Safest Spaces – Safest Spaces – REVIEW

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]

Lifetight – Self-Tightled – REVIEW

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]

White Noise Radio – Cosmos – REVIEW

Following their debut EP Bristol based White Noise Radio have been making quite a name for themselves. Now with their new EP, Cosmos, which dropped on the 1st of July promises to be a EP full of ‘rollercoaster riffs and huge choruses’. Now without further ado let’s break down White Noise Radio’s Cosmos.

The opening track on this EP is Siren. A track which perfectly encapsulates the powerful instrumentation and well organized vocals that White Noise Radio (WNR) are capable of producing. The well-orchestrated instrumentation found on this track allows the band to display their heavier composition, accompanying this are these understated, soft yet rough vocals which are coupled by harmonies which compliment the main vocal line well. Despite Siren being a really strong EP opener, which not only sets up what may lay on the rest of this EP but also displays the musical ability of WNR, the excessively long run time drags the song down weakening the musical performances that lie on the track.

Following directly on from this is Gone Inside which is possibly the weakest cut off of this EP. Despite the band yet again showcasing their ability to write a cohesive track with well-orchestrated instrumentation. WNR fail to bring anything new to the table and Alt-Rock band has done before, and in some cases better. The overall makeup of this track is strong and during the second half of the song the band seemingly get the ball rolling again, but in comparison to the opener and what comes after this track Gone Inside feels lack luster. The strongest cut on Cosmos follows in the form of Dawning a track which presents this overall softer sound. This change in dynamic is welcomed and the accompanying vocals match the far more delicate instrumentation allowing Dawning elevate to a new height. Alongside this, the subtle additions of electronic instrumentation only add to the songs overall feel and helps the song move along to the end of its run time.

Closing WNR’s EP is Wires. A song which encompasses the band’s ability in both the heavier and softer instrumentation. However, similarly to the EP’s opener the track does eventually drag on which again drops the strength of this track quite dramatically. Despite these moments of beautiful and well-orchestrated instrumentation, the songs length makes these sections feel repetitive which is a shame considering the strengths of these musical moments. During Wires the vocal textures which are explored are the saving grace for the track as they add this depth and emotion to the track.

Overal White Noise Radio on this record are showing their musical ability and showcasing their ability in creating a cohesive set of tracks which are loaded with highlights both instrumentally and vocally. However, due to the excessiveness of some of the tracks on this EP the band seem to almost lose steam in places which really harshens the experience of this EP, but this EP is definitely worth checking out if you are an Alt-Rock fan. [5.5/10]

Last Bullet Announce New EP

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.

Seasonal – Track By Track Feature of ‘Bloom’

With an EP coming out in the middle of May, pop punk/alternative rock band Seasonal have ‘Bloom‘ ready and raring to go. With that, the band have released a track by track feature for the upcoming release which you can check out below!

‘Certainty’ is essentially a very simple song. Structurally and musically we worked on a basis of ‘less is more’ to give the vocals some space and dynamic.  The song was built around the original idea of just one guitar and vocals, as heard in the stripped back section of the middle eight. The chorus was originally written with the 2&4 beat that you hear in the final chorus, but as vocal ideas developed we decided to half time it to flow and compliment the vocals more, while saving something extra to build to at the end. This was one of few changes that happened when writing this song as it came about very organically, so we hadn’t over thought things.

Lyrically the song tackles the situation of being unsure of your future in a relationship. I wrote this from a very personal perspective but it is obviously an issue that a lot of people can relate to. It is a very open and honest song so the lyrics don’t really need much explanation. The line from which the song takes its title was actually the last lyric written. The breakdown vocal changed a lot in the writing process as it is so exposed in the mix it had to be just right. The simplicity and dynamic in this song makes it great fun to play live. It’s always nice to play a song that gives you the freedom to focus on delivering a strong performance. Having a big instrumental middle 8 gives us all a chance to break away from the mic stands for a bit and really give it some.

In the studio we focused heavily on guitar tones throughout. Making sure the tone used on each section not only complimented the drum sounds we had already achieved but didn’t overpower the vocals or other guitars. We found that adding subtle over dubs of an acoustic guitar really added texture and definition to the heavier strumming patterns, and went on to use this technique in certain sections of other tracks on the EP.

‘Headphones’ is a really upbeat, happy pop rock song. I think that you can hear that it was written in the summer months. Musically the basis of the song came together very quickly, but the finer details like finding the most fitting lead guitar lines for choruses took a few turns. The upbeat feel of the music really set the tone for the vocals and lyrics.

The song is all about reminiscing about being younger and having no real responsibilities in life. The idea stemmed from hearing a certain song that immediately reminded me of those times and I was struck by how strong of a connection music has with your memory. The song really just reminisces on what we used to get up to and pays homage to the songs that will always remind us of those “simpler days”. Being so upbeat makes this song super fun to play live for us. It’s hard not to move to and adding that 4 to the floor final chorus makes that impossible. It’s one that we especially look forward to playing to a home town crowd as it’s all about growing up around Guildford, so we expect a good reaction.

When recording the track we worked very similarly to the other tracks, selecting different guitar tones and sounds to suit each section and at times using multiple guitars and amps over the space of the song to give each guitar line its own definition. Oz (production, mix and master) was very encouraging of this from the start, and we all agreed from the outset that it was all about making it sound as good as possible so why limit yourself to just one guitar and amp per song. It’s done in a very subtle way but we think comparatively it makes a massive difference to the overall sound and feel to each track.

‘These Games’ was the first song we wrote together that features on the record. We went down to Hidden Track Studios with the intention of just recording the one track and using it to get some shows and show friends. By the end of that weekend we already knew that we would be back down to do a full EP imminently. The song is one of the more technical songs on the EP both structurally and musically. It is a faster paced track and has more sections to it. It definitely leans more towards pop punk side of our sound.

Lyrically the song is about a fallout that one band member had. The whole thing was drawn out for a long time and it started over a pretty ridiculous situation, so the song really just points to how stupid it all was in the grand scheme of things. It’s really just about putting petty things behind you and putting aside egos when your friends are involved.

From a live perspective it is now great to fun play live as one of the heavier tracks we have. It has taken some time though. With so many rhythm changes and harmonies it was one of the more challenging songs to get sounding as tight as on record but we have it locked in now. It has really come back around as one of our favourites to play.

‘Ranger’ is another track which leans more towards the pop punk side of things. With higher tempo and 16th high hats beats it’s a really energetic song. This song went through a lot of stages in the writing process. We went back over this song time and time again to get it sounding how we wanted, focusing a lot of time getting lead lines and accents between sections nailed. Alex got really technical with the drumming on this song. The chorus beat is totally different each time it comes back and he basically just goes off on one for the whole middle section of the song which sounds great.

The lyrics for the song came from wanting to reach out to friend. It’s always hard to see someone struggle with fears and see how they can hold someone back. Rather than get too personal the song looks at it from a wider perspective and really just says that there is nothing to be ashamed of. We all have fears and if you talk about them and express yourself it normally helps. It’s meant from a very positive perspective, as you see more and more people feeling they can’t reach out to even a friend nowadays, which is sad. At the moment we have been closing the live set with this song. We like to end with a song full of energy so this song was an obvious choice. It’s full of call and response vocals and big drum fills and a climactic build up so it’s a great one to catch live.

The main difference between Ranger and the other tracks from a recording process would be the drum work. A lot of time went into choosing the right fills and accents and really letting the drums flare out adding excitement to the track. Again, we use a mixture of guitars and amps to get the right tones, flipping between the Marshall and the Friedman to find what worked best for each guitar line. By taking 3 DI’S of the bass tracks (dry, compressed & filthy), we could blend in a bit more crunch or dirt where it needed it which was great option to have when it came to mixing. We are really looking forward to people hearing this song because it shows the other spectrum of our sound to ‘Certainty’.

‘Homeward’ is a song that means a lot to me personally. It is a slow and soft song to begin with, layering simple guitars and melody instrumentally. It is really more about the point that is being made than flexing any technical muscle. As soon as Max played the opening guitar line idea I knew this was the chance to write a song that I had wanted to for a while. Being almost exactly 2 years since the passing of a close childhood friend, I felt it was time to say goodbye properly. Having not seen each other much in the time before the death and a long complicated wait for the funeral it felt like it had taken a long time to process, but I still wanted to say something. The lyrics basically speak for themselves. It was written from my personal situation, but I am sure there are a lot of people out there that can appreciate and relate to the message.

It’s always hard playing a song this personal live, particularly from a vocal perspective. But given the positive/celebratory tone behind the meaning I find it relieving to play live. It’s nice to just throw your head back and sing it like you mean it and I think that comes across well for the audience.

Recording ‘Homeward’ we used a very stripped back approach. We added some over dubbed acoustic strings and glok for texture and atmosphere but other than that very much left it alone and let the song speak for itself. It was a step out of our collective comfort zone to record a song like this. Despite always listening to bands that played this style of a heartfelt softer ballad, none of us had ever been in a band to record one. Luckily Oz knew where we were coming from and understood the point of the song so he was a big help throughout the process and we really couldn’t be happier with the end result.

Rosen Bridge – Track By Track Feature of ‘Dreamcatcher’

With only a few more weeks before Rosen Bridge drop their anticipated EP ‘Dreamcatcher‘, the band are here to give you an idea of the story behind each track. You can check out the song meanings, written by vocalist Antony Jones, below!

Dreamcatcher: It’s about feeling trapped in somewhere you don’t want to be and hitting that point where you’re ready to lean into big decisions in life, the change and the opportunity.  It’s about that moment when you take responsibility for your own destiny and start fuelling yourself on determination. This is echoed in the instrumentation as well, the riffs in the song have a fast tempo and we wanted this to evoke a motivated feeling for the listener, for them to want to cut out the bad shit in their life and focus on what makes them thrive. As cheesy as it sounds, the song’s generally about making that change, for the better, with the music adding some colour to the canvas. A 9/8 breakdown in the middle section with a straight throw-back rockbeat over the top is an opportunity for us to let loose and really show the passion in the song, which is something we want the live crowds to feed into as well. A half-time groove for the chorus section in the track also adds some relief from the relentless pace of the riffs and gives some space for the big vocal hook to take centre stage.

Hold On: This is essentially our first radio friendly track where we wanted to reveal some of our more punky influences.  We keep the momentum going from the opening track but with a slightly bouncier vibe. The first clean sections of the EP make an appearance and show a lighter side to the band, without compromising any of the power of the heavier sections. Lyrically speaking, the song is an extension of Dreamcatcher, but further along on that journey. It’s about the realisation of your power to change and embrace your newly found confidence, about feeling great and pulling others up with you. The instrumentation of the song takes it a few minutes to form a backdrop for the catchy vocal hooks and melodies in the track; the chorus and middle 8 sections in particular, are vocally driven to emphasise message and vibe of song.

Never Grow: The premise of this song was born from dark place a few years back, when I looked at the world differently. Without trying to emphasise the melodrama, ‘Never Grow’ is all about a when you hit a wall and become frustrated by always making the same mistakes.  The mood of the music matches the vocal content and follows a dark and moody path which builds up to a big heavy crescendo, with a haunting vocal over the top of a huge half-time breakdown. This section has crowd chants written all over it… “Never – Grow”, which is what we want to hear when we’re throwing it down live. Essentially though, the lyrics in the song are an ode to the friends around you, who support you, despite your differences and how thankful you are when this happens.

Brand New: Arranging this track was great for the band; the challenge of blending the big, heavy sections with the lighter sounding melodies was difficult, but we enjoyed the A-tonal elements of this too much not to include on the EP. Following on from ‘Never Grow’, ‘Brand New’ hits you hard with a blast beat to get you started. This track is the heaviest on the EP and we’ve loved performing it live so far in our set. The stripped back vocal sections in verses reflect on the darker feel of Never grow before developing alongside the instrumentation. The vocals start to take on a new tone, mirroring on the overall positive feel of the EP, pointing towards your friends and family as the source of your strength. We decided on ending the song with a bang and threw in a huge 8-string section, tuned to A sharp (one octave below) and we absolutely love seeing people lose their minds when they hear this live. Brand New pulls together all of the themes from the earlier tracks and intensifies them, matched by the music, which is why saved this one for last.