Fickle Friends – You Are Someone Else Review

Have you ever gone through a long, dreary day at work thinking about a giant chocolate bar or something you’re going to devour when you get home, and then when you eventually eat it you eat it too quickly, or have too much, and you feel a bit off for the rest of the evening? A bit of a disappointment, right? Well, that’s kind of what Fickle Friends’ debut album, You Are Someone Else, feels like.

The Brighton-based 5-piece first started getting noticed in 2013 after playing Jamie Oliver’s ‘The Big Feastival’, and five years later their first LP has finally arrived. The album hosts 16 tracks, filled with glimmering indie-pop hits, guaranteed to soundtrack the ideal summer barbeque. Summing up their sound best is Brooklyn, with pulses of eighties sizzle pumped throughout to support catchy lyrics and chorus instrumentalism comparable to a more pop-ish The 1975. It’s a track guaranteed to inspire emphatic dancing in the venues they’ll sell out. In similar veins come Lovesick – which has an incredible bass hook – Hello Hello, and Say No More. Alternatively, Midnight injects a bit of a heavier element of bass in the intro, showing a little more diversity to their happy-go-lucky indie style. Aside from that, there’s not a whole lot of change. Fickle Friends’ take on the genre is one I really like, and many songs will definitely feature on a good summer playlist, but there’s just a lot of it, with no songs really standing out, as many just blur into the next.

Having said that, not everything is all smiles and rainbows. The shimmery synths often engulf introspective and bleak lyricism. Hard To Be Myself is riddled with anxiety, while Paris offers a sense of self doubt when it comes to ending a relationship. The youthful euphoria of the backing tracks often juxtapose the lyrics, which seems to be a clever way of representing a sense of naivety as this young band begin to experience different things for the first time; dominated fervour and ecstasy, underscored with a tinge of fear.

Other times, the solemn lyrics are more noticeable. The incessant joyous instrumentalism is broken up by In My Head, which strips away the extravagance of the earlier songs to provide a raw intermission about mental deterioration and loneliness. Album opener Wake Me Up – though much more prevalent in it’s instrumental presence and thumping bassline – chants some pretty pessimistic lyrics: the chorus, for example, is dominated by the words “we are absolutely failing”.

There’s not much more to say about You Are Someone Else other than it’s just…good. There’s no doubt Fickle Friends are hugely talented musicians – this album proves it in bucket loads – but after you’re 16 songs worth of persistent jaunty indie-pop down, you’d be forgiven for switching onto something else.

Fickle Friends – You Are Someone Else: 6/10

Ellie Chivers

Single Review – Our Girl – Our Girl

Brighton based three piece Our Girl are a promising young group releasing the follow up to their 2016 EP Normally with new single ‘Our Girl’. This song strikes up a roaring Shoegaze sound equipped with quivering vocals and prominent percussion behind the haze of the guitars. Though a faithful example of the genre, the band show an ability to provide a more tangible, clear base to their sound which suggests a confidence to dip into various styles with ease; backed by their solid delivery and more projective sound. Hopefully another EP or album is on the cards as they seem more than capable of applying their approach to a greater body of work for an immersive listen.

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Fickle Friends – Hard To Be Myself

As songs about social anxiety and general awkwardness go new single from Brighton’s Fickle Friends ‘Hard To Be Myself’ manages to hit the nail on the head when it comes to accuracy of an anti-social nature, while also creating an intoxicatingly dreamy danceable track. Centred around imagining yourself as the life of the party, able to talk to that one person you can’t take your eyes off of, despite being permanently glued to the wall, or hidden behind said wall, the song sees lead singer Natti Shiner’s vocal wrapped in enticingly slick synths crafting the most pop of the bands indie-pop tracks to date.  

Hayley Miller

Single Review – Yonaka – Bugglegum

Brighton’s Yonaka, formed in 2015, release lead single ‘Bubblegum’ taken from the band’s debut EP ‘Heavy’. A punchy and ever so slightly off-kilter track, there isn’t much sickly sweetness to this gum. With Yonaka meaning the dead of night or midnight in Japanese things were inevitably going to get dark. A little like a biting mix of Wolf Alice, Imelda May and ALMA the tracks interesting effects show Yonaka’s growth from early demos into vibrant bared teeth rock. Managing to capture a slice of their live performance, a layered hook and Theresa Jarvis’s vocal, makes ‘Bubblegum’ one of those tracks that will stick in your mind.

Hayley Miller

Single Review – Fickle Friends – Vanilla 

Fickle Friends are proving to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to sharp alt pop. In Vanilla, Natassja Shiner deliberates a slump in a relationship to a truly delicious pick-and-mix of electronica – swimming synths, organ fx and reverberating guitars – all driven by subtle percussion and the pleading voice of Shiner. The track oscillates with instrumentalism, coming to its most climatic at the chorus, and its sheerest when Shiner is at her most sincere. It adds a level of movement and emotion to a track that is superficially another pop hit mastered by Fickle Friends. Look out for this lot.

Eleanor Chivers

Single Review – Royal Blood – Hook, Line and Sinker

The Brighton rock duo Royal Blood reintroduced themselves with the release of Lights Out earlier in April, demonstrating the same thrashing methodology and jarring fierceness explored on their self-titled debut. The latest offering – Hook, Line and Sinker – follows in the same vein. It finds foundation in the frenzied opening guitar riff, which sets the tone for the chaotic accompanying music video, as well as the heated vocals and instrumentalism that intensify throughout, not to mention the little snippet of cowbells fans are going crazy for. The most effective part of the track is the hushed portion towards the end, which soon bursts into the lashing guitar we’re used to. It does share similarities with the debut’s material – you can tell they’re related, but at the same time there are differences that make their shuddering rock all the more punchy and effective. With the two success stories made of Lights Out and Hook, Line and Sinker, June’s release of How Did We Get So Dark? is set to be just as ferocious as the debut, if not more so.
Ellie Chivers

Single Review – Blood Red Shoes – Eye To Eye

Blood red Shoes first new single in just over three years might not be what some expected. Moving ever so slightly away from the murky depths of blues infused rock, with its grizzled chords and ominous cloud of passive aggressive discordance, as though you stepped inadvertently into a recording studio and accidentally interrupted a private argument, ‘Eye To Eye’ might just be a reflection of clarity between the Brighton duo. Blood Red Shoes, aka Laura-May Carter and Steven Ansell, have produced a single that is more alternative pop than rock. Hauntingly minimalist smoulder ‘Eye To Eye’ has lead singer Laura-May Carter’s modulated vocal adding an air of late 90’s Madonna and Shirley Manson to the spiral of limited instrumentation. While the track is much more focused on shimmering hypnotic synths than bitingly thrashed riffs there is still an air of menace amongst its tone, which is hopefully enough that the softening of the band’s rock sound won’t cause too many ripples through their expectant fan base.  

Hayley Miller

Single Review – Black Honey – All My Pride

Following on from their stand-out singles of last year ‘Madonna’ and ‘Corinne’, Black Honey’s newest offering shows that despite not yet having an album to their name, this band are a force to be reckoned with.It would have been easy for Black Honey to continue riding the success of their previous releases, having established themselves as ones to watch, but this new single proves there’s more to them than that. The riot grrl influences are still there, mingled in with but by no means lost to the blistering heat and stinging punch this single packs. It’s becoming clearer with every release that Black Honey aren’t afraid to dip their toes into various musical ponds, while still being able to create something that is so clearly and distinctly them. Lasting less than three minutes and filled to the brim with raucous, grungy melodies, ‘All My Pride’ is a song that demands your attention from the get-go and doesn’t release you from its grip until it’s done with you, spitting you out into the gutter and leaving you disgruntled and confused but begging for more.

Katie Hayes

Single Review – Calico – Euphorism

Brighton five piece Calico are a group that truly mix and merge the genres that influence their music and make them evident in their sound and their new single ‘Euphorism’ is evocative of that in combing elements of Post Rock, Electronic and Jazz into a four minute instrumental. It is through an expansive and echoed production and a sturdy percussion section. From this foundation the jazz and electronic variants can extend and stretch across the space created for it. A smooth and relaxed track from their self titled EP expected on October 19th.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Sunday Suggestion – Rose Elinor Dougall – Future Vanishes

Last Autumn Rose Elinor Dougall released her EP Future Vanishes as a sign of things to come with her future direction. Not only was it my favourite EP of the year but the title track my favourite single. It has melodies and hook at every turn, it has a magnificent atmospheric quality to it, imaginative in it’s forms and lyrics and innovative in terms of combining pop and electronic features to a psychedelic track. On top of all this is it’s beautiful contradiction of its self. It can send you into an atmospheric and psychedelic trip into the depths of your thoughts or can leave you at the mercy of it’s rhythm and deep rooted groove. It does everything you ask for. A wondrous track.