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.

85%

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The Lion King (2019) Movie Review

When the first trailer for this ‘live action’ remake of The Lion King dropped, I was extremely excited, especially so due the amazing voice cast and how much I had enjoyed Jon Favreau’s previous effort with The Jungle Book, which was a vivid re-imagination of the Disney classic that went about telling the tale in a new, creative way. This is not like the Jungle Book.

This version of the Lion King is essentially a by-the-book remake, with updated visuals and a new voice cast. The voice cast bring mixed performances, with Beyoncé and Donald Glover obviously being great, but those two are going to perform annoying well with anything they are given. John Oliver brings little to the role of Zazu and the usually eccentric and off the wall Eric Andre is underutilised.

Image result for kimba the white lion comparisonThe songs and set pieces of the 2D animated Lion King relied heavily on exaggerated, colourful scenes, with the likes of ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’ and ‘Hakuna Matata’ being full of life. In this version, due to the commitment to extreme realism, these scenes seem sapped of all the life and excitement they originally had. The scene in ‘Hakuna Matata’ where Simba, Pumba and Timon where Simba ages as they walk along dancing together is now replaced with them just walking along.

The visuals are amazingly detailed, with the animals and environments all looking incredible and the this is definitely some of the most advanced, prettiest CGI ever and the animation team should be applauded but it just isn’t right for this story. The characters needed to be able to show emotions rather than just looking exactly like a real lion.

The soundtrack is way too good for the film it accompanies and is so obviously just another money-grab from Disney and it makes me angry. The original Lion King is just a rip-off of Japanese cartoon ‘Kimba the White Lion’ anyway so looks like they rarely have any original ideas anyway.

Don’t bother watching this in the cinema, just watch the original. Also, for some reason ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ takes place completely in daylight. Yeah.

30%

 

New Release Roundup 2nd August 2019

Elbow – Dexter & Sinister: Manchester’s nicest band return with, as is usual for them, a nearly 7 minute long track. However, ‘Dexter & Sinister’ sees Elbow going back to the sound of their earlier albums whilst also sounding reinvigorated; Guy’s standard lovely vocals are paired with an instrumental that sounds spacious and cinematic but also a great deal of urgency, with the track’s long run time zooming by. 90%

Foals – Black Bull: This is the first track revealed from the second album of Foals’ ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’ double album and they aren’t playing around. It’s an absolute banger, and one of the best tracks Foals have ever released. Heavy, angry and precise, this is what rock music needs right now. Very excited for this album. 97%

Ariana Grande & Social House – Boyfriend: Ariana continues her streak of great releases with this new single with help from her Thank u, Next co-writers Social House. ‘Boyfriend’ sees Ari and Social House both deliver very smooth vocals over an almost electro swing instrumental, with a catchy hook and great chemistry between everyone on the track. Will Ari release a bad song any time soon? Hope not. 93%
Haim – Summer Girl: The first new track from Haim since 2017’s ‘Something To Tell You’, ‘Summer Girl’ is a very chill, jazzy and aptly summery number which has an insanely catchy ‘do do do do’ based chorus that is very hard to shake from your head. Very pleasant indeed. 90%

Brockhampton – I Been Born Again: The world’s greatest boyband™ drop yet more new music, with ‘I Been Born Again’ being a straight up rap banger. As is usually the case, each member of the group brings a great verse to the track. This gives me more Saturation vibes than Iridescence so there’s no real telling where they will go next. 80%

Newmoon – Collide Into Me: ‘Collide Into Me’ is a rather lovely piece of dreamy indie-pop from Belgian band ‘Newmoon’. This is the first track to be revealed from upcoming album ‘Nothing Hurts Forever’, coming out in October. Can’t wait. 83%

Raye – Love Me Again: This new single from Raye is unfortunately a bit forgettable. It’s nice enough but doesn’t stand out from the crowd at all and sounds a bit like a bad Sam Smith song. 50%

Tove Lo ft Alma – Bad As The Boys: This sounds like a reject Marina & The Diamonds song & sounds like so many other tracks out there at the moment. Very forgettable. 20%
Mermaidens – Millenia: This is the second track to be released from Mermaidens’ upcoming album Look Me In the Eye, out September 6th, and it’s a great shoegazey, gloomy, groovy tune with captivating vocals and a really addictive drum beat. 80%

The S.L.P. – The Youngest Gary: Another great tune from Serge Kasabian’s upcoming solo project! ‘The Youngest Gary’ is a more synth-driven track than the previous 2 releases but it’s still got that trademark Serge groove and his unique vocals work really well here. Looking forward to this album a lot. 75%

Ava Max – Freaking Me Out: ‘Freaking Me Out’ is a solid, v catchy pop bop from Ava here with a really great vocal performance. 69%

Husky Loops – I Think You’re Wonderful: This is really horrible. The sample/hook on this is really abrasive to listen to and the verses sound over-sentimental. Sounds like Imagine Dragons and Lukas Graham at the same time. 5%

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu Movie Review

The vast majority, if not all video game movies, are awful. Luckily, all it took was a little detective work to fix that.

Detective Pikachu centres around Tim Goodman, a miserable young lad (which is fair enough because his dad has just died in a horrific accident) who discovers a talking Pikachu in his late father’s apartment. It quickly becomes apparent that not all is as it seems, and Tim and Pikachu team up with local reporter Lucy to crack the case.

The majority of the movie takes place in and around Ryme City, a city where humans and Pokémon live in harmony. The way that director Rob Letterman has built this world is really convincing, with the ways that the Pokémon interact with their humans and engage in society is really charming and adds to the immersion, making you really feel like this could be the real world, or at least a version of it that you’d probably want to live in.

The movie is visually stunning, from all the little details and Easter eggs that will please long-time fans of the games in Ryme City to the beautiful outdoor scenery, this is a video game movie that not only has a good plot, but also looks great. The realistic Pokémon may have looked jarring in the trailers when they were first revealed, but in this world they really do work, with the designs of Psyduck and Bulbasaur looking exceptionally good.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

The casting of Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu turned a few heads when it was first announced, but his brand of humour is perfect for this movie, and the chemistry between him and Justice Smith who plays Tim feels genuine and charming, even though he is talking to a Pikachu at the end of the day. Kathryn Newton does a great job as Lucy, and Bill Nighy as Howard Clifford, the visionary mind who created Ryme City, is another great choice.

Kathryn Newton in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

Ryan Reynolds, Kathryn Newton, and Justice Smith in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

Detective Pikachu should catch (haha) the attention of all fans of Pokémon, and should be a fun movie for anyone who even has a very passing knowledge of the franchise. Very easily the best game to movie adaptation ever made, and I’d welcome a whole series of films set in this world.

85%

Little Simz – Grey Area Review

Leading off with the brilliant, urgent single ‘Offence’ is a brilliant way to start off Little Simz’ latest album, with it’s pure confidence and witty lyrics perfectly setting the tone for the rest of the project. This confidence is completely matched by her skill, making for one of the freshest rap albums in a long time.

‘Venom’ shows Simz at her fiercest on the album and it’s really impressive to see her attack a track at that speed, but the album isn’t all fast paced and hard-hitting, with tracks such as ‘Therapy’ and ‘Sherbert Sunset’ seeing her really open up with introspective lyrics.

‘Selfish’ features a really smooth, catchy hook provided by Cleo Sol and a really funky percussion beat and light piano backing that just sounds really luscious and full; the whole album sounds like it could be being played live.

Simz has picked her featured artists on ‘Grey Area’ very well, with Little Dragon and Michael Kiwanuka providing well-placed guest spots that provide softer, more soulful vocals that pair really with Simz’ harder hitting verses.

This album proves all of the hype that is surrounding Little Simz at the moment, showing an artist at the top of her game with a brilliant, bright album.

97%

 

Nina Nesbitt – The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change Review

This is Nina’s second album, and it’s been a long time in the making. With a myriad of record label troubles and other issues plaguing her path so far, it must take someone tough to come through and eventually put out an album, especially one like this.

‘The Sun Will Come Up..’ is a focused, brilliantly produced pop album with Nina’s crisp, controlled voice and new found confidence cutting through each and every song.

‘Is It Really Me You’re Missing’ is an honest, open point on the album that shows off Nina’s Voice with minimalist production and a soft piano backing, and the title track which closes the album is another example of great storytelling by Nina.

The run of tracks from ‘The Moments I’m Missing’ through to ‘Somebody Special’ show the quality of the songwriting on show here; most of the tracks here feel like they could be singles but the album still flows very well as a whole.

A great album that shows real promise for the future from Nina.

85%

New Release Roundup – 1st Feb 2019

Jaws – Do You Remember?: On this new single, Connor and co. have really stepped up the production value to a much grander, epic scale and it pays off massively, with the quality of the songwriting still being there; this sounds like Jaws on the scale of a band like Foals or Doves, and it bloody works. 92%

Billie Eilish – Bury a Friend: The beat on this song reminds me of a very, very low-key version of Kanye’s Black Skinhead. Pair this with some matching low-key spoken/sung verses by Billie and this makes for an interesting track, and it shows that Billie still has more variety up her sleeve. 85%

Wev – Find Yourself: A great piece of growing, developing dance music here from Wev; ‘Find Yourself’ has rings of early Disclosure and Jax Jones, but also it’s own, clear personality. 80%

Haiku Hands – Dare You Not To Dance: This new Haiku Hands track sounds like Warpaint, M.I.A. and Kero Kero Bonito all at the same time, and it’s absolutely brilliant. Slaps. 90%

Interpol – Fine Mess: I’m not sure what Paul Banks and the other two were going for here, but the production on the vocals is just TOO fuzzy and glitchy, making it a jarring, annoying listen, and underneath this is an underwhelming Interpol track. 20%

The Chemical Brothers – Got To Keep On: Can they make a bad track ever?? Standard Chem Bros stuff, but again it seems as fresh and relevant as ever. How do they do it? 90%

Circa Waves – Me, Myself and Hollywood: A lot more understated than their previous releases, this new single is my favourite they have ever released. Catchy, with great lyrics and a really controlled, focused performance. 80%

Sports Team -M5: The new Sports Team single ‘M5’ is Advert-Ready in the best possible way. Insanely catchy ‘ooh-oohs’ throughout the tracks and an incredibly powerful, blasting chorus make this one of the most exciting new singles I’ve heard from anyone in a long time. Sick. 95%

Ady Suleiman – Strange Roses: A really pretty ballad from Ady here, with ‘Strange Roses’ showcasing his really smooth, focused and controlled vocals that really make this track just.. lovely. 80%

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Cyboogie: Sounding like a mix between Bowie’s ‘Jean Genie’ and Daft Punk, this new King Gizzard track is a lot of fun, and very catchy, and of course with it being King Gizzard it’s well over the 6 minute mark in length. 75%