Single Review – Arcade Fire – Creature Comfort

‘Creature Comfort’ is the second single from their upcoming ‘Everything Now’ album. Heavy on production, the song has a heavy synth background that has definite 80s vibes. The song is produced well with the simple tuning of the synthesizer blending with the voice of Win Butler. The style of the song is interesting, with obvious continuation from their previous album, ‘Reflektor,’ but whilst maintaining an image of something new. ‘Creature Comfort’ is a good piece f music that would definitely work well in both a nightclub setting or an independent film. ‘Creature Comfort’ definitely ups the excitement for their next album.

Matthew Johnston

This Weeks Music Video with Radiohead, HAIM, Everything Everything, The War On Drugs, Portugal. The Man & Chris Cornell

Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark? Review

How do you follow a hugely successful debut album, one which became the fastest-selling British rock debut back in 2014 and appeared on so many adverts and TV shows that tracks were a part of everyone’s day whether they wanted them or not? Well if you’re Brighton duo Royal Blood, you don’t mess with the formula.

After attempting to mix things up just a tiny little bit, by testing out female backing vocals and even being tempted by a touch of synth and, perish the thought, guitars, Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher decided that a certain old cliché had lasted for a reason. Their signature sound wasn’t something to be broken but refined.

Sticking to the Royal Blood formula ‘How Did We Get So Dark’ is crafted with the same grit and focus as their 2014 debut, so pretty much exactly what you might expect, wonderfully heavy bass lines that beguile the duo format and the kind of relentless cluster-bomb percussion that sends your blood pressure rising.  

Opener and title track ‘How Did We Get So Dark’ might start things off slowly, but there’s more than a little sleazy brooding in the vein of QOTSA and Muse, building towards ‘Lights Out’ as Kerr and Thatcher continue to darken the atmosphere, this time with a little more punch and some squealed bass. ‘I Only Lie When I Love You’ struts with a curled lip and a lethal focus on intensifying the simplistic power of Mike Kerr’s distorted riffs and Ben Thatcher’s unrelenting percussion.

Things fall into a kind of shadowy stumble as ‘She’s Creeping’ and the Arctic Monkeys infused ‘Look Like You Know’ trip sulkily into your ear drums. Beginning intentionally staggered rhythms, which continue within tracks like ‘Don’t Tell’, ‘Hole In Your Heart’ and album closer ‘Sleep’, as things retreat further into the shadows, walking home after closing time in desperate jealousy engulfed insomnia. Though keeping things crawling in the darkness these tales of moody heartbreak aren’t as stirring as album highlights, such as the enigmatic return to QOTSA immersion of ‘Hook, Line & Sinker’.

Overall ‘How Did We Get so Dark’ is Royal Blood letting go of second album stress by embracing what they love. Tracks don’t really come to life through earbuds or weaved into TV trailers but are about live sets. These are about the feeling of standing in a crowd of people as Kerr’s bass and Thatcher’s drum rumble through the air around you, with the kind of visceral power that could knock you off your feet. 

Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark? = 8/10

Hayley Miller

Single Review – The Japanese House – 3/3

Amber Bain aka Japanese House release’s reflective third track ‘3/3’ from forthcoming EP ‘Saw You In A Dream’, set for release June 27th via Dirty Hit/Interscope. Following ‘Somebody You Found’ and title track ‘Saw You In A Dream’, with its simple but beautifully captivating video, ‘3/3’ paints the picture of losing yourself to the numbness of autopilot behaviour, despite being steeped in a disheartened air of indifference, ‘3/3’ is a gently soothing tale of fragility within an unsure relationship. Guitar chords are laced with sporadic synth to create a hazy, fluctuating wave of emotion within a tranquil atmosphere that sends you drifting into Bain’s subtle world of lucid dreaming sure to entrance her; Latitude, Lollapalooza and Reading and Leeds audiences. 
Hayley Miller

Single Review – Wolf Alice – Yuk Foo

First track from second LP ‘Visions Of A Life’, ‘Yuk Foo’ is a spite filled scream of vengeance; ‘I don’t want to be cruel, but you’re really grinding. I’m not a fool but I have a rage and it’s blinding.’ Siouxsie and the Banshees meet John Lydon in a dark alley while Black Francis throws stones, Ellie Rowsell’s, sometimes wonderfully yelped, vocals are fuelled with enough boiling, snarled anger to cut glass and reignite a nation of the disillusioned, tired and bored into a joyous form of anger that leaves you bouncing off the walls. Pushed forwards by a fearsome wall of industrial level grunge guitars and a bone shattering rhythm ‘Yuk Foo’ builds into a frenzy of twisted howls and splintered shrieks of frustration distilling everything that’s great about Wolf Alice into one of the best 2 minutes and 13 seconds of 2017.

Hayley Miller

This Weeks Music Video with Arcade Fire, The Gorillaz, The Weeknd, MIA, Green Day, MØ and Royal Blood

Single Review – The Killers – The Man

It has been five years since The Killers last album Battle born was released and their huge group’s fourth studio album was sadly nothing more than a piece of self indulgence and walled off nostalgia. Their fifth studio album is called Wonderful Wonderful and comes off the back of Brandon Flowers bold second solo album The Desired Effect from 2015. Their new single ‘The Man’ echoes a larger trend of Rock and Pop groups looking to Disco and this song swaggers with Funk riffs and bass lines albeit with strong electronic overtures. The shining and glimmering sound is met with distorted, low bass lines and Brandon’s smooth, yet slightly broken vocals marry with the sound well. This makes it a little more developed as a Disco/Funk track; something that they largely pull off albeit for a few unnecessary transitions. Lyrically, this song has more to say than any Killers song has for a while as they try to mash the concept of being an alpha male and the idea of being manly as a whole. This idea is channelled through the singles artwork with a child dressed in adults clothes; hinting at the immaturity of the concepts they trivialise on this track. A track that takes getting used to and though not perfect or nuanced, it offers a welcome change tack from The Killers. 

Owen Riddle

Single Review – The Horrors – Machine

The Horrors are hard to define. The Essex quintet rooted their sound in Shoegaze Psychedelia and Pop from their 2011 album Skying and their fourth album Luminous from 2014. Their fourth album was the first to not feature a major shift in sound. It was a refinement with several tweaks and changes, but for a group that has taken in several genres in just four albums, it seemed like a half sideways step albeit an excellently delivered one. That did beg the question whether The Horrors had settled down in their third guise and whether their fifth would be another vaguely similar effort. Their new single ‘Machine’ however, may see them forge the fourth chapter in their sound. The churning and grinding opening of their latest single instantly tells you where their sound has landed and the Josh Hayward’s razor sharp, distorted chords hammer the message home; The Horrors have gone industrial. It is the darkest and grittiest they have been since the Gothic Punk of their debut though with their new Industrial sound, this is measured and flickered back to you. Shades of post Pop Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails are natural, but with the psychedelic style of production (Paul Epworth has been brought in to produce this album) and the warbling haze of Faris Badwan’s vocals give this sound a distinct feel. It also allows the likes of Joshua Hayward a greater licsense to make guitars a greater part of their sound again. An exciting sound for 2017.

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Glass Animals – Agnes

After the release of debut album ‘Zaba’ two years ago, it was hard to be sure exactly where, Oxfords answer to Alt-J, Glass Animals might take things for their second offering. With a few years of touring the world, including the obligatory breaking of America, under their belts, new single ‘Agnes’ reveals the answer is a little more human. A tiny step away from the band’s fascination with strange sounds, and bongos, ‘Agnes’, taken from the band’s new album ‘How To Be A Human’, is a lesson in embracing an emotional side. Where ‘Zaba’ was insular and abstruse, ‘Agnes’ see’s the band looking outwards, examining the mess that is humanity. Pulling in every direction from the opening layered notes, where a subtle melody builds with the slightest hint of Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ whispering into your eardrums, and a melancholy piano envelops frontman David Bayley’s lyrics of a self-destructive character, your heart is swept from sadness towards a rousing atmosphere that makes ‘Agnes’ addictively captivating. 

Hayley Miller

Single Review – Arcade Fire – Everything Now

Everything now is Arcade Fires’ new single that precedes the Canadian band’s new album with the same name, which will be released july 28th. At the beginning you will be surprised by a melody which reminded me of ABBA, which is amazing. I wasn’t sure what I was hearing to be honest, but it’s so happy and uplifting and it brings the band back to the bands style in their 2013 album ‘Reflektor’. There’s only a hint of melancholy there. Adding the flute to this song with a weird techno intro that turns into that cacophony and then into this whole other beat and feel.

Everything now gives you the feeling of a band that is in control of their sound and it displays incredibly imaginative and wonderful songwriting. They found their balance, and if they manage not to lose it we can expect an amazing new album.
Lea Fabbrini