Slammin’ Beers: A Slam Dunk Review

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Prologue

One of the finest pleasures of the late May Bank Holiday weekend is the fact you get a three-day weekend, but better yet, there’s bound to be some tasty musical action at Slam Dunk Festival, one of the UK’s finest touring pop punk/metal/rock festivals. Every year the festival offers great variety, with the bands and headliners presenting something for everyone, with a few upsetting clashes along the way. Plus, at under £50 for the ticket, it’s a great way to discover some brand new favourites as well. 

Also, it’s a brilliant excuse to get on the beer.  Six cans deep and thirsty for more, I decided to fully immerse myself into the day’s action, offering gonzo journalism from the pit. A metal Hunter S Thompson if you will. Whilst I can’t confirm that the Doctor didn’t enjoy opening this place up, I doubt he’s ever been headbutted during Bury Tomorrow and couldn’t stop sneezing. 

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Crossfaith

Kicking off the day’s personal schedule were Japanese electrometal enthusiasts Crossfaith, whose brand of full-frontal metal mixed with some heavy synth produces a sound akin to the Prodigy having angry sex with a wasps nest. Despite being on at half 2 in the afternoon and only the second band on, they nearly managed to fill out the entirety of the Genting Arena‘s floor, which is, give or take, about 8,000 people, and will host the likes of fellow metal heads Take That and Little Mix in the coming week. Mega. 

But it’s not hard to see why Crossfaith pulled in such a big crowd so early. The energy carried by their band was enough to send the arena into a mosh-heavy, fist-pumping frenzy during their six-song set, featuring an appearance from Beartooth‘s Caleb Shomo for an adrenaline laced performance of Ghost in the Mirror. One of their party pieces is a full-blown cover of Omen by the Prodigy, which does the original justice, but adds a smidgen more of ruthless aggression. Setting the bar high for the day’s action, Crossfaith were the perfect hors d’ouvere on the Slam Dunk menu. 

Rating – 7/10

Beers consumed – 1 pint Amstel (7 total)

Black Foxxes

Appearing in the middle of the Genting‘s food court on the Key Master stage, young and hungry Exter rockers Black Foxxes were one of the top dishes available in the food court. Perfectly enjoyed with a slice of overpriced pizza and a bottle of warm Heineken despite asking for a cold bottle, Black Foxxes banged out some proper, good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll.

Their debut album, I’m Not Well came out towards the latter half of last year, with songs like Husk, Wilder People and River steadily impressing everyone passing through the food court at that point. In retrospect it’s a fucking great idea to stick up and comers in the middle of a food court , because you’ll reach a wider audience. Great bunch of lads playing great rock ‘n’ roll with a shite slice of pizza. Lovely. 

Rating – 8/10

Beers Consumed – 1 bottle of lukewarm Heineken, 1 pint of Amstel (8 total)

Bury Tomorrow

Yes, yes, oh yay! At this point I was actually a bit pissed, which made the fact I was going to see Bury Tomorrow, a band I’d actually discovered at the same festival some two years back and met frontman Dan Winter-Bates whilst cuddling a two-pinter even more exciting than usual. There’s a theme developing here, isn’t there. 

Unfortunately the start of Bury Tomorrow‘s set was delayed by technical issues, something that would plague the Jagermeister Stage for the rest of the day. However, what was short was undoubtedly sweet as the set began with the scintillating Man on Fire, turning the floor of the Genting into a frenzy as pits opened up quicker than Maggie Thatcher could close them. Somewhere in between Lionheart and Sceptres I’d acquired an Obey snapback, something which oddly suited me and would stay on my head from that point onwards. Interesting side note, none of the bands I like make snapbacks, rendering this discovery void. 

During the final song Cemetery, I took damage in a moshpit, getting headbutted in the nose, causing me to sneeze uncontrollably, which meant I was unable to hear that their set was only going to be as long as that. Whilst technical glitches scuppered their set, they certainly made up for it in power and delivery. 

Rating – 6/10 (based on injury and technical glitches)

Beers Consumed – 1 Amstel (9 total)

Beartooth

No time to spare as Bury Tomorrow would be directly followed by their metal counterparts Beartooth. Well, there was time for a wee and another beer, so that bit’s a lie. 

The main offering of today’s action was always going to be Enter Shikari‘s tenth birthday party for Take to the Skies, but Beartooth‘s lightning set would mean that the Shikari boys would have to go some to beat this performance. On fire from start to finish, the Columbus crowd pleasers got a nearly full arena bouncing, jumping and moshing to their sound.  

Returning the favour that Caleb Shlom payed earlier, Crossfaith frontman Kenta Koie came out for a louder-than-hell duet on Body Bag, with a mix of old tracks such as In Between from debut album Disgusting rubbing shoulders with songs from 2016’s sophomore album Aggressive (which is only £9.99 on vinyl in HMV, get on it lads), getting a hungry Birmingham crowd hyped up. The set was jam packed with action, energy and passion, producing one of the standout performances of the day, and would definitely require a huge effort from other bands to beat that whirlwind performance. 

Rating – 8/10

Beers Consumed – 2 Amstel (11 total)

I Prevail 

Fucks sake. We didn’t get to the poorly placed Impericon Stage in time and we can’t even see the bastard thing. It’s like hidden behind some bushes, how bloody stupid. Pretty sure they were great anyway. Might as well have a pint and watch the FA Cup Final. Saw some of Citizen as well, they were good, if not my bag. Also saw some of Waterparks as well. Ended up doing an impression of the front man and sounded like a stereotypical American teenager. Like, oh my god Kelly. 

Rating – ???

Beers Consumed – 2 Amstel (13 total)

Don Broco

Christ Jesus I can’t stand Don Broco. I’ve got no idea where they fall into the musical spectrum but they sound and look like someone fed a Topman catalogue after midnight. They opened with Everybody which is a pretty enjoyable track mind you, but at the point it ended I descended into a fiftieth circle of musical hell which I am going to dub Fuckboicore, because why not? 

It’s easy to understand why people like Broco, because it’s something a bit heavier but not too heavy, but they’re wearing short sleeve shirts from Topman so they’re just okay, I guess? Frontman looks like a young Jeremy Clarkson, and I struggle to comprehend why anybody under the age of 50 tucks a t shirt in. My dad does that and I wouldn’t want to see him front Don Broco either. To be honest I got distracted trying to get my booze-laden pal to calm himself down, which was a comical interlude as we all ended up wrestling. Whole reason I was there to get into pole position for Shikari so I’m really not the guy to ask about it. 

Rating – 5/10

Beers Consumed – 1 Water, 1 Amstel (14 total)

Enter Shikari

LADIEEEEEES AND GENTLEMEN, SHOW YOUR YOUR APPRECIATION FOR ENTER SHIKARI!

Being honest the rest of this review is just slightly comical preamble to the main event. No more beer, no more comedy, it’s time for Enter Shikari to host the latest leg of the Take to the Skies anniversary tour. 

The atmosphere was tangiable and the excitement could be bottled and sold as a performance enhancing drug as the lights went out at the intro to Stand Your Ground/Enter Shikari hit, with the crowd going into a frenzy during, with the excitement carrying straight over into Mothership. At some point I lost my found snapback, but there was no room for passengers aboard the mothership. The excitement and ecstasy carried over into Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour, and it did, as Labyrinth followed directly after. This is brilliant, the production values were amazing if not a few technical niggles, and the passion interweaved in these old songs was incredible, but there was just as much love for the new classics as The Last Garrison, Anaesthetist and Redshift all made an appearance with The Appeal and the Mindsweep II bringing the set to an aggressive end. 

What a joy it was to see tracks like No Sssssweat, Jonny Sniper and Adieu, especially, performed live, with the crowd reaction showing that Take to the Skies still has the same impact and effect it did ten years ago, except this time, Shikari are now deservedly an arena filling band. However, whether they should be playing arenas is up for debate, as the sheer power of their sound, their message and their fans has caused severe structural damage in every venue they’ve played. That damn good. 

With a tribute to the people of Manchester weaved in, there was an emotional sing along to a cover of Oasis’ Half the World Away before the beginning of Adieu. 

In between songs, frontman Rou Reynolds made us all aware that June 8th is our opportunity to get rid of Theresa May once and for all, but if you’re a Shikari fan, and you’re not politically engaged, you’ve gotta get on the trolley. It’s music with a message, stupid!

All in all, I’ve been to lots of gigs in my time, ranging from small-time gigs where there’s more band members than fans, to blockbuster gigs from some of the biggest and best, but I’ve rarely seen a 10/10, to the point they barely take up one hand. But this, my dear reader, with the passion, the sweat, the love and the energy, makes this 10th birthday party one of the best gigs, and 10th birthday parties I’ve ever been to. 

Rating – 10/10

BEER TOTAL – 14 beers and I felt good enough to drive! But I didn’t. We got a taxi. OH and I had a few cans when I got in.  

FINAL OPINION

SURPRISE PACKAGE – Black Foxxes, rock and fucking roll!

BEST BAND – Shikari, no doubt about it. 

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT – Finding out that snapbacks suit your man. Swag, motherfuckers! 


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Track Review: Hook, Line and Sinker by Royal Blood

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Coming back after their meteoric rise up the UK’s musical mountain with their eponymous 2014 debut, Brighton decibel enthusiasts Royal Blood are back with their second single, Hook, Line, and Sinker, which will be part of their new album, How Did We Get So Dark?

Hook, Line, and Sinker is an old-ish Royal Blood song, debuted at their appearance at Leed Festival 2015, this bluesy ear rogering was already popular with fans, and a full-frontal studio release lives up to the hype that this song promised.

There are two schools of thought with this song that make it incredibly listenable: the first is the heavy, driving, bluesy sound coming from Mike Kerr‘s Magical Bass Guitar™ that reminds you of guitar riffs from a bygone era. Of course, it’d be unwise to draw comparisons, but the simplistic, yet aggressive hook that this song begins with is enough to knock you out of your trousers. One of the heaviest songs produced in Royal Blood‘s short-yet-massive (ooer missus) career, it’s a dirty, gritty ride the whole way through, with you needing a cigarette afterward.

The second is the lyrical flow of this song. The way “Then she drags me by one finger, to her lips hook, like and sinker, honey I’m a sucker when you linger” is a stonker of a line, and is highly relatable to anyone who’s ever found themselves addicted to the beautiful poison. You know this person’s no good for you, but yes, boom, they drag you back in, no matter how hard you try to escape, hook, line and… yeah, sinker. The whole lyrical makeup of this song is brilliant, and likely stems from Kerr and Thatcher ‘leading normal lives’ off the back of their white-hot debut album cycle.

It’d be foolish to draw any comparisons at the risk of looking like a complete fool, but the sound of this track really has a classic feel to it. Not in a ‘yer da still can’t name another band apart from Pink Floyd when complaining about music‘ sort of way, but in a way that it’s a brutally simple concept that really works with a heavy-but-not-too-heavy bluesy overdrive, with modern finishes.

Whilst many are quick to stick their tongues out at the thought of Royal Blood, it’s their brutal simplicity and lyrical relevance that makes them so popular. Whilst the two tracks to give a flavour of How Did We Get So Dark? are more complex and deeper than their relatives on Royal Blood, it’s still the aggressive simplicity and easily digestible lyrical content that makes Royal Blood the hitmakers. Sometimes, you don’t want something deep, meaningful and special, you just want a bit of rough that’s easy to get through and leaves you feeling satisfied at the end. Which is what these two are so good at.

9/10


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Track Review: Muse – Dig Down

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

The blessing and, indeed, curse with being a Muse fan is that you never exactly know which band is going to show up. On the one hand, you might get the symphonic aggression soundtracking a battle in a far away galaxy, or you might get something that’s like your Conservative voting auntie: extremely hard to get on with. In the case of brand new single Dig Down, you’re going to have to spend the next four or so minutes listening to your auntie complain about poor people.

The song bears a striking resemblance to 2012’s synthy love song Madness off The 2nd Law, which was okay-ish. Whilst live performances, time and reluctant acceptance that it’s an okay song have helped to age that song, it’s still one of the lesser songs Muse have offered over their decorated career.

Much like it’s mad cousin, Dig Down is a synth heavy song, with most of the song purely relying on the heavy bass synth and electronic drums, with Matt Bellamy‘s guitar only kicking in with a bastardised Queen solo towards the end of the song. Which Queen solo has been bastardised is unknown, but actually getting Brian May to play the solo would have given this song some more credibility, and taken his mind off of the poor badgers. Whilst the song is something different, it’s not too far away from any synth-based song that Muse produce, and is as mentioned above, incredibly similar to Madness.

Despite being an underwhelming single from a yet-to-be-announced, yet-to-be-titled upcoming album, the lyrical theme is very on the pulse in Dig Down, something that Matt Bellamy has been very good at throughout the years. In a time where we’re dealing with Brexit, Trump, Impending Nuclear Holocaust and Oh Fuck No Five More Years of the Fucking Tories, this song acts as a sombre call to arms, one where we can, yes, Dig Down and find a way, face the firing squad, against all the odds. It’s a very relevant and topical song from a lyrical point of view at least.

Is this song a bad song? No, not at all: it’s something different, but it feels a little underwhelming, as if it’s been half-finished. Seeing as Drones came out just over two years ago, there’s no real expectation for Muse to be releasing new material, and it feels like they could have spent a little longer on this song to make it that little better. Whilst Muse arguably hit their peak around 2006’s Black Holes and Revelations, the weight of their stardom should allow them to spend a bit more time on writing and recording, but Dig Down feels a bit rushed and a bit underwhelming. Whilst ‘Musers’ such as matt_bellamys_codpiece and domhowardshagmyarse will undoubtedly declare this song to be a masterpiece, this song will fail to draw in lapsed fans who fell off the wagon around the Black Holes era.

5/10


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Album Review: A Shortcut to Mushrooms by Treeherder

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

First impressions are important. From a job interview to a first date, nobody wants to make a total twat out of themselves and end up forever portraying themselves as an off-duty clown. But in the case of Wolverhampton alt/stone trio Treeherder, they’ve firmly shook your hand, asked how you are and got the first beers in with their debut album, A Shortcut to Mushrooms.

One of the biggest parts of this album is the power in the voice of guitarist-cum-vocalist Scott McNair. The power of someone’s vocals can make or break a band, and in Treeherder‘s case, the vocals help drive the power and aggression in their sound, perfectly synced in with drummer Jake Webb and bassist Neil Owens, creating a driving power trio.

The album is chock full of highlights, including tracks such as Lighthouse, Ents, Tightrope, God Save Us and Blue Eyes, pushing forwards raw emotion with a gritty, powerful edge. There’s even a cover of Reuben’s Cities on Fire, adding their own twist on the song without losing sight of the original.

Many love to sit on their gold thrones at the top of the ivory tower and complain that guitar music is slowly dying, but listening to this album proves that it’s still very much alive, with its heart beating stronger than ever. From back to front this is a consistently enjoyable album, without any filler material or weak points, it is a seriously good debut album.

Lyrically, the content of this album is fantastic. It can perfectly commentate on the pain of losing someone and the pitfalls that romance has to offer you. A standout line from the album is from the track, Tightrope, “I’m standing in the middle of your tightrope, and it’s held by both your hands“, which illustrates the uncertainty of putting your heart into someone else’s hands.

It’d be exceedingly unfair to go easy on a new band’s debut album to save them their blushes, but the praise of A Shortcut to Mushrooms is warranted, earnt and deserved. Managing to keep the sound fresh but familiar, this is an album you can pick up and listen to front to back, without even breaking a sweat.

More and more needs to be done to help fledgling bands find their feet, and this is one album that you should pick up, plug in, and enjoy it forwards, backwards, side-to-side, on the bus, on a cross-channel ferry, after a break up, during intercourse: just get some Treeherder in your life.

9/10

Buy A Short Cut to Mushrooms here. Do it. Now. You. Yes, you.


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TRACK REVIEW: Wildfire by Blink 182

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

It’d be awfully rude not to review a new track from one of the bands that lends its name to this website, which is exactly why Blink 182 are back again with their new single, Wildfire.

As part of the California album cycle, Wildfire is another track that ended up on the cutting room floor, along with 6/8Can’t Get You More Pregnant (Well, when you’re already pregnant it’s biologically impossible to be more pregnant so 10 points to Blinkindor, also, it was about thirty seconds long. Maybe that’s a joke about premature ejaculation which we’re all too stupid to get)Misery and Parking Lot as part of the unofficially titled Blimey! Bloody Brilliant Blink 182 B-Sides collection.

The song is a textbook Blink 182 track, the one where you can shut your eyes and imagine that you’re sat in a sunny Californian skate park, or one where you instinctively know the words to when you’re pissed, the sort of song that could tie communities together by getting them all to belt out What’s My Age Again?, as we would be unified by Blink 182’s inoffensive brand of pop punk.

Despite following the formula that made them megastars, this track fails to start a Wildfire in your heart (I knew you couldn’t resist a pun – Ed). In this track, familiarity breeds contempt and does little to make a lasting impact on the brain. By no means is this a bad track, and is certainly one of the better b-sides to come off the back of the enjoyable California, but it doesn’t do enough to get you excited. It’s got everything; some classic bouncy Hoppus bass work, trading vocals between himself and new boy Matt Skiba-boodly-bop-bop and light airy guitar chords that always transport you to that fictitious sunny skate park.

There’s nothing wrong with the classics, but sometimes, you don’t want a glass of Coca-Cola, you want something that’ll make your brain pour out of your ears because of what you’ve just heard. This track toes the Blink 182 party line, and makes sense why it’s nothing more than a b-side that will appear on the deluxe edition of California.

6.5/10


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ALBUM REVIEW: For Crying Out Loud by Kasabian

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Coming to an eardrum near you, Kasabian‘s sixth studio album, For Crying Out Loud has finally been brought into the world, covered in sticky Pizzorno afterbirth.

First things first, the cover. Foremost, it is a touching, lovely and humourous homage to their longstanding roadie, Rick Graham, in an industry where roadies are the unsung heroes of many rock bands. Secondly, it’s a little confusing why yer da is crying emojis and they’ve put (2017) quite prominently on the album’s cover, but hey, that’s rock ‘n’ roll for ya. Yer da’s worked hard to get himself on an album cover, the least you can do is be happy for him.

Kicking off with III Ray (The King), the album starts with the trademark punchy lad rock that could be bottled up and sold by Kasabian on the merch stand, the sort that will get crowds moving and get fans strutting down the street. A fantastic way to start the album, and perfect as part of a balanced, nutritional playlist. Whilst this is a twelve track album, a lot of it fails to register with the brain and feels like filler material that’s been quickly thrown together on the bus to school when the album’s due in THAT MORNING AND MR RECORD PRODUCER IS GONNA GIVE YOU DETENTION FUCK!

Tracks suck as Twentyfourseven and Good Fight feel like boiled ham between the bread of You’re In Love With a Psycho and Comeback Kid. Sure, boiled ham isn’t bad, but you’d rather be chewing on some succulent honey roast. With this analogy, You’re In Love With a Pyscho is also a slightly stale piece of bread, but Comeback Kid is a fine piece of sourdough and one of the best tracks on the album.

Comeback Kid was one of the standout single releases prior to the album launch, and it would take someone with a heart of stone not to be lifted by the triumphant horns at the beginning. Whilst Kasabian need not stage a comeback, the message is an uplifting one. Wasted is a moody, dance track and one of the better songs off the album, doesn’t feel like filler material and really gives you the flavour of the personal turmoil that went into this album, the lyrical theme takes you to a time and place where you could still be with the one you love, but as the song suggests, there’s been so much time, wasted, without you.

The mix of styles, genres and influences on this album are incredibly interesting, with Are You Looking For Action? a slow, chilled out track, whereas Bless This Acid House could have been pulled straight from Status Quo‘s back catalogue.

Image result for kasabian 2017

But the question that burns the most is; is this a bad album? No, it’s not a terrible album in any way, shape, or form, but it’s not a good album either. It’s just a bit… yeah, it’s there, like a trifle, or the pavement. It’s not an offensive album, but compared to the first four albums, it’s not one that you could listen to over and over again, there’s no Fire, no L.S.F, no Empire, no Vlad the Impaler. There’s a lack of classic Kasabian anthems that will cause audiences to leave arenas structurally unsafe. Love them or hate them, Kasabian‘s reputation comes off the back of OOOOOOF”in’ good anthems. Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you’ve never sung Fire or Club Foot whilst pissed, because you have, and if you say you haven’t, you’re fronting to look cool.

Kasabian promised that this album would ‘save guitar music’, but a lot of it feels like wasted potential, that this album could have saved the totally-fine-but-we’ll-gloss-over-that guitar music world, but tripped over its own shoelaces as it tried to get over the finish line. Whilst their status as Brit Lads ‘n’ Dads rock royalty will forever be guaranteed by their previous convictions, this album certainly doesn’t feel like a jewel in their crown. They will continue to fill out arenas and stadiums, but this latest offering fails to bring the classic stadium anthems that Kasabian have long promised.

With this album, Kasabian will be lucky if they can save a Word document.

6/10


The boys are back with a big bloody bang. Gone is the weirdness of previous effort 48:13, Serge and the gang have gone back to their roots: writing tunes with the sole purpose of making the crowd go fucking mental in a live setting. And with songs like III Ray and Twentyfourseven in their upgraded arsenal, fucking mental the crowd shall go. 

7.5/10 – Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

It’s not the worst thing ever made. As iterated previously, tracks like III Ray have that Kasabian sheen to them that’ll no doubt go down a belter in their abundance of festival appearances. Despite this though, the band do very little to live up to their claim of saving guitar music. Instead of delivering a defibrillator, For Crying Out Loud is a half arsed attempt at CPR.

4/10 – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)


 

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ALBUM REVIEW: English Tapas by Sleaford Mods

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Whilst Sleaford Mods won’t go as far to allege that they ‘tap into the vein of austerity Britan’, it’s certainly fair to say that they hold a cracked mirror up to the pock-marked face of modern Britain, with Jason Williamson’s impassioned rants expertly capturing the anger & betrayal of the modern working class over Andrew Fearn’s minimalist beats.

Though we all yearn for a world where songs on unemployment, austerity, Boris Johnson and waking up with shit in your sock outside the Polish off-licence have no meaning, Sleaford Mods provide a fantastic, aggressive commentary on the State of the Rapidly Disintegrating Union, and with their ninth studio release, English Tapas, it’s business as usual for the Nottinghamshire duo.

Many (whom enjoy dull, bland love songs, sung over the same three chords, missionary sex and floppy-haired middle-class kids with mummy-funded equipment) are quick to criticise Sleaford Mods for the raw, simplistic and rough delivery of their bruising tirades, but that’s what makes their craft so beautiful; for most people, the world is an ugly, unforgiving place, which is communicated through Williamson’s words. A blunt instrument? Absolutely, but a sledgehammer makes more impact than a feather duster, doesn’t it?

Despite less than two years separating English Tapas and their last offering, Key Markets, the world is a different place. We now live in post-Brexit, full-Tory Britain, where across the pond, the only man to ever lose money running a casino is now running America, sinking faster than a squealer wearing concrete shoes.

Poking fun at the Snapchat wankers, fitness freaks and Boris Johnsons of the world in songs like ‘Snout‘, ‘Army Nights‘ & ‘Moptop‘, this album retains the Mods’, specifically Jason Williamson’s policy of providing an honest assessment of the country in which we live. Whilst the fraudulent, moneyed men will try to win you over with their ‘man in a pub’ routine to convince you that they represent the working class, Sleaford Mods speak for those who have been let down by the elite and the establishment, as demonstrated in penultimate track ‘B.H.S‘.

Image result for sleaford mods 2017

English Tapas has also seen them push their creative boundaries a little more. Alongside bullet quick rants and spoken word diatribes, Williamson is employing his singing voice a bit more than previously, with Fearn utilising more experimental sounds and beats, most notably in the eerie-sounding ‘Drayton Manored‘.

One of the most enjoyable things about any Sleaford Mods record is the comedy that gets mixed in with the rapid-fire anger. Poetry and piss-taking are on the menu for English Tapas, with not even the usually well-received NME safe in ‘Dull‘, which also takes aim at the elderly who vote for the exact same people who want to fuck them over. Whilst opinion is well divided between people who do and don’t “get” what Sleaford Mods are doing, there’s no denying that they represent a downtrodden, disillusioned and depressed Britain, which, if trends continue the way they are, they won’t be going anywhere.

Whilst this album isn’t the best album they’ve produced, it’s yet again a pointed, brutal & honest rundown of modern life, and the exact tonic to help wash down the bitter realities of modern Britain.

8/10


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TRACK REVIEW: You’re In Love With A Psycho by Kasabian

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Back again for a sixth bite of the cherry, Kasabian are back with You’re In Love With a Psycho, the first single from their upcoming studio album, For Crying Out Loud, hoping to further cement themselves as Britrock royalty and the heirs to Oasis’ parka-draped throne.

The cover for the Leicester lads’ new album is a bit odd, for which they’ve got a black and white photo of yer da pulling the same face he does whenever Jeremy Corbyn appears on the telly & stuck some teardrop emojis on it. Lovely stuff. Same goes for the cover for You’re In Love With a Psycho, yer da, this time from the back. Good to see he’s keeping busy.

After the radical-ish electro synth departure that was the inventively titled 48:13 three years ago, the Leicester quintet signaled that their next offering would be a more guitar-centric album, and YINWAP (which, acronymised, sounds like a shit knockoff of WinZip), ratifies that statement, as there are guitars on this track.

The track has a light, bouncy and airy feel to it, following a more familiar Kasabian blueprint than the 48:13 era. The guitar is gentle but gets your foot tapping along with the drum beat, the shared vocal duties between Meighan and Pizzorno are Klassic Kasabian, and quite well performed. It’s not a bad song by any stretch, it’s just a bit… you know… meh, a bit vanilla, a bit ‘mmmyeahalright’. Fingers should be crossed that this is one of the more weaker tracks off the album, and will form part of a well-rounded album.

Lyrical highlights include “I’m like the taste of macaroni on a seafood stick”, which, to be honest, sounds fucking delightful and “you’ve got me switched on baby like electric eels” which is pretty cool. The lyrics are jolly and clever in parts, with the chorus no doubt becoming an all-hands-on-deck singalong when performed live.

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Yer da, showing off his new tattoo.

When all is said and sung, there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about this song, it’s actually quite forgettable. It’ll fit nicely into your workout playlist, good for the pre-drink Spotify queue, but you’ll have forgotten the song by the time it’s finished. Is it a bad song? Not at all, it’s a decent track, if not a little weak, but you have to listen to it a good few times in a row before it starts to sink in.

As part of their return to the public consciousness, Kasabian, in their own Kasabianny way promised that they were going to bring guitar music back from “the abyss”. Alrighty then. First off, do they mean a) Professional wrestler Abyss? b) James Cameron’s 1989 film, ‘The Abyss’ or c) the actual abyss where guitar music hasn’t gone and can’t be found. Guitar music’s perfectly fine, lads, in fact, it would be fair to say that it’s healthier than ever, with new and exciting acts seemingly sprouting from the ground every day!

However boys, if you truly are going to save guitar music, you’d better hope the rest of the album packs a stronger punch, for crying out loud!

4/10


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TRACK REVIEW: Green Light by Lorde

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

One thing that should always subtly remain with you when listening to Lorde‘s music is her age, and what she’s achieved by it. Around the age of 13/14, she was laying the groundwork for her debut album, Pure Heroine, and by the age of 16, she smashed into the face of the earth, becoming an instant success.

With Pure Heroine, it was the maturity, the depth and the approach that Lorde offered, which some would struggle to produce after years in the game. The crown of fame is heavy, but she has carried it as if she was forever meant to wear it. No tantrums, controversies or raised eyebrows, just a real-life musician who pours her heart and soul into every note.

So, with this information behind us, it’s no surprise that Green Light, the first single from her sophomore offering Melodrama, is a dancy, bouncy tune that masks the heartbreak Lorde weaved into the lyrics.

The song tells the story of the “last 2 wild, fluorescent years of [Lorde’s] life” in her own words. Starting with her doing her “makeup in somebody else’s car” & the person in question in this song being “a damn liar” over a minimalist piano beat, and how “that you said that you’ll always be in love, but you’re not in love”. 

The piano beat slowly begins to rise as she begins to hear “brand new sounds in my mind”, and that she’ll be “seeing you, wherever I go”, but that doesn’t stop the choral backing vocalists becoming more and more excited as the track produces more and more energy until “I’M WAITIN’ FOR IT, THAT GREEN LIGHT I WANT IT!”.

Image result for lorde green light

The chorus has a dancy, nineties feel as she’ll “get [her] things, but [she] can’t let go”, before segueing back into the sombre, minimalist piano beat as Lorde sometimes “wakes up in a different bed, too”, with the lyrical theme subtly, maturely and perfectly covering the protagonist’s heartbreak & the route to mending that patching up that poorly ticker. Closing out with a beautiful, yet simplistic synth-style solo with the energetic choral backing vocals weaving in between it, Green Light offers a frank and honest account of a break-up, with the partying that comes as part and parcel of setting yourself right with a maturity, depth and energy that only someone like Lorde can offer you.

Closing out with a beautiful, yet simplistic synth-style solo with the energetic choral backing vocals weaving in between it, Green Light offers a frank and honest account of a break-up, with the partying that comes as part and parcel of setting yourself right with a maturity, depth and energy that only someone like Lorde can offer you.

Whilst we may expect nothing less in terms of production, sound and lyrical theme from Lorde, this is a stellar track, and will be one of the standout tracks of 2017 until she gives us more of that sweet, sweet electro-pop.

 

8/10


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