Our first band of the night, coming out of Leeds, post-hardcore band, Kill The Silence. Opening straight away with some heavy catchy riffs, helping keep things intriguing from the offset. These guys clearly have a lot of energy to give, interacting with the crowd and giving us plenty of reasons to interact back. And in a genre saturated with rather similar sounding music, they manage to theirs feel like it stands out with solid song structures and strong vocal work, their particular sound was rather refreshing to the ears. There was great musicianship from four band members, even with a new to the band bassist and certain instrument malfunctions about halfway through, Kill The Silence performed an incredibly tight set, this combined with the rather welcoming atmosphere the audience was giving off made for a solid baseline for them to rest easy on. 7/10.
Next up in our lineup from the night is Veridian, a six-piece rock formation from Reading, only formed in 2016 and only a year it seems like they are making great progress in their scene, and it is easy to see why. Giving off similar vibes to bands like Young Guns/ Mallory Knox. Their chilled back, high energy style of music helps it feel very accessible to all audiences, their overall sound felt unique for the genre, with each individual band member instrumental parts standing out, solid vocals, unique guitar tones, and intricate drum work. Their overall energy from the set was fantastic, they know exactly what to to do to get the audience interested, giving us plenty of reasons interacted, and along with a packed out house made for a great atmosphere. 8/10.
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
The last band of the night, our headliners, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, on their 10th-anniversary tour of “don’t you fake it” which they played all the way through during their set. The incredibly intimate venue mixed with a sold-out show made for an incredibly fun and intense atmosphere throughout. My first impression of Red Jumpsuit is that their unique style of highly energetic pop punk/ pop rock seems to be a great crowd pleaser and along with great crowd interaction from the band members, and in turn which got a wonderful crowd reaction from everyone and made for a really engaging environment.
And this mixed with their great musicianship and a strong dialed in sound, which utilizing solid song structures, gripping guitar work and strong vocals just made for an honestly just great overall performance. 9/10
What comes to mind when you think of English music? I go straight to the 90’s with Oasis, Blur and Gorillaz. Some though may think of Morrissey. Others may think more recently of those who have defined modern British music – Ed Sheeran, Rizzle Kicks. Whatever you think of, there is a helping of all of these iconic Brits on Punk-Rap act Mid Reflections’ debut EP Outcasts.
There are two things which shine through the 4-track EP. One is what made their compatriots so distinctive and it’s their embrace of their regional identity. In this case their London tone and attitude is a great departure from the American camouflage that we have become so normalised by.
The other is the range of influences here, as implied. It gives strong impressions of Ed Sheeran’s You Need Me I don’t Need You in parts due to vibrant and intricate guitar parts tied to frequent lashing lyrical exchanges. At other times, the more downtrodden parts resonate more towards a Gorillaz-edge. If the production value on this EP (which is more or less spot-on) was dialled up a few notches, there could be some comparison between Hollywood Undead.
Opening title-track Outcast is straight to the point and straight into the chorus. Like the whole of the release, you find Mid Reflections accessing serious topics by using flippant lines: “Wasn’t easy as an outcast | Didn’t want to show my face like I’m Kenny from South Park”. It means you don’t take them that seriously so it’s easier to engage with these themes. It forecasts a general song make-up of dynamically pin-point breathless rapping showing off the astounding lung capacity of Rapper Matthew Bishop, aka 2T’z. This is enforced with basic but watertight drum rhythms, moving well into chanty choruses and an array of clean and distorted guitar parts.
Elsewhere, they seem to take a swipe at The Government amongst other things on Illusions with a cockier, upbeat vibe. Bishop is at his razor sharpest on Legalise It one that fuses quite an old-school riff with a shouty chorus. No second guesses what this one is about, he leaves you in his dust but you do struggle to really catch all of what he says. Foes is the calmest of the lot and my personal favourite. The binding guitar just works with Bishop’s rap style here. The melody ducks and dives patiently, allowing Bishop to push himself technically but it’s not over the top. It drops off nicely into a borderline spoken chorus, but spoiled by a bit of a sore-thumb mid-section – that said, it’s a solid closing touch overall.
A bare-knuckled and bare-faced approach to lyric-writing and song-writing works well with it’s overall charm and audacity. We’ve seen how rap can be fused with different alternative styles over the years, this offering by Mid Reflections is a refreshing one and despite (or because of) it’s eclecticism, doesn’t smack of imitation. It’s a promising EP, one that could also be viewed as novelty though. It is a rough diamond, so there is a bit of polishing to do – particularly on the often sloppy song outros – to take it to the next level that said: [7/10]
Safest Spaces are an up and coming duo from Milton Keynes who dropped their Second EP of the year on the 4th of November, this new EP under the same name promises to be a great insight for what is to come from the two in the future. Now without furtherado let’s break down this self-titled EP from Safest Spaces
Opening up the EP is Clarity, a song which featured as a demo on their first EP of 2017 Staying In // Freezing To Death which the duo dropped in the beginning half of this year. As an EP opener, this track brings the EP in well, with the powerful and well crafted vocal delivery that Dru Lintott and Jake Taylor produce. Alongside this the instrumentation that the duo present on this track is beautiful and well crafted. Showing not only some musical dynamics but also just what they are capable of. The lyricism on this track is vivid, allowing for a great picture to be painted whilst also allowing for some exploration in the different range of vocal types Dru is able to provide. Overall this first track is a great opener that sets the groundwork for what will be a powerful and great three track EP.
The middle cut on this self-titled release is Thumbs. Again it is clear in this track just how well the duo construct their tracks and especially their lyrical content. However, it is clear through this track what the EP, as a whole, is missing and that is some form of drum to provide it with an extra something. Although this doesn’t detract from the quality of the musical construction and the powerful vocals that lay on this track and throughout, it feels like that extra element will elevate it to a new height.
Closing off this EP is The Death of Crater Face which is possibly the strongest song on this short release from Safest Spaces. The track encompasses all the abilities that the duo bring to the table. With this fast paced guitar work whilst also managing to maintain the crisp vocal delivery that is on the majority of this EP. As the track powers through the mix of clean and shouted vocals is well crafted and provides balanced mix to the song. As this song continues it is clear through the vocal delivery that the words spoken throughout are meant with sincerity, with the track acting as some form of send off to Dru’s solo venture Craterface and almost using this EP as a whole to connote some progression personally and musically. As this track reaches its close the simple stripped back moments truly drive home the song, allowing for a heartfelt and well rounded end to the short EP.
Overall this EP is a beautiful whistlestop tour of what Safest Spaces will provide in the future. The construction from start to finish is second to none and show the abilities that this duo have in creating what are some hauntingly beautiful songs that please both instrumentally and vocally. This being their second venture this year it is great sign that these two show no signs of slowing down just yet. The only true downside of this EP is the length. It feels to end as quickly as it starts. However, each of these tracks are highly replayable, with each listening allowing for another small detail to be recognised. So due to that, even if the length of this EP is short, the songs allow for some lyrics to be learnt for live shows. If there is an EP to listen to the end of this year, then this is definitely the one. [8.5/10]
Being birthed from the ashes of what was Lock and Key, Lifetight are set to make a name for themselves with their new EP Self-Tightled an EP which was released on November 3rd is set to produce some “posi” vibes as the band draw from their experiences with mental health and the military to create some positivity. This EP is set to be a great release so without further ado let’s breakdown this EP
Opening up this 4-track self-titled EP is Energy. The track overall is a powerful and great opener for the band, showcasing their ability in creating a well-composed track which easily shows their Hardcore and Punk influences. Alongside this the track lives up to its name providing a mass amount of energy from start to finish on this first cut, from the tight instrumentation to well presented vocal performance the track cracks open this EP well for what else will follow.
Misguided is the second track on the whistlestop tour of what is Lifetight‘s self-titled EP, this track is far heavier in its instrumentation than the track which sat before it. The more aggressive and up-tempo instrumentation powers this track along at a far brisker pace, which allows for more experimentation in terms of the vocal delivery that comes along with this track. This cut is possibly the strongest on this short release in all aspects. Following directly from this is Big Boy House a great cut off of this record that was close to being the strongest on the EP. With a somewhat more Punk orientated makeup, the track does seem to lack something that was present on Misguided which made it as strong as it is.
Closing off this EP from Lifetight is Dreams a track which appears to be the perfect blend of the two genres the band are influenced by the mix of Hardcore and Punk allow for a great overall sound that make this track such a powerful closer for the band, however this track also brings along the main downside of this EP and that is it’s length, the track like the others on this EP, seems to fly by and leaves you wanting more from the band. However, despite this the band yet again showcase their musical prowess on this track from the strong instrumentation and great vocal power that exists in this track.
Overall Lifetight have presented here a great EP which showcases not only their musical ability but also the “posi” vibes that they said it would. From the powerful vocals that speak so clearly to the positive messages that the band wished to portray to the great instrumentation that allowed this EP to, unfortunately, blast through its runtime a little too quickly. This EP as a whole is a great listen that showcases something for nearly all hardcore fans. [6.5/10]
Hailing from New England the Punk Rockers Four Year Strong are set to release their new record on the 8th of September. The record which is titled Some Of You Will Like This // Some Of You Won’t is set to be a great release with the band playing some of their old songs in new compositions or unplugged and also dropping a few new cuts at the same time. But without further ado let’s break down this new Four Year Strong release.
It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now kick starts this new record. It is a song everyone knows and is possibly FYS’ most recognizable song, but on this record and with its reimagination the song finds a new lease of life with a very beautiful and haunting musical composition that adds a new dimension to the track. Alongside this, the re-work just shows what is in-store for the rest of this record, from the beautiful vocal performances to the well-orchestrated instrumentation it is clear that FYS on this record, are setting out to please with this unplugged rarities album. All together this opening track is a beautiful redesign which opens up the album in a clear and strong way.
following on from this album opener is a duo of tracks which is fronted by Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die. The simple acoustic rendition of this song allows for the vocal performances to come to the foreground and display the ability that Alan Day and Dan O’Connor have. Although the instrumentation is far simpler than the songs original makeup there doesn’t seem to be any loss of quality in between the two very different versions of this song, with each word being just as powerful as they once had been and the new instrumentation allowing for some further internal meaning.
The second half of this duo is Go Down In History; A song which shows FYS taking a different approach to this notion of re-imagining a track, as in this the band find themselves adding in these brief moments of electronic instrumentation. Alongside this, the band switch out from the acoustic to add in this fuller and well toned electric which exists for the most part of the track. Again, as with the first two tracks and any other cuts off of this record the vocal performances are the main thing to keep an eye out for on this song, as with Four Year Strong taking a far more relaxed approach to the vocals they are able to showcase some beautifully crafted vocal melodies whilst also being able to fall back into the rougher vocal performances that they are known for
Following on from this duo is the a trio of tracks which starts with We All Float Down Here. A track which exists as far more than just a simple reimagining of the track that first came on their S/T (Self-Titled) from 2015, as the rendition of the track on this record feels like it is almost a step up from the bands original composition, especially when the band take a step away from the breakdown to focus more on to a country influenced solo.
The second part of this trio is Nice To Know which is not only the first full band song but is also the first new track on the record. The track moves along at a very steady pace with well-orchestrated instrumentation and well-toned guitars which are almost the center piece of the track. At the same time, the band start to mix in some electronic drums and instrumentation. This track is a great addition to the record as the overall composition of the song flows well with the album and what has come before it, but also shows the bands ability to create a cohesive track in and amongst some of their best cuts. The final part of this cut is Who Cares? which is a great unplugged rendition of a song of their 2015 s/t record whose tempo is slightly slower than thre original but also allows for more clarity vocally than what many may be used to from the full band version that sat upon the bands last album.
Let Me Down is another new track that is situated upon Some Of You May Like This…. Musically this track is interesting as it yet again explores more dynamics that the band has shown that they are able to do before. Specifically in this, however, FYS are almost exploring some Alt-Rock ideas whilst sticking to their iconic sound vocally. Overall this song is possibly the best of the new songs that exist on this record as even though the instrumentation feels simple at times none of it is wasted. Everything has a specific purpose.
Following on from the second original track is Stuck In The Middle and so happens to be one of the closest fully unplugged songs that exists on the record. However, even then the change to acoustic forces the band to alter things up, still showing some form of country exploration, which although at first feels odd completely compliments the track and showcases the bands musical ability as the song powers through to the end. Accompanying this is Abandon Ship, which is not only a stripped back version of the title of the song, but also of the song itself. Boiling it down to this very simple and beautifully constructed acoustic track which in a way almost takes on a ballad feeling. Having said that this is unfortunately the weakest track on the record. Even though this by no means is a bad track, as the band explore even more of these country ideas with this waning guitar that occassionaly features in the track as FYS’ vocalists croon on top.
Your Ego Is Writing Checks Your Body Can’t Cash is a song which has existed since the bands EP titled Demo 2006 and despite some slightly higher production the track hasn’t changed all that much. Having said that the instrumentation on this song is beautifully orchestrated which again allows for these chilling vocal melodies to take a hold of the song. This Summer Session is a similar track which finds its beginnings in the early part of FYS’ discography.
For Our Father’s rounds off what is a spectacular journey through Four Year Strong reimagining tracks and displaying new songs such as this one. For Our Father’s is a powerful and beautifully crafted closer to this record. This song is a haunting cut which sends chills down the spine from the vocal performances which stick in the mind long after this record finishes.
Overall, Some Of You Will Like This // Some Of You Won’t from Four Year Strong has little to no flaws, with them looking back at some of their best songs and them producing three new cuts which are second to none. Four Year Strong do not once drop the ball on this record displaying their ability to create songs out of their normal area of expertise but doing so with finesse. This record is definetly one to check out if you still are or have ever been a fan of the band as there is little to not be loved, from the beautiful vocal performances to the tight and well written instrumentation this album is a joy. [8.5/10]
American Football have released yet another video for a song off of their sophomore record, yet against being self-titled. In this new release, the band are gracing their track Home Is Where The Haunt Is weith a brand new video which yet again not only shows their musical maturity but also their growth as a band. The band are soon to be gracing UK stages again on a short run of shows and it is definitely not going to be a show to miss. However, in the meantime check out the new video for American Football’sHome Is Where The Haunt Is below.
Hailing from Croydon the three piece Bad Signs have been making waves ever since their 2014 release Destroy, and this time the band are only planning on building to their good name. This debut record Live & Learn promises to be a stacked release filled to the brim with dreamy melodies and angular dynamics, and following on from the release of singles Intermission and Square One it definitely seemed that the record was shaping up that way. But without further ado let’s break down this debut record from Bad Signs.
Opening up this debut record is Liars & Lovers a track which opens up with this strong and powerful instrumentation. There is little to no messing around as this track begins with the band coming into full swing with this well-orchestrated composition. Soon enough the vocals of Joe Appleford come into view and present this extra layer to the bands music, despite it being so early into the album from this complete sound that the Bad Sign present during Liars & Lovers shows not only how much potential the rest of this record has but also just how tight this band are, and how strong they all are instrumentally as the well-orchestrated guitar riff from Johnathan Harris mixes well with the driving beat presented by Kevin Miller.
Coming directly after this strong opener is a duo of tracks which starts with Covenant. This first track yet again showcases the band in a very positive light. The tight and well-orchestrated instrumentation comes powering through from the offset of this track. During Covenant, the band explores a few different dynamics which not only shows the band exploring some softer moments of instrumentation but also towards the tail end of the track flip the tables into vocal melodies and musical moments which are also heavier. The second part of this duo is Square One which brings the band back to a similar sound that had been present on the album’s opener. However, in this track, the drums by Miller are truly the driving force and the part of the band’s instrumentation that sticks out and is particularly memorable during this track.
After this duo of songs, Bad Sign then present a set of four tracks which start with the instrumental cut XX, this instrumental cut is short but does act as a direct follow-on to the first full track in this set of four Intermission, this track is very impressive vocally, with Appleford’s vocals gliding gently atop this track which shows off not only his ability in a concise vocal range but also show how well the band construct their tracks which allow for this what does feel soft but powerful vocal melodies.
The second full track in this set of songs is Closure which is, unfortunately, the band feel a little lackluster in terms of their instrumentation, by no means is this song weak, as its overall makeup is still overly strong, there is just something that during this track makes it fall a little flat and winds it up being the weakest cut off of this record. Following directly on from this is XI the second short instrumental moment that Bad Sign present on this debut record, this one is vastly different to XX being that this is solely synth based and it is a nice break from the full throttle music that has existed up to this point on this record.
Moving on from XI is October, which uses the track before as a short intro before the full track kicks in. October is a far different track than everything that sits before it on the album, as it is in this song that the band flip their dynamic entirely and stay down with this far more relaxed and softer instrumentation. Towards the end of this track there is gentle but eventual build which allows for this big and well-orchestrated ending where the band drops back off for the last few seconds. October is the strongest cut off of Live & Learn in a number of ways, from the tight and well-orchestrated instrumentation to the well choreographed vocal melodies Bad Sign on this track showcase all of their ability in what is a well thought out track.
Following on from this is a trio of tracks which starts off with the song Attrition. This track sees the band continue with this powerful and well-planned instrumentation which showcases not only their innate ability to write cohesive numbers but also to present a song which houses different dynamics and an instinctive bop. The following track Certitude allows the band to experiment more with this heavier instrumentation they had teased in the opening half of this record. The final track in this trio is Immutable which unfortunately at this point is bringing nothing new to the table and despite there being great moments scattered across this track, there is nothing really new to sink the teeth into.
Ending this record Paramnesia, this track is the closest contender for being the strongest cut off of this record, as not only are the vocal performances from Appleford on this track spectacular but also the instrumentation on this cut are second to none with amazing moments from start to finish. During this track, the band present different dynamics and well thought out musical textures which add to the overall feel and power of this track. Overall this track is the perfect closer to this album and ends everything on such a high note, even when the music seems to have this odd drop off to end the album on this short and sweet acoustic moment.
Overall this debut album from Bad Signs is impressive, with little to no dull moments this record is an enjoyable listen start to finish. With great vocal performances and well-orchestrated instrumentation from the beginning to the end of this album, there is something for everyone. This band are definitely one to keep and eye out for at their upcoming shows and this album is one to definitely check out when it drops this month. [8/10]
The Nashville-based The Cadillac Three have announced a new string of UK show for November this year. The tour is in support of their new album Legacy which is releasing this August. The tour entitled Long Hair Don’t Care will see the band supported by Broken Witt Rebels for half of the shows and then Brothers Osborne for the second half. This tour won’t be one to miss, check out the poster below
Hard Rockers Last Bullet have been making a name for themselves since the release of their debut EP in 2010. Last Bullet have been receiving praise for their newest EP 80-69-64 since the release of the first two singles, and with it pipped for release on the 14th July there isn’t long left until fans can receive the full six track release. This EP promises to be Last Bullet’s best work and based off their single Sin that just may be true. Check out Sin below and keep your eyes peeled for Last Bullet’s release on the 14th of July.
Thousand Below are set to release their new record before the end of this year, and following on from their first single Tradition it would seem like this upcoming release is going to be a great listen. However, the band have now released their second single from this upcoming record Sinking Me which is accompanied by its video. Yet again Tthousand Below are showing a mass amount of potential in this track, they are definitely a band to keep an eye out for. But in the meantime check out Thousand Below’s new video for their single Sinking Me below.