Lorde-Melodrama (album review)

Lorde released her second studio album, Melodrama, on the 16th June 2017. The album follows up from her stunning debut album, Pure Heroine, in 2013. So far only two singles from the album- ‘Green Light’ and ‘Perfect Places’- have been released. The album focuses mainly on Lorde’s break-up with long term boyfriend James Lowe in 2015.

The album opens with the explosive hit Green Light. It’s the ultimate break-up song. There’s something so personal about it, whilst the lyrics are overlaid with a heavy syncopated piano and a strong dance feel. It’s an infectious opener, which stands strong as a single. It sets the tone of the album, as a break-up track- a theme which Lorde draws on a lot throughout.

Sober (again, with it’s syncopated beat) tells tales of growing up, late nights and love. It remains close to Lorde’s usual style. It incites a feeling of wanting to dance, the perfect party song.

Homemade Dynamite remains close to the style that made Lorde famous. It’s a brilliant song that is set to get crowds singing.

The Louvre is by far one of the strongest tracks on the album. It’s different to Lorde’s usual style, so much so that it’s refreshing. It’s a song about “having a crush”, Lorde told the audience at Glastonbury Festival, and that feeling of having a crush- the rush. The song encapsulates that ‘rush’, if you will. It’s filled with obsession, love, promise and hope. It holds a strong narrative, too.

This is followed on by the piano lead ‘Liability’, which is about that feeling of not fitting in, feeling too ‘different’, ‘weird’, “not good enough”, hopeless, almost. It’s gut wrenchingly poignant. I think it’s something most people can relate to in some respect and I think that’s why it commands so much respect as a song. It feels as though Lorde understands and connects with the audience, despite being personally confessional. It showcases her vulnerability as a writer and artist. A reprised- albeit more optimistic- version of Liability (‘Liability (Reprise)’) features later on in the album. It creates a somewhat theatrical sense, which makes it exciting to listen in full.

‘Hard Feelings/ Loveless’ is a post break up song. It’s incredibly sensitive and beautiful for a break up song. Lorde’s good at that. After 4 minutes, ‘Loveless’ plays after a sample- “what is this tape?This is my favourite place”- as if it’s almost not meant to be found. It’s a welcome treat.  Lorde sums up the modern generation as a “L-O-V-E-L-E-S-S Generation”, due to the way we love, through smartphones and Snapchat, as if it’s how she feels that she is meant to feel. She voices what is expected, what happens now, the norm. It’s interesting how she can go from writing such a reflective, passionate song and juxtapose it with a more generic, blunt break up song.

‘Sober II (Melodrama)’ feels like a triumphant reprise. It follows a narrative, like a show. The album is a spectacle itself and the almost theatrical side aides it. It feels like the album deserves to be played as one whole piece.

‘Writer in the Dark’ feels like it could’ve been a Kate Bush song. There’s something beautiful and fascinating about it. It’s one of the album’s key stand out tracks and unlike anything Lorde has done before. This versatility is what makes her so admirable.

‘Supercut’ seems almost like an epilogue for The Louvre. It feels reflective. Reflective of the last few years, of love, of fame, of friendships. It’s a beautiful song.

The final song on the album is ‘Perfect Places’. It’s the perfect closing track because it feels like it sums up the album. It sums up the life she appears to lead, the feeling of euphoric rush that comes with being young and tales of love and loss. It epitomises life. It feels triumphant, yet not overtly optimistic.

The concluding line “what the fuck are perfect places anyway?” is a lasting sentiment.

Lorde’s Melodrama is easily one of the strongest album’s of the year so far. It could quite easily have been a disaster, but Lorde pulled off the tricky second album with effortless ease. She did something different. She took risks. Ultimately, she told the story of life, of being young, of falling in and and out of love, of self deprecation and self worth and I think everyone can relate to that in some way. Lorde was young when she released Pure Heroine, she was championed by David Bowie and thrusted into the public eye, yet she has managed to grow and produce an incredibly mature, phenomenal record, which feels timeless.

 

Lorde-Melodrama (album review)

Paramore- After Laughter (Album Review)

Paramore (finally) released their 5th studio album, After Laughter, on the 12th May 2017, via Fueled By Ramen. The band announced the record release details last month, alongside a string of UK/European June/July tour dates (later releasing ‘Tour One’ dates in the States, as well as a handful of forthcoming summer festival announcements), as well as their comeback single, ‘Hard Times’. The band went on to release ‘Told You So’ before the record came out. The album was produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen and the band’s guitarist, Taylor York.

After Laughter is the follow up to 2013’s phenomenal self-titled record. Paramore seemed to be the band’s comeback record, having been knocked back by the uncertainty of losing the Farro brothers in 2010. It was- and still confidently remains- a stunningly eclectic record filled with more styles of music than you can imagine. It had everything from huuuuge bubble-gum pop hits, glorious ukulele interludes, gospel choirs and heartbreak songs that were tender enough to destroy the toughest of hearts. It felt ballsy and empowering. No, it wasn’t anything remotely like All We Know is Falling and, no, we didn’t see the second coming of 2007’s pop-punk anthem ‘Misery Business’, but what we got was something more mature, something that shouldn’t have worked but miraculously did. It wasn’t the record people had been waiting for- it was better. It got a UK number 1 album and won a ‘Best Rock Song’ Grammy (for ‘Ain’t it Fun’.) The band went on to re-release the album in its extended deluxe form, in 2014. The album felt as if Paramore were where they’d longed to be for years. It was optimistic and the outcome was bigger than anyone could’ve expected. It felt like a “we are Paramore” statement.

Everything was going so well. The band were the biggest they’d ever been. They’d toured the world, began stepping up to headliner position at huge, globally recognised festivals (co-headlining Reading and Leeds Festival in 2014 with Queens of the Stone Age is a personal highlight), they’d won a Grammy and were about to embark on their second sold-out Parahoy! trip when in 2017 bassist Jeremy Davis announced his departure from the band. This news shook the fan base and was something no one had seen coming.

A fifth album wasn’t looking likely, yet the band- tangled in a tricky law suit with their departed bassist- decided to continue, as two. They’d signed up ex-drummer, Zac Farro, to play on the album before officially asking him to join the band again, which he accepted, and from it we have After Laughter.

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After Laughter opens with lead single ‘Hard Times’, which draws on the trials and tribulations of the last few years. It’s an obvious comeback single, with fans knowing what has happened since the self-titled release. It’s 80s influenced, synthy and pop-fuelled. More importantly, it’s entirely optimistic in tune, yet alarmingly deep and sad in lyric (a sentiment which runs throughout the record).

Then it leads into ‘Rose-Coloured Boy’, a song which has echoes of ‘Fast in My Car’. You can’t help but want to dance to the infectiously groovy upbeat 80s melody, despite the sombre lyrics.

‘Told You So’ is another brilliant track, exemplified by Williams’s (lead singer) stunning vocal. The vocals, of course, still ring true of the albums they’ve released prior to After Laughter.

‘Forgiveness’ feels honest and authentic. It’s something the band have had to do a lot over the years, especially over the last few. It’s slower and showcases Williams’s mature vocals.

‘Fake Happy’ starts off slow and acoustic, before kicking back into the electronic keyboard lead, melodic- funky even- 80s vibe. It has a chorus you can imagine arenas singing back. This is similar with the bubble-gum, cheery ‘Pool’ and ‘Grudges’ (along with its catchy bridge).

’26’ is the most stunning acoustic track. It doesn’t feel like ‘the obligatory slow song’, it feels introspective, whilst feeling hopeful and somewhat optimistic, as if Williams is directly guiding us (in a ‘Hate to See Your Heartbreak’ sort of way).

‘Caught in the Middle’ is a brilliant alt-pop song. It’s chorus is undeniably- albeit rather infuriatingly- catchy, whilst still feeling deeply sombre in lyric. The bridge is also a sight to behold, again, with lyrics you can imagine large crowds singing- ” I don’t need no help. I can sabotage me by myself. Don’t need no one else. I can sabotage me by myself.”

Then there’s ‘Idle Worship’, which feels similar to songs like ‘Anklebiters’. It’s significant within the album. It feels strong and ballsy, as if to get a point across. It feels honest. ‘Idle Worship’ is about the fabricated relationship between fan and singer. It outlines how Williams feels as though she shouldn’t be idolised and hailed as a hero, something which is a main sentiment in ‘No Friend’- the only Paramore track not to feature Hayley Williams as the main singer.

‘Idle Worship’ seamlessly flows into ‘No Friend’, as if its three-and-a-half minute spoken word is an outro to the previous song. The song is performed by Aaron Weiss, from mewithoutYou, and has a spoken word introduction verse before turning poetic and overlaid by drums and guitar. When you listen closely you can hear the echoes of ‘Idle Worship’- “I’d hate to let you down, so I’ll let the waters rise and drown my dull reflection in the naïve expectation in your eye” and “You see a flood-lit form. I see a shirt design. I’m no savior of yours and you’re no friend of mine” – as well as plenty of references to Paramore’s expansive back catalogue- “we’ll do our riot! dance”, “burning their houses down” (Let The Flames Begin), “Another black top town” (Franklin), “God knows no one needs more misguided ghosts” (Looking up and Misguided Ghosts), “that’s what I get when I let ambition win again” (That’s What You Get)- and even a reference to their band name- “another misspelled band” (Paramore derives from the French word, ‘Paramour’, which means secret lover).

The album ends with the slow paced ‘Tell Me How’, which is piano lead. The song is about Williams losing friends- including previous band members- over time, yet it ends optimistically (“I can still believe”). It’s one of my favourite songs on the album.

Overall the album is brilliant. It seems clear and defined in its genre, yet totally different to anything else the band have ever put out. There’s not the variety of Paramore, but whether or not that’s a bad thing I don’t know, however only time will tell if the album can have the sort of legacy the others have had- namely the self-titled. Each album has a unique selling point about it and this one’s is definitely its cool 80s feel. Each of their albums feels more mature and this one seems the most mature yet.

I think fans seem to trust Paramore more now after the self-titled album, in which they covered a multitude of genres and still managed to pull it off. Yes, they’ve lost fans (mainly those who loved the pop-punk fuelled earlier albums, such as All We Know is Falling and Riot!) along the way, but they’ve gained many along the way in reaching a more mainstream audience. They’re the benchmark for every female fronted alternative/pop-punk band ever, whether or not that’s a good or bad thing is up to you to decide for yourself.

Paramore- After Laughter (Album Review)

Blaenavon- That’s Your Lot (Album Review)

Blaenavon released their stunning debut album, That’s Your Lot, on the 7th April 2017, on Transgressive Records. It’s 59 minutes long and every second is a beauty.

Blaenavon’s debut album is one I’ve been looking forward to for months. The band seem to bring out such beautifully crafted songs, which are effortlessly easy to listen to. They’re a band you want to fall in and out of love with and their album is one that I wish I could listen to again for the first time in its entirety and savour every minute. It’s difficult to prise the best songs out because it works so well, so coherently together. The band also featured on my list of bands and artists to keep an eye on in 2017.

The album begins with the melodic ‘Take Care’. Its sentiment is significant and sets up the album perfectly as a bold, five minute long start. There’s no ‘filler’ intro song, which bands seem pretty into doing at the moment. Having said that, there’s no filler anywhere on the album. Everything feels intentional.

The album is laced with huge singles and previously released songs. In fact, what I loved most about the album was that I already knew and loved half of the songs on the record because they’d already released them prior to the record’s actual release (like a greatest hits of what they’ve done before- yet there’s no ‘Hell is in Your Head’, which makes me sad). ‘Let’s Pray’ followed by ‘Orthodox Man’ followed by ‘My Bark is Your Bite’ is a pretty strong line up. ‘Let’s Pray’ is melancholically beautiful, whereas ‘Orthodox Man’ is undoubtably one of the strongest songs on the album and could easily be a classic indie anthem given time and popularity increase (seriously, if you do only listen to one song from the album then let it be this one because it’ll win you over and make you totally smitten and undeniably infatuated with the band). It’s gloriously upbeat, infectiously catchy and, overall, just a stunningly written and composed piece of music.

‘Lonely Side’ is another strong contender for the greatest song on the album though. It’s feels really ‘cool’, if you will, and has this chilled out indie rock vibe.

It’s followed by the short, piano accompanied ‘Let Me See What Happens Next’. The song is sung and played by Ben Gregory (lead singer) and you can hear how great Gregory’s vocals really are. It breaks the album up and leads us into the second half, which features plenty of deep cut tracks and longer songs.

‘Alice Come Home’, ‘I Will Be The World’ and ‘Prague ’99’ all feature incredible instrumentals and really show just how polished the album really is. They’re all strong songs, but work perfectly well supported by one another.  The band show off their incredible talent in a way which is effortless to listen to. ‘Swans’ is the longest song on the album and stands at a mighty 8 minutes long. It’s unapologetically deep cut and fits perfectly into the latter half of album.

‘That’s Your Lot’ is the final song on the record (I’d assume because that really is your lot). The lyrics are hauntingly poignant, which is something the band do very well. It’s triumphant and ends in a euphony of guitar and drum, before Gregory declares “that’s your lot” and is really is, sadly.

It feels like Blaenavon have really given their all to this album. There’s no ‘token’ song. Each song is beautifully crafted and deservingly necessary. You can’t really choose a highlight because every song is intentional and has a significance within the album and every song is brilliant in its own way. You’d be a fool not to check them out. They’re one of the greatest (relatively) undiscovered indie gems and I’m sure they’re onto something good.

Blaenavon- That’s Your Lot (Album Review)

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)

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 clichéd 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)

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)

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’ve 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)