Light The Way – False Memory Syndrome – REVIEW

Pop-punk is a genre that has stood the test of time and it continues to provide us with iconic bands. Bands which have not just defined the genre, but coloured it’s zeitgeist and shaped the course of music history – for every successful band is standing on the shoulders of it’s predecessors. So there is always an amount of influence, no doubt. The genre has exploded, and while it’s given us some gems, it’s also granted us a great deal of stagnancy and mediocrity too. The sheer quantity of carbon copy pop-punk bands these days has caused something of an identity crisis and it’s increasingly rare to find something outwardly and distinctly original. And into the fold step Sacramento’s Light The Way.

They are another who are anchored by those before them, except we’re reaching back for the most part in decades. With a sound heralding of the 90’s and 00’s, their debut full album False Memory Syndrome is something of a throwback to the likes of Yellowcard, The Offspring, Sum 41 and New Found Glory. Somewhere in the mix a fresher note can be detected though, but it’s a fleeting dash of Neck Deep, or a weight more associated with The Story So Far. Make no mistake though, the predominant sound is of old-school pop-punk.

If one thing is constant about pop-punk though, it’s singing about your friends, your parents and your hometown. Not much has changed here, opening intro Bruh leads straight into But My Mom Says I’m Cool. The distant, soaring chorus is straight out of a Yellowcard textbook, whereas the chalky, screechy style found in Thrillhouse could easily be mistaken for Deryck Whibley. Both songs are rampant homages, yet carry a finesse traceable to Knuckle Puck. The following interlude Put A Sock In It Roy is equally as Sum 41-esque for twenty-nine seconds of aimless, indeterminate rage.

The next three tracks continue to resurface old fragrances with wild changes of direction in between. Broken Hearts opts to change pace, as a bassline lead intro sets a Green Day vibe, to be unpredictably pivoted into a bouncy, synthetic style – the resulting sound resembles that of Asteria. Brain Rot is classic The Offspring but laced up with a hellish pop-punk blastbeat – again Knuckle Puck-ish. Veritas is a sore thumb though, it’s like a long-lost Linkin Park excerpt which is somewhere it doesn’t belong.

Lost The Handle and Still Edge work brilliantly as a pair, both including screeching guitar parts much like pop-punk newcomers Giants. The former is calmer and brighter vocally, a nod towards Mark Hoppus – but the drift to more recent pop-punk tones is more prominently explored on the latter, where there are relentlessly nauseous verses, drudging build ups, and harsh vocals.

Even though it’s late in the album, Light The Way show great awareness to reserve their trump card Holy Ghost for penultimate billing. After showcasing so much influence up to this point, this is their most original sound, which in effect translates influence directly into originality. This is sharply u-turned by Snapping Necks And Cashing Cheques which is outright New Found Glory with better vocals. It’s whingey in the right way, pop-punk at it’s finest and an excellent, summarising parting shot.

The familiarity of 90’s/00’s pop-punk is smartly fused with modern incarnations of the genre, so it’s a pleasant nostalgic journey for the mid-twenty audience yet one with surprising, serendipitous moments. A palpably deliberate sound affords something for pop-punk bands right across the board to access – and given how fans of the genre tend to pick and polarise, this means Light The Way are a marketable sound. False Memory Syndrome is a pre-meditated effort, a reprisal which takes the listener back and forth through essentially the entire pop-punk timeline and arrives at something which is carefully considered and original. This manifests as versatility rather than plagiarism, and in a genre which struggles immensely with homogeneity, Light The Way are a breath of fresh and familiar air: 10/10.

 

False Memory Syndrome is out 30th March via Indie Vision Music. Head over to their Facebook in the meantime.

Download Festival 2017: Friday Review

So…Download happened. The historic weekend hit it’s 15th birthday this year, with a truly stacked bill of younger talent as well as displaying a genuinely diverse breadth of genres across all the four stages. Before we fully dive into the review, someone needs to give thanks to whatever black magic occurred over the weekend to make sure no rain fell, as the sun made the weekend infinitely more enjoyable without the fear of trench foot and soggy clothing. So with those initial thanks out of the way, let us begin…

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Sum 41- Manchester Academy – 25.02.2017

Walking down Oxford Road, a sizable line is forming and soon grows to stretch as far as the eye can see. It’s late February and the brilliantly titled Don’t Call It a Sumback Tour has arrived in a very rainy Manchester. The line of folks in the queue however, seem unphased by the weather, giddily huddling together in anticipation of seeing a band who have made it through their own personal rainy season to rock this fair city.

As the crowd filters into the larger room of Manchester Academy, Ottawa’s Hollerado take to the stage. Their brand of catchy indie-rock gets heads bobbing and even a few early singalongs. Tracks like the dark funk of Americanarama and the anthemic Born Yesterday have a broad enough appeal that a tipsy chorus of “We want more!” can be heard at the end of each track. The band showcase an energy rarely seen from an opening act and they make it clear that they love every second of their time on stage, and with sticky sweet rock ‘n roll cuts like the rousing So It Goes, they win over many a casual gig goer this eve. (7)

It’s 2017 and as surprising as it may be to many, those Canadian devils in Sum 41 have managed to sellout a huge venue with ease. The crowd here is made up of all kinds of folk, from hardcore kids to your average guy on the street, showing the broad appeal and possibly nostalgic tendencies that the band bring out in its fans.

Behind a huge white curtain, the band members dash into position as the familiar strains of Introduction to Destruction blare from the speakers. The curtain drops and the band kick into the atmospheric Murder of Crows before seguing into rampaging latter day cut Fake My Own Death which sees the first crowd surfers of the eve. Next up come the gutsy riffs of The Hell Song to which frontman Deryck invites three lucky punters onstage to watch the show from the wings. Speaking of Mr Whibley ; returning from alcohol-induced exile has seemingly given him a new lease on life and newer material such as God Save Us All (Death to POP) and the pop-punktastic Underclass Hero find him bounding around the stage with charisma, charm and proving to be the consummate entertainer.

Latest record 13 Voices saw the return of former guitarist Dave Baksh and live he brings the the band back to it’s former glories, not only providing killer shreds on the pulverizing Godamn I’m Dead Again and All Killer No Filler classic In Too Deep, but filling out the band’s three guitar line up to create a huge arena-sized sound.

Mid-way through the band’s set, Whibley announces that right here, right now, Sum 41 turn 20 years old. What resonates the most about this statement is that for a lot of bands with a legacy like theirsit’s the older material that draws the crowd. This is not the case for Sum 41 though as the crowd laps up every second of the show this evening – recent material such as Screaming Bloody Murder sitting well alongside old school faves such as Motivation and second album chant-along Still Waiting.

As tonight’s show draws to a close, the crowd know where things are headed and as the band break out a massive Fat Lip and then a super cool Tom Thacker-fronted Pain for Pleasure, pop punk fans and music fans in general should be thankful that bands like Sum 41 can rise from the (almost) dead and still show them a damn good time. (9)

Download Announces Second Wave Of Bands

Download Festival have today announced the second wave of bands who will be gracing the stage at Donington Park this year. After a massive announcement first time around with the likes of Biffy Clyro and Aerosmith being announced it would seem that the line up couldn’t get better yet with the likes of Four Year Strong, Sum 41, Good Charlotte, Simple Plan and Astroid Boys and many other joining the line up in this second announcement. Download is looking more and more like festival to not be missed when it comes around in June. Check out both announcements in the poster below.

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wstr lonely smiles

WSTR release new music video/song ‘Footprints’

Pop punk has been ever thriving in the UK ever since bands like Neck Deep burst onto the scene and make a huge impact. Bands like WSTR are now producing some cracking hits to make the entire scene proud of them, including their newest song ‘Footprints‘. You can check out that new song below!

Their new album ‘Red, Green or Inbetween‘ will be released on January 20th via No Sleep Records.

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Sum 41 have a huge UK headline tour coming!

Off the back of their ambitious new album 13 VoicesSum 41 will be touring the UK next spring. The eight-date tour will take place next February and March hitting venues that could be considered somewhat intimate for the band. Regardless, these shows are guaranteed to be charged with energy.

The full set of dates are as follows:

For now, get yourself hyped for this tour with one of Sum 41‘s latest music videos. This is War!

Sum 41 – 13 Voices

Sum 41 were one of the most prolific pop punk bands of the 2000’s, riding the genre’s popularity wave along with Blink-182Green Day and others. Much like those bands though, Sum 41 went through a few years of virtually total inactivity. Now, they’re back, complete with Dave ‘Brownsound’ Baksh on guitar for their latest studio album 13 Voices.

Opening with A Murder of Crows (You’re All Dead To Me), the track fades in before kicking into gear for some nostalgic Sum 41 action. Goddamn I’m Dead Again has a solid riff as it’s backbone and a lot to prove. It’s a fast paced track, enhanced by overlapping vocals and a rapid drum beat. What’s more, there is an absolutely monstrous riff on show here as the song comes to its climax – this beast wouldn’t be out of place on a thrash album.

Premiere single Fake My Own Death builds up with tension with an angsty, aggressive track. 13 Voices creates the anthemic, larger than life atmosphere that Sum 41 fans have been waiting on for years.

Breaking The Chain features a violin-based intro, and drops into a slower start with more vocal exposure. This is about as close Sum 41 get to a ballad on 13 Voices, but the band still bring through an intense guitar riff to capitalize on the tension of the track. There Will Be Blood and title track 13 Voices rock on by in a jovial, but predictable fashion. There is little variation in song structure on the record, and it becomes a little too evident in the latter half of the album.

War, on the other hand, brings up the quality by a mile. It’s got the biggest chorus on 13 Voices, and the hook will have anyone singing it for days. It’s exciting, compelling and energetic, essentially everything you could hope for in a pop punk song. It’s more familiar ground for the pop punk scene, but there’s enough variation on offer here that War can revel in what it is.


God Save Us All
unfortunately moves the album back into a relatively conservative tone, with Sum 41 throwing out another track without a truly stand-out moment. God Save Us All plays host to some lo-fi vocals that don’t particularly add anything to the song. The Rise and the Fall boasts a strong pace, and it’s a solid offering from the band, angst-ridden if not lyrically poignant. Final track Twisted By Design is one of 13 Voices‘ most intimate songs, opening with a keyboard lick hauntingly similar to Muse. The song breaks down into classic Sum 41 territory, and reaches a climax worthy to close the album.

13 Voices is a fairly intimate record, though you might not catch that without listening carefully in some tracks. The intricately personal material is walled in a blaze of aggression and musical strength. Starting off excellently, the album is exactly the footing Sum 41 need to launch them back into relevance. Unfortunately, the album stalls somewhat towards the end, become predictable though not unworthy of praise. As a return album from a band so plagued with troubles as Sum 41, it damn rocks, so don’t miss out.

[7/10]

Sum 41 Release ‘God Save Us All (Death To POP)’

Pop Punks Sum 41 have released a final track before the release of new album 13 Voices. The track titled God Save Us All (Death to POP) is accompanied by the below music video. The clip shows highlights of the undeniable force that is Sum 41 on stage this summer during Vans Warped Tour, their European tour dates and all things in between.

Frontman Deryck Whibley began writing for 13 Voices immediately following his four-month stint in the hospital. he recalls, “I had to learn how to do everything again-my motor skills, learning how to play guitar again… I couldn’t even walk at the time. It was really difficult, but at the same time if I didn’t have a record to make, I don’t think I would have recovered as quickly, or even at all. Writing music gave me a purpose. I had to get better.”

13 Voices is released on October 7th via Hopeless Records. The tracklist for the record is below.

1. A Murder of Crows
2. Goddamn I’m Dead Again
3. Fake My Own Death
4. Breaking The Chain
5. There Will Be Blood
6. 13 Voices
7. War
8. God Save Us All (Death to POP)
9. The Fall And The Rise
10. Twisted By Design