Starting the record off with’ Overture’, there’s some very delightfully creepy overtones on what sounds like a cello with fantastic added instrumentals to make you feel as if you’re transported back to a period film but on a much more grand scale of which can’t be diminished at all.
This is then taken to the extreme right from the beginning of ‘Who Are You’ with the pulsating hooks from the guitar that leads into the haunting vocals on display. There’s a mix of influence where I can hear possibly a little Babymetal if I’m being honest (but unlikely). it just leads to an epic finale you want to continue which does as you move into ‘If Only You Knew’. From the very start, it’s as if you’re taken into a live show which delivers so much more than a live setting could.
Getting into the meat of the record, the haunting nature of the songwriting excels with the added the piano and every instrument Belle Morte have in their arsenal to deliver a powerhouse of a symphony. This record just gets more magnificent with every track that your ears devour.
I’m in the middle with this in my thoughts for the record. On one hand tracks such as ‘Beauty And The Beast’ fit perfectly if it was the instrumentals for a film and a live setting. There’s a fusion of both here to give such energetic tracks you need to listen to.
Another descriptor is genre bending for this record because the way it sets up tracks in the production is intoxicating. On one hand, you think it’s going more into a dance track but that is all a complete red herring for ‘My Little Demon’ where it takes a left turn and adds that extra ingredient which is missing from most modern records. .
Fans of more instrumental rock will cheer and devour this massive anthem record down to it’s bare roots of what make the record so grand. Fans of Belle More will be happy with this output and even people who aren’t fans, or weren’t fans before, will resonate with this release.
Back in 2018 the Brighton-based three piece were on the crest of a wave. As well as regular plays on daytime Radio 1 and a Rockest Record from the Radio 1 Rock Show, years of near non-stop touring had seen them sell out The Scala and play a triumphant hometown show at The Concorde 2. On their last EP, Evolve Or Die, they’d pushed the live-wired sound of their 2016 debut, Abstract Figures In The Dark, massively broadening their sonic palette and delivering Tigercub’s pile-driving guitar gut-punch within an intense digital static.
It seemed like a good place to put things on pause for a bit and in the downtime the band’s lead songwriter and frontman Jamie Hall started tinkering with his own brand of gonzoid psych-pop under the name Nancy. Intended only as a DIY experiment, the project massively took off. Nancy was Hype Machine’s most blogged artist, Hall bagged two record deals and played a string of dates around the world. Not bad for something he’d done in his bedroom chiefly to keep his songwriting chops up. Enough to keep you busy you’d think, but Hall was itching to get back to the day job, determined to use all he’d learned from the solo project to further Tigercub on their return. And what a return it is.
Jamie, who stands 7 foot tall and is the band’s sole songwriter, claims the creative fire for “As Blue As Indigo” was sparked by colour theory and the notion that what each human eye sees as colour could be totally subjective. That idea led him to explore his own personal issues through a similar prism, exploring topics including anxiety, depression, toxic masculinity, the death of his grandmother and the recent suicide of a close friend; and in turn began spinning the lyrical thread that ties the entire record together.
“As Blue As Indigo” is as colourful a journey as the vivid title suggests, its ten tracks span the progressive to the immediate, the gentle to the monolithic, and most of all fulfill the significant potential the band have always promised. “As Blue As Indigo” is an album that looks set to cement their place at the top table of British rock acts in 2021.
So shall we dive into the record?
A very soft opening almost as if it was a lullaby for adults, it’s quite a underwhelming first minute or so on this title track but from there things just drop and everything turns up to the more grand spectacle the band we were hoping for from the opening.
Shifting genre in the second track, ‘Sleepwalker’, this just moves into a slow grunge approach so immediately the record feels a little structurally off but if there’s one saving grace so far, it’s how perfectly the bass moulds in with the drums to carry some emotion through the first few minutes.
Now, I’m still on the fence with with this record because there’s a bit more groove in this track which is acceptable but, there’s a larger step taken in risks where it’s hard to tell if anything is paying off but for the moment I do want to say yes, possibly?
Shifting more further into the record and getting back into the groove and it being coherent with it’s strucutre, ‘Built To Fall’ just instantly feels very out place by the time it’s at the tracks final third as it starts to move back to the heavier grunge aspect which made the record appealing in the first place. This continues to be a trend for most of the record in ‘Shame’ which right at the very end in what I’m assuming is some feedback occurs, it makes it a little less professional.
‘As Long As You’re Next To Me’ is probably the best since the second or third track but still feels out of touch when talking about the record as a whole. I’m just unsure of what to make of because it’s in a. perpetual state of changing rhythm and genre. Closing with ‘In The Autumn Of My Years’, this is the record’s saving grace because it ends on a somewhat decent effort by the band but is lost in the sea of identity.
In conclusion, ‘As Blue As Indigo’ feels as if it was two records being produced and recorded at the same time where there’s a some merit to the heavier aspects of the release but there’s no real identity to what’s been made.
After years of teasing, alternative band Never Loved are giving fans what they want.
“‘Autumn’ was actually the first Never Loved song ever written and also one of the first songs I ever wrote that I sang on,” recalls frontman Cameron Knopp. “I recorded it with Squire in 2017 before we had a band name and it was originally supposed to be on our self-titled ep, but we decided to save it for a full length. I wrote it while experiencing all of the emotions of a heartbreak. It’s a song I’m excited for everyone to hear since it’s a different side of Never Loved.”
Never Loved formed when long-term friends, Cameron Knopp (vocals, guitar) and Jay Gayoso (bass), took matters into their own hands and aimed to create music that spoke directly to people. Shane O’Brien(guitar) later joined the duo to officially form the three-piece group. The band released their debut self-titled EP and received a great response to their alternative rock vibe, which hints to the members’ grunge and pop influences. Riding the wave of positive feedback, Never Loved is now preparing to release their debut full-length album, Over It.
This past year has brought many exciting moments for the group – an increasing fanbase, a future tour with Armor For Sleep, and the upcoming release of their new record. While quarantine was not in the plan, it did give Never Loved more time to work on new songs and further hone in on their sound. The group paired with friend and producer, Matt Squire, to flesh out ideas and bring these songs to life.
Working with Squire and taking time off between sessions helped bridge creative gaps that the album longed for. The guys experimented with creating different sequences and interludes, while simultaneously making sure the album flowed. Each song on the record is unique, but they all stay true to the alternative rock sound that fans have come to love.
The debut of Over It will kick off an exciting period in Never Loved’s career. These emotional, raw songs will captivate listeners and create a community within their music. According to the guys, “life is going to throw a lot of sh*t at you, but it’s about making the best of it. You’ll get past it, keep trying.” Over It, the debut full-length record from Never Loved, released on 14th May via Equal Vision Records/Rude Records. To order the record check out the following link.
Now let’s get right into the record. Starting things off with ‘Over it’, this track is built as your run of the mill harder pop-rock opener but you can see it now, when gigs are back the audience will sing this back because that’s what it was designed for and the band are being quite smart, it kind of reminds me of Waterparks but a different approach has been taken and the bans outlook is the main difference, and one that will win over more fans with their personality in it all.
The record is just getting started here. ‘On & On It Goes’ is that little bit more anthemic, the classic rise and fall track to get the crowd going and it’s doing a great job of that here. Continuing right into ‘Sorry’ this is a record which is showing that it isn’t letting up lightly from the looks of things, it’s spearheading the comfortable foundation of the record. Plus, that solo close to the end of the track though, I’m just astonished.
Slowing down things for the sixth track in this arsenal in the form of ‘Autumn’, it’s got a little bit of an indie feel to it due to the change of pace here, but damn it if it isn’t infectious as well. This might as well just say future film track on it because I can imagine this either in a coming of age or drama story where it only helps their case for future dominance.
Moving to something heavier on the record, ‘Sunshine’ injects a little influx of techno into the consciousness of the listener which shouldn’t really work but incredibly does so with ease. This record release has just seen the band go crazy and we’re only just at the halfway point for this one so gear up for what could be a staggering second half.
Now we’re keeping on this techno grunge infused path, it’s a sort of mashup they’re doing which in some respects does work but the consistency of the beats doesn’t really stack up overall on this track on the choice which weaves in and out.
After the interlude which if nothing does build up some genuine atmosphere again for the release which the latter lacked a little bit, the bass strikes a chord in a way it hasn’t for the entirety of the record thus far, and makes everything a little more relaxed with ‘Gasoline’ which if anything, sounds a little repetitive of their opener, ‘Over It’.
‘The One For Me’ takes it right back but the sound of the techno which is a little little much for me, where it seems unwanted in the grand scheme of the record as a whole and loses its momentum. Although the tracks moving forward are reminiscent of the early 00’s bands such s We The Kings and All American Rejects play out well here as much as the pacing of the guitar plays out which fairs well against their older counterparts but the energy Never Loved emit is the best part about this back half of the record.
Closing with the off this release, ‘Find Out’ and & ‘Downpour’ are more soulful and pondering than the previous tracks, they feel more contained than the rest of what’s come before it to avoid the comparison so they can be their own unexpected result.
Overall as much as I’ve come to love this record, I have to say it lacks a little consistency within the genre because Never Loved can’t seem to make up their minds as to what genre they want to stick to as they have that influx of techno halfway into the release but bless them, they have made a fun record with their fans in mind as well as making tracks for that live setting which they know will get a response.
We’re now three years into Architects previous release, ‘Holy Hell’ where the Brighton Metalcore band are laying everything on the table with the release of ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’, the first release from the band without any input from late guitarist Tom Searle whom passed away in 2016. This is a record which does seam bleak but it’s their devotion to the music which makes them some of the most heartfelt and powerful performances they’ve given.
The fifteen, (yes fifteen) track whirlwind of emotions is just one which encompasses the band in a way most only dream of doing in their career. The fearlessness in their writing only helps them reach new heights and make them an undeniable force in the British industry.
From the lush soundscapes to the pessimistic nature of the songwriting, you do hear more bolder technical choices jumping off nearly every track which just doesn’t give you a second of normalcy but instead, a mass of cathartic release in what Architects deliver upon.
The build up of ‘Do You Dream Of Armageddon’ is the lofty intro you only dream of on most modern records. It works so well but only if done right and when stacked up to the incoming track. That is of course, ‘Black Lungs’ and while it doesn’t move perfectly, it brings the heavy aspect of the genre Architects are known for. The ending to this track though is beautifully executed. It’s punchy, unexpected and soul releasing. One track you don’t want to miss.
When some bands go big, you don’t get as big as this band have gone on for ‘Dead Butterflies’, the big orchestra will blow you away and become a staple of what the band are a testament of in that it’s a huge sounding anthem into a much more streamlined record.
Moving into their standout track form my perspective, ‘An Ordinary Extinction’ just gives off this pulverising release of energy, one you can just imagine moshing to. Where it takes a left turn, going quiet for a short time only deliver when the break down puts the pure brilliance to the forefront.
‘Animals’ just dials everything right to eleven, with the meat of the track just being the absolute bouncy nature of what occurs from the drums to the guitar, everything is just taken and more is input in emotion and execution. There’s some sounds overlaid which sound so mysterious and creepy but it just adds more to the overall tone of the track to make it even greater.
For a record which is their ninth studio release, this is expected as if this is the one their most proud of. It’s a techno metal masterpiece which focuses on the personal issues of the internal struggle the band faces in 2021. Architects are a band full of hope in this shifting record and one which will see them flourish well after this record is put to bed.
Check out the video for ‘Animals’ below.
Orders for the record ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’ are available via the following link.
Night People isn’t just one album which could make You Me at Six the band they are today, it could be the one to give them a right as legends.
Night People is the London band’s fifth studio album with it on track for a the number one spot in the album charts. Armed with producer Jacquire King, they pack a punch on an album which gets 2017 off to a fantastic start for the genre.
Night People’s opening and title track is one everyone was talking about to the end of 2016. which the intimate UK tour, it was sure to be adding another crowd pleaser to the band’s arsenal on their set lists. This track sets the tone for the entire album with a mix of shredding guitars and honest lyrics which makes it one of the grandest Albums ever made by the British band.
The Title track aside, other new material including Plus One and Make Your Move proved that they could still make records to be proud of; where these can prove they can step up the venues and hopefully turn them into festival headlines.
Two words come to mind when I hear this record though; maturity and progression. Coming off the back of Cavalier Youth, it makes that record seem a memory in Track 9; Spell It Out. It’s nostalgia will remind listeners of Crash from Sinners Never Sleep but also reminds myself of Writing on the Wall by Sam Smith. They’re embracing the future and now there won’t be any looking back with the release.
With this being the first major release of the year for the Rock genre, it looks to be the start of a bright year; especially since they’re currently sitting at number 1 in the midweek album chart.
There are still two days for HMV indoor signings taking place
Jan 11 – Leeds and Manchester
Jan 12 – Middlesbrough and Newcastle
Listen to: Plus One, ,Make Your Move, Spell It Out.