Let’s start this one with a sweeping yet thoughtful statement. Derbyshire-based electro-rock-pop duoCrushing Blows are extraordinarily hard to describe. Put it this way, they descrive themselves as ‘noise-pop’. That’s not even a thing.
There’s so much in their music, it’s impossible to listen to it all in one go without missing something. In fact, their latest EP, a self titled record is only four songs long, and yet it seems like they’ve managed to pack so much into it that they’re almost impossible to put into a genre without missing out a huge chunk of the music.
It might sound from this that Crushing Blows are too technical and too complicated for their own good. Cries of “it’s too complex and overpacked, it’ll sound a mess” would be well reasoned, justified arguments. But they’d also be dead wrong. Opener The People You Will Never Meet sets the tone for the rest of the record – it has a slow, plodding and yet peaceful feel to it, but there’s still elements from thrash (trebly sounding, distorted guitars) to psychedelic funk in there that mix up the sound nicely, don’t sound too complicated and make the music hard to classify. It’s really talented, and really well done, because this style of music is something that could be quite easily ruined if not properly paid attention to.
The rest of the EP continues in this fashion, I Dream of Becoming a Girl is a psychedelic, trippy masterpiece of crystallised sounding synthesizers and dance-track-esque basslines that have the capacity either get a listener lying back and relaxing, or on their feet bounding up and down like a loon. In some ways, the music is quite scary.
Issues – really not many at all, but there’s a couple. As a sound, the fact that it’s hard to classify(whilst a good thing when it comes to originality) means that some listeners might shy away from it (their loss) because it’s not what they’re used to. Going deeper into this idea, those who do dare to listen to it might find that it’s just too strange to listen to. In Lehman’s terms, the music is almost post-modern.
Overall, then a great EP, if a little bit weird and trippy. Nothing wrong with this, though, it will just take a bit of getting used to if Crushing Blows are to make it into the mainstream. Nobody is denying that the guys have songwriting talent, though, they’re really onto something that could make them very successful, as well as very expressive. Keep it up, it’d be great to hear more.
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/11/crushing-blows-crushing-blows-12-11-2012-super-heavy-weight-records/#.UJvT9m996So
Critically acclaimed and highly praised singer songwriter Ellie Goulding returns with her latest full length studio album entitled Halcyon. It’s the follow up to the extremely well received album Lights,which contained such hits as “Starry Eyed”, “This Love” and “Guns and Horses”, and if this reviewer is perfectly honest, it’s been a long time coming.
The overused cliché is that Halcyon should be “that difficult second album” for Goulding. Yes, it’s an overused phrase, but in this case there’s definitely some truth in it – she has a lot to live up to after Lights. In fact, the unparalleled success of the former makes life difficult for this album, and it shows right from the beginning. Opener “Don’t Say a Word” immediately comes across as more thoughtful, slow and emotive, and this theme carries on throughout the rest of the album, especially on “Joy”.
Goulding seems more conscientious about how her music is going to be interpreted by her listeners than she was on Lights, where the music was anything and everything she wanted it to be. Consequently there are more prevalent themes on Halcyon, with electronic, hefty, slow and melodic songs prevailing. The tracks aren’t oppressive or fast, but clearly demonstrateGoulding’s skill both as a vocalist and as a lyricist. It’s still bass-heavy, but that doesn’t come across as the point of the music. The style allows her vocals to develop wonderfully, taking control of each song and making themselves known. It also allows her lyrics to flourish, and they’re more noticeable than they perhaps would have been produced by another mainstream musician.
The one thing that could be said against this album is that it does have a lot less emphasis on the image of a singer songwriter. The music feels a heck-of-a-lot more electronic than before, which is surprising considering the vast majority ofLights was quite electronic. The prevailing instruments are that of the synthesizer, a bass guitar and an electronic drum kit, alongside heavily effect vocals. The acoustic guitars have for the most part (with the exception of title track “Halcyon”) been consigned to the dim and distant past, and in some ways that’s a shame, though the transition does work. Goulding thankfully has the talent to pull it off, and this fits comfortably as her new signature sound.
Overall, it’s a different kind of release from Ellie Goulding. Halcyon is a more electro-pop yet a slightly darker sounding album than Lights. It could be interpreted as another way in which Goulding is attempting to find her feet, and if that’s true that means that Halcyon is a slight concept album. But, whatever the interpretation, the important thing is that it’s a good album. It really is.
Read the original article here: http://www.drunkenwerewolf.com/2012/09/28/ellie-goulding-halcyon/
Texan music maestro and electro-pop sensation Matthew Dear returns with his new release, tentatively entitled Beams. His fifth studio effort is an easy listen, but it still remains true to the dance-music roots that Dear has made so much effort to stick to.
Spending a few years in Detroit, well known for its contribution to techno music, Dear’s retro electronic influence is clear. His is an available yet nostalgic brand of music, certain to appeal to a wide audience. This ease of access has apparently held Matthew Dear in good stead over the years, and Beams is set to be no exception. It’s a dynamic and psychedelic record, with a lot of strange sounds in the background that might raise an eyebrow or two on first listen, but in the long run, it’s definitely a grower. Beams doesn’t really know where to sit – there’s music not unlike to club and dance tracks, vocals not unlike David Bowie or even Marilyn Manson, and percussion in the background that wouldn’t sound out of place at a Stomp show. Despite all of this, though, Beamsis on the whole quite pleasant to listen to.
The 70s and 80s influences that Dear is so famous for relaying are clear. Uplifting synth sounds are used in conjunction with some great padded bass lines that make tracks sound not unlike Eurythmics, darker Vangelis or any similar 80s electro-pop act. It’s a throwback; nostalgia for anyone who was in their teens in 1986. It’s also an interesting, new direction for the younger listener open to new genres. Above all Beams is an accessible, reflective album that has both clear influences and clear talent.
There aren’t many issues. This is the kind of music that is very clear on what it’s meant to sound like: the ‘does-exactly-what-it-says-on-the-tin’ kind of approach. That’s all very well, but if the music is no good the plan is irreparably flawed. Happily Matthew Dear’s music is good, so this approach only helps his success. The only real problem is that the nostalgic techno might be dismissed as ‘unoriginal’ by more cynical listeners.
Overall however this is another success for Dear. It’s not like he isn’t used to it, but apparently it’s not gone to his head, because he’s still making great music. In terms of this album, it’s just as catchy and just as accessible as it would be if it were to come out in 1985, and that, it seems, is the point.
Release date: August 27th 2012, Ghostly International
Read the original article here: http://www.drunkenwerewolf.com/2012/08/21/matthew-dear-beams/
Pop-rock act General Fiasco are a rare gem of a band, the type of which, sadly, aren’t discovered very often. This album, their latest full length studio release entitled ‘Unfaithfully Yours’ showcases that perfectly, as it’s a perfect mixture of musical talent and, music that’s actually good (as talented music isn’t necessarily good).
It’s hard to describe the music on ‘Unfaithfully Yours’ without resorting to very overused phrases, phrases which don’t do the album justice particularly. It’s rock music, with a melodic vocal overtone and an excellent, shoulder-bop-inducing groove to it. Brilliant, that describes just about every indie-rock album out there. See? That just doesn’t do it justice. This album has got that little-bit-of-something that makes it slightly different, slightly special, and, overall, that little bit better than every other indie-rock album.
Looks like there’s no alternative. Overused phrases it is. To put it on a basic level, the music style and especially some of the verses have the capacity to remind one of indie bands such as The Hives, or similar. On top of that, there’s extremely catchy choruses, melodic vocals and an excellent rock/indie groove that gives this album a solid backbone with which to work.
Now for the tough bit. That extra bit that’s tough to put into words. Well, this album has a little bit of everything, so that’s a good starting point. From melodic, sing along pop-punk songs in the form of ‘Closer’ to a harder rock style on ‘Bad Habits’, which is a song that instantly makes a listener want to start headbanging like they’re fifteen again. That’s an example of that little something that makes this album special compared to other albums. There’s even a classic-rock esque guitar solo on ‘The Age You Start Losing Friends’ that can only bring a smile to a listener’s face, unless they’re completely without musical feeling, in which case they need to be locked in a dark room with a full iPod and not let out again until they’ve listened to everything on it.
Bad points–that’s even tougher. There’s enough variety on this album to keep everyone happy, except possibly hardcore metal-heads. If one were to nitpick, it could be said that some of the solos are a little unnecessary, and some of the songs a little repetitive. That’s not really noticeable though.
Overall, an extraordinarily well put together album, lyrically heartfelt and musically talented. It has ups, downs, fast music and slower, more emotive music, as well as lighter, indie-pop styles and harder, rockier sounds. Something for everyone, and everyone will be happy. Excellent.
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/07/general-fiasco-unfaithfully-yours-30-07-12-authority-communications/
London based pop/ska band Buster Shuffle (formed under the motivation of apparent imminent homelessness and a need to get free beer) return with this; their latest full-length, self-produced studio album Do Nothing – a title that completely belies the effort the band put into writing, recording and putting it together. The end result is something rather special.
In fact, this album is best summed up in one word – nostalgic. Do Nothing is a collection of songs that remind a listener of age-old favourites like Madness, bringing a smile to the face. The great thing about it, though, is that it’s modern and fashionable rather than dusty and old-fashioned. Buster Shuffle bring pop/ska into the 21st century and, refreshingly, make it extra-cool.
Highlights of the album – The Lake Song brings the tone to a slower pace, giving it a more thoughtful and emotive twist whilst still keeping the feel of the music upbeat and interesting. It’s a nice breather from the fast-paced music of the opening four tracks giving the listener time to find their feelings about the music without having to take too much in, all in one go.
Vocally, the distinct accents make some very interesting listening, giving the music a more regional feel and adding to the nostalgic feeling of the music (again, it throws a general salute in the direction of pop/ska legends Madness). Musically, it’s very talented. Funky bass lines, just slightly protruding from behind shoulder-bopping guitar and piano give an overall pleasant sound and help to support the vocals very well. It gives an overall extremely ‘catchy’ sound and gets the shoulders moving back and forth appreciatively.
Problems – it’s slightly samey. Each song is easily distinguishable from another, but it can get tough to remember which song is which due to the similar tempos of each song when compared to another. This is an issue easily resolved – a listener just needs to listen to it more! Nothing brings familiarity to an album that constant listening and, due to the quality of the music on Do Nothing, listening to it more won’t be an issue for many people.
Overall then, Do Nothing is a catchy, nostalgic salute to an era of pop/ska gone by, brought forwards into the 21st century and re-popularised. The decline of the style means that Buster Shuffle are now one of the forefront runners in revitalising it, giving them an edge in reaching the target listening audience. Plus, the sheer quality of the music means that whosoever they do manage to reach with this album is likely to be hooked on it immediately. Fabulous.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/album-review/buster-shuffle-do-nothing
Unsigned pop-rock quartet The City Divided, hailing from the county of Hertfordshire, last month released their debut EP The Endless Moment under their own steam. Hertfordshire is a county that is rapidly becoming famous for producing rock bands, the most prominent being Enter Shikari, and then also The Subways and more recently indie rockers The Electric Modern. The City Divided are the latest act to come out of the county, with catchy, sing along choruses, epic build-ups and smooth, mellow interludes on this, their debut EP.
It’s quite hard to class this release, actually. It’s not pure rock, it’s not pure metal, it’s not pure pop, either. The closest that a listener can come to classing it is ‘pop-metal’, but there’s masses of eighties style power metal in there (especially on Higher Ground) that makes even that quite tenuous at best. What it is, though, is catchy. It’s a very varied release in terms of sound and style.
It’s a well structured release. The opener Laughing is very tone setting, very catchy and really sets up the rest of the release. Higher Ground is more of a meaty and in some ways comedic song, with obvious influences from other genres and even other decades. Watching the World Burn slows down the EP considerably and is a much more emotional song which really displays the singing abilities and the vocal range. The final song Waiting at the Gates is all about the build up to an epic finish, and is therefore a very fitting end to an epic EP.
Limitations – as a whole EP, it’s a bit short, and the inclusion of now released single Blue wouldn’t have gone amiss either. Plus, the heavier sounds, pinch harmonics and Killswitch Engage-esque chugging sounds, as well as the odd inclusions of tight vocal screams might not be to everyone’s taste, if they’re looking for a catchy pop-band. Otherwise, it’s a very impressive release.
Overall, The City Divided have provided an impressive and soon-to-be successful release, and it will surely help them to be noticed in the very near future. They’re definitely another band from Hertfordshire to keep an eye on. 8/10.
Find out more about The City Divided at their website, here: http://www.thecitydivided.com
Canadian electro-pop sensation Lights has in recent months managed to take the Internet by storm, and has caught the attention of fans all over the world. Now, armed with a powerful new full length album, entitled Siberia, the name of which is apparently inspired by an old family quote, the stage looks like it could be set for Lights to continue wowing worldwide audiences and shoot straight to electronic-pop-based stardom.
Siberia screams one thing – bigger, better, more mature and more anthemic than before. Lights has gone into overdrive to create popular, catchy, sing along electro-pop, with a much more ‘real’ feeling to it than previous releases. It’s an album that one can take seriously, sing along and just generally enjoy listening to. Lights also seem to have jumped on the popularity of the dubstep genre, with some dub-based aspects rearing their heads throughout the album as a sort of salute in its direction.
Musically, it might suffer from a small amount of repetition inherent to writing electronic music, so there’s not much than can be done here. Lights overcomes this by putting slower, less thudding-bass-orientated and more melody-based songs next to some of the more intense ones, giving the impression of a constant chop and change in pace, so the repetitive nature of electro-pop is masked and the interest of the listener maintained. It’s repetition that’s masked quite well, actually.
The obvious comparison to other electro-pop artists like Owl City can still be made, which is slightly unfortunate. This seems to be inherent to the genre, as they all might sound similar but in actual fact Lights’ voice works better with the music than the auto-tuned tones of Owl City, it seems to fit in with the music in a more coherent and structured way. Auto-tune is more sparingly used here, as an added effect, rather than a staple backbone of the album, which is pleasant to hear. It might better to make the comparison, vocally, to some material by Ellie Goulding, if the latter was to make more electronic sounding music than she actually does.
Overall, it’s a more mature, developed and thoughtful release from the Canadian electro-maestro. Lights is quickly growing as an artist as her popularity dramatically increases, by clearly incorporating more aspects into her music, to demonstrate her reaction to her reception with her previous releases. This album is sure to at least maintain the popularity that she already had, and it seems almost certain that it’s going to increase her fanbase a lot. Aside from the slight issues inherent to her genre; repetitiveness and the issues surrounding writing songs that all sound different, it deserves a good 8/10.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/album-review/lights-siberia
- Biffy Clyro – Opposites Album Review (Planetmosh Review)
- When We Were Wolves – The More Things Change, The More We Stay The Same EP Review (Planetmosh Review)
- Alexisonfire – Death Letter EP Review (Bring the Noise Review)
- Lewis Watson – Another Four Sad Songs EP Review (Never Enough Notes Review)
- Parkway Drive – Atlas Album Review (Bring the Noise Review)
- February 2013
- January 2013
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- June 2011
- Born Music Online
- Bring the Noise
- Contact Music
- Never Enough Notes
- New Junk
- Popped Culture
- The Daily Mail
- The Daily Post
- Two exams down, one to go. COME AT ME BRO. - posted on 16/05/2013 13:07:52
- One exam down, I'm having tonight off. - posted on 14/05/2013 17:45:24
- Exam 1 of 3 tomorrow. Beginning of the end? #BUGGERED. - posted on 13/05/2013 23:17:54
- Three exams that I'm certain to fail and it's all over. Piece of cake. - posted on 08/05/2013 23:11:40
- Get in, Ronnie! - posted on 06/05/2013 20:43:26