Tag Archives: Album

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

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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: 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

Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct [Review]

Oh Metallica, how I’ve missed you.

Hardwired… To Self-Destruct is the tenth studio album by heavy metal giants Metallica. One of the ‘Big Four’ from the 80’s and still going strong to this day…well, kinda. As a live act they’re still absolutely huge but their album releases have been hit and miss over the last 20 years. That is when they actually bother to put something out.

This ‘double album’ released in November is their first studio album in eight years following Death Magnetic in 2008, which I think was really good. “But Rob” you cry out awkwardly “What about the album Lulu?”. Well, random voice in my head, conveniently that can be classed a collaborative effort’ meaning we don’t have to class it as a ‘studio album’. Which again, in super convenient because it was down right awful. See what I mean about hit and miss?

Hardwired…however is almost exactly what I wanted from a new Metallica record. It’s got the pace, the energy and the focus and perhaps most importantly it doesn’t sound like dog shit like St Anger did. Wow, I really am hating on a band I love right now aren’t I?

The album sounds great for a number of reasons. First and foremost the songs are good (especially CD 1), it has long instrumental sections that take their time meanwhile the lyrics have direction and meaning. Secondly it’s mixed really nicely. It’s powerful and heavy yet clear at the same time.

I bought the deluxe edition which means as well as the double disk set, I got a third CD which is mostly live material recorded at Rasputin Music in Berkeley, California in April, 2016 and covers. The third CD is a nice bonus to have and the covers are fun, especially the Ronnie Rising Medley in which Hetfield has a vocal performance I honestly didn’t know he had in him. Yet let’s be honest, most Metallica fans who want a live album probably already have one and mostly likely it’s S&M. Which is brilliant. So do yu need the deluxe version? Probably not. Continue reading

Bowling For Soup – Drunk Dynasty [Album Review]

Drunk Dynasty, realised back in October, is the 11th studio album from Texas pop-rock band Bowling For Soup. Like their previous album Lunch. Drunk. Love. the album was part funded by fans using PledgeMusic. Initially intended to be an EP it was later extended into a full-length studio album.

bowling_for_soup1

Bowling For Soup have been one of the standard-bearers for how to be a fun, yet successful pop-rock band since 1994.

Lead singer Jaret Reddick said that Bowling For Soup’s new plan for realising music would be “less music, more often” and that he hates waiting two years between releases due to his love of recording. He also said that he was “super stoked for everyone to hear this shit”. Personally I’m absolutely fine with that, I wish more of my favourite bands had that attitude.

Bowling For Soup are one of those bands that just make me happy. This album is no different. Sure it’s basically just like every other modern Bowling For Soup album. It sounds exactly the same and the songs are written the same way. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They don’t push the boundaries, because they don’t have to. The songs are still about getting into trouble and falling in love with girls and that’s fine. They’re silly, they’re fun and they’re catchy.  It’s exactly like how their song Critically Distained from the last album says “We’re not here to change the world, we’re here to laugh out others”. Why change the mould when you do it so well?

In a way it’s an average record. While the songs are good they aren’t hitting the heights of their early success, there’s certainly nothing of the quality of ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’ or 1985′ here, but who cares. When I took this album out of my car I was still humming half the album days later. If that’s not a sign of a good record I don’t know what is!

Catalyst and Don’t be A Dick are my personal favourites. Don’t Be A Dick actually sums up my thoughts on the world perfectly right now with the lyrics of “Don’t be a dick, don’t be an asshole, just be nice” and “show some respect, just be a person, love one another”. We could all do with more people having this attitude these days.

In summary, Drunk Dynasty is another solid Bowling For Soup album that you will very much enjoy if you like any of their previous work. Absolutely worth a listen.

Verdict: Thumbs Up