Single Review – Django Django – In Your Beat

From the moment you press play on Django Django’s new single In Your Beat, you enter a labyrinth of psychedelic pop euphoria. Carried by lurching waves of synths galore and video-game-esque touches, the latest single taken from their third album – Marble Skies – is packed with incessant, aggressive eighties notions. The lyrics become part of the instrumentalism, with Vincent Neff’s mechanical vocals blending into the techno backing track. It’s an electronica overload – one which fans of the four-piece’s past tracks, despite still being as eccentric but more compliant with rock stereotypes, may grapple with.

Ellie Chivers

Single Review – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Its A Beautiful World

Noel has been doing a lot of talking since the release of his last single and lots of people have been talking about him, but he’s been releasing music y’know? The latest single from his November 24th release Who Built The Moon is ‘Its A Beautiful World’ and it continues the reimagined sound he’s so far pursued with this record. The whirring and ringing guitars that open the track echo and reverberate outwards as do Noel’s vocals. The bass line and percussion offer a intricate rhythm and generally this track is a good example of the subtleties of production and arrangement Noel has decided to consider. It is a shimmering yet smooth track that combines elements of electronica and dream pop. This track does sometimes trips over its own transitions though, but it is refreshing to see an act as established as Noel experiment a little.

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Goat Girl – Cracker Drool 

South London four-piece Goat Girl, named after that kind of disgusting Bill Hicks sketch Goat Boy, release new single ‘Cracker Drool’ recorded with Dan Carey (Bat For Lashes, Kate Tempest). A decidedly spooky offering, missing only the clap of thunder and the chilled air of cackling screams, the track boasts a riff that seems straight out of 60’s The Munsters, as well as vocalists Lottie’s hypnotically drowsy yet sharp-tongued tone. Due for release on limited edition 7 inch, with exclusive B-side ‘Scream’ a vinyl worth looking out for, things are inevitably going to remain a little haunted this winter. 

Hayley Miller

Single Review – Wiley feat. JME – I Call The Shots

Never one known for being subtle with his words Wiley returns with news of an upcoming album ‘Godfather II’, due Feb 16, 2018, and latest single ‘I Call The Shots’. After seeming to announce January’s ‘Godfather’ might just be his final ever album release things are looking a lot brighter for fans of the Bow MC. A pure slice of Grime at its solid UK heart finest ‘I Call The Shots’, a title that falls somewhere between taking charge and a temper tantrum, features JME on a guest verse and see’s Wiley examining his path to success over a typically pounding beat, creating yet another perfect Friday night energiser.

Hayley Miller

Single Review – Morrissey – I Wish You Lonely 

‘I Wish You Loney’ latest track from Morrissey’s soon to be released album ‘Low In High-School,’ due November 17th, see’s Morrissey once again twisting his iconically styled, equal parts eloquent and scathing, lyrics around some sharp-edged rousing synths. Contemptuous lines like; ‘Think of yourself only, of everything you demand, you want and you need, and to hell with everyone else,’ seem to possess that perfect upturned nose and brutally honest air that always makes Morrissey’s writing, whether you adore it or not, unavoidably addictive.  
Hayley Miller

Single Review – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Holy Mountain

On November 24th Noel Gallagher will release his third studio album with his ‘High Flying Birds’ with Who Built the Moon? The teaser trailer of two weeks ago suggests that we’re finally getting the Noel Gallagher album everyone wanted and expected after his Oasis exit. That repuatation he garnered as the frustrated tunesmith and songwriter; the driving force of one of Britain’s greatest bands is yet to be matched with his subsequent ‘solo’ ventures. His self titled debut was a strong start, but was not daring enough to leave the dusty rock environment he created for the album albeit for fleeting moments. Chasing Yesterday was a step back to a comfort zone that whilst being a decent record, it felt like a throwaway effort that even Noel wasn’t too fussed about. Whilst we were teased Neo-psychedelia and Electronica today we are given Glam Rock?

With booming saxophones, plunging rhythm sections and stomping percussion, ‘Holy Mountain’ has all the energy and infectiousness of a Rock Pop track that has a sing-a-long quality via its bombastic sound and simple lyrics. It is certain that no track by Noel has ever been so catchy nor featured basic Pop elements and it works well in that sense; undoubtedly becoming a gig favourite. It is not the great innovation or shift hinted at a few weeks ago however, which leaves us at a crossroads prior to the release of his next single. As great as a fun-loving Noel Gallagher is, the intruiging version advertised would prove a more attractive proposition for his third studio album.

Owen Riddle

Wolf Alice – Visions of a Life Review 

Wolf Alice’s second album ‘Visions Of Life’ released via Dirty Hit, produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Paramore, Beck, M83) and mixed by Tom Elmhirst (Bowie, Arcade Fire, Adele), is the kind of collection of tracks that transports you into a world of teen drama and existential crisis, while proving that British alternative rock will never surrender.

Opener ‘Heavenward’ soars into life with ethereal guitars and lead singer Ellie Roswell’s delicately building vocal. Feeling rooted in the band’s shoe-gaze era the melody is subtle and dreamy. Drifting and not pounding into being, before a wall of feedback emerges, giving that familiar distorted edge to the tracks mournful tone. 

Though not everything is soft and day-dreamy within this vision of life. ‘Yuk Foo’ is a sharpened teeth punk-edged kick of vengeance. Rosewell’s vocal mixes like hardcore screams against bassist Theo Ellis and drummer Joel Armey’s thundering rhythm. 

Teenage love’s, or at least the idea that a relationship can take you back to that awkward feeling of not quite fitting your own body and not knowing how to really convey your emotions without seeming like a complete mess, is covered within many tracks but perfectly encapsulated in both the swooningly delicate, swirling guitars and pulsing beat of ‘Don’t Delete the Kisses’ and ‘Formidable Cool’s tumbling riffs and savagely howled vocals. 

Tracks like ‘After The Zero Hour’ and ‘Beautifully Unconventional’ continue the embracing of Wolf Alice’s softer, cinematic side. With the latter painting the picture of a partner in crime tale, Ellie Rowsell’s vocal plays with the description of female friendship, while layers of chunky guitars and delicate samples create an utterly captivating track; ‘I long to see (her arms above my soul), I long to be (with her forevermore)’.

Moving from darker rock sounds into softer touches of shoe-gaze 

‘Planet Hunter’ is yet another drifting track that feels laced with 90’s alt-rock subtleties. Telling tales of clouded eyes and failed romances from the morning after the night before as things are lifted so high into orbit you can barely see the earth beneath you; ‘And it was never ever gonna last long, And it was only ever gonna go wrong, And in the morning I only have myself to blame.’  

Ethereal folk mixed with crunching grunge is embraced wholeheartedly in the vibrant and yet delicately whispered ‘St. Purple and Green.’ Even with some almost spoken word phrasing things still remain soaring above the clouds.

Overall ‘Visions Of Life’ is an album that seems to pull together everything Wolf Alice can muster into a bold and expressive statement of intent. Though in places things feel like a continuation of their debut, 2015’s ‘My Love Is Cool’, with barred-teeth electronic folk mixed with grunge shoe-gaze, tracks inevitably show a refinement in the bands sound as exuberant guitars and enticingly raw lyrics propel you into Wolf Alice’s world. 

Wolf Alice – Visions of a Life = 8/10

Hayley Miller

The Horrors – V Review

As titles of albums go you could be forgiven for thinking the Horrors latest, and fifth, album ‘V’ is a tad on the plain side. But according to frontman Faris Badwan the shape isn’t simply a marker for just how many albums the south-end-on-sea band have released into the world but also a representation of a certain, not so peaceful, hand gesture.

Although there is a feeling of reaching the end of your patience within many tracks don’t worry this isn’t The Horrors suddenly ditching those synth layers and echoes of their garage rock DIY aesthetic in favour of an energetic punk punchout. Really the up-yours in ‘V’ is more a whispered, mumbled under the breath while standing in the corner kind.  

Working with an outside producer for the first time since ‘Primary Colours’, Paul Epworth (London Grammar, Adele, Coldplay, Bloc Party) adding his ear to ‘V’ it would be easy to presume there should be an anthemic track or two hidden amongst the tracks.

Opener Hologram slithers into life in a sea of ambient synths, reflecting a little of 80’s electronica that perhaps rubbed off after recently supporting Depeche Mode.

‘Press Enter To Exit’ continues the classic eighties feel with its false ending and New Order rich swagger continued in tracks like ‘Weighted Down’, which begins with gentle violins before a stomping percussion adds a little Joy Division to the feel of things.  

Though it’s not just an eighties sound that is captured within ‘V’. First single ‘Machine’ and ‘Gatherings’ seem to yearn for those cascading 90’s Brit-pop era anthems.Mixing a little Suede to The Horrors retro feel. 

Everything is kept pretty much consistently within swaggering melancholy as ‘Ghost’ creates an, admittedly expected, haunted wall of sound that wonders around in a pretty gloomy atmosphere, gloomy in an entrancing way of course. ‘Point Of No Reply’ continues things in a misty edged tone. Wrapped in a fairly pointed lyric unfurling the bruises of an unhealthy relationship. The track descends into fuzzy distortion before clicking to an abrupt end like a cassette reaching the last millimetres of reel; ‘Throwing knives with an eye for revenge Tell your friends I hate you There’s nothing I can do.’

‘It’s A Good Life’ has a tentativeness to it. Written after the death of Peaches Geldof it feels imbued with the kind of heart fitting a The Cure album; ‘She lay in the dark, but I don’t know who found her.’

Bringing the album to a close ‘Something To Remember Me By’ is at last that i-phones in the air moment that Epworth’s name may have slightly promised. Though even this track is in no way a commercialised moment. A synth-pop romance laced within a driving beat makes for a lighter, once again New Order influenced, closer. Though even here there is still a darker interlude crafted into the tracks middle; ‘You say that I believe my lies But now you’ll never know.’

Perhaps not as oddball as previous albums ‘V’ is still an enchanting collection of tracks full of retro riffs that feel like The Horrors crafting an album full of genuine heart.

The Horrors – V = 8.5/10 

Hayley Miller

Single Review – Wolf Alice – Heavenward

Wolf Alice’s Heavenward, fourth single released from new album ‘Visions of Life’ 29th Sept via Dirty Hit, was recorded with producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Paramore, Beck) and mixed by Tom Elmhirst (Bowie, Arcade Fire, Adele). Written after the death of a close friend the track soars in ethereal guitars and lead singer Ellie Roswell’s delicately building vocal. Feeling rooted in the band’s shoegaze era the melody is subtle and dreamy, drifting into being, before a wall of feedback emerges, giving that familiar distorted-gritty edge to the tracks overall loud-quiet-loud tone. Despite its sad theme, and whether or not you believe in robed beings with six-foot white wings standing before golden gates, Heavenward feels like a release of sorrow into a memory of the joyousness of a life; ‘I’m going to celebrate you forever – I see you dancing on

Hayley Miller

Single Review – Wolf Alice – Beautifully Unconventional 

As every Wolf Alice fan knows, they are not a band to be labelled easily. And diversity is definitely on the cards with the North London four-piece’s soon to be released second album ‘Visions Of A Life’ due September 29th. Simply compare the bands previous singles; ‘Yuk Foo’, with its sharp teeth and punk-edged vengeance, and their second offering ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’, a swooningly delicate track bathed in glistening lightness with the Wolf Alice’s third single, and you’ll hear a band with a fearless appetite for expression. ‘Beautifully Unconventional’, the title itself seems to sum things up perfectly for the bands ever expanding sound, see’s Wolf Alice embracing their softer, cinematic side. Painting the picture of a partner in crime tale, Ellie Rowsell’s vocal plays with the description of female friendship, while layers of chunky guitars and delicate samples create an utterly captivating track; ‘I long to see (her arms above my soul), I long to be (with her forevermore)’.

Hayley Miller