ALBUM REVIEW. The xx – I See You

Release date: 13 January 2017

Genre: Indie-alternative

Rating: ★★★

Words by: Martina Di Gregorio

The xx have been making headlines the last couple of months by releasing singles from this album, announcing world tours and breaking records for the most dates at a London venue showing how the influence of The xx has not diminished since their last album and the silence that followed.

I See You really hits the right spot with indie guitar pop, R&B, stripped down music with electro-pop influence of Jamie xx that really gives that extra kick to the sound that we all used to love from The xx. There are heavy guitar or bass drops, but the music gets stripped down to the core by making the real protagonists of the albums the vocal chemistry between Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft, as well as adding that extra dance vibe that makes Jamie xx’s solo work a blessing for The xx as he found that magic sound to really give the band a sense of purpose.

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The lyrics all revolve around all those dark emotions and heartbreak that people go through during their life, making this album a very powerful weapon for The xx to really make an impact in a world where poetic and powerful lyrics are very much outshone by catchy beats and a repetitive clichè choruses that make people feel safe.

The album kick-starts with ‘Dangerous’,which tricks the listener into thinking it might be a happy song as the melody starts with trumpets but slowly fades into darkness as Oliver and Romy haunting voices sing about an unsteady relationship that could break apart at any time but their refusal to let go, and their need to fight for something that maybe shouldn’t stay together. Other songs such as the ballad ‘Performance’ really showcase the hard work and thought the band has put into their sounds, with violins being used to give that sense of melancholy as well as absolute silence to really make a statement and show that sometimes less is more: there isn’t always a need for energetic beats to make a song great, sometimes just vocals are enough to show off talent.

Yet, although The xx discovered and played with many styles in this album, they seem to always focus on  their rough vocals, like with ‘Test Me’, which has scattered vocal samples and cryptic, gloomy noises that make it the darkest song of the album.

Overall, I See You really is about The xx growing and working with their sounds, as the vocals sometimes get lost in a sea of electronic noises and beats that take away from their poetic lyrics, which were what really made this band stand up. Although they do tend to go for a minimalistic sound in certain songs, it seems that Jamie xx’s solo work has made a huge impact on their sound and it is not clear whether it was really necessary. It gave the band a sense of purpose and, something that was lacking in their previous work. It was unclear what they wanted their sound to be like, but this change seems to have taken away a bit of the magic that we all loved from The xx. Nonetheless, the album is still able to strike a chord and show off the huge talents of the two vocalists, and although this is not a five star album, it will still live in the hearts of many fans for years to come.


Listen to the latest offering from The xx here
You can also keep up to date with the trio on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

MDG

 

FILM REVIEW. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Release date: 15 December 2016

Genre: Sci-fi adventure/action

Rating: ★★★★1/2

Words by: Dan Luck

 

Going in to seeing Rogue One, the new standalone instalment in the Star Wars franchise, I was sceptical about how any sort of dramatic suspense was going to be built up in the film. The opening crawl for A New Hope back in 1977 tells you that Rebels successfully acquire the plans for the Empire’s Death Star and a lot of the original film is subsequently based around that entire plot point, so even if you have only the most basic amount of Star Wars knowledge possible, you know how Rogue One ends in that regard far before the pre-movie trailers have finished rolling. So for me, what I wanted to see from Rogue One was the following:

  • How the film covers that missing piece of plot between the Star Wars prequels and the original trilogy
  • Can the film make me care about the characters involved in the acquisition of the Death Star plans?
  • Who survives such an inevitably dangerous mission?

As it turns out, Rogue One provided me with a film that not only suitably satisfies all three of these burning questions I had going in, but also provided me with a film that I ultimately enjoyed far more than last year’s ‘main storyline’ instalment The Force Awakens. It’s an original story (though one that in some ways is somewhat bound by the fact it HAS to cover certain events in the Star Wars mythos without much room for deviation), I was made to care about the characters even though there wasn’t a huge amount of fleshing out for a majority of the main cast which is an achievement (fluke?) in itself, and there’s a gratuitous amount of fan service. My God, the fan service. But it’s fan service that 9/10 times doesn’t feel shoehorned and only serves to strengthen the story, in my opinion.

 

BIG SPOILERS COMING FROM THIS POINT ONWARDS, FAIR WARNING.

 

Rogue One follows the story of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) whose father Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen, who I’m seeing a LOT of lately; good for him) is the lead engineer and designer of the Galactic Empire’s currently unfinished Death Star superweapon. When Jyn is young, Galen is forced out of hiding and abducted back into work on the weapon by Director of Advanced Weapons Research for the Imperial Military Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), during which Jyn’s mother is killed and Jyn herself is forced into hiding and subsequent rescue and combat training by Saw Gerrera (Forest Whittaker), leader of an extremist faction of the Rebel Alliance. Fifteen years later, an adult Jyn is broken out of an Imperial prison camp convoy by Rebel officer Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and his blunt droid companion K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) to help the Rebel Alliance get back into contact with Gerrera, who has supposedly received a message from Galen from defecting Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) concerning the Death Star. Once Jyn receives the message, in which Galen expresses his love for her and details the fatal flaw he intentionally designed into the Death Star as his revenge on the Empire (which Luke Skywalker will later sink a decisive torpedo into in the Star Wars chronology), a mission ensues to acquire the actual Death Star plans for the Rebel Alliance to exploit later during the events of Episode IV: A New Hope.

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It’s a pretty standard, to-be-expected plot for the film by all accounts. As such, there’s a somewhat formulaic sense of “we need to get to Point X, then Point Y” that bubbles beneath the surface of the film. But the film’s main plot of “We need to get the Death Star plans” draws its strength from the subplots that funnel into it; Jyn wants to see her father again and avenge him, Andor has secret orders to kill Galen upon discovering his whereabouts which strains his relationship with Jyn, Bodhi has to acclimatise to fighting for the other side of the war. Blind warrior monk Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and his assassin protector Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) have their belief in the Force tested (primarily Imwe) by the mission. The film is very much a sum of its parts, and despite there being little time to focus on fully fleshing out the backstories of the main Rogue One team, the basics are there and somehow it was still enough to get me to care about the team members going in to the third act of the film.

This is the point where we need to talk about the third act of the film. The third act of the film, which depicted the actual battle surrounding the acquisition of the Death Star plans from the Empire’s data bank on Scarif, made me feel like a little kid again in the cinema for the first time in a long time. Throughout the film, a good job is done focusing on the actual war aspect of the Rebel Alliance/Empire fracas that sometimes is lost a little bit during the original trilogy due to the heavier focus on the Jedi mythos and the other main cast members of the originals. The plight of the common Rebel soldiers on the ground is largely background action. As such, Rogue One does a tremendous job of focusing on the actual war on this level, with good guys doing bad things, bad guys doing good things and the third act being a huge culmination of all these things. The Rebels are told to “make ten men seem like a hundred”, which is depicted very well through the tactics deployed to distract and confuse the Imperial Stormtrooper army patrolling and guarding the Scarif data bank. As the third act progresses and the battle intensifies and Jyn, Andor and K-2SO delve deeper into the Imperial archives while the rest of the team and Rebel forces fight rogue-one-a-star-wars-story-official-teaser-trailer-mp4_-00_01_29_22-still003-1200x675out on the beaches, you start to realise that often somehow-forgotten fact about Star Wars in that it IS a war, at the end of the day. The comic relief character in K-2SO heroically and poignantly sacrifices himself holding off an increasingly overwhelming number of Stormtroopers to buy Jyn and Andor more time extracting the Death Star plans from the data bank archives. At this point, I was thinking “Of all the characters in the main team I thought would die, I didn’t think it would be him!” But then the absolute kickass Chirrut Imwe is killed after channelling the Force to avoid fire and reach a vital communications switch, after which he is riddled with blaster bolts. After vitally getting communications through to the Rebel fleet concerning the urgent change of plans to transmit the Death Star blueprints to the fleet instead of physically delivering them, Bodhi is suddenly killed by a grenade. One by one the members of the Rogue One team fall and you realise that the film really couldn’t have ended any other way. But this is a good thing. Too often we’ve seen movies where the good guys face insurmountable odds and all survive even though it doesn’t make sense. ‘Good guys’ die in wars just as much as ‘bad guys’ do. This is a fact. And it’s never a case of black and white; there are always moral shades of grey. And Rogue One reminds you of that in a very fitting, unexpectedly sobering way that only strengthens the story, and in a way even retroactively strengthens the story of A New Hope now you’re truly made aware of the sacrifices made to acquire the Death Star plans in the first place.

 

Of course, seeing as the film is set right before A New Hope, you’re expecting cameos from classic Star Wars characters going in. And Rogue One doesn’t disappoint in that department either. Darth Vader is only in the film for two scenes; firstly during a tense meeting with Krennic where you initially catch a glimpse of Vader’s vulnerable unarmoured state beforehand which is portrayed very effectively. Secondly, he appears in a scene towards the very end of the film which I won’t spoil, but Vader has genuinely never been more terrifying in all his depictions onscreen than he is in that final scene. It’s a scene that had me grinning like a child all the way through and it’s an absolute treat.

There are a handful of other notable appearances from original trilogy characters, one of which being Grand Moff Tarkin, the Imperial Commander played by the now long-dead Peter Cushing in the original film A New Hope. In 2005’s final prequel film Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Tarkin appears towards the end but is mostly shown from behind portrayed by a different actor. When Tarkin first appears in Rogue One, he is shown from behind so I expected a similar trick to be pulled this time around as well, which was understandable. Or so I thought, until Tarkin turns around and is a fully CGI’d Peter Cushing who then appears multiple times throughout the film. This knocked me for a loop; the CGI is genuinely VERY impressive. It’s only by looking closely around the mouth and similar little things that you can see it’s CGI at all. But it was so ‘uncanny valley’ for me that it made me somewhat uncomfortable. Immensely impressed and enjoying it, but simultaneously unsettled by a long-dead man now ‘acting’ onscreen again. It’s something that I’m sure will open a whole new can of worms on the ethics behind generally using dead actors in films in this way in the future, but considering Rogue One specifically centres itself around the plot of the Death Star, there was almost no way that they couldn’t include Cushing’s character in some capacity considering he commands the Death Star in A New Hope, with him butting heads with Krennic for control of the program in this film. Tarkin’s ultimate vanquishing of his rival when he uses the Death Star to completely eradicate the compromised base at the end of the film, with Krennic looking up to the sky to see his own work prepping itself to destroy him along with everything else, is an unexpectedly sympathetic moment for a very unsympathetic character in Krennic.

 

Ultimately, I loved Rogue One. While main Star Wars storyline film The Force Awakens oftentimes felt like a glitzy new version of A New Hope, Rogue One succeeds in being its own individual entity in the Star Wars mythology. While some of the characters could have used some more fleshing out (particularly Bodhi, Imwe and Malbus), the film did a sufficient job in making me care about the main cast of characters and successfully covered a big plot gap in the main Star Wars story while strengthening the existing films it tied into, which was all I really asked for going in. Rogue One is an excellent addition to the Star Wars universe and has me feeling more optimistic for other planned future ‘side story’ entries into the franchise, such as the upcoming Han Solo standalone film (with Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, which I couldn’t be more excited for if I tried). That’s a stellar result for the galaxy far, far away.


Rogue One is out at a cinema near you now, go treat yourself and see it.

Dan Luck is a relatively nice human who co-hosts a comedy pop-culture podcast Off Piste and can also be followed on Twitter.

 

 

LIVE REVIEW. Shura at The Forum

Date: 7 December 2016

Venue: The Forum, Kentish Town

Words: Victoria Ling

Photography: Victoria Ling

Dressed in layers and entering the stage for the penultimate date of the ‘Shura-pean’ tour, The Forum went into darkness as Shura took to the stage with her band (Luke – guitars, Ally – drums and Rory – bass) and kicked off the night with ‘Nothing’s Real’ to roars from the sold-out crowd. Who could have guessed that the main girl of the night was full of Shu-flu as Shura worked her way from behind the keys to the front of the stage and back again. As she gulped from a pint glass, the crowd were told that she is actually downing a hot toddie to kick her flu which also may have helped with her energy; however Shura is not a woman lacking in energy, they seem to be

getting better as the crowds grow bigger. The drive in this band is simply mind-blowing. ‘Kids N’Stuff’ kicks in with goose bumps inducing effect, any long-term fan of Shura knows that something special is going to happen at this point – the transition. Everybody was waiting for that transition and as soon as ‘Indecision’ starts, the crowd simultaneously loose control as The Forum’s atmosphere is stepped up a notch. Indeed, there was passionate crowd interaction a plenty tonight, especially during Shura’s confession that she is admittedly quite shy which she says is ironic to the career she has now. Thankfully Shura remains standing with strength and grace doing what she does best, and in quite a lump-in-throat moment we are given ‘2Shy’ going into ‘Make It Up’. “So I just released an album and every song I performed is from that album but this next one is not from that album,” is what Shura tells us. Excitement brews and I hear someone say ‘Just Once’ but it is not to be, instead a new track is presented, and ’Sacrifice’ is great testament to how Shura’s sound is still progressing. The sound is fresh and distinct, but still contains familiar elements, this is why Shura gains more recognition by the day in this ever changing cut-throat music industry.

If the night could not get any more emotional, a dedication goes out to the fans in the form of ‘Touch’, the first song written for the debut album. Whoops come from the crowd as Shura climbs into the pit to grace those who were lucky enough to get to the front barrier with her presence. It is such an exhilarating moment that it even stirs a few happy tears from the crowd as she disappears but thankfully not for too long as the encore comes with ‘White Light’ which is quite possibly Shura’s most electric track performed live. Strobes galore shine down with Shura bashing out the sample pad and sending the crowd crazy in awe that even she falls to the floor before catching a breathe to take us to the end of this ‘tidal wave of feelings’ of the Shura-pean tour to a sea of confetti.


Check out Shura on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

Through the eyes of Lil Vik

INTRODUCING. The Seefelds with debut EP Temple

Release date: Out Now!

Genre: Indie Rock

Rating: ★★★★

Words: Scott Murray

 

The Seefelds have slowly immersed themselves in Brisbane’s bustling live music scene, playing gigs all over Brissy throughout 2016, culminating with the release of their debut EP “Temple” at the Empire Hotel in late November.

The public got the first taste of the EP when the lads released their lead single, and title track, ‘Temple’ onto Triple J Unearthed in early October. This slow jam opens with a quiet, cut-back riff by guitarist Alex Lim before building to resounding heights thanks to the crooning vocals of Nick Boxall. The Brissy four piece then gave us the rest of Temple, an absolute cracker that highlights the genre hopping range of the group. The EP kicks off with ‘Tell Me (That You Want It)’, another tune similar in tempo to ‘Temple’.  However, this tune takes the time to concentrate on the instrumentals of the band, with drummer Lachie Atkinson, bassist Josh Bartlett and Lim providing an intriguing and striking contrast to Boxall’s slow croon.

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The EP then moves onto the fast paced ‘Curiosity & Boredom’, a deceiving track that begins with light relaxing guitar before building into a drum driven bustle that lifts the pace of the entire record. Following on from the title track, the lads build on the slow, drawn back vibes of Temple in ‘Cradle’. This track is just full of soul, and again highlights the intertwining voices of Boxall and Lim in a manner reminiscent of the DMA’s ‘Delete’.

The EP ends on its seemingly most zealous track, ‘Fly Away’ kicks off with driving guitar riffs and a bustling drum line showcasing the more upbeat tendencies of The Seefelds . However, as the song draws the EP to a close, Boxall utters “I need to slow down and find myself again” and suddenly the pace shifts. The lads like to keep listeners on their toes through tonal juxtapositions like this, making them refreshingly unpredictable. In fact, this track manages to encompass what The Seefelds are all about: delivering relaxing contemplative tunes for when you need to slow down, whilst also providing energetic party jams.

Overall, the self-described “Brisbane boys making mediocre music” have stepped far beyond that with their debut EP, creating a fantastic introduction that is undoubtedly a sign of bigger things to come.


You can catch The Seefelds on Facebook and Instagram and listen to ‘Templehere.

You can see the lads perform on the 22 December at the Zoo, Brisbane.

S.M.

 

LIVE REVIEW. In Dynamics at The Boston Music Room

Date: 30 November 2016                                                                                 Genre: Alternative-Rock

Venue: The Boston Music Room, London                                                Words: Steph Baker

 

In Dynamics sauntered onto stage at the semi-filled Boston Music Room in North London, and soon managed to pull the scattered groups of people into a front-facing, engaged crowd just with their opening track filled with raging hooks and the chantable lyrics “you pull apart“.

It is clear from the get-go that this Sussex group are capable of both creating huge explosive sounds that fill rooms whilst also maintaining full control, particularly over vocals, preventing it from turning destructive – a highly admirable ability. As the trio continue their set, the outstanding level of musical craftsmanship and scrupulous songwriting that runs through every note played is unmissable. img_2791

It is difficult to pinpoint which bands this group have arisen from, due to the complex mix of classic rock and pop-punk that intertwine with playful drum beats and lyrics hooks; during heavy-hearted instrumental breakdowns you even get a taste of some prog. Each member knows their role and executes it with strong precision, as the front man Beau Boulden‘s vocals provide vulnerability while telling their story, William Wrench‘s bass lines bring about depth to the scenario. The most entertaining aspect of this band is watching the harmonies being constructed – with William’s bassey (ha – geddit?) voice and Beau’s towering high notes fused to constantly take the song to the next level, especially during ‘Vital’.

It was refreshing to see that In Dynamics are not afraid to get creative with the musical structure and composition of their offerings, breaking the sometimes monotonous trends within new alternative rock music. The highlight of the set was probably ‘Another Minute’, the track taking the audience on a powerful journey brought down to earth by Beau’s emotive lyrics. The trio have recently released a live recording on YouTube and it’s a perfect introduction into the capabilities of this band, check it out below.

 


You can check out In Dynamics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Baker out.

 

 

 

 

SINGLE REVIEW. The xx – On Hold

Release Date: Out now!

Genre: Electro-indie pop

Rating: ★★★★★

It begins with the graceful, familiar voice of Romy Madley Croft, as it’s been so long since we have been graced with fresh material, her voice instantly brings any fan a feeling of satisfaction. This track is about grasping at the tail end of a failing love, in a desperate attempt of regaining momentum and making it work, “it could be love I think you’re too soon to call us old“. With some almost psych-pop sounds woven in, the song has very romanticized undertones while still keeping to the signature xx chilled-out sound.

 

img_2758In many ways, the xx have not changed, to the relief of many. With the same warm charm brought by the voices of Romy and Oliver Sim, as well as the distinct, simplistic guitar melodies and electro-ambient vibes that can only be constructed with just the right mix of elements. However, after the lyrics “when and where did we go cold, I thought I had you on hold“, there is a drop that reveals a whole new lease of life for the xx. During this energetic segment of the track, inspirations uncovered by Jamie xx during his solo projects of the past year materialise themselves, and the result is a refreshing mix of the chilled out, low-fi vibes expected from the xx, and the electro beats of the house scene Jamie often frequents. It sounds remarkable, and has also worked well live on the few recent performances of the trio on radio and US talk shows.

 

This long awaited new track from the London group has been met with warm welcome, and rumour has it we can expect more surprises such as this in their upcoming album ‘I See You’.


Book tickets to the 2017 headline tour

You can also connect to The xx on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

 

Baker out.

SINGLE REVIEW. Siboney + Andy – Secret

Release date: Out now!

Genre: Pop-Folk

Rating: ★★★1/2

Siboney + Andy recently joined forces, along with their influences and styles to create this debut EP, encompassing a variety of pop/folk/electro vibes. This title track of the EP certainly makes a statement and ensures their names will not be easily forgotten.

With a delicate opening, Siboney tells a painful tail, supposedly from personal experience. The opening verse could be claimed to be predictable, but as the bridge builds up, Siboney’s voice steps up before delivering a powerful blow with the lyrics “I will keep this sib-and-andy-02-lowres1secret ’till I die” during the chorus. With a blaring electric riff accompanying the voice, a new level of passion is brought to this track. The second verse is more playful as the due get settled into what they’re doing, with electro-pop synths coupled with folk-y vocals
and guitar, this is a creative song showcasing what it is Siboney + Andy are capable of. As Andy emerges into the track not only as a producer but a vocalist, the track gets that bit warmer. It is at this moment you can see why the due work so well together, as their voices intertwine to create a pop/electro-pop juxtaposition.

The music video for this track brings a visual element to better explain the journey this track takes. The pair describe the following: “The lyrics in Secret are quite literal, and pull from rather painful self-experience, so we wanted to hint at that feeling within the video, but let people come to their own conclusions within the narrative.”

 

Check out the music video for Sectret and follow Siboney and Andy’s journey:


Check out the debut EP ‘Secret’ here.

You can also find Siboney + Andy on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

 

 

Baker out.

LIVE REVIEW. Tusks and Oh Sister in London

Date: 23rd November 2016

Venue: The Waiting Room,  Stoke Newington, London

Genre: Ambient/electro-pop

The Waiting Room is tucked within the basement of a pub in North London, like a secret hideout. Seeming slightly ominous at first when walking down the steep stairs to a wood-walled room, this venue actually turned out to be perfect to host Tusks’s headline London debut, as the space filled up, the atmosphere was totally comfortable and intimate.

 

Main support – Oh Sister

The evening was kicked off by the soulful melodic tunes of Oh Sister. A solo artist with a DIY sound and electric drums system. This artist brought the warmth that the room needed, with her raw but genuine tales of love and adventure. The opening track ‘Isn’t Love Used To It Yet‘ brought on nostalgia with a sort of new-wave jazz, full of romanticized heartbreak. A sort of ambient Winehouse vibe, but with more electric guitar and less drama. With her tantalizing, stripped back voice, Oh Sister managed to encompass the whole room, however at times lacked the control over her guitar necessary for such delicate set. With her voice alone, Oh Sister could bring any crowd to their knees with a full band behind her, allowing her to concentrate on what she does best, and experiment more with ambient, atmospheric sounds.

Headliner – Tusks

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Image: @charlie__mac_

An instant connection was made between Tusks and the audience and she stepped onto The Waiting Room stage tonight, and apprehension within her and her band was evident.

The first track of the set was a fan favorite ‘For You‘, however Tusks put her own twist on it. Now equipped with a full band of talented musicians, Tusks was able to break the popular hit down to its core elements and build it up into an accumulation of ambient sounds and thudding drums – it was at this point, it was clear to the crowd Tusks has more to offer in her performance tonight than ever before.

Poison Ivy‘ was the second song of the evening, and her voice sailed through it with grace, but we already expected this; what took us aback was the amount of power behind her voice. Tonight Tusks paired her soul-baring vocals with eerie guitar and dark bass lines, the  result was  all-encompassing and hugely graceful. It was touching to see Tusks explore the deeper possibilities within ambient and electro-pop music and the experimentation was made by her band. The thunderous drums and strong bass-lines brought a new level of power to the music, that just seemed to work.

Tonight Tusks took her time, putting in every delicate detail to every song. At times it seemed as though everything was in slow motion, until all musical elements were brought together at the point just before a satisfying drop.The crowd were gifted with a sneak preview of the new album with never-before-played-live tracks such as’Toronto‘ and ‘Bleach‘. An early solo track she wrote many moons ago was also showcased, which allowed Tusks to perform as she once did, with her voice pure and unaltered, and also showed how far she has developed since her first appearance. There is an air of true authenticity around Tusks as she performs, a connection is instantly made along with an atmosphere that is unbreakable.


You can check out Tusks’s most recent EP ‘False‘ here and give her some love on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Also make sure to check out Oh Sister and follow on Facebook and Twitter

All images: @charlie__mac_

 

Baker out.

SINGLE REVIEW. The Big Moon – Formidable

Released: OUT NOW

Genre: Alternative-rock

Rating: ★★★★

The Big Moon have been on the rise for the past year now in playing notable shows around the nation with big names, and having a growing, passionate fan-base. With an extrovert-like, 90s girl-punk style and all the right sounds, The Big Moon have comfortably made a name for themselves within the London alternative scene, however this single – released ahead of the debut album ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’ out April next year – demonstrates how the female quartet are moving out of their comfort zone, and exploring a new world of dark, indie fuzz.

love_in_the_4th_dimension_tbm_low_res-jpg-768x768The track opens with the familiar voice of front-woman Juliette emerging with the oh-so-cynical rhyme “Did she make you swallow all your pride, does the love still shiver down your spine” before a gentle crescendo of reverb and bass. The slightly ominous “oooh” echoed by all of the girls calm the air before the chorus ignites. The band really bring it in the chorus, and this is the point you realise how much The Big Moon have really progressed since their early releases; with powerful vocals that could get any room chanting out loud and some of the heaviest guitar and thunderous drums we have heard yet. This band have the capability to bring all the noise and carnage you could ever need, while still having the control to execute haunting harmonies and more delicate tones, something that works so well with this type of music.

The only drawback to this release is the length of it. Leaving the listener wanting more is always a good move (it certainly worked), but the girls still could have reached even higher levels of intensity and experimented more with this new sound if they had given the track some more time. However, this seems to be a song that could be developed and expanded greatly during a live set. Let’s hope for more dark magic such as this in the album.


You can listen to ‘Formidable‘ now here and pre-order the debut album here.

Give The Big Moon some love too on Facebook and Twitter

 

Baker out.

EP REVIEW. Stevie Parker – Blue

Release date: 11th November 2016

Genre: Ambient/electro-pop

Rating: ★★★★

Stevie Parker comprises of a young artist from the West of England with a raw voice oozing wisdom and heartbreak. After building a substantial platform from her debut release ‘Never Be‘ on Soundcloud in 2015 and later performing alongside noteworthy British artists, especially in the Bristol Summer Series, Stevie Parker’s debut EP, ‘Blue‘ has been released highly anticipated and is seeming to gain success within the electro-pop world.

stevie parker press shot.pngThe EP begins with ‘Better Off‘, a sinister-toned tune with delicate vocals and an empowering message of realisation of worth in the face of sorrow.  Stevie’s vocals are reminiscent of a more energetic Lana Del Rey against the musical resonate notes of groups such as London Grammar. This is the perfect opener to set Stevie Parker aside from other up-and-coming alternative-pop artists, especially the young ones – who can often blend into one homogenous group. The title track of this EP takes a more heavy-beated, electro-pop turn. This foundation is well-suited to this artist’s hypnotic high-notes that are showcased during the outcry “I’ve been blue over you”. Despite being at risk of being slightly repetitive at times, this track demonstrates the versatility of Stevie Parker well, and is catchy enough to make you keep her music in your head all day.

Siren‘ is possibly the highlight of the EP, as it is the most distinct and complex track. With raw lyrics, telling a tale of desperate love and lust, Stevie Parker shows her human side for all to relate and sing along to. The graceful combination of thudding beats with warm piano melodies creates a sound that belongs to only her. We are shown a contrasting aspect of Stevie with the final track ‘Different For Girls‘. Whether this track is making a political statement, or simply expressing the emotions often experienced within a troublesome partner, this acoustic number shows a totally different song-writing style, one of simplistic and honest statements. This is an artist is wise and elegant, with the ability to get you both dancing and crying out in sorrow.


Hit up Stevie Parker on Facebook and Instagram, and listen to ‘Blue‘ over here

 

Baker out.