Category: Album Reviews

YOU KNOW THE DRILL – SELFHOOD – REVIEW

‘Selfhood’ is a turning point in You Know The Drill’s development as a band. Factoring in a much greater recording quality and a noticeable forward development in their lyricism, this EP is a big step forward for the Midlands based band.

As a leading single, ‘Snake Eyes’ gives an overall approach to what this EP sounds like. With a guest vocal appearance from Joey Fleming (In Her Own Words), the track is a nice push into the future release. The bands second single however, ‘Homesick’, admittedly could have fared better as the band’s first single. ‘Homesick’ is an all-around strong track, only lacking the guest vocals that perhaps helped push ‘Snake Eyes’ to the top of the bands single list. While the track doesn’t necessarily capture the catchy hook/chorus that most pop-punk tracks seamlessly use, it’s heavily guitar lead elements keep the track enjoyable and entertaining.

On the other hand, ‘Overcast’ as the EP’s opener isn’t the most memorable. Fitting more of a general introduction, there is nothing there to help it really stand out in any particular way. Similarly, with ‘Suspect’, the track is good, but it just falls slightly below the line compared to the other tracks. With any pop-punk record, it is easy to fall into a repetitive cycle which You Know The Drill do occasionally rick falling victim to. Strong tracks with memorable lines, but not quite enough to stand out on top.

However, ‘Blossom’ is definitely the most variant of the EP’s five tracks – the acoustic ballad. What is a pop-punk release without one? To put out a track in a more intimate and emotional perspective, You Know The Drill certainly check all the boxes. With the EP’s pre-production produced by Alex Adam of ROAM, it is no surprise that the soft acoustic style is reminiscent of the acoustics from their similar counterparts ROAM.

To put it in a simple way, ‘Selfhood’ is a much cleaner, polished development of their debut ‘Losing Streak.’ You Know The Drill have solidified their sound and it is now just a matter of strengthening further throughout their future releases.

Rating 8/10

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WITH CONFIDENCE – THAT SOMETHING – REVIEW

After concerning allegations and the removal of a member late last year, it was unclear whether we would ever hear from pop-punk band With Confidence in the scene again. However, dropping a bombshell announcement of a new album, tour and new single, they are back to reclaim their title.

‘That Something’ is definitely different from the tracks off their debut ‘Better Weather’, whether it’s a more uplifting approach to the loss the more evident pop-punk traits they used to embody, this single definitely ranges more into a soft rock/ alternative approach. The chorus itself is the catchy central hook of the track, not too overpowering, but slotting in well through the uplifting track. Even the slower, simplistically styled verses have their place, not too forced but instead a nice breathing space among some of the faster paced singles that have been released in the past.

If anything, With Confidence have found ‘That Something’ could be the blossoming of the bands new direction, one that we are highly anticipating from their new album ‘Love And Loathing’.

Rating: 8/10

HOMEFRONT – BREATHING SPACE – REVIEW

The wait for a new single from Homefront has been highly anticipated, being 10 months since their debut release of ‘Faultlines’. The question is, do Homefront give listeners the breathing space they need to stand out?

As for sticking to their respective genre, ‘Breathing Space’ has all the elements of a pop-punk track, fast sound, gang vocals and even a catchy chorus to match. The distinctive vocals from Peter Harvey give a distinctive tone to the track, while the remaining instrumental patterns are clearly set in place throughout the majority of the track. Despite a slight factor of repetitiveness through the tracks progression, the song itself definitely does grow the more you listen, with the catchy choruses taking the main forefront and verses acting as good secondary fillers.

Is the track super original? No and honestly, the pop-punk genre is one that is hard to break into. However, Homefront have presented us with a worthwhile track that will help them break out into their local Australian scene, if not further in the next few months/years.

Rating: 8/10

DREAM STATE – RECOVERY – REVIEW

The second EP from Dream State, ‘Recovery’, has hit our platforms, bringing with it a hype across the rock scene as to just who the Welsh 5-piece actually are. Quickly building up a hype and audience and being placed onto festivals and shows across the country has great connotations, but do the 5-piece really have something to show?

‘White Lies’ ultimately showed the biggest developmental change from their debut ‘Consequences’ back in 2015. Helping the 5-piece find their sound and audience the track, while not being the most outstanding creation in the scene, does hold creativity and potential Dream State have. Pushing forward on this track, the rest of the EP is developed thoroughly and well, with massive choruses and build-ups to truly form not just a sound, but an atmosphere. Similarly, ‘Solace’ also reinforces the EP’s massive atmospheric rocking choruses. Even though vocalist CJ’s vocals are the main standout of all the tracks, ‘Solace’ finds a way to stick in your head with the catchy backing infused so well into the chorus and bridge.

‘In This Hell’ once again sells the bands hard work and style development while ‘Help Myself’ brings forward the heaviest post-hardcore tinged rock style track Dream State encapsulate so well. Yes, CJ’s powerful vocals do form a central focus of the EP, yet this doesn’t bring down any of the other parts of the Ep’s creation either. Both Aled and Rhys guitar work carefully fits to help emphasise the slower, emotional moments and truly help power the faster heavier elements.

However, ‘New Waves’ is ultimately the most different of the three singles, let alone the whole EP. Instead of taking a more generic approach with a large pounding track to end on, Dream State instead have created the softer track of the EP. Not saying this track is a completely different genre to the rest, but ‘New Waves’ does pull itself apart from the rock/post-hardcore style of the EP ever so slightly to stand out alone.

One thing that is questionable though is the tracklist of the EP itself. Being formed of three already released singles over the last year and two new tracks, there just wasn’t as much to expect compared to if the EP was formed of newer tracks.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Dream State will become huge. This EP proves it and if the band keeps up this great performance and production streak, they can easily launch themselves further, perhaps even to an international scene sooner than expected.

Rating: 8/10

ASHFIELDS – WE DON’T TALK – REVIEW

‘The most hard-working band to brace Nottingham’. This is how rising unsigned band ASHFIELDS have been described since their formation in late 2015. Following the release of their debut EP ‘New Skin’ last April, ASHFIELDS are now ready to release their newest single ‘We Don’t Talk’

The track has a good opening, something that differs from your generic indie-rock release, instead bringing a more simplistic approach. Yet, it’s simplicity of the opening that truly helps bring the powerful chorus to life. With the intense vocals standing out against the instrumentals of the track, it can appear that parts of the track are left behind, but this is no issue whatsoever. Following the more simplistic approach to the backing, this helps bring out the vocals even more, amplifying the message further. However, it’s at the bridge of a track where a song can easily fall down, but as predicted this is definitely not the case for Ashfields. If anything, the bridge gives ‘We Don’t Talk’ that extra push forward to stand out amongst the rest in the indie genre.

Ashfields have put a lot of work into their new single. With its release, so soon after their debut, this band are very determined to get their music heard and so it should be. Ashfields have good potential behind them and they’re ready to prove it.

Rating : 8/10

MAYPINE – GIVE – REVIEW

Maypine had an average start with their debut ‘In The Back Of My Mind’, pulling off a 5 track EP with some catchy tracks to satisfy new listeners. However, this is not the band they want you to hear. ‘A much truer representation of our band’ is what they want to present, starting with their new track ‘Give’.

‘Give’ instantly hits listeners with a darker approach to music. The happier pop-punk foundations have fallen away and instead bring forth a different side to Maypine. There is no doubt that the opening of the track and choruses have a very good potential that will hopefully be unleashed in their forthcoming release. Even though the group are beginning to stray from their roots, the elements of pop-punk are still ingrained through the vocals of the track. The verses may need a hint of improvement to fit the development, as at times it just doesn’t match up with the flow of the full track. Is there anything overly new about this track as a whole? For the bands style, yes, as an overall fitting into the rock genre? Not really. However, this is their first time perhaps exploring outside of their original roots and that’s okay. This is by no means a bad track, if anything it’s a good improvement in their music as a whole.

Maypine are reinventing their style, clearly opting for a darker theme through their newest single, artwork and promotional shots. They have a new direction and aren’t afraid to show it. ‘Bend/Break’ is coming soon and Maypine are determined to let it be heard.

Rating: 7/10

FICK AS FIEVES – DRIFT END – REVIEW

Indie rock is often seen as an underground genre, not quite as poignant in the media as more established rock genres such as metal or alternative rock. Fick As Fieves are the latest band to try and bring this genre up with their new EP, with each track on ‘Drift End’ averaging a 2 minute 30 second burst of indie power rock.

‘Drift End’ begins with a quick and catchy opener ‘COL’, giving a pretty good overview of the powerful indie music the trio have created. While the following track ‘Outstayed’ may not have that same quick paced kick, the slightly slower approach adds a contrast, not just in the song but the EP itself. A clever style Fick As Fieves incorporate to their music, is the contrast between quick rapid drum and guitar patterns, but softer, more mellow vocals to create the contrast that works so well in their music. While the shorter track does include a fun instrumental ending, the track itself, mainly through the centre of the track does become repetitive, keeping the same pattern that doesn’t seem to evolve as it continues.

Yet, what is strange about this, is the fact that the longest track on the EP, ‘Grass Is Greener’ doesn’t fall into a spiralling loop of repetition. Instead, it takes a different approach to their typical genre style portrayed on the EP. Building up with a simplistic, yet poignant guitar riff, the slower, more laid-back track creates a lovely twist to ‘Drift End’, yet doesn’t divert too far from the main quick style the band produces. Even ‘Martha’ has its switch up in styles, with a sudden drop into a drum/bass track with a layer of vocals above it, completely removing guitar but at the same time making an effective, unexpected change. It helps that the catchy groove Fick As Fieves have a talent for also comes through in this track, almost bringing the EP full circle from the opener of ‘COL’ to ‘Martha’.

The tracks within this EP do drift, keeping the same style, but at the same time twisting its approaches to the indie genre they are amplifying. OF course, it’s clear Fick As Fieves are improving with every release they put out. From previous singles to now, there is a definite increase of talent and musicality with ‘Drift End’ exploring just that.

7.5/10