
40. SafetySuit РVictory


If you have a story you are willing to share or you want to discuss anything in this post, then please leave a comment; I would just ask that you remain sensitive with what you write on this post please. I also urge you that if you yourself are feeling suicidal or you are concerned about someone, to please call¬†PAPYRUS¬†on¬†0800 068 4141, text¬†07786 209697 or e-mail pat@papyrus-uk.org – whilst I am always happy to talk, I’m not a trained professional but people at PAPYRUS are, and will do their best to help.


#FeelGoodFriday: Angels & Airwaves – ‘The Adventure (Acoustic)’


   

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It’s been just over 10 years since¬†Angels & Airwaves released their debut album,¬†We Don’t Need To Whisper and in celebration of that,¬†Tom DeLonge¬†has re-recorded acoustic versions of 4 fan favourites, on a special¬†We Don’t Need To Whisper Acoustic EP (released on iTunes today).

Their debut single,¬†‘The Adventure’,¬†was released in 2006 and reached Number 20 in the UK charts, kicking off a fantastic side-project for Tom DeLonge and co. Since then, the band has had a few member changes but that hasn’t stopped them branching out from music into feature films, graphic novels, novels and more.

This track is a refreshing take on the original and is just as beautifully captivating and uplifting, just in a different way. It may have been stripped back but it hasn’t lost any of the passion or essence that made the original so exceptional. My only flaw with the EP is that I would have loved the whole album to have been re-recorded in this style.

No music video has been made as yet but the lyric video serves as a brilliant companion piece with a series of behind the scenes footage from the era of the debut album’s inception and recording.

What are your thoughts on this acoustic version of ‘The Adventure’? Have you got a #FeelGoodFriday track for us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘The Adventure (Acoustic)’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-adventure-acoustic/id1272287286?i=1272287919


#WildCardWednesday: Matt Woods – ‘Nothing Less’


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Matt Woods is an up-and-coming UK-based artist who blends his soulful vocals with synths to create an electronic R&B vibe.

“This is probably both the saddest and most upbeat song I have put out so far,‚ÄĚ declares Woods, continuing, “I love the idea of people getting some joy out of what is really a¬†heart breaking¬†sentiment.”

And somehow this song does just that, manages to be uplifting, yet sultry, all at the same time. His falsetto vocals sit atop an almost euphoric, yet simple soundscape. It manages to stray enough away from the current tropical house trend so as not to follow it, but not so far away that it’s still edgy, current pop music.

No official video has been released yet, but as always, we’ll keep you updated on this.

What are your thoughts of Matt Woods? Will you be checking out more from him? Please let us know your thoughts or tell us your own #WildCardWednesday track in a comment below or via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Nothing Less’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/nothing-less/id1161718543?i=1161718708