It’s difficult to know where to begin with Trouble Maker, the ninth album from Californian punk stalwarts Rancid. On the one hand, it’s everything we could want from a Rancid record. Organs and upstrokes? Check. Buzzsaw guitar solos? Of course. Tim Armstrong’s breathy drawl juxtaposed with Lars Fredrikson’s biting bark? Naturally. On the other hand however, it’s also everything we’ve come to expect from a Rancid record and as such, does little to break a framework the band established albums ago.
Monday, 26 June 2017
If there was a single track that managed to encapsulate the frustrations and optimism of Seafoam, the debut LP from Kamikaze Girls, it would be the sprawling final track ‘I Don’t Want To Be Sad Forever’. Coming at the end of the record, the track plays out as a cathartic culmination to all that comes before it. And while cathartic is certainly the right word to describe the track, and indeed the record as a whole, it’s not strictly the optimistic brand of catharsis one might expect.
Walking into Manchester’s Albert Hall, it’s hard to imagine a venue more suited to Tycho’s ambient electronica than a converted Wesleyan chapel. Arriving fashionably late, with the fading sun cascading through the venue’s stained-glass windows, it’s clear that this is one of the rare occasions on which the venue’s aesthetics boost the atmosphere tenfold.
Where London Grammar’s 2013 debut ‘If You Wait’ harboured a brooding sense of bombast established from the outset, ‘Truth Is A Beautiful Thing’ is much more subtle in its delivery - the three and a half years between releases providing London Grammar with not just a new found sense of maturity, but with a more nuanced sense of musicality also.
Monday, 5 June 2017
For many, the fact that Newcastle’s Maximo Park are still massively active more than ten years since their inception is crazy. While so many bands of their era have either stagnated in to obscurity, or reached the dizzying heights of worldwide renown, theirs is a career of celebrated consistently, of which the 2000 people in attendance this evening are a testament.
Much like the country in which it was conceived, ‘Visuals’, the seventh album from Danish dream-poppers Mew, harbours an imposing nature concealed behind its inherent beauty. Written while on the road in support of previous release ‘+-‘, there’s a definite sense of the band attempting to, and succeeding in, capturing what frontman Jonas Bjerre refers to as a ‘creative peak’.
Pop-punk has come a long way since the Descendents exploded on to the LA hardcore scene in the ‘80s, and these days, it has never felt more relevant. Now a far cry from irreverent humour, teenage angst, and, erm, fart jokes, pop-punk has grown up, and become more cathartic in the process.
Three years have passed since Brighton punks Gnarwolves released their self-titled debut. In the scheme of things that might not so long, but the change in the band is more than evident. ‘Outsiders’, though harbouring the same energy and DIY ideals as its predecessor, is a record more nuanced, and more considered than anything the trio have released before.