Alvarez Kings – Somewhere Between


South Yorkshire’s Alvarez Kings have travelled a long and arduous road to the position they currently hold. A spot that beforehand saw them occupy local scenes for the best part of a decade, building an international following at big name American fests like South by Southwest and recently climbing aboard the travelling circus that is the Vans Warped Tour. The spot they currently occupy of course, is just having released debut album Somewhere Between through major label Warner Bros/Sire Records; Not bad for a bunch of lads from the North East of England – but upon reaching this apex in their career, one would have to ask, is there room for another synth-laden indie band in the current musical climate?

There is a lot to be said for the pristine grooves contained on Somewhere Between, the band incorporating a host of modern influences as well as using breezy synth lines to give their sound an 80’s polish ala The 1975. Tracks like the hyper-melodic TellTale Heart and bouncy Sleepwalking,Pt.II are joyous pop throwbacks, while the more subdued Run from You with its Vangelis-esque keys show the band’s ability to pare things down without losing the impact and vibrancy of their more upbeat material.

As sleek and pleasing as the best songs on Somewhere Between are, it’s in the glossy finish of the overall product that things occasionally get a little lost. For every Sleepwalking,Pt.II, there is the odd moment where it feels like the band are over utilising their atmospheric approach and would occasionally benefit from the slightly more raw edge of their live sound.

Minor grumble aside, at just 11 tracks, Somewhere Between keeps things short and sweet. It provides both chart worthy highlights and sees them meld well-crafted songs with expansive post-rock/pop nuances making something that although not revolutionary, will please fans of band’s such as The 1975, Churches and PVRIS no end.

Alvarez Kings may be a little late to the synth-pop party but with the high standard set on the majority of Somewhere Between it’s hard to deny them a seat at the table.

Somewhere Between is out now on Warner Bros/Sire Records.

Hey Violet Release New Video

LA based Hey Violet last month released their brand new single Guys My Age. The single talks about falling for an older man and already has over two million streams on Spotify. This single follows on from their last EP, Brand New Moves, which debuted at #1 in both the UK and the US.

Hey Violet’s front woman Rena Lovelis spoke about the video saying “We created a dream-like pastel fairytale sequence that we wanna get lost in late at night.” Check out Guys My Age and it’s video below.

Support Hey Violet

Lay Your Ghost – A Darker Love EP – Review

Synthpop is a genre that in recent years is almost being cast to the side. With some mainstream artists adopting the tropes that used to be found in such tracks by bands like Depeche Mode. It is almost quite charming to find a debut EP such a Lay Your Ghost’s A Darker Love that takes a modern spin on Synthpop.

Starting off this EP is the title track A Darker Love, a fantastic opener that sets the tone quickly for the remaining four tracks. The introduction to this song quickly sucks you in with its cleverly laid out electronic structure. With its blend of sombre notes and lyricism it shows this twist Lay Your Ghost is taking with the Synthpop genre.

Following swiftly on is Das Ende, the second track on the EP. Which yet again is strong with its mix of almost gothic lyricism presented ever so carefully by Alex Otero. Alongside that the powerful back beat lines the underneath of the track with the almost hypnotising main instrumentation siting on top.

Death of Me and Holy Ghost follow next and although both tracks have their own clear beginnings and endings they feel to zip by without a fleeting thought, yet upon a second listen to both tracks something apparent becomes clear, out of the two Holy Ghost is clearly a stronger track. Despite Death of Me having its merits, Holy Ghost packs more of punch when looking at the rest of the EP

The final track is The Flame which draws the debut EP to a concise end. This is possibly the strongest track on the EP not only for the lyrics that are sung but also for the use of electronic instrumentation that beautifully compliments the track as a whole.

Despite all of this EP’s merits, it wasn’t perfect. There was something missing that is evident in some of the bigger Synthpop hits from the past. However, Alex Otero has said that A Darker Love, he feels, has given him a strong point to move on from which is exactly right. Overall this EP is a great set of five tracks and if you need something new to listen to then look no further. [7/10]

Support Lay your Ghost: https://layyourghost.bandcamp.com/releases

William Control – Revelations Part 1: The Pale [REVIEW]

With a different concept in mind of splitting up an album into four EP’s, William Control have released their first instalment to the ‘Revelations’ series. The first EP released most recently, titled ‘The Pale’ will hopefully give you an insight into where the band are going with this and how they will use this to their advantage of bringing you in.

The first half of the EP shows off their true electro-rock side, but the first track ‘The Monster’ sounds immediately like something out of a cyber-goth rave. The vocals come through with soft piano with the lower octave singing voice being a nice fit for what is coming across. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really show off much other than William’s vocals and the underwhelming backing track. The second song has a new wave feel towards its presentation. Much like Depeche Mode had for their infectious electronic programming, WC manages to bring that a bit more with this track. It would definitely have its place in a dark, artsy film or as a AMV on YouTube.

Following this, the second half of the album follows this stride and produces more synthpop on a more darker scale. Its wobbling melody lines and more focus on the vocal harmonies are pushing this EP a little bit better, but other than hearing the main structure of instrumentation for a few bars, it just doesn’t feel as exciting as you feel it might be. Closing on the fourth and final track titled ‘Mother Superior’ which could transport you straight back to the 80’s with its synthpop/new wave grasp with feeling like something David Hasselhoff would sing along too. A good track nonetheless, it closes this average album on a teensy bit of a high note.

A lot of people would wish that William Control should have stayed with the punk side of his music with bands like Aiden and after this EP, some peoples arguments could be backed even further. Even though he might not enjoy that style anymore, it’s much more captivating and exciting piece of music he has created and disappointingly, its not going to do him any favours.

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Release: 14th October 2016
For Fans Of:
Depeche Mode / New Order
Label: Control Records

Depeche Mode announce first leg of World Tour, starting May 2017

Brace yourselves everyone. One of the most influential artists of todays age, Depeche Mode, have announced that they will be bringing their music all around the world again with the first leg taking place in Europe. Starting in May with Stockholm, Sweden, the group will be going across 21 countries over the space of two months to bring you their classic hits as well as songs you might not expect. You can check out the tour dates below!

May 5 – Stockholm, Sweden – Friends Arena
May 7 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Ziggo Dome
May 9 – Antwerp, Belgium – Sportpaleis
May 12 – Nice, France – Stade Charles-Ehrmann
May 14- Ljubljana, Slovenia – Dvorana Stožice
May 17 – Athens, Greece – Terra Vibe Park
May 20 – Bratislava, Slovakia – Štadión Pasienky
May 22 – Budapest, Hungary – Groupama Aréna
May 24 – Prague, Czech Republic – Eden Aréna
May 27 – Leipzig, Germany – Festwiese
May 29 – Lille, France – Stade Pierre-Mauroy
May 31 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Telia Parken

June 3 – London, United Kingdom – London Stadium
June 5 – Cologne, Germany – RheinEnergieStadion
June 9 – Munich, Germany – Olympiastadion
June 11 – Hannover, Germany – HDI Arena
June 18 – Zurich, Switzerland – Letzigrund Stadion
June 20 – Frankfurt, Germany – Commerzbank-Arena
June 22 – Berlin, Germany – Olympiastadion
June 25 – Rome, Italy – Stadio Olimpico
June 27 – Milan, Italy – Stadio San Siro
June 29 – Bologna, Italy – Stadio Rentao Dall’Ara

July 1 – Paris, France – Stade de France
July 4 – Gelsenkirchen, Germany – Veltins-Arena
July 6 – Bilbao, Spain – BBK Live Festival
July 8 – Lisbon, Portugal – NOS Alive Festival
July 13 – St. Petersburg, Russia – SKK
July 15 – Moscow, Russia – Otkritie Arena
July 17 – Minsk, Belarus – Minsk-Arena
July 19 – Kiev, Ukraine – Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex
July 21 – Warsaw, Poland – PGE Narodowy
July 23 – Cluj-Napoca, Romania – Cluj Arena