Tag Archives: Album

Album Review: Mayday Parade – Monsters In The Closet

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Mayday Parade first appeared on the scene back in 2007 when they released ‘A Lesson In New Romantics’ They quickly gained a following within the pop-rock community yet still managed to have their own distinctive sound. Their second release ‘Anywhere But Here’ came two years later however received mixed reviews from critics noting that the introduction of outside writers did not work in the bands favor. With this in mind they went on to release their self titled album, again two years later, with no outside help and it proved to be their most successful album yet. They have now returned, after another two years, with ‘Monsters In The Closet’ (We’re noticing  pattern here)
The bands general sound has hardly altered but then they have found a formula that works so why change it.

The main thing to note is the musicianship has become slightly more complex. The guitars provided by Brooks Betts and Alex Garcia for example aren’t the boring riffs found in most pop-rock they have become more complex, more intricate. This is surely what will set this album apart from every other pop-rock band out there in what is now a very over-saturated market.

Derek Sanders distinctive voice dominates the album, opening with a track called ‘Ghosts’ beginning with Sanders singing a cappella with drummer Jake Bundrick providing backup vocals. Some had hoped Jake would get a track where he can showcase his vocal abilities, unfortunately that is yet to happen. This slow start is quickly moved up a notch when Jake’s drumming comes into play.
There are many classic Mayday Parade songs on this album including ‘Nothing You Can Live Without, Nothing You Can Do About’ the call-and-return vocals we have grown to expect and some clever lyrics.

What Mayday Parade do best is their ballads and this album is no exception, for example ‘Even Robots Need Blankets’ is a light piano ballad (reminiscent of Miserable At Best) but it has a slight twist, the melancholy lyrics are missing. Instead it is a light-hearted love song that will make you feel all warm inside and make your heart melt just a little. ‘Hold Onto Me’ showcases Sanders vocal abilities and growing talent as a front man perfectly. Beginning delicately almost like a lullaby but ending with powerful projection few would be able to manage.
One of the stand out tracks is ‘Sorry, Not Sorry’ and is the only track on the album to offer a slight change of direction from the sound they are so well know for. It has hints of pop-punk mixed among the pop-rock, a few more tracks like this would have been a nice addition to the album. ‘Monsters In The Closet’ is not without the broken-hearted lyrics though, ‘The Torment Of Existence Weighed Against The Horror Of Nonbeing is full of them, these are juxtaposed with a bright key and some lighthearted “La-La-La-Da-Da’s”.

Overall we would recommend this album to anyone that likes the bands earlier releases, it would have been nice to see them experiment a little more with their sound but its hard not to love Mayday Parade and this is an album that they should be proud of.

Written by: Samantha Stott

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Album Review: Save Your Breath – There Used To Be A Place For Us

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Now under the management of Mike Lewis (formerly Lostprophets), Save Your Breath are back with follow up to 2011 debut album Vices. This new album, There Used To Be A Place For Us’, launched on 7th October has been produced by the up and coming welsh producer, Gethin Pearson and mixed by Stu Richardson (also formerly Lostprophets).

Whilst keeping to the bands pop-punk reputation, this album shows a stronger and bolder sound with more rock-based influences. This is dictated by the energetic drumming of Owen Bei from the outset. The record opens up with Lessons’ with the gravelly tones of Kristian Richards offset against uncompromising guitar riffs from Tom Owens, Ben Griffiths and Dave Harries. This excellent introduction succeeds in setting the tone for the rest of the album.

The second track ‘Whole’ returns to pure pop punk, reminiscent of New Found Glory followed by ‘Maps’ which immediately starts your head nodding and leaves a smile on your face.

‘Abandon’ mixes heavy punk with softer rock undertones whilst ‘Skin And Bones’ sees a sedate introduction with just the drums that builds gradually with guitar and vocals towards a powerful chorus.

‘Skin & Bones’ will have you singing along; with a welcome slowed down tempo gentle guitar and barely there drums that serve to showcase the vocals of Kristian.

The closing track ‘There Used To Be A Place For Us’ although providing a good ending  but is missing a hook and fails to captivate which contrast to the rest of this great album.

Whilst the Pop Punk lead has definitely been taken by bands from the US in recent years, this album ranks up there amongst the better releases of this year. On occasion reminiscent of their welsh counterparts, The Blackout, and Rise Against, Save your Breath display a maturity, managing to blend vocals, very real lyrics and instrumentals together, whilst retaining their upbeat solid pop-punk sound to produce an album infused with passion and determination. Lets hope that this superbly produced release finally sees them achieve the recognition that they so well deserve!

The brand new album by ‘Save Your Breath’ is out now via Animal Style Records

Written by: Lindsy Stott

Album Review: Kids In Glass Houses – Peace

kids-in-glass-houses-peace-2013-album-coverIt’s safe to say Kids In Glass Houses are back to what they do best, feel good pop-rock. They have always been a band on the verge of hitting the mainstream and with this album they may just get there.

Their début album for the Welsh Quintet “Smart Casual” saw them secure support slots with 30 Seconds To Mars, Lostprophets, Manic Street Preachers and Fall Out Boy, as well as their first headline tour which build a very committed following. The album suggested they were ready for great success even back then.

Their Sophomore album “Dirt”, which included “Undercover Lover” a track featuring Frankie Sandford from The Saturdays unfortunately failed to propel them to where they deserve to be, up-there with the likes of You Me At Six.

Their third album “In Gold Blood” saw them head in a completely new direction, with heavier guitars and darker themes, it only just got into the top 30.

After two years this new offering returns to the roots of their début and what they do best. With anthemic, feel good tunes that are filled with melody that will get the crowds singing along and we can’t get enough of it.

The opening track “Peace” is among one of the best tracks the band have ever released, with its gang vocal chorus chanting “Peace in the valley and sex in my soul, death to my body bury me in rock and roll” it sums up everything the band are about, fun, catchy songs and having a good time.

They chose “Drive as the first single to release of the album, it’s the perfect balance between this and their earlier offering. With its slightly heavier guitar riffs than some of the tracks on the album but still wanting to get you on the dance floor. “Up All Night” reminds us of one of their first singles “Give Me What I want”

The stand out tracks on the album are “Runaways” with its joyful melody and carefree nature and “Novocaine”. The latter proving a nice break from the anthemic roaring choruses, to a soaring emotional love song.

The album sees the strongest vocal performance of Aled’s career so far, full of emotion, power and talent. The album is completely different to anything their peers have put out recently, with most choosing to shun pop and head towards a heavier sound they have gone in the opposite direction, they have taken pop and embraced it and it really does work.

It is refreshing to hear that after the band moved away from the major label that produced their last two albums they have found themselves with this fan-funded offering. Unlike most albums there isn’t a weak link or a track that you can’t just sing a long to.

If I have one criticism of the album, it’s not long enough. Kids In Glass Houses have proved they are back and they are here to stay.

Written by: Samantha Stott

Album Review: Tonight Alive – The Other Side

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Tonight Alive have been causing a storm since they released their debut album in 2011. Since then they have toured nonstop around the world and now have a brand new offering for us ‘The Other Side’. When they first came to the scene they were labeled as ‘just another female fronted band’ and the ‘Australian Paramore’ however they have shown they are far from that and are able to hold their own in the tough world of Pop Punk. With clear influences from the likes of Blink 182 and Fall Out Boy, The new album certainly doesn’t disappoint!

This album focuses on more angsty rock than the youthful pop with ‘What are you so scared of?’ showing just how much the quintet have grown over the last two years.

Each track on ‘The Other Side’ documents an important time in the bands life. Track one for example “The Ocean’ written by singer Jenna McDougall is about trying to deal with Eczema whilst being on the road and how it affected her emotionally as well as physically. This album seems far more personal than the last, however they appear to have made the group, Jenna in particular, far more confidence in their abilities both as a band and as songwriters.

They chose ‘Lonely Girl’ to be the second single off of the album which is the perfect transition between the two albums, Jenna’s expansive range does not fail to disappoint; the tone in her voice complements the words perfectly as does the track’s balance between pop and rock.

The standout track is definitely ‘The Fire’ with its far rockier feel, proving they aren’t just another pop punk band with catchy songs but they know how to amp things up when they need to.

The album closes with ‘You Don’t Owe Me Anything’ the only ballad-like track they offer, it is completely different to the heavier opening tracks on the album but it is just as enjoyable and makes for a pleasant contrast to the rest of the album.

‘The Other Side’ is sure to cement the bands place as one of the leading Pop Punk bands on the scene at the moment and that they aren’t going anywhere but up. We expect to see a lot more of this band in the coming months and years.

Written by: Samantha Stott