#Review: Now, Now – Saved


   

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Now, Now are an American indie duo originally from Blaine, Minnesota (USA), now based in Minneapolis. The band now consists of founding members, KC Dalager (vocals/guitar/keyboard) and Brad Hale (drums/backing vocals) after a recent departure from their line-up. To date, they have had two, somewhat heavier albums and this, Saved, will be their third, full-length release. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Now, Now - Saved.jpg

It’s been a decade since their more thrashy, emo-esque debut album, Cars, was released (back when they were called Now, Now Every Children) but since then, Now, Now have clearly been working hard on mastering the art of slick production.

This is an album that successfully merges emotive, thought-provoking lyricism based upon relatable topics, with warm, summery production; it’s credible songwriting with certain mainstream, pop sensibilities.

Saved is a stunning record. It has everything from catchy choruses and atmospheric synths to chugging guitars and heavy beats.

It kicks off with the acoustic-led, summer tune ‘SGL’ (short for Shot-Gun Lover) which would be the perfect road trip track, through the open roads of America. From there, you’ve got the captivating ‘MJ’, which makes reference to Michael Jackson‘s ‘Billie Jean’ topped off with a galloping beat (somewhat similar to MJ‘s ‘A Place With No Name’ from 2014’s Xscape)

Another significant track is ‘Window’, with its shimmering synths and manipulated vocals, that continually ascend. It’s a song about desperation for someone;“Every night I’m at your window, Wonder when you’re gonna let me in.”A truly atmospheric track.

Just listening to this album, puts you in an instantly good mood due to its stunning production and uplifting vibes.

‘Powder’ is a massive tune and a superbly powerful and passionate close to the album; it has a catchy, fun start with delicate guitars and subtle synths but as it goes on, descends into a very interesting and heavy breakdown with gritty synths.

There are certainly a lot of resemblances that can be made across the album too: ‘Can’t Help Myself’ has whispery vocals, somewhat similar to Geowulf; ‘Knowme’ is a house-like track with calm, electronica vibes, with elements of Chicane to it; ‘Set It Free’ makes cheeky reference to “wandering hands” and has a certain something about it that reminds me of a cross between The Cardigans and Sixpence None The Richer; ‘Drive’ has a beachy, Lana Del Rey vibe and ‘Holy Water’ is a song which I find merges MUNA with early Dido (with the use of industrial-like sounds) – it’s beautiful and euphoric. That’s in no way saying that they are copying other artists but perhaps making a nod to them; if anything it just goes to show what an eclectic record they have managed to create, with a little something for everyone.

As far as albums go, this is diverse and interesting with a real excitement about it. Just listening to it, puts you in an instantly good mood due to its stunning production and uplifting vibes. They have managed to craft a sound that is somewhere between airy beach-pop and grungy rock, evoking nostalgia and varying emotions throughout. This is fantastic record that is sure to be the soundtrack to many people’s summers this year.

Rating


‘Saved’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/saved/1365088448


Saved on Spotify

AZ (Official Video)

SGL (Official Video)

Yours (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review; what do you make of this band’s latest album, Saved? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#Review: The Wonder Years – Sister Cities


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerThe Wonder Years are an an American pop punk band from Pennsylvania, USA that formed in July 2005. Since their humble beginnings, the band have released five full-length albums, two EPs, and had several split releases with other bands. Now, 2018 sees their sixth album release and possibly their most unique record to date. Here are our thoughts on Sister Cities

One thing is for certain; with this album, the band have all but shed their iconic pop punk sound and become more of an alternative rock outfit. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as it shows a certain maturity and evolution, but with that comes a much darker tone to their sound and far heavier themes to their songs. This is something fresh and rare for the genre.

The conception of this album stems from the band’s huge, 2 year tour in support of their 2015 release, No Closer To Heaven, which had frontman Dan Campbell (or “Soupy”, as he’s known to his close friends) reflecting about life on the road. It was whilst touring that he experienced heartbreak and took a somewhat emotional beating and this can be heard by the cracks and subtle imperfections in his vocals, showing a very real and very raw set of emotions.

From the thunderous and kinetic energy of opening track, ‘Raining In Kyoto’, we are taken on a journey from the bustling heights of Japan, through the catchy-as-hell choruses of title track ‘Sister Cities’ before ultimately ending on the thought-provoking, ‘The Ocean Grew Hands To Hold Me’.

The poetic lyricism and excellent musicianship make this an inspiring collection of eleven, achingly mesmerising tracks.

This is an album that is steeped with references of death and a genuine sense of nostalgia. Its realness is altogether dark; it’s both tense and intense. From the wonderful lyrics, “There’s a bird inside your rib cage,” on ‘Pyramids of Salt’, which starts as quite a twisted and emo ballad, before becoming a desperate plea for forgiveness, to the beautifully poetic language and crisp-sounding voice of the passionate ‘Flowers Where Your Face Should Be’, the band have captured their raw emotions with perfection.

The sounds on the record lie somewhere along the lines of Brand New but married up with a grittier sounding Panic! At The Disco vocal (as on ‘Raining In Kyoto’) and the melancholic intensity of Sonny Moore‘s days in From First To Last (like that of the rather heavy track, ‘The Ghosts Of Now’).

Kudos must go to The Wonder Years for taking a brave step away from a more mainstream sound and venturing into a more post-hardcore realm with certain emo qualities, to ultimately create a somewhat concept album; something that’s no mean feat to achieve. You won’t necessarily walk away from this album feeling as uplifted as you would after hearing bop-along, perfectly-(over)produced pop punk record, but the poetic lyricism and excellent musicianship make this an inspiring collection of eleven, achingly mesmerising tracks, documenting a 2-year insight into the band’s lives.

Rating


‘Sister Cities’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sister-cities/1337276526


Sister Cities on Spotify

Sister Cities (Official Video)

Pyramids of Salt (Visual Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest album, Sister Cities? Are you a fan? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or talk to us about it via our socials.


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#Review: Milestones – Red Lights


   

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Milestones are a British pop punk band, hailing from Manchester. The quartet, fronted by singer Matt Clarke, have worked with producer, Phil Gornell (Bring Me The Horizon and All Time Low) to produce their debut album, Red Lights; their first full-length record with Fearless Records. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Milestones - Red Lights.jpg

Milestones are certainly making a mark on the pop punk scene with this strong, punchy debut…but are they bringing anything new to the table? Not really, but nevertheless it works!

The album is quite formulaic with its use of ‘Woah ohs’, ‘Na na nas’ and other gang vocals, amongst a whole host of stop pushes, grungy guitars, semi-cliché lyrics about being against the world and such like, and to top it all off, are some straight-up, damn-catchy choruses.

It’s quite easy to make comparisons with bands like All Time Low, We The Kings and to some extent You Me At Six, but most notably, The Friday Night Boys, due to their pop punk precision and following of the modern tendency to over-produce these types of songs. Furthermore, being a British pop punk outfit, they’ve followed in the footsteps of so many others, by adopting the faux-American accent and referencing places in the USA (probably due to the amount of time the band have spent touring over there), but this band will still undoubtedly have made a name for themselves with this actually, pretty great album.

There are huge, sing-a-long choruses that would easily fill a stadium and Matt Clarke‘s epic vocals are delivered with massive power and heaps of conviction. It sure shows a band who know their sound and have the strength to produce a powerful album.

There are some mammoth highs, with powerhouse songs like ‘BitterSweetHeart’‘Once Upon A Time’‘Paranoid’ and ‘Liar’ and trademark, heartfelt “ballads”, exposing their more vulnerable side, with tracks such as ‘Against The World’‘Hold On’ and ‘Counting Cars’, all of which further fits themselves in to the mould. With its minute-long intro, ‘This Is My Life’ provides a moment of calm amid the album, almost splitting it into two parts, before kicking into the main song and ‘Eighteen’ is just a bit of fun, though lyrically lacking in some ways, whilst ‘Forever Or Never’ is a big track, bringing the album to a good conclusion.

Whilst it might sounds like I’m slating this record, I’m not trying to; I’m merely pointing out the current trends in the pop punk genre, but I actually thoroughly enjoyed it and have had it on repeat since receiving it. There are huge, sing-a-long choruses that would easily fill a stadium and Matt Clarke‘s epic vocals are delivered with massive power and heaps of conviction; he sings ‘Now I’m stuck in this fucking rut’, almost spitting out ‘fuck’ like no one I’ve ever heard. Overall, there are some stunning moments on this album (the harmonies in the middle 8 of ‘BitterSweetHeart’ being one of my favourite) and though it may not blaze trails within the genre or lead to world domination of the market, it sure shows a band who know their sound and have the strength to produce a powerful album.

Rating
3.5


‘Red Lights’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/red-lights/1336609728


Red Lights on Spotify

‘Paranoid’ (Official Music Video)

‘BitterSweetHeart’ (Official Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Milestones’ debut album, but what do you think of it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it via our social media accounts.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Dashboard Confessional – Crooked Shadows


   

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Dashboard Confessional are an American rock band from Boca Raton, Florida, led by frontman, singer and principle songwriter, Chris Carrabba. Since their debut album release, back in 2000, the band have gained a massive, loyal following and are now releasing their seventh album, Crooked Shadows. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Dashboard Confessional -Crooked Shadows.jpg

It’s been eight years since the band’s last album but Chris Carrabba and the rest of Dashboard Confessional are back with a new studio album, however this one has just 9 tracks, making it more of a mini album. Also, traditionally known to be a fairly emo band, this album sees them venturing into slightly newer territories.

It all kicks off with ‘We Fight’, which is an all-out, scream-it-at-the-top-of-your-lungs anthem for anyone and everyone that’s got something to fight for…or against, whilst ‘Heartbeat Here’ is a mellower, acoustic, crowd pleaser that is just begging for an audience to chant along with it. ‘Catch You’ and ‘About Us’ have some simply stunning yet powerful vocal harmonies, epic choruses and great, subtle use of synths. Then there’s ‘Belong’ (a collaboration with Cash Cash) – this is the most unique track on the album, and sees the band take on a much more modern sound (almost venturing into Maroon 5 territory). On first listen, I actually felt like it was almost confusing the direction of the album a bit, but it’s actually become one of my favourite tracks on the record…plus it provides a welcome change in vibe at the midway point. However, I’m certain that this track will be divisive amongst fans and that many will not like tropical-house feel or over-produced nature.

Crooked Shadows is very much an album that has something for everyone – it demonstrates that they aren’t afraid to update their sound with the times.

There are also couple of slower, more emo-style, heartstring-pullers, ‘Open My Eyes’ and the almost ‘Time Of My Life’-esque (Green Day), ‘Just What To Say’ (featuring Chrissy Costanza) that expose Carrabba’s raw emotion and vulnerable lyric-writing abilities. Whilst the title track, ‘Crooked Shadows’ and ‘Be Alright’ are big, rock-out songs.

Crooked Shadows is very much an album that has something for everyone and whilst it’s probably never going to quite live up to the fans’ love of A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar, it really is a fantastic new release and a great comeback record. It demonstrates that they aren’t afraid to update their sound with the times. I thoroughly enjoyed it; it’s just a shame that there aren’t more tracks.

Rating


‘Crooked Shadows’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/crooked-shadows/1334380586


Crooked Shadows on Spotify

We Fight (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Dashboard Confessional’s seventh studio album? Do you agree with our rating? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or share your feelings about it with us on our socials.


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#Review: The Dangerous Summer – The Dangerous Summer (Self-Titled)


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerThe Dangerous Summer are a rock band from Maryland, USA who formed back in 2006. Since then, they have had 3 main studio albums (if you exclude the acoustic version of their debut), making this, self-titled album (The Dangerous Summer), their fourth.

The Dangerous Summer Cover.jpg

After frontman AJ Perdomo took some time away to concentrate on fatherhood, and having cut down to a trio, the band are back with their fourth full-length album, to much excitement from fans.

Whilst I wouldn’t say this is an emo band per se, they are a far cry from their slightly more light-hearted debut, Reach For The Sun, with vocals that sound more beaten and weathered and lyrics that feel as though AJ Perdomo is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.

There is something very nostalgic and reminiscent about this album (both sonically and lyrically) and it appears that a lot of self-reflection has gone into the writing of it. Some of the intricate work and echoing effects on the guitars of ‘This Is Life’ and ‘Fire’ leave audible space for the listener to be taken in and reflect too – something I believe was done deliberately, in order to allow the lyrics to reach out, for maximum effect.

It is an album of poetic melancholy, even in some of its lighter moments – a solid, interesting and well-rounded collection of songs that work brilliantly together and will be appreciated by fans new and old.

Some of the stand-out tracks for me, include: ‘Color’ for the sheer force with which it launches the album, starting off as a mellow but tortured cry before descending into a more chaotic scream of atmospheric noise with the lyrics “I’m not quite myself” ringing aptly; as mentioned before, ‘This Is Life’ and ‘Fire’ for their beautiful sound and wonderful lyricism, ‘Luna’, which is a touching dedication to his daughter – I particularly love the lyric, “You are the architect to all your dreams,” and lastly, ‘When I Get Home’ which is a welcome break in the record, for its slightly more up-beat yet still edgy pop punk feel (and appreciation for their friends and the place they call home) and whilst it’s quite different to the other tracks on the album, somehow it manages not to feel out of place.

This album is definitely not one which is pushing the boundaries of the genre by any means, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – sticking to what they know and doing it well, shows that they are a band who know themselves. It is an album of poetic melancholy, even in some of its lighter moments, so if you’re feeling like indulging in a little self-loathing or reflecting on darker times and trying to find solace in them, then this is an album for you. It is a solid, interesting and well-rounded collection of songs that work brilliantly together and will be appreciated by fans new and old. Whether you’re into edgy, alternative rock with a large portion of emo lyricism and a gravelly vocalist or you simply enjoy the sonic beauty of a band like this, then you’re bound to love it. I honestly do think it’s a fantastic album; a triumphant returning record for the band and I thoroughly enjoy listening to it – the only reason I’ve rated it 3.5/5 is purely because I’m not sure how well it’ll stand out, over time.

Rating
3.5


‘The Dangerous Summer’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-dangerous-summer/1297025337


The Dangerous Summer on Spotify

Fire (Official Music Video)

Ghosts (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our latest album review! What do you think of The Dangerous Summer’s latest album? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or join the conversation via our social media.


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#ThrowbackThursday: Orson – ‘No Tomorrow’


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Orson were a Brit-award wining band from Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

The band formed in 2000 and split in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2006 that the band really gained their first success, with their debut single, ‘No Tomorrow’.

This song ended up reaching Number 1 in the UK charts and went on to become the UK’s 12th best-selling single of 2006! Although many people think of the band as one-hit-wonders, they did in fact have 2 albums!

The song is a Power Pop/Indie Rock belter that just screams to be chanted at the top of your lungs, so go on, rock out your #ThrowbackThursday like it’s 2006 again!

What did you think of Orson? Do you still love this song? Please share your #ThrowbackThursday song choice with us in a comment below or via our social media accounts.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘No Tomorrow’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/no-tomorrow/id154229489?i=154229538


#FeelGoodFriday: Mark Ronson – ‘Uptown Funk’ featuring Bruno Mars

Mark Ronson Banner

This song has been a sensation all over the world and it’s still making it’s mark on the chart today (28 weeks it’s spent there to date!)

Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars have been collaborating for a while (Ronson produced several of Mars‘ tracks) and this song blew up for the pair, scoring Ronson his first UK and US Number 1 single and album!

The song’s funk and disco vibe set it apart from a lot of other mainstream singles, with clear influences from bands such as Earth, Wind & Fire and Wham!

This song has deserved its success as it’s a quality produced, funk-loving, boogie-fuller marvel! The music video is the perfect visual companion to the song too! The pair must be revelling in their genius for this one!

I still can’t get enough of this song! Are you over this tune yet or still loving it? Please share this across your social media platforms. Share the love 🙂

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Uptown Funk’ can be downloaded from iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/uptown-funk-feat.-bruno-mars/id943946661?i=943946671