Photograph by Kane Layland
Photograph by Kane Layland

Concert Review: DON BROCO

DON BROCO, to anyone who knows them, are a very special band. Despite easily selling out the 10,000-capacity Alexandra Palace venue last weekend, they continue to feel like one of the most grassroots and under-appreciated bands of this decade.

I first saw BROCO at the tiny Bedford Esquires venue, back in our shared home-town. If anything, the band absolutely proved then that you don’t need big production values to enjoy their unique experience. Despite this being their largest ever performance, ironically with their largest ever production values, the band blew the audience away with what I think was their best ever performance.

I managed to squeeze myself into the second row. The band opened with Technology, the single from their new album (named, you guessed it! Technology). The crowd immediately turned feral. After the second song, I regretted having worn glasses, which were now in pieces on the floor. Oh well.

Next, Everybody. This popular dance song, once on our C-list, has a catchy accompanying dance. Despite Ally Pally being more packed than ever, and not a single person standing with their personal space uninfringed, a lot of the audience attempted the cowboy dance.

After playing some bangers from their last album Automatic, BROCO smashed out some tracks from their debut studio album Priorities. This was followed by one of their oldest songs, nearly ten years old, Thug Workout. A guaranteed play at any DB show, this heavy hit never fails to strike a chord with the audience. Combined with an absolutely epic light show (lasers never go amiss!), those in the mosh-pit seemed to be having the time of their lives.

Rarely do I get to go to a show and see such an overwhelmingly positive response to support acts. At a lot of concerts, fans wait impatiently for the main act and pay little or no attention to support. That didn’t happen at this show. The American band State Champs, who DON BROCO accompanied on their first ever U.S.A tour, lent their vocalist Derek DiScanio to Further – a slightly downbeat song from the Automatic album.

Rob introduced their penultimate track, T-Shirt Song, with a prelude about what the song meant to the him and to band. He spoke briefly about how he and a friend had been in a very low place when the song was written. He spoke about how he found himself in a club, when the DJ dropped the Baywatch theme, and how the inspiration came from the crowd, who took off their t-shirts and swung them around above. This really struck a chord with the audience, who then did exactly this – and starred in the music video for the new song.

A rock concert is never complete without an on-stage proposal, and that’s exactly what happened before Broco’s final song, Pretty. The lights dimmed, and a strange figure approached, giving a speech. An ex-Army veteran, he proposed to his now-fiancé. The band returned wearing their infamous white suits, before performing their final song of the set. Pretty, released in May, showcased the band’s new style. Featuring lots of heavy guitar riffs, they wrapped the show leaving the crowd wanting more, and also covered head-to-toe in moshpit bruises.

As alumna from Bedford Modern, the school that DON BROCO formed at, I wasn’t at all surprised to see the Bedford crowd at Ally Pally. There were enough of us that the band thought we deserved a shout-out mid-set – you could definitely hear our response. Some of the band’s old teachers made an appearance in the lobby at the end. It’s really heartwarming to see a band that were once so small having flourished.

A huge thanks to Kane Layland for the photograph.

Concert Review: INHEAVEN

The October 17th gig at Scala was something of a homecoming for the South London indie-rock band, and what a homecoming it was.

Having released their self-titled album in September, it’s been an exciting couple of months for INHEAVEN, and if there was one word that I would use to sum up the gig, it would be just that – exciting. The band have been releasing music since their 2015 single ‘Regeneration’ – a single which so caught the attention of The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas that he released it on his record label, CULT RECORDS, and despite having only been together for a relatively short period of time, it’s clear that INHEAVEN are one of the most exciting new bands to have ventured onto the indie-rock scene in recent years, and are definitely one to keep a close eye on.

They were supported by two bands – the four-piece indie rock group BLOXX from West London, and King Nun, a rock band signed to Dirty Hit, the same label that artists including Wolf Alice, Pale Waves and The 1975 are signed to, and a label that has been responsible for putting out some of the most exciting indie and indie-rock of recent years. There’s the age-old saying that you often find your new favourite band after seeing them support the band you originally booked to see, and it’s a saying that is definitely true for me in the case of BLOXX and King Nun. I’m loathe to use the word exciting again, but it’s incredibly applicable to both these bands. BLOXX have already released four singles so far in 2017, including ‘Curtains’, a song featuring heavy guitars and incredible vocals from frontwoman Ophelia Booth. ‘Coke’ is another standout, as are ‘You’ and ‘Your Boyfriend’ – in fact, every song in BLOXX’s set is a standout, and points to very, very bright things for the band’s future. As for the second support act, King Nun – words can do little to properly explain just how much energy this band exude on stage, and how exciting (drinking game: take one drink every time Phoebe uses the word ‘exciting’ in this article) both the band and their music are. The singer and guitarist, Theo, spent more time jumping about in the air than with his feet on the stage, and honestly, I could write another entire article about King Nun. All I can say is that you absolutely need to go and listen to them right now – ‘Tulip’ and ‘Speakerface’ are my particular favourite singles.

INHEAVEN are a band that are incredibly visually focused – singer and bassist Chloe Little was a film student before she was in the band, and many of the band’s songs start life as visual clips that then inspire songs to be written. Little also directs a number of INHEAVEN’S music videos, and the band has spoken in the past about wanting to try and bring some of that attention to visual detail to their live shows – this is incredibly evident, with a distressed looking American flag referencing the lyrics of ‘Baby’s Alright’, and roses decorating mic stands and all other available spaces. The four piece band, made up of Little (vocals, bass), James Taylor (vocals, guitar), Joe Lazarus (drums), and Jake Lucas (guitar), played a fourteen song set, playing the entirety of their debut album, alongside some B-Sides of singles that didn’t make it onto their debut. INHEAVEN’s debut album is one of those rare albums that doesn’t contain a single song that could be seen as a weak-link, and this showed during the gig, with the band playing tune after brilliant, high-energy tune. Each song is better than the next, from the almost 80’s new wave inspired ‘Stupid Things’ to the raw and gritty ‘World On Fire’ – the song which saw the first mosh pit of the evening, encouraged by singer/guitarist Taylor. INHEAVEN’s music is also exciting (there’s that word again) in that it doesn’t seem to fit quite into one genre – at times it feels like it could be from the 2007 height of indie music, or from the ‘80s art and college rock scene, and it could definitely also fit into the grunge genre at times. Little cites her inspirations as being Patti Smith, Sonic Youth, Siouxsie Sioux and Debbie Harry, and these influences are very apparent within their music. Other standout songs include ‘Bitter Town’, ‘Real Love’, and ‘Vultures’, a song that mixes Little and Taylor’s vocals perfectly to create a high-energy punk rock banger. INHEAVEN have only just started, and I can’t wait to find out what else they have in store.

Review by: Phoebe Hagan

ONE SENTENCE REVIEW: ‘Spent the Day in Bed’- Morrissey

The music team review Morrissey’s single ‘Spent the Day in Bed’ from his new album ‘Low in High School.’ The track’s lyrics encourage listeners to stay in bed backed by electric piano and synths. Does our music team think Morrissey has another hit on his hands? Find out below…

Laura: It sounds like a parody of Morrissey, but I kinda want it as my alarm ringtone.

Molly: Sounds like Morrissey’s auditioning for Lazy Town.

Phoebe: I wasn’t sure if I liked it the first time I listened to it, so I listened to it again and realised I really hate it.

Emmanuel: Hey at least I have a new ringtone for my nokia phone.

Todd: Spent three minutes in hell.

Joe: Moz it’s time to stop.

Mitch: It just didn’t need to exist.

Jamie: Feels like a ringtone you’d bluetooth your friends on the bus in 2008.

Harry: I wanted to turn it off about quarter of the way through but other people were listening to it.

Ryan: It’s like when you were 8 and tried to use nokia’s ringtone maker.

 

It would seem not. This is just what we think, go and have a listen to the track to see if you agree. 

 

 

Concert Review: Sundara Karma

If you think guitar music is dead, think again, you obviously haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Sundara Karma live.

An indie rock band originally from Reading, Sundara Karma released their debut album, Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect, at the beginning of 2017, following up from three successful EP releases. The October 5th gig at the o2 Academy Brixton was the biggest venue of the tour, and as lead singer and guitarist Oscar Pollock said whilst addressing the crowd, the biggest show the band have ever played.

Up first out of the two support acts was Willie J Healey, an indie guitarist, who released his debut album in August and whose blend of classic indie style guitar music, combined with some slightly rockier undertones in later songs, went down extremely well with the crowd. Following him was the Brighton band The Magic Gang, a band that was the perfect choice to support Sundara Karma – stylistically, the band produces music very much in the same vein to that of Sundara Karma, and the two bands share many of the same fans, evident by the mosh pit that sprung up during the first song of The Magic Gang’s set. The Magic Gang have been outspoken in previous interviews about wanting to bring the UK indie scene back, and after seeing them perform, it’s clear that they are incredibly intent on doing just that with their ear-catching and exciting music. They played a seven song set including crowd favourites ‘Lady, Please’ and ‘How Can I Compete,’ and are due to release their debut album sometime next year.

Prior to Sundara Karma taking the stage, what sounded like a ‘Nature Sounds for Sleep’ album was playing, creating a chill atmosphere in what was otherwise an incredibly excited crowd. The band opened with ‘Another Word For Beautiful,’ from their debut album, a song which was the perfect choice to follow the pre-set music, with its ambient opening and lead singer Oscar Pollock’s almost Bowie-esque vocals on this track. It only took the band six songs until Pollock jumped into the crowd to sing ‘Flame,’ an undoubted highlight of their set and a song that is, without question, one of the best indie songs I’ve heard in recent years. The crowd seemed to agree, and it was amazing to see a band that had such support from fans already, having only just released their debut album. Sundara Karma is comprised of lead singer and guitarist Pollock, bassist Dom Cordell, lead guitarist Ally Baty, and drummer Haydn Evans, who all seemed to be genuinely having the greatest time onstage, and truly relished being able to play their new album to their fans. The band have spoken previously about using literary and philosophical references within their songs, most notably in ‘Flame’ and ‘Loveblood,’ and this attention to detail could also be seen in their backdrop of three circles, recognisable for being used several times in various album and EP cover art. These were lit from behind, looking almost like an eclipse and adding an even more artsy vibe to the gig. Other notable songs were the upbeat and catchy ‘She Said,’ an indie classic if ever there was one, and the two encore songs, ‘Happy Family’ and ‘Explore.’ The band put on a truly fantastic show for their biggest one to date, and having gone to the gig already a fan, I came away an even bigger one, with a renewed faith in the current UK indie scene.

Review by: Phoebe Hagan

Insanity at Reading

After bribing persuading the organisers to give us unprecedented access to the festival, there was quite a bit of Insanity at Reading.

Over the next few days, we’ll be updating this page with interviews, photos, and intelligence gathered over the long weekend.

Throughout the bank holiday weekend, Insanity provided live updates and content directly from Reading festival. We’ll be sharing

Be sure to follow us on SoundCloud and Twitter.

Interview – Dan Croll

With his new album ‘Emerging Adulthood,’ released on 21st July, I had the privilege of having a phone interview with Dan Croll to talk about the release of the album and his most recent single Bad Boy, inspired by the common phase of wanting to be a bad boy but it ‘just never worked out.’ We talked inspirations, processes, his ‘organic, alternative angle’ of pop and how music wasn’t always his plan.

Your new album is released in 3 days, how are you feeling about it?

I think… all of the emotions. I’m very proud of it, I’m very excited about getting it out, quite nervous about it too, but yeah I think mainly just excited though.

What can we expect from your album?

I think, compared to the first album, it’s a lot more straight to the point, I think it’s a bit more immediate. The way that it was recorded was kind of like a high intensity environment so I think that comes across in the album quite a bit as well.

Your album is called ‘Emerging Adulthood,’ does that name give us a suggestion of the themes of the songs or anything like that?

Yeah, well the name came from a book that I was reading, I guess it was kind of like a research paper almost, where it was talking about people who, are now more than ever they’ve got an endless amount of opportunities, unlimited resources, and people leave college or university and now they can do whatever they want; they can talk to people on the other side of the world, they can travel, and technology is so much more accessible. I think that’s really exciting for some people, but I think other people find it quite overwhelming, I think I maybe found it a little bit overwhelming too. So I think the album is about assessing options and trying to find the right route to take and trying to find a bit of confidence.

Did you feel like that when you left university?

Yeah, I think I felt it then because music was such a new thing for me. I’ve always kind of felt a little bit on the back-foot, a little bit amateur because my close friends and then other artists and bands you know a lot of them have been doing this since like ‘oh I’ve been playing guitar and writing songs since I was eight,’ whereas for me I was seventeen/ eighteen and I went straight into a music institute and then before long was out of the music institute and into the industry and so it’s very new. Also after the first album I kind of hit a few personal hurdles and so I was assessing whether I could do another album, and how I should do it, and where I should go and stuff like that so I had a lot of moments where I felt like that.

Music wasn’t always your plan then?

No music was quite a late plan for me. My main focus was sport, was rugby, and I was playing that all of my life up until about seventeen when I broke my leg and it all ended quite abruptly and couldn’t really get back into it and yeah so I was like well I do a bit of music so I guess I’ll go for that.

So what was the first song you ever wrote?

The first song I ever wrote was a song called ‘Marion’ which I think is on Youtube somewhere, but yeah that’s the first track I wrote.

Was that when you were at uni?

Ah no that was when I was about eighteen, seventeen/ eighteen.

When did you start writing this album?

I wrote it not long after we finished the first album, so maybe it was 2015 maybe, so I’ve had it for a while, I just hit a few hurdles along the way which really delayed it, and so yeah it’s quite strange to think that actually I wrote it quite a long time ago. I definitely want to do a third album a lot quicker.

What’s your song writing process?

My process I think is maybe a little bit different to others, I think a lot of people tend to write lyrics first, or a melody, stuff like that but I actually always start with the rhythm, with the drums. I find it really hard to work on songs if I don’t feel like they’ve got a strong foundation so I’ll usually spend a lot of time trying to find the right tempo, the right beat, the right drums, percussion, stuff like that, and then I’ll build it from the ground up rather than the top down.

How would you describe your music to someone who might not have heard it before?

Ummmm… pop haha. It’s quite simply pop but I think from more of a kind of organic, alternative angle than what’s in the Top 20.

What were your inspirations music wise?

My inspiration mainly came from my mum who played a lot of big song writers, I think mainly American song writers strangely, a lot of Paul Simon, Burt Bacharach, Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys, Michael Jackson, and then others like ABBA and people like that, the big ones.

What are you listening to right now?

At the moment I’ve been listening to The Lemon Twigs, Bedouine umm yeah I think that’s it. I’ve been so buried up to my neck in my own music that I’m not listening to a great deal of new stuff at the moment.

So your single ‘Bad Boy’ has already been released, where did the inspiration for that come from?

Once I’d done the album I was reflecting a lot on moments leading up to now and there’s a phase that I think is quite common with a lot of people, where they kind of have this rebellious phase. I think mine and my friends were around high school where it’s a common phase of either you want to go out with a bad boy/ bad girl or you wanted to be the bad boy/ bad girl, the stereotypical American High School kind of bad boy. But it just never worked out. And the song is just about being confident in your own skin and not needing to do that.

The music video for that, and you’ve also released a couple of other videos for tracks off your new album, who comes up with the ideas for your music videos?

Most of them have been me, with a couple of exceptions, I always like to be as involved as possible with music videos but at the same time things just get so busy that you’ve got to just hand it over to someone else.

They’re all so interesting though as well, like the ones from your last album, with the green screen for ‘In/Out’

Yeah haha that was a pretty low budget video.

It was great, I like that one a lot! Do you enjoy making them?

Truthfully? Not particularly. They’re really tough things to do you know? You wanna get your message across, you wanna get everything across in the right way but there’s so many ways to do it and yeah it’s quite a stressful thing that I don’t particularly look forward to music videos that often, but usually once they’re done and they’re out I feel a lot more confident about them.

Since your first album do you think your style has changed?

I think so, I think it’s stepped away a little bit from the more acoustic to the more electronic, but I think just the process in the production has changed the most. That first album was recorded in an old school gym with just me and my mates, begged and borrowed equipment and I guess a little bit DIY, but a very fun way of doing it. But then the second album has gone the complete opposite way where it’s been just me writing it all and I play all the instruments on the album and we recorded it in a very clean, polished, professional studio in Atlanta, and so it’s been quite a different process, but I kind of like that, I wanted to go the opposite way for this one.

Did you enjoy one process more than the other?

I think equally because they’re both just very different and hopefully the next one will be different as well, I think I’m quite… I don’t know what the word… I guess impatient or I guess I kind of bore easily so I want things to continuously change as much as possible, so it’s all exciting.

Are you looking forward to touring your new album?

Yes, really excited to get back out on the road! Especially we’ve got an American tour coming up in September and then we’re looking at a European and UK tour after that, so yeah I’m really looking forward to that.

Do you have a most memorable moment from one of your gigs?

Ah they’re all pretty memorable, there’s a lot of amazing venues out there and the fans a lot of them stay, but a lot of them are new as well and yeah just all really cool.

Dan’s album is released on the 21st July (THIS FRIDAY!!) so get excited and find it on Spotify, iTunes and www.dancroll.com 

 

÷ by Ed Sheeran

This is Ed Sheeran’s third studio album, and I think it is his best album yet! It brings a certain Irish vibe to it, which relates to him because of his Irish heritage. In my opinion, this album really captures the meaning of life. For example: “Castle on the Hill” is written as a story of his life growing up, which gives us- the listeners- an insight into him as a person. Some of the songs aren’t ones you might dance to in a club, but they have real emotion and are very well written and you can hear all of them in the way Sheeran portrays them.

If you want to test your carpool karaoke skills, songs like “Galway Girl” and “Shape of You” are the perfect tunes to belt out while in the car, giving off an upbeat and happy vibe- also very catchy! For me, Ed Sheeran is the best artist out there because he has that style that makes him stand out from the crowd. His music sends a message to people, that touches them and inspires them, that says you can achieve your dreams and be a success.

I can’t wait to see what else he has in store for us in the future!

You can get Ed’s new album on Spotify, Amazon and iTunes.

One Sentence Review: Slide – Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean and Migos

The latest Calvin Harris single is another hit, this time on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts. The hot track features that of the talented Frank Ocean, and rappers Quavo and Offset from the hip-hop group Migos. Will it be such a success with our music team? Read on to see what they had to say…

Rachael: “Mellow, nice jammy vibes.”

Gemma: “Love the vibe and when the bass drops. Yaas!”

Leah: “Obsessed. Best Calvin song since ‘Acceptable in the 80s’.”

Megan: “The song is catchy and has an interesting beat, would probably listen again.”

James: “A nice old school vibe to this groovy banger.”

Charlotte: “Big transition in the middle, summery and bright!”

Halina: “Very summery and light but not a fan.”

Laura: “Calvin going back to the mellow tunes he began with, and anything Frank Ocean does is Pure Gold.”

Emma: “Really good throwback disco vibe with a sweet bass line.”

Madeline: “Awesome jazzy intro that shows much of a banger this is.”

Joe: “Great vocals and strong feature from Migos, beat however, is bland and unadventurous.”

Noelle: “Good bass line. The kind of song you walk from A to B to. Would go on my monthly favourites.”

Harrison: “A solid groove. A floor-filler for sure.”

Kate: “The perfect funky tune you need at your pre-predrinks (around the time you’re deciding what colour lipstick to wear).”

Helen: “A sunny and funky time to help hurry summer back into your life!”

By The Music Team.

CONCERT REVIEW: TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB

Two Door Cinema Club 

Irish born Two Door Cinema Club closed their UK tour with two sold out events at Alexandra Palace in north London. The atmosphere throughout the evening was not only incredible but also sustained, which was clearly aided by the work of the support acts; Circa Waves and Sundara Karma. Each support act offered something different for the crowd, from their newest tunes to their most popular hits. Circa Waves performance of T-Shirt Weather particularly got the crowd going ready for the main event.

Following the support acts was a brief break in the performance schedule until the black stage curtain dropped to reveal a set with fabulous lighting and technology that highly resembled the Gameshow album cover. Two Door Cinema Club clearly brought a fresh, but familiar, summer sound to a cold February evening. Playing a range of songs across their three albums, Two Door Cinema Club’s confidence and energy added to create an absolutely fantastic performance which allowed the crowd to become familiar with, and even grow to love, the catchy and uplifting melodies. The bands sheer talent, accurate vocals and charisma created an electric concert experience that is bound to wow people as we enter the 2017 festival season. Altogether, it was one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen.

Review by: Ophelia King

ALBUM REVIEW: PROCESS – SAMPHA

Process – Sampha 

“The album that finally reveals a superstar.”

Sampha is one of those ‘behind the scenes’ people that not everyone has heard of and yet most would recognise his music. When an artist collaborates on projects with people as prominent as Drake, Kanye West, and Frank Ocean, it sets a standard. As a listener, you can only expect something truly great when approaching this album, and as a big fan of this music style, I was not disappointed.

His new album “Process” kicks off with “Plastic 100°C”, a track in which you can hear the meticulous work and craft in every layer. It sets the mood for the entire of the album – soft sounding electronic music with emotional vocals and originality. “Plastic 100°C” is followed immediately by “Blood on Me”, the first single of the album. The almost zombie-like backing vocals and soft piano accompaniment carries the calm feeling and mood set in the beginning, but the vocals become desperate in contrast – this works fantastically. You hear these desperate kinds of vocals again on the track “Under” which is one of my personal favourites.

The other singles from the album are “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” and “Timmy’s Prayer”. The former is in a somewhat classic singer-songwriter style, often making references to the artist’s mother and of course the piano, a feature you pick up on when you listen some of the other tracks. Its simplicity and raw emotion I think is what has made this track his most popular single. In general, the vocals aren’t the kind that will wow you, but they fit the songs perfectly, and meld with the rest of the musical elements to produce a stunning sound.

Overall, this album is written to be heard as one story, and I recommend setting time aside to listen to it. From beginning to end, Sampha provides an assured ‘just listen to my story’, and you can’t help but do so. The album is also very mellow, to the point where I fell asleep to it several times, which is certainly no bad thing. The regular references to his mother and various health and emotional issues are an artistic expression of a need to heal and recover. And what better way to do so than through music?

 

Review by Cheylea Hopkinson 

SINGLE REVIEW: HUMAN – RAG'N'BONE MAN

Human – Rag’n’bone Man 

When I first heard the single ‘Human’ by Rag’n’Bone Man (aka Rory Graham), I knew I had to listen to the album the second it dropped. I’m not one to listen to the charts usually, but I found “Human” while browsing the top 100 song playlist on YouTube last year and was hooked from the start. It’s a song that stands out, from the man with a voice you’d never expect – a single with a relatable hook and a standout track amongst the seemingly endless club songs which dominate the charts. The album is going to be amazing, right?

When a label releases an album online, they usually provide a description to give you an idea of what to expect. ‘Human’ is no exception: “Armed with his deep-canyon vibrato, raw emotion and some colossal choruses, Rory Graham takes his big moment. Your starting place is, of course, the title track.” The starting place is the title track for sure. . . but that’s where it kind of stops.

I hate to say it. Maybe my expectations were too high, but even as I write I am listening to the album again, and still don’t remember most of the tracks from my last listen. When I loaded it up I was excited, expecting to discover more tracks like ‘Human’ that I could listen to over and over. I couldn’t help but compare to when I first listened to James Bay’s album “Chaos and the Calm” with similar expectations after his single, “Hold Back the River.” “Chaos and the Calm” did not disappoint. When I listened to the album there were many other tracks I now love too, like “Craving” and “Best Fake Smile”. But with “Human” it just didn’t happen. The bar had been set and then was never even close to being touched.

Armed with his deep-canyon vibrato indeed, Graham’s voice is the only thing carrying this album aside from its title track. Another potentially notable track is “Love You Any Less” which has a few unique sounds in its backing, making it stand out somewhat from the rest. There’s also “Die Easy”, a song in solo a cappella which makes for a nice change in pacing on the album. But just these from a total of 19 tracks? It doesn’t look terribly good.

There’s one thing that cannot be argued, however, and that is the amazing vocals. If you enjoy just solid music with good vocals, then this album is for you. It is a perfectly fine album with some decent tracks, but it’s just not what it could be. It starts with its best track and then from there you’re just always a little disappointed.

Returning to James Bay’s “Chaos and the Calm”, I think these two albums are easily compared. With another talented male singer and a viral track everyone knows the words to, you would expect “Human” to achieve a similar feel. This is true in that both albums are more of a collection of singles rather than a cohesive ‘album story’; however, the difference is that all the songs on “Chaos and the Calm” stand out on their own – there’s diversity and memorability to all of them. “Human” just doesn’t achieve that, missing the mark by inches. There is so much potential there but the overall product is generic and vapid, something that I can only blame on laziness and too much reliance on the strength of Graham’s voice.

I am disappointed but remain hopeful. Maybe after another few listens songs will start to grab my attention – there are a lot of tracks to get through. I can see Rag’n’Bone Man growing and growing and only getting better. With the success of “Human”, I hope that he spends more time in developing the musical sound to truly produce something stunning and original with the next album. Have a listen yourself and make your own opinion!

 

Review by: Cheylea Hopkinson 

Head Under Water

Better Than Never – Head Under Water 

Fox Records

Oxford pop-punk six-piece, Better Than Never, released their new EP, ‘Head Under Water’ at the end of last year. It was the second EP they released in 2016, following ‘Homemade Hero’ which came out at the start of the year.

Opening track ‘126’ is a short melodic intro that gives a flavour of what is to come. The EP then swiftly progresses into ‘Learning To Swim’ which opens with vocalist Will Keating singing the EP’s title “she keeps my head under water”. The band succinctly use this track to showcase their ability to combine upbeat, catchy music with lyrics that aren’t quite so happy-go-lucky, a feature that spans the entirety of the EP.

Then comes ‘Dreamland Ain’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be’, another track themed around negative things in life and the difficulties in picking yourself back up. Following this, the EP takes quite a dramatic turn with ‘Forty Eight’ which sees Better Than Never delving into the world of metalcore and incorporating some of its elements in a track that mixes aggressiveness with soft vocals. Finally, ‘Lowhill Lane’ is a slower track that nicely wraps the EP up.

Overall, ‘Head Under Water’ neatly showcases the range of skill that Better Than Never possess and shows their growth as a band, as well as being a fun EP to listen to.

By Yasmeen Frasso