Album Reviews

Billy Talent

Crisis Of Faith

Billy Talent Crisis Of Faith
Billy Talent – ‘Crisis Of Faith’

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The gap between Billy Talent’s sixth and fifth albums has been double the length of any previous inter-album gaps. Of course, the pandemic will have played a role in the delay but it’s finally time to hear the band follow up the very impressive ‘Afraid of Heights’.

‘Crisis Of Faith’ starts with ‘Forgiveness I + II’ which initially emerged back in 2019 and showed a slight stylistic change for the band. Soon thereafter though the familiar sound of the band takes over with ‘Reckless Paradise’ and ‘I Beg To Differ (This Will Get Better)’ close behind.

Over the course of their previous five albums, Billy Talent have proven themselves to be incredibly and consistently prolific in terms of quality. The pre-release singles including Rivers Cuomo collaboration ‘End Of Me’ ensured fans had no crisis of faith in the bands ability to deliver catchy and punchy punk rock, and the album as a whole repays that faith.

Billy Talent – ‘End Of Me’ (Feat. Rivers Cuomo)

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This album certainly feels like the band are stretching their legs and trying new things, but without giving up what has won them a legion of dedicated fans. It’s always refreshing when a band is willing to test themselves and also commendable when a band tries to please their fans. ‘Crisis Of Faith’, is one of those rare albums that manages to find that middle ground and do both.

It truly is remarkable how Billy Talent are able to maintain a stream of such quality releases. ‘Crisis Of Faith’ manages to deliver on any fan expectations and reassures that despite the gap in time the band remain as relevant now as a decade ago.

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Album Reviews

Yard Act

The Overload

Yard Act The Overload
Yard Act – ‘The Overload’

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Yard Act is a name that you would likely have seen at some point recently. After all, they have appeared on many ‘ones to watch’ lists and festival line-ups over the past year or so. There hasn’t however been a great deal of material available to check out, until now that is!

‘The Overload’ is the bands debut album and arrives with many eyes on it, so can it live up to the anticipation and expectations?

The title track sets the stall from the very start as the band pin their colours to the mast. It is pretty obvious straight away that this album is a simple statement from Yard Act. They are who they are, do what they do and don’t care about any haters.

Yard Act – ‘The Overload’

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Politics, for example has become somewhat of a taboo subject for bands. Nowadays protest songs have been replaced with carefully constructed and wholly inoffensive tracks targeting widespread appeal and commercial success. Thankfully, a number of bands have begun to stick their heads above the parapet in recent times, and Yard Act clearly don’t mind addressing polarising subjects.

Equally the bands sound isn’t an obvious attempt at breaking into the mainstream, it is however incredibly catchy and you’ll find it very hard not to move your body in time with their bouncy post-punk jingles.

Yes, Yard Act are very interesting. ‘The Overload’ almost purposefully avoids taking advantage of the mainstream interest, yet somewhat emerges as a pop masterpiece. When listening to some new music, you sense a decent career, rarely do you think to yourself “these could be huge”, but that is very much the feeling here.

Hype very much lived up to!

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Album Reviews

The Lumineers


The Lumineers
The Lumineers – ‘BRIGHTSIDE’

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‘BRIGHTSIDE’ represents the fourth studio effort from The Lumineers, a band that shot into the popular conscience of music fans with their huge hit ‘Ho Hey’. Since then the profile of the band may have stagnated slightly but their musical output has remained consistently credible.

Call me old fashioned but I certainly can’t help but to feel that their output of four albums in ten years has slowed their momentum somewhat. Yes, the days of yearly album releases are long, long gone but The Lumineers definitely haven’t struck whilst the iron was hot.

If however, the band needed an album to rubberstamp their credentials and to re-establish themselves in the higher echelons of music’s luminaries then ‘BRIGHTSIDE’ could well be it.

The Lumineers – ‘BRIGHTSIDE’

Starting off with the title track and fellow recent single, ‘A.M. RADIO’, the album instantly showcases the musical talents of Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites at their best. The groups folk stylings underpin two pop songs destined to grace the radio for some time to come.

How this album will be received here in the UK is hard to tell, but if you listen to ‘BRIGHTSIDE’ and close your eyes, you can just picture a long road trip across North America. I can’t imagine this album giving The Lumineers the same level of success here as their debut album did, but it should recapture the hearts of some lapsed fans.

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The Lumineers are an interesting prospect, because back in 2012 they looked set to take over the world. That hasn’t happened, but they continue to make beautiful music and perhaps that’s all they want to do. If so, they’ve managed to do exactly that on ‘BRIGHTSIDE’.

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Album Reviews

The Wombats

Fix Yourself, Not the World

The Wombats Fix Yourself Not The World Album Cover
The Wombats – ‘Fix Yourself, Not the World’

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The Wombats continue to defy the laws of popularity when so many of their peers have disappeared from the limelight. The fact that they find themselves somewhat as the house band at the zeitgeist barometer that is Reading & Leeds Festivals proves that the band, who hit the mainstream back in 2007, still resonate with the youth of today.

Despite, scarily, finding themselves nearly two decades into their career, The Wombats seem to have found the fountain of youth. Their fifth album, ‘Fix Yourself, Not the World’ showcases this with a youthful sound that doesn’t sound forced.

Many bands that breakthrough with a youthful sound, struggle as age takes it ugly toll (I’m looking at you Pop Punk!), but I don’t get that sense listening to this album. This is a huge credit to The Wombats for their durability and adaptability.

The Wombats – ‘If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming with You’

The Wombats have delivered some incredibly catchy indie pop anthems in their career, and the likes of ‘If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming with You’, ‘Method to the Madness’ and ‘Everything I Love Is Going to Die’ are certainly in that category.

In fact, from start to finish, ‘Fix Yourself, Not the World’ feels fresh and delivers everything you want from a Wombats album. The band hasn’t been the most prolific in their career, but when they do release new music, it’s usually top quality. Think of a football player that doesn’t score very often, but when they do it’s a goal of the season contender!

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If you’d have said to me back in 2007 when listening to ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’ that The Wombats would still releasing mainstream albums and taking big slots at massive festivals, I wouldn’t have believed you – but, here we are! Now where is that fountain of youth?

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Album Reviews

Blood Red Shoes

Ghosts On Tape

Blood Red Shoes Ghosts On Tape
Blood Red Shoes – ‘Ghosts On Tape

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Blood Red Shoes have always had an impressive work ethic, and whilst many of us took a step back during the events of the past eighteen months, they didn’t.

Their sixth studio album, ‘Ghosts On Tape’ was actually recorded in March 2020 but the pandemic has seen the release delayed until now. In the meantime however the band has recorded and released an EP, Laura-Mary has recorded and released a mini-album and started a new Podcast and Steven has been writing and producing a plethora of alternative artists. Not to mention that the duo also run their own label.

So, after almost two years in the vault ‘Ghosts On Tape’ is finally here. Opening with the haunting piano led ‘COMPLY’, the album sets its tone from the start. This is a dark record focusing on the outcasts and outsiders of society.


Lead single ‘MORBID FASCINATION’ kicks the album up a notch and helps to lead us down a path of exploration into the psyche of serial killers, a theme played out throughout the album.

It has always been hard to pigeonhole Blood Red Shoes under one particular genre and ‘Ghosts On Tape’ only makes that harder with a gothic edge shrouding the sounds that have brought the band much success.

You can feel the care that has gone into ‘Ghosts On Tape’, and the album surely represents some of the duos most creatively complex and ingenious work to date. The album speaks to the outsiders of the world, and after the last couple of years we’ve all experienced reclusiveness from society. That makes it very easy, perhaps too easy considering the themes, to embrace these songs.

It may have taken almost two years for ‘Ghosts On Tape’ to see the light of day, but the album likely feels even more relevant now. Lyrically and musically this may be a side step from Blood Red Shoes, but it works incredibly well and is well worth allowing yourself to be absorbed into their murky world!

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Album Reviews

Twin Atlantic


Twin Atlantic
Twin Atlantic – ‘Transparency’

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It’s a new year, so there is a lot of that “new year, new me” stuff in the air. It’s actually awfully tempting to start this review by saying “new year, new Twin Atlantic”, but that’s far from the truth. The band’s sound has naturally evolved over their last few albums and arrives here and now with their sixth studio release, ‘Transparency’.

It certainly does feel far removed from their early material, but it isn’t as giant a leap as it somehow feels from their 2020 album ‘Power’. There has been a certain flamboyance to their music ever since ‘Great Divide’ elevated them into the mainstream, and yes that flamboyancy is turned up to 11 on this album.

Twin Atlantic – ‘Bang On The Gong’

Pre-release singles ‘One Man Party’ and ‘Bang On The Gong’ unashamedly pointed to the direction of this album and the complete collection definitely doesn’t fail to deliver on the promised lavishness.

‘Transparency’ is short and to the point which suits this statement of an album well. It wouldn’t be fair to say that until now Twin Atlantic have been playing by the rules, but with this album they have certainly thrown off the shackles. The album has the feel of a band comfortably letting loose.

Listen to ‘Dirty’ from Twin Atlantic on our Spotify Hot List!

The results are very intriguing and will illicit reactions one way or the other. Some old school fans may not feel comfortable with the direction of ‘Transparency’, and that’s fine, but there is plenty here for those that have followed Twin Atlantic’s recent trajectory.

There are elements of all eras of the band here, but they are all accentuated on this ambitious record to create a splendiferous symphony of lavish pop rock. So, old school fan or first time listener, sit back and let Twin Atlantic take you on a short, sharp journey of wonder!

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Album Reviews


Servant of the Mind

Volbeat – ‘Servant of the Mind’

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Volbeat find themselves at an interesting point in their career, well, as far as the UK is concerned. Of course the band is huge in Europe, but where do they fit in over here?

They’ve steadily worked their way up festival bills and played larger and larger venues, but will they reach the arena filling, festival headlining status they enjoy elsewhere? They felt on the cusp prior to the release of 2019’s ‘Rewind, Replay, Rebound’ but a slightly lacklustre response to that album and a global pandemic stifled their progress somewhat.

Now, they return with their latest album, ‘Servant of the Mind’, with another chance to make that leap. Whilst ‘Rewind, Replay, Rebound’ wasn’t a momentum killer of an album that many bands in the rock scene have suffered from in recent years, it also didn’t propel them any further. So the ultimate question now is can ‘Servant of the Mind’?

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If the early singles, ‘Wait a Minute My Girl’ and ‘Dagen Før’, were anything to go by then that answer would be yes! The album jumps straight in with ‘Temple Of Ekur’, ‘Wait a Minute My Girl’ and ‘The Sacred Stones’ setting the tone for the next sixty plus minutes of music.

Another single ‘Shotgun Blues’, ‘The Devil Rages On’ and ‘Say No More’ all then act to reassure that yes, this is Volbeat at their very best. The thrashing swagger of the guitar work that launched their career is front and centre in all its glory, and the songwriting is able to latch on to create some new classics for the bands arsenal.

Volbeat – ‘Shotgun Blues’

Always a force to be reckoned with live, these tracks will instantly enshrine themselves as fan favourites when the band next take to the stage.

This album certainly finds the band at their relentless best and even as it reaches its latter stages there is plenty to retain your interest. The deluxe version of the album will set you back some 80 minutes of your life, but it’s time well spent.

On the evidence of this album, Volbeat will be pushing themselves further up those festival bills and any lingering doubts can now be dispelled. How could we ever have doubted this band!

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Album Reviews

Beans On Toast

Survival of the Friendliest

Beans On Toast
Beans On Toast – ‘Survival of the Friendliest’

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As per tradition, Beans On Toast is back with a new album for his birthday in which he provides social commentary on the events of the past year. This year sees him in a positive mood with the release of ‘Survival of the Friendliest’.

That positivity is a breath of fresh air in a world that, as the man himself sang, has gone crazy. This is an album exploring the possibility that things can and will get better, after all as the song says ‘Not Everybody Thinks We’re Doomed’!

Working with the main man on this record are Blaine Harrison and Jack Flanagan of Mystery Jets. The collaboration works perfectly and helps the music match the positivity of the lyrics, creating an infectiously upbeat tone to the album.

‘Survival of the Friendliest’ certainly continues the evolution of this talented artist musically, following the path of its recent predecessors. The accompanying arrangements beautifully showcase those trademark vocals. These songs are distinctively more radio-friendly then his early material.

Beans On Toast – ‘Humans’

Highlights from the album include ‘Humans’ and ‘Let’s Get Married Again’ but the record deserves to be listened to and appreciated in its entirety. We say that because, the collection of songs that comprise this album are up there with the best that Beans On Toast has released.

In a world shrouded in negativity, ‘Survival of the Friendliest’ provides a light in the darkness, a feeling of positivity that instils a sense of hope. Let’s face it, it’s going to take more than an album to change the world, but for forty minutes let Beans On Toast put a smile on your face!

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Album Reviews

The Darkness


The Darkness Motorheart Album Cover
The Darkness – ‘Motorheart’

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What do you want from a new album by The Darkness? Justin’s falsetto singing? Dan’s riffs? The ferocious, driving rhythm of Frankie and Rufus? Well, the band are back with their new album, ‘Motorheart’ and it’s all in there!

Yes, ‘Motorheart’ delivers on every level of the Darkness-o-meter. There is the oddball witticism, the crazy stories, the inside jokes. The extravagance of the band is what makes them great and thankfully their 7th studio album has it in abundance.

Listen to ‘Nobody Can See Me Cry’ on our ‘Hard & Heavy’ Playlist

The story of the band is as unique and colourful as their music, and it’s somewhat astonishing that they’ve reached a point in their career whereby they can say they’ve released seven albums!

A decade ago, nobody would’ve believed a third album possible. Their meteoric rise and subsequent fall from grace seemed to have them confined to the storybooks of rock n’ roll folklore.

Luckily for fans their one way ticket to hell did have that “and back” caveat and they made their heralded return in 2012. Five more albums now in the time since have solidified the bands credibility, if not restored their fame.

‘Motorheart’ continues a hot streak of acclaimed releases and will rightfully take centre stage for their upcoming live shows. ‘Welcome Tae Glasgae’, ‘Motorheart’, ‘It’s Love, Jim’ and ‘Eastbound’ will no doubt go down a treat for those in attendance.

The Darkness – ‘It’s Love, Jim’

Whilst their arena filling days may be gone, The Darkness still sell out large venues across the country and the reputation of their live shows combined with the nostalgia of debut album ‘Permission To Land’ could carry the band into retirement.

Luckily, the band don’t seem content to rest on their laurels and that work rate has now seen them release another quality album. ‘Motorheart’ is well worth your time, so, whether your a die hard or a nostalgia seeker, check it out!

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Album Reviews




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It’s a little over a year since IDLES released their magnificent third studio album ‘Ultra Mono’, but already their fourth has arrived. ‘CRAWLER’ was actually only announced on September 28th as the band dropped the lead single, ‘The Beachland Ballroom’.

So with minimal promotion and fanfare can this album continue the incredible hot streak that the band find themselves on? With just two pre-release singles fans will need to sink their teeth fully into ‘CRAWLER’ to find out, so let’s do just that.

The album starts with ‘MTT 420 RR’ and ‘The Wheel’ quickly establishing that this is definitely an IDLES album. That may sound silly, but following the initial singles there was an element of worry from some that the album may represent a significant departure from their much heralded sound.

Of course, it’s tricky for artists to evolve, with that especially true in the rock or guitar music world. Natural progression can often be seen as selling out by fans loyal to an artist’s early work, making it difficult not to alienate your audience whilst experimenting with your art.

IDLES – ‘Car Crash’

Again as we continue the album with ‘When the Lights Come On’, ‘Car Crash’ and ‘New Sensation’, it’s clear that IDLES have maintained the essence of what has brought them to this point. That said it’s also abundantly obvious that they haven’t been afraid to divert course. They are still on the same road but they have changed lanes.

This shouldn’t be a surprise though as they started to indicate this lane change on ‘Ultra Mono’. Keep doing the same thing and the band will be accused of simple IDLES-by-numbers output, but dare evolve their sound and they will be deemed to have sold out or some similar nonsense.

It really is a hard balance to strike, but on ‘CRAWLER’ they have managed to do just that. This isn’t Dylan going electric, but it is a band stretching their legs. As the album moves on through ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, ‘The Beachland Ballroom’, ‘Crawl!’ and ‘Meds’ you can’t help but imagine how huge these songs will sound live.

Listen to ‘The Beachland Ballroom’ on our Spotify Hot List!

Nobody really expected a new IDLES album so soon after ‘Ultra Mono’, but we’ve got one and ‘CRAWLER’ does exactly what it needs to do. As the band head towards their sold out tour next year, they now have four albums of incredible material to choose from.

The hot streak remains intact and IDLES continue to be one of the most exciting and vital bands around.

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