Music lovers that find themselves doom-scrolling on TikTok are likely to have stumbled into Alex Melton’s amped-up pop-Punk renditions of Country icons like Chris Stapleton and Garth Brooks, or more subdued country takes on the likes of A Day to Remember, or Green Day.
Following the departure of drummer and founding member Josh Morgan, and an eight years gap between albums, comes The Subways fifth offering Uncertain Joys (Alcopop! Records). A lot has happened during this time, the dreaded c word notwithstanding, frontman Billy Lunn took three years out to study English at Cambridge University. The personal and personnel changes refreshed the band, with the introduction of synthesisers and pop to their brand of indie rock resulting in a textured and more interesting sound.
‘Love Waiting On You’ is a jolly little number with effervescent flourishes of synth, a great marriage between crunching chords and an upbeat pop melody. The title track is a triumph, with a bouncy melody straight from the pages of eighties pop, eased along by the silky smooth backing vocals of bass and keyboard player Charlotte Cooper. It is not just a collage of synths though, as in ‘Lavender Amelie’ they are in the background and complemented by a lush acoustic melody and a soft, XTC style hook.
They are still moments of no frills rock n’ roll, but it is tempered by the lighter moments and stands out all the more for it. The loud love letter to music ‘Black Wax’ blows away the cobwebs, with its punchy, almost primal riff reminiscent of Muse’s big rocker ‘Psycho’. The brash ‘Fight’, about standing up for the oppressed, is a spikey little number with a punk-like simplicity. ‘The Devil and Me’ motors along thanks to its nimble bassline and the propulsive drum beat of new member Camille Phillips. This is followed by the measured pace, alternative sound and subdued melancholia of ‘Joli Coeur’ – showcasing the balance on show and the progress made since the simpler, meat and potatoes like indie of their self-titled album eight years ago.
With Uncertain Joys, The Subwayshave come on leaps and bounds, mixing bold synths and bouncy pop to their straightforward Indie Rock to great effect.
In the wake of the pandemic, and after nearly two decades together, Circa Survive had to take a look at themselves and reassess their existence as a band and direction musically moving forward. Two Dreams (Rise Records) is the culmination of this journey the band took. Unfortunately, it came alongside the tragic news of the group going on an indefinite hiatus as well, as the members venture into new creative avenues.
I Prevail, when they revealed themselves to the world with their breakout Taylor Swift cover, could only be described as bursting onto the scene. Since then the post-hardcore group has become one of the most exciting bands out today. Smashing out more hits in two albums than some bands accomplish in their whole career. In their last release Trauma, the band delved into different external influences bringing rapping into their songwriting, will True Power carry on this trend?
From the gang vocals, jangly guitars and infectious sense of hope of ‘Iconoclast’, Watford-based punks Nervus’ new album The Evil One (Get Better Records) gets under your skin. It is their fourth album and the pop, alternative and americana influences help to create an absorbing record.
Like a lot of us out there, the lockdowns during the pandemic gave Florence Welch a lot of spare time to kill. When reading about the UK during the middle ages, Welch discovered ‘choreomania’ or dancing to exhaustion or even death, and thus became the soul theme to the band’s fifth album Dance Fever (Polydor Records). Now, some thirteen years since the act’s debut album, Lungs, Florence and The Machine have become a household name, having headlined grand festivals such as Glastonbury, and the real question is where can the group go from here.
It feels as if it has been a long, long time since Puppy released their debut album, The Goat to the world – although the pandemic may have something to do with that considering it has only been three years. When the album was first released, the trio stunned us with an eclectic mix of heavy sludgy, grungy riffs combined with even more eclectic vocal harmonies you’d find somewhere on a Weezer or a Wheatus release. The combination of the two has allowed the band to access the best of both worlds, appearing on some heavier lineups, while still being able to go onto support acts like Creeper. Whether the three-piece will be able to keep this up with their sophomore release is another matter.Continue reading →
GGGOLDDD, based in the Netherlands, have for the past decade been releasing material that defies genre conventions and blurs the boundaries between all manner of musical styles, from Metal, to post-Punk, to Pop, to Trip-Hop. Their fifth full-length release, This Shame Should Not Be Mine (Artoffact Records) is based around deeply personal themes to vocalist Milena Eva, who uses this record, conceived during the 2020 lockdown, to address traumatic events including sexual assault.
There are a lot of great storytellers in the world. For over fifteen years as a solo artist, Hardcore kid and childhood Heavy Metal devotee Frank Turner has mined the considerable depths of his life experience to bring his raw delivery, and his unique take on the human condition. His transparent honesty as a person and artist has earned him a lot of love from fans, and respect in general from his peers. At the end of the day, he’s just a regular guy, sharing his story. Much like the rest of us, but sorting it out one verse, one song, one album at a time.
I think we have to be clear from the start… At The Movies will not be for all of you. Mastermind behind this all-star Heavy Metal film soundtrack covers machine (yes, for the uninitiated, this really is a collective who work remotely together to re-do songs from Hollywood soundtracks) Chris Laney, guitarist of The Pretty Maids, is very clear that the purpose of ATM was a group of friends “looking for something to have some fun with (during lockdown)… asking ourselves all the time… can we get away with this?”
And so they set about reinterpreting hit songs from movies. But not the rockier songs, for where would be the fun and bile-induction in that? While Volume I – re-released at the same time to partner its sister act (#SorryNotSorry) – focused on the eighties, The Soundtrack Of Your Life Volume II (Atomic Fire) bites the bullet and rolls down its jacket sleeves, musses up its hair a little and steps into the world of the Hugh Grant RomCom and takes on some of the nineties movie megahits. For better or for worse. Continue reading →