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

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Meme Detroit & Institutes live at The Night Owl, Birmingham – 5th May 2018 (Review)

I went to see Meme Detroit with support from Institutes live on the 5th May at the Night Owl. I know both bands personally so it was nice to go and do a feature on both. Institutes brought their theatrical side out with the theme tune of the Avengers signalling their first track. Gareth’s vocals were constantly on point as each song progressed. I know Gaz personally, like I said, and I know how much he likes Star Wars, so I really wasn’t surprised to see a Star Wars mask on the stage while they played, just constantly staring into our souls. With their set featuring tracks like We See Colour which was aggressive, it was nice to hear tracks like Not Alone with the whole arrangement of the song being delicious. I must say, the bass line in the verses for this track is so fragile but delicate. Their stand out track for the show was Golden Egg with the lead guitar going through what seemed like a midi synthesiser pedal, the song had so much power. Top performance from the boys, will definitely be checking them out again for sure. 

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Whereas for Meme, the girl sure does bring attitude to every track the band plays. Meme released her debut album back in 2016 and has been causing quite a stir round the Birmingham music scene for quite a while. With influences drawn from 90’s grunge, 80’s synth pop and indie rock, Meme’s distorted music is big. Her live set included big songs “With You” featuring Love Transcends All Again, a real powerful love song about being in love with “love.” The band, of course, featured the latest release, Soc Med Junkies which is about social media as a whole and how it controls us. I must say, the songs are really quite good, but at the gig, some guitar parts were drowned so much in fuzz and distortion that it was hard to understand the songs fully. Saying that, the band as a whole (Barney Such on Drums) and Ross Adams on bass) created an energy that filled the whole room. Just a shame that I had to leave early.

I asked Meme some questions to get a better feel of what her music/influences involve.

“I was sat aimlessly scrolling one day through my news feeds and suddenly found myself feeling really heavy-hearted and down. I realised it was due to all the negative sh** that I was reading and watching on my screen. It was a bit of a light bulb, “what the f*** am I doing?” moment so I switched off my phone, grabbed my guitar and notebook and started writing to put my time to a much happier/more positive activity.”

 

“Thanks! Yeah, the 80s thing came from a composition briefing for a film soundtrack. I’d never really done anything like that before so decided to give it a go and ended up really liking what came out. So much so, we released it. Influence wise, it’s hard to say as my influences range from all sorts. Due to my family’s generational hand me down box of vinyls: Bands/artists such as The Beatles, Bowie, Bob Marley, MJ, Foo Fighters, to At the drive in, Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Death from above. I’m well into dance and old skool hip hop also. If something stirs an emotion in me, whatever the genre, I’ll dig it. Guitar writing wise, however, I guess I could probably say my biggest influences are Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, Billy Corgan and although she’s a bassist, Pixies’ Kim Deal’s simplistic yet genius playing style inspired me from a very young age.”

 

What has been your favourite gig you’ve played so far? What’s the weirdest gig you’ve played?
“My favourite gig so far has to be when we played the main stage at Silverstone.
It was just an awesome buzzing atmosphere. The Sun was setting in the distance and in that moment as we were playing out, it just felt so right. It was almost like an out-of-body experience ha. The weirdest gig I’ve played is probably The Treehouse sessions in Birmingham. I wasn’t sure what to expect as when you get there, you have to go through someone’s house and you get taken into the back garden. You go through this wooden door at the bottom of the garden (it was like Narnia!) and suddenly you’re in this full on production room with monitor screens and crew everywhere. Then you get taken through to the performance area and it’s literally a tiny treehouse with a gorgeous intimate seating area & bar below for the audience. The whole thing was filmed for their channel with an interview that took place in this ace yurt. It actually ended up being more awesome than weird in the end!”

TAMSYN – Dirt (Single Review)

Being featured on BBC Introducing is always a great step into the music industry, and the boys of TAMSYN have done just that. The indie rock band from Manchester have been on the circuit for over 2 years now and have already released a debut EP plus a couple of single. Their new track “Dirt” is being released on May 7th onto iTunes and Spotify, plus it will have it’s own music video too. The track is being released as a single to begin hype for their second EP “If I Didn’t Love Trouble Then I Wouldn’t Love You” due for release later this year.

The song deals with living with mistakes of the past. The opening lyric “if you keep digging up the past, it’s going to bury you” is really an eye opener that will make you stop in your tracks and question your own past. It’s completely true, if you keep digging up the past, it will eventually bury you and you’ll be back to how you were before. Every situation is different though and sometimes bringing up the past can be a good thing, it all depends on the situation. The main vocal line of Dirt is constantly catching your attention, and after hearing it for the first time, it’s now stuck in my head. Having a memorable part to any song is always a clever idea to capture the audience.

The most prominent part has to be the chorus lyric; Roses grown from dirt” and what a deep lyric that is. It’s a metaphor that’s simply put as, everyone has imperfections (being the dirt) but even your negatives can turn into positives, being the roses in this case. It could also be linked in with mental health, the dirt meaning anxiety or depression for example, and even though its such a dark thing to go through, it can make you stronger in the long run which links back to the beautiful essence of roses.

The instrumentation of the song is fairly simple, especially the drums and bass, but it really captures the elements of the indie-pop track. I really like how the vocals aren’t as powerful until near the ending and it really brings the dynamics of the song to the peak moment. The tone of the guitars is raw and vintage sounding, making it sound like a 1970’s tone but on a modern-day track. This is the first song that I heard in TAMSYN’s discography, and I’m liking their charisma, tone’s and vibes. All in all, great track.

Score: 3/5

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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

https://www.hushmozey.com/
https://www.facebook.com/hushmozey/

Million Empire – Visceral (EP Review)

Million Empire have been on the circuit for about 10 years now and the band have really gotten their names across around the West Midlands music scene. With their new EP “Visceral” due for release on 30th March, Visceral is their 3rd EP to date. With influences heavily from the 90’s alternative rock scene, you can hear the likes of Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam in their music with flavourings of their own unique ability. I’m really looking forward to sitting down and listening to their new release.

Not in my Nature” is straight to the point with the vocals starting straight away with a rebellious attitude. Not in my Nature deals with identity and sticking to rules to keep yourself “you”. Going out of your comfort zone and nature can make someone go off the rails and turn into something that they’re not. The vocals sound quite similar to Josh Franceschi out of You Me at Six and has that twang, but the song itself is heavy and progressed to become a grunge based track that rebels against the system. The bass plays a melodic riff half way through which gives the song a whole new style before it starts to build back into a powerful part where the chorus is played in a half time speed. Dynamically, the song builds and keeps you caught throughout.

Starting with very faint drums, “Fear of Thirteen” makes you unsure of what’s to come. It kind of fools you in the way to think “oh this song is quiet, let’s turn the volume up” and before we know it, a powerful foot stomping riff comes into the mix. Musically, the song sounds heavily influenced by early Soundgarden on their Badmotorfinger album. The song is fast and sometimes a bit too much going on. “I hit you once, you hit me twice, but we never took the time to see who’s right” is a lyric that can be really quite dark, maybe this is about a relationship between two people; lovers or friends, who constantly fight and never actually sit down to talk about issuing their problems. I could be completely wrong, but that’s the vibe that I’m getting from this track. Triskaidekaphobia is a fear of being afraid of the number 13 which a lot pf people do have, so perhaps that’s what the song is technically about. It’s scary and constantly a punch to the stomach in the dark moments.

“Head vs Heart vs Brick Wall” is constantly pumped with energy. You can definitely hear At the Drive in as an influence for the boys of Million Empire in this track. As a singer myself, I always try to listen out for catchy little hook lines that other singers sing and the catchiest part of this track has got to be the lyric “I haven’t felt my heart beat” which features in the chorus. As a song, it’s dynamically always in your face, which can be a bit too much, but it does work well.

Clever guitar parts come through the track and as a whole, the levels at the beginning of “Cancer in the Rut” are all over the place (in a good way) which is really different to their other tracks so far as they’ve been constantly loud. With this being the longest track on the EP, it’s definitely the most clever out of the 5, with the dynamic shifts. I must say though, I would love to know what the singer is really singing about as the lyrics seems to be addressing a subject but not really identifying what’s exactly on their mind. I can really relate to an artist when they get personal with their words.

Please” is the ballad of the entire EP and it’s also a lovely close to it. The guitar is featured with a lovely tremolo effect that gives the song such a bold edge to it. Over half way through the song, it does pick up and start to get heavier, but before we know it, the momentum has gone and we’re back to the quiet, eerie beginning of pleading for forgiveness.

Real clever EP by the boys of Million Empire, they’ve definitely gained a fan from me!

Favourite Tracks: Not in my Nature, Fear of Thirteen, Please
Score: 6.5/10

http://millionempire.wixsite.com/millionempire/music

https://www.facebook.com/millionempire/

Pink Floyd – Animals (Classic Album Review)

“Animals” is a concept album that gives us a thought of what life was like in the 1970’s with politics being a main part of everyone’s life. It’s the 10th studio album by the iconic rock band that is “Pink Floyd”. It’s also one of the most progressive albums that they made with the concept behind it being very intricate. It was released on 23rd January 1977 and 41 years later, this album is still as important as it was back then. The album cover includes a pig floating between two of the chimneys at Battersea Power Station in South LondonPigs became a symbol for Pink Floyd and featured as a kind of mascot at their concerts from the release of this album. Pigs weren’t just a symbol for Pink Floyd, they were an obsession for hippies in the 1960’s/1970’s as they used to call policemen that. For me, this album is so important, purely because it was the first album I listened to all the way through when I was young. My family gave me good music taste!

The album starts just as it ends. “Pigs on the Wing Part 1” is sung by Roger Waters. It’s a love song that Roger wrote for his wife at the time. The song is split into two halves which sits really nicely as bookends to such a full on album. The song doesn’t really make sense to the middle three songs but no one has ever really questioned as to why it’s on the album, because well, why should they? The song works so well. The song is so simple and just features Water’s guitar and vocals. Roger Water’s wife at the time was the only person who he had ever met that could stand up to him and he really admired her for that. All his life, until that point, he was looking for someone who he could count as an equal.

You’ve got to be crazy…” was what the next song was originally going to be called, but they changed it to obviously, “Dogs”. Dogs are the real deal animals purely because they all aspire to be the big “boss”. Waters and Gilmour wrote Dogs lyrically to mean that Dogs are conniving people who are always after something. The song originally started off as a jam that the band had that was turned into a full arrangement of what would become probably the best song on this album. The song is lyrically about trying to find who you are as a person and your place in the world, but getting stuck in the day-to-day life routine. The first half is sung by David Gilmour and as verse 4 comes around, Roger Waters takes the lead. I think they really do sound very similar in this song though. Verse 4 is the only verse where first person is used for a moment, before it goes back to “YOU”.

Being the longest track on the album at a staggering 17:05, this song has got to be up there in the greatest Pink Floyd tracks. It’s progressive and melodically & lyrically golden. The one line that really hits home in this song has got to be “You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to, So that when they turn their backs on you, You’ll get the chance to put the knife in”. This indicates that people try to do things purely for themselves when really they need to think of the principles before hand. If Black Mirror could be an album, I think it would be this album, purely because Pink Floyd really go into depth’s on their own political views. I’m not saying Black Mirror is politically, I mean it is, but I can see the similarities between them because the writers stick to what they believe in. Animals is still futuristic and ahead of its time even for the present time. It’s progressive and so important. “Dragged down by the stone” leads into a complex interlude in Dogs, that ironically features dogs barking.

This album is really where Roger Waters knew that he could get his political voice heard by writing songs for people to hear. Plus it was a good warm up for Pink Floyd before they released The Wall two years later, which we all know is an iconic, moving concept album with its own film! Dogs has always been one of my favourite Pink Floyd songs purely because when you think it’s gotten to the peak of the song, it just gets better and carries on building throughout.

“Pigs (Three Different Ones)” is about the society and the government in the time that they wrote/recorded this album. The bass completely drives this song and makes the song so funky, even though lyrically, it’s really digging into people. Animals isn’t just about one person, it’s about a lot of people that really angered Pink Floyd (mainly Roger Waters.) The only person that has been identified in this song is Mary Whitehouse, but really Pigs could be highly aimed at Margaret Thatcher who was in power at the time. I only say this because of the lyric “you like the feel of steel”… hello… her nickname was the Iron Lady for god sake! The lyric “you’re nearly a laugh” also cries out that he’s laughing at those in power, “but you’re really a cry” is him realising that he can’t really do anything about it, so instead, he wrote songs to explain his thoughts. The talk box is the most iconic part of the whole song purely as it sounds like a pig. I remember as a child listening to Animals in the car and Pigs always used to stand out to me mainly because of the bass. Roger Waters bass tone in this song is refreshing and equalised so lovely in the mix. This song actually got me into learning how to play the bass guitar.

Introduced with a sound just like how Rick Wakeman would enter a Yes song, Richard Wright progressively starts “Sheep” on keys while a strange sort of Doctor Who vibe comes rhythmically out of Roger Waters bass. Sheep is about the blind followers, which I feel was aimed directly at the public in the 1970’s who stuck by all the politicians as the safe option, because they were scared to stand up for themselves in what they believe in. “Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air” really interested me when I first heard it as animals know when they’re going to die apparently. If we are “gods” lambs then “christ” is our shepherd according to religion. I’m not religious in any way but it really is a good adaptation to describe “his” love. A shepherd will feed his lambs and protect them.. all the way up to when he slaughters them. Going back to the meaning of the song, politicians fool us all the way into thinking they’re right and then once everyone has voted for them and put them in power, they change and come out as their “true selves”. The ending chord progression of the song is such a happy sound and makes us feel that the sheep/blind followers are free from the dogs and badness of their everyday life.

We end the albums just as it starts. Pigs on the Wing Part 2″ has the exact same concept as Part 1 does but in this part, Roger Waters talks about how he has stopped being a dog and has settled down in the society with his love. I personally love this album so much purely for the concept of it. They make such a deep concept turn into a child’s understanding of it. While referring to politicians as Animals, it really makes me open my eyes and released who’s who in the world.

Absolutely stunning album and still so iconic to this day.

Favourite Tracks: Dogs, Pigs (Three Different Ones), Sheep

Score – 10/10