Maggie Rogers – Heard It In A Past Life (Review)

After finding long-awaited fame from a viral video of Pharrell Williams listening to her debut track “Alaska”, Maggie Rogers dropped her debut album on Friday. “Heard It In A Past Life” features 5 tracks that have already been released as either promo’s or on her debut EP “Now That The Light is Fading.” With 7 tracks not heard of before, I’m ready to get my ears into this glorious album. I’ve been a fan of Maggie’s electronica music for a few years now and she honestly gets better and better.

Putting her folk vibes slightly to bed, it’s Greg Kurstin’s production skills that has really brought Maggie’s pop elements out more. “Give A Little” was released as the 3rd single for the album. Described on a handwritten note, Maggie re-introduced herself in a more ethereal-pop way. It was this song that made fans realise that she was going for a bigger production and not the sitting round a camp-fire kind of songs. She has the voice to pretty much do any type of music that she wants too. Inspired by more political views, the national school walk out in the US affected Maggie in a way that it made her become empathetic and wanting to make a change. Gelled with rhythmical but memorable vocals, it’s a proud song to have in your song collection and a beautiful message is shone throughout. 

A heartache song to Maggie’s past self. Everything changed “Overnight” for her, she had to find her feet on the ground there and then. Everything had to be figured out and put together with the snap of her fingers. People don’t realise how hard that is until you go through it yourself. “Things get strange, but I’m alright, I’m still here” is the perfect lyric to imply that things really did surprise her in the way that it all suddenly happened. There’s nothing that can really prepare you for the fame and fortune lifestyle, but Maggie did it with grace. As a songwriter, the perfect way to tell a story is to simply write a song. 

A song that deals with the simplicity of shrugging knowledge off by dancing with your friends after dark until the early hours. “The Knife of insight tore its way in meA brash collision without sympathy” insights that sudden facts entered Maggie’s mind. In other words, when Maggie got the recognition she truly deserved, everything started to make sense. People that aren’t your true friends will come back into her life to jump on the band wagon, making her think “wait a minute, you haven’t been here for years? I don’t need you in my life.” The Knife’s story needs to happen to everyone once in their life time. Simply let off some steam with a dance.

The worldwide phenomenon “Alaska” blew everyone away from the first listen. With over 90 million streams and counting, the folk-dance (that is now a thing thanks to Maggie) is an astonishing mixture of breathtaking vocals, layered percussion that’s not too much and homemade ‘samples.’ The samples include a talking sample coming from a hand drum, a rhythmical pat on her jeans, a snap of the fingers and a morning dove. Imaginative and clever, the balance of the story is mirrored straight through to the end. We hear Maggie’s love for hiking in natural habitats and dancing. Two completely different things that make Maggie. Alaska, I feel is an introductory song to the girl behind the track. It’s filled with anxiety during the verses but the chorus calms down that momentum with “and now, breath deep, I’m inhaling.” This implies that it’s time to chill and live right here, right now. Alaska is free and liberated for Maggie, it’s a place where she found her ‘new’ self.

“Light On” identifies the feeling of Maggie’s transformation from a private to a public figure. It seems that the album is fitted around her self change and how fast things happened. Leaving a light on implies that she’s so grateful for her fans showing her the light in what she feels can be darkness. Covered in the pop elements that the album is featuring quite a lot, Light On is fresh and filled with energy. The first song written for the album was actually track number 6: “Past Life.” Stripped back to the bones, the track is bare but feels so alive too. Recorded in one take, the end of side A is a perfect send off to her past self, just like a butterfly flying out of its previous lives cocoon.

Getting D’Angelo/Thundercat vibes from “Say It.” Inspired by a crush that Maggie had at the end of graduation, she wrote the track with two of her friends from college. I’ve noticed with her songs that she always sings the actual song title, with that it really cements the basic pop structure. Gaining a bit of grit, the emotions are poured through Maggie’s vocals and the hip-hop grooves that blanket over them with warmth.

A previous track of Maggie’s is “On + Off”, a story about a back and forth relationship but being together is comforting, even though sometimes letting go is the easier option. A humble track that I feel that we can all relate to in some way or another. 

Drowning in a stream of thoughts, Maggie created Fallingwater” due to rapid change. We’ve hit this subject quite a few times now so you’d think we’d get bored with the topic already. There’s just something about how she can take one subject and explain it in so many different ways. Elements of vulnerability are portrayed through the gospel inspired track. It’s a cry for help through a hard transition, but bursting at the seams are acceptance. Like finishing a chapter in a book, time to finish the page and move on. Taking us more towards a synth-pop based tune, Retrograde” is simply about a breakdown. Defining retrograde is moving backwards. Maggie dusted herself off and didn’t look back. She moved forward and let go. 

“Burning” is a dance track purely about love. Maggie loves what she does and you can tell that 100%, but in this song, there’s something different. We hear her becoming this role model and it really shows us how far she’s come. From being that shy girl who loves nature, she’s become confident with herself and knows she’s capable. As for the instrumentation, I feel it gets a bit repetitive and doesn’t move anywhere. She’s explaining that she’s a flame of love, so surely the mix should be slightly warmer and energised? Personal preference I guess. To conclude a wonderful album is “Back in My Body”, a track that’s able to do the things you love, but to do them in your own, unique way. As Maggie has found her feet in the fame and fortune world, she’s most likely being controlled by management. You could say this is a rebellion to say “no actually I’m going to do things my way, or it’s the highway for you.” It’s a sense of coming home and feeling comfortable with yourself. A perfect finish to a really well crafted album. 

Favourite Tracks: Give A Little, Overnight, The Knife, Alaska, Past Life, Say It, Retrograde, Burning

Score: 8/10

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The Creature Appeal – You Shouldn’t, But I Know You Probably Will (Review)

Local indie band, The Creature Appeal, from Birmingham released their debut EP in October 2018 which has already had quite a lot of streams on Spotify as well as their debut single having over 6,000 streams alone. They’ve been played on BBC Introducing a fair few times too. Implying that they hope to release new tunes quite soon, I’m interested to see where the band lead too. Indie bands are prominent at the moment which I’ve already exclaimed in a previous review post. 

“Nine” begins with a vibrant melody on guitar that soothes our ears for the EP ahead. The song may be situated within an indie genre as the vocals seem very Liam Fray (The Courteeners) & Van McCann (Catfish & the Bottlemen) but the production of this track feels a bit too bright and in your face to be an indie rock track. It feels a bit more pop-punk orientated. Reaching just after the half way mark, it takes us into a half time groove that really fits the song nicely. Indicating this breakdown means that something big is going to happen, in this songs case; the last chorus (pioneering part of almost every song structure). A full, full of wit track.

A far heavier approach to their songwriting, the riff sounds like a tone that Queens of the Stone Age would play. “Where Will I Find You Tonight?” is a track that symbolises the band’s effort to not just stick a few songs together to make an EP. “We took inspiration from things we had in our everyday lives: heartache, bus rides and nights out. We tried to make these themes consistent throughout the EP to tell a short story about a failing relationship as we wanted the project to be more than just a collection of tracks”. This song is a lot different to the first track and a stand-out one in their discography. Including a fun sample of “You Heard What I Said”, the song keeps you entertained all the time.

“I Need to Know” has a lovely production and the instruments blend together to create a warm, secure environment for the insecurity of the track. Saying that, it feels that the vocals don’t dynamically shift and it feels a bit repetitive after a while. I really like how the bass is doing anything that it wants, it’s free but still melodic. Only thing missing is a memorable hook-line that you will never want to get out your head. “Circular Sunglasses” is a hip, down with the kids kind of track. A tune that fans will be screaming out to the play when you’re playing live. The 4 piece band say they draw influences from the late Viola Beach, Kings of Leon & Arctic Monkeys to list a few. They’re currently unsigned and are currently gigging promoting their latest release. As a whole, the EP is original and filled with versatility. You get to hear the boys rock out a bit, then chill us out with some easy listening melodies. 

Favourite Tracks: Nine, Where Will I Find You Tonight, Circular Sunglasses

Score: 7/10

https://www.facebook.com/TheCreatureAppealBand/

https://www.instagram.com/thecreatureappeal/

Future Fires – Keep A Secret (Review)

Four-piece indie rock band from Birmingham, Future Fires are full of energy and are ready for anything. Formed in 2017 and serving a wide range of shows across the country, they released their latest single “Keep A Secret” back in October. With drawing influences from The Editors, The Subways and The Killers to name a few, this is a band that you’d be dancing to at big festivals in no time. They call themselves a ‘dark indie’ band and you can tell that from the latest single. It’s moody and something that you wouldn’t expect from an indie group. 

“Keep A Secret” is about trust and not breaking down that barrier. It’s tense and at any moment, you feel that the worst is going to happen. The darkness on the subject of the track is lightened with the wonderful arrangement soaking it all around. With vocals reminding me of early Miles Kane, Adam’s vocals compliments the song perfectly. The instrumentation takes us back to the early noughties of the Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party era that we all long for to come back. Future Fires are creating the airwaves of what is now 2019, to become nostalgic and longing for the old days. For a band that haven’t been around for that long, they are creating a strong fan base and have definitely got an exciting journey ahead of them.

Score: 3.5/5

http://futurefiresband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/futurefiresband/

PaperWolf – Talk About It (Review)

It’s safe to say that the indie rock scene at the moment is probably at the biggest it’s ever been. PaperWolf are here to just prove that even more. The power trio from the south of London already have quite a good discography under their sleeves. The new EP “Talk About It” is a collage of all the colourful things that the band bring together to make them PaperWolf. Released on 26th October, let’s talk about… Talk About It.

Instantly from the get go, “Do the Right Thing” has that raw indie London sound. Camden’s music scene sounds just like this. You can smell the London air from the fumes of this track (in the best possible way.) The track is rather short but definitely involves all the great aspects of a true indie piece. The harmonies blanket the main vocals in a warmth, comforting way, making us as the audience feel calm. Some parts of the track feel a bit rushed, but I think the adrenaline glowing from the composition just covers all the track for pure enjoyment throughout.

Crazily enough, the verse began with what I thought was David Byrne singing. The track really does have that Talking Heads feel from the vocal arrangements. As for the actual music part of things, it gets quite repetitive and predictable. Feeling like it doesn’t have anywhere near as much adrenaline as the first track does, this is just “The Way We Feel.” Saying that, the subject of the song is never really introduced, they’re simply just listing off the way they feel which is actually kind of clever, making us as the audience think “what and why are they FEELING these things?”

“Danny Slow Down” has more roughness to it, as the guitar chugging and repeated vocal hook line indicate that this is influenced by punk rock. Half way through, the track changes to a higher key creating another path for the track. The key change feels slightly more pop orientated which isn’t a surprise as Ronald Maas (bassist/vocalist) has always been a pop songwriter, I reviewed his EP “Aries” back in 2018. In conclusion, the track is fun and reminds me ever so slightly of the aura that “Johnny B. Goode” always delivers when playing it back after all these years. 

The final track on the EP is “Get Away” which has a subtle guitar effect that sounds inspired by the 80’s music scene bands such as; The Cure and The Smiths. The lyrics get straight to the point of feeling forced to get away from a certain situation. The music really implicates that too, it’s somewhat unwelcoming. It can either go two ways with putting a track like “Get Away” as the final track of an EP as it could leave the audience not feeling welcome OR is a clever artistry position as PaperWolf are showing that this is “the end.” In my eyes, it’s definitely the second option and a clever way to finish a great EP.

Favourite Tracks: Do The Right Thing, The Way We Feel, Get Away
Score: 7/10

https://www.facebook.com/paperwolflondon/

Alarm the Captain – I Know You’ll Get Hurt (Review)

I was so proud when I got this submission to review Alarm the Captain’s album through my emails because they’re from Israel and found my blog, the power of the internet is extraordinary. The band formed in 2014 and have been trying to get a good following around the world. The band are hoping to relocate to London and like I said before, they’re currently based in Israel. Having already got a debut EP under their sleeves, they’re ready for round 2 but with a debut album.

“And Now She’s Here” is soothing but at the same time slightly scary. The melodic riff that the guitars play starts quite dark, but towards the end of the melodic riff, it’s reassured to sounding a lot more happier. It’s a song that leaves you unsure what the sound of the album ahead is going to be like. As for someone who hasn’t heard AtC’s music before, I have no idea what I have in store with listening to the album as of yet, but from this first track, it sounds like things are leading to get heavier… and with that guitars start roaring in taking us into track 2.

The next track “Almost Without” is simply put as loud and slightly hardcore . You’ve got the rapid guitar tones and the chugging vibes from the guitar that automatically makes you know that this is situated within nu-metal. You’ve also got screaming vocals in the background which you really can’t ignore. It’s not personally the music I’d listen too anymore and the programmed drums fill this over 5 minute long song with triggers that I feel make the song not have a real essence to it. The song’s good don’t get me wrong, and the sample at the end of the track is super cool, but it’s not my personal preference to listen too.

The title track of the 8 track album is “I Know You’ll Get Hurt.” It’s another heavy track that has some interesting lyrics to say the least. “Don’t ever let go, I know the best for me, I know you’ll get hurt, I’m the revenge of the Sith” is in my opinion meant to be took seriously as that’s the tone that the vocals are giving off. Shouting at someone usually indicates that you’re angry and want your voice to be heard, so hearing the singer sing about what I can only think of being a star wars reference is quite strange, but I like it. I really like the guitar fills in the Alarm the Captain’s music, they seem to have really cool arrangements of their songs. The song ends with a big guitar breakdown that’s drowned in Pantera elements. 

“I’m Not Dunne (L.I.A.T)” is a lot more of a pop orientated arrangement and the melody that the vocals sing are a lot more memorable than the songs that we’ve heard on the album so far. Alarm the Captain situate their style of music in “Alternative” and that’s probably safe to say because we’ve heard many styles in their music so far. This song feels a bit rushed and the arrangement doesn’t really build up to something, it stays the same throughout apart from when it gets louder. Hearing a song get louder doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s built up and it’s at it’s peak, it feels that the track was rushed to get to the end in some ways which is a shame cause it’s a nice tune. 

Beginning with a lovely guitar tone soaked in reverb, “Sometimes the Truth Don’t Rhyme” reminds me of a Jeff Buckley tone but slightly more warmer. Personally, I feel the beginning is ruined with the big entrance from the metal instruments. We’re going back to the 2nd and 3rd tracks that don’t really have an answer for what’s being questioned; “Why smother something that doesn’t need any work?” I feel the song’s are good, but the arrangements are trying to be something that the song is simply not. They’re trying a bit too hard. It’s like having thousands of parts and just putting them together. Some of the parts in this track are killer though, the guitar tones are simply lovely and loud. 

“Keep You Numb” sounds like a letter being read out loud and it’s captivating. It’s safe to say the least that the band are quite versatile and experimental with their music which is wonderful to hear them go down many avenues. This is the shortest track on the album at 1:07 and it’s possibly my favourite of the whole catalogue because it’s so different to everything else. The writer seems to be in love with whoever he’s reading too and simply ends the track with “I adore you.” It’s heartwarming and sounds like something you’d hear in a dark, independent romantic film. I like a lot. 

“Bruised” sounds not as heavy as the other songs on the album. It feels a lot more pop-punk orientated with a few math rock elements thrown in too. I really like the instrumental work on this track. Emotionally, I can’t really relate to this song as I’m unsure what the singer is singing about. I tried reading the lyrics on their website and you can hardly see it because of the artwork on that cover. Saying that, you can tell that the singer for instance is either in a time of his life where he’s having problems or he’s in pain right now and the only way he can get his point across is writing it into a song, now THAT I can relate too. 

“Eight Months (Bonus Track)” has previously been released before on their debut demo but this is a stripped down version of the track and it’s such a lovely way to end the album with an acoustic song. We’ve heard a lot of powerful, loud music, so hearing something that’s a lot more settling compliments the bed nicely. I’d love to hear more of this side from the band. The song is just under 2 minutes, it’s short and sweet but a great ending. 

Favourite Tracks: And Now She’s Here, I’m Not Dunne (L.I.A.T), Keep You Numb, Eight Months (Bonus Track)
Score: 6/10

https://xhxnt159.wixsite.com/alarmthecaptain

https://www.facebook.com/AlarmTheCaptainOfficial/

Jorja Smith – Lost & Found (Review)

The 21-year-old from Walsall is on her way to a global status. Having already collaborated with artists such as Drake, Stormzy and Kendrick Lamar, her debut album contains her best work yet in my eyes and showcases her originality. Released back in June of this year and lasting only 45 minutes, this R&B album is filled with all the great aspects you’d want in one. The album took 2 years to record with Jorja co-writing most of the songs with other artists. She’s only 21 and is completely extraordinary, and I’m sure she’ll be like a fine red wine, which gets even better with age.

“Lost & Found” is the song that made me fall in love with Jorja’s music. The production on the track begins with a wave of clarity, before we hear “yeah like that, sounds cool” from Jorja. With her common accent, it makes the song more real. Angelic vocals suits the atmosphere, grooving into an effective beat cementing that this album has successfully landed. A subtle key change takes us into the actual song making the introduction that extra special. Jorja wrote this when she was only 15. She wrote it as she felt a bit lost when she went to London for the first few times, but she found herself while she was there and adapted to her surroundings. Hearing the maturity of her voice blending in with the soulful, chilled vibes of the song puts the cherry on top of a beautifully, crafted track.

Introducing the next song, we hear humming, which we don’t really think much of it. It wasn’t until I did a bit of research on “Teenage Fantasy” and found out that the recording of the so-called humming was actually recorded by Jorja while she was babysitting at 16. Finding out this fact makes the song a whole lot clearer to the so-what nature of some teenagers and it definitely brings back some nostalgic memories from my teen days. The first two lines of the song deals with the story of “you weren’t the person I thought you were,” we all know someone in our lives who turned out to be the complete opposite of what we thought. Teenage Fantasy hits the nail on the head completely. When we’re young, we want to be in love and feel that we’d only be happy if we were in a relationship. I can say this, as I did the exact thing. As time passes by, you realise that you have to love and accept yourself before you can love someone else and the way that Jorja portrays this message is mesmerizing.

Confronting and having the courage to say goodbye to someone takes some guts, especially when they meant/mean a lot to you. The story of “Where Did I Go?” explains exactly that. The production on this track is slightly more upbeat from the percussion being so prominent, and it makes sense as this track was produced by Sam Wills whereas the first two tracks were done by Charlie Perry. As much as this is a good track, I feel the melody is a bit predictable and not as thought out as the first two tracks. The subjects behind the song is effective though.

“February 3rd” is a lot more mellow than any track so far, making it a whole new direction for the album. “There’s a life outside I didn’t know” means that Jorja is now at an age where she is seeing things differently, and a lot more real. When we’re young, we hardly have any fears and see things in a completely different light, and it’s when we get older that we realise that we were in this little safe haven through our younger years. After the first lyric, the song changes into another relationship scenario. This travel showcases that Jorja feels that the guy is playing games and isn’t taking the relationship seriously. After all, a relationship is for both sides, not one-sided at all.

Finally, Jorja has left the boy in “On Your Own” who’s been giving her grief and he’s on HIS own now. Jorja has essences in her voice that sound like Sia, especially when she sings “on your own tonight.” I find Jorja as a lazy, slurry singer in this track, which is a complete positive. It gives her voice that attitude the song needs. The song doesn’t really award her range as such, it shows off her tone and control though. While she gets quite personal in this, the smooth beats make the song dynamically work. I would like this song to build a bit further though, it feels like it’s craving a stronger arrangement.

Well, you guessed it, “The One” is another song about a boy. As much as the songs are really great, they’re getting a bit repetitive with the subjects. The song deals with Jorja looking back on her past relationships that have failed and how she hopes she doesn’t become dependant on a person again. I do really like however that Jorja features “Choosers, Takers and Begging Heartbreakers” in the lyrics. Choosers are people who simply choose to love without a thought. Takers are people who know exactly what they want, but don’t feel the need to show it back. Begging Heartbreakers are people who simply beg to have someone in their life, just to throw it back in their faces and hurt them.

Moody, melancholiness are highlighted through “Wandering Romance” which suits the subject of an unstable relationship. It feels like the big ballad on the album, but at the same time, it still makes you want to dance. Usually the audience just want to watch and listen to ballad’s, but you can tell this song will also be a hit for our inner dancers at Jorja’s live shows. Saying that, I feel this may be the weakest track on the album purely because it doesn’t personally take me anywhere. I don’t feel anything emotional with it. Plus the constant background voice that sings “bruh” is quite annoying.

Arguably Jorja’s biggest track to date, as in popularity, “Blue Lights” has a big arrangement and warm production. The song questions why people should feel guilty about something if they haven’t actually done anything wrong. “Don’t you run when you hear the sirens coming, when you hear the sirens coming” is a fitting lean towards Dizzee Rascals “Sirens” and later in the song, it actually features a sample of the song. The song has a big message with people quoting that it was written for her friend who had a knife in their bag. We don’t know exactly what the song was written about and that makes it a whole lot more interesting. It gels the facts together that it can be about anything you want it o be, making it a lot more personal. Blue lights could link towards police cares as well. The song isn’t innocent, it’s in your face, dark and serious. The song was released two years prior to the album, so no wonder it’s so big.

“Lifeboats (Freestyle) was written with Tom Misch (which you can instantly recognise by the jazz-like chords.) The track explains how people drown in their own thoughts and difficulties in life. Whereas Lifeboats are the imagery to how we escape, but if we put that into our life’s perspective, what is a lifeboat a metaphor towards? Our close ones? Music? Who knows, we never really find out, leaving it unfinished and allowing us as the audience to get more personal to reflect the song in our own lives. The song is also linked to Kanye West’s track “All Falls Down” which channels the same context as Jorja’s… we now know where this song was inspired from. It also links to the title track Lost & Found with the first lyric being “Why do we all fall down?” I love the charisma of Jorja’s common Walsall accent in this track. It makes it more human and intimate. 

The next track is an acoustic, sad song. Jorja sings to someone who she’s lost that she’s in pain and simply misses them. “Goodbyes” are one of the hardest things any human being has to do. The song is emotional and makes me think of the people I’ve lost in my life and really does hit close to home. There’s a lot of R&B singers who have tried writing songs in this similar structure which musically works, but their versions haven’t been as emotional as this. In Jorja’s case, she didn’t actually lose anyone, but her friend did. She wrote the song in her shoes and really emphasises the way her friend felt. Sometimes we never get chance to say goodbye to someone and show them in their last moments how much they meant to us, that’s why you should always show someone you love, that you love them. I’m getting all cheesy now, but there’s no other way to say it really. 

“Tomorrow” is like a sequel to Goodbyes. Wishing that all things will make sense tomorrow is like pushing your dilemmas to the next day because you don’t want to sort them out there and then. A lot of the tracks on the album are either mid-beat or downbeat, this song is slow and doesn’t really escalate in any way. Vocally, Jorja’s voice is heavenly and you can hear her imperfections which makes it a whole lot more honest, but as a whole arrangement, it doesn’t really work for me. Same goes for the last song on the album “Don’t Watch Me Cry.” It’s still keeping that mellow momentum going strong. The song features emotions that are heard while being left in a relationship. Jorja strives her emotion of past relationships and her love life throughout the whole of her album, but she doesn’t dwell on it say as much as, lets say, Adele does. Adele makes her songs sad to pursue her emotion that little bit more across. Whereas with Jorja she makes it more aware that it’s ok to be upset when broken-hearted and that everything will be alright in the end. 

Concluding the album, it’s strong and really proves that love is such an important emotion.

Favourite Tracks: Lost & Found, Teenage Fantasy, Where Did I Go? February 3rd, On Your Own, Blue Lights, Lifeboats (Freestyle), Goodbyes

Score: 8/10

Our Girl – Stranger Today (Review)

 

I’ve been waiting for Brighton based Our Girl’s debut album ever since I first heard of them back in November when I saw them support Marika Hackman. They blew me away from the first song they played. For a trio, they have such a big sound and Stranger Today just confirms that. I find it really interesting that this album features 6 out of 11 tracks that have been previously released, but hearing them in a new light, a fresh lick of paint and different type of production is extraordinary. With the album only been released 4 days ago, it’s already in the charts and giving the band the exposure that they truly deserve.

Filled with fuzz and adrenaline, “Our Girl” was the first song that lead vocalist and guitarist, Soph Nathan wrote. The band call this their theme tune because, well, they’re named after it, duh. The song is everything you want to hear for the first song of an album to be. It’s glued with happiness and a big sound that just keeps on travelling with every listen.  It’s one of those song that you notice something different about it every time you listen to it. With Bill Ryder Jones (The Coral) production and lead guitar on this song, it gives the song nostalgia feels to easier, happier times.

“Being Around” is a song that Our Girl fan’s know already as it was released on their first EP, and the production of this version compared to the other is considerably better. Comparing the both versions, the first version was far more noisier and not as clear as the album version, which you can hear all of the instruments in their own limelight. It draws subtle influences from The Breeders and Warpaint, but still owning their sound.

Bass and drums driven, “In My Head” tells the story of how we all wish sometimes that people could understand us more and how it would be easier if they took a trip in our own heads. Rhythmically, this song just automatically makes you shake your hips and want to dance. With a catchy chorus and contagious harmonies, In My Head is a stand out track on the album. To make it even more of a clever song, it speeds up making it sound experimental and a huge song to listen to live. Just imagine the mosh pit at the end of this track live…

“I Really Like It” is about Soph’s girlfriend while they made the “friends to more than friends” move. The emotion of this song makes it a crowd pleaser because even though some people don’t like to admit it, love is amazing and overwhelming and when you’re in it, it really is the best thing in the world. This is probably the most pop orientated song on the album as the structure is fairly simple and easy to listen too. Just over half way, the song takes a turn to an instrumental break with a memorable guitar fuzz trip taking us back into a type of pre chorus before reaching the final chorus.

A new song for Our Girl listeners is “Josephine” and it’s instantly a new favourite of mine. Beginning with bass and an amazing guitar strain that sends shivers down your spine, you know this song is going to be special. Musically, it’s what we’ve been waiting for, a 90’s grunge Sonic Youth drowsiness. The layering of guitar noises over rhythmical, wonderful guitar chords adds this draining feeling to the song that’s just so deep and meaningful to listen too. The song is about making up in a relationship and getting back together. It’s hard and a punch in the heart when a relationship ends but there’s something that sticks out to me that makes me think that they WILL get back together. When Soph sings “and I’m loving you, always” she ends always in a major key which is a sign that things could look up and be hopeful, whereas the music still feels like you want to bury yourself in a hole over heartbreak. Just over halfway, we’re took into the beyond of what feels like a never-ending battle of trying to feel better. With the guitar sounding in pain when it exclaims with the guitar effects, this song is creepy in the most magical way possible.

“Two Life” is another previous Our Girl song that we’re familiar with. Our Girl are probably most memorable for their great, guitar melodies and Two Life demonstrates this. Every song so far has built to this big, explosive part and has not let us down. The instrumental part of Two Life is in your face and there’s no ignoring it. It’s everything you want for a wild, alternative rock band. Soph said in a previous interview with Clash Magazine, that Bill created the weird, guitar parts by rubbing a screwdriver over the guitar, while it was drowned in fuzz and distortion. Genius. This track just shows that the band bounce off each other and influenced by one another to create this exciting sound for us. The aggression and walls of sound are just complete fire.

One of the first single Our Girl released 3 years ago is a lovely song called “Level.”  Honestly, it has come such a long way since then. Soph’s breath like vocals are sensitive and addicted to listen to as they just draw you in. Level is about an important relationship of Soph’s collapsing. She wrote a lot of songs on this album about that experience. She lived opposite a park called the Level, hence the title of the track. It’s a very natural song that seems to be a huge hit for Our Girl. Level was the track that drew me into Our Girl’s music when I saw them back in November. The off putting-ness of the guitar chords in the verses leave you tense and nervous, but the chorus reassures you and makes you believe things will get better. The guitar bends and tones remind me of the same tone that James Wilsey used on the hit Chris Isaak track “Wicked Game.” Important song for the album as it features the title “I told a stranger today…”

“Sub Rosa” is still and calm. It aches in exhaustion and depression. As much as a sad song is dark, gloomy and some people don’t like to hear them, it’s what the album needed. Most of the tracks are upbeat and filled with loud, beast like guitar riffs, so hearing Sub Rosa calms us and let’s you take a deep breath for maybe more aggression is to come. The natural reverb on the drums adds this really mysterious atmosphere to the track. Sub Rosa means something that’s done in secret, meaning that the song is a lot darker than we though. Perhaps its leaning towards a relationship that’s on the edge of breaking up and one of them is hiding something dark.

Next is a grunge ballad about wanting a bit more time. Sunday’s are known for most people to be a day of rest and sometimes a bit depressing, which mirrors perfectly in “I Wish it Was Sunday.” Let’s be honest, the cheeky little guitar riff in this just makes it a whole other level. It’s like Jack White just randomly showed up at the studio that Our Girl were recording at and grabbed a guitar. Musically, the song has a Garbage type of melancholy arrangement but has the excitement of shoegaze legends My Bloody Valentine brought with Only Shallow. We really hear Soph get aggressive with her vocals in this song exclaiming “my heart.” The ending was definitely needed. Everything cuts out and 3 vocals interrupt with one of the hook lines “stained with sleep, I couldn’t feel my feet, the light was perfect.”

Jazz inspired chords fill this lonely song with panic before reassurance cools down the “Heat.” A shadow of reverb hits you hard with the simplicity of the song, but shows how complex it is with the difficult guitar riff taking us into a big space of what feels like a confused brain, before bringing us back into the safe haven of the second verse. The guitar work is very Jeff Buckley inspired, whereas the vocals are completely just Soph at possibly, one of her best vocals takes on the album. Heat is a perfect conclusion to panic. Anxious people get flustered and hot when they’re alarmed.

The last track on the album is filled with layers of wonderful things. It’s like they made “Boring” like a cake and just put all the best ingredients into it, including; clever guitar melodies, soft harmonies, loose bass lines, hard drums and they’ve mixed it all with their shoegaze-fuzz. As it hits 3:36, the song goes into an almost 3 minutes of what feels like an impromptu jam session, in a weird african rhythm, that’s only contagious to dance too. The song builds to this huge ending. A big ball of noise is made that’s filled with passion, before coming to a close of a truly, fantastic debut album from Our Girl.

Favourite Tracks: Our Girl, Being Around, In My Head, Josephine, Two Life, Level, I Wish It Was Sunday, Heat, Boring

Score: 9/10