REVIEW | Robbie Flanagan – Chasing Memory

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As we have discovered time and time again, Scotland has such a vast pool of young and adept singer-songwriters, and one that recently caught our attention is Robbie Flanagan, hailing from Aberdeen.

We got our first taste of him with the single The City Who Forgot, and we thought it was good overall, but it was not until he recently released his new EP – Chasing Memory – that we came to fully appreciate his talents.

The instrumental opener fittingly titled Don’t Talk creates a sombre and somewhat haunting atmosphere, perfectly setting the mood for what is to come.

Once settled, Grow pulls the listener in within a matter of seconds with such magnetic lyrics, eventually flowing into Don’t Let You Let Me Down which is highlighted by a catchy beat and superb work on the guitar.

After being sucked in by the lead single This Is Not Your Song, the next number Big Sister leaves a perpetual impact, with blunt writing that elicits so much pepped up sorrow and anguish; after which, Home provides an ambient conclusion.

One of the most gripping solo works we have had the pleasure of listening to as of late, and certainly one that had a sentimental effect on ourselves. That fact alone proves why his budding artist cannot afford to be glanced over.

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW | GT’s Boos Band (Self-Titled Album)

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Truth be told, blues was never exactly one of those genres that we indulged in time and time again. That was until recently when we came across the GT’s Boos Band, hailing from Stirling.

We were introduced to the group earlier this year courtesy of the BBC4 series UK’s Best Part-Time Band, and while they did not emerge the winners, they certainly left enough of a lasting impact to get us hooked.

Fast forward a couple of months to September, and the guys were raring to follow up on that exposure with the release of their new self-titled album.

Seven Questions wastes no time and dives straight into what we want to hear – dazzling guitar, the hippest of bass lines and an intoxicating, catchy beat where resistance to tap your foot is utterly futile.

For us, Amsterdam ranks as the cream of the crop, being an outstanding, highly immersive track that sucks you in with captivating writing relayed so well through frontman Greig’s stately performance; likewise in the polished, emotionally fueled Chain Of Love.

Walk My Path is more country-based yet remains enjoyable, Cold Turkey continues to showcase great lyrical work and Real Born Winner is so fiercely funky that it makes you want to get up and strut your stuff.

You get your fill of classic blues numbers with smooth rhythms and riveting riffs, such as High N DryBaby Stop Your Crying and Everybody Knows, and to finish, they ease the listener out with the sublime instrumental piece JoJo.

After their appearance on television, they had our curiosity, but now having listened to this album, they truly have our attention now. An outstanding record from top to bottom that delivers on the goods in grand style, leaving us with a craving for more of that bluesy goodness.

REVIEW | My Only – This Room & You

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The British rock scene has been witness to many outstanding debuts, and 2016 in our mind has been among the strongest years for these in recent memory, with a wide variety of bands stepping up and making a potent statement in little time.

Hailing from King’s Lynn, My Only fit into that category perfectly, as their inaugural EP – This Room & You – truly caught off us guard.

Immediately, A Little (Less) breaks the ice in formidable style, with ballistic drumming, vocals harnessing such weight behind them and a fierce energy all on show. That established sheer force only intensifies in the dynamic I Had To Pay For Every Breath That I Took, which blows out the eardrums in the best way possible.

It all quietens down for the subdued Saboteur, highlighted by a passionate performance and absorbing writing. The closing number No World Without You commences with a mild intro before taking off again for the most exciting and satisfying of culminations.

One hell of an impressive first record that has certainly made a substantial impact, introducing us to a band who, in our eyes, could very easily go on to join and rank among the next wave of breakthrough British rock acts within a short matter of time.

REVIEW | Til We Have Faces – Perhaps In Another Life

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In our humble opinion, we believe that Scotland has the most diverse music scene on the planet, but it has never occurred to us that there is not much attention given to the dream pop genre in this country.

Luckily, this is where Greenock newcomers Til We Have Faces come into the picture, as their debut EP – Perhaps In Another Life – just recently hit the shelves.

The Leaves provides an excellent beginning, where the simple yet effective riffs make their mark and we are sucked in by the outstanding lyrics transmitted through a crisp vocal performance. Next up is France, defined by synths that generate a psychedelic quality and a sharp, toe-tapping drum beat.

And concluding the record is Youth Dies Young which is steered by an enticing rhythm and once again some wonderful kaleidoscopic electronics, all leading up to the most mellow of energetic climaxes.

A first impression well made with an EP that is nothing short of excellent. Already, these guys have gained our interest and if they are willing to step up their game further for next time, we are pretty sure that their true potential will be properly showcased.

 

 

REVIEW | Lights That Change – Byzantium

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The UK is well known for producing a vast array of notable bands in a range of genres such as rock, metal and indie, but one particular genre we feel is overlooked is that of dream pop.

In this niche scene, a selection of acts are making a name for themselves, one such group being Lights That Change from Wales, who are at long last set to release their debut album – Byzantium.

They settle in with the chillingly beautiful Constantinople which emits an ethereal aura with a slight Celtic touch. This leads into Starlight, a beautiful number driven by a stunning mixture of acoustics and tender bass, in addition to featuring memorable lyrics and warm, gracious harmonies.

Voices is the very song that made us a fan of this band – and dream pop in general, for that matter – in the first place. Sheer, spine-tingling guitar chords, heartfelt vocals, a catchy beat and a perpetual elevation in atmosphere make for what is a purely breathtaking experience.

Golden City stands out with an upbeat ambience and fantastic writing, there is a clear display of passion in Union, and throughout the trio continue to provide tunes highlighted by soft, delicate melodies that put the mind at peace including DeaIhsan and the title track.

After much anticipation, Byzantium proves to be a masterstroke of art; an astounding compilation that has truly cemented Lights That Change as a tour de force in their ever-growing field.

We feel they have demonstrated that they are far too talented to be as overlooked as they are, and we can only hope much deserved attention comes their way sooner than later.

REVIEW | The Apex – Underbelly

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If there is one thing that we have learnt in 2016, it is that the Canadian metal scene is among the tightest, most jam-packed ones in the world, but while it is a good thing for all the metalheads out there who have a diverse variety of options available to them, it does prove to be somewhat of an uphill battle for bands in said scene to truly stand out.

Our subjects today are a band who, in our humble opinion, have little issue doing just that – The Apexhailing from Windsor in Ontario, who prove that fact with their latest EP, Underbelly, the follow-up to their self-titled debut record from last year.

We are hooked from the get-go with Scabs And Sheep, headed by grungy, guttural roars, accompanied by the fearsome combo of chaotic riffs, coarse bass chords and relentless drumming; all of which step up to another level by the halfway point as it kicks off at a stampeding pace with a real whiplash effect.

That sheer magnitude and animosity carries over into the title track, where the dense rhythm packs a punch, and last of all, the reckless Paid In Exposure is for sure the highlight in the writing department, tackling a subject matter many fledgling musicians know all too well, plus it serves as a fiery finale.

Within a mere 10 minutes, The Apex continue to certify themselves as a mighty force to be reckoned with. Out of the multitude of Canadian metal acts that we come across on a regular basis, very few can match the raw, intense power that these guys evoke.

REVIEW | The Shout – Nowhere To Go But Home

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Since forming a few years back, The Shout have been quick to make an impression and become one of Belfast’s brightest acts, earning an accolade or two along the way.

They were initially brought to our attention via their debut release WRITE-DELETE-REPEAT and we were pretty impressed, so we were more than happy to indulge in their music once again in the form of a new EP entitled Nowhere To Go But Home.

The record delivers exactly what it promises – an assortment of high-octane tracks featuring fun, full-blown choruses chocked with lyrics that are easy to latch onto, whilst being driven by blistering melodies; all topped off with a blend of spirited harmonies, ravishing riffs and catchy, charging rhythm sections.

With only 3 tunes on offer clocking in at 12 minutes total, it does fall a little on the short side, but regardless of that fact, it gives us what we want, leaving more than enough of an impact for listeners to go back and relish in it again and again.

An ideal starting point for newcomers to get an introduction to one of the most exciting rock groups to emerge from Northern Ireland in recent memory.