Category Archives: Album Review

Album Review: Kasabian – For Crying Out Loud

Kasabian’s sixth album is fun – a celebratory response to what had been a testing 2016. Tom Meighan still displays his laddish exterior but a more modest and unpretentious personality clearly shines through, reflecting the personal challenges he has had to overcome.
 

This album is full of big tunes and simple uptempo pleasures and takes a step back towards the band’s original doctrine. Whilst still satisfying the followers of their renowned ‘Lad Rock’ the music on this album is more upbeat and moves away from the Kasabian that were in danger of beginning to depress.
Primary songwriter and Guitarist Serge Pizzorno who completed the album in just 6 weeks has described the album as more “simple” than their most recent work and the result is a bundle of massive tunes with instant impact and melodies that sound familiar but bristle with joy.
The opening track Ill Ray (The King) encapsulates the celebratory influence that the band have aimed for, with a thundering chorus that will reverberate around the festival circuit this year.
You’re In Love With A Psycho is a declaration that you can’t choose who you love and features rhythmic and intricate guitar work from Pizzorno that highlight the influences of his hero Berry Gordy.
Other notable tracks include TwentyFourSeven a Stones influenced rock track and the Good Fight featuring a vocal to and fro between Meighan and Pizzorno
There are more mellow tracks such as Wasted which provides a melancholic interlude and the beautiful All Through The Night which showcases the vocals of Pizzorno.
Sixteen Blocks is a definite risk taker with a radical reggae backdrop topped by a big singalong chorus. 
Come Back Kid sees a return to the Kasabian swagger, Bless This Acid House is a cracking track with influences from the Buzzcocks , and the carefree and peppy Good Fight even features a boogie-woogie piano, a reminder that Kasabian do not always follow the expected format.
The final track Put Your Life On It, originally premiered at the band’s King Power Stadium shows last May, is an ode from Pizzorno to his wife, a celebration of love and life featuring the DMU Gospel Choir.
For Crying Out Loud provides confirmation that Kasabian are back where they belong. Inspired and influenced not just by the ups but also the downs of life, this album will certainly not disappoint the loyal following the band have accumulated over the years.
Written by: Lindsy Stott

Album Review: Mallory Knox – Wired

There have been a number of mixed reviews about this long awaited album – described as ‘a journey of self-discovery’ for Mallory Knox, and not all have been favourable. However – this album is good – very good and a showcase of British talent on the alt-rock scene.
To coincide with the release this Cambridge five-piece rock band are embarking on a headline tour throughout March and April.

Whilst the rise of Mallory Knox has been slow, they have developed a sound and dedicated fan base from their previous two albums even though mainstream support has been lacking.

Wired is an album with attitude and will appeal to a wider audience than their previous releases it is clear that the band is appealing to new fans with strains of the Good Charlotte, Biffy Clyro and even All Time Low coming through.

The opening track Giving it up is an exploding, catchy lead single with a resounding chorus sees a more aggressive vocal lead from Mikey Chapman and Lucky Me, Wired and Saviour successfully maintain this loud, aggressive, high-tempo structure throughout.

California is a pop-punk revival, an optimistic love song combining quieter moments that again has a catchy, upbeat chorus.

For You sees a distinct change of pace but will be a favourite with Mallory Knox followers of old and it is a recount of the impact, effects and struggles of living with a mental health issue. This does seem to be a common theme throughout the album, with Better Off Without You referencing Sam Douglas’ personal struggle with anti-depressant medication; both tracks and both tracks feature the heavy riffs and dominant guitars so familiar with Mallory Knox.

Falling In Love a Biffy Cyro inspired track is a quieter , more melancholy track whilst Midnight is a catchy pop-punk inspired track and Come Back Around a reflection of optimistic alt-rock.

Wired sees Mallory Knox opening up to their fans and exposing their more vulnerable side, highlighting issues the band have faced over the years, resulting in an album of exceptional music and exemplary lyrics. 

This may be the album that finally allows Mallory Knox to join their more successful British contemporaries – Lower Than Atlantis and You Me At Six, an opportunity that they so well deserve!
Written by: Lindsy Stott

Album Review: The People The Poet – Paradise Closed

The People The Poet – Paradise Closed

Release date: April 1st 2016

Members: Leon Stanford – Vocals, Tyla Campbell – Guitar, Pete Mills – Bass, Lewis Rowsell – Drums

The Pontypridd rock outfit made lots of new friends at SXSW in Austin, Texas – so much so that the have been invited back again this year. In addition, they will shortly be releasing a new 6 track EP ‘ Paradise Closed’ – a follow up to their critically-acclaimed debut album The Narrator (2013).

‘Happy Being Miserable’ – an upbeat song that is the opening track for a more carefully produced and accomplished collection of songs than the band have previously released . This track is a witty,  heavily laden sarcastic track that is both fun and catchy

‘Club 27’ follows and is by contrast a blues based track and the forthcoming single to be released on 15th March. With a sound that could be likened to Bruce Springstein’ this is a strong anthem track that deserves to receive due acclaim being a stand out song that pays tribute to some of the music world’s young losses; this will definitely engage audiences and have them singing along

‘Matchday’ – this previous released single which has received an encouraging amount of airplay as well as having been used for Welsh Rugby Union coverage – reminiscent of the Killer’s Sam’s Town, with Leon Stanford duetting with occasional support singer Greta Isaac.

‘Same Heart’ – reminiscent of Kings of Leon – an undulating and rolling track with strong drum tempo, lyrically very clever and thought provoking, supported by haunting and delicate guitar riffs.

‘Needle In A Haystack’ – a track that would slip easily into a Coldplay album, another catchy track with changing tempos, it is quite simply instrumentally brilliant.

‘When The Fire Goes Out’ a memorable track with strong acoustics and leading piano. The soft tempo of this track, with delicate guitars, builds to showcase a depth to Leon’s voice that is a match for Chris Martin or Bono.

This EP is superb and showcases a variety and depth to their music and songwriting that few bands around at the moment have, and without doubt the best they have written so far. This band have produced an EP of quality that deserves serious recognition; this band have a strong future.

5/5

Written By: Lindsy Stott

Album Review: No Devotion – Permanence

• Lee Gaze – lead guitar, backing vocals (2014–present)

Mike Lewisrhythm guitar, backing vocals (2014–present)

Jamie Olivervocals, piano, keyboards, synths (2014–present)

• Stuart Richardson – bass guitar, backing vocals (2014–present)

Geoff Ricklylead vocals (2014–present)

Touring

Philip Jenkins – drums, percussion (2015–present)

Session musicians

• Matt Tong – drums, percussion (2015–present)

No Devotion have released their long awaited debut album, Permanence which signals a new sound and a new beginning for the four remaining members of Lostprophets. Teaming up with Geoff Rickly, who has also swopped his frontman duties from his previous band Thursday, and drummer Matt Tong, the former Bloc Party drummer, this seasoned group have produced an album of contrasts – post punk infused with subtle electronic rock, grinding bass and pulsing beats offset with vocal harmonies and distorted guitar melodies. There are elements from The Cure, New Order and Joy Division.

This welcome fresh sound  celebrates a new chapter for this band who emerged from the shadows with the release of the first, and very addictive single Stay last year, which was followed by the catchy 10000 Summers.

These two upbeat tracks contrast with the darker I want to be your God – a track that evokes the sound of fellow Welsh compatriots Manic Street Preachers.

There are experimental longer tracks – Night Drive and Grand Central both run to over 6 minutes each, as well as an unexpected instrumental track Death Rattle.

Permanence is a finely crafted and polished piece of collaborative work that captures the angst of past events but signals a new dawn. Their refreshing sound has been welcomed across the alternative music scene and the future looks bright for this transatlantic group.

No Devotion are currently in the midst of their first US tour, being supported by former Kids in Glass Houses drummer Philip Jenkins, having just played a number of select shows across Europe and Great Britain following their successful appearances at the Reading and Leeds festivals this Summer.

Permanence
Collect Records

  1. Break
  2. Permanent Sunlight
  3. Eyeshadow
  4. Why Can’t I Be With You?
  5. I Wanna Be Your God
  6. Death Rattle
  7. 10,000 Summers
  8. Night Drive
  9. Stay
  10. Addition
  11. Grand Central

Written By: Lindsy Stott

Album Review: That’s The Spirit – Bring Me The Horizon

Bring Me The Horizon

That’s The Spirit released on 11 September. 

Oliver Sykeslead vocals, programming, keyboards (2004–present)

Lee Malialead guitar, backing vocals (2004–present)

Matt Kean bass guitar (2004–present)

Matt Nichollsdrums, percussion (2004–present)

Jordan Fish − keyboards, vocals (2012–present)

Bring Me the Horizon are a British rock band from Sheffield, Yorkshire. Formed in 2003, consisting of lead vocalist Oliver Sykes, lead guitarist Lee Malia, bassist Matt Kean, drummer Matt Nicholls and keyboardist Jordan Fish.

Bring Me the Horizon’s latest album That’s the Spirit follows on from Sempiternal, released in 2013, which became their most significant commercial achievement to date.

That’s the Spirit however, is a much more mature album that will undoubtedly raise this ambitious group to the next level. It is guaranteed to swell their fanbase as it’s appeal extends beyond the ‘shouty heavy metal’ that we are so used to towards a sound that surprisingly hints of ‘pop’!

The distinct lack of Oli Sykes trademarks screams are due to the fact that his vocal chords can no longer sustain the immense strain put upon them and is a factor in the new direction of this album. With few traces of the bands recognisable aggression, this fresh direction may stem from Oli Sykes decision to check himself into rehab two years ago after coming clean about his addiction to the party drug ketamine, and this album reflects the emotional vulnerability and paranoia that inevitably came from this difficult period in his life.

The release of Drown in October 2014, originally as a stand-alone single, received such a positive reception from even their stalwart fans and this reaction spurred the band on to complete That’s the Spirit – an altogether smoother and sleeker offering than previous releases.

Doomed is a larger than life opening track, showcasing the strength and quality of Oli Sykes voice, whilst providing a leaning towards the previous album Sempiternal.

Happy Song, following this powerful opener, is an album highlight that neatly sums up the band’s transition to arena-ready rock.

Throne – with it’s unmistakable ‘Linkin Park’ sound is a powerful piece of pure rock, followed by True Friends which provides a heavier lift to the middle of the album.

Follow You sees Oli Sykes displaying a touching and emotional side of his personality; perhaps influenced by his recent marriage, the mellow vocals are backed up with poignant lyrics such as “promise me you’ll never leave my side” and “you can drag me through hell and I will follow you”.

What You Need is a track that not only highlights the impressive vocal range of Oli Sykes but also features a rarely heard but sublime guitar solo from Lee Malia .

Whilst Avalanche boasts memorable, driving singalong choruses, Run counteracts this with a mix of darker and deeper drum rhythms and synthetic sounds

Drown is huge – a classic arena track, a festival must that will reinforce Bring Me The Horizon’s entry into the rock scene.

Oh No is a track that will undoubtedly cement their position as rivals to the likes of You Me At Six and could set the band on track to achieve their ambition of headlining Reading and Leeds Festival next year!

This Sheffield band are ambitious and with That’s The Spirit have adapted their sound to help them achieve their dreams. The UK rock scene has a new band who appear determined to challenge for the top spot and will be bringing with them a host of new fans.

Written By: Lindsy Stott

Album Review: The Maccabees – Marks To Prove It

Orlando Weeks – vocals.

Hugo White – guitars

Felix White – guitars, backing vocals

Rupert Jarvis – bass

Sam Doyle – drums

Will White – keyboards and samplers

The Maccabees exploded onto the UK indie scene almost a decade ago with an album extolling the charms of a South West London swimming pool and its wave machine called Latchmere.

Now, nine and a half years later the band are still seeking inspiration from their urban surroundings but have moved their focus a few miles east to the grittier surroundings of the Elephant and Castle.

Marks to Prove It, which has been 3 years in the making, is an altogether more mature and raw album that showcases the sounds of urban life with the underlying menace of violence never far from the surface!

With a total of 11 songs lasting over 41 minutes tell of a series of cautionary tales – a story that requires listening to in the carefully prescribed order.

Opening with title track and single Marks To Prove It, this is a clear statement of how far the band have come and exudes the energy and fun of their early days.

The gently opening Kamakura, which follows on nicely from the previous album Given to the Wild , succumbs to a cacophony of bass and atmospheric guitars, with an explosive chorus that depicts the experience of riding the 3am night-bus.

Ribbon Road too, has slow-building power , starting with an eerie silence that develops to showcase Orlando Weeks’ soaring and powerful voice.

Spit It Out is a stand out track. At five minutes long it opens with a combination of haunting vocals and keyboards that are soon overtaken by drums and guitars that shape of the song and reveal a heavier and angrier side to The Maccabees.

Marks To Prove It, Kamakura and Spit It Out form the A side of the album; the following second half of the album, comprised of softer-edged tracks backed by brass and saxophone, sadly have few defining moments with the tracks tending to blur into one

Silence – a semi acoustic rendition marks the change of mood and begins a more reflective and melancholy phase of the album.

River Song, spills over into the lamenting tones of the blues guitar led Slow Sun, followed by Dawn Chorus which features a mix of ardent brass set against delicate vocals

WWI Portraits is an exception to the torpor of the second half of the album – displaying a rousing guitar line and depicting a sense of urgency and a welcome return to a more upbeat delivery.

The Maccabees are now very much an album band and this latest album an accumulation of all the things that we enjoy from them. The Maccabees have condensed and simplified what they do best but refreshingly they are not afraid to be a bit raw and spiky – the result is a surprisingly solid, satisfying and beautifully crafted piece of work  but on the journey there are both moments of mesmerising brilliance and also some lulls.  

Written By: Lindsy Stott

Album Review: The Gospel Youth – Empires

The Gospel Youth:

Sam Little – Vocals/Bass

Julian Bowen – Guitar­­­

Kev Deverick – Guitar

Max Wingell  – Drums

The Gospel Youth, an up and coming band from Brighton are made up of members from two previous bands The Auteur and Fleeing From Finales.

Following on from the release of last year’s debut EP Kids, The Gospel Youth have been hard at work writing and recording the follow-up EP, Empires, set for release on 13th July. Bassist and vocalist Sam Little says that Empire depicts ‘The highs and lows, the love, the hate’ and ‘It has been, and is a trip that we’ve lost ourselves into and tried to pour into this record’.

The result is an accomplished and memorable follow up EP that should set this Brighton quartet on course to follow in the footsteps of other current, notable British bands. Their sound, can be likened to and draws on the strengths of both Deaf Havana and Mallory Knox, whilst successfully managing to maintain a uniqueness and individuality.

The EP is delightfully varied. Upbeat catchy tracks such as Homesick, Stay Positive and Empires highlight the very adept guitar playing of Julian Bowers and Kev Deverick – displaying delicate finger work and complex riffs, set against the accomplished, driving drum rhythms of Max Wingell.

In contrast, the mellow and beautifully written If She’s The Rope showcases the on-point vocals of Sam Little – a voice of surprising depth and strength, which successfully duets against the subtle yet deft strains of a single guitar.

Each member of this band provide a talented contribution, displaying vocals and accomplished musicianship that will take them far. The Gospel Youth are a band that deserve greater recognition – they are certainly a match for the bands currently at the top of they game on the UK rock pop scene.

Look out for this band; I am sure you will soon begin to hear a lot from them and deservedly so!

Written By: Lindsy Stott