Lyrical Poem – Whitesnake

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Give Me More Time” cause I can’t quite decide
I’m not “Ready an’ Willing” to give up my pride
Cause “Love Ain’t no Stranger”: I’ve been there before.
Here I Go Again”, while you’re just one more

 

But I’m a “Fool for your loving”, and in the “Still of the Night
When I’m a “Long Way From Home” it just doesn’t feel right
The Deeper the Love” they say the deeper you fall
I am “Guilty of Love”, but I’d give you it all

 

~ Laura Webber

 

The concept of a lyrical poem is to take an artist and write a poem consisting mostly of their song titles, to either get across what the artist’s views were or create a whole new narrative for their music. Each lyrical poem acts not only as a poem in its own right but also a crash course of the artist in question.

#Woraklsweek Day 3 – Bleu

 

Day 3 of ‪#‎Woraklsweek‬. Each day I’ll post a different song by the amazingly talented French DJ, who as of yet has not even remotely gained the appreciation he deserves. Worakls specialises in Minimalist House and constructs some truly beautiful atmospheres for us to just melt away into.

 

Having a bit of a blue Wednesday? Well who says blue (or should I say, “Bleu“?) has to be sad? This wonderful tune is one of the more reflective songs in Worakls catalogue, the looped guitar line creating a beautifully melancholic mood for all of the wonderful marimbas, glocks and chimes to sit in. The overall effect is one of complete and utter peace, and as always with the Worakls touch, each new layer brings with it a new sense of contentment.

 

As the piece goes on you’ll find yourself picking out each and every layer and how it weaves into the mix – at first the marimbas are the sole focus, followed by the guitar. But as you get further into the song you may find these elements slipping out of your focus in lieu of new sounds – and it’s not that they’ve gone away, they’re all just building to that perfect atmosphere.

 

I hope you’ve got a good pair of headphones for this one!

 

~ Adam Hitchen

#Woraklsweek Day 2 – Remix of N'to's "Trauma"

 

Day 2 of ‪#‎Woraklsweek‬. Each day I’ll post a different song by the amazingly talented French DJ, who as of yet has not even remotely gained the appreciation he deserves. Worakls specialises in Minimalist House and constructs some truly beautiful atmospheres for us to just melt away into.

 

If you’re having a traumatic Tuesday, Worakls has got you covered with this fantastic remix of labelmate’s N’to’s “Trauma“. Let’s be honest, remixing is more than slapping a different beat on the track and a handful of effects. An effective remix will completely strip the track back and complete an entirely different vibe for the track. N’to’s original “Trauma” is an edgy electronic masterpiece with an in-your-face attitude when it comes to sinking you into the music.

 

Worakls takes the track’s core melody and adds in much more mellow, almost trance-like moving chords and some drone elements to create a much more reflective atmosphere. His breaks include his signature cinematic style of songwriting and the typical tinkles are in there to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. This is 10 minutes of pure bliss,and if you don’t click the link you’re seriously missing out.

 

~ Adam Hitchen

#Woraklsweek Day 1 – Salzburg

 

This week is Worakls Week, because I’ve decided. Deal. Each day I’ll post a different song by the amazingly talented French DJ, who as of yet has not even remotely gained the appreciation he deserves. Worakls specialises in Minimalist House and constructs some truly beautiful atmospheres for us to just melt away into.

 

Point in case, Salzburg. Possibly one of my best discoveries of the year so far, the song continues to build on its solid foundation, each new layer bringing with it a new layer of peace. It’s reflective, that’s for sure. Oh, and it tinkles – I do love a good Glockenspiel!

 

~ Adam Hitchen

 

Live Review – Enter Shikari @ The Corn Exchange, Cambridge – 24/02/15

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Enter Shikari are one of the few bands that require no introduction, partly because any attempt to describe their music would result in the same confusion as a discussion of the meaning of life with an infant. These genre-hopping giants recently dropped their incredible 4Th LP “The Mindsweep” last month, meaning it was time to ‘Take To The Skies’ once more and deliver a tour de force filled with brand new, meaty material, alongside fan favourites.

 

‘The Corn Exchange’ fits in perfectly with the architectural aesthetic of Cambridge – old and pretty from the outside, but neat and modern on the inside; with a decently sized floor-space for fans to tear up, a huge stage and the obligatory wall-length bars in the foyer. Unfortunately, Cambridge is around three hours away from where I live, meaning I missed the first support band: ‘Fatherson’ – which is a pity as their smooth alt-rock tones would have been the perfect way to get in the mood for a night of music – if not quite preparing for the hectic energy of the following bands.

 

 

The second band to hit the stage was ‘Allusondrugs’ – a band which I did manage to catch, who were sadly underwhelming. Each song seemed like a pastiche of a different band: first attempting to emulate ‘The Strokes’, then ‘The Darkness’, followed by ‘Marmozets’… unfortunately, by not choosing a signature sound for themselves, ‘Allusondrugs’ don’t feel like they’ve mastered any particular style – the set came across as bland and uninteresting. Oh, and the lead singer could benefit from some singing lesson (just saying).

 

 

All was not lost though, as ‘Feed The Rhino’ took to the stage to remind everyone that the raw energy of hardcore is still very much alive and kicking. Still riding off the back of the success of their most recent album “The Sorrow & the Sound”, FTR know how to get a crowd moving. The venue’s PA was almost unable to handle the sheer power or anthemic belters “Behind The Pride”, “Give Up” and the signature rock’n’roll vibe of “Deny and Offend”. Towards the end of their set, it seemed that even frontman Lee Tobin was struggling to maintain his voice – although I challenge anyone to keep up his full-throated hollering for over half an hour. ‘Feed The Rhino’ finished off their set with the more reflective “Tides” – living proof that even the heaviest bands have a subtler side – and the undeniably catchy “New Wave”. The energy in the performance was pure and ungated, and whet the crowd’s appetite perfectly for the entrée: ‘Enter Shikari’.

 

 

Before I continue, I should point something out: ‘Enter Shikari’ work within every genre of music possible. They can start off with a sombre acoustic sound, move into a dance track, a dubstep drop, crushingly heavy breakdowns and finish with a stadium rock anthem – often all in the same song. As a result, crowds aren’t full of the usual suspects when it comes to moshing. Usually, there’s a standing area at the back, a pit for moshing in the middle and people singing along at the front. A Shikari gig is essentially a free-for-all: there is no etiquette. People break out into moshing/dancing all over the venue, and standing at the front will get you squashed up against everyone else so tightly that you won’t be able to breathe. Ironically, this makes the pit (in any shape or form) the safest place to be – suits me.

 

‘Enter Shikari’ set the scene with the thought-provoking opener from the most recent album: “The Appeal & the Mindsweep 1”. The chilling electronic backbeat and slam poetry-style call to arms from front-man Rou Reynolds gave me chills, before the band launched into a frantic, anthemic journey – a pattern and pace that was held for the entire concert. I’m always impressed at how refined Enter Shikari’s lyrical content is – all songs are incredibly well thought-out political statements weaved into a beautiful and often raucous blend of electronic and metal music. Angry fan-favourites “Destabilise”, “Radiate” and “Gandhi Mate, Gandhi” provided the perfect atmosphere to throw my weight around and just wallow in the sorry state our society is (apparently) in. When a song starts off with the lyrics “Now, I don’t know about you…” and warning sirens, you know that someone is about to erupt – and it’s probably going to be you. New additions to the Shikari catalogue definitely don’t let up on this; notable songs include “Anaesthetist” – a furious retort to plans to privatise healthcare and the decline of the NHS – “Never Let Go Of The Microscope” – an electronic, almost ambient song if it weren’t for the carefully planned scientific rap from Reynolds – and “Myopia”, a tragic song about the extinction of various species on our planet. The technical proficiency of the band has noticeably improved since their inception, especially on these newer, more ambitious songs.

 

 

Of course, it’s not all violence and harsh sounds: Welcome respites from the madness came in the form of slightly softer songs such as the acoustic “Stalemate”, “Torn Apart” which is an anthem for the decline of society (and oh so danceable-to) and the almost Coldplay-esque “Dear Future Historians”. Each of these songs starts off noticeably softer, in an acoustic manner and build different layers of sound until you’re hit with a wall of emotion – which is no less breathtaking than screaming your lungs out. It’s during these quieter moments that you realise “Wow, these guys are seriously talented musicians”, and it’s utterly true. Few bands can claim to flick between your emotions like Shikari do: tugging on your heartstrings, making you think about the world that you live in and getting you riled up about how stupid human beings can be.

 

 

Not to say that the show was all doom-and-gloom – more reflective at times, with an aura of aggression that’s a welcome release for most. Some class-A stage-presence and banter kept everyone completely invested in the show – particularly towards the end of the show. Already a fan-favourite, the 2-minute restaurant complaint in the form of “Slipshod” went down an utter storm, with the entire crowd screaming out the quintessentially British anthem of disappointment. Reynolds may have even gotten a little too into it, as he smashed a glass vase on Rob Rolfe’s drum kit to the cue in the song. It just made me wonder how many injuries the band sustain from shows like these! “Slipshod” ran straight into the party anthem “Sssnakepit”, Shikari-style: The song started off with the Hamilton remix of the track and the band transitioned seamlessly into the original. This practise was seen earlier with the dubstep edit of “Motherstep 2.0” into “Mothership” and a mash-up of the latest single “The Last Garrison” with a stellar remix of “Juggernauts” by Nero, ending up again on the original. Throughout the gig I was constantly aware of how much planning the boys put into their set – which music to play, how it all flowed into the next song and how to create a spectacle with a mix of gravitas and exceptional lighting.

 

 

This was the 4th time I had seen Enter Shikari, yet I was still completely blown away. It definitely won’t be the last time either. If you’ve never seen the indescribable spectacle that they put on, I recommend you head down to a show as soon as you can.

 

 

~ Adam Hitchen, Head of Music

Lyrical Poem – Dio

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Holy Diver, Holy Diver. The Last in Line with whom I Speed at Night. Who is Hungry for Heaven and whose Angry Machines seek to be Killing The Dragon.

 

Master of the Moon I ask of thee your Strange Highways, whose home be of Egypt (The Chains Are On).

 

Oh Holy Diver, Holy Diver. Lock Up the Wolves for the Sacred Heart. Stand Up and Shout, for you be the one true King of Rock and Roll. Whom despite your Mystery, We Rock, even though you be The Last in Line and the Rainbow in the Dark to your Rock ‘N’ Roll Children.

 

Hunter of the Heart, All the Fools Sailed Away but we remain to bring Shame on the Night, like the Gypsy who has Evil Eyes, is Invisible and will only Dream Evil. I Could Have Been a Dreamer, but I chose to become one with my Fever Dreams, despite some saying I be Losing My Sanity.

 

Holy Diver, Holy Diver, I await for you to awaken, for I Scream“Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll!”

 

~ Illisuve Man

 

The concept of a lyrical poem is to take an artist and write a poem consisting mostly of their song titles, to either get across what the artist’s views were or create a whole new narrative for their music. Each lyrical poem acts not only as a poem in its own right but also a crash course of the artist in question.

Album Review – "We Slept At Last", Marika Hackman

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I’ve been a fan of Marika Hackman’s English folky sound for some months now, and I’ve been anticipating her debut ‘We Slept At Last’ to be the ultimate dreamy album. It’s somewhat different to what I usually go for, but it’s beautifully crafted and Marika Hackman is probably my favourite artist in this kind of genre.

The album kicks off with ‘Drown’, a track with beautiful guitar melody and ghostly vocals, which sets the tone for the rest of the album. It’s the perfect Sunday afternoon vibe, or if you just need to chill, this album is the one. Poetic lyrics accompany the whole album, such as ‘you can polish me for hours/but I’ll always look best in your head’, sung on the lead track ‘Drown’. The writing of this album is very clever (I felt like I was reading Shakespeare and I am in no way an English Literature buff!).

Animal Fear’ is a track that I’ve been enjoying for quite a while, and it’s one of the most upbeat on the album. I’d describe this track as quirky folk, and although it also has some pretty heavy lyrics, I feel like this track is the most fun that Marika has on the album and the change of tempo is appreciated after tracks ‘Skin’ and ‘Claude’s Girl’. Other tracks such as ‘Monday Afternoon’ build on Hackman’s own harmonies with woodwind instruments and strings, which the album needed as it can feel a little samey at times. It’s a really nice addition to the tracks. Although I’ve categorised Hackman as ‘folk’, ‘We Slept At Last’ is much darker than what you would expect. Track ‘Undone, Undressed’ reflects this – it’s very slow and hard to get into and I’m not 100% sure that I’m a fan of it.

My favourite track on the album is probably ‘Ophelia’. The lyrics are much more prominent and its plodding guitar melody matched with these is really appealing. I find that the track builds more than other tracks on the album. ‘Ophelia’ is a sweet love song and one that I’d recommend to listen to from the album.

‘We Slept At Last’ from Marika Hackman is all-in-all a beautiful album; its dreamy melodies and intense lyrics make the album sound so atmospheric. Though I’d suggest that at points it is slightly ‘samey’, ‘We Slept At Last’ is an album I’d recommend to anyone as its arty nature is so captivating. It was even my Valentine’s present from me to myself. Enjoy!

 

~ Ceri-Ann Hughes

Album Review – "Rock Or Bust", AC/DC

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There’s an argument to make that AC/DC’s approach to songwriting is the most successful in the history of popular music. Every album they’ve recorded draws from a beefed up treble-heavy take on blues rock based on big chords and bigger choruses, and since 1980’s legendary ‘Back in Black’ album they’ve been untouchable at the top of the hard rock mountain. Because even though every record they’d made before it and have made since is transparently cut from the same musical cloth, they’ve all come with a handful of incredible songs it’s impossible for the primal human brain to connect to.

 

‘Rock or Bust’ makes no attempt to differentiate itself from its predecessors and doesn’t suffer a smidgen from that, in fact standing head and shoulders above the other AC/DC albums of the 21st century thanks to its reined-in, filler-free 35-minute runtime. It’s also, despite the lack of chief songwriter and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, a perfect channelling of the band’s immortal strengths – the perfect fusion of melody and hardness, a youthful vigour that the decades of their existence has not diminished, and simple chemistry. No prizes will be won for variety, but there’s enough to maintain the listener’s interest, from the belligerent call and response of “Dogs of War” to a headlong charge on “Baptism by Fire”.

 

Lyrically, the lewdness and single entendres may not be to everybody’s taste particularly delivered by a group of this vintage, but Brian Johnson sounds as energised and ever and somehow gets away with it. The music could never be described as complex, but it shows a mastery of the base elements of songwriting that may never be bettered. ‘Rock or Bust’ may well be the last AC/DC album the world gets, and it’s thus appropriate that it’s as single-minded and uncompromising as anything in their discography. No matter how many imitators continue to spring up in their wake, their like will not be seen again.

 

~ Michael Bird

Album Review – "Smoke + Mirrors", Imagine Dragons

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The difficult second album. It’s one of the great challenges in the career of any band with aspirations to reach the top of the mountain, particularly if they’ve put out a debut as well received as Imagine Dragons’ ‘Night Visions’ was. With singles as immediate and anthemic as “Radioactive” and “Demons” it could only ever have been a resounding success, but inevitably gave the young band a mountain to climb when it came to crafting a follow-up. Not that it seems to have deterred them – ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ is a supremely confident collection of songs that lives up to and surpasses the best of the Imagine Dragons back catalogue.

 

Far more nuanced and unorthodox than many critics have given it credit for, the album spans myriad genres often within the context of single songs. There are times when this means the record feel’s a tad lost, and the folkier elements of admittedly huge-sounding single “I Bet My Life” and deeper cuts “It Comes Back to You” and “Trouble”. But at its peak this is an enthralling experience; on the one extreme there’s the hip-hop-sass of “Gold” and crunching oriental pulse-charger “Friction”, on the other the lovely ballad “Hopeless Opus” and immaculately produced title track. Producer Alex da Kid indeed deserves plaudits for drawing out the best of the group again and again.

 

Set to top the bill at some of the country’s vastest arenas on their upcoming tour, Imagine Dragons have filled their arsenal with songs of the appropriate enormity with this new album. ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ may very clearly be geared towards accessibility, but has enough of an edge and significant textural shading to avoid vanilla banality. In other words, the band could have become just another Coldplay clone and laughed all the way to the bank. Instead, they’ve cemented their own identity and recorded a damn good album to boot, and it’s hard to not respect them for that.

 

~ Michael Bird

Album Review – "Happy People", Peace

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Peace are a band renowned for their wild live performances and hard work, so it’s no surprise that that they’re already onto album #2. ‘Happy People’ is a statement of the band’s influences and their experimentation with new sounds since their 2013 debut ‘In Love’, and I think it’s a really sophisticated album.

The album kicks off with ‘O You’, a track which to me sounds like it reflects on the musical styles of the ‘60s era. The whole album actually gives me a Beatles-y vibe, but this song especially. You can really hear Peace’s influences, more than you could on their previous album and the track’s defining catchy riff makes it a cracking opening track to set the tone of the rest of the album. Track 4 on the album, ‘Perfect Skin’, is one of my favourites as it’s catchy and doesn’t require much attention when you listen to it. When I saw this track at Peace’s album launch in Kingston it was obviously a stand-out crowd-pleaser so I reckon this will be one to watch out for at festivals this summer.

The album’s title track, ‘Happy People’, takes a slightly slower melody with a brilliant bassline and layered guitars. It’s the kind if track that gives you goosebumps when you see it live and really listen to the lyrics. I personally feel like ‘Happy People’ is a beautiful choice for a title track and probably deserves more credit than it gets on this album.

If I’m being completely honest, ‘Someday’, a track nestled in the middle of the album, really doesn’t appeal to me. It’s the slowest song on the album and the start of it somehow reminds me of something that a band such as Green Day would write (really not good in my eyes). To be fair, the chorus of the song is actually not too bad and the track was surprisingly beautiful live. It’s the most acoustic track I’ve ever heard from Peace, but I must say that I don’t see how this track could ever match up to other slower offerings from the band such as the beautiful ‘California Daze’ or ‘Float Forever’.

‘I’m A Girl’ is the heaviest track that Peace have ever put out and it’s bold, brash nature and carefree lyrics really stand out on the album. Whilst it’s tailored for crowds and rowdy mosh pits (I can’t wait to rock out to this one at festivals!), ‘I’m A Girl’ makes the biggest statement on the album for me, in terms of things I’ve never heard from the band before and how they are put together in a track. This track outlines the album’s new sound and hopefully is an omen for things to come.

‘Happy People’ is closed with ‘World Pleasure’ which is a track that I feel is one of Peace’s most defining tracks to date, alongside other older tracks such as ‘Bloodshake’ and ‘Follow Baby’. It’s 6 minutes and 23 seconds of brilliant layered guitars and retro vibes and THAT bassline. The way the bass takes the lead in this track is something I’d love to see more from Peace, and other bands in their music. For me, this is the best track on the album by a mile!

Overall, ‘Happy People’ is a great offering from Peace as it shows changes in the way the band are composing their songs and mixing their styles – it’s in no way samey to their other albums like so many are. Though I have to say that ‘Happy People’, whilst great, still has not lived up to Peace’s first EP, ‘Delicious’, which is one of my all-time favourite pieces of music. Though, of course I will still have ‘Happy People’ on a loop for the foreseeable future. More tracks like ‘World Pleasure’ please, Peace!

~ Ceri-Ann Hughes 

Pick Of The Week – "Let It Happen", Tame Impala

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This week Tame Impala revealed that they are back, so of course I’ve been celebrating this to the soundtrack of their brand new single. ‘Let It Happen’ is 7 minutes and 59 seconds of absolute genius. It’s as synthy as predicted and is filled with as many riffs as you can handle. The lyrics are warbled over the psychedelic vibes of the track, whilst the track also brings a dance-y vibe to it – so even if you’re not big into the psychedelic vibe this track has something to offer. I’m a massive fan of Tame Impala’s albums and I feel that this track incorporates everything a Tame Impala fan would love about the band – it’s absolutely a magnificent work of art. Any song that can keep me interested for 8 minutes deserves to be my pick of the week! After the release of this track, Tame Impala are definitely at the top of my ‘bands to see’ list – I hope you’ll be as hooked on this track as I am!

~ Ceri-Ann Hughes

Pick Of The Week – "All The Sad Young Men", Spector

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Spector have been under the radar for the past couple of years since their debut album ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’, but they’ve burst back onto the scene with their latest single ‘All The Sad Young Men’. I feel like it’s a homage to the ‘80s with excessive synths, and this absolutely complements the band’s style. I can’t get enough of this track and its tongue-in-cheek lyrics such as ‘no, nothing ever really started with a kiss’ which is an ode to The Killers’ ‘Mr. Brightside’. Big synths are my thing at the moment, so this track is one to be played really loud. I can’t wait to see what subsequent tracks will follow – a deserved pick of the week!

~Ceri-Ann Hughes

Check out “All The Sad Young Men” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlfsI4UD4ZE