Bring Me The Horizon – amo Review

‘amo’ is the latest album by Sheffield, their first since 2015’s ‘That’s The Spirit’. It’s a varied but focused project that’s miles away from their much heavier beginnings, but this shows a band who aren’t afraid to take risks. I think they paid off.

Lead single ‘MANTRA’ is still as punchy and vital as when it first dropped a few months ago, with it’s personal, timely lyrics about mental health and instantly infectious guitar hook, it’s the one of the best songs they’ve ever written, not a bad start.

‘nihilist blues’ features Grimes. The existence of this collab is enough to turn heads in itself, and the track will probably do the same to long-time fans. A heavy dance number with vocals from Grimes alongside Oli sounds wildly different to Mantra on first listen, but in the context of the whole album it just works.

Tracks like ‘in the dark’ and ‘ wonderful life’ are two more cuts that contrast eachother in terms of heaviness but the great songwriting and production really tie everything together here, with even the glitchy instrumental tracks like ‘ouch’ and the very poppy ‘medicine’ all slotting in perfectly. There are touching moments on the album too, with ‘mother tongue’ and ‘i don’t know what to say’ seeing Oli really opening up about subjects like grief and love.

They took some big risks and have taken a lot of slack for changing their sound, but ‘amo’ is a great album, no matter what genre it is.

90%

 

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Vice – Movie Review

Christian Bale stars as Vice President Dick Cheney in a movie that manages to be genuinely funny, while still openly angry and dismayed at it’s main star.

The whole cast put in brilliant performances, with the central couple of Christian Bale and Amy Adams as Dick and Lynne Cheney being exceptional, alongside Sam Rockwell being perfect as George W Bush.

Vice is a very angry movie, (rightly so) but it funnels this anger at times through humour and light-heartedness, meaning some of the cuts between scenes almost give you whiplash; at one moment you’re laughing at witty text on the screen then suddenly you’re looking at graphic scenes of torture.

The way the story of Dick is told is very clever; I was gripped throughout – from his early alcohol troubled years all through his rise to become the most powerful Vice President in history, and it was very interesting and disheartening to see how he manipulated and took advantage of those around him to gain more power.

A must-see for anyone remotely interested in politics, and it might be even more important for those who aren’t.

85%

New Release Roundup – 25th Jan 2019

Vampire Weekend – Harmony Hall: Vampire Weekend return with their first music since 2013 with 2 new singles, the first of which being ‘Harmony Hall’. They haven’t lost it – Harmony Hall is a great comeback single; an upbeat, Primal Scream-esque track with all the trademark VW touches. It’s nothing revolutionary from them, but it’s exactly what you want. 90%

Vampire Weekend – 2021: The second of the 2 singles, ‘2021’ is much calmer and understated, with Ezra reflecting on the future over a lullaby like soft synthy backing. Very nice. 80%

The Islas – A Generation To Forget: This is the debut EP from Norwich indie rock band The Islas, and it’s a great, punchy collection of tracks, with highlights being the short but sweet ‘Hits & Misses’ and the heartfelt ‘Somewhere in Between’. 70%

JK COLLECTIVE – Keep on Crashing: ‘Keep on Crashing’ is the debut single from Alt-Pop duo JK COLLECTIVE, and it is a low-key but really catchy synthy tune, with slight echoes of The 1975 and new Bring Me The Horizon mixed in. 75%

Pip Blom – Daddy Issues: So far, there have been no bad songs from Pip Blom. ‘Daddy Issues’ continues that trend; a really strong riff drives this energetic, punky track that sounds a bit like Courtney Barnett and Franz Ferdinand at the same time, which turns out sounding very nice indeed. 94%

Blaenavon – Catatonic Skinbag: This new Blaenavon track is a cool, punky cut that shows the group still have that driving energy that garnered our attention in the first place. Nice harmonies on the verses too. 80%

Crows – Chain of Being: In my opinion, Crows sound like a heavier version of Doves (I didn’t even realise the bird name connection until I finished typing that) That’s fine by me, and ‘Chain of Being’ is a brilliant piece of progressive rock. 83% 

Lauv & Troye Sivan – This will probably become a big hit because the chorus is so simple, but extremely effective. 70%

Malory – Blue Umbrella: ‘Blue Umbrella’ is a chill, breezy upbeat track with a really catchy chorus and clicky-clacky instrumental. It’s very pleasant and Malory’s vocals are really sweet and fit the track well. 70%

Diplo ft. Niska – Boom Bye Bye: This is just really, really annoying. 20%

Parekh & Singh – Hello: My favourite duo from Kolkata return with a really lovely new single. ‘Hello’ builds on the sound of their debut album with more complex production and songwriting, but still maintains the charm that made me love them the first time around. 95%

Dua Lipa- Swan Song: Taken from the upcoming movie ‘Alita’, this new song from Dua is a bit better than the quality of song you’d expect to be made for a movie, but it never reaches the levels of her bigger singles from the past few years. 60%

Feet – English Weather: The new tune from Feet is a brilliant, groovy cut with an almost annoyingly catchy chorus. You’d better pack an umbrella. 90%

 

 

 

 

 

James Blake – Assume Form Review

The new album from Singer/Producer James Blake can be a bit of a mixed bag, and seems a bit one-note at the beginning, but when it gets into its stride and you give it more listens, it’s not hard to see why he gathers so much attention, this being his best project to date.

‘Tell Them’ is a mesmerising, low-key trap infused track, with great features from Moses Sumney and Metro Boomin, with Moses’ vocals melding really well with James. This flows beautifully into the more sombre and touching ‘Into The Red’, which is a genuinely lovely tribute to Jameela Jamil, his current girlfriend.

Rosalia’s vocals are silky smooth as always on the track ‘Barefoot In The Park’, again James showing he knows who fits in well with his own sound, and the following track ‘Can’t Believe The Way We Flow’ continues a great run of tracks.

‘Where’s The Catch?’ with Andre 3000 is my favourite track on the album, with Andre unsurprisingly delivering an amazing verse over a great, complex beat provided by James, with the track shifting from calmer chill-hop to glitchier beats effortlessly.

‘I’ll Come Too’ is another heartfelt ballad, set to slightly spooky sounding theramin-esque backing synths and strings, but it works really well.

This is James at his best: honest, open and with all his emotions on his sleeve, allowing him to make the best music he ever has.

82%

Dodie – Human EP Review

The latest EP from Dodie is her best project yet, with brutally honest and open lyrics paired with a selection of the best produced and written tracks the singer-songwriter has put out so far.

‘Monster’ is a brilliant track; it’s one of those songs that appear simple upon first listen, but the instrumental with its groovy synth pattern and developing layers is really deep and complex, and the backing vocals are lovely too. Her best one to date.

‘Not What I Meant’ has Dodie pair up with Lewis Watson, and the duo’s voices blend really nicely together for a really pleasant, chill folky ballad that reminded me a bit of Seth Lakeman. The Title track, ‘Human’ with Tom Walker is another example of how hard hitting her lyrics can be ; specific to her experiences but again so relatable they are especially effective paired with those vocals and haunting melody.

To me, ‘If I’m Being Honest’ sounds like a track that would fit right into ‘La La Land’ or ‘Mary Poppins’, and that’s in no way a bad thing; it plods along in the nicest way and I can picture her walking along in the rain singing it in some kind of musical.

A great EP that shows Dodie just keeps improving, and shows real promise for a potential full album; but if the quality of her EPs keeps up like this, i’m not sure she needs to do one.

85%

Track Review: Foals – Exits

Foals are back! This new single is the first taste of a lot to come from the lads in 2019, as they have two full-length albums coming out this year under the name ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’, with part one coming in March.

‘Exits’ is a long first track, coming in at around 6 minutes, but it doesnt drag. It’s unmistakably Foals, with groovy riffs and Yannis’ powerful vocals, but as with between their previous albums there is a slight difference in their sound that has helped to keep them fresh; ‘Exits’ is a lot more synth heavy and dance influenced than their last effort ‘What Went Down’.

The more you listen to ‘Exits’, the more little layers of synths and guitars you pick up you begin to realise just how well produced this is, especially towards the tail-end of the track where everything is building up and with lyrics that reference the world being upside down and ‘all the exits being covered’, Foals prove they still have their fingers on the pulse.

85%

New Release Roundup – 21st Jan 2019

Ariana Grande – 7 Rings: Borrowing the melody from ‘My Favourite Things’ from the Sound of Music while also using a trap-infused beat and riffing off Travis Scott’s smash hit and meme ‘Sicko Mode’ and putting it all into a coherent banger is very impressive. 80%

Rozi Plain – Symmetrical: A calming but in no way boring folky new single from Rozi here. It’s just really, really pleasant but the occasional synths and extra harmonies make it a good, developing cut. 90%

Guest Singer – New Experience: A groovy, synthy track from Guest Singer here with rings of Mystery Jets and British Sea Power. Showing real potential on his first single proper. 75%

Sigrid – Don’t Feel Like Crying: A decent new pop single from Sigrid here with a nice positive message & a catchy chorus. She’s like Jess Glynne but actually good. 70%

Little Simz ft. Cleo Sol – Selfish: Little Simz continues the great run of singles she has been releasing in the build up to her upcoming album ‘Grey Area’ with ‘Selfish’, a smooth, funky cut with a great bassline and a great feature from Cleo. 92%

Loyle Carner ft. Rebel Kleff & Kiko Bun – You Don’t Know: More great stuff from Loyle; any time he teams up with Rebel on a song you know it’s going to be a cut with great chemistry and solid bars, and this is no different. 90%

The Japanese House – Maybe You’re The Reason: Another great track from Amber here, with the shimmery production and catchy chorus making this one of her poppiest tracks yet, but also one of her strongest. Very excited for her upcoming debut now. 90%

The Killers – Land Of The Free: Brandon and co have one of the best songs they have released in years here, openly tackling racism, gun control and the prison problems in the U.S with a Springsteen-esque ballad. 90%