Category: Album Reviews

HOUSEHOLD – EVERYTHING A RIVER SHOULD BE – REVIEW

Household’s favouring new album ‘Everything A River Should Be’ is certainly a record to listen to with an open mindset. Following in the style of bands such as Movements, Circa Survive and Citizen, the Minneapolis trio are hoping to leave their mark on the scene with their new album.

Interestingly, the first single from the record, ‘Dark Matter’, follows the pattern of a dark alt-rock track, a step away from some of the other tracks of the record. The song still holds its early day emo style, yet ingrains a darker bass heavy track, creating something oddly different, yet still fitting in a way. Yet, even though there is a clear style of drawn-out chords and vocals for many of the tracks, ‘Far From Me’ interestingly brings a quicker styled sense of their emo roots, less drawn-out with more of an alt-rock undertone, a refreshing difference for the record.

Household’s alt-rock/emo blend is not a new revolutionary genre, and while the trio do try to bring a melancholic undertone album to capture their listeners attention, there are the few tracks that just don’t make the cut. ‘It’s Easy to Feel Rotten’ at its foundation doesn’t have the new or exciting feel to push it to the standard of other tracks. The lengthy track doesn’t seem to change from a singular monotone verse feel which unfortunately circles back to a repetitive structure rather quickly.

Then again, while there is the odd repetitive feature, there are some unexpected contrasting tracks thrown into the mix. Strangely contrasting track ‘Shore Slipper’ incorporates a dreamy connecting interlude between ‘Dreamer’ and ‘Safe World’. Despite being one of the shortest tracks of the album, the track has an extended lingering sense, similar to that of ‘Misiziibi’. However, the real standout of this album is the truly capturing finale ‘Bloom’. The track is the perfect blend of transitioning stripped back build-ups to a cathartic, full pelt near-end feel before transitioning back to a slow fade-out end, the perfect way to end such an album.

‘Everything A River Should Be’ is a slow flowing, calm drift through a record of heartache and winding creative lyricism. Far from quick and upbeat, Household create an emotive, slightly downbeat album with a rare sense of comfort within its slower progressions. This release holds itself well, and is one to check out soon.

Rating: 7.5/10

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THE CLOCKWORKS – RUMOURS IN THE STOCKROOM – REVIEW

‘Rumours In The Stockroom’ is the newest track from Galway indie post-punk crossovers The Clockworks.

‘Rumours In The Stockroom’ is a quite a short, punchy track coming in at just under 2 minutes 30 seconds. The jumpy, upbeat drumming pattern adds a height of excitement to the pink track, something that contrasts over the monotone vocal stylings throughout. Even the deep rumbling basslines add a contrast leading to a lid of completely distinct parts that cumulate together to make a pretty good song. Yet, the monotone vocals don’t make this track too exciting, if the track were longer, this vocal style may have dragged it out further than needed but for its short bursts, it fits well.

While this isn’t the most exciting track in the world, sometimes post-punk doesn’t need to be. This track has good beats and is a nicer, calmer track as clearly intended instead of a heavy aggressive 3 minute rage. A good attempt.

Rating: 7/10

FAULKNER – PARIAHS – REVIEW

Faulkner are the next rising American indie hip-hop crossover, ready to release their debut LP ‘PARIAHS’ on February 9th 2018. Already working along the likes of Wu Tang Clan and Royce Da 5,9” (Eminem), the band have certainly got a backed up following for their new release. So, how does the release sound in comparison to its promotional hypes?

The answer is, not quite as well as hoped. Faulkner set off on a good start with their single ‘Hot Streak’, which brings quite a groovy steady beat with a synth co-ordinated chorus that brings a bouncing indie, hip-hop, new-wave crossover. ‘Revolutionary’, the albums opener also has a good flowing rhythm, with interesting added synths and steel-drum style features to its backing creating something quite enjoyable. ’Halo Me’ has its potential from its opening, bleeding out a slower track that adds a distanced feel from previous tracks, yet adds a fitting change.

Yet, some tracks seem to just try and lead to a build-up that never really brings anything exceptionally exciting. As much as one may want to enjoy ‘Keep Your Enemies Closer’, the plain styled hip-hop track doesn’t quite live up to the fun alt sided styles of tracks such ‘Hot Streak’ and ‘Revolutionary’. ‘Street Axioms’ is a quick-fire attempt at a potential punk/hip-hop crossover that doesn’t seem to get anywhere of exceptional mention. The chorus and verses almost appear too different, and the track itself, while having some similarities, is a difference that doesn’t exactly mix entirely well.

Then again, even tracks that do fit sometimes fall victim to a looping repetitive structure. ‘Molly’ is one of them. The track attempts a dramatic style chorus, yet it just doesn’t stand out through the repetitiveness of the verses at hand. However, this album isn’t all bad. Faulkner work well with mixing new elements into their music. ‘Hustle Everything’ has an interesting, almost 80’s vibe to it which brings a fun lightness to it (even though it does lack any real changes or noticeable contrasts between chorus and verse.)

Faulkner have some potential, quite clearly with their features and notices by famous artists. This album however, doesn’t quite cut to the expectation from their previous singles. There is no doubt that ‘PARIAHS’ has its highlights, but it isn’t as revolutionary as one may hope. A good debut, but there is always room for improvement.

5/10

BACK TO THE POINT – I SWEAR – REVIEW

Back To The Point are a pop-punk genre band from Ipswich in the UK. Having recently released their new single ‘I Swear’, which is taken from their upcoming 2018 EP, has surprised fans within their hometown and soon across the UK.

‘I Swear’ follows a typical pop-punk style in terms of fast guitar patterns and catchy harmonizing vocals. Interestingly, the song has a good beat throughout and clear vocals throughout the track from the start,Yet, the song lacks any interesting development. The track sounds as if it is one similar verse throughout, without any major difference in style between the verses, chorus or the bridge. This sadly does bring down the track, as all the independent musical aspects just eventually bled into one long section after time.

‘I Swear’ is almost reminiscent of early pop-punk legends such as Blink 182 and Simple Plan, keeping a homage to the questionings of life masked by a quick happy track. Back To The Point may not have produced the strongest track in the world, but with a new EP hopefully out soon, we can expect more from this growing Ipswich band!

Rating: 5/10

DREAM STATE – IN THIS HELL – REVIEW

After the success of their hit single ‘White Lies’ in 2017 and their signing to UNFD in late 2017, Dream State have released their first single of the year ‘In This Hell’.

From its origins, ‘In This Hell’ is more than just vocally powerful. Everything about this track fits well most of the track from its well thought out musicality to the variations of vocals from vocalist CJ. One thing that is different about this track is that it breaks the idea that the chorus is stronger than the verses. ‘In This Hell’ brings the complete opposite with strong emotive verses with a less powerful chorus. In its own element, the chorus is loud and strong, a relentless aspect to the song but in terms of lyrical and emotive release, the verses are a lot stronger. In its entirety, the collective track is similar in elements to its counterpart single ‘White Lies’ yet has its own little differences such as the hauntingly mellow guitar patterns at the bridge that offer a hollow, yet melancholic show build up towards the end of the track.

Dream State have released another track that cannot be described as anything less than great. The question now is what’s next for Dream State, and when is their next release?

Rating: 9/10

WATERPARKS – ENTERTAINMENT – REVIEW

Waterparks are back with their sophomore release of ‘Entertainment’. As much as they are labelled as ‘Pop-punk’, Waterparks are far from just a google search definition of the genre and expand on their own options within this album.

Original singles off the album ‘Blonde’, ‘Lucky People’ and ‘Not Warriors’ are a pretty good all-round sounding trio for the whole album. All three tracks differ but follow a similarity to their counterparts within the rest of the unheard album. ‘Blonde’ instantly brings a ‘Cluster’ era feel with its more upbeat heaviness felt on previous releases. ‘Lucky People’, the lighter love infused acoustic singer pops across a lighter, soft track halfway into ‘Entertainment’, splitting up the album a little with its simplistic, yet effective melody. While ‘Lucky People’ can’t really be compared too much to its counterpart tracks, Peach (Lobotomy)’ does have its fun little acoustic sections in the verses (kind of like the early-transformation days Taylor Swift feel) which brings it into this differing atmosphere. Not Warriors’ is more representative Of the synth side of ‘Entertainment’. Waterparks definitely expand on their creative use of synth tracks within this record with tracks such as ‘Crybaby’ taking on a less traditional guitar/drum/bass structure.

However, as much as the tasteful little synth additions add a little pop to the album, sometimes the watery synth style of tracks such as ‘Crybaby’ and ‘We Need To Talk’ don’t work quite as well. Crybaby’ offers a rather haunting atmosphere as it opens, but as the track further develops onwards the repetition makes this track seem a little…perhaps underdeveloped? Perhaps it’s just a side of Waterparks we aren’t as exposed to as their other styles, but this track, while having its good, different style tends to differentiate just a little too much from the rest of the album.

Yet, the real alt-rock standouts Of this album fall down to ‘Rare’, ’11:11′ and ‘TANTRUM’. ‘Rare’ falls in the middle, not as synth wave as ‘Crybaby’, yet not as angsty as ‘TANTRUM’ but falls between while holding its own on the album. ‘Rare’ is one of those tracks that brings back the fond familiarity of their debut album ‘Double Dare’ in its flair and style, highlighting how the band have improved but still keep little stylistic similarities to their predecessors. ’11:11′ thoroughly expresses the rock side within Waterparks with heavy guitar patterns, loud drums and an overall point to the Alt-rock side Waterparks can present. Now: ‘TANTRUM’. People say ‘TANTRUM’ is the ‘Entertainment’ version of ‘Little Violence’, but it’s so much more than that’. Tantrum’ is by far the most overflowing angst filled track on this record and rightly so. Following the encounters of the band dealing with people using their friends only to get close to the band. The sarcasm and anger directed in this track is hardly subverted from little sarcastic robotic clips stating ‘that’s what’s cool right?’ to the hardest, loudest punk ending to the track on record.

The lyrical theme of this album is quite clear, love, distance with a little ‘quality shade’ thrown at bands who have used Waterparks in the past. The struggle always falls with bands creating a second album that stands greater than their debut and Waterparks haven’t just tried, they’ve succeeded.

Rating: 7.5/10

THE OVERCAST – STILL SUFFER – REVIEW

Stoke based Emo-punk fourpiece ‘The Overcast’ are on the edge of releasing their debut EP ‘Still Suffer’ on Friday 26th January 2018. With 5 new tracks, have The Overcast created something that lives up to their previous singles?

Well it’s clear from the onset that some of the tracks such as ‘Smother’ and ‘Still Suffer’ offer a familiar, reminiscent style to The Overcast’s previous singles. ‘Smother’ is a fast opener, but does appear a little smothered in comparison to the rest of the EP. Yet, while the choruses do get a little lost, the track clearly rises back up through an excellent slower bridge build up, creating a nice little twist to the track.

But the real standouts fall in the trio of tracks ‘Through The Night’, ‘Caustic Soul’ and ‘Nervous Wreck’. ‘Through The Night’ brings forward a groovier, fast paced overlay to the track while also incorporating a belting powerful progressive chorus that we expect from The Overcast. The eccentric contrast of the chorus and the bridge makes this song truly make an impact and leave a lasting impression through the EP. ‘Caustic Soul’ interestingly brings a melodic ‘miserable caustic soul’ style chorus (which we’ve acknowledged is something The Overcast will never fail to bring) and little harmonies hidden through the pre-chorus. For a track on the darker side of things, The Overcast put on a happy shell, but as you dig deeper in the track, the true creativity really starts to shine.

However, the stripped back ‘Nervous Wreck’ embraces the melancholic melodies of ‘Still Suffer’ in a way that can give off its true emotive style. While it is the only track that follows the simpler, stripped back style, the choice only makes the impact of the differing song more poignant. Not too different from the EP that it sticks out too much, but sits perfectly as that little soul wrenching hidden gem of the EP.

The Overcast haven’t failed to make a good lasting impression on this track. With some real standout tracks, the upcoming band have created an EP is definitely worth your time.

Rating: 7.5/10