Metronomy – Metronomy Forever Album Review

‘Metronomy Forever’ is the group’s 6th album. Most groups would have run out of ideas by then, but this album proves that Metronomy are still one of the most inventive, consistent bands in the world, with the project bearing several of their best songs to date.

The album kicks off with a short, dreamy instrumental piece called ‘Wedding’, with distorted church bells and synths being foreshadowing for the themes of this album, and one of it’s strongest tracks. ‘Whitsand Bay’ opens the album proper, and it’s a perfect blend of Metronomy old and new, with a low key, spoken chorus over an ever-shifting instrumental.

‘Insecurity’ is one of the highlights on the album, Joe gets straight to the point about said insecurity and the feeling that it could be one of the only constants in his life. A bursting guitar riff and catchy synth lines throughout the track make it really difficult to shift from your head. ‘Salted Caramel Ice Cream’ is almost annoyingly good. It sounds like a mixture of Crazy Frog and Mika, but it’s one of the best tracks Metronomy have ever put out; it’s a perfect pop song.

‘Lately’ is another of Metronomy’s best ever songs in my opinion. The layers of instruments build up throughout the track to an amazing shower of synths, and the off-kilter melody in the chorus is nothing short of magical. Another great track comes in the form of ‘Sex Emoji’, a bittersweet tale of an online relationship told through a groovy synth-pop tune.

There are a handful of instrumental tracks on ‘Metronomy Forever’, and the standout for me is ‘Miracle Rooftop’, which is perfect to completely zone out to and look out the window, and I mean that as a great compliment. ‘Wedding Bells’ sounds almost like Metronomy doing a Bruce Springsteen song, and it works amazingly, and is another absolute earworm.

It’s so refreshing to see a band at this level in their career improve with every release. This is the best Metronomy album to date. Metronomy Forever indeed.

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Mermaidens Interview

New Zealand trio Mermaidens have just released their third album ‘Look Me In The Eye’. I had a chat to Lily from the band them about it! Kicking things off, I asked her why they picked that album title.

“The overarching themes of the album are confrontation and human relationships. The title comes from a song off the 7” we released earlier in the year – ‘You Maintain the Stain’. “

“The song was written at the same time as the album songs and lyrically has the same themes. The title has a double meaning, it speaks to both confrontation and intimacy between people.”

One of my fave tracks from ‘Look Me In The Eye’ is ‘Millenia’. I asked Lily what the inspiration behind the tune was.

“Millennia is a deadpan dig at the masks we wear.”

“As a band trying to connect with people, using social media is such a necessity. So, I wanted us to explore this mess of feelings around that twisted meeting of media and identity as a group. There’s an implication that we can’t be successful without this system, despite it not being that much good for anyone’s well-being.”

“The song is a big faker too – it’s all pep and pop hooks, but it’s a sad story. The title is a personal joke about feeling old at 25, it was always meant to be the temporary title as it’s not exactly subtle. But after recording, when the song turned out to be so melodramatic, it stuck.”

This is Mermaidens’ third album, and I asked Lily if the band had approached building the project any differently.

“We approached this album wanting to experiment and push ourselves. James Goldsmith had recorded our previous albums, we have a great friendship and during recording we were really comfortable to try wild ideas. “

“Another difference was that the songs were far less refined going into the studio and really came together with production rather than our usual months of jamming.”

Above is the striking album art for ‘Look Me In The Eye’, I asked Lily about the meaning behind it.

“I wanted to create a hazy person, like they are still forming and have been caught in-between wearing masks. “

“The image was made with the faces of a few friends layered over one another. The rest of the art around the album are stream of consciousness drawings inspired by the way our dreams and thoughts meander and connect. I wanted the record packaging to feel intimate; it’s red and pink and scrawled all over like a diary.”

‘Look Me In The Eye’ is out now on Flying Nun Records. You can buy it here, or listen to it on Spotify here.

Mxmtoon – The Masquerade Album Review

‘The Masquerade’ is the debut album from 19 year old Maia, known professionally as Mxmtoon. She released her debut EP ‘plum blossom’ last year, and has quickly gathered a large audience of fans, with her single ‘prom dress’ gaining over 17 million streams on Spotify, probably partly helped by the fact that the song was a big meme for a while on the viral video app TikTok. However, I always thought the song was genuinely good, and  album shows that Maia has more than one up the sleeve of her prom dress.

Opening Track ‘unspoken words’ highlights how impressive Maia’s songwriting is, and is a perfect opener for the album. Starting off really lo-fi with a drum beat that sounds right off a kid’s keyboard, the track bursts into a lushly produced, twinkly sad banger with a great melody that really shows off Maia’s charming vocals, which for me sit somewhere between Emma Stone and Corrine Bailey Rae.

‘prom dress’ follows, and it’s still as catchy and original as when I first heard it; it;s a simple concept for a song, and the lyrics are very straight to the point and direct, but it’s so difficult to execute songs like that well, and ‘prom dress’ is pretty much a perfect acoustic pop song.

‘high & dry’ is a cute, upbeat and breezy mid-album track that has some of Maia’s best lyrics; “There’s little reward in stinging me like a bee”, and on ‘my ted talk’ she manages to really opens up without seeming she is trying to sell her emotions too hard, and the track has some genuinely charming and funny spoken ad-libs that bring her personality even further to the front. ‘seasonal depression’ is an album highlight for me; another sad banger that shows that Maia isn’t afraid of shying away from any topic, and won’t hide her feelings behind endless metaphors.

‘The Masquerade’ is a great debut album, and it proves that Mxmtoon is one of the most promising young songwriters in the world right now.

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Post Malone – Hollywood’s Bleeding Album Review

Post Malone has become one of the biggest names in music in an extremely short length of time. He released his debut album in 2016, and as of September 2019, he is the 6th most streamed artist in the world on Spotify, with his latest single ‘Circles’ gaining over 50 million streams in around a week. He just headlined Reading & Leeds festivals in the UK to great reception. It’s an understatement to say there was a lot of anticipation and hype for his latest album, and unexpectedly, he exceeded those expectations.

The title track kicks off the album, and immediately sets the gloomy, sad tone of ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’. Sadness and loneliness have been consistent themes in Posty’s previous releases, but this project is his most cohesive, and consistent to date. Most of the tracks on ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’ sound like they could easily be singles, and Post seems the most focused he has ever been.

‘Enemies’ is the first track of the album that sounds positive; a really upbeat, peppy and extremely catchy melody runs throughout the track but the lyrics maintain that solemn attitude. ‘Used to have friends now I got enemies, it’s so sad’ hits things right on the head.

‘Allergic’ is an album highlight for me, and shows off what Post Malone does best. Blending elements of several genres together to make a straight up catchy banger. An almost doo-wop beat and melody mixes in effortlessly with rock and trap, and the harmonised acapella vocals that close off the track are genuinely lovely.

Many of the tracks on the album deal with the theme of fame, and how it has affected his life. Some lines like “You see me on TV, you know I’m a star, You say you don’t know me, but I know that’s false” from ‘A Thousand Bad Times’ leave no room for speculation, but tracks like ‘Circles’ make you read between the lines, and show a deeper side to Post Malone. ‘Circles’ is one of my favourite tracks Post has ever done, with it’s jangly guitar and plodding bassline making it almost sound like a single that a Blossoms could come out with mixed with a bit of Tame Impala. It’s extremely catchy and hasn’t left my head since I first heard it.

There are a wide range of features on the album, from the likes of Halsey, Future and Sza, but perhaps the most surprising combination is Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Scott, both of whom feature on the track ‘Take What You Want’. Perhaps even more surprising is that it works, with Ozzy’s vocals providing a really dramatic atmosphere, and Travis puts in a decent verse before the song explodes into an over-the-top guitar solo.

‘Staring At The Sun’ with Sza is a really pleasant track, and whether this is due to the pair’s history or not, it really does sound like the song that would play at the end credits of a superhero movie. The fact that it is followed by ‘Sunflower’ taken from Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, only furthers this in my mind. It’s good though, and Sza and Post work really well together.

‘Internet’ is a weird one. Written by Kanye West, it’s almost interlude length at just over 2 minutes, and is a string heavy, short and sweet ballad about how he doesn’t use the internet much anymore. It’s nice enough though, but the extremely lush instrumentation does seem a little out of place.

When I first listened to ‘Myself’ I thought that it sounded a bit like Father John Misty in the melody and lyrics; “Oh, I’m sick of believing, All of this American dreaming, Oh, let’s not give a fuck ’til Giving a fuck has no meaning”. The track was in fact co-written by Post and Josh Tillman (FJM’s Real Name), and is another of the album’s best points.

Closing off with ‘Wow.’, which is by far the most braggy of all the tracks on the album perfectly sums up Post Malone. He’s made it, and he’s going to keep pushing forward and surprising people with his success for as long as he can.

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New Release Roundup 6th September 2019

The Waah-Kin Tribe – Mundane Mardy Life: ‘‘Mundane Mardy Life’ is the second single from the Waah-Kin Tribe is a really solid indie-rock anthem, sitting somewhere between The Courteeners & Jake Bugg. 80%

Grimes & i_o – Violence: Violence is the third track from Grimes this year, and it sees her pairing up with techno wizard i_o. The two of them work really well together; ‘Violence’ is a dreamy, spacey bop with really intricate layers of synths and drums, you hear something new every time you listen. 90%

Night Flowers – Fortune Teller: A really lovely piece of dreamy indie pop here from Night Flowers, continuing their run of being one of the most underrated indie bands in the world. 92%

Stormzy – Sounds Of The SkengThis new Stormzy track is good, but it’s really hard to differentiate it from an album track from Gang Signs & Prayer. It’s well performed and well produced, but it’s a step below his latest few singles. 70%

Camila Cabello – ShamelessThe first of 2 new singles Camila dropped today, Shameless is proof that Camila is one of the best voices in pop right now. The gritty, bassy drop around the chorus of this track is amazing, and shows that Camila’s voice is very adaptable. 85%

Camila Cabello – LiarThis is the second of Camila’s singles to come out today, and is more of the latin inspired pop that you would expect from her, with real clear reggaeton influences in there too. It’s still a bop though and will probably chart really well. 65%

Naaz – damage 😦Following on from the massive banger that is ‘Taped’ was always going to be difficult, but Naaz has done it. ‘Damage :(‘ is an introspective track with low key production that really allows Naaz’s brilliant songwriting and vocals to shine through. One of the most promising acts on the planet right now. 91%

Kele – Jungle Bunny:  This new track from Kele is a banger. A vibrant, groovy instrumental backs his reflective bars, and his voice is as strong as ever on the extremely catchy chorus. His best solo effort to date. 92%

Metronomy – Wedding Bells: All of the tracks from the upcoming ‘Metronomy Forever’ album have been some of the groups best work to date, and ‘Wedding Bells’ continues that trend. Groovy, catchy and up-beat, this is trademark Metronomy. 90%

Foals – The Runner: With ‘Black Bull’ alongside this new single, their upcoming album is shaping up to be potentially their strongest yet. ‘The Runner’ is almost cinematic, with the vocal production sounding really dramatic. Tune. 80%

King Princess – Ain’t Together: Taken from her upcoming album ‘Cheap Queen’, ‘Ain’t Together is a slick, chill new single from King Princess that sees her really open up. 75%

Louis Tomlinson – Kill My Mind – This sounds like a song that would be played in the credits of a really bad kids’ movie, or like the song a band from a really bad kids’ movie would play at a ‘Battle of the Bands’ contest. 20%

Charli XCX, Clairo, Yaeji – February 2017 – A futuristic banger from Charli, Clairo and Yaeji here, with Charli and Clairo pretty much duetting over a slowly building, complex bubblegum-synth pop backing. Consistently showing herself to be one of the most inventive names in pop right now. 90%

 

 

New Release Roundup 9th August 2019

Oddity Road – Night Like No Other: This new single from Sheffield indie lads Oddity Road is their strongest yet. Strong 2000s pop-punk influences here, with heavy riffs and pounding drums on the chorus, which is extremely catchy. Very nice. 80%

Katy Perry – Small Talk: A forgettable track here from Katy, sounds like an album filler track that she could knock out in a few minutes. Like a phoned in performance for a movie soundtrack. 30%

Temples – You’re Either On Something: I have had this song in my head constantly since I first heard it’s main hook. ‘You’re Either On Something’ has amazing vocal production over a trademark Temples catchy melody but with a more focused sound than their previous efforts. 91%

Nikita Bassi – Satin: This is the debut single from Nikita, and ‘Satin’ shows real promise. A beautiful, low-key ballad with a soft twinkly instrumental paired with Nikita’s strong but delicately controlled vocals makes for very pleasant listening indeed. 90%

Keane – Love Too Much: This is very, very bad. Keane had a few (2) good singles back in the day but this sounds like a Take That album track. 10%

Spector – Half Life: This new Spector tune, their second single this year, is a great, shimmery piece of indie synth-pop. It really bops along with bouncy synths and a groovy bassline; very promising for a potential new full length project from the lads. 82%

Mystery Jets – Screwdriver: An amazing new single from Mystery Jets, Screwdriver sounds massive. Could almost be a (good) Bond tune kind of massive. Gritty riffs and poignant lyrics and constantly shifting speed and tone, this is simply great. 95%

The Big Moon- It’s Easy Then: A great grower of a comeback single from The Big Moon here! With a slightly fuller sounding, mellower production than their debut album, “It’s Easy Then” makes me very excited for a new project from them. 85%

Love Fame Tragedy – Backflip: ‘Love Fame Tragedy’ is a new project from Matthew, frontman of the Wombats, Gus from alt-j, Joey from Pixies, Matt from Soundgarden and Lauren Aquilina. ‘Backflip’ is an understated perfect piece of groovy indie-pop that lives up to the hype all those names bring. More please. 90%

Nykki – No Cry (Stripped Version): This stripped version of rising Czech pop star’s debut single ‘No Cry’ shows a different side to the track, really highlighting her strong vocals and the strength of the song at it’s core. 80%
Dram ft. H.E.R. & Watt – The Lay Down: The combination of these three together and a really soulful, chill instrumental backing makes for extremely smooth listening. One of the strongest R&B tracks of the year so far, with the vocal harmonies on the cut being exceptional. 91%

Papur Wal – When He’s Gone: This new tune from Welsh indie outfit Papur Wal starts off as a really intimate, acoustic ballad before bursting into a wall of lo-fi, distorted riffs and off-kilter vocals. Love it. 83%

CRAY – idontwannatalkaboutlove: This new single from Cray is an essential synth-pop bop. Irresistible synth grooves and loops back Cray’s smooth, but powerful vocals. It’s not too over the top either, a really great, focused track. 92%

Leadley – Chic: Her first single since last year’s self titled EP, ‘Chic’ is a smooth, catchy new single from ‘Leadley’, with the minimalist drum backing and subtle synths peppered throughout highlighting the strength & tone of her voice. Nice. 90%

Track Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – This Is The Place

Following on from his subdued, groovy ‘Black Star Dancing’ EP, Noel has just announced another EP, with ‘This Is The Place’ being the title track from it.

Similar in vein to ‘Black Star Dancing’ ‘This Is The Place’ is very groove based, with a deep bassline being the heart of the track.

The layers of percussion, synths and backing vocals slowly build up throughout the track to create a song that is a brilliant fusion of northern soul and modern dance music.Very much a toe tapper, this one.

This is a complete change from his first two solo albums which seem drab and predictable in comparison to his last full length and subsequent singles. Noel’s voice sounds as strong as ever, and judging by his current output, his creativity and talent for songwriting hasn’t faded either.

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