Category Archives: Music

Review – New Found Glory: Makes Me Sick

newfoundglory_makesmesickart_fullMakes Me Sick is the ninth studio album and follow-up to 2014’s Resurrection by the American pop punk band New Found Glory. It was released through Hopeless Records in April of this year.

Despite being a fan of New Found Glory (NFG) this one completely slipped past me, hence the review being in late June rather than April. Man, am I glad I realised though as this album might just turn out to be the soundtrack to my summer. I think it’s awesome!

This new record from NFG is easily my favourite of theirs this decade. That’s not to say Radiosurgery (2011) or Resurrection (2014) where bad, far from it. I enjoyed those too, but this one is a step above. Quite often you can say during reviews for bands who have been around for so long ‘you know what you’re going to get’ and while this is very much a NFG album in that sense I still am surprised by just how incredibly upbeat, catchy and most importantly fun this is. Overall it feels softer and more buoyant, through the synths, lyrical choices and melodies.

After 20 years, NFG know what they are and don’t strive to push the boat out too far. Their goal is to continue to make irresistibly catch tunes and they certainly hit the nail on the head more than a few times here. Makes Me Sick is full of great songs that will be in your head for weeks but if I had to pick my favourites right this second I’d say that ‘Party On Apocalypse’ (above) and ‘Call Me Anti-Social’ would certainly be up there. The only real curve ball here is ‘The Sound Of Two Voices’ which sticks out a little from the rest of the crowd. I still like it though.

Absolutely a must buy for any New Found Glory or pop punk rock genre fans in general. The clean and crisp production coupled with catchy pop hooks and sing-along choruses make this a very  pleasant listen. An early contender for favourite album of the year in fact!

Verdict: Thumbs Up

Review – Busted: Night Driver

Is Busted’s new album a thumbs up or a thumbs down?

If you’d have told me back in 2005 that Busted’s next album would be released in 2016 and that it would have a completely different style and is actually fantastic. My first question would be ‘who are you and how do you know the future?’. My second thought would be that, you’re a bloody liar.

As we all know Charlie went off to focus on Fightstar full-time and he refused to ever consider returning to Busted. Yet here I am, listening to an album that completely slipped under my radar and it is actually brilliant.

That’s right, gone is the pop punk rock sound of the early 2000’s. Now more ‘Air Hostess’, ‘Year 3000’ or ‘That’s What I Go To School For’ to be found here. Instead we’ve got synthpop, new wave and indie pop vibes. I think it’s really good. It’s a big risk though, returning after over a decade in hiatus to do so with a completely new sound. Here, it works though. The songs are just as catchy as they used to be as well.

Also, there’s several saxophone solos to be found. Do I really need to say anymore?

The thing is, Busted have grown up and it wouldn’t really make sense for them to try to recreate their old sound. This new sound is what’s left after you get rid of all the juvenile pop punk from their original run and instead what you’re left with is a really solid musical group who are finding a new something and not afraid to take a huge leap to do so.

While it might not have been as successful as either of their previous records it certainly deserves recognition. The problem is that the trio are effectively a brand new band under the same name. A name that has a lot of sentimentality and history with its fans and some of them won’t want this new sound. It’s likely to create a divide between fans of the old and fans of the new, with people like me balancing in the middle.

That’s life I guess, at the end of the day this is a great album and I highly recommend it.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

Review: Slam Dunk 2017

lineupOne whole week ago… or longer depending on when you read this but shut up this is my blog and I make the rules, I mean really who are you to judge? You’re not my Mum. Back off dude.

Sorry that got away from me for a moment.

One whole week ago I was at Slam Dunk Festival in Birmingham having a great time watching some of my favourite bands. This was my fourth Slam Dunk festival and somehow, without even thinking about it I’ve now attended all three venues. Hatfield is by far the best one by the way and no not just because I went to university there. Although…yeah it’s pretty much just that reason.

I pretty much spent all of my time, when I wasn’t looking for food, at the Fireball stage. It had an excellent line up for ska and punk rock fans. Bowling for Soup, Reel Big Fish, Less than Jake alone are all excellent bands who I’ve seen many times. I would see them all again and again though, they’re just so much fun.

Zebrahead

We start on a bit of a bummer though as Zebrahead had sound issues throughout their set. They had to start 10 minutes late, a guitar didn’t work for half the set and the bassist microphone never worked. You could tell the technical issue threw the band off as well, but they tried their best to make do. I do wish that after they’d sorted most of the technical  issues that they’d focused on their ‘hits’ but that really depends on what you considered their best songs to be.

Goldfinger

It was great to see Goldfinger again, even if it’s effectively just John Feldmann and friends these days. 99 Red balloons is always a classic. As a band they must love touring with ska bands because it means they get to borrow their horn sections for a couple of songs. In this instance Reel Big Fish helped them out, which is pretty neat.

Goldfinger have got a new album coming out soon that sounds very similar to Blink 182’s California in production values. Which, after a little research, makes sense as it turns out John produced that album. the more you know! It’s the bands first album in 9 years and I am looking forward to it! Continue reading

Review: Paramore – After Laughter

After Laughter: Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Hayley Williams and Paramore are finally back with their fifth studio album! After Laughter is the follow-up to their self-titled 2013 release and a lot has happened with the band since then. Bassist Jeremy Davis left and sued the band, then former drummer Zac Farro returned and in the meantime the bands musical sound has continued to evolve too.

I personally love the 80’s synth-pop and new wave influences but I can understand why some people do want ‘the old Paramore’ back. However, I loved 2013’s ‘Paramore’ sound (it is my favourite album by the band so far) and I really enjoy this one too. At the end of the day, if I like the music they produce who cares if it is not in their original style.

AL2After Laughter is a fantastically produced and crafted album which is full of crisp hooks to catch your attention. Honestly it sounds amazing, I love the mix.

After only a few listens I can recommend first single ‘Hard Times’ and ‘Rose Colored Boy’ as definitely worth a listen, I am particularly fond of the latter. While the first half of the album is initially stronger than the second half I do have faith that after a few more listens they will all prove to be ‘growers’.

Lyrically Hayley Williams is at odds with the upbeat rhythms created by the rest of the band but I really like the combination. Songs with sad themes do not actually have to be depressing after all and obviously Williams is brilliant as always vocally too.

This new record might not be immediately as awesome as 2013’s ‘Paramore’ but its pretty darn good. Consider me a fan. A fan of old and new Paramore, because I’m allowed to be both. Although some angry people on the internet say otherwise…

Now if we could avoid any other members leaving the group in between this and the next album then that would be great!

Verdict: Thumbs up!

Volbeat: Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie (Album Review)

Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie – Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie is the sixth studio album from Danish heavy metal band Volbeat. They play a fusion of rock and roll, heavy metal and rockabilly and are inspired by classic rock and roll artists such as Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, as well as modern hard rock and heavy metal groups. Their current line-up consists of vocalist and guitarist Michael Poulsen, guitarist Rob Caggiano (formerly of Anthrax), drummer Jon Larsen and bassist Kaspar Boye Larsen.

I was actually only introduced to Volbeat when they supported Alter Bridge at the 02 Arena back in November of last year. I immediately loved them and bought this album the next day. You can read that gig review HERE, if you wanted. No pressure.

If I had to describe Volbeat, or more specifically this album, to someone who’d never heard of them before. I would say that they are in ways, a Danish and more metal version of Nickleback. Only better, a lot better. I know a lot of people have negative connotations about Nickleback but whether you like them or not, their songs always sound great (production wise) and always have a hook. So do Volbeat.

Seal The Deal is overflowing with upbeat and catchy songs. They’re also very radio friendly it has to be said, which I suppose depending on your viewpoint could be a negative thing? The key thing about this record is that every song is great to sing and hum along too. Just generally really good to rock out to in your car and believe me I did that the other day when I drove 2 hours to Oxford.

Lead singer Michael Poulson has an awesome voice as well. It’s incredibly powerful and very unique, the accent does help with that of course. It’s his vocals that take Volbeat up a couple of rungs. I mean sure, I still don’t know what he’s singing half the time but I know he’s got a great voice and the songs are very catchy.

The album includes two cover songs. “Battleship Chains,” and “Rebound,”. Rebound fits in with the rest of the album, but BC is definitely the weakest track on the record.

Seal The Deal includes two covers sounds ‘Rebound’ and ‘Battleship Chains. Rebound fits the style of the rest of the album nicely but Battleship Chains is by far the weakest track on the record. I only mention it because I really enjoy the rest of the tracks but this song sticks out like a sore thumb. On the flip side, I’d say my favourite tracks would be ‘The Gates of Babylon’ and the title track ‘Seal The Deal’ but again, I really enjoy the majority of the album.

Overall Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie is an incredibly fun and catchy ride. Everyone song has a great hook and Michael Poulsen’s vocals are epic throughout (even if I don’t know what he’s singing).

 

Verdict: Thumbs Up

You Me At Six – Night People (Review)

Night People – Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Night People is the fifth studio album by English rock band You Me At Six. I’ve always disliked that name. For one its You ‘Meat’ Six, which makes no sense. Secondly, it just doesn’t flow off the tongue… Anyway! Before I get distracted, let’s talk about the new record.

Night People is the follow-up to 2014’s Cavalier Youth, an album that received positive reviews from fans and critics. I for one loved it. It was the bands first UK number one in the album charts as well. So I had high hopes for this new album.

Unfortunately I feel like Night People is missing something. Immediately you can feel that it doesn’t have the same drive that Cavalier Youth had. It’s not necessarily the slower songs themselves, it just lacks energy and a lot of it is ultimately forgettable and I find myself skipping tracks.

Style wise, it’s more of the same. Just not as good really. Another problem I have is with the flow of the album. Songs next to each other don’t gel together and in many ways clash with what came before it. It’s almost as if the band weren’t quite sure what kind of record they wanted to make.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some good songs here. Heavy Soul, Give and Brand New would be my personal favourites. Most of the songs do have the traditionally catchy sing along elements we’ve come to expect and I’m sure they’d be great in a live situation. The production is slick too. It’s a lovely sounding record without a doubt.

Ultimately it’s not a bad album, it’s just average. There are some enjoyable songs for sure but they almost feel hidden. Still, it does enough to earn a thumbs up from me. Even if it’s not all to my liking.

Thumbs Up: Thumbs Up

My Top 5 Favourite Wrestling Themes Right Now!

Almost a year ago I wrote a Top 5 list (the internet loves top 5 and top 10 lists) detailing the 5 best themes in WWE and NXT at that point. Well I’m back to do an update as things have changed! New competitors, new challengers and new themes to rock out too. I’ve even expanded my reach ever so slightly with a Ring of Honor competitor making my top 5. So, who has made the list this time? Let’s find out!

Before we begin it’s time for the honourable mentions for Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn who all made my list last year but have now fallen from the Top 5. Still all great entrance themes, but they’ve been usurped!

5. Sheamus

Sheamus has a had a weird run over the past year or so. He’s been mostly directionless for the most part. Spending time as a comedy heel midcarder before a short World Title run was then followed by months of being Roman Reigns’ punching bag in the League of Nations.

Finally it looks like he might have something to do for a little while with his make shift tag team with Cesaro after their tied best of 7 series. Unfortunately as part of that team comes the gimmick of Cesaro always cutting of his entrance with his own. So we don’t get to hear this song in all its glory. However, we can all agree on is that his theme song is awesome. I could listen to it all day!

4. Finn Balor

My number one for last year drops down to number four this time around. Last year nothing really came close to it so it was justifiably my top pick. Now though, it’s got stiff competition. Still a brilliant theme it’s a major part of the phenomenal theatrics for Finn’s entrance. It has an epic aura on it’s own but paired with the lighting and choreography it’s simply amazing to watch and listen too.

3. Bobby Roode

If you had to use just one word to describe Bobby Roode’s theme song, what would it be? Perfect? Brilliant? No of course not, it would be summed up as Glo-…adequate. Obviously I’m joking! It’s bloody Glorious isn’t it!

On it’s on it’s a pretty great theme for an egotistical heel who loves everything about himself. Yet it’s the fan response to it that has made it so darn good. At Takeover: Brooklyn 2 the crowd exploded when his theme hit and sang along as loudly as they could. It’s continued ever since. At Takeover: Toronto he did one better with a choir singing his entrance theme while he walked to the ring. I loved it.

2. Dalton Castle

My new favourite wrestler with one of my favourite wrestling themes. Dalton Castle has got it all. Sparkling jumpsuits, sequin capes, ‘his boys’ and an absolute belter of a theme song!

I’ve had ‘Dalton Wants It Now’ by Adam Massacre on repeat since I saw Ring of Honor live back in November. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the gimmick and excellently references Freddy Mercury, Queen and the whole flamboyant, glam rock vibe. Mostly, because it’s essentially an extended instrumental version of the opening guitar solo for Queen’s ‘I Want It All’.

It’s brilliant.

1. Shinsuke Nakamura

Let’s be serious, it kind of had to be really didn’t it? Last year Balor had the stand out theme but since Wrestlemania weekend and his debut Nakamura’s theme has been on a different level.

The crowd absolutely love singing along with it. They love singing it during promos and they love singing it during matches. Much like Bobby Roode his Takeover entrances also take his theme to that next level again. Specifically his one from Takeover: Brooklyn 2. It was awesome.