Single Review – Muse – Dig Down

Muse unveil new single ‘Dig Down’ along with one bad-ass accompanying video. After teasing fans with 30 seconds snippets of raw material and informing the world they were busy working on three new songs, at Air Studios London; one heavy and two not so heavy, one-off single ‘Dig Down’ emerged. Everything you would expect from Muse, ‘Dig Down’ is an electro-fuelled rock anthem of dystopian proportions. Directed by Lance Drake the video sees model, activist and amputee Lauren Wasser charging through a chain of dramatic scenes Rick Deckard, or perhaps more fittingly Resident Evil’s Alice, style. As always, with Muse, the track is an example of the impact of political unrest on the world around us, and a definite call to arms – all be it a peaceful and hopeful battle invite, as Matt Bellamy states: ‘I was looking to counteract the current negativity in the world – that as individuals we can choose to change the world if we want to.’ 

Hayley Miller 

This Weeks Music Video with Muse, Vince Staples, Phoenix, Parekh & Singh, Royal Blood and The Strypes

Single Review – Sundara Karma – Explore 

Indie-pop band Sundara Karma release new single ‘Explore’ as part of three new tracks, including ‘Lakhey’ and ‘Another Word For Beautiful’, all of which the band are adding to a new edition of their debut album ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’ due for release July 7th via Chess Club/ RCA. Beginning in a spiral of jangled guitar ‘Explore’ sees Sundara Karma at their indie-rock pouty best with soaring guitar and some impassive vocal, there is even the slightest glimmer of a little funk hidden in the summer wave that seems to swell as the track breaks into it’s morbidly joyous chorus. 

Hayley Miller 

Single Review – The National – The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness

It’s hard to believe The National have been around for over twenty years with the crisp energy captured in new single ‘The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness’. Four years since the release of album ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ the band have return jutting with slick confidence. Drummer Bryan Devendorf creates driving energy from unpredictable rhythmic patterns, while droning guitars and delicate piano push life into Matt Berninger’s familiarly haunting melody. 

Hayley Miller 

Paramore – After Laughter Review 

Paramore’s new album ‘After Laughter’, released May 12, continues the band’s experiments in a sound leaning ever more towards the gleaming synth-pop side of pop-punk. Addictively catchy opener, and standout single, ‘Hard Times’ and it’s follow-up ‘Told You So’ are both so heavily drenched in surfer guitar and pop-fueled energy it’s difficult to remember a time when Paramore wasn’t so sugar coated you might actually require a filling or two after listening. But with Hayley Williams cutting skill at songwriting, the air of candy coating is never too sickly. 
Wearing the band’s love of all things eighties like a crumpled tracksuit, or a painfully high scrunchie, Taylor York’s guitar seems to effortlessly recreate the slick sound of the Talking Heads and the Bangles. allowing the album to glitter in its alt-pop misery, whilst still managing to create a sound that seems vibrant. 

‘Rose-Colored Boy’ sees the juxtaposition of slick production and gloomy lyrics used at it’s best, a technique that runs throughout the album like Robert Smith whispering in Williams’ ear at his most despondent: ‘I just killed off what was left of the optimist in me’. Though there are also little echoes of Bruno Mars in the double dutch in the street backing here as well as a fabulous amount of feminist undertones: ‘I ain’t gonna smile if I don’t want to.’ 

While the punching sound of Williams fighting back against misogynistic viewpoints and the disintegration of friendships is evident throughout each track, not every song is an endless swirl of synths. There are subtle moments that bring things close to a raw pain. ‘Forgiveness’ see’s the album’s themes shimmer in the warm LA waters of Haim. And ’26’ is a stark reminiscent drifting: ‘Hold on to hope if you’ve got it, don’t let it go for nobody.’

Tracks like the gloriously brutal ‘Fake Happy’, ‘Pool’ and ‘Grudges’ seem to perfectly reflect the insecurities of an Instagram masked generation. As well as the ‘holy sh*t I’m nearly thirty’ sound of ‘Caught In The Middle’: ‘I can’ think of getting old, it just makes me want to die.’ 

Where the album starts out youthful and energised things end in a more mature form of alt-pop, as Wendy Rene once sang ‘after laughter comes tears’. A bitterly truthful air continues to form in ‘Idle Worship’ before things fall into even darker reflections within the Williams-less ‘No Friend’ and the Haim-like sound takes hold once again in the layered cascading piano lines and whispered backing of closer ‘Tell Me How’. 

Over all ‘After Laughter’ seems to show a maturing of the Paramore’s pop-rock sound. There is still dance-able fun to be had but it seems Williams would like to mix in some not so subliminal musing on the modern world and the friendships we form within it. 

With a whole new album to tour – which they recently announced will have them joined by CA jangle-pop band Best Coast – and the announcement of their second PARAHOY cruise – due to set sail in 2018 – the next few years look pretty busy for Paramore.

Paramore – After Laughter = 8/10

Hayley Miller 

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