Track review: Josie proto – champagne fizzles

I’ve been a fan of Josie Proto since I heard ‘Pub Songs Vol:1’ earlier this year. I think she is very good at creating upbeat music that will make you dance. Her songs can brighten anyone’s day, while her lyrics are relatable to  a lot of people.

However in comparison “champagne fizzles” is stripped back. I love how folky the chords are because they match the introspective lyrics. The song could be  about how Proto longs to see someone who is close to her, but it could also apply to anyone in lockdown. It’s a very relatable song which shows off her talent and versatility.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track review: Ed Staal – 3am

You know when you’re up late at night in deep contemplation? As much as sleep is important, there’s something about staying up and collecting your jumbled thoughts on paper. Or even just being in your own space.

3am by Ed Staal is the perfect soundtrack for this. It talks about drinking in a bar till 3am, allowing the protagonists thoughts to take hold. The song is backed with hazy synths and beautiful guitars to put you in a dream like state.

Track review: What good will it do // All Runs Red

I love diversity in band members. because it shows off a wide range of influences. This is true for All Runs Red. The collective have members from Belgium, Italy, and they keep the continental vibe flowing by getting a lead singer from a different country.

On their new single “what good will it do” they brought in Mike Murphy from New Zealand. His vocals channel Nothing But Thieves and this works very well alongside the uplifting post hardcore guitars. It’s a song that has longevity. It’s a very catchy bit of songwriting that will bring them an even bigger fan base.

EP Review: fix you // Claudia balla

The album is Claudia’s love letter to her teenage self.

I really like the mix of styles on this EP. Ball’s vocals on ‘Hush’ are very strong and powerful. They work very well with the pop-rock guitars. It’s a song about having the confidence to be free and ‘live your life in solitude.’ It makes the listener feel uplifted and shows that if you focus on yourself, good things will happen.

“Fix you” is beautiful. It’s about trying to save a lost love. I think the violin adds to the song because it helps bring out the emotional impact. As well as this, the vocal melody is top notch.

I also really like the last song, “Broken Heart.’ the acoustic guitar eases you in then once the drums kick in, it becomes abthemic and uplifting. It shows off her versatility very nicely, rounding off a wonderful EP.

Track Review: Keeping Faith in Something // Nervous Twitch

Nervous Twitch made an impression on me when they opened Indietracks 2016. Their sound is a cocktail of Bis and riot grrrl, is captivating. It left They’re back with a brand new song called ‘Keeping Faith in Something.’ The song is the band’s first new music since signing with Reckless Yes.

I love how they’ve turned up the fuzz on ‘Keeping Faith in Something.’ Driving the track forward is an addictive synth melody. It keeps the listener hooked because they don’t know what will come next.

I think that everything about this song is catchy with plenty of attitude. I can’t wait to hear what Nervous Twitch have up their sleeve next.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Album Review: Departures // Inego

Inego are an up and coming band from Manchester. Their sound is described as “retro yet modern”, with influences ranging from New Order and James to Fleetwood Mac. Their debut album ‘Departures’ came out this week on their own Fight the Power Records label.

On ‘Departures’ Inego have a strong ear for a melody. ‘Realise It’s You’ is full of funk and the clean production is very satisfying to listen to because it makes the listener feel happy. ‘We’re Coming Up’ is a huge disco banger. The upbeat guitars combine well with the horns because it creates a fast flowing melody that makes me want to dance.

I think the horns add something to Inego’s sound. They work on their faster songs and also on ‘Beyond Starlight.’. There is a break in the middle where the bass tone is similar to post punk, while the dance and dub influences from the horns combine gloriously to create a sound I haven’t heard before. I didn’t think all those sounds could work well together, but they do.

I really like ‘Somewhere in the Stars.’ It is reminiscent of Oasis’ tender moments, taking  a positive outlook on life. The vocals are strong and take the listener on a journey where they can float in space.

‘Departures’ is a very optimistic album that will make you feel better in these tough and challenging times. It takes influence from the classic Manchester bands, while also adding Inego’s unique sound. It shows that they are ones to look out for in the future.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Album Review: We Move As One // Ironed Out

It’s been a while since I’ve heard an album that’s stacked in heaviness. It has to be an album I’ve enjoyed listening to, such as ‘Inhumane’ by Bearers, or the last Gideon record. But We Move As One, the second album from Ironed Out is absolutely disgusting. From the moment the vocals come in, you’re in for a treat.

I have noticed that a lot of bands are tapping into their angrier side, like Bring Me the Horizon and Don Broco. Their latest songs have been heavier than we’ve seen them in a while. But Ironed Out is straight out hardcore, with a load of snarling riffs that say “fuck you.” 

It opens with the grimey riff of ‘Pavement Strong.’ The rapping fits perfectly with the angry guitars, while the drumming is tight and focused. The lyrics are very territorial because they represent London, while the breakdown at the end is filthier than a slug sandwich.

‘Crazy Old World’ offers something different, with clean vocals in the chorus. They help to keep the record sounding fresh while the lyrics are about pushing through in the madness of life: “Time and time again, trying to make ourselves heard / standing around in this crazy old world.” I wish gigs were a thing, because the nasty breakdown at half speed at the end of the song would have me spinkicking and stagediving all over the place. There’s also a funky bassline in the middle. This shows their influences are varied, which is really awesome.

I’ve been listening to a lot of UK rap and grime lately, and I love it for its passion and honesty. Ironed Out combine rap and hardcore perfectly on We Move As One. I like how this album is filled with chunky riffs and there’s no letting up at all. I think the production is better in comparison to their first album, Us and Them because it’s polished, unleashing the power of their songs.

I think if you’re into The Ghost Inside, Hacktivist, or Madball you’ll love We Move As One.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Album Review: Escape // Future Palace

I think it is awesome that Future Palace have different influences. Their sound is mainly a melodic form of post-hardcore, but they also take inspiration from 80s synth pop like Depeche Mode. This is evident on their debut album, Escape.

I love that there is a lot of catchy hooks, especially on recent single ‘Maybe.’ The uplifting guitars blend with the soft synths because they take the track into a poppier dimension. But the theme is darker, n

On the other hand, this formula doesn’t always work. Post hardcore is a great genre but also oversaturated.  On ‘Parted Ways’, the band do not stand out from the pack, but thankfully these moments are only fleeting.

There’s some interesting production on ‘Anomaly.’ The distorted guitars create a strong energy, and work well with Maria’s strong vocals. ‘Break Free’ is also a strong way to end the album. It sounds like it’s been influenced by Holding Absence’s shoegaze but the power chords create a heavier dynamic.   When Maria sings “I keep fighting but I’m lost in my own world” it is powerful because it shows a determination to keep on going.

Aside from a few generic moments, ‘Escape’ is a solid debut album. It hows that Maria wears her heart on her sleeve, because her vocals are passionate, but also the guitars are powerful and pack a punch. It will be interesting to see what Future Palace will come up with in the future.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track Review: Finding Kate // I Feel Bad

Finding Kate is the alias of Kate Pavli, a singer hailing from Australia and Cyprus, but based in London. Her style is characterized by a powerful vocal delivery, while she draws influences from Rock, Pop, and Alternative. She’s been honing her talents over the years, releasing new single ‘I Feel Bad.’ The track has received a wave of support from Kerrang Radio and Planet Rock, while she has played shows at  Icebreaker Festival in Portsmouth, and supported Hands Off Gretel.

‘I Feel Bad’ is a fiery rock song which brings Kate’s soaring vocals to the fore. They drive the track forward because they are captivating. One thing that impresses me about this song is the way the vocals mix with the synths because they add an extra layer to her already huge sound. It shows that she is willing to try new things. The chorus is the strongest bit of the song because the passionate delivery and heavy guitars are extremely melodic.

Listening to ‘I Feel Bad’, it is easy to see why Finding Kate’s reputation is increasing. With distinctive vocals and a haunting sound, she is a talent you should keep your eyes on in the future.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

EP Review: Pharos // Ihsahn

Ihsahn draws rom so many influences that the beautiful thing about his sound is that you don’t know what he’s going to come out with. His EP ‘Telemark’ which was released earlier this year went back to his black metal roots and a take no shit attitude, and he is following it up with ‘Pharos’. It’s an EP full of twists and turns, with a few covers in the mix.

In comparison to ‘Telemark’, ‘Pharos’ is much lighter. Pharos is the Greek translation of lighthouse, and the EP itself captures some lovely soundscapes.

An example of this is ‘Spectre at the Feast’ which reminds me of Oasis’ more tender moments. The melodic vocals brightened my mood because the big production was a joy to listen to. The heavy guitars in ‘Losing Altitude’ cut deep like a razor, especially with the strings bending. They add to the dark mood of the song.

Ihsahn has also recorded two covers on the album: ‘Roads’ by Portishead, and ‘Manhattan Skyline’ by a-ha. The former captures the buzing tremolo guitar of the original. The fluid drums and the flanger effect work well because the listener feels relaxed. The instruments and vocals work well in the mix because they all blend together very nicely.  

 The cover of Manhattan Skyline captures the light synths in the beginning with some falsetto vocals in the intro. The guitar riff in the original is quite heavy, but Ihsahn amplifies this further. The chorus is huge, but the cover remains faithful to the original. It shows the diversity on this EP, and it’s well worth your time.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos