Thursday, 27 November 2014

Quite the Specimen

After watching BBC’s Halloween special, ‘Goth at the BBC’ I feel in love with 
Goth band I’d never heard if before, Specimen.

They were a British band who formed in Bristol in the 1980s by vocalist Olli Wisdom and guitarist John Klein, who later went on to play for Siouxsie and the Banshees. They never released a full album until last year, as they broke up pretty quickly, have a whole bunch of singles and a few compilation albums. So a little bit disappointing really. Plus looking at and hearing them now-a-days nothing that special and well they’ve been kind of forgotten.

Even though they were amongst some of the first bands to create modern Goth.

They were amongst the first bands to blend Glam and Punk and to sprinkle something new into it creating that Pop Goth sound we all know so well, think Cult and Killing Joke. Unusually their keyboardist Jonny Slut is their most famous and recognisable band member due to his outrageous style and his huge back combed Mohawk-ed hair or ‘deathhawk’. Better still many think he created this famous look of heavy dark make-up, leather, chains and exposed skin. John Klein and Jonny Slut were part of a 2009 Fashion exhibit celebrating ‘Subculture and Style’.

As if that wasn’t enough Olli opened the notorious Batcave club in London which saw everyone from Bauhaus, The Cure, Nick Cave to Siouxsie and the Banshees play there. It was The place to be as a London Goth.

There most famous single ‘Beauty of Poison’ show cases the band perfectly, feminine, poppy, punky, quirky and gothic.

After the band split they are all continued with music, Jonny Slut dancing around a few and setting up the Nag Nag Nag club in London where he often DJ-ed and Olli moving to California and formed Space Tribe, the world’s leading psychedelic trance DJ's.

In July 2008, the original line up got together to perform at the Batcave's 25th anniversary event resulting in the release of the live album Specimen Alive at the Batcave on Metropolis.

You can now buy their latest and only studio album, ‘Wake The Dead’, from their website and amazon on download and CD. If it’s anything like their original songs it’ll well worth it.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Subsides Bar Set To Close Due To Council Plans

Subsides Bar is a Goth and Rock bar situated inside Paradise Circus just off Broad Street owned by David Longmate of Subculture at the Carling Academy. It is famous for its gigs, after parties and cheap booze.

The closure will be a big loss to the community and will directly affect local bands. Subsides are currently having a Closing Down Sale and plan to close its doors for the last time after its Last Ever New Year Eve Party.

Paradise Circus is set to be knocked down for a “landmark scheme” to extend the Central Business District. The redevelopment will create a new urban block including Grade A office accommodation and opportunities for retail and hotel uses. The development is set to start in 2015 and plans to be open by 2017.

I spoke with Ashley Brow, 28, who was part of the team that originally opened bar 7 years ago and quickly worked her way up from DJ, to bar staff to manager.  The news hit Ashley hard as she become close with her co-workers.  

“(I) made friends for life that I will always class as family”.

The bar was a haven for lovers of music with weekly DJ sets and regular gigs.

“(It was) for people that genuinely love music and welcomed anyone friendly who wanted to share in that passion”

The loss of a live music venue will always affect local musicians but Ashley is hopeful it won’t hit the community too hard.

“Subsides loss is someone else’s gain”  “Although I will say no-one throws after show parties like we do!”

David Longmate has been too busy to comment but we’re sure he will go on to something else great. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

Moral of the story, support Air Ambulance, it could save your life one day.

Another pub and another interview; this time with organiser and more recently security guy, Shaun Roberts at the Hare and Hounds on Wynall Lane.

It’s the prequel to the main event, the Air Ambulance Charity event at The Hare and Hound, which was 23rd August 

So we start off with the easy and obvious questions, why Air Ambulance?
Thankfully, Shaun divulges it was a second hand experience which shook him up. In a previous life Shaun drove for a living and once saw a car accident happen on a road that is tricky to get to, the Air Ambulance got there in ten minutes, twenty minutes faster than via the roads, those precious twenty minutes saved that person’s life. That made him stop and think, I may need that. I was very shocked to hear that this live saving service is purely funded by charity, no Government or NHS help, Shaun is also outraged by this.

 I share that I’ve also been in a situation, where a person I saw being attacked was saved by them. Weirdly enough, the drummer from Primer worked at the school at that time, talk about a small world.

Is that why they are playing today? I ponder.

Shaun states it’s more because of a very good working relationship with Primer, they’ve done a few air ambulance gigs before with him. All the bands are supporters; it’s not about furthering their careers. Star Scream actually come from Nottingham and practically begged Shaun to put them on the list.
Hopefully all four bands will play inside the pub in the evening, weather permitting,  and a few acoustic acts play outside during the afternoon. The evening line is as follows: Black Russian, a female fronted rock band, Star Scream, a more commercial rock, Primer, a female fronted Goth rock band and  the headliners are Dark Eyes, male fronted light rock band.

I later enquired and found out that Mother Nature wasn’t kind, and it rained all day, so the acoustic acts were moved to the evening, which went well.
Unfortunately he wasn’t having much luck arranging stalls, but the pub owners will put on food and there will be a bouncy castle, as this was a family event.

As the rain comes down we move inside and I notice framed certificates across the wall, all of charity events and the amount raised, it’s pretty impressive. Mostly dart events with an average of £300 raised. Lee, the owner, guessed about £3000 has been raised total in just 18 months, as that’s how long him and his wife’s have had the pub, and they plan on continuing as they started.  I enquire of a target for Shaun’s gig, which doesn’t exist. Shaun see’s targets as a distraction, as if you miss it you’ll be disappointed, even if a lot was raised. It makes sense.

How long does organising an event take?

Roughly 3 months, that’s some dedication. That includes creating ideas, booking and promotion, as you can’t start promote too early, people will forget, or too late as people won’t hear about it, it’s a tricky balance, but Shaun seems to have it sorted from years of practise. Luckily it’s not too stressful, well if everyone plays nice and if it’s not your first time.

Although the music industry is stressful anyway. Hence why Shaun is taking a step back and going into security, well trying anyway, as music is also a drug. He sighs that it’s so demanding and people often screw you over. After five years, it’s easy to see why it can grind at you and cause issues in your personal life. But Shaun himself seems unsure he can stay away too long.
It all started from a pure love of rock music and a desire to give something back to an industry which has given him so much over his life. I can relate to this, as I’ve grown up with it and it’s shaped who I am and I get the privilege of sharing great music.

If only I could have made the event. But I hear the evening went well, which I am glad of.

I’ll as soon as I know how much was raised, I’ll add it.

Moral of the story, support Air Ambulance, it could save your life one day.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Dogs Of War - Inteview

It started out as a quiet night out but I ended up seeing, enjoying and getting the number of a local punk band.  So the next week I’m back at my local with the three skinhead punks in Dr Martins; Paul Kelly (PK), James O’Donoghue and Paul ‘Stanna’ Winstanley also known as Dogs of War. Who used to be Dogshit Sandwich, Fighting In Someone’s House, 9 Volt Terrier, 100 Plastic Cups and Tattooed Mother Fuckers.  

They may look like Bull Terriers but really their puppies whose barks are bigger than their bites.

So here it is: this is what happened when I interviewed Dogs of War.
You can also listen to the interview as a podcast.

Myself: When did Dogs first form?
Paul: About ten years ago. It used to be called summit different but there was a big bost up and we got new members. That’s when Stanna and James come in.
Myself: How come you kept Dog in the name, that seems to be a recurring thing?
Paul: We were gonna have a new band but the guitarist Andy, who couldn’t make tonight said lets called it Dogs of War. We’re known as the dogs.
Stanna: Is there any reason?
James: ‘Cus we’re all dogs
Paul: Yeah we’re all animals
Myself: Are you guys local?
James: Wolverhampton
Stanna: Hill Top, West Bromwich
Paul: Gayford
Myself: Why did you form the band?
Paul: Well my band, Dogshit Sandwich broke up and I just wanted to carry on
Myself: And you guys?
James: I joined the band about three years ago and I’ve been in pub bands before.
Myself: But why did you want to get into music in the first place? Why a band?
James: Going back to (19)’94 now when I first listened to Basket Case and Green Day, that’s what made me want to play music.
Stanna: Sad
James: But yeah that’s what made me want to get into music.
Stanna: I was in a punk band years ago, ‘91/’89 called Social Vomit but I hadn’t played for 15 years and then a met PK and he asked me if I wanted to try out on the drums, I just went for it. I’m best drummer in the world.
Paul: Well first I got into metal and then I heard the (Sex) Pistols and I never turned back. I always wanted to sing in a punk band.
Myself: Has it always been Punk for you guys then?
*enthusiastic yeses all round*
Myself: So what part of Punk is it you like? Is it just the musical and fashion side you like or do you like the political side also?
They all agree they are anti-politics in Punk, and very against ‘PC Punks’.
Paul: Do what you like.
Myself: So you like the freedom of Punk?
All agree
Myself: Moving on, how successful do you think Dogs are?

Stanna and PK unanimously say yes, around the West Midlands, but then both correct themselves to the Country. So a yes I think. The band have this talent of all saying pretty much the same thing all at the same time, particularly PK and Stanna.

Myself: Go on, how many gig do you think you’ve done as Dogs of War?
Paul: Ooh bloody hell! I reckon, over ten years, probably about 70 or 80
James: Nah more than that innit, gotta be more like a hundred
Myself: Give me, individually your best experience playing live as Dogs of War.
Stanna: Mine was falling off the drums at The Wolf up Birmingham, cus I fell off, got back on again and fell off again. Cus of alcohol
James: Mine was when we were playing up Darby and the leads came out of my guitar on stage and it was the first song of the night, middle of a solo. And fucked it up as well.
Myself: Why was that your best experience and not your worse?
James: Because I was pissed.  I’ve had more but I liked that experience for some reason.

Paul: Where do I start with mine? *big laugh* Well there was one I played a gig in Coventry and there were rumours that I ran outside and stopped traffic . I don’t remember it myself.
Another one, we were playing at the Kings Swinford Cross, the carvery pub, they wanted local bands, so I said yeah, they didn’t know what sort of band it was. Then they had to close all the doors cus you could hear it all over the village, someone came in with a baseball hat. The gig got cut about the seventh tune by the land lord because he said the coppers had called as the cop shop was next door.
But I never really remember it, I’m too out of it but there’s plenty of people to tell the stories.
Myself: Go on, I dread to ask this one, worst ones then, if that’s your best!

There’s a long pause as the band think, but they all agree that they can’t really think of any apart from technical issues. For over ten years playing for half the members that’s not too shabby.

Stanna: When my liver fell out me eye.
Myself: So you always saying you’re always ‘out of it’, is that just alcohol or drugs as well?
James: Nah I don’t touch them
Stanna: I do.
Paul: Now and again
Stanna: No hard drugs.
Myself: Is it only when you play gigs or?
Stanna: Yeah basically. The energy
Paul: Just when I feel like it. Oh I’ve had it a few times when we’ve done gigs, it’s been great!

I enquired if they wanted this part cut, as it was my curiosity but I was greeted with shrugs and the phrase ‘freedom of speech innit’.

Paul: I remember I used to take a whizz and down it with a pint of Stella. There was this guy ina wheelchair who came to the front. I got pushed back by my mate, I went running forward and apparently I got knocked out and I was still singing!
Myself: Is that where your stage energy comes from? Being pissed and high.
(PK likes to run around the room, climb on bars and run out the door when on a wireless mic.)
Paul: Well I’ve done plenty sober too.
Myself: You have the same energy sober?
Paul: I’m the same pissed and sober
Stanna: He’s an energetic person. 
Paul: But it’s always better when you’ve had a few
Myself: You’re currently recording your second album. How’s that going?

Paul: Going alright yeah, got 16 tunes.

The rest of the band agree that recording is successful.
Myself: Where are you recording it?
Paul: Sanctuary Studios Dudley

I then go on to discover all the band members are experienced with the recording process, Stanna is on Dogs debut album ‘Gash After Gash’ and it is James second recording . All members agreed its going very well.

The release date for’ Bost It Up Gash’ is the 31st August.

To my surprise I then find out they all write the lyrics together, they called the Dogs a family as they do everything together and never separately. The family of dogs or the family of mutts as Stanna puts it. We then got onto bands we all like and it’s basically all the classics and local punk bands. This turns back onto politics, as I mention The Dead Kennedys.

Stanna revels they are too political for him. They all agree punk and politics shouldn’t mix. Which is an interesting debate, but one for another time.
Stanna: I think Punk is about saying what you wanna say not being told what to say.

Paul: It’s got too politically correct, like saying you shouldn’t eat meat.
Stanna: And we’re feed up of PC Punks called us a racist band when we’ve never been racist and I never intend to be.
Myself: So do you have any political views? Like are you for or against gays and immigration?
Stanna: People can do what they want.

The band whole heartily agree. That’s Punk.
Moving on the lyrics, I had to ask, with titles such as ‘Slag in Worcester’ and ‘Fuck a Dyke’ but being clearly open minded people. It’s all satire, jokes, stories, real people and daftness. I had to ask.

Myself: What’s ‘The Grannys are coming’ about?
Paul: So it was to do with my old band, GBH. Our mate who was in the band was selling old pornos  in the place we used to practise but there’s this one that got nicked and the singer of GBH brought it back and I watched it and it had a load of 70 year old grannies in. it never played probably after that.
Granny pornos, falling out of windows and not a single swear word. Oh those aggressive punks.

As the interview came to a close I asked for some final words

Stanna: I hope everyone has a nice life and drink more and come and see The Dogs.

Because these skinhead punks are so nasty.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

I’ll Rust With You by Steam Powered Giraffe- Single Review

I’ll rust with you is the latest single from their third album, MK III, complete with a charming video.

The video is an enhanced live performance of the song; every member has their charm turned up to 101%, particularly Bunny, who takes lead vocals in this chirpy bouncy 1950’s love pop song.

It’s fun and addictive and makes you want to dance as we see Bunny swirl her new skirt excitedly with the piano, her honey smooth voice croons as Hatch Worth and Spine provide candy floss backing vocals.

Its simple melody makes you sway your body and bob your head in time, smiling as it fills you up and gets stuck in your head. You press play for the third time in a happy trance.

It’s love on first listen.

It’s sweet and innocent in la la land and you never want to go home.  


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Steam Powered Giraffe- Article

I recently came across an American band, hailing from San Diego, called Steam Powered Giraffe. With their heavenly harmonises, quirky robot characters, quick wit and joyous songs, they have quickly stolen my heart. They describe themselves a ‘pantomime band’, as they don’t just play music, they perform, ad-lib, cover songs and entertain with original songs.  

It all started in 2008 by twins David and Isabella Bennett, or The Spine and Bunny/Rabbit. They already have three albums, numerous awards, including the Best Live Comedy act and a DVD under their belt. All this equating to reasonable success in America but are lesser known over the pond. Despite not being around all that long the band has gone through a few changes. In 2013  they introduced an actaul 'metal' giraffe into the stage shows and music video, its named GG and is powered by Bunny. The Jon, Jonathan Sprague, was replaced by Hatchworth, Sam Luke, a previous background band member in 2012. In my opinion this much improved the band as Hatchworth is a much more dynamic character, the joker of the pack, and a better musician and singer. Isabella herself has been transitioning from male to female over the last few years and in 2013 they decided her robot should change also, hence to birth of Bunny. As you can image this caused quite a stir amongst fans, although the overall consensus has been positive and their popularity has continued to grow.  I agree with the change as it fits in with their family ethos of anti-discrimination, drugs and alcohol. Plus robots have no sex or gender so why shouldn’t she start wearing dresses?

Their musical style is hard to pin down. It’s unusual and changes frequently. The overall tone is fun, classy and old fashioned done in a modern way. The second album ‘The 2₡ Show’ from 2012 contains one of their stand out songs, the hypnotic ‘Honeybee’; a robots lament over lost love. It has a simple chiming guitar, clever lyrics and beautiful harmonies. While ‘Brass Goggles’ from the debut ‘Album One’ from 2009 is a quirky song about being a robot. It’s got a 1940’s dance hall feel with its dancing piano. While ‘Fancy Shoes’ from the third album MK III is funky with a little dark hint and spoken parts. Beyond all the fun and gimmicks they are talented song writers who also manage do to good cover songs, something frequently done but rarely done well. Examples include acoustic versions of ‘Diamond’ by Rhianna and ‘Harder, Better Faster’ by Daft Punk. The first being a solo by David/Spine and featuring GG the giraffe, while the other is a recent cover featuring Hatch Worth and the newly upgraded Bunny.

While the style changes they are consistently brilliant and have some of the best harmonies I have ever heard.  They are enchanting characters and people, each entirely different. The Spine is the mature robot, the leader of sorts. Bunny is erratic and childlike, full of life, similar to Hatch Worth who seems quite a confused individual but doesn’t malfunction nearly as often as Bunny. They have a large ever growing online community with talented fan art and comics appearing all over. The bands response to this is to be as active online as they came, doing video pod casts where they answer questions put to them on forums, posting interviews and comics and art of their own. Sam and Isabella have both recently started posting web comics, Isabella’s you can find on their official website.

I have high hopes for them and hope they become popular enough to start touring and selling albums here in the UK, and from there worldwide. 

Friday, 30 May 2014

The Hoosiers – Supported by Capital Sun and Ariana and the Rose

The Hoosiers – Supported by Capital Sun and Ariana and the Rose
HMV Institute Birmingham- 23rd May

Locals boys Capital Sun released their debut album, ‘Mr Nobody’, on the 30th May (see other review) and were a one-off support for Indie legends The Hoosiers. They strolled on stage looking twee as could be and tried to woo the audience with their candy vocals and catchy guitar riffs. They reminded me of a softer Futureheads, with the thick choppy acoustic guitar and bass-y sound. Single ‘It’s a Crime’ is bouncy, and catchy as hell- certainly suitable for radio air time! “A Ballad Of Rocky Lane” was similar with cracking acoustic guitar.  For such a new band they gave a pretty confident performance and had a twinkling of stage presence. I’d pay to see them again. I caught up with the boys as Ariana and the Rose set up. They agreed they felt it went well apart from a few technical issues and the heat of the lights.

Ariana and the Rose were not what I’d expect at a Hoosiers gig: electro pop with splashes of indie guitar. The band looked smart in shirts and jackets while Ariana came floating on with a 60’s style white floral dress. They were lively, sexy and sassy; they even got the room dancing a little bit. They created a big sound that surrounded you as her sugar sweet vocals filled you. Their cover of ‘Sweet Dreams’ certainly went down well as the room bopped and sang along; good cover too, fabulous vocals, but not very original. ‘Hollow’ was slow and doomy but with a shimmer of hope while end song ‘This Is Our Youth’ was the big summery euphoric song, similar to Foster the People. EP ‘Head Vs Heart’ is out now on ITunes.

Then it was The Hoosiers, boy oh boy did they wake the room up in their smart attire. It was electric, with drums in your throat, bass in the chest, guitar and keyboard tingling your spine and vocals melting you. The room bounced and sang and cheered and screamed with flailing arms in the air. They had real stage presence and an infectious energy and happiness. A variety of songs was played including a few from the latest album ‘The News From Nowhere’; such as poppy jerky ‘Fidget Brain’ and a more synth heavy opener song ‘Somewhere In The Distance’. Naturally the room responded more enthusiastically to the instant classics, ‘Cops and Robber’ and ‘Worried About Ray’. Their sound consumed you so that nothing else matter or felt real, time meant nothing nor did it matter. One thing that’s for sure is that that frontman Irwin Sparkes sure knows how to please crowd: join it. At that moment everyone, despite age and sex, became a screaming fangirl. He walked round singing his heart out, sometimes to no-one, to some-one, oh look he’s on the ground again, it was great fun. The four song encore started with a beautiful acoustic rendition of ‘Choices’ as the other band members proceeded to wander cheerfully through the crowd with tambourines. The night ended with ‘Goodbye Mr A’, what a way to ensure they don’t leave your head for days.

It was a thrilling night, each band had great energy, great sound and great potential. Can we go back and do it all again? 

Capital Sun:
Ariana and the Rose:


Saturday, 1 February 2014

Incommensurable Music (Music That Will Make You Feel)

Incommensureable: it means diverse. It's my belief that certain songs can be incommernsureable, they can touch a person even if they don't normally like that style. I've put together three songs from three different styles that I believe have this power. To achieved this I have identified three simple steps.

I've Firstly I think the music has to match the lyrics, so that it didn’t matter if you didn’t understand you’d still feel something from the music alone, there is no point writing a sad song if it musically sounds the same as the happy songs. That’s the big problem I face with most songs that try to express darker emotions, if I didn’t know the lyrics, I wouldn’t have known it was a sad song, for example Protest The Hero’s song ‘Turn Soonest To The Sea’ made this mistake. I adored and related to its lyrics of female exploitation but for me the music didn’t reflect that. Whereas a Dead Can Dance or Cocteau Twins song can when the vocalists rarely sing in English, though I am aware this is more than likely down to my tastes. 

Secondarily the vocals must also be emotional and express the pain, loss or longing the song is about, there is nothing worse than dull vocals. 

Thirdly the lyrics must clearly express the emotions in a way in which people can understand and relate to.  If a person can relate to the songs message, and the music can express this, it will cross the taste barrier and move a person.

Macklemore, is the one that sparked the idea. I am not a fan of rap. I find it dull and repetitive and I never know what is being said, but I was shown his song ‘Neon Cathedral’ featuring Allen Stone and it really moved me. It helped that I could understand him but I felt the melody reflected his message. The song is slow, simple, with samples of violins and piano; the music, as well as his vocals expresses his pain as they are brimming with emotion. The song is about his struggle with alcoholism and losing his faith and though I cannot personally relate, I could almost feel his pain. The line that stuck with me the most is “the bar is my church”. 

Another song is ‘This Women’s Work’ by Kate Bush. Now this is to my taste but I challenge you to not be moved or at least be able to relate to this song. Even my hard-core heavy rock loving friend enjoyed and was moved by this song. It’s a simple piano piece with some of Kate’s best vocals as she sings as if she is practically crying. Her vocals though controlled, ooze regret and longing. This song is bare and honest with cryptic yet perfectly clear lyrics about relationships and regret; “All the things that I should have said that I never did. /Oh darling, make it go away now.”

Another song suggested to me was ‘Hurt’ by Nine Inch Nails. For me to be able to pick out a particular upsetting song is an achievement notable in its self! I am only a casual fan of NIN, but again I challenge you not to be moved. It is minimalist to the point of being dysfunctional with vocals that switch from being whispered softy to yelling accusingly that, “I am right here. What have I become?” It is a song about self-harm and desperation. It is angry and yet it hides in the corner, it switches mood, pace and volume suddenly and effortlessly, seeming to grow angrier as it progress. That is exactly how you create music that reflects emotions.

Three songs, all different styles and genres but all that I strongly believe can move beyond.

Feel free to leave feedback, did these songs move you? 

Monday, 27 January 2014

Dead Can Dance- Anastasis – PIAS Recordings

Dead Can Dance are a Neoclassical Dark Wave English-Australian band who originally formed in 1981. The band then disbanded in 1998, only to reform in 2005 for a world tour and again in 2012 to create ‘Anastasis’.  I have to admit, I’d never heard of them till my Dad played a track, and I can tell you, it was instant love.

The album opens with ‘Children Of The Sun’, which wouldn’t be out of place performed in a church with its air of holiness and its sense of grandeur; synths glisten, guitar chimes and brass fill the gaps as Brendan Perry’s voice softly booms and echo’s.  ‘Anabasis’ has an Eastern exotic sound to it, added to by Lisa Gerrard’s heavenly vocals which are like something you’d hear on the ‘The Lord Of The Ring’s’ soundtrack. ‘Agape’ follows this Eastern tone with wailing strings and a seductive steady beat, creating a hypnotic atmosphere; you can picture belly dancers round a campfire in the dead of night.

‘Amnesia’ breaks away from this. It’s melancholic and regretful with its lonel

y piano, slow pace and shimmering organ and Perry’s vocals are deep and mournful. ‘Kiko’ continues this mood with its commanding opening and Pornography era Cure feel. This is effortlessly mixed in with an Eastern style guitar melody and Gerard’s Elf like vocals that soar high above. ‘Opium’ is softer and innocent, led by tribal drumming, and Perry’s deep vocals, which sound more hopeful. ‘Return Of The She-King’ again sounds like a track from The Lord Of The Rings soundtrack. It’s proud, grand, royal and has a celebratory feeling to it.

The closing track ‘All In Good Time’ is dreamy as his creamy vocals and the sleepy violins wash over you, like gentle waves lapping on the shore.

Listening to Anastasis is more than just listening to an album, it’s an experience and an emotional journey.


Friday, 3 January 2014

Naked and Famous – In Rolling Waves

Naked and Famous – In Rolling Waves- Fiction Records

‘In Rolling Waves' is the bands second album, which was recorded in LA despite the band hailing from New Zealand. It shows signs of growth and maturity even though it holds the same sounds of the first, though I do believe they have upped themselves, which I am impressed by as ‘Passive Me Aggressive You’ is a stunning debut.

Album opener ‘A Stillness’ had a catchy folk guitar with icy synths creating a rather unusual yet enjoyable sound; like Inuit folk pop stars. Single ‘Hearts Like Ours’ is one of their ice cold pop songs with that trademark guitar fuzz and vocals filled with longing-perfect. It’s catchy, makes you want to dance while also filling you with an unnameable emotion, which contrasts with ‘Waltz’ as it’s like a snowy landscape, cold and simple yet beautiful. While, ‘The Mess’ builds into a fuzzy wall and echoed vocals unite. Much of the album has these sounds.

 ‘Grow Old’ is slow and mournful with distorted vocals and slow piano. Feedback glides over the top occasionally. The album picks up with ‘I Kill Giants’, as it’s warm and glitters, like the sun shining on ice.  This feeling is kept alive with the Teen anthem ‘What We Want’ with its charming guitar and soaring vocals.  ‘We Are Leaving’ has an empty feeling with the simple piano low vocals and pattering drums.

Concluding song ‘A Small Reunion’ is romantic with acoustic guitar a violin and united vocals that seem to whisper in your ear. The song slowly builds giving it a fuller feeling. It’s a heart-warming way to end such an outstanding album.