[REVIEW] These Five Years – This Could All Be So Easy EP

 

Heavy with bass, raucous vocal styles and riddled with high energy, the newest These Five Years record is the most definitive they’ve put out. This Could All Be So Easy is a six song EP captures some of the most chilling emotion, the kind that runs down your spine and turns your body cold. The EP feels vulnerable, stripped of walls and barriers and splayed for all to see, vocally and instrumentally intertwined to perfectly emphasise the emotion behind the music. Kicking off with ‘Better The Devil’ the EP wastes no time proving what it’s capable of and how beautifully calculated and produced each track is.

Starring a melodic, weighted bass, These Five Years has not only been able to display their hearts lyrically, but has done so instrumentally, too. The listener feels weighted, fully engaged in empathy, really promoting a relatable anthem to kickstart the EP. Moving in to ‘Enclosure,’ we get more of an upbeat tone, softening the blow of that first track. There’s no dragging of this EP forward, it moves in impeccable timing in all round concise writing. While it feeds us a variety of different tracks, These Five Years has really developed an exclusive sound, for example in ‘I Hope You Know’ it’s lyrically pulling on heart strings, driven by combative drumming throughout. It’s an incomparable collection of compositions, and it feels very These Five Years. It’s a heavier perspective of pop punk, unwilling to stay within boundaries of its foundations.

It feels like a very defining point in the bands career, a proud collection of music that has been nurtured into the released tracks we hear today. Each time stamp packing the right amount of punch, fluently moving through the motions. ‘Mea Culpa’ collects the bands talent and puts it on blast, throwing a bone to each component to really shine.

This Could All Be So Easy is available now on streaming services.

pop punk

LAKE SYCAMORE release LOATHE ahead of Swansea and Cardiff shows

Cardiff based pop punk outfit, Lake Sycamore has released their latest addition to their discography, ‘Loathe’ that’s currently available on YouTube and soon to be across various streaming platforms. Since their appearance in London’s The Slaughtered Lamb, Lake Sycamore has been building anticipation for upcoming material, with the band releasing an update earlier this year displaying plans for an upcoming album alongside a 30 second teaser for ‘Loathe,” that was due for release in June. Thankfully for us, Lake Sycamore put that long wait to one side and has released the track for early listening prior to forthcoming gigs in Swansea’s The Bunkhouse and Cardiff’s Fuel Rock Club.

Featuring a melodic structure in tone, ‘Loathe’ sees Lake Sycamore contouring a canorous rhythm of guitar around a cadenced percussion, impressively tying together in a complemented ricochet. The distortion of instruments adorns the raucous vocals and magnifies the lyrical intensity, sealed together in a buoyant demonstration of apparatus. ‘Loathe’ conceives an impression of nostalgia, ostensible of influences such as TSSF and Four Year Strong, weaving through a plethora of individual seductions to manipulate the collective of the current pop punk.

To hear more of Lake Sycamore, you can find their uploaded material via Apple Music or Spotify.

To keep updated with Lake Sycamore, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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[REVIEW] Trophy Jump – haphazard, MARCH 29TH

Croatian quintet, Trophy Jump, are about to release their upcoming EP, haphazard on March 29th that’s teasing an overall nostalgic vibe, toying with convivial senses. Growing as a band since formation in 2014, haphazard displays a combination of wistful tones characterised by their influences such as Rancid and NOFX in a contemporary mannerisms of the current punk rock scene.

Kicking off the album with Comfort Zone, the perky and light melodic nature is captivating, lyrically infectious and heavy on the bass. The short run-time of the track is teasing, leaving more to be desired, but quickly moving into the next track, Not That Kind Of Guy. The most appealing aspect of Trophy Jump’s haphazard is it’s lively chords, complimented by a sturdy, bouncy bass line that steals the spotlight. It’s a well-rounded installment for Trophy Jump, offering upbeat and nearly nostalgic tones representative of when the scene exploded on social media back in 2009. Chicago Kid, one of two of the longer running tracks of the EP, is by far a favourite. Experimenting with melodies and harmonies, it moves in linear motion with fluidity and providing more insight to the chemistry and talents of each instrument. It really does give the EP more depth, playing with different resonances in well-constructed verses. Taking this progression into the next track, Trophy Jump feels like an entirely different composition by the time you read the end of the EP, establishing themselves in their sound and dominating their talents. Remete Hills ends their installment, verifying their dynamic configuration.

haphazard is currently available to preorder via Horn and Hoof Records, Croatia’s JeboTon and Punk & Disorderly Records. Due for release on March 29th, the EP was recorded, mixed and mastered with Dominik Kisić, and the design art by Korana Jelovac.

pop punk

Our 2018 favourites and downfalls and a brief glance at 2019.

With 2018 winding down into a close, we’re about to look over the last year and determine our favourite highlights including releases, concerts, moments and we’ll even look at the biggest disappointments of the year. So without further adieu, let’s get stuck in.

105800Top Release: Alkaline Trio – Is This Thing Cursed?

This album was truly the most anticipated for release. With Skiba working with Blink 182 on the road and in the studio, the sense that Alkaline Trio was put on the back burner seemed to get truer the more that time went on. Many times band try to revisit their early days to major disappointment, but the Illinois punk trio delivered what we had all been waiting and hoping for since 2013. Pumping out sounds similar to 2000’s Maybe I’ll Catch Fire and 2001’s From Here To Infirmary came together so well for August’s Is This Thing Cursed? It was an absolute delight to end such a scorching hot UK Summer, with title track and ‘Krystaline’ standing out and becoming anthems for 2018.

CS708922-01A-BIGRunner Up: Architects – Holy Hell.

Since their last release in 2016 and the unfortunate passing of Tom Searle, Architects have faced some of the toughest decisions regarding the future of the band. The first release sat nicely at the end of 2017, but Holy Hell was delivered to us this year and is the best possible path that the band could have taken. Announcing their first UK arena tour beginning early 2019, Architects have pulled together with strength and passion for their music, delivering a raw emotional outburst in their latest release.

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Most Disappointing: The Story So Far – Proper Dose

This was a hard one to do, mostly because we’re huge fans of the Californian band that took our hearts in 2011. Under The Soil and Dirt has been a constant in our library, so deciding that Proper Dose was our most disappointing album of 2018 was not the easiest decision. Trust us, it was not easy. We can’t help but feel like Proper Dose was ultimately rushed, with little to no thought. Of course, it does have it’s strong points and while we’re deeming it to be the most disappointing, it’s not the worst. Proper Dose lacked a sense of unity for us, missing the relevancy that The Story So Far had captured so well with their earlier releases.

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Best Show: The Used – Bristol, August.

After cancelling their tour earlier in the year due to personal issues, The Used returned a few months later to continue their UK tour and from the sunny shores of Cardiff, we traveled to Bristol to party with them. Regardless of their earlier tour of fan-favourite In Love And Death in full, The Used has never disappointed when it comes to putting on live performances. Politically fueled and with a passion for drama, they lit up that stage and in turn the crowd reciprocated.

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Runner Up: Bring Me The Horizon – Cardiff, November.

Now, Bring Me The Horizon has been a hit and miss when it comes to live shows for a very long time, but with their latest announcement of amo releasing in January, BMTH put on arena shows around the UK to remind us all why we started listening to them in the first place. Of course, a huge part of their show was from That’s The Spirit but it totally deserves the runner up position merely for their revisit to Count Your Blessings in a es-squaremash-up.

Second Runner Up: Enter Shikari – Tramshed, Cardiff.

We just can’t let this show slip by unnoticed. Enter Shikari have been on the rise ever since they took over the scene with Take To The Skies in 2006, and with their community expanding massively over the years, The Spark launched an entirely new phenomena that has put Enter Shikari so high on the best British alternative band list that it was downright silly to miss one of their shows. Remember in 2017, Take To The Skies turned 10 and they headlined Slam Dunk? Well, Tramshed lit up with an energy and community that has never really been experienced before. Not to mention, Rob Rolfe specifically said that Cardiff were definitely the more in tuned audience they had met. GG, Cardiff. It was one of the most fun shows we had the pleasure of experiencing, and we can only hope that Enter Shikari won’t leave it as long next time.

Most Disappointing: Bullet For My Valentine – Cardiff, November.

While we can’t argue that the line-up for BFMV’s tour was absolutely solid, the headlining act wasn’t the best of the year. Despite the warm fuzzy feeling that raged inside at the sound of The Poison tracks on their setlist, it was a concoction of disappointment throughout. A series of back-and-forth without keeping the vibe alive in the crowd, it was a roller-coaster of a show. Their latest release, Gravity hasn’t gained much appraisal since it’s release, and their show kind of proved it with more people caring about their older releases than supporting the entirety of the show. With that being said, we cannot deny how great it was to hear Hand Of Blood once again live on stage.

Best Song Release: Slipknot – All Out Life

Slipknot has been hyping up their newest material for a good while, reciting and proving that their revisiting their old school Iowa days. The album is said to be one of the darkest chapters in Slipknot’s history, and in interviews both Corey Taylor and Clown has repeatedly emphasized on the heaviness of the new album. Tracking for release in 2019, ‘All Out Life’ came as a surprise to fans while we weren’t expecting it – on Halloween. There are also rumours that this album could be their last, with Crahan reportedly saying how “I feel like this could be it for me,” when discussing the new album. All we know is that ‘All Out Life’ is one of the best tracks to come out of 2018, and with their album on track to be released next year alongside their headlining acts of Download festival, we cannot miss it for the world.

Runner Up: InFlames – I Am Above

The return of InFlames has been one of the best things to come out of 2018, alongside an announcement of the Swedish metal band returning to the shores of UK for select dates in April 2019. Their new track, ‘I Am Above’ is a concoction of heavy guitar riffs, thunderous drumming, weighted bass and vocals that take InFlames out of their 2014 hit release of A Sense Of Purpose and we are ready to hear what we consider to be the biggest album to hit shelves in 2019.

Most Disappointing: Bring Me The Horizon ft Dani Filth – Wonderful Life

We’re totally prepared for the backlash that this may cause, but ‘Wonderful Life’ came after their first release of ‘MANTRA’ which blew us away entirely in BMTH’s new direction. ‘Wonderful Life’ had big boots to fill, and it failed. Written for the purpose of being a Limp Bizkit song, BMTH swooped in to take it for it’s own and we were left with what feels like an unfinished, weak product. It holds no resemblance to what made BMTH the band we had come to follow and love over the years, especially with poetic lyrics chucked to one side to compensate for a knife-edge. amo is set for release in January, and we’re hoping it can offer more than this new radio-get-up that BMTH has adapted to in recent months.

This year has seen Milestones break-up which tore at our heart strings, a new Breaking Benjamin album (which was SO close to getting it’s own place on this list) as well as a new A Perfect Circle album. We watched Bad Wolves take over the charts with their cover of ‘Zombie’ after the tragic news of Dolores O’Riordan’s death in January. We got a Static-X reunion and a 3/4 reformation of The Smashing Pumpkins.

So, with one day left before we hit the new year, here’s a quick summary of what we’re looking forward to the most in 2019. First off, we have Download Festival with headliners such as Slipknot, Slayer and TOOL. This is going to be an absolutely insane festival, with it being Slayers official last show, TOOL who we have been waiting on for years and potentially Slipknot’s final goodbye too. Parkway Drive in January also. Architects in Cardiff in January. We have Behemoth and InFlames playing Bristol in February and April (woo, road trip!). Album wise, another two quick mentions will be Slipknot and TOOL, as well as Bring Me The Horizon, Dream Theatre, Rammstein and Alter Bridge. And, of course, we cannot skip out on the new Slam Dunk Festival get-up since dropping Midlands from their dates, and with Bullet For My Valentine and All Time Low headlining, we could be looking at what could be the last year of a day festival before it moves to a weekender!

What were your highlights of 2018, and what are you most looking forward to in 2019?

 

 

 

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[REVIEW] HAPPY. – Cult Classic by Pauline Campbell

Happy., are a pop punk band from Columbia, South Carolina, who are aptly named regarding the vision they choose to portray with their music. At times, their work is bright and cheerful, akin to a Saturday afternoon in the summer; but there are points where the band touches on contrasting low points, which is reflected in the blunt period within their band name. A few weeks ago, they released their debut full length, Cult Classic.

How To Lose A Girl in 1:45 staples the tone for the rest of the record, starting with bright slowly paced luau music produced to sound as if it’s being broadcast on an old radio, and from there switching to a sound that is reminiscent of early Blink 182 if they were fronted by Charlie Simpson. A facet of this record that I enjoyed the most was the way that Happy. cohesively meshed together elements that if done by a less creatively articulate band, wouldn’t have worked. The lyrical content of Winona Ryder, with lyrics such as “Darkest of dens/Is where we will fit in/Don’t underestimate my capability/To be your favourite sin”, is deliciously reflected in the tasteful use of the bass guitar throughout the song. This is mixed in with a surf punk Agent Orange type sound, which gives the song a unique and agreeable character. Also, there’s a guitar solo in Drowners, that again should not work, but for some reason it does.

Don’t Overdose and Drive is pretty safe in sound compared to the rest of the album but is otherwise palatable and cohesive. The chorus has a certain snappy feel to it that I would place with faster songs in the genre, which is delightful to hear, and truly showcases the band’s promising composition skills. There are however, some low points on the record in terms of songwriting. I Call Shotgun is not the band’s finest minute; I felt the whole track was a little juvenile and dated. The vocal melodies lacked assertiveness, which I also noticed in Fishtank, and the dynamics between sections could have been better developed. Happy. have proved that they are more than capable of writing fitting vocal melodies, as seen in Drowners, and they do have a good grasp on dynamics in Where The Wild Things Are, which I feel is the strongest song on the record. Where The Wild Things Are is the track that made me interested in reviewing this album; the chorus is catchy and dark, with the perfect amount of grit for the band’s style. I am almost offended on the song’s behalf that it was placed last on the record.

For a band that is relatively new, Happy. have proved themselves to be worthy of their contemporaries. By combining contrasting styles and moods, Cult Classic stands as a striking debut album, that has a distinctive and enjoyable individuality not often seen in the initial efforts of most bands of the genre.

Keep up to date with Happy. via Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

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The Young & Restless – Family Values (Single Review)

Northamptonshire Pop-punk act is back, with a new single titled ‘Family Values’ and what a cracking song it is! Everything that they’ve done has helped them to improve, and just get better and better. This song particularly captures all the earlier aspects of pop-punk, whilst continuing to maintain some traits of the new era of pop punk!

It’s a very different style to which they have portrayed in their earlier releases, but you can totally grasp that they have actually molded into what could only be described as; their new sound, of which I think suits them perfectly.

It’s always intriguing when a band loses their main vocalist, but I really feel that Ali Morrison & Rob Hardy has truly stepped up to the plate, and brought something very new to their sound. Of which I honestly feel was necessary, before they became stale. Family Values alone is something that has actually made me feel a spark of excitement for more of their new music. Hopefully, they can keep this hype going, and will not disappoint me now.

Family Values is released on Friday 22nd June, and you’d be crazy to miss out from listening to this track.

 

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[REVIEW] SERVICE DELAY – Koda

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Toronto based band, Service Delay have recently released their latest EP, Koda that’s had brilliant feedback. Five-piece band, Service Delay who’s prime aim is to have fun doing what they’re doing, has a variety of influences including Blink 182, Green Day and Alexisonfire have come together to bring the world music that we’ve been craving for ever since the sound of Jimmy Eat World – but now we have the added bonus of heavier beats and a fresh sound. Koda is available on all major streaming platforms, and hard to miss with the incredibly cute and attractive album artwork. 

It’s easy to see where Service Delay’s influences come into play from the get-go. ‘Cavities’ has a very early pop-punk sound, like the Blink 182 demos. It’s an aspect that actually adds an attraction to their style of play, with the mixture of instruments coming together in a very vintage way. Their emphasis on bass lines and drums is one of the biggest things that jump out at you instantly, and it carries on into second track ‘Bogues.’ Its a shorter track, but with heavy impact. It’s a quick show of the areas that Service Delay have confidence in, and their heavy tone is one to be excited about. ‘Obligations’ is another short from the EP, but has just as big as an impact as their full length tracks. With short, heavy beats, Service Delay has nailed the sound for them. They’ve created a unique, distinctive sound for themselves, making Koda such a stand-out EP. ‘I.N.Y.B’ had the heaviness of the guitar, with distinctive, gripping sound. Koda has a lot of energy behind it, and kudos are a must for what their songs entail. They’re a massively appealing band, with catchy lyrics that become anthem-like, making the Toronto quintet an easy contender for uprising pop-punk bands. ‘I.N.Y.B’ is one of the most stand-out tracks on the EP. Its sound is poisonous, in its most positive form. It’s definitely a track that sticks with you and keeps your body moving and your mood in high-spirits regardless of the situation. While completely different in tone, they’re a band very much like Zebrahead with their pumped-up, “let’s get going and party” tone.

‘Back To Life’ has a brilliant bassline holding the track together. While it’s not as high-energy as the previous, Service Delay has huge talent in a variety of areas. With the ability to really adhere to what people are enjoying, they have a unique technique that separates them from the norm. ‘Back To Life’ is slower in town, although doesn’t lack in an angst emotion displayed through hoarse vocals that bring the track, well, to life. The spotlight definitely shines on the bassist though, with outstanding cadency and complimented by the surrounding instruments.  Overall, Koda is a mixture of tracks that will pump you up, get you moving and ultimately get you singing along with Service Delay instantaneously.

Follow Service Delay on Facebook to keep up to date and catch them at a venue near you. 

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