Earl Grey – The Times You Cross My Mind

Looking at the cover of Earl Grey‘s latest release, one might wonder if such a band name holds much meaning other than a penchant for hot beverages. All jokes aside, Monchengladbach, Germany’s very own Earl Grey are a band who have surely been treading the hard-worn path to success. Two EP’s down, the band followed these releases with 8000km’s worth of European touring and a slew of success on their home-turf’s DIY punk rock scene. With latest release The Times You Cross My Mind being mastered by Seb Barlow (Neck Deep, As It Is, WSTR), the band look to garner further acclaim within the wider musical community.

The EP opens with 1 minute 37 seconds of adulterated melodic hardcore joy. Nothing bursts out of the speakers, the track revolving around a series of muscular, soaring guitar parts which back vocalist Malte Unnasch’s Comeback Kid-like vocal approach. Never Sleep connects seamlessly with the opener with chugging fury and features gang vocals aplenty. The band don’t particularly take an original approach here, treading the same lines as band’s like The Story So Far, but it’s the sheer force of delivery both from Unnasch and the rest of the band that make them such an irresistible prospect.

The production locks everything in tightly with snappy drums underpinning both the rhythmic and melodic elements well. These elements shine bright on the faster tracks such as Hollow which begins with classic hardcore vehemence before shifting into half-time grooves with minimum effort. Even on the slower moments such as the stomping Snake Hips the band still don’t let up despite offering some beautiful guitar lines ala early Alexisonfire, giving the EP a little room to breathe before kicking into the next belter.

The third EP for the German crew is easily a defining moment in their short career. It pulses with vibrancy and despite this essentially being a modern hardcore record, the songs on offer are just so darn catchy that there is a good chance of seeing them supporting some of the scene leaders in the coming year. Although The Times You Cross My Mind will be many listeners first time hearing Earl Grey,  the band are unquestionably worth every second of your time.

The Times You Cross My Mind is released on the 16th July.

Jack The Envious – In Your Own Way

Jack The Envious are a London quartet formed, interestingly enough, during core members Nir Perlman and Guy Avnon’s respective military service. After recruiting bassist Guy Checkarov, the band set out to combine their experiences in the forces and band life, distilling it down to produce debut EP Pull You Down. Since the EP’s release, it would seem the band have sought to push themselves, combining punk stylings and a post-hardcore rush for maximum impact. With a string of successful local shows, the band is all set to release their sophomore EP In Your Own Way.

Straight off the bat, the band embrace a dark atmosphere with pulsing synths and music box sounds ascending before they kick in with Shut It Off. It’s a fine start to the EP with a tectonic opening riff, coming across with the same snarling energy that My Chemical Romance embraced on their first couple of records. Single Begging For More starts with choppy acoustics before the songs signature riff makes way for a hooky chorus, vocalist Perlman sounding like a hybrid of The Used’s Bert McCracken and The Movielife’s Vinnie Caruana.

The mix on the EP is strong, the guitars sitting well and creating memorable, anthemic parts and also huge backdrops for Perlman’s snarling vocal jabs. This is demonstrated no better than on the thunderous Guilty which comes complete with a stomping breakdown section and Letlive-esque spoken word part which helps set the song apart from formulaic hardcore structure.

The album closes things off with Never Look Down which is possibly the strongest offering here. The track builds from its ethereal intro and goes onto incorporate the best parts of the record, including huge reverberant guitar lines, gutsy vocals and another huge chorus. As only the second offering from Jack The Envious,  In Your Own Way makes it clear that the band are determined to prove themselves as unique commodity of the British music scene. They stand to make their mark with this dynamic and energetic EP.

Less Art Stream ‘Wandering Ghost’ and Announce Album Details

Less Art; a mixture of members from Thrice, Kowloon Walled City and Curl Up and Die are preparing to drop their debut album; Strangled Light. Describing themselves as “Post-hardcore for post-youths”, this tracks on this album are emotional, dynamic and polishes the work laid before by bands in this genre in earlier years. The album is set for a release date of 28th July via Gilead Media. Teaming up with Brooklyn Vegan, the band are streaming their new single Wandering Ghost at this link.

Tracklist:
1) Optimism as Survival
2) Diana the Huntress
3) Mood 7 Mind Destroyer: Guilt
4) Wandering Ghost
5) Pessimism as Denial
6) Shapeshifter
7) Crushed Out
8) What Is It In Man?
9) Strangled Light

Less Art is:

Mike Minnick – vocals
Ed Breckenridge – guitar
Jon Howell – guitar
Ian Miller – bass
Riley Breckenridge – drums

set it off

Live: Set It Off / With Confidence – O2 Islington, 31/5/16

Opening up the show for Set It Off came the only UK-native band in Homebound, who played to a filling room of around 30 people and ending on less than half full. Contrary to this, the five-piece produced a really energetic performance of songs old and new to a crowd who were keen to get warmed up. Unfortunately however, vocalist Charlie Boughton sounded like he was having a really hard time singing to the extent that he just couldn’t hit the notes of his own songs in tune which was pretty gutting considering the energy of the band and his clear ability on record. A very energetic set that just lacked that shine that so regularly makes this outfit stand out – not a criticism so much as a simple “unlucky, it wasn’t your day” because Homebound are definitely one to watch. [6/10] (For fans of any pop punk)

By far the heaviest band of the night came up second in the shape of Kentucky post-hardcore quintet Too Close To Touch. The band have been used to playing mixed bills before – just this year they toured with Creeper and Waterparks throughout the US – but nothing to the level of this show. The band gave it everything they had and nailed every single track with absolute precision, smashing through their career-spanning setlist with the  utmost energy and passion. As was mildly unsurprising though considering the co-headliners, a large portion of the room weren’t interested in them musically with only a slight nod of the head and short applause following each track which was a huge shame for a band who showed even the more experienced groups on the list how intense a show can get, even as a support. Fantastic set from a brilliant band, do not sleep on this lot. [9/10] (For fans of Hands Like Houses)

The first co-headliner to play was With Confidence, who have had a monumental rise through the last year. This is their second UK headline run (if you can call it that playing before Set It Off) since the start of February when they hit our shores with BroadsideSafe To Say and Milestones, yet in that short period their fanbase has gotten even stronger. Playing through tracks from their debut album Better Weather mixed in with a few of EP songs (namely I Will Never Wait and fan-favourite Godzilla) has worked a treat in recent shows and this was no different. The set was played out with a rather large rubber penis taped to guitarist Luke’s microphone stand much to the amusement of the largely-teenage crowd, yet this charisma combined with the tight musical performance provides a charming show. Set highlights came threefold: a performance of London Lights in its hometown proved massively energetic; Keys fronted by guitarist Inigo Del Carmen in the usual emotional state of the song (he wrote it about his close friend who took her own life, hence the huge emotive connection) and the set closer Keeper which is always filled with pure energy from band and audience alike to see out the show. Another great set from a band shooting for the stars. [9/10]

Set it off with confidence
With Confidence

A good five years ago is when Set It Off started to deviate from their pop punk roots to being a straight-up pop band and the main body of their set only went to prove this. With the collection being taken largely from 2016 effort Upside Down came the lack of substance musically and emotionally with huge portions of the track relying on backing tracks for basslines, backing vocals and even the horn section which sounded especially corny live (made mildly better when guitarist Dan Clermont pulled out his trumpet for a live rendition). The crowd were screaming and going absolutely mad for the band lacking substance the most of any of the bands on the lineup with their setlist, though that being said the encore changed everything. Delving back through the catalogue to Cinematics for a guitar/vocal rendition of Swan Song proved even to the critics in the room that the band do have a certain level of integrity however the set may have seemed, and finishing with Hypnotized carried on the freshness of the encore to the end. Overall, a set saved by both the stage presence and outstanding vocal performances of frontman Cody Carson. and the encore song choices. Set It Off are popular yet seem to have lost themselves in a commercial abyss – hopefully soon they’ll show off their musical ability once more rather than leaving it hidden under backing tracks. [6/10]

Set it off
Set it off

Veridian & Rory Indiana announce August co-headliner

If you wanted to see two of the UK’s most promising up and coming bands, then you now get the chance as Veridian and Rory Indiana have announced a co-headline tour, set to take place in August across eight dates. You can view them below as well as listen to Veridian!

14.08.2017 – Southampton, Joiners
15.08.2017 – Milton Keynes, Craufurd Arms
16.08.2017 – Leicester, The Shed
17.08.2017 – Birmingham, Subside
18.08.2017 – Edinburgh, Opium
19.08.2017 – Cheltenham, Summerfest
20.08.2017 – Bridgwater, Cobblestones
21.08.2017 – London, Thousand Island (formerly Upstairs @ The Garage)

In Hearts Wake – Ark [REVIEW]

One of the hottest rising stars to come out of Australia are the mixture of metalcore with post hardcore by the name of In Hearts Wake who are looking to make much more of a strong presence with their upcoming record ‘Ark’. Being the bands 4th studio record after their two very popular releases of ‘Earthwalker’ and ‘Skydancer’, it is now the moment to see where this record goes.

The album is starting off in its strong mannerisms that stick to what you probably already know about the group with opening track ‘Passage’ and it’s production hits hard, but at the moment the band seem to playing their cards to their chest as the track doesn’t show off too much newer elements within their arsenal. The same seems to go with next track ‘Nomad’ which provides you with the bands mixture of strong riffs and tire-puncturing heavy moments with some elegant guitar leads. The clean vocals from Kyle Erich give the choruses their much needed boost as well as during the tracks key moments. ‘Frequency’ makes you think you’ve accidentally skipped the album and jumped into a New Found Glory record from the beginning moments of the song, but don’t be fooled by the pop punk traits that come across as the record elevates its anthemic qualities so much more and the track easily cements itself as a live show staple.

The album moves forward and you tend to get more of the same style that you’re used to with the band as the same tempo elements and playing style unfortunately puts them back in their own creativity box. Songs such as ‘Warcry’ and ‘Elemental’ seem to give you a nice throw back to their popular material that you enjoy jamming and with encompassing these tracks into their entire discography they make a lot more sense, but with that aspect the tracks don’t have anything too memorable in their approach to make the record stand out as a whole. Now and again you have the softer songs help bring out a lot more to the band that you might not have been used to listening to, with tracks like ‘Arrow’ and ‘Waterborne’ further showing proof of Kyle’s masterful singing abilities, which help with some of the instrumentation and becomes one of the records redeemable features.

The album comes after some of their most seemingly forceful and passionate work to date and with this record they only just manage to keep that. With the majority of the feeling stemming around a record that feels too safe for a genre that is oversaturated to begin with, there are a few tracks that help overshadow this fact with its beauty. It’s not a major setback for the group, but might leave a few fans feeling like they didn’t get what they wanted.

[5/10]