GIG REVIEW – AGAINST THE CURRENT – MANCHESTER 23/09/18

On their first UK headliner since late 2016, Against The Current are pushing ‘Past Lives’ to audiences new and old.

Opening the set were highly anticipated Aussie rock band The Faim (9). For a band only starting to blow up in the UK scene it’s safe to say they made many new fans during their set. With incredible energy, vocals and an overall polished yet gritty depth to their performance, the group managed to entice the audience for all 30-mins of their set. Whether it was slow or quicker paced, each track gained a reaction and it wouldn’t be surprising if we see them on more tours soon.

Headlining for the first time in 2018, Against The Current (8) brought their all after falling sick on their last Manchester headline date in 2016. Dominating the setlist were the trio’s four new singles with ‘Voices’ evidently gaining the largest reaction. However, this isn’t to say the remaining three fell behind. Hearing a crowd of excited fans shout ‘Fuck’ before the groovy bridge of ‘Almost Forgot’ is amusing, but also emphasises the bridged connection between the fans and audience established early on in the set. ‘Personal’ and ‘Strangers Again’, also falling early in the set became a highlight, but also leaves he question as to why 3/4 Of the new singles were placed so early in the setlist?

Perhaps it’s because the old songs of the set that bring possibly the greatest reaction of the night. Older tracks that the band know and love are apparent, with fiery rage bursting at the seams of ‘Running With The Wild Things’ and ‘Talk’ setting the highs of the evening. Even the calmer waves of ‘Gravity’ brought fun and excitement, a clear favourite amongst attendees of the night.

Despite the slower nature of ‘Chasing Ghosts’, ‘Dreaming Alone’ and even the live tour debut of ‘Demons’, the group can still show the immense talent vocally and playing wise together. While stage energy did perhaps lack at times from drummer Will Ferri and guitarist Dan Gow, perhaps it was these slower tracks that fit more, with the smooth melodic harmonies beautifully presented. To capture the attention of an audience fully can be tedious at times, but through unreleased track ‘Come Alive’, there was not one individual who’s eyes weren’t on the stage. All focus shifted to to the band as Chrissy Costanza’s vocals echoes throughout the venue. Did these tracks capture the night? No, but the calm before the storm of rage and heavier tracks is something beautiful, often dismissed but shouldn’t be.

What can we expect from ‘Past Lives’? Truth, emotion and some groovy tracks. With the standard Against The Current played to tonight, their next tours will be even bigger.

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MKII – BREAKING OUT – REVIEW

Winning ‘best band’ at the unsigned music awards in 2017 with only one track released, MKII have set themselves a standard that is going to be hard to break. Recorded with producer Nicholas Fournier, even more expectations are set upon the duo, so how exactly do they fare in this new musical world?

MKII set their standards high with their original single ‘Breaking Out’. Mixed by Nicolas Fournier, (Muse, Biffy Clyro, Fall Out Boy), it’s easy to see where that varying musical influences stem from in the EP. Brash electronic vibes with a hint of simplicity is a complex technique that the duo has cleverly claimed from their first single and thrown across the whole release. Interestingly, while their single stands out, the other tracks do not fall behind whatsoever, all following a similar strength and potential throughout. As a whole, the talent seeping through this release is the bands ability to create almost an entirely new world just through their sound. The beauty of cinematic, atmospheric rock truly comes through here, especially through the track ‘Isolation’. Simplistic atmospheric expanses with hints of the cinematic touch MKII are bringing into their music.

‘Delirium’ picks up through its progression. A packed bridge with added strings (featuring the string quartet from the Up North Session Orchestra) and other effects turn the track into something comparable to a movie soundscape. Atmospherically, the musical duo is high up on adding a cinematic, open space aura to their tracks, giving listeners almost a story narrated by Alex Spychalski powerful vocals and Andy Hind’s electronic musicality. Even the end gives listeners a beautiful outro, something slow, supple yet still with that flowing heaviness etched deep in its core

Forwarding to ‘Victorious’, engraved with a simplistic, beautiful flowing pre-verse slowly evolving into the heavier core at the root of the groups sound. Perhaps a little more depth through the chorus is needed in this track, but that’s always an improvement that can be worked on in the future. A highlight of the track is the echoic backing vocals haunting the tracks inner layers, just one example of the hidden gems carefully filtered between the tracks layers. Then ‘Guilt’. Everything in this track flows in a very interesting way. The creative mindset shows the smooth techniques the duo can use to push their music down the stream of sound. Progression through ‘Guilt’ is like its own story, similar with ‘victorious’ in a simpler level. Being able to create a story, almost a sense of action or narrative simply through an instrumental styled approach is a skill well rounded by the group, showing they have the fundamentals of a cinematic sound.

MKII have had some big expectations thrown at them, but with five tracks and a defining sound they have broken through this barrier faster than ever expected. Could they be the next Muse? No, because this group are their own defined style that will only become more refined as they progress. Keep these guys on your radar, as they’re not losing sight of their future.

Rating: 10/10

TRACK BY TRACK – JUST ABOUT DONE – I AM GETTING BY

‘The best way approach a track by track for this EP is to first explain that the presented order of the songs, was not actually the order they were written in. On ‘I Am Getting By’ we have a storyline threading through the accompanying videos and one that is different to what the songs are lyrically written about. We came about this alternate story when one of our band members listened and related to the songs on a completely different level to what my intention and it really was so amazing’, just one part of the in-depth description Just About Done vocalist Samantha McGee gives to describe the bands upcoming EP. Set to be released on October 19th, the Aussie outfit are bringing you something great commentated by McGee herself…

1 – Strain: Lyrically, ‘Strain’ was written out of frustration. I had finally ended a friendship with someone who was really starting to have an effect on my well-being. This person was the complete opposite to who I am, and who I want to be, so I really had to cut ties with them. Because of the nature of the song, there are some lines that are quite blunt and to the point – but that’s exactly how I was feeling at the time.

Most of our song writing goes something along the lines of: the guys write the start/ bulk of the instrumental parts and then I throw lyrics on top. Of course, no song is complete without us having a few debates on what sounds better and what direction the song should be heading – but that is how we push each other to get the best out of everyone. For example, the first verse was initially written as a bridge, but the guys were insistent that it should be the verse. To me that was bizarre but I agreed, and now we are all so happy with that decision.

We recorded this EP with Chris Vernon, who had his input on this song more than any other. We worked on the bridge together and he actually wrote the vocal line ‘You come to me, ignoring. It seems as if the world’s revolving around your head.’ We love being able to work with someone not in the band to give their honest opinions and are so stoked to have a little CV on this record.

2 – 1029: This song started off with a really strong instrumental section that was so enjoyable on it’s own it didn’t need lyrics, but I wrote some anyway. Pronounced ‘ten twenty-nine’, this track is about a relationship going through a hard time. Without giving away too much, this track portrays a feeling of not even wanting to confront an issue because you are so exhausted by the situation. There are a lot of lyrics in this track and it is always a bit of a shock to the crowd when played live as it must be strange seeing a girl sing this way, but that is exactly what Just About Done are about.

Just like the rest of our songs, we did pre-production at home first, so we could make all of our musical decisions without wasting studio time. This song certainly went through some chops and changes. Listeners can expect something very punchy with 1029, and we can’t wait for it to be out. The video is another question-posing piece of work, which may be confusing to some but rest assured that all will be revealed.

3 – Peacemaker: Peacemaker was actually the first track we wrote for this EP. Musically, there are a few different sounds that aren’t usually in our sound. We were going through a bit of a change in musical preference at this stage and Peacemaker shows that. Lyrically, it stemmed from my struggles with growing up with faith, and now coming to the fact that I don’t necessarily connect with that anymore. The line ‘wondering how to break the noose’, was initially written as ‘news’, referring to other people finding out about my decision. I changed it to ‘noose’ because it is sort of a double Entendre, which adds another element to the song and expresses my feelings towards situation more accurately. This song has become unintentionally anthemic and we often find people singing back the words to us at shows, even though it has not even been released!

In terms of the accompanying video, Peacemaker is the last to be released. It’s really hard-hitting and even after many watches, evokes a lot of emotion for all of our band. We feel the story is very relatable and hope that our form of expression, helps others who may have gone through the same thing.

AGAINST THE CURRENT ARE SHOWING THEIR ‘VOICES’

Just weeks before the release of anticipated album ‘Past Lives’, Against The Current have dropped another new single ‘Voices’ to bring even more excitement to the table.

‘Voices’ is the fourth track off the album currently released, while the rest of the album is set to be released on September 28th. Listen below!

Against the current are also heading on their headline tour starting today! Dates below:

HOPELESS RECORDS ANNOUNCE NEW CHARITY COMPILATION ‘SONGS THAT SAVED MY LIFE’

Hopeless records are launching a charity compilation album for charity.

The full tracklist features 12 bands, all of which can be found below:

1. Neck Deep – ‘Torn’

2. Movements – ‘Losing My Religion’

3. Stand Atlantic – ‘Your Graduation’

4. Dance Gavin Dance – ‘Semi Charmed Life’

5. Against Me! – ‘People Who Died’

6. Taking Back Sunday – ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings’

7. Dream State – ‘Crawling’

8. As It Is – ‘Such Great Heights’

9. Oceans Ate Alaska – ‘Shape Of My Heart’

10. Too Close To Touch – ‘Let It Be’

11. Dan Campbell & Ace Enders – ‘Broom People’

12. The Maine – ‘Transatlanticism’

‘Songs That Saved My Life’ profits will go to mental health charities such as the Crisis Text Line, To Write Love On Her Arms, Hope For The Day and The Trevor Project. Make sure to pre-order the EP and listen to Neck Deep’s Cover of ‘Torn’ below!

THE NOVUS DROP NEW SINGLE ‘BREAK’

Indie rock outfit The Novus have released their rebellious outburst through their new single ‘Break’!

With the statement ‘the establishment has failed us. its time to rebel.’, the group are set to make a statement, one that is to be heard by the masses. Make sure to check out the track below!

FAILURE IS AN OPTION – SECOND CHANCE – REVIEW

Birmingham rockers Failure Is An Option are in the cusp of releasing their split EP with counterparts Discordance, releasing their first single ‘Second Chance’ very soon. Being created and produced independently by the heavy rock group, they are taking this EP in their own hands. The EP can mainly be described as ‘ a mix of Emotional Hardcore and Heavy Rock. Failure Is An Option and Discordance are both bands local to the West Midlands area and have made links to each other for over a year now back when both bands were founded.’

Opening in a rather melodic fashion, the track starts rather simplistically, an echo styled viva track interweaved between the lines of guitar fluctuating through. Even through the luxuries, Failure Is An Option begin to emerge as lyricists, not only showing emotion but through simplistic measures, opposed to relying on effects and emphasised metaphors. Circling around ‘losing a bond between yourself and someone that you hold dearly to your heart’ is well portrayed, perhaps a little lyrics development can ensue in their progression as a band however.

However, a small letdown for this track is the mixing. Failure Is An Option are a smaller band, it is understandable that they may not be able to afforded high quality mixing and having done this independently, this is a good attempt. The problem is, this unfortunately does take down the quality of the track, making it hard to hear each individual section for what it is, instead of a blended compression.

Failure Is An Option have been floating around the Birmingham scene and you will definitely see them grow. Time and growth will bring this band further, this split so just being one of the ways to do so.

Rating: 6/10