Tom Misch – Geography (Review)

Not many folk had heard of Tom Misch until his latest release, the timeless album “Geography”  back in April. I can already tell that in a decade or so, this album will simply be put as a “classic”, as the production, the songwriting, the talent is oozing with goodness out of every pour. Tom is only 23 years old and comes from England’s capital, London. Having skills as a producer as well a songwriter is really like having the world in the palm of your hand. He has the skills to record at any time as he can just do it all by himself and that’s the main thing I like about Tom. He’s signed to a record label, but he records, produces primarily on his own which has turned into 2,000,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, so he must be doing something good.

“Before Paris”  is the album opener and it’s simply introduced as a monologue from an interview that Roy Hargrove (jazz trumpeter) did. The song develops into a jazz-funk groove with quite a modern-pop guitar tone to keep it a refreshing feel. The whole production on this track is warming and a lovely start to an album. The monologue seems to be about someone who loves to do what they do as a career or even a hobby. It really mixes the album to make us believer that Tom loves what he does and that’s so humbling to know. The prominent part to me is how the drummer hits the snare repeatedly making it sound so tight and clean.

I’d read numerous descriptions for the next and they’ve been making me laugh so much. “Lost in Paris” makes you feel that it’s simply about a love that Tom lost in Paris but apparently, according to Tom himself on twitter, it’s about a hard drive that he, well, lost in paris. If this is true, it makes the song feel a bit more humorous and we can sympathise in a way because we’ve all lost something before. The amount of times I’ve lost my house keys is off the charts. Unlike this song which is still IN the charts! The melody is easy listening and suited for the warm weather we’re having at the moment in England. The tracks features Goldlink – a Washington DC Rapper. He adds a flavouring which makes the song suited for Rap/R’N’B lovers.

The track “South of the River” is filled with elements of pop, funk and r’n’b music with classical even being a strong influence with the string violins being a crucial part to the song. The vocal melody is memorable and pleasing to the ear. The way that Tom sings the lyrics are rhythmical, creating the catchy funk element. When we reach the solo, the instrument plays a jazz type scale introducing another influence for the song. As a whole, the lyrics are simple and the song subject is simple too, but the production and sound that the song delivers is really lovely. The fade out of the keyboard & guitar is mesmerizing, making the song sound like a dream. It’s diverse and the song compliments different decades because it sounds like a 70’s dance hit, an 80’s roller disco track, 90’s club anthem & a 00’s/10’s “banger” (as our youth say.)

Reminding me of 90’s R’n’B bands such as The Fugees, “Movie” is a mellow, relaxing composition that features spoken word at the beginning from Tom’s sister, Polly Misch. Tom really does have his own style which is so great to hear originality in this day and age. Tom has a very soft, calm voice which really compliments this song perfectly. The low frequencies on all the instruments are truly mesmerizing as it’s had to produce low sounds well into music without it sounding just like noise. What’s so amazing is that you can hear all of the instruments in their own limelight.

“Tick Tock” is filled with laid back vibes which reminds me of Bonobo ever so slightly at the beginning, then it develops into an upbeat, dance track. It’s warm sounding and gives a similar influence of “Make Luv” by Room 5 featuring Oliver Cheatham. The violins are featured in this track which makes it resemble “South of the River.” It’s always nice to have familiarity on an album of songs that truly stand out. For an instrumental, it really holds your attention. Sometimes we get lost and don’t stick with a song because a lot of use primarily listen to lyrics and vocal phrases, but this song catches you throughout.

De La Soul, the iconic hip hop band are featured on It Runs Through Me.” It’s quirky and clever how the lyrics “she told me add a bass line” is when the actual bass line of the song begins. This lyric is a hint towards “Add the Bassline” by Jordan Rakei who is one of Tom’s dearest friends and collaborators. This song has been hyped  up to be one of the best on the album, probably cause De La Soul are on it, but I feel it’s a bit repetitive and isn’t as interesting as all the other songs so far.

A jazzed up version of the soul hit “Isn’t She Lovely” by the legend Stevie Wonder is dreamy and very lo-fi. It’s layered with guitar parts over each other creating this bright tone. It’s the shortest track on the whole album, but still an important track on the album. Featuring a cover on an original album is really hard sometimes because people have their own expectation of a cover already (from the original.) Tom picked this song that’s covered by a lot of people too, which makes it even harder to compete with, but either way, he pulls it off and it’s a lovely, safe rendition of the track.

“Disco Yes” is a love song that seems like a relationship is going through a rough patch with the hook line being “i STILL love you,” leaves us as the audience thinking, are they together or not? If they’re not, they should be an item again because they’re still longing for one another. I feel the song dragged on a bit too much and should have ended a bit earlier as it feels like it out did it stay. This could be what Tom longed for with this track to make it seem that the relationship did go bad but then the happiness of the song is telling us that there’s still hope for the two lovers. I just feel it should have definitely gotten to the point a bit quicker than it did.

“Man Like You” is another cover. Originally done by Patrick Watson. Tom’s version is more of a Jeff Buckley approach where Jeff would take a cover song and transform it in his own way using his voice and guitar. Tom features ambient violins in the background which creates a spaced out atmosphere. Plus Tom sings this version in a lower register to how Patrick would do it. It’s a really great cover of an even greater song. A must listen on the album for sure.

Loyle Carner who’s a British rapper/spoken word artist features on “Water Baby.” The song deals with how bad things affect us, but if we don’t let it get to us, the grey will turn to sunshine. It’s a positive song but I feel it lacks something. The lyrics, rhythm’s and melodies are great, but I feel dynamically it stays the same all the way through, like a straight line that’s never-ending. I’d definitely like to hear subtle dynamic shifts in this for sure.

As much as I really like Tom’s voice, it always has the same tone in all of the songs on Geography and he uses the same phrases in “You’re on My Mind” too. It’s a true heart-felt ballad which doesn’t really go anywhere.  The chord changes are really nice though as well as the main drum beat. As a singer myself, I like to hear singers sing different verses differently as it captures the listeners even further. The guitar solo is very John Mayer-esque which I’m not surprises in the slightest as that’s one of Tom’s biggest musical influences. John Mayer is a sensational songwriter and guitarist who’s very underrated, just like Tom.

Heavily sampled by “So Hard to Find” by Pazazz is basically “Cos I Love You” in a nutshell. There’s not much to say really about this song. It didn’t grab my attention at all and I feel it sounds similar to everything else on the album. It really lacks originality. It’s forced to feel like everything else I should say. I do like how Tom heavily influenced a 70’s disco track and gave it a fresh new light but it’s cheesy and unnatural.

“We’ve Come So Far” is the last track on the album and it literally repeats “we’ve come so far” all the way through which gets annoying after a little while. The rhythm and harmonies make the song appeal more to my ears. Although I feel it’s not the best, it sends a warm, positive message across to the listeners making it a happy finish to a great album.

Favourite Tracks: Before Paris, Lost in Paris, South of the River, Movie, Tick Tock, Isn’t She Lovely, Man Like You

Score: 8/10

https://www.facebook.com/tommisch123/

https://tommisch.com/

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Crosslight – Road to Recovery (Review)

Distorted guitars, harsh bass lines and drum patterns, Crosslight‘s music is full of angst. The band formed in early 2016 and have already toured around the UK. As well as playing shows, the band have spent a lot of time in the studio recording their debut album “Road to Recovery.”  The album was released on the 6th May 2018, and I’m finally getting round to sitting down and reviewing it. Crosslight are energetic and so passionate about their work and it completely shines through every word and chord. Their live shows showcase their talent to audiences through the ages and it certainly leaves people wanting more. The band consists of

The first track, “Recovery” begins with what sounds like a heart monitor in a hospital, sneakily involving the background noise of a waiting room. Before we know it, the song transitions into track number two; “Run Into Flowers.” This song has had a really good reception so far from fans with reaching over 1,000 plays on Spotify. Lead singer, Charlotte’s voice compliments the song also sounding heavily influenced from Hayley Williams of Paramore. Musically, the track is fast and upbeat, giving the album a good start off. Hopefully the momentum sticks all the way throughout. I find the guitar tone slightly a bit generic and not very creative for a pop metal song, but it still suits the song well. If you’re a fan of the nu-metal scene in the noughties, you probably will like this track.

“Clockwork” tells the story of what feels like a battle with a mental illness with this lyric indicating the struggle; “I’ve had enough, I’ll rid the curse be normal again.” Metal is hard to not fall into the category of sounding all the same because of its aggresion and similar rhythmical guitar patterns, but Charlotte really draws you in to listen to the story. I feel that the repetition of this track makes it actually more original.

The fourth track on the album, “Time Wasted” is a bit more electronic to begin with, adding another influence into Crosslight’s inspirations. It’s a short song which adds strength to embark on the next song “Karma.” Now, this song is heavy and deals with angst from, well, karma. What goes around comes around honey, we’ve all gone through it, wherever we’re watching someone go through karma or going through it ourselves. I find that the song itself has the same attitude of shrugging your shoulders, it’s simply put as a care free nature of “Whatever!” The chorus lyrics aren’t quite the normal, metal lyrics you’d get, it’s more of an Avril Lavigne tone which is really different. “You run around oh so careless honey, karma’s gonna catch up soon, I’m done with you.” The rhythm is slightly different compared to the other tracks on the album, but it still has a similar vibe to it all. Strongest track on he album so far for me.

“Fighting for What? falls into the same attitude as everything else so far, and as a listener, I’m longing for another influence in the band’s music to make it slightly more original. The drums are so programmed which makes the song feel forced. I think the band were definitely aiming towards an angry, powerful album instead of the music actually being more felt, which is definitely not a negative thing, it’s just a personal preference. I really admire the band for striving for something and getting the product done the way they wanted it.

Overdriven bass played by Daniel begins the next song “Poison” which creates a tone that Chris Wolstenholme defines in Muse. I feel that the song doesn’t dynamically go anywhere, it stays the same throughout. I’d really like to hear Charlotte sing different phrases/tones to make the songs slightly more interesting, but saying that, I do like the angry attitude in her voice. At the very end of the song, it’s really interesting how everything just completely stops and there’s just a slightly delay that comes after from Charlotte’s voice making it sound confusing as if there’s more to come, but there’s not… clever.

“100,000 Miles” begins with a ukulele which was very unexpected seeing as the album is so angry. The song does have a rhythmical metal sounding guitar part by Luke come swiftly in after the first verse, making the band go back to their roots. I think the band tried to make this a folk-metal track with the soft string instruments sitting in the back, but it doesn’t work as well as planned I personally think. I’ve noticed that in most of the songs on the album, it feels very stiff and mixed to the grid making it sound somewhat robotic. This is used a-lot in heavy metal music as it does add more power to the songs.

A heavy prog-esque riff dominates “Submerge” and automatically I thought to myself “this is more like it.” The tone is scary and makes you instantly want to move in someway, wherever it may be a foot twitch or a head bang. The guitar tone sounds similar to the sound that Queens of the Stone Age implicated on Songs for the Deaf, which is always a great compliment. I like how the band bring their own flavouring to this prog based song. It’s definitely my favourite on the album for sure.

“Just a Kiss” features Amal Birch, a freestyle rap artist. The song definitely has an influence of what Jay Z captured with 99 Problems; the rap rock element. The rap itself from Amal feels a bit too fixed and I really wish it was a bit more loose. The words are really well thought out though and fit the topic well. With the programmed drums, it’s just not quite as powerful as this song should be. I could be completely wrong about the drums being programmed, but the mix sounds like they have been edited quite a lot. I’m sure this song live will be really great to listen to with drummer, Joe, laying down some juicy drum fills. I feel that the topic of the track is about simply having a kiss with someone in, maybe a club, well that’s what it sounds like.

Once again, the next song doesn’t really go anywhere, and sometimes when that happens, it doesn’t take me to a place. Whereas songs that have a strong momentum all the way through, it makes people shift to another place where they can really relate to the song. Saying that, in “B.A.C.K”, you can feel the energy that the band bring in their music, they really do live for this stuff. One thing that people look for in new bands are charisma, talent & passion, Crosslight certainly do have that.

The guitars in “Kingdom is Mine” aren’t quite quantised to the same tempo as the drums in some parts making the guitars sound unfinished and sort of out of time. This song is once again nu-metal down to a tee. I feel the influences behind this song are Halestorm and Evanescence with all three bands having a strong female vocal. I like the path that the band go down with their music but like I’ve said before, it’s not really my personal preference to listen too.

Next up is actually an acoustic number, Charlotte sings “Drive On” with an American twang making it show that her voice is versatile and can sing through genres. This folk number feels slightly forced still and the harsh drum editing is more obvious than before as this song is so soft. I feel that the cymbals being played, more a less constantly make the song sound a bit messy. Overall though, the song is sweet and is also the longest track on the whole album.

The last track on the album “I’m Not Done” isn’t really a stand out track as much as the last of an album should be. The song does cover the band’s genre as a whole and connects the songs altogether to fit a nice pattern for the album. If you’re a fan of My Chemical Romance, The Used, Tonight Alive, then you should definitely check Crosslight out.  The band cover a wide range of influences in their music and make them fresh. The songs are good and the talent shines. Interested to see where the band may take their music in their next releases…

Favourite Tracks: Recovery, Run Into Flowers, Clockwork, Time Wasted, Karma, Submerge.

Score: 6.5/10

https://www.facebook.com/crosslightband/

https://www.crosslight.band/

Quill – Grey Goose Call (EP Review)

Quill are not only known for their unique musical style… they create a musical journey through the ages with their live set up. After listening to Grey Goose Call, it’s now a fact that they create the same energetic live essence throughout the studio recording. They sit comfortably within the celtic folk/rock genre and it’s safe to say, the latest line up have brought a fresh new sound to their music. With Grey Goose Call written by the band themselves, the 4 songs take us into a dark, but warming entrance to what feels like a new beginning.

The title track of the EP begins with a gentle goose calling, before strong harmonies that really remind of Fleetwood Mac’s tone’s enter. The band have adapted to their influences through time, but made sure their sound becomes so fresh to listen to. For a 6:12 minutes long song, it captivates you all the way through. As the song dynamically builds, the sound becomes quite diverse and intricate. The bass comfortably sits in the mix, but you can constantly hear the pulse repeating. I must say, the production is really intense and in your face with elements of Fairport Convention shining through. Having string instruments gives the song a complete different style. I personally feel if the strings weren’t in this track, it would sound more like a pop orientated track. Joy’s emotional vocals tell the story of simply hearing the “Grey Goose Call.” Maybe the goose is a symbolic structure of something? It could be a metaphor for a cry for help. In my opinion, the percussion and drums replicates the simplicity of the song, but by making it sound complex. The rhythm makes it sound kind of African and upbeat. This is a very strong song to set the bar quite high for what sounds like a warming welcome to the sound of Quill. The song ends just as it begins, indicating that yes, this is end, but it’s certainly not over yet.

“Elephant in the Room” begins with footsteps creeping up into a simple 4/4 beat. The guitars sound heavily influenced by old progressive rock tones, similar to bands like Genesis. Quill take a simple blues sounding song and subtle add tasty melodic guitar lines over the top, making it an extremely versatile song. The chorus is moody and has the ability to haunt anyone with the harmonies generating new, elegant parts throughout. An elephant in the room is a metaphor for an obvious problem in a room basically, and I really like how Quill can take a personal matter but make the problem not known. It leaves the audience asking “what is the actual problem?” Questioning an audience is a good thing in my opinion, because they are wanting to know more about your music, indicating them to keep on listening. I love how this song isn’t rushed and is played to indicate an emotion of love. When the instruments are all cut out to just the drums, it makes me feel that anything could happen next. The drums completely stop to just Joy singing “elephant in the room” which end with a subtle breath like sigh making the audience realise that after all this time, the actual problem and the elephant in the room, was simply the singer.

The subtly comes through this song with Joy’s vocals sounding exceptionally emotional. Having someone’s affection is the most warming feeling in the world and I really like how Quill have managed to replicate this feeling through “Skin on Skin.” This song is moody in the essence that it really grips you to hold onto every part of the song. All of the members of Quill have had a memorable history in music and I really like how they bring all their stories into one, creating a really big influence to their fans. This song would really be a lovely wedding dance for a couple, as the comfort of the song is so calming. There’s genuinely no negativity shining in this song, making it really a big moment on the EP. Dynamically, the song doesn’t build as much as the others on the EP, but it works so well to keep such a calming momentum.

The last track on the EP is a fist pump for wanting love. The whole EP is situated round love and the different aspects that you want. We have Skin on Skin which is the comfort of affection, whereas the vibe I’m getting from “Little Affection” is needing to be loved. It’s the longest track on the EP and it constantly builds with influences of world music being mirrored constantly. The rhythm of the song just makes you tap your feet and really dive into the music. “I forgotten what it felt like to fall in love” takes us into a new element of the song; really needing this love otherwise things could fall apart. I personally feel that the singer is needing this love to carry on, it’s her well-being and soul on the line, if she doesn’t get this love, something bad could happen. It makes me think; what is she actually in love with? could it be being in love with the meaning of love? a friend? a piece of music? It could be anything, which makes me like this a whole lot more. The sense of not knowing what the topic is throughout the EP makes me drawn to Quill’s music more. We never really know what the actual concept Joy is singing about which is great, we’re just left with the topic of love. This track is one that the whole band wrote together which strangely enough, makes the song so much bigger than the others on the track. It’s definitely the stand out, rock ballad of the EP. It’s proggy in the aspect that the concept is here, there and everywhere.

As a whole, the EP is truly wonderful. I’m lucky enough to be supporting Quill on the 8th June at the Artrix Theatre in Bromsgrove.

The musicians on the album consist of Joy Strachan-Brain on vocals, Kate McWilliam on violin and backing vocals, Abby Brant on keyboards and backing vocals, Tony Kelsey on guitars and backing vocals, Matt Worley on bass and backing vocals, Andy Edwards on the drums and the ELO legend, Bev Bevan on percussion… we now realise the secret behind Quill’s full sound, the extremely talented musicians behind the songs. 

Favourite Tracks: Elephant in the Room, Skin on Skin, Little Affection
Score: 7.5/10

https://quillbanduk.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/quilluk/
http://www.quilluk.com/

 

The HomeGrown – Just Another Royal Wedding (EP Review)

Known for their catchy choruses and honest opinions, the politically inspired band; The HomeGrown blend together soft guitar chords, quirky bass riffs, singing, rapping and simple drum beats to create their sound. The band have only been together for 3 years, where the frontman and guitarist met at university, now the band are based in Bedford and have released their first EP which is filled with humour and adrenaline.

The EP is introduced with a warm acoustic guitar tone that’s filled with adrenaline and fun. “Some People” features two vocalists; one singing, while the other raps. A really interesting combination to say the least, and it sure does work well together. It gives the song a Gorillaz vibe, but the music is totally original. Some People tells a story about people who don’t like the way others do things. It can be took politically, but to begin with, it feels a bit more personal as everyone deals with people in their life who they don’t really like or vice versa. The instrumentation of the song isn’t too complex which makes it easier to listen to in a way, seeing as there’s so much going on with the vocals. As the song progresses, it does start to get a bit more political with the lyrics “Daily toilet papers, spreading mistrust and fear, the world is changing for the worse, the time to act is near” talking about the tabloids. Some of us try to avoid politics, but we still get it thrown in our faces. For such a short song, it brings across a big message.

“Broke in Britain” instantly, before the song even started, I knew what it would be about. The song deals with the bands view on our country right now. The lyric “Theresa darling, you look stressed, selling on our NHS, you’re the one not fit for purpose and you’re leading our society” shows the bands views on Theresa May, and I think we understand that they don’t like her. I love how in music, artists can be so personal with their views and I really do like how the boys aren’t scared to show how they really feel with our country at this specific time. The instrumentation is similar to the first song, but I think really, it’s just their sound. The song has more punk elements then the first track, as it’s got more of an attitude. Occasionally, the verses start with a subtle ska-funk, fast part which doesn’t really have a big enough impact than it should do.

The boys of The HomeGrown really do have a “f*** it, we don’t care!” attitude. The next song tells a story with what feels like an imaginary vision/goal that the boys want to accomplish; performing to “10,000 in Merthyr.” They’ve played in Merthyr before which is half way to completing their goal I guess, but I wonder if it was in front of 10,000 people? Some day, guys. The bass’ tone isn’t quite to my personal preference as I feel it’s slightly too warm for such a pop-punk track, it should have been a bit more brighter and in your face to really capture the light of the song.

The last track on this quirky EP is “Summer Song” which just happens to be the longest song too. I personally feel it’s the best track on the whole EP, as it’s definitely a feel good track. It tells the audience about how things are always better when the sun comes out and that’s mostly true, depending on the situation. This is definitely going to be a song that people will be playing and dancing to in the summer. The brass section in the track is really warming too, making the song sound even more summery. I’m really liking how this political EP comes to an end with such a happy song, meaning perhaps we all will get a happy ending someday.

Favourite Tracks: Some People, Broke in Britain, Summer Song
Score: 6.5/10

https://www.facebook.com/The.HomeGrown.music/?

Ronald Maas – Aries (EP Review)

Ron’s been an important sideman for sometime now more than a frontman, but things have definitely changed with this new adventure. His first EP under his name, the four track EP, “Aries” is exciting and blends in all of Ron’s skills that he’s learnt so far. This doesn’t mean that he’ll stop being a sideman, he will still be honouring both positions. With his music being described as spaced out Supertramp, I couldn’t agree more.

The EP starts with a lovely song called “Too Close To See.” It’s quirky and features really clever chord changes throughout. The song topic is really interesting thought out as it could mean that sometimes, we are too blind to see what it’s front of us. It’s the famous saying that we all know. Some good things have been under our nose the whole time sometimes. The vocals are phrased in a way that it gives it more of a progressive feel to the song, creating a Porcupine Tree meets pop vibe. Vocals in any song don’t necessarily need to be powerful to get a message across and this song clearly delivers that. Ron’s vocals aren’t dynamically powerful, but they’re emotionally as he’s singing about something that he personally feels strong about. “Any of us could clearly understand it, but none of us are far enough to see” could mean that perhaps things are really easy to understand once you get your head around it, but sometimes we need to be further down the line to get the understanding understood. A wacky example of this could be; a child believing in the easer bunny, but as they grow up, they understand that it’s not real.

I’m getting Jamie Cullum vibes from the next track “Oh Darling Won’t You” with it being jazz influenced, with still the pop elements too. Contemporary pop is how I’d personally describe the pop side of Ron’s music, seeing as it’s definitely more elegant than chart pop music. It’s a sad love song which deals with suffering and gives off a “oh darling, won’t you please help me ease my pain” feel to the song. The vocal melody doesn’t change much throughout the verses which leaves it sounding more simple. I would have liked to have heard different verses sang differently. The choruses for any song should always be prominently shown to help the listeners remember, but I feel the chorus in this song isn’t as powerful as intended. Saying that, the song is still great, I just feel there could have been a lot more to it.

“Rustle in the Yard” starts off just like a normal pop track would, but then it goes to a prominent minor fall and it gives the song a whole new direction. This song has the same pop element throughout as the others have done so far, but the electric guitar in the background gives it more of a rich, jazz-blues tone to it, which is nice to hear another influence come through Ron’s music. It’s upbeat, energetic and fits nicely to the soundtrack of my day as I’m currently sat, reviewing this EP out in the garden on a sunny day, and it definitely fits the environment. I feel Ron intended the lyric “there’s a rustle in the yard” to be the hook line, but it appears to be more the lyric “you are wondering, that is what it starts with.” The intricate chord changes in this hook line really captures this major part of the song more and more each time you hear it.

The melodic and eerie piano carries throughout the same jazz/pop influence in “Lines in the Darkness” as all of the other tracks on the EP does. This is probably the best track on the whole EP purely because of the power behind it. Drawing lines in the darkness is such a clever topic to sing about because, how can we actually see lines in the darkness? Our eyes can’t adapt fully to being in the darkness. Do the lines ever end? It could be more about an endless, exhausting battle of trauma. The brass section in the song really gives it such a big sound making it have a more traditional, 1930’s jazz kind of sound to it. I really admire how Ron has done more of this EP by himself, except for the artwork, mixing, drums, trombone and trumpet. Lines in the Darkness is a really nice close to a great EP and a lovely debut for Ron’s frontman works.

Ron must be excited for the future and this EP could really put him on the map.

Favourite Tracks: Too Close To See, Rustle in the Yard, Lines in the Darkness
Score: 7/10

http://www.ronald-maas.co.uk/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKddfbxRpGfEa1deXR8y1gQ

Jack White – Boarding House Reach (Review)

The man, the myth and the legend is back with a killer third studio album since The White Stripes departed and in my absolute opinion, it’s his best release since, with Lazaretto being a close second. In Boarding House Reach, we get to see Jack White in a completely different light. He’s comfortable making this music and his has found a lot of new influences to inspire the writing of this album. It’s not received the best of reviews as it’s his most eccentric work yet, but everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. I’m looking forward to sitting down and reviewing this album track by track. It’s definitely a rollercoaster ride that I don’t want to get off.

“Connected By Love” was the first single to be released and I’ll be honest, the first time I heard, I really struggled with it. As each time I listen to it, it has grown and grown on me. The song starts off with a buzzing noise similar to the beginning of Black Mirror. The lyrics aren’t as strong as I wish, but they fit so well in this love story. Jack always has his own way with words. The song was actually going to be called “Infected by Love,” but Jack changed it as he didn’t want his listeners to think he had a sexually transmitted disease… smart move, Jack. The lyrics seem to be about Jack explaining to his love that he struggles with anxiety and depression, and wishes they would give reassurance to help the pain go away. I can completely relate to this song in a way like no other, purely because anxiety is hard to talk about, but singing about it can definitely make it easier. The gospel backing vocals are quite off-putting, but they’re the most prominent part of the song, making them a main hook line. I really do love how Jack can completely rock with a piano in his set up. He really has evolved blues music and brought it back into the limelight. 

I can only imagine that the next song was just put on the album as a last resort. “Why Walk a Dog?” isn’t bad, but it’s not brilliant either. The proves to be about three different animals and how they relate to humanity. Jack sings “What is so funny, about beasts above understanding?” which is actually a play on the Elvis Costello song “What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understand.” The most interesting part of this song is that there’s no exact chorus, there’s only the hook line. Jack White has always been one of those musicians who records his music the “old-fashioned” way to get the rawness of his material out to the world, but in reality, this album has nothing old-fashioned about it. It’s new and refreshing. It seems that Jack has finally released that no matter what way he records his music, it will still be HIM at the end of the day. I must say, the production on this album is absolutely wonderful.

“Corporation” is a top blues, garage rock anthem that plummets through with upbeat drums. The guitars and keyboard are heavy and layer lovely together. It’s the longest track on the whole album, making Corporation a prominent song on the album. It was released as a promotional single in January and from the get go of this single’s release – it was a banger. I really like how the instruments harmonise together in the main riff as the song gradually builds, it gives it a whole different shade of colour. The bass line is my favourite thing of the whole song because it creates this meaty, chromatic pulse. When the backing vocals coming in with “HUH,” it’s a bit embarrassing to listen too but pretty funny. The song is loose but slightly arranged to make it sound like a clever jam. It’s tight and the band are all energetic together. “I’m thinking about taking it all the way to the top” completely rolls off Jack’s tongue in a funky, rap like manner. A point to be made though is the screaming makes the song so much more weirder than it actually is. It makes me question, is it actually needed? With the dirty blues side to the track, it gives a moody aggressive vibe to it just like Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused” does.

C. W. Stoneking speaks this next song in such a delicate manner, making Abulia and Akrasia the first complete bizarre song on the record. Abulia is considering to be about the lack of motivation, and Akrasia is believed to be about lack of self-control, so what better way than to preach about it in a spoken word poem. Jack wrote this poem purely for Stoneking only as he found his speaking voice amazing to listen too. His goal was to write a complicated poem about wanting a cup of tea, and he sure did accomplish that. It’s weirdly wonderful and completely experimental. Definitely something that Frank Zappa and even Jeff Buckley would have loved. It would have been right down their street.

Misophonia is a disorder in which negative thoughts/emotions/reactions are triggered by certain sound. A “Hypermisophoniac” is mainly a play on words, it’s the same as a misophonia, but hyper is added to the front of it to exaggerate it a bit more. The content of this song is so scary, as it really could trigger off someone with misophonia and make them physically, or maybe it could even cure them, who knows? Either Jack White is an evil genius or he’s just a genius. The song itself is arranged perfectly to make it all fit well together. It’s the first track to feature Carla Azar (starred in the film Frank) on acoustic drums, who is a considerably underrated drummer. As a whole, it’s a cool song that can torment people and really scare them, but why be afraid of fear when you can punch it in the face like this song does. I really like how the vocals are pitch shifted sometimes to make the song even more on the edge to listen too.  “Ain’t no running, when you’re robbing a bank” is another main part of the song making it seem that there’s nowhere to hide if you’ve got misophonia. 

Entered with what I originally thought was bass, but really it’s guitar and bass together, “Ice Station Zebra” is one to definitely not skip. Jack has played this live on the St Vincent signature guitar he uses and from the videos I’ve watched, it completely rocks. The song is inspired by the 1963 war book with the same name. The song is brilliant, but in a bizarre way. It’s filled with experimental, funk licks that makes you never want to stop listening to the track. Jack’s vocals are flavoured in hip hop rhymes which reminds me a bit of Kendrick Lamar’s style and how he uses his vocals to create another rhythmical part of the song. I’ve heard a lot of people mention how Jack has gone down the more Beck root and this track is the only song that I can personally hear it in. Beck’s song “The New Pollution” reminds me slightly of this because Beck just decided to go down a completely different avenue by release music that he enjoyed to play more. Jack is just another example of a musician enjoying his new style. He’s found himself and is completely doing what he loves to do, right here, right now.

He’s known for his blues style songs and screaming guitar parts, and of course that’s still in this album, but he’s completely modernised it to create a new world of “I do what the f*** I want, if you like it? Great. If you don’t, I don’t care” attitude. Iconic part of the song is the lyric “add your own piece, but the puzzle’s is gods.” A genius lyric purely because if god is real, then surely fate is too, and if fate is real, then our life is already planned. Making the puzzles a metaphor that it’s god’s, and it’s even his way or the highway. One of my own personal favourites off the album so far.

The next track, it feels like we’re revisiting Lazaretto. Throughout “Over and Over and Over,” Jack references a king from Greek mythology who punishes Jack for the bad things he’s done, and as his punishment he has to roll a rock up a hill forever. This can go a whole lot deeper than that though. I feel that Jack’s “rock” is actually anxiety. He has to hold all his anxiety together on his shoulders and has to live like this over and over and over. It’s memorable and a strong highlight to the album. I adore Jack’s guitar tone because it’s just fuzzy and overdriven, not distorted. Some artists get stuck in the distorted phase forever and you can never really hear what they’re actually playing. It has his blues elements as does a lot of the other songs, but you can hear his new-found love of electronica strong in this song. In between the riffs, Jack leads us into really quirky instrumental breaks with new sections of guitar riffs bleeding through to make the song build more and more. I feel this is what Thundercat would sound like if he played electric guitar and rocked a bit more. The backing gospel vocals are back with weird pitches that don’t harmonically make sense sometimes, but the do work well and can be used as the “anxious thoughts/voice” in people’s heads.

“Everything You’ve Ever Learned” is about Jack imitating humans that over think. He’s also saying that really, he already knows everything that he needs to know. I didn’t realise when I first heard this that it’s actually Jack himself saying “Hello, Welcome to Everything You’ve Ever Learned,” I genuinely thought it was someone else, but now realising that it’s Jack, it makes the track even more bizarre. Jack goes back to his more normal self by shouting and pleading “Do you want everything? Then you can have everything” preaching it like Martin Luther King would. He questions himself, but what I love about it, he’s questioning the audience too, then shortly after questioning, he answers. “Do you wanna start a fire? Well you can watch it burn” leads into a section that only reminds me of Jim Morrison in The Doors when he goes mental in “The End.” The End is about death and Everything You’ve Ever Learned is more about over thinking before the actual end of things. For such a short song, it brings out such a big message in the short amount of time.

Most of the albums best moments are started with powerful drums, just like “Respect Commander.” It starts with a jam before Jack implies “all right, let’s go back to our song” which means that maybe while they were recording, they got sidetracked and ended up having another part for the beginning of the song. It’s such a strange thing to have at the start of a song, because the beginning is always so important as it has to capture the person there and then, it they like it, they’ll stay with it. The song is primarily split into two sections that are as distinctive as each other with the first section being fast, energetic and 80’s funk influenced. The backing vocals that go “woop” sound like it’s going to go into “Sound of Da Police” by KRS-One. IT really does have power of becoming a big funk song, until it’s all took down to just a sleazy blues bass and guitar part. “She commands my respect” shows that whoever this woman is, Jack is besotted and doesn’t care what she does. Just past the 3 minutes mark, we lead into an upbeat blues battle of guitar screams, the old Jack White is back just for a short amount of time. Before we know it, Respect Commander goes back to the beginning of the drum and guitar led riff. We start just as we end..

“Ezmerelda Steals the Show” starts with pretty much a similar chord being plucked as the one in R.E.M’s “Everybody Hurts.” The story behind the song was Jack had a vision that he was at a children’s school watching a kind of talent show and he thought “imagine if a little girl came up on the stage and read a complete nuts poem and stole the show?” and so with that, he wrote a song about it. I really like how this track has two Jack White’s reading out the spoken word poem, one in a high pitch, and the other in a lower pitch register. A very wacky track ending with “You people are totally absurd,” but it fits such a well written album.

Opening up with another spoken word poem with layers of delay effects on the vocals, accompanied by orchestral synths and a melodic bass line sitting comfortably in the background, “Get in the Mind Shaft” is the weirdest track on the album, in my opinion. It’s like a robot’s adventure through Jack White’s brain. I can sense Radiohead vibes coming from this, but the “Can you hear me now?” just completely coming out of nowhere reminds me of when David Gilmour and Roger Waters used the talk bow to imitate farm animals on their Animals album. The orchestral keys still stay throughout the song with little melodic progressions happening here and there. This song is just totally, absurd! Get it?… I’m not funny.

“What’s Done is Done?” has the same country elements as Temporary Ground has on Lazaretto but Jack’s just added his new-found love of electronica to this song to create a fresh sound. The weird humming in the back makes the song feel old and nostalgic. It’s nice to hear such a soft song after listening to Get in the Mind Shaft, as that was all in your face, whereas this is nice to just back to simplicity with Esther Rose accompanying Jack on this soft song. “What’s done is done, I just can’t fight it no more, so I’m walking downtown to the store, and I’m buying a gun” just makes me think that Jack is fed up of being labelled as a country/blues artists and he’s simply saying “I don’t want to labelled, so I’m going to buy a gun to show that I’m changed.” The gun could illustrate that Jack has gone to the darker side of his music.

Entered with a lovely jazz chord progression, “Humoresque” is the last song on this brilliant album. It was written by Al Capone, a famous gangster from the 1930’s. Jack anonymously bidded on the musical piece and made the song his own. The piano follows the vocal line which makes it sound like a work song or even a children’s nursery rhyme. Humoresque actually means a short, lively piece of music. Whereas, yes, this is a short piece, but it’s not lively in the slightest. Considering that, I’m glad, because it’s an absolutely stunning song to end such a complicated album.

Overwhelming album that’s all in your face with soft moments that captivate. It’s completely my favourite album of 2018 so far. Be very hard to follow this on your next one, Mr White, but I have all faith in you.

Favourite Tracks: Corporation, Abulia and Akrasia, Hypermisophoniac, Ice Station Zebra, Over and Over and Over, Everything You’ve Ever Learned, Respect Commander, Get in the Mind Shaft, Humoresque

Score: 9/10

Hush Mozey – Tales of Bigotry (EP Review)

Being their debut release, “Tales of Bigotry” is a strong EP for Hush Mozey and they definitely should be ready for their future, because through my eyes, it seems pretty bright. Their music delivers influences from punk, grunge, ska and “drowsy rock and roll.” The Bristol based band have grown a following and have even took to the stage at Y-Not Fest and Truck Fest. Their latest release, which dropped on the 24th March, has been a success so far and I hope the band all the best of luck with whats to come too.

The EP’s kicked off with the gloomy, treble, dark bass line in “Moroccan Treasure” with bright, delicate guitar parts too. The guitars are somewhat powerful, not dynamically, but more emotionally than anything else. A tremolo effect on the guitar (more obvious towards the end of the song) adds company to the bizarre song. The song is about living a life of luxury with the person you admire/love. I could be wrong, but that’s what the song feels like to me. It’s sleazy, heavily blues influenced but quirky and fun.

“A Place For Them” was released as a single before the EP was released and they released a music video for it too (link below.) The song itself is witty, indie and reminds me a bit of The Coral. This song would fit perfectly in a musical about clowns or something like that. I feel it would fit really well in that dark scenery. Just over half way, the song goes into a sort of “ska section” with off beat guitar parts, giving the song a completely different feel and influence, until it goes back to the witty indie sound again. All I can think of with the meaning of this is “A Place for Them” could be where all the unusual people go to, to feel at home.

The vocals are quite lazy and careless, but it makes the song have its own chill, unique feel in “Burlesque.” It’s a real indie song with some hipster lyrics like “still sat here by my window, strike a Picasso pose, cigarette smoke.” Burlesque is really a soft song about being in love and showing affection. A melodic and chromatic guitar riff ends the song really nicely making the song dynamically end. As a whole, it sounds jazz influenced, but without the fancy chords. Hush Mozey really make their own sound with this track.

“Listen Learn” is an intimate song about love and affection again. It features a treble based bass part which is a similar bass tone to all the other tracks so far but with this song in particular sounding more distorted. Vocally, this is definitely the catchiest track so far with the lyric “none of this is new” being a main hook line. The guitar tones are really interesting and reminds me a bit of the “90’s Britpop sound.” Strong song with lovely backing vocals too.

The next track is the most political song on the record and proves a point that they’re anti conservative. Joe (frontman of Hush Mozey) talks about the people he cares about who have no money in “Paper People” whereas the “Tory Bastards” have all the money and are still not happy. I’m not very political and don’t really like showing my views publicly, but I definitely do understand that one of the best ways to show your views is through writing a song so fair play to the main lyricist of the band for writing a politically point. The song is heavily humour based as well with a main lyric “Hugo Boss was a nazi” leaving me with a bit of a smile and chuckle. The song is punk, maybe not Sex Pistols punk, but more Blink 182, and it even has hints of the Libertines. With the song being 2:07, it definitely feels like there should have been more.

Another rebellious attitude is shown in “Hideout” where Joe shares a wacky idea of shaving his head and wearing a dress, to prove a point and frighten the fainthearted? I think so. I really like the structure and instrumentation with the song, with the verses being really stripped back with a lo-fi guitar part accompanied by a subtle programmed drum beat. The pre choruses really do give the song a dynamic build into the choruses. Dynamically, the choruses are the peak of the song which is always what’s expected. Half way through, the song goes bare but only includes the bass laying down a quick riff with a few angelic vocals over the top of it. The ending of the song is really captivating and you can tell they’ve found their light as “they’ve found the hideout.”

The last track on the EP is the longest song off it too. Instrumentally, “One More Night” is jazz influenced with hints of the dark elements of Portishead. The vocalist of the band seems to have a voice very similar to Brian Molko (Placebo) which is unusual, but he really does bring his own uniqueness to the music. Three quarters through the track, we’re created with a soft blues guitar type solo which features a subtle delay to give the song even more of a heavenly jazz feel.

Hush Mozey are quirky and really make all their influences shine through their music. I’m looking forward to all of their other releases to come in the future. Plus I must say, the artwork for Tales of Bigotry is stunning and so unique.

Favourite Tracks: A Place For Them, Listen Learn, Hideout, One More Night
Score: 7/10

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