Track Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Poster Child

The Chili Peppers’ latest tease for their upcoming LP, Unlimited Love, is far cry away from the radio-friendly sound of its predecessor, Black Summer. new track, Poster Child, is a nod to the Chili Peppers of yesteryear, and their are few outfits today that master this funk-riddled sound with such sincerity.

Diehard fans might find this track somewhat reminiscent of One Hot Minutes’ Walkabout. The wah guitar and slippery vocals are certainly uncanny – Let the Navarro vs Frusciante debate commence.

Poster Child is all about the verses, but the catchy chorus packs enough punch to evoke more mainstream appeal. Kiedis’s rubbery rhymes chronicle a who’s who of the musical world – according to him, of course. And, one would be forgiven for drawing parallels to Springsteen’s classic, We Didn’t Start The Fire; however, this is where the comparisons end.

This is a stone cold funk track, but one for the well-initiated.


Track Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Black Summer

It’s the four-minute moment fans of the funky monks have been waiting for. Ushering in the long-awaited return of John Frusciante, but would he be able to ignite some fire in the belly of a band who have made mediocrity their home for the last decade? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’.

From the first chord, Black Summer is peppered with Frusciante’s signature Hendrix-inspired flutterings, and the Chili Pepper faithful can expel their bated breath and breathe a sign of relief. The sex magik is back!

Kiedis and Frusciante deliver a nostalgic masterclass of vocalist and guitarist tending to the needs of the other. On that same note, Black Summer could work beautifully stripped-back and unplugged.

Frusciante’s backing vocals are as welcoming as a well-worn pair of slippers – this was an area the band struggled with when Josh Klinghoffer kept Frusciante’s seat warm for the last fifteen years. And Frusciante’s guitar solos – though not necessarily complex – ooze raw and sincere emotion that mirror Kiedis’s sorrowful tone.

Black summer will be accepted by the faithful, but may not knock any of the classics of their pedestals; in all fairness, the band have not delivered a hit for over a decade that could dethrone even the lesser known classics.

If Black Summer is the statement of things to come, we may very well be treated to Stadium Arcadium 2.0.


Track Review: Feeder – Magpie

The purveyors of mediocre yet palatable rock music are back. Feeder return with new single, Magpie. Love them or loathe them, Feeder are an immovable object – much like chewing gum in an unsuspecting teenage girl’s hair.

The first release from the band’s upcoming tenth album, Torpedos, is a far cry from the cliched pop rock, Feeder made a homestead throughout the latter part of the nineties and early noughties. Magpie consists no-holds-barred metal riffing that is so far removed from the likes of Echo Park, it’s a complete reinvention. The song’s musical feel reflects Grant Nichols’s lockdown dysphoria, with the singer stating: “The song’s chorus touches on the frustration that I think we all feel, and especially felt at that time, about the future in general.”

Magpie will not be everyone’s cup of tea, and it certainly won’t go down well with fans of the radio-friendly Feeder releases. It’s very different. Is this a brave move or faux pas? Time will tell.


Track Review: Placebo – Beautiful James

Androgynous indie giants, Placebo, tease their upcoming album with latest single release, Beautiful James. The track hits all the key features that make this an instant Placebo classic: fuzzy, aggressive downstrokes, melodic synths and an easy-to-remember, barebones chorus.

With a voice like no other, Brian Molko’s assertive tones strike the ominous balance of sounding detached and void of emotion, whilst brimming with sentiment at the same time – a skill that is fully realised in Beautiful James.

The sincerity and passion of the song is authentic, and the band have turned up the angst dial to eleven. Of the lyrics, a statement accompanied Beautiful James’s release: “If the song serves to irritate the squares and the uptight, so gleefully be it. But it remains imperative for me that each listener discovers their own personal story within it – I really don’t want to tell you how to feel.”

Dare it be said, this is Placebo at their late-nineties best? Perhaps not. But the track will go down very well with the well-established Placebo fraternity. Beautiful James is somewhat of a revival and return to form, and a reminder of Placebo’s caliber as artists.


Track Review: Billy Talent – End Of Me (ft. Rivers Cuomo

The Billy Talent faithful will be rejoicing! The band’s latest single, End Of Me, showcases the Canadian four piece at its best. Before we lose our heads, however, there is absolutely nothing new here, but maybe that’s the point? Signature twanging riffs and chanting, staccato choruses successfully strike a nostalgic chord.

Any lacking in originality is neutralised by the inclusion of Weezer’s geek chic romantic, Rivers Cuomo. The Weezer frontman seems to add a pleasant antithesis to the screech of front man Benjamin Kowalewicz’s urgent unnunciations. On that note, the opening riff is uncannily reminiscent of Weezer’s classic, Say It Ain’t So, and the solo is Weezer-infused heaven.

If you’re looking for classic Billy Talent, look no further than End Of Me. This track will go on to be a fan favourite for years to come. Billy Talent meets Weezer is a winning combination.


Track Review: Angels and Airwaves – Spellbound

Infections and tuneful: the key attributes every recording artist strives for. Angels and Airwaves have applied this formula with aplomb in new release, Spellbound. Granted, the track is never going to top the pop charts – or even chart particularly highly in the modern rock charts, for that matter – but it’s a great song, nonetheless.

Remove the myriad of wannabe futuristic sounds, strip it back to basics, and a solid pop punk song is revealed like a diamond in the rough. Reminiscent of circa 2003 blink-182, the chorus harnesses Tom Delonge’s song writing prowess at its finest, and uses his whining vocals as god intended.

Its finesse and polished production showcases the sound of a band who are comfortable within the niche they have carved for themselves. Angels and Airwaves can never be considered a side project.


Track Review: Gorillaz – Jimmy Jimmy (Feat. AJ Tracey)

Enlisting high-riding UK rapper, AJ Tracey, Gorillaz maintain their relevance more than two decades since the animated apes’ inception. New track, Jimmy Jimmy, is testament to their appealing longevity.

Jimmy Jimmy’s brilliance relies solely on AJ Tracey’s rhymes. His vocals smoothly punctuate the track, peppering flavour and melody to a song that, at its core, is musically very basic. Omit Tracey’s vocal performance, and Jimmy Jimmy is nothing more than mediocre reggae club music. However, the simplicity is intentional, and Damon Albarn’s restraint in not crowding the song with unnecessary bells and whistles is a master stroke.

Ultimately, the formulation and execution works well, and why shouldn’t it? Gorillaz have an extensive history of successfully collaborating with critically acclaimed hip-hop artists. Word of warning: you’ll be singing the words, “Jimmy, Jimmy,” for the rest of the day.


Track Review: Tom Morello – Highway To Hell (feat. Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder)

Few guitarists are as innovative and progressive as Tom Morello. Recognisable for his manipulation of the electric guitar, Morello is a bonafide string-scratching, pedal-pushing musical manic!

Dare it be said that Morello’s cover of veteran rockers ACDC’s Highway To High is better than the original? No, but it’s a pretty solid interpretation that’s given the full-throttle Morello treatment.

Gravel-voiced Springsteen takes the reigns in the first verse, before the gruff yet soothing vocals of grunge icon, Eddie Vedder, assumes vocal duties for verse two. The pair join forces in the chorus, authentically emulating the anthemic chanting of the original hit.

The breakdown is pure Rage Against The Machine. Insurmountable tension builds before it’s unleashed with a classic Morello solo, making it more than just a cover song. Morello has upheld the DNA of the classic, leaving it largely untouched. However, his breakdown and solo offering is just enough to make this song a highly memorable effort.


Track Review: Angels and Airwaves – Losing My Mind

Perplexing and palatable in equal measure, space rockers Angels and Airwaves have been around for over fifteen year now, and have successfully carved out their own ornate sound along the way. New single Losing My Mind, however, showcases a band that may indeed have lost their mind. Angels and Airwaves often put out music that they likely consider groundbreaking, but it’s generally just okay; however, this new single has reached an all time low.

The opening bass is an intriguing gimmick, and the pre-chorus is excellent, but the interest climaxes early on. The listener loses attention as the chorus resolves into a circa 2003 blink 182 blueprint. The video also resuscitates the dumb-fuck stupidness of blink 182, with Tom prancing around Vegas pretending to act like a prize fool – little does he know, he doesn’t need to pretend to be the village idiot.

Perhaps DeLonge is yearning for the simplicity of blink 182? Who knows what goes on it that befuddled alien-obsessed cranium? Whatever the reason, Losing My Mind misses the mark by a country mile.


Track Review: The Prodigy – Breathe (feat. RZA – Rene LaVice Dark D&B Remix)

Nineties dance classic Breathe was inescapable upon release, and marked the pinnacle of success for Big Beat boys, The Prodigy. Pioneering the sound that would become lamented in music history as Big Beat, The Prodigy have always done things their way. Appealing to dance and rock aficionados alike, they are a band equally comfortable performing at Creamfields or Download.

With the tragic loss of Keith Flint in 2019, fans would have understandably believed the terrifying freight train that is The Prodigy, had permanently been derailed and decommissioned. However, mastermind Liam Howlett is an industrious man and a slave to sound, announcing last year that the band will continue.

The original nineties classic, Breathe, was insidious and unnerving, but this new remix – a remix of the recent RZA collaboration – is frantic and urgent, as is often the way with Drum and Bass. But the urgency evoked by the track, triggers the urgency one feels when desperately wanting to change the record.

Despite retaining some of the original hostility of the record, Breathe did not need a drum and bass remix! There’s nothing wrong with DJs remixing classic tracks; some do it well, some do it poorly. Sadly, the drum and bass remix of Breathe falls into the latter camp.