Treading the perilous tightrope of making great pop music, whilst ensuring compromise is all but negligible, is a skill Haim have comfortably mastered. Haim are synonymous with marketability and great music; the sibling trio ooze charisma and have the talent to back it up!
Taken from the The Last Letter From Your Lover soundtrack, Cherry Flavored Stomach Ache has a chugging country sound, creating a jovial and gleeful listening experience. A delightful, chiming chord progression creates a charming riff that makes up the backbone of the two-and-a-half minute ditty. The same progression is replicated by harmonica blasts, evoking a mid-western barn dance feel, and a little reminiscent of Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac.
Lyrically, the song plays to Haim’s strengths – words of heartbreak and inner strength – and is a fine example of what the band do best – great pop rock!
Given that twenty one pilots have a tendency to release half of their album as singles, Formidable is certainly a formidable contender as an upcoming single.
A simple love song, but the the sound is so different to anything previously released by the duo. If you did not recognise Joseph’s voice, you’d be forgiven for completely overlooking the song as belonging to twenty one pilots.
The Philadelphian pair ditch the hard drums, overdriven baselines and rap rhetheroric, opting for a more laidback, The Cure inspired number. The comparison between Formidable and The Cure is irrefutable, and the main hook of the song is one the eighties rockers would have been proud to have produced themselves.
On the face of it, Formidable is about as formulaic as a song can get, but it’s Joseph’s penchant for dynamic songwriting and musicianship that sets it apart from so many other efforts of similar elk. The track is a beautifully crafted simplicity.
Bedford boys, DON BROCO, bring the noise with their latest no holds barred effort, Gumshield. This single should come with a warning: “teenagers are going to lose their shit.”
Initiating proceedings with an Infectious and taut trumpet hook, interest is immediately piqued. Resisting the urge not to whistle the curious hook is futile, and you’ll find the urge lasts all day. The same trumpet is used throughout the song with various effects, making it much more than an out-of-place, quirky intro.
“Put my gumshield in, protect me from myself,” croons vocalist Rob Damiani throughout the verse. And you better believe that audiences are going to need a gumshield when this brutally brash number is unleashed on the touring circuit!
The tension evoked throughout the verse is then tastefully resolved by a heavy, yet melodic chorus. The only red herring to an otherwise solid effort, is the beginning of the bridge, which is somewhat Frankenstein-esque; feeling as if it has been shoddily sewn together from another song.
Perturbingly underrated as a band, DON BROCO continue to release great music but fail to receive the recognition they deserve. Gumshied is a great release by a great band.
Cockney chimp turned Gorillaz maestro, Damon Albarn, returns to his nomadic solo ways with new single, Polaris.
Polaris is more Blur than Gorillaz but the identity of both acclaimed acts are ever-present, and the outcome is delightful. Cowbells and organs begin proceedings, before the song grows in depth with the addition of a thumping beat and supplementary instruments, successfully building tension and continually improving the track.
Polaris is not one for the radio, but it’s a jovial and memorable number. The song has an almost cathartic and religious musical undertone, inviting the listener to close their eyes and evangelically wave their arms from side to side, as if praising a higher power.
If the remainder of the tracks from Albarn’s upcoming alarm, The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows, sound half as good as Polaris, the music world are in for a treat.
Despite relinquishing their glory days’ crown some fifteen years ago, We Are Scientists can still assemble a tune. However, where their 2005 showstoppers consisted electric urgency, newer releases fall short in eliciting and reproducing that same vitalness.
New single, Contact High, emits the essence of We Are Scientists, encapsulating the sincerity and maturity of their early efforts, whilst remaining relevant in its final product – it’s just not the same! They are chasing something they will never replicate – a sound that was significant at a specific time.
Where Contact High triumphs is in its chorus. We Are Scientists are master craftsmen in the art of chorus construction, and Contact High is a fine example of the band in full flight. The Chorus steadily takes off before soaring high above the clouds.
Contact High is a great track from an accomplished act, and fans of the band will welcome this latest release. Just don’t expect anything new and exciting.
You Me At Six, are certainty maturing in sound with latest release, Read My Mind, but they are losing their urgency and relevance.
Opening with complimentary scratchy riff and stained vocals, Read My Mind’s verse just about works, but this monosyllabic approach has been interpreted and bettered by countless other emo pop punk bands.
Where the band always come into their own, is their almost unrivalled efficacy for producing consistently catchy choruses. Although Read My Mind is a little more subtle than out-and-out catchy, its chorus hook can be hummed after the first chorus.
You Me At Six have always thrived on a monumental bridges, building tension to thrust them into the final chorus; although Read My Mind has an intriguing bridge, it fails to produce any momentum to drive the final chorus. The bridge is less Golden Gate, more dual carriageway.
It’s good to see that You Me At Six are still flying the flag for popular pop punk, but the flag is tattered and flying at half mast.
Love him or loathe him, YUNGBLUD does it the way he wants to do it. His unabashed, non-conformist rebelliousness is infectious, and certainly hasn’t hindered his success. And, if you look past his more-than-marketable image, he does produce quality pop music.
Covering Madonna’s hit, Like A Virgin, doesn’t seem like an odd selection for a cover song, given that YUNGBLUD never shies away from discussing the sexual escapades of youth as subject matter. In fact, it makes complete sense that he would cover Like A Virgin.
The final product is not a complete rework of the original. The drums are different, and the original certainly didn’t include any distortion, whatsoever. However, it’s the vocal performance that sets it apart from the original. YUNGBLUD’s vocals always command authority, and his rendition of Like A Virgin is no different. He makes the song his own, adding his unique tongue-in-cheek twist and Doncaster twang.
YUNGBLUD’s version of Like A Virgin does not better the original but it’s as good, and brings the eighties classic into the 21st Century. Madge would approve.
Described by The Bronx’ front man, Matt Caughthran, as setting the tone for the upcoming Bronx VI, and the rock the other songs break against, new single Curb Feelers is an unstoppable boulder plummeting down an endless mountainside. This latest effort is a fine example of what modern punk should look like – thrashing and shrieking but just enough melodic hook to differentiate it between noise and song.
Not your everyday experience of punk – the musicianship on Curb Feelers is superb! Refusing to pigeonhole themselves with an endless onslaught of power chords – the unfortunate prototype of most modern punk – the fast riffing running through the track creates a sense of urgency greater than the need for a toilet after an IBS flare up! The sublime speed soloing adds further oomph to the already frenzied and hectic number.
“I write the songs that no-one sings. You got no idea the pressure that brings,” screams Caughthran. Rest assured, this song will be sung with gusto. Bronx VI is released 17th August, and having already teased with four tracks, the album will be the summer staple for a lot of combat-boot-connoisseurs and studded-belt-enthusiasts.
There are many words to the describe faeces, and Foo Fighters are fast becoming a synonym for it. Dave Grohl’s forte for releasing soulless and sterilised pop rock, shows no signs of slowing.
Since the turn of the millennium, Foo Fighters have released one boring album after one boring album. When all is said and done, however, you can’t knock Grohl and Foo Fighters for giving the masses what they want, and at least he flies the flag for keeping rock music half relevant in an age of algorithmic musical dirge.
One of the latest releases by Foo Fighters, Making A Fire, has been given the Mark Ronson treatment. Recognisable as a Mark Ronson wonder track within seconds of the song’s start, Ronson makes Making A Fire significantly more enjoyable. His version ditches the Foo Fighters’ irritatingly loud guitars, replacing them with funkier and infinitely cooler licks, and incorporating seductive soloing.
This is what Mark Ronson does best; he takes songs and makes them so much better. He has certainly managed to polish a turd with this latest reimagining. If only he could have called upon one of his own previously used vocalist to cover Grohl’s whiney singing.
Sonny and Cher. Nicks and Petty. Flowers and Springsteen? When two planets collide, something very special happens, and this is certainly the case with The Killers’ collaboration with Bruce Springsteen on new song, Dustland.
Dustland is a solid offering, beginning with a soft piano ballad, before erupting into classic Killers’ mode. The track sounds like a song one might expect to find on the band’s second album, Sam’s Town; reminiscent of When You Were Young. But hey, if you’re enlisting The Boss, you’re going to want to make a loud impression, so sticking to a tried and tested formula might be sensible.
As is often the case with The Killers’ songs, Brandon Flowers’ wit as a wordsmith is called upon with excellent effect. The lyrics are abstract but powerfully induce imagery, and are complimented by the vocal performances of Flowers and Springsteen.
Springsteen’s voice never fails to bring grit and sincerity to any record, adding clout to what is definitely a Killers song. His husky tones perfectly paint over Flowers’s more refined vocals. Dustland is a certain hit!