Another week has passed and it’s a Friday again. Lots of things have happened this week that shocked all of us. The terrible news of Sarah Everard has led to, what feels like, another social media revolution. Women speaking out about their experiences and sharing with the world what it’s like being a woman and still not feeling safe. Hopefully this will once again open up the conversation and actually lead to change.
On a more positive note, it’s been an exciting week for music. A few festivals announced they will return this summer which means that we have been blessed with the adrenaline boost that flows through you while queuing on a website for tickets, oh how I missed that feeling. So, hopefully we can enjoy all these brand-new tunes out in a field this summer!
Editor: Megan Hofman
Tom Grennan – Evering Road (Insanity Records)
The Bedford born and ever so soulful Tom Grennan is back with his second album, ‘Evering Road’, after going through a tough break up which he admits he was the “toxic” one in, Tom has gone through a journey of self-discovery with this record and has learned to love himself and has come out of it a better man. The once aspiring footballer discovered he could sing after a drunken karaoke session at a house party when he was 18 and was discovered a few years later at an open mic in Finsbury Park. Since then, he has collaborated with Chase and Status and released his first album Lighting Matches in 2018 and after some time out he is back with a record full of gravelly vocals, gospel choirs, and full sounding orchestra, and a satisfying variety of some upbeat foot-stomping tunes to heart-wrenching piano ballads. Citing Amy Winehouse and Adele as influences, the observations of heartbreak are heavy throughout. Lyrically, this is definitely a cathartic record that explores the journey of going through a breakup and really evaluating what you really want and how you can come out of a bad time as a better person.
‘Evering Road’ is certainly a huge artistic development for Tom, he has definitely come to explore his sound, and this feels as though he is confident in the artist he wants to be which has definitely come from the personal growth he has done as a person by overcoming his demons and learning to love himself. This is definitely a record full of sing-alongs and (fingers-crossed!) you will be able to watch Tom live on tour at Alexandra Palace in September.
Words: Hollie Sackett
Jorja Smith – Addicted (FAMM)
Jorja Smith’s first work of the year draws less inspiration from RnB and soul than her debut album, ‘Lost & Found’ and in turn provides further evidence into a potential change in direction from the London-based sensation yet doesn’t reveal the full picture by any means.
With past collaborations with Burna Boy and Popcaan, LDN half expected further exploration into dancehall and reggae. However, with exquisite jazz singles like last year’s Ezra Collective collaboration, ‘Rose Rouge’ and atmospheric hiphop endeavors like ‘By Any Means’, it’s clear that Jorja is simply refusing to be boxed up into any particular genre or direction and thus has the liberty to make whatever she feels like.
The newest rendition of which has been materialised as ‘Addicted’, a pained expression of the frustration of a strained relationship and unreciprocated feelings. Jorja’s trademark croaky, vocal frayed style of singing is barely heard here, instead, a more tired and vulnerable voice is heard which gives the effect of feeling exhausted from trying so hard in a one-sided relationship.
The reversing, reverbed guitars add huge amounts of warmth and space to the mix and luckily isn’t overused but reserved for greater effect. It’s nice to hear a love song with the sad minor piano chords replaced with pleasant, atmospheric guitars and a muted synth to take up the accompaniment.
Words: Doug Phillips
KSI (feat. YUNGBLUD & Polo G) – Patience (BMG)
Patience is an unexpected collaboration between rappers KSI and polo G and rock singer YUNGBLUD. With KSI and YUNGBLUD being very different artists, the announcement of this collaboration caused quite a stir in both fanbases and left many wondering what a collab between the two could possibly sound like considering their individual music resides in two completely separate genres. All three artists seem to be stepping outside of their comfort zone on this track, straying from their usual genres of rap and rock and meeting in the middle to create a mainstream pop anthem.
‘Patience’ appears to take inspirations from many areas of popular music, from the deep synths layered with distorted vocals which is something often seen in the 1975’s music, to the heavily autotuned vocals in the chorus that sound as if they could be straight out of a post Malone song. This is the second time that we have seen KSI experimenting with singing as he can be heard singing very briefly on his recent single ‘don’t play’ with Anne Marie, it is clear that KSI wants to experiment with all different styles of music, and It will be interesting to see what he does next.
Words: Lucy Browne
Rob Zombie – The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy (Nuclear Blast)
From the Hellbilly’s seventh debut record, it’s clear that the horror-immersed heavy metal icon, Rob Zombie hasn’t lost an ounce of what made him such an exciting and ear-catching immergence in rock music back in 1998.
As Rob drags you through this twisted tracklist of increasingly surreal titles, ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’ gives off a vivid impression that the creators just had so much fun putting this silly, spooky and electrifying project together. For instance, the snappily titled, ‘18Th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks and a One-Way Ticket on the Ghost Train’ portrays a Gollum-like split personality as the track can’t make its mind up whether it’s a jaunty western soundtrack or a gruesome trip to the depths of hell. It has a rapid change of heart about eight different times between the two contrasting moods.
This flip-flopping of styles within one track isn’t a one-off gimmick either, Rob quite often has fleeting breathers from the crunchy, thrashing madness with interludes of lounge, groove and jazz, one instance of which can be heard at 2:09 in ‘The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man’. These painfully opposed enforcements of styles create hilarious contrasting images as they’re thrown in without any consideration to the satanic scenery set up until that moment.
Although there’s quite a few interlude tracks (six), they don’t distract from the experience, but instead act as an appropriate glue (which is what all interludes should be) and some like ‘The Serenity of Witches’ are actually quite pleasant and relevant in their own right.
Rob Zombie’s classic metal staples of his growling, radio-effect vocals, commanding guitar riffs and painfully heavy drum grooves are in full effect on this album, yet they never feel overplayed or tired. Each track manages to rearrange the formulae just enough for a fresh, smirk-inducing metal experience.
Although the songs on this project are technically similar, a fresh and exhilarant approach to song writing and production makes each track on this mad, rule-less album hit just a bit different each time and always keeps you guessing.
Words: Doug Phillips
Evanescence – Better Without You (Columbia)
The American rock band Evanescence have released their new song ‘Better Without You’. After the worldwide recognition the group received for their 2003 song ‘Bring Me to Life’, the album ‘Fallen’ became a global hit, reaching No.5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and spending over 43 weeks on the Top 10 chart. Their new track comes from the Arkansas metal outfit’s first LP of all-new music since then.
‘Better Without You’ is the fourth official single lifted from the group’s upcoming album, ‘The Bitter Truth’, each of the songs representing a certain topic from break up to women’s empowerment. As usual, the track contains gruelling guitar riffs and bombarding bass, giving it a cinematic presence, gently combined with Amy Lee’s vocals and some electronic features, adding a more mature sound her voice.
Words: Gery Hristova