Circa Waves- Different Creatures (Album Review)

Different Creatures is the second studio album from Liverpool indie-rock band Circa Waves, following 2015’s Young Chasers. The album was released on the 10th March 2017, on Virgin EMI Records, having previously released the brilliant singles ‘Wake Up’ and ‘Fire That Burns’. The band toured with the album throughout the UK in March/April.

The album opens with the energetic lead single ‘Wake Up’. It’s a bold opener. It’s one of a number of catchy, loud songs on the album, which feel somewhat ‘heavier’, less ‘sun-kissed’ than that of their debut album. I like the ‘no-frills’, mature sound of these songs; it exudes a confidence that they’ve gained over the last few years of constant touring and writing. Songs like ‘Fire That Burns’, the future single ‘Goodbye’, ‘Stuck’ and title track ‘Different Creatures’ signify a boldly subtle change in direction that appeals to old and new fans alike.

Songs like ‘Without You’ are fascinating with slow breaks between upbeat, loud choruses and catchy guitar riffs. Similarly, songs like ‘A Night On The Broken Tiles’,which has a bold bass line, are catchy and fit well within an album of strong tracks. The album does, however, have a few less raucous songs nestled within the brilliantly strong upbeat songs, for example the almost balladic ‘Out On My Own’ and the beautiful acoustic ‘Love’s Run Out’.

“She text me during that” are closing the words on the album, as Kieran Shudall (lead singer) laughs to end a recording of perhaps the most notable song on the album, “Old Friends”. The closing track is wonderfully reflective and tells tales of longing. It stands out on the album and is an undoubtable highlight.

The album’s like a more grown up version of the last. It’s brilliant to hear how the band have matured and changed over the last couple of years and how they’ve produced such a strong record filled with songs that I can’t wait to hear played on tour/at festivals over the summer.

 

Circa Waves- Different Creatures (Album Review)

March 2017- What I’m Listening To

March was yet another glorious music month filled with festival announcements, new music and brilliant live music.

Lorde is finally back with new single ‘Green Light’ and it’s taken a while. At first ‘Green Light’ was uncomfortably different, but once you’ve heard it a few times it becomes a wonderfully sublime, boldly fearless track, with a prominent beat and¬†strong keyboard. It’s unafraid, unexpected and urges you to dance. Lorde also announced a new album, Melodrama, which is due to be released on June 16th. The album follows her 2013¬†stunning debut album, Pure Heroine, which demands your undying attention in all it’s brilliance.¬†Lorde showcased the heartbreaking song ‘Liability’, a few days after the release of ‘Green Light’. A lot of the album was inspired by Lorde’s breakup, which happened when she was writing the album. Along side the songs, she’s recently been announced to play a whole host of festivals globally, including Glastonbury, as well as a scheduled appearance at Coachella, in April.

Alt-J are also back with new single ‘3WW’. The track features Ellie Rowsell from Wolf Alice, in what feels like a huge uniting of two huge indie forces. It’s irresistible laid back feel, with acoustic guitar intertwined with a classic Alt-J twist, and theatrical love tale telling lyrics make it something not to be overlooked. The band ¬†later released the song ‘In Cold Blood’, which retains a signature Alt-J feel. They also announced the release of their third album ‘RELAXER’, which follows the 2012 Mercury Prize Award winning album,¬†An Awesome Wave, and 2014’s This Is All Yours. The album is due to be released on June 9th this year.

Ed Sheeran had a pretty good March, too. He released his number one, multi-record breaking album, Divide. The album is quite something. You won’t be able to escape it! I reviewed the album, which can be found here.

The Happy Mondays have announced a mega tour at the end of 2017. The Manchester band have announced a 25 date UK tour, which features huge dates in London and Brighton. The greatest hits tour is set to be big.

March was a big month for Kasabian. The Leicester lads announced a new album (with the most brilliant album artwork), called For Crying Out Loud, which is due to be released on the 5th May. They also announced new single ‘You’re In Love With a Psycho’, along with a music video (featuring Noel Fielding and dancing in a psychiatric hospital, which has recently come under fire), as well as a short April UK tour, which sold out very quickly, unsurprisingly, and features three sold-out nights at the O2 Kentish Town Forum. This comes after an announcement that the band will headline Reading Festival in August.

The album announcements keep coming, with London Grammar also announcing a new album- Truth is a Beautiful Thing- which is due to be released on the 9th June. The band released the title track as the lead single.

Last month, at the Brit Awards, The Chainsmokers unveiled what could potentially be the song that defines summer 2017-¬†‘Something Just Like This’, in collaboration with Coldplay. This month, Coldplay have announced a brand new EP, which is set for release on June 2nd (June is currently shaping up to be a brilliant month). The EP is set to be the “sister release” to the band’s latest album, A Head Full of Dreams, which was released in 2015. The EP features new “non-single” ‘Hypnotised’, which is pretty deep-cut and slow for a Coldplay single. The EP will also feature ‘Something Just Like This’, as well as three other new, unheard tracks and I can’t wait to hear it. The band will tour with this EP, including dates in Wales.

Rat Boy still hasn’t released an album, but he has released a brand new single- ‘Revolution’- ahead of his upcoming UK tour, which features a huge night at Camden’s prestigious Roundhouse. The song is one of Rat Boy’s best yet. The song has a chorus worth chanting, it’s pretty huge. The lyrics echo tales of youthful life and the pitt falls of our generation, something laced through most of his songs. Now… when’s that album coming?!

The Kooks have announced a ‘best of’ album to accompany their ‘best of’, greatest hits (so far) tour, which kicks off in April and leads through May this year. This comes 10 years after their stunning debut album, Inside In/Inside Out,¬†which holds a special place in my heart and soundtracked a fair bit of my childhood. The album comes out on the 19th May. The band have also released new single ‘Be Who You Are’, which remains loyal to the band’s classic sound (it sounds quite Catfish and the Bottlemen… or rather, do Catfish sound a bit like The Kooks..?!). The band are supported by Clean Cut Kid and Fickle Friends on tour later this year.

There have been many festival announcements this month including Latitude Festival¬†(13th-16th July. Headlined by The 1975, Mumford and Sons and Fleet Foxes. Other artists announced to play include Fatboy Slim, Glass Animals and Declan McKenna), fully sold-out¬†Truck Festival (21st-23rd July. Headlined by The Libertines, Franz Ferdinand and The Vaccines. Artists announced this month include The Big Moon, Deaf Havana and Hinds), Brighton’s mammoth¬†Great Escape Festival (18th-20th May. Newly announced 150 artists including Fickle Friends, RAT BOY and Strong Asian Mothers),¬†Boardmasters¬†(9th-13th August. Headlined by Two Door Cinema Club, Jamiroquai and Alt-J. New artists to announce include Idris Elba and Wretch 32).

This month’s most anticipated festival announcement was the longly awaited first Glastonbury Festival line-up announcement. The festival, which runs (officially) from the 21st-25th June, will be headlined by Radiohead, Foo Fighters, and Ed Sheeran. The line-up announcement included artists like Katy Perry, Biffy Clyro and Lorde, as well as Royal Blood, George Ezra and Boy Better Know. The legends slot will be played by Barry Gibb (of Bee Gees fame). Gibb played a song with Coldplay when they headlined in 2015. Although this is literally a fraction¬†of the artists playing across the weekend, the line up is shaping up quite nicely and I can’t wait to see who else is announced.

Aaaand Palma Violets are believed to have split this month. The Lambeth band¬†released two brilliant albums (180 (2013) and Danger in the Club (2015)) – which featured such delights as ‘Best of Friends’, ‘We Found Love’ and ‘Rattlesnake Highway’- and quickly became one of my festival¬†favourites. I fondly remember watching the band play William’s Green at Glastonbury in 2015, before watching Kanye headline on the Saturday evening. The band played the most fascinating, energetic, mad, raucous set I’ve ever seen (I’ve not seen anything quite like it since) and the euphoric feeling having seen it all play out, as if it didn’t happen. It was all topped off by a huge stage invasion (which saw one of my dad’s work colleagues on the stage). It was unforgettable and one of the greatest highlights of my first Glastonbury. They’re a band I will miss.

In other sad news, Chuck Berry has died aged 90, on the 18th March. The rock ‘n’ roll legend leaves a huge legacy of influential rock ‘n’ roll music, which will undoubtably go on to inspire generations to come.

This month’s playlist includes The Black Keys (who I’ve been listening to a lot lately, off the back of Dan Auerbach’s solo album intention announcements), Tom Odell and Alt-J (who are proving to be the perfect revision band). The playlist also features a lot of Ed Sheeran (sorry.)

 

March 2017- What I’m Listening To

Ed Sheeran- Divide (Album Review)

√∑ (or “divide”) is the studio third album by Ed Sheeran- which follows his two previous, (similarly mathematically named) albums, + (2011) and x (2014). The album was released on the 3rd March 2017 through Atlantic Records and Asylum Records, following Sheeran’s 2016 social media free ‘hiatus’, having toured extensively with his second album throughout 2014/15, which included three sold out nights at Wembley Stadium. He hasn’t really been ‘away’, as such. He’s been dominating the charts with songs you probably wouldn’t know that he’s written, for example Justin Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’, whilst still finding time to write and record his own songs. Sheeran returned with lead singles ‘Castle on the Hill’ and ‘Shape of You’ in January 2017. Both songs were released on the 6th January 2017.

The album has  already started racking up huge statistics. The album is the fastest selling male album of all time (with around 670,000 copies sold in the first week of release), received the highest number of album streams in a week ever (over 79k, which beat Stormzy’s record, which was set the week before), is the third fastest selling album ever (only beaten by Adele’s 25 and Oasis’ Be Here Now), boosted the entire vinyl industry (with the most one week sales in over 20 years) and made Sheeran the first artist to have every song from their album in the Official Singles Top 20 (yep, every single one…) All 16 tracks took up the first 16 spots of the chart- and that includes the bonus tracks.

The album itself is brilliant. It’s an album which has something for everyone and appeals to the masses, not only for being a brilliant pop record, but also for being an excellently crafted album with an undeniably welcome mix of song. Sheeran isn’t inexperienced. He knows what he’s doing.

 

The album opens up with ‘Eraser’, where Sheeran raps over simple acoustic guitar. The lyrics are clever and witty. It switches between melodic chorus’ and quick, syncopated percussion beats overlaid with rap. It’s bold and edgy, especially as an opener. It feels honest and clean, confessional almost, as if we’re about to be allowed an intimate insight into the last year of Sheeran’s life.

The second track on the album is ‘Castle on the Hill’. ‘Castle on the Hill’ is a huge song, perhaps overlooked by the vastly different ‘Shape of You’, which was released simultaneously with it. It’s a song which echoes memories of growing up, memories of the place he lived when he was younger (which was Suffolk) and memories of his friends. It’s hauntingly poignant and reflective. What I love about the joint release with ‘Shape of You’ is the fact that the two songs appeal to two different types of people and there’s something all music fans can find comfort and refuge in within them.

This is followed by ‘Dive’. ‘Dive’ is Divide’s answer to the successful ‘Thinking Out Loud’. It’s ballady, something Sheeran does very well. The album is laced with these slower songs, see ‘How Would I Feel (Paean)’, the stunning ‘Perfect’ and the quite beautiful ‘Hearts Don’t Break Around Here’. Sheeran is the writer of 21st Century Wedding Songs. He’s assumed a position in soundtracking tales of modern love, in a new era of mobile phones and dating apps. These songs are timelessly classic, yet modern and unique.

Then there’s songs like ‘Shape of You’, which couldn’t get much further away from the love-y songs that encase it. Again, there’s the underlay of syncopated beat and acoustic guitar. There’s something undeniably engaging and catchy though. You can’t help but want to dance and you can’t help but like it. You can listen to it over and over and not get bored by it. It follows the success of songs like ‘Sing’, from his last album, x. Sheeran knows how to write a proper tune. He knows what he’s doing with every second of the album.

‘Galway Girl’ is a weirdly fascinating blend of Irish folk-pop and ‘Eraser’ style rap, sewn together by a chorus that you can’t get out of your head. At two minutes and 51 seconds long it’s not a long song, but it’s one of the most recognisable and well received songs on the album and is (unsurprisingly) Sheeran’s next single. It’s an interesting, risky move and something I wasn’t sure about at all when I first heard it, but it works within the album’s context. It breaks the formulaic blend of slow, love songs, acoustic laced sad songs, upbeat dancier songs and alternative belters.

‘Happier’ is a triumphantly sad break-up song. It screams heartache and its slowness reflects this. This is echoed within the emotional and poignant ‘Supermarket Flowers’. On the surface ‘Supermarket Flowers’ is just a beautifully slow, pleasantly easy to listen to  song, which sits nicely at the end of the album, but when you listen closely it’s a song written from his mum’s perspective about his grandmother, who sadly passed away whilst he was recording the album. It’s a beautifully touching tribute and it might even leave you crying a bit, but that might just be me.

‘New Man’ is a song which stands out on the album. It contrasts songs like ‘Happier’ and it could quite easily be written of the same subject, just from a different perspective. It features Sheeran rapping about his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend, almost mocking both of them, like a conscious trail of thought. It features brilliant intertextual references- “keeping up with Kylie and Kim”, “still looking at your Instagram and I’ll be creeping a little” etc. and it encapsulates the trials and tribulations of love in the modern era and for that I love it.

Another significant song from the album is ‘What Do I Know?’. It seems as though Sheeran is generally grateful for everything that’s happened to him over the last 6 or so years and how, simply, you can change the world with music and love. He’s worked his way up from the bottom, inspiring millions and building himself an admirable career. It’s a reminder that we don’t have to overcomplicate things, that sometimes stripping it back and enjoying life is easy enough. We shouldn’t deny ourselves of life’s simple pleasures. It’s core messages remain significant and relevant. Having said that, it’s all probably a bit easier for Ed Sheeran…

The album takes another bold and risky turn with its bonus tracks. The extended album features four extra tracks, which take the listener on what feels like a tour of the world. Barcelona is upbeat and sounds somewhat exotic, with it’s Spanish lyrics and sunkissed melody. Similarly, there’s ‘Bibia Be Ye Ye’ (which translates to “all will be well” in Twi, a language spoken in Ghana), an African inspired song about his visit to Ghana, where he wrote and recorded many songs with Fuse ODG (this being the only one making it onto the album).

‘Nancy Mulligan’ is a song about Sheeran’s Irish grandparents- Nancy and William Sheeran. It outlines their relationship, despite the strict religious divide between Catholic and Protestant. Beoga, who also helped create ‘Galway Girl’, an Antrim based Irish folk group, back Sheeran on the song .

The final bonus track is ‘Save Myself’. It’s a song about loving and looking after yourself. Love yourself before you love anyone else is the song’s underlying sentiment. It’s introspective and a brilliantly, thought provoking way to end the album.

Overall the album is phenomenal. Yes, there are clich√©d motifs which lie within the album (but isn’t there with every album?), but Sheeran cleverly throws the odd curveball which knocks you off kilter and keeps you on your toes. It’s the blockbuster of albums- you won’t find one quite like it for ages. It will undeniably stand the test of time.

Ed Sheeran is everywhere (world domination? probable.) and the album is driving me crazy, yet it’s all I want to listen to and I haven’t been able to listen to anything else since its release (and there’s something in that).

Sheeran embarks on a UK arena tour in April before headlining Glastonbury festival in June.

Ed Sheeran- Divide (Album Review)

Circa Waves, Banquet Records, The Hippodrome (16/03/2017)

On the 16th February 2017, Circa Waves played the first of two shows for Banquet Records, at the Hippodrome, Kingston. The band played an all ages set at 7pm, followed by a New Slang show later in the evening. The band signed copies of their latest album, Different Creatures, in the record store before the signing, as the show was in support of their latest album release.

The band played a mixture of songs from both of their albums to an audience of enthusiastic young fans. Fan favourites- such as ‘Fossils’ and ‘Stuck in My Teeth’, from the band’s 2015 debut album, Young Chasers– were nestled between songs from their new release- which had been out nearly a week before the shows. Notably, the band played singles from their new album, such as ‘Wake Up’, the lead single from the album, and ‘Fire That Burns’, their latest single, to eager fans, who knew the songs word for word.

Of course, no Circa Waves gig would be complete without the sun-kissed, indie-rock anthem that is ‘T-Shirt Weather’. It’s a timeless song which continues to shape festival seasons and summers for many. The band played it last and it’s uplifting lyrics and tune juxtaposed the stuffy, dark nightclub they were playing it in. The atmosphere was buzzing. It’s a song which creates¬†a great atmosphere,¬†no matter the size of the crowd or venue- from Glastonbury Festival to the 100-or-so audience of the Hippodrome, in Kingston. The song was the perfect way to round off the triumphant, yet short set.

The Liverpool lads couldn’t have played a more brilliant set. The fans seemed to love the show, singing word-for-word and dancing throughout the 30 minute long set. The album’s pretty great, too. Banquet Record shows are always a treat, but this one seemed something even more special.

Circa Waves tour the UK throughout March/Arpil and Europe throughout April, before embarking on a string of festival dates both nationally and internationally, including Glastonbury Festival, Reading Festival and TRNSMT Festival.

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Circa Waves, Banquet Records, The Hippodrome (16/03/2017)

Rag ‘N’ Bone Man- Human (Album Review)

On the 10th February 2017, British singer-songwriter Rory Graham- more commonly¬†known as Rag ‘N’ Bone Man- released his number 1 debut album, Human,¬†on Columbia Records. The album is currently the fastest-selling debut album by a male artist this decade so far, with sales of 117,000 in its first week. Rag ‘N’ Bone Man won the Brit’s critic’s choice award this year, as well as another Brit award for the ¬†Best British Breakthrough Artist at last month’s ceremony. The standard CD features 12 full length tracks, including the singles ‘Human’ and ‘Skin’.

The album opens with the stunning lead single and title track ‘Human’. It’s undeniably powerful and sets the tone of the album perfectly. It feels confessional, like he’s revealing all and enticing the listener to keep listening. Above all, it’s a huge, strong track (one that crowds love live too).

The album is full of soulful, blusey tracks, such as ‘Innocent Man’, ‘As You Are’ and ‘Odetta’, all of which have a modern feel, influenced by his MC ties. ‘Ego’ features Graham rapping and going back to his MC roots.

‘Skin’ is another stand out track from the album and the latest single from the album. It’s a song you can imagine large crowds singing. It’s big- anthemic even- and features gorgeous backing vocals, featured on many of the album’s tracks.

‘Be The Man’ has a modern, upbeat tempo. It feels classic, yet original. It fits nicely between ballad ‘Love You Any Less’ and ‘Bitter End’. ‘Grace’ is another stunningly beautiful song.

‘Die Easy’, the final track on the standard album, features just Rag ‘N’ Bone Man singing acapella. No instruments, no backing singers, no big production. Just a showcase of Graham’s stunning vocals, something which this album does brilliantly.

Overall the album is wonderful. It’s full of songs showcasing Rag ‘N’ Bone Man’s undeniable talents. Having said this the album-¬†in all it’s brilliant production- seems quite similar one track to the next. If it works keep using it, I suppose. I can’t wait to see what he does next and I look forward to seeing him play over the summer at various festivals.

 

Rag ‘N’ Bone Man- Human (Album Review)

FEBRUARY 2017 WHAT I’M LISTENING TO

February saw the continued festival announcements and there were plenty to keep you busy. With announcements from festivals, such as Victorious Festival (Friday 25th, Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th August, Portsmouth, headlined by Madness, Stereophonics and Elbow, with the likes of Slaves, Jake Bugg and Sundara Karma announced so far), Parklife Festival (10th and 11th June, Manchester, headlined by The 1975 and Frank Ocean, with artists like George Ezra and Two Door Cinema Club also announced to play), Festival No. 6 (September 7th- 10th, Portmeirion, headlined by Bloc Party, Mogwai and The Flaming Lips, with artists like Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, Kate Tempest and Charlotte Church announced to play)¬†and Boardmasters (August 9th-13th, Cornwall, headlined by Two Door Cinema Club, Jamiroquai and Alt-J, with artists like The Vaccines, Kate Nash and Frank Turner recently added) just a few of the month’s announcements.

Now sold out Truck Festival unveiled their 20th anniversary celebration lineup, which announced The Libertines, The Vaccines and Franz Ferdinand¬†to headline. The festival takes place from 21st- 23rd July and is set to play host to a whole host of brilliant artists, such as The Wombats, Sundara Karma, VANT and Twin Atlantic. Clearly, it’s the place to be this summer for up and coming artists.

Glastonbury have announced the Foo Fighters as their Saturday night headliners, which has been highly anticipated. The band were due to headline in 2015, but pulled out¬†as lead singer Dave Ghrol suffered a leg injury before the event (they were, however, replaced by the phenomenal Florence and the Machine). The band announced their prestigious headline slot by playing a secret set in Frome, Somerset. Tickets were sent out exclusively to fans via boarding passes. Their headline set is set to be a spectacle and I can’t wait.

The line-up for Community Festival was released in February and it looks insane. Community Festival is a day festival held at London’s Finsbury Park on July 1st, which, boasted by its website, is a “one day celebration of the best in new music”. The event is headlined by Catfish and the Bottlemen, with artists like The Wombats, Slaves, Nothing But Thieves, The Hunna and Fickle Friends announced to play the ¬£40 festival- a bargain!

Bestival has announced that they’re having a change of site in 2017. The festival is moving from the Isle of Wight to Dorset! The festival is being played in September by artists such as The XX and Jamie T.

Imagine Dragons have teased the follow up to 2015’s Smoke and Mirrors,¬†with new single “Believer”. It remains in a similar vein to their old material. It’s got their iconic heavy use of drum, catchy lyrics that warrant area/festival crowds chanting and it’s no doubt a brilliant comeback from the Las Vegas band.

The Amazons released their new single ‘Black Magic’ in anticipation from their debut album release, which is due this year. It’s a huge, guitar laced track and hopefully an indicator of what’s to come- it’s brilliant. The Amazons are destined to be huge. They’ve recently toured Europe with You Me At Six and set out on UK tour in April.

All Time Low are set to release a new album, the first since 2015’s Future Hearts, called Last Young Renegade. It’s the first album they’ll have released on their new record label, Fueled By Ramen, who support huge artists like Paramore and Panic! At The Disco. ¬†The band have released the lead single from the record, entitled Dirty Laundry, ahead of their UK tour next month.

18-year-old indie-rock master Declan McKenna released his latest single- ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’- this month. It’s a brilliant song, which you won’t be able to get out of your head. Declan McKenna keeps bringing out absolute bangers, and this one is no different. McKenna speaks for a lot of young people and, with bands like VANT, are hugely necessary in today’s world. The lyrics, again, are politically laced and set off by an chilled out indie-rock tune. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

The dreamy Will Joseph Cook has announced details of his debut album, Sweet Dreamer, which is due to be released on April 14th this year, on Atlantic Records. The 12 track album features the singles ‘Take Me Dancing’, title track ‘Sweet Dreamer’ and ‘Girls Like Me’. It’s set to be huge.

From one debut album announcement to another… Clean Cut kid are finally releasing their debut album! The album is called FELT¬†and is due for release on the 28th April. The album will feature all their previous hits (I hope) and is set to be a success (they deserve it). The band are off on a UK tour in April/May and are set to support The Kooks with Fickle Friends on their May UK tour, which features a sold out night at Alexandra Palace.

The 1975 released a charity single, in support of children’s charity War Child,¬†ahead of their charity concert in London, for Brits week. The song ‘By Your Side’- a cover version of a song by Sade- is a slight change of direction from the band, yet it’s exciting to hear new music from the Manchester band.

This year’s Grammy awards took place and saw records taken home by the likes of Beyonc√©, Twenty One Pilots, Chance the Rapper and The Chainsmokers. Adele won plenty of awards (obviously) and took away the prestigious ‘record of the year’ award, beating Beyonc√©’s Formation.¬†Adele did, however, snap her award in half giving half to Beyonc√©. Standard.

This year’s Brit Awards took place at The O2 Arena, London. The awards ceremony saw performances from The 1975, Emeli Sande, Ed Sheeran (with special guest Stormzy), Little Mix and Katy Perry (with dancing houses and giant Trump/May puppets, no less) amongst others. Awards were won by the likes of Bowie, Emeli¬†Sande and Little Mix. The 1975 won ‘Best Group’, which was very exciting, and Blossoms were beaten by Critic’s Choice Award winner Rag ‘N’ Bone Man to the prestigious ‘Best British Breakthrough Artist’ award. Robbie Williams was honoured at the ceremony and celebrated with a shocking, yet memorable performances.

Next month I look forward to seeing Blossoms and Circa Waves, as well as Circa Waves’s new album.

This month I have been obsessed with Blaenavon’s ‘Orthodox Man’ because it’s absolutely brilliant (a real masterpiece). The playlist also features Ed Sheeran, Pulp, the Happy Mondays and King No-One.

FEBRUARY 2017 WHAT I’M LISTENING TO

VANT- Dumb Blood (Album Review)

On the 17th February 2017, indie-rock band, VANT, released their debut album, Dumb Blood, on Parlophone records. The album features previously released singles, such as ‘FLY-BY ALIEN’, ‘PEACE AND LOVE’ and ‘KARMA SEEKER’.

The album opens with ‘THE ANSWER’. If anything, this question asks important questions. It’s a song about tabloid headlines, the UK’s responsibility in the world in terms of war and peace and the media’s coverage. It opens the album perfectly. It’s raucous, frantic even, yet it’s important.

The album is filled with plenty of scarily significant songs, especially in the Trump, post-Brexit world we live in. Songs like ‘PUT DOWN YOUR GUN’ (which echoes the attitudes of pretty aware, articulate group of lads), the album’s lead single ‘PEACE AND LOVE’ and the poignant, thought provoking ‘I DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD’. Songs like ‘LAMPOON’ and the very short ‘PARASITE’ are energetic and raucous and contrast that of songs like ‘I DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD’. The album is full of these eye-opening, ‘protest’ songs, if you will.

The album features a deep cut, 7-minute song- ‘ARE WE FREE?’- nestled after a handful of shorter songs (which just about hit the 2:30 mark). It shows off the band’s brilliant playing talent, as well as showcasing the band’s fantastically well written lyrics. It talks of hard, taboo subjects of rape and natural disasters. Like with many of the other songs it’s thoroughly thought provoking and profound. It’s utterly stunning.

“I don’t wanna give in. I don’t wanna get out. But this air that we breathe fills me with doubt”

The album ends with ‘TIME & MONEY’. Again, another brilliantly written song. It’s lyrics-along with most of the other songs- perfectly encapsulate today’s world and the world we live in. It’s one of those you almost want to put in a time capsule, or rather send to the world’s leading political figures as a harsh reality wake up call.

“Oil spill, cheap thrill, land fill, blood for honey
Trapped on an earth fuelled by time and money, money
Tick, tock, time bomb, hope’s gone
All we‚Äôve got is time”

VANT, from Planet Earth, have done something special with this album. It’s honest, political and the songs are clever in a way that if you didn’t understand the politically laced, hyper-aware lyrics then you could still appreciate the music. What’s more, they do something phenomenal in bringing (what I dare to call) ‘protest’, thought-provoking music to the mainstream, on a major record label (Parlophone, who work with artists like Coldplay, Blur and Paul Weller). It’s refreshing and different and I love it. I can’t wait to see where they go next. They won’t sit around and wait.

VANT- Dumb Blood (Album Review)