The debut long-player from London four-piece The Other Ones is a riot of noise and craftily crafted punk, with a few quiet sections slipping effectively under the radar of fuzz. There have been some pre-release singles to whet the appetite but surprisingly not the brilliant opening track ‘Drown You’. This song has it all; a killer introduction that springs from nowhere, a punk riff from heaven/hell, harmony vocal lines and spellbinding chorus ‘…all I ever really wanted to do is drown you…’. The drums and guitars drench the listener in distorted sound and it is pure pleasure.
‘On Top Of Me’ has a chord sequence that seems to be catching up on itself and demented guitar lines that underpin the energy of the vocal. ‘Forever Young’ is a perennial pop single, then within the field of energy of ‘Money’ there is lyrical acerbity and absurdity to get to the truth, ‘….we never kiss…..we never touch….. we only talk about money…’. It is not until track six when we have some calm respite with the acoustic ‘I Wish I Was Your Boyfriend’ with the biting ‘…your always in my mind but whose on yours…are you only with me because you’re bored?…’.
‘Better Off Alone Again’ strays into full-on rock territory while ‘Wasted Youth’ is a glorious drum extravaganza. Title track ‘The Other Ones’ is almost frightening in its intensity and serves as an effective manifesto for the band. Closing with the ethereal acoustic lines of ‘I Think Too Much’ is an unexpected departure but seems to work perfectly well to bookend this dynamic collection.
With roots in Canada and Coventry, singer/songwriter YNES tells it direct. Her 2020 EP ‘Sit Down, Grow up’ featured the minimalist music supporting a flow of lyrical ideas in the less than two minute delight of ‘Im(Mature)’. The inverted relationship song ‘Pretty Sure’ has the words accumulate and build to a restrained frenzy of bitterness, ‘….I’m pretty sure she’s not the one that broke my heart…..that girl is not my enemy today….’ then moves into the likeable ennui of ‘All I Do(Dream of You)’ where ‘….all I do is sit around and wait for you….’
New single ‘Better Job’ takes inspiration from the ill-judged government campaign to reject lifetime training and ambition in creative industries to become something more ‘useful’ to society. YNES turns this into a loose and noisy tirade, where the music can barely keep pace with her exhausting streams of words and ideas.
Punk poet, performance artist, art rocker – YNES hits the spot.
Straight in with the blistering ‘Count Your Blessings’, Leeds three-piece Nervous Twitch deliver a collection of roughly-cut pop diamonds on their excellent fourth album. Definitely a formidable live band; their recordings distil the essence of the energy from a stage performance.
I especially like the casual indifference of ‘Tongue Tied’, ‘….I’ve always got so much to say but I can’t always use it….’, tempered by the classic punk chorus. ‘A Bag For Life’ builds a chanting song around single line bass and guitar (reminding me of the spiky dance sounds of Shopping), then ‘Not Everyone’s Out To Get Me’ is a fuzzy and effervescent anthem.
A tasty synth riff joins the party for previously released ‘Keeping Faith In Something’, featuring one of Erin’s best vocals and ‘Alright Lads’ is a compact and sharply structured Ramones homage, readily acknowledged by the trio as a great influence. The calculated lyrical dismissal of ‘Boredom and Dissatisfaction’ hangs around a reassuring set of chord changes as does the darker anti-vocal of ‘The Way That I Feel’.
‘Fickle You’ ends the LP with a garage tune that is the constant in an ever changing musical battleground, demonstrating perfectly how after four albums Erin, Jay and Ashley have honed their addictive sound to cut this fine set of twelve tracks.
At last a new single from Los Angeles four-piece The Paranoyds; a previous version was recorded during the sessions for their debut long player (reviewed here), but as a staple crowd-pleaser of their live shows it finally has an official release.
With a knowing nod to the unusually spelled Stephen King novel title and a carefully constructed comedy-horror model for the cover artwork, it is all mischief and frolics in amongst the doomy headstone chords and noise.
It starts off with a walking zombie pace introduction featuring searing guitar, martial drumming and a reassuring thundering bass figure before the double voices quickly conclude that ‘…lets get buried…’ is the loving answer in this gothic reanimated relationship. After all, ‘…when we come back love’s twice as strong….’
The guitar explosively follows its own course and battles with powerhouse drums and an organ that takes on the twisted grandeur of a Hammer Horror film soundtrack, before it all ends up in a pile-up in the last few bars. It is all good fun and is a contrasting heavy track to accompany the quartet’s other fastpunk recordings.
This is the long-awaited first album from London quartet Dream Nails, a glorious amalgam of rage, fun, protest and emotion; reminding you just how good their live shows are.
Interspersing the tracks with short spoken ‘skits’ to introduce songs and keep the momentum going it is a concise 24 minutes, full of insight and energy.
From the start, you are pulled into their world as the celebratory holiday sound of ‘Jillian’ flows into the bitter twists of the workplace in ‘Corporate Realness’. Whatever the messages, the bass sound and drum dynamics are off the scale. The lyrical ideas keep coming, but it is also their music that pushes forward; when I have seen them live the meticulous attention to their set up and sound pays dividends and this production has captured that as-live atmosphere.
The razor-sharp bass and surf-rock guitar splendour of ‘Swimming Pool’ is frenetically followed by ‘This Is the Summer’ which manages to celebrate the season as well as weave a strong environmental theme through the perfect structure of a powerpop single. Watch the video too to see the band performing in a scrapyard, wrestling with a giant frog and footage of climate demonstrations.
‘Payback’ has caustic riffs, a soaring echoing guitar and an excellent wide-ranging vocal performance in thoughtful quieter sections and then unleashed full-on.
‘In Other News’ introduces one of the most disturbing news items from last year, when homophobic taunting on a London bus led to assault. The band’s explosive response pulls no punches; ‘Kiss My Fist’ is musically and lyrically a very powerful track.
Catch them live when you can, in the meantime enjoy this scorching debut LP!
Following some single releases over the last few months the debut album from London quartet Bugeye arrives…
Opener ‘On And On’ is a disco stomper, spiked with punky edges and although filled with synth swathes it still sounds organic and played live by the band. ‘Breakdown’ has the desperate vocal and staccato rhythms of an early 80s misfit chart song. ‘Shake and Bake’ is enhanced by a sliding keyboard figure, a shouting title line chorus and a psychedelic ‘theremin’ sound somewhere in the mix.
The concise ‘Blue Fire’ has stealthy superdeep bass and sinister overtones and lodges firmly in the brain. Some albums may be running out of steam by this point but ‘When The Lights Go Out’ keeps the energy level up with a banging chorus and rock and roll piano to push the rhythm along then the track evolves into an instrumental electronic spectacular near the end.
I am usually drawn to calendar list songs (…Friday I’m In Love…Manic Monday….) so ‘Sunday Monday’ is immediately interesting with its work-life balance over some great drumming, duelling guitar and a constantly varying backing.
And still four more tracks, including ‘Electric’ a previously released perfectly constructed pop single and a great vocal powerhouse performance on ‘Nightlife’ and ‘Don’t Stop’
Definitely a band to catch live when the time comes – the ten tracks on this LP would form a rich and juicy setlist….
Derby based four-piece Pet Crow release a follow up to their 2017 debut long-player ‘A Simple Guide to Small and Medium Pond Life’ and the punching intro to opener ‘Limbo’ is a clear statement of intent. As on all of their tracks the band seem to extract depth and endless variety from the conventional bass/guitar/drums line-up as Danielle’s vocals soar and echo above.
Favourite track of mine and forthcoming single, the lively ‘Insomnia’ is B-52’s in full garage mode, with some of the busiest drumming on the album. ‘NOCD’ is a relentless groove with atmospheric guitar adornments and bass way up in the mix. ‘What We Doin’?’ maintains the power output level with an insistent chorus and unpredictable changes of pace.
‘One Whole Summer’ is a celebratory and creative three minutes with the drum kit flayed until it sounds like it is being thrown down the stairs and features the haunting refrain ‘….we can stay up all night…and the next day is a mess…’. ‘Controlling’ has some sparser passages and strange effects with a playful vocal driving the song. Title cut ‘Take The Edge Off’ is a sub two minute punk burst mainly built around the title phrase and still there are three more tracks to discover (including a surprise appearance of a frantic saxophone on ‘Scars’).
The album features excellent production, successfully capturing a ‘live’ sound – I was lucky enough to see them performing last year when they played a memorable standout set at the Leicester Indiepop half-dayer.
London quartet Wolf Girl release their debut album ‘We Tried’, following on from their 2015 EP ‘Mama’s Boy’.
From the opening riff of ‘Don’t Ask Me Questions (I Can’t Even Answer The Phone), this is an addictive slice of garage punk with a great title and some neat lyrical imagery of the difficulty of meeting and sustaining communications (…notes go rotten in your pocket forgotten…) , but it is that fuzzy guitar that steals the show.
‘Middlesexy’ continues this groove then ‘Are You Reading A Dirty Book?’ is a tale of a coldly disintegrating relationship over jangly guitar and 1950s backing harmonies. ‘Sourpuss’ is a smartly constructed pop song, and so the album sustains its momentum; the next track clocking in at 1 min 17, always a treat to find. A change of vocalist for the list of persecutions in ‘Rotten’ (..Rotten tomatoes slide down our windows and somebody lobbed a pineapple into our lounge…everybody hates us in this town…) .
The surreal flourish of ‘The Maybe’ leaves a lasting impression as the lyrics float over a persistent bass line.
I’m sure this album would sound great live, as their banner said at the launch gig (featuring the brilliant Chorusgirl too!)… ‘Congratz! It’s a Wolf Girl’..