The Sourheads – Care Plan For The Soul – REVIEW

The 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are all famous decades of music. Modern music will always be indebted to these eras for influencing one obsessed musician and who in-turn influences another, and so on until that knock-on sequence shapes the artists we love today. These periods were star-studded and defined by the likes of Iggy Pop and The Stooges, Guns N’ Roses and Queens of the Stone Age. These are all of course heavy influences of Wakefield’s rejuvenated Rock N’ Rollers The Sourheads.

People well-versed with these eras may be able to pluck out these various influences on their debut album Care Plan For The Soul better than me. There’s a kinda ‘sleazy rock’ swagger-vibe to the vocals, a pelting punkiness to the verses, a fuzziness to the guitar which sounds straight out of the history books. There’s a fair bit going on but if I were to categorise this sound, I’d go for ‘Dad Rock’. It sounds like your old man has got the old band back together and they’re rehearsing in the garage.

Here’s the thing, The Sourheads: tambourines, whiskey singing, wah-wah pedals and the incessant amount of rock beat on this album are heralding and emblematic of another era altogether. It’s 2017 for crying out loud – very nearly 2018.

Nothing on this album attempts to bring some modern spark or injection to these older styles – that’s my biggest gripe. If you’d have taken this style and somehow fused it with something new, updated it in line with the digital market you’re catering to – yeah, I can get behind that. But you haven’t. You could have released this decades ago and nobody would have batted an eyelid (bar the obvious leap in technology). Nothing from opening track Demon made me want to listen to the following eight painfully long tracks – that’s an egregious, technical shortcoming in my view.

Anyway, I did persevere and so the album drones on, frustratingly, like an argument in an empty room, all this indeterminate rage really going nowhere from vocalist Jake Coxon. I’m not even going to try and separate the tracks because there’s very little making them distinguishable besides a sloppy off-beat in Secret Cigarette and a 12/8 time signature in Mad Dog – which also proffers an uncomfortable crescendo to the album. If I had to stretch myself to pick a favourite it would probably be Don’t Get Caught (I Am The Lotus) – like, it’s alright.

If you still love rocking out to music from 30 years ago: great, each to their own, this album is probably for you. I’m not saying there isn’t a niche for this: Christmas is coming up, maybe get it for your Dad’s glovebox collection. But if you like to keep on top of modern music, The Sourheads should be reserved for a Battle of the Bands tournament: [2/10]

 

Care Plan For The Soul is out now here.

Find them on their website, Facebook and Instagram.

 

Astroid Boys Broke

Astroid Boys release ‘Dirt’, announce debut album ‘Broke’

Grime rockers Astroid Boys have had their debut album announced a few weeks now, and the reaction it’s getting is pretty mega.

In case you missed it, the album will be titled Broke and it is due out September 29th. Preorder it here.

The band’s MC Traxx said of the album: “This album is called Broke, because we live in a broken society with a broken system, broken education; a broken world. Sometimes this can leave you feeling broken. First step to making a change is to recognise the problem. Being broke scares most people to death because we are taught that money = happiness, and without it we can’t survive. Says who? I’ve had some of the best nights of my life without a single penny in my pocket. I could never be Broke.”

See the lead single Dirt below:

Garin Fitter – Miss Me? – REVIEW

Garin Fitter is a singer-songwriter from Cardiff who has been creating music since late 2014, this year he released his debut album Miss Me? an album which tells a story of transformation, and with his acoustic pop style it promises to be a great album. But without further ado let’s break down Garin Fitter’s Miss Me?

Opening Miss Me? is Hey Mary. A song which starts with this simple yet well orchestrated instrumentation, the acoustic guitar sits well on top of the track with the subsequent instruments supporting the acoustic guitar and vocals. Soon Garin Fitter’s vocals come in to the track which add another layer to this opening number, the well delivered and constructed vocal melodies are well accompanied by the subtle yet effective vocal harmonies that are present on the song. As the song progresses the track takes a brief moment to show some dynamic change in which the track breaks down to a singular guitar and vocals which is a nice touch. Overall Hey Mary is a great opening track which opens up Miss Me? well.

Coming next from this album is a duo of tracks which starts with King Of The Jungle, similarly to this albums opener the track has this simple yet effective instrumentation which is powered along by the acoustic guitar and Garin’s vocal melodies. Whilst having the same instrumental make-up as the track before the song feels inherently different which is something that seems to come more with acoustic albums in which each track can be completely different. The second half of this duo is What Do You Do? a track which not only shows a shift in terms of dynamics but also presents a time signature change, both of these aspects are welcomed to the track and well executed not only through the far simpler orchestration but also through the simple yet careful vocal presentation.

The shortest cut off this album comes in the form of Far from This Town which boils down to Garin Fitter and an acoustic guitar. Far from This Town allows for a clear look at Garin’s vocals as they are the prominent feature of this cut, as the vocals and harmonies power on top of the track. Despite a well choreographed guitar part it feels lack luster in comparison to the fuller sound which exists on the tracks before.

Following from this fully acoustic cut is a trio of tracks which show a lot of dynamic difference. Starting off this trio is Dreaming Of Neverland, a song which has this slow and interesting guitar part which drags the song along this slow journey whilst Garin sings gently atop the track. This song similarly to Far from This Town is a simple acoustic cut however in comparison to the track which comes before the picked pattern adds to the track and allows for a far more interesting listen as the number continues.

The middle partition of this trio is Smile, a song which has a brisk tempo and instrumentation which feels closer to a soundtrack with the piano and drums driving the song whilst the vocals simply lay on top of what is an interesting track instrumentally. However, the vocals which sit on top of the track do fully tie the piece together as the elongated vocal notes add not only to the songs overall make-up but also atmosphere. The final part of this trio is Drained, this track despite the fuller sound is a little bit underwhelming. Despite the well orchestrated instrumentation the track seems to be missing something that is present on the tracks which come before on the record.

As Miss Me? starts to draw towards it close there is another duo of tracks. Sometimes Things Don’t Quite Work Out the Way You Thought They Would is the first of this duo and is unfortunately reminiscent of this track as despite well constructed vocal melodies, clever lyrics and moments of strong instrumentation there are moments where things start to feel a little messy and less cohesive as the could be. Despite this being the weakest cut off of the record it is in no way a bad track as it still does have positives.

The latter of of this duo is Quicksand which is the strongest cut track on the record as the instrumentation that carries the song is interesting and truly adds an extra layer to the overall make-up of the song, alongside this the vocals that are present on the song are not only well orchestrated but show a great amount of range. Quicksand also exhibits Garin Fitter’s ability to write what is a very cohesive and catchy track.

Rounding off this album by Garin Fitter is Portobello Road. This track is a great closer to this album due to it’s ability to encompass all the dynamics which are present from start to finish on this record. However it also allows for a few new ideas to be played with. Whether it be the gang vocals or the solo thast ends of the track Garin Fitter is still presenting new ideas even as the song draws to its close. Overall Portobello Road is a a strong track and rivals Quicksand for being the strongest cut on this record, as yet again the strength in not only vocals but also instrumentation is clearly present on this number.

Overall this album Miss Me? is a worthwhile listen, whether it be simply because you are in need of a new acoustic album or if you just want a great album to stick on front to back. Despite a few moments where the instrumentation is,  for lack of a better term, ‘samey’ this album by Garin Fitter is a well written and orchestrated album which not only is ripe with well organised vocal performances but is also loaded with strong instrumentation. However knowing  and taking in to account that this is his debut album it bodes well for what is to come. [7/10]

The Magpie Salute Release New Single

The Magpie Salute are set to release their self-titled debut album in June this year, the band fronted by Rich Robinson have over the past few days released the album’s first single Omission, which not only is the fist insight in to what this band will sound like, bar their two 10″ releases on Record Store Day but is also the only original The Magpie Salute material on the album.

Listen to Omission below.

If you like what you hear, there is a chance to catch The Magpie Salute live on tour soon, you can get tickets HERE. But also look out for their debut record coming out this June

The Raven Age – Darkness Will Rise – REVIEW

The Raven Age have been dubbed in many magazines as Britain’s next big metal band and after their recent tour with Anthrax it is truly shaping up to be that this statement is true. Now after releasing their debut album Darkness Will Rise it is showing more than now that this band are gaining traction in such a beloved genre, by those who follow Metal music closely. The album in the words of Guitarist George Harris will cover many different instrumental dynamics that themselves love as Metal fans. Without further ado lets break down this Debut Album.

Kicking off the album is the albums title track Darkness Will Rise, which although acts as more of an instrumental does introduce the album well especially with its immediate follow up track Promised Land. When this opener first comes in the soft strings bring you in gently as it is very juxtaposing to what you may think you are going to get at first, but as the track continues on the band comes in to their own as they show their musical prowess and well constructed instrumental composition. Following what feels more as the first half of this album’s opener is Promised Land which is punchy in the right way. With a introduction to this track which feels slightly cliche for a Metal band it soon makes up for it with Michael Burrough’s vocal performance. Although the vocals feel slightly slugish on the verses of this track there is no doubting the power in Michael’s voice from start to finish on this track. Both of these songs combine in to an amazing opening for this album

Coming next on this debut is a set of three songs. The first of these is what sits as the title track, Age Of The Raven. The song is mainly driven by the drums and bass that in a sense carry the song, similarly to many of the songs on the album. However yet again with the well choreographed guitars and well presented vocal melodies. Overall this track continues on a great set of well constructed songs that excels instrumentally. Following this is The Death March which after a brief fade in simply comes crashing in, and despite being a well constructed song with each part accompanying the other excellently it does feel a little long for a song which doesn’t bring anything new to the table except for a well presented and constructed solo.

The final part of this trio is Salem’s Fate, which starts of slower which is a welcome change at this point on the album, and although it sticks at this slower pace it is somewhat let down by the introduction of the more riff centric make up the album has had thus far. Although there is nothing exactly wrong with this continuation of blasting drums and blaring guitars, this cut could have stuck at a much slower pace giving a nice break from the overly brisk pace the album has been going through at this point.

The Merciful One comes next on this album and yet again shows how well the band work together in creating a track which encompasses a cohesive sound. This is by the greatest cut off the album with a very upbeat track which you can’t help but move along to, the only downside with this track is that it is followed up by Eye Among The Blind. This unfortunately is the weakest cut off the album. The main reason for this is, is because despite the interesting drum patterns everything else on the track feels lack luster, even the vocals which up until this point have been a big highlight of this album.

Another trio of tracks follows on from Eye Among The Blind. Starting with Winds of Change, which is one of the most interesting songs on the album with it’s very slow opening which slowly builds up to this crescendo which allows the band to somewhat explore more. Due to this slow build there is a clear sense of musical knowledge and even when the track kicks in to full swing the overall composition makes this a strong contender for the best track on this release. Following on from the interesting Winds of Change is Trapped Within The Shadows  which doesn’t bring anything new to the table similarly to alot of this album.

The final part of this second trio is My Revenge, which yet again excels in terms of vocal presentation but amplify’s the point that none of these tracks truly bring anything new to the album. Almost as if you could pluck any track from this record and despite subtle differences it could be any of the track listing. However, My Revenge does bring along a extremely catchy chorus which shows a different side to Michael Burrough’s vocals

As The Raven Age’s debut album start to draw to a close, the band explore something tat up until this point is untocuhed and this is a somewhat acoustic feeling opening to a track which explodes brilliantly in it’s latter half. The Dying Embers Of Life is a near perfect track with it’s dynamic differences. Accompanying this is Angels in Disgrace which is a full throttle penultimate track.

Closing this debut is Behind The Mask, which with an 8 minute run time which at firs appearances seems daunting but after a very powerful opening half soon drops in to a calmer calmer section which brings a nice and deserved break from the walls of sound that sit throughout most of this debuts track listing. Yet, the song then does pick up again hammering out the ending of this track and the album like it’s life depended on it, however it could have perfectly ended 2 minutes before it does which somewhat weakens this closer despite all of its positives.

Coming to the end of Darkness Will Rise a few things clearly stick in the mind. Firstly, The Raven Age have the potential and most likely will go far in terms of the metal genre. However these songs for the most part are far too long. Although the length allows for more representation of their musical ability the lengths sometimes feel labored and excessive. Alongside this despite some dynamic changes on the album it sticks mainly to this full band and occassionaly deafening wall of sound, even when it feels like the album is taking a swift change ti soon swings back and almost draws away from the change of pace that there had been. However, this isn’t to say that this album isn’t good as it is and any Metal fan will see just how good The Raven Age are bound to become in a year or two

The Parasite Syndicate – The Parasite Syndicate [REVIEW]

Bringing you an old school sound of metalcore mixed with some strong heavy metal influences, This new album from The Parasite Syndicate will hopefully show you a more nostalgic take on what you might have heard from the genre.

The first track ‘Breathe You In’ is a five minute slobberknocker of riffs that shows you their sound from top to bottom. Whilst the vocals are punching through and the entire instrumental is coming through nicely, the whole emphasis of the track can make you lose interest after the first few minutes. Unfortunately that is what seems to make quite a few of the tracks on this record feel a bit dragging to get through. With the production and mixing sounding pretty solid at times, with the bass being a highlight in ‘All That We Have’ in small and specific sections as well as the time signature changes, the album does have structural integrity. As the album pushes further forward, the record keeps up this his and miss mentality, with one point being the vocals that come across as either exciting or wincing to listen to in ‘Red Sky’.

Instrumentallly, the record hits more positives towards the second half of the record, utilising a lot more cleaner guitars, such as the intro in ‘Origin’ and ‘Chakra’ which helps pace the album that little bit more and not feel stagnant in a sea of distortion. The overall riff structure that is present throughout the record is a strong reminder of what the older age of metalcore and heavy metal was able to produce with their album closer ‘The Illusionist’ showing off more of a lead atmosphere aside from the occasional guitar solo that the album showcases. The most unique track on the record has to be the shortest one. Titled ‘Animus’, the track uses a bit of electronic drums and a lot more of the clean guitar/vocal combination to create something really heavenly and something unlike the rest of the albums creation.

Like quite a lot of records of its nature, its strong push of the longer tracks tends to be more of a hindrance, but within the 9 tracks with 40+ minutes of material, you will most definitely find parts of songs where you feel at home with your metal self.  The Parasite Syndicate have brought something exciting in their repertoire, but there are areas for growth and expanding. Otherwise, a above average debut!

 

[7/10]

Steven Battelle – Exit Brain Left – Review

The debut album by LostAlone frontman Steven Battelle has been out for a little while now since it’s release on the 2nd of December, and coming off of a band like LostAlone who were praised not only by critics but fans alike there is a lot riding on this to prove that Steven Battelle can make it on his own. But without a moments hesitation let’s break down this debut album Exit Brain Left.

Kicking off this debut is the track Powers Of Denial and is a great opener to this debut and truly strikes and impressive note leaving not only a lasting impression but also setting the bar very high for what is remaining on this album. However focusing solely on this track not only through the very simple instrumental construction but also powerful vocal performance there are many positives to this tune. Throughout the run time of this track one thing does become apparent and that is the fact that the ending vocal part does truly exemplify the range that may continually be used throughout this record, and it is something that instantly impresses about this debut solo venture.

Moving on from this are the songs The Jump and the track named after himself Steven Battelle which allow him to show something that does run throughout this entire record and that is the sense that there isn’t one definitive style. Although sometimes that works, especially when flowing between these two tracks; with the Orchestral undertones of The Jump and far more pop based and electronic influenced Steven Battelle, it isn’t something that always sticks on this album as there are times where this experimentation feels forced. But in terms of these two tracks the fact that this orchestral undertone is here truly brings an extra level to the track and by comparison around the 3:08 mark in his self-titled track the instrumental break not only shows the musical prowess of Battelle but also how well constructed these songs are.

A quick rally of three songs follows and they truly do move by quickly and depending on where you are in these three is either a good thing or a bad thing. As during the first of these three Christmas Cartel, there are many high points from the very blatant change to straight electronica to the subtle holiday themed additions like the sleigh bells during the start of the song. However as the track drags on with it’s very powerful vocal performance the instrumentation becomes somewhat of a mess and it is hard to pick out which part is causing the issue, as individually there are most likely amazing highlights of each part.

Then with Last Night On Earth the heavier instrumentation truly bring s a new dynamic to the album and is something that could have continued on past the tracks very short run time, short being comparative to the other lengths that sit on this album. And then we get The Ocean Chorus, a track which feels like it could slip easily in to a David Bowie album, yet possibly a budget version. As although there are massive highlights to the track not only through the vocal melodies and again simple instrumentation there is also through the lyricism that truly make this track one which should have been replicated more on this debut album.

Police and Thank You then graces the album, which is possibly the strongest track on the album, with an amazing sample of Marv from Home Alone gracing the track there is quite a bit of charm to the track which not only pleases instrumentally with a strong construction which sings grandeur, which although is a consistent idea is perfectly implemented here. Alongside an almost flawless vocal performance there is not much if anything wrong with this track, and truly does show how far Steven Battelle could go on his own due to the fact that his musicianship shows that he knows what he is doing. Alongside this fact, the underlying factor that he is polarizing the usual first solo venture of a man or woman with a guitar Battelle is showing he has the potential to go very far.

Two more tracks move in to the foreground which although are solid and have their individual highlights are nothing special as Nine Miles of Light and Silent Movie Scream simply just sit in the ether with not much about them. However there is something that does truly stick in the mind from both of these tracks and that is the fact that one amazing track could have been made from the two, with the instrumentation from one and the vocal presentation from the other there is so much power that goes in to these two tracks but together they would make a one perfect track, but sadly this ins’t the case.

But then we reach Absent Magic Part II, one of the most beautiful moments on this album. As Battelle sings about the passing of Bowie. Overall this track is one of great instrumentation and possibly the best vocal performance on the album with the introduction of the choir that perfectly compliments the instrumental of the track as Battelle’s voice soars on top and truly creates a moment which could be played time and again by any perspn who is simply listening to this for the first time or someone who is revisiting it for the hundredth time

Coming off the end of a track which is packed with emotion is a tune which really misses the mark in comparison to the rest of what is sitting on this debut as it is weak. Violent Voices truly does bring this album down as although there are points where this track could be amazing it never hits that next level and ends up being a lack luster display on this debut album, even with its individual highlights.

This brings the album then to a close with I’m Still Finding Out What I’m Going To Be, which does bring this debut of highs and lows to a tight and concise ending despite the ending of the track feeling like quite a mess as it doesn’t have an apparent reason for some of the samples that sit on the tracks tail end. However that isn’t to say the track is bad, as with it’s beautiful instrumentation and perfectly constructed vocal melody the track does hit with quite a lot of power and prove the fact that Steven Battelle has a lot to offer in the future as a solo artist.

Overall, this album is interesting, despite it being a solid debut album which will allow Steven Battelle to solidify himself as a good solo artist there is nothing that truly makes this album stand out. Although you has great tracks like Absent Magic Part II and Police and Thank You it almost feels as Batelle is like a budget Bowie and after having an album by the sadly departed great at the start of this year, it seems to pale in comparison. However if Steven Battelle continues to work on the ideas, instrumentation and vocal performances that are present on Exit Brain Left then there is a chance for him to truly make it big on his own.

Drawstring – Cool – Review

Kent based emo duo Drawstring are no strangers to releasing new music which packs a punch as the band have steadily been dropping EP’s and tracks, which have only been getting stronger since early 2014. This year has been no different for the band as in March they released a singular track called Clubhouse and now are set to release their debut full length COOL come the start of December. Clubhouse and all their other releases bode well for this upcoming release, so let’s jump in to COOL.

Melon kicks of this debut album and it is an amazing track from start to finish. Not only does the instrumentation show how skilled this two piece are at generating a song which you can bop along too, but it also encompasses the vocals of both Sam Shepherd and Ben Schulze which fit perfectly together. Through the intricate guitar parts and accompanying drums, which help carry the track, it sets a great precedent for the remainder of this debut.

Coming next on this debut is the track Little Conversation, which comes with this infectious instrumentation but topped off with its sombre lyrics it creates this great juxtaposition which makes the track truly stick in the mind. Alongside the instrumentation and vocals, around the 1:30 mark the track drops the intense upbeat instrumentation for something softer and more subtle, showing how the band now how to perfectly drop a song before picking it back up again for a blistering finish.

Coupling up with Little Conversation is the title track of this debut Cool. The track although not directly applying itself to the themes of the earlier track still shows how the duo persistently are keeping this slick fast paced riffing and at times complex drum patterns together track after track.

Following on are the tracks They Know I’m Not Okay and Ache. Two tracks that couldn’t fit more perfectly together as with the slow paced instrumentation of They Know I’m Not Okay acting as some form of interlude between the two tracks there is clear sense of the knowledge the duo have when it comes to music theory also. As the track then reaches it climax we are suddenly dropped in to Ache. With it’s complex instrumentation, similar to many of the tracks on this debut and other releases alike, it is surprise when you remember this is just a duo. This is especially true when the track jumps in to a form of double time at the end.

Weekend is possibly the most interesting song on this entire release as in parts it feels very mathy with it’s off timings, not only found in the songs structure and instrumentation but also in the vocals as they run in such a different time to the music. Unfortunately Weekend feels to run a little short, as it leaves almost as quickly as it comes, but that doesn’t stop this track from making the impact Drawstring clearly wants it to have.

The weakest track on this release is Way Home, but having said that, this being the weakest track is by no means a bad thing as this is still stronger than some of the strongest tracks on other releases from this year. With it’s varying pace this track is a interesting listen, that deserves far more than a couple of plays.

School comes next on this debut record and it is not only the lead single but it is also the strongest track on the release. With its use of slightly off timings and well crafted vocal melodies and accompanying harmonies there is never a moment on this track where something feels out of place. Alongside that this track is one which you can come back to time and again and you always find something new you didn’t realise or notice before, it is truly a track that keeps on giving.

The first of two re-recordings for this debut greets the album in the form of Chicago Town off of the bands first EP One. Yet again the band does justice to a song, which is not only from their back catalogue, but also adds to an already exceptional album. However, coming off of the end of School this track does feel slightly lack lustre despite it still being a great track. There is almost a sense that they could have chosen a different track such as Nothing to take Chicago Towns place.

Closing off this debut are the tracks What I Want and Johnny B Bad, the second re-recording on this album. What I Want is a perfect summation to what this album has been a great album which if filled with interesting and complex instrumentation and splendid vocal patterns, from both Sam and Ben, which compliment each other down to the final note. Yet Johnny B Bad, is a track which deserves a hundred spins as it is a perfect closer with its extended length and beautiful simplicity but also it is a great calling card to where the band started from back in 2014.

Drawstring have produced one of the best albums of this year and from two guys of their age it shows the promise they have for the future. However, if they continue to produce tracks that hit successively as the entirety of Cool does, both instrumentally and vocally, then these two are going to go far. If you are ever in need of an album to just sit and listen to then look no further because Drawstring are providing it. [9/10]