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The Sleeping Souls

Just Before The World Starts Burning

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THE SLEEPING SOULS – JUST BEFORE THE WORLD STARTS BURNING – ALBUM REVIEW

The Sleeping Souls are synonymous with Frank Turner and it was slightly surprising for fans when the group announced news that they will be releasing music of their own. The fact is though that the origins of The Sleeping Souls go way back to 2001 and the band Dive Dive, with the members always having had musical interests outside of the day job.

Taking the role of singer for this version of the band is Cahir O’Doherty who is also a huge part of the Turner touring family and brings a wealth of experience from his work with the likes of New Pagans and Fighting With Wire. The Sleeping Souls touring line-up of Tarrant Anderson, Matt Nasir, Callum Green and Ben Lloyd round out the creative DNA of the band.

What’s been quite clear from the pre-release singles is that this new music is very distinct from that released with Turner, which is no surprise. The album has been recorded over a three year period and the care and attention put into the record shines through and ensures that the songs flow perfectly. This is definitely not a throw everything at the wall and see what sticks approach, the songwriting is meticulous and assured.

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The Sleeping Souls – ‘Rivals’

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Stylistically the twelve tracks demonstrate a diverse palate of influences but at times you can clearly sense the likes of Radiohead and Feeder with a post-grunge, alt-rock aesthetic. There are all out rockers and a handful of tender moments on what is a sonically ambitious collection.

There may have been the odd cynical sideways glance when The Sleeping Souls set out their plans, but the proof as they say is in the pudding and ‘Just Before The World Starts Burning’ is a sublimely delicious offering. There isn’t a bad track on the album and the conviction of this group to take this bold step is well and truly vindicated.

The band will be hitting the road for a short tour alongside Sean McGowan early next year, and these songs really do give the sense that they will sound enormous on stage. If our album of the year list wasn’t already written, this would be vying for the very top spot!

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Album Reviews

Lonely The Brave

What We Do To Feel

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LONELY THE BRAVE – WHAT WE DO TO FEEL – ALBUM REVIEW

Lonely The Brave are back with their fourth studio album, ‘What We Do To Feel’. The album is the second with singer Jack Bennett and is perhaps the first to not feel under pressure!

There is always pressure releasing your debut album, pressure to deliver a solid follow up and there was certainly pressure on the band when releasing ‘The Hope List’ in 2021 due to the change in singer.

‘What We Do To Feel’ therefore does lack an intrigue factor in terms of expectation. That has hopefully though allowed the band some freedom to fully explore their ‘new’ line-up. It shouldn’t really be a surprise then that this album does feel like a natural progression of its predecessor.

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Lonely The Brave – ‘Long Way’

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This album finds a battle-hardened and more mature band working through the huge events of the past five years experienced by both the band and by the world. Sonically that produces an intense and meticulous ensemble of songs that echo the care and attention put into their creation.

Lyrically the album exudes a sense of respect for life’s battles, gratitude for small victories and optimism for the future. The band’s songwriting has always been thought-provoking and powerful, and that is definitely true of ‘What We Do To Feel’. You’ll just want to get lost in the music and the moment when experiencing this album.

Nobody expected Lonely The Brave to re-invent the wheel on album four, and they haven’t! What they’ve done is captured an honest and enlightened soundscape which will be cherished by their fans as Exhibit D of the case of Lonely The Brave being the most viscerally progressive band of their generation.

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Album Reviews

The Cadillac Three

The Years Go Fast

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THE CADILLAC THREE – The YEARS GO FAST – ALBUM REVIEW

The Cadillac Three have made their name on the back of their unstoppable ability to write sublime country rock songs. Singer Jaren Johnston’s songwriter capabilities are so sought after these days by other artists that it’s a surprise that the band have time to write a new album!

But they have! Yes, ‘The Years Go Fast’, represents the trio’s sixth studio effort and again sees them in fine form. Album opener ‘Young & Hungry’ provide the title of the album in its lyrics and sets the tone for the record from the opening notes.

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The Cadillac Three – ‘Young & Hungry’

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Since releasing two albums in 2020, the band have experienced a pandemic, the loss of loved ones and the birth of new life after which Johnston admits the band needed a “breather”. It should be no surprise that when the band reconvened the source material has been big life changes. The outcome is perhaps naturally a more mature sound which is reflected perfectly by the lyrical content and album title.

Whilst there is an added maturity, there is still a playful experimentation in the albums sonic palatte with elements of country, rock, funk and metal all evident at times. Ultimately this feels like a stock take record, whereby the band fuse everything that they’ve learned over the past decade or so and produce these twelve tracks as a document of their career thus far.

‘The Years Go Fast’ is a very apt title as it does seem that despite the tedium of lockdown, recent years have flown pasts; perhaps as a consequence of all the big life events that have cascaded into a short timeframe. That does mean that this a highly relatable album and musically, lyrically and relevancy wise that makes this The Cadillac Three at their very best.

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The Struts

Pretty Vicious

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THE STRUTS – PRETTY VICIOUS – ALBUM REVIEW

The world is a serious place right now, and inevitably the musical landscape follows trend. An awful lot of bands take themselves far too seriously these days and seem almost afraid to just let it all hang out and have a little fun.

It’s unlikely though that anybody has ever accused The Struts of taking themselves too seriously. Their incredible live reputation comes from the outlandishness of their performance and on record they are just as enthrallingly enjoyable!

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The Struts – ‘Too Good At Raising Hell’

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‘Pretty Vicious’ represents their fourth studio effort and perhaps acts as the truest testament of their personality. Opening with the all out ‘Too Good at Raising Hell’, the album sees the band wearing their collective hearts on their sleeves.

From all out rockers like ‘Do What You Want’ and ‘Rockstar’, to slower grooves like the title-track and ‘Bad Decisions’, the band really flex their songwriting muscles. The album almost feels like a band trying to prove themselves as more than just a great live act.

Ultimately there can be no doubt that the band are in top form and that with ‘Pretty Vicious’ they’ve managed to create a glorious rock n roll hurricane.

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Album Reviews

Black Water County

The Only Life Worth Living

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BLACK WATER COUNTY – The ONLY LIFE WORTH LIVING – ALBUM REVIEW

Over the past decade Black Water County have built their reputation through great live shows and two albums full of traditional folk storytelling delivered with a punk rock attitude. Now they share their third studio album which manages celebrate everything that makes the band who they are but also offers a glimpse of where their story takes them next.

‘The Only Life Worth Living’, is a passionate and urgent stand against life’s pitfalls, trials and tribulations. The music is uplifting and encourages the listener to make the most of the life that they’ve been given. It may be a tale as old as the sun but it’s never been more relevant than it is now and the band deliver the message superbly with their innate ability to craft a fine song.

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Black Water County – The Only Life Worth Living’

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Sonically this album is an encapsulation of everything you’d expect from the band but dialled up to eleven. There are songs here that go harder than the band ever has before and that adds to the urgency of the overriding themes perfectly.

Four of the albums ten tracks appeared in advance of the release and did give a good insight into what to expect, because the rest of the album is just as stirring. This isn’t a case of the singles standing out above a mediocre album – no, every track here stands on its own and the album as a whole is sublimely inspiring.

Ten years in and Black Water County feel like they are just about to really hit their stride and take themselves to new heights. ‘The Only Life Worth Living’, may just be their catalyst for earning wider respect and appreciation for their talents.

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Album Reviews

Within Temptation

Bleed Out

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WITHIN TEMPTATION – BLEED OUT – ALBUM REVIEW

‘Bleed Out’ represents another evolution for Within Temptation as their sound and lyrical content takes a darker more resilient tone. Across the album the band show that they aren’t afraid to speak about the issues that matter to them, and the result is perhaps the most important record of their career.

It’s a record that was created over a longer time due to the pandemic and has seen the band share over half of the tracks ahead of the release. There’s perhaps not a lot here to surprise fans therefore as they should’ve gotten the gist already but the overall progression is more than enough to capture and hold interest.

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Within Temptation – ‘Bleed Out’

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As touched upon, the sonic gravitas of the album is much more encompassing with less emphasis on the expected operatic vocals of Sharon den Adel. Those spectacular soaring choruses are still on here but there are many moments where den Adel hits the lower registers and the band down-tunes with darker guitar sounds.

Given the subject matters including war and women fighting oppression this tweak in sound fits well and shows a greater range from the band than we’ve fully experienced before. It’s refreshing for a band pushing three decades in and with such a distinctive sound to be brave enough to do things differently.

With ‘Bleed Out’, Within Temptation continue to grow their brand, so it’s also valiant that they are willing to call out issues and to sneak a pun in ‘stand their ground’! Whether you are a fan already or just picking up on the band, ‘Bleed Out’ is well worth your time.

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Album Reviews

Blink 182

ONE MORE TIME…

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BLINK 182 – ONE MORE TIME… – ALBUME REVIEW

 “from strangers into brothers, from brothers into strangers one again”. The Blink 182 story doesn’t sound real when you recount all the trials, tribulations and brushes with death. “I wish they told us it shouldn’t take a sickness or airplanes fallin’ out the sky”.  

It is real however and now for the first time in twelve years (and only second time twenty years!) the iconic trio of Tom DeLonge, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker are releasing a new studio album. Anticipation is therefore extremely high, even if expectation is relatively low following the much maligned ‘Neighborhoods’ and initial lukewarm response to first single, ‘EDGING’.

Since first returning with ‘EDGING’ however, the band have released a string of singles which have increasingly established greater excitement for new album ‘ONE MORE TIME…’.

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Blink 182 – ‘ONE MORE TIME’

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At 17 songs and 45 minutes, the band are certainly making up for lost time on this album and it’s a clichéd back to basics approach all round. There are some great songs on the album and there are a handful which could’ve probably been left off, but ultimately you just can’t help but smile and be glad that after all this time these three are making music together again.

As with the quoted lyrics at the start of this review, there are more than a few tellingly knowing nods to their own past and the heartstrings are tugged hard when DeLonge sings “Do I have to die to hear you miss me?”.

There are also lighter moments here too including traditional shorter jams such as ‘FUCK FACE’ however, and whichever era of Blink 182 you jumped on board with there will be something here for you.

It’s great to have Blink 182 back (although you do feel sorry for Matt Skiba who delivered some great moments), and ‘ONE MORE TIME…’ is leaps and bounds ahead of ‘Neighborhoods’ as a comeback album. You just have to hope this time that Tom, Mark and Travis can keep it together to further explore their creativity!

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Album Reviews

Skinny Lister

Shanty Punk

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SKINNY LISTER – SHANTY PUNK – ALBUM REVIEW

Over the past decade, Skinny Lister have established themselves as a phenomenal live act and a consistently creative band on record. Now on their sixth studio album they do their best to merge these two qualities.

‘Shanty Punk’ has been written and recorded with an aim of capturing the essence of the bands live shows and putting it on record. This is a notoriously difficult thing to do but is something which Skinny Lister has managed to achieve well here.

Over their previous albums fans have come to expect drunken sing-a-long anthems full of folk punk crossover with a sprinkling of shanty call and response fun. This album goes all in on the themes and musical overtures that the band have perfected. ‘Shanty Punk’ is the most ‘Skinny Lister’ Skinny Lister album that the band have made, and it’s glorious!

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Skinny Lister – ‘Mantra’

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There are plenty of those famous sing-a-longs on ‘Shanty Punk’ with the likes of ‘Company of the Bar’, ‘Down on the Barrier’ and the Party George featuring ‘William Harker’ sure to be set staples for years to come. Shanty’s are covered with ’13 Miles’ and ‘Mantra’ acts as a traditional poignant tale.

If you’ve ever seen Skinny Lister live then you’ll know what the band are all about, and if you haven’t – where have you been! The bands reputation has already been well earned, but if any album could act as an introduction for the uninitiated it would be ‘Shanty Punk’.

The band should be proud to have managed to truly capture their spirit and soul across the eleven tracks and ultimately ‘Shanty Punk’ must be heralded as possibly their very best collection of songs so far.

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The Full Pelt Music Podcast – Episode 39 – Skinny Lister

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Album Reviews

REWS

Meridians

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REWS – MERIDIANS – ALBUM REVIEW

Like all too many, REWS aka Shauna Tohill found the promotion of previous album, ‘Warriors’, disrupted by the pandemic. After initially deciding to allow time to take stock and reassess, REWS now present their third studio album, ‘Meridians’!

The record picks up where ‘Warriors’ left off with a fierce and soaring collection of hard rock hooks and elegant pop melodies. The drip fed pre-release singles ‘The World That You Left Behind’, ‘Pretty Face’, ‘Not Your Soldier’ and ‘Misery’ give the album a very strong first third and showcase the well established talents of Tohill.

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REWS – ‘Lock Your Horns’

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REWS has proven to be an incredibly consistent project in terms of quality since the release of debut album, ‘Pyro’ in 2017. As the album progresses with ‘Tears of a Lion’, ‘Addicted to You’ and ‘Psycho Maniac Killer’, you’ll once again be astonished at the sonic and vocal dexterity of Tohill.

The inspiring anthem ‘Lock Your Horns’ will then smack you right in the face with its huge chorus and stirring message. This song in particular is a testament to the songwriting capabilities of Tohill as the album hits new levels.

As the record reaches its conclusion through ‘Breathe Into Me’, ‘On My Back (Giant’s Roar)’ and ‘Everything’, it finishes as big and bold as it began. There really isn’t a bad track on another astonishing album from the ever evolving REWS, and ‘Meridians’ is well worth your time and energy to check out.

Anybody familiar with REWS will know the sheer talent on offer, you just have to hope that ‘Meridians’ will reach a wider audience because this is as good of an album that you’ll hear this year!

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Album Reviews

Creeper

Sanguivore

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Creeper – sanguivore – album review

The evolution of Creeper from their early EP releases to now is quite astonishing. Each release has seen the band grow exponentially and now on their third full studio album, ‘Sanguivore’, we see the band ascend to a higher plane of creative mastery. What other band out there would dream of opening an album with a grandiose nine minute saga!

Yes, this album is a work of sheer majesty and magnificence. ‘Cry To Heaven’ follows the epic ‘Further Than Forever’ and sees the band fully embrace the synth-laden, 80’s-esque, theatrical sound that emerged over the course of ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’ and the ‘American Noir’ EP.

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Creeper – ‘Cry To Heaven’

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The influences on this album though stretch far and wide, with the scope of its sonic exploration only matched by its ambition. As the record progresses the listener is taken on a musical and mythical journey of vampires, horror and intrigue.

The word masterpiece is overused these days, but the urge to use it for ‘Sanguivore’ is just too irresistible. The problem that Creeper have produced is that with every release you think that they’ve peaked and couldn’t possibly top what they’ve created… and then they go ahead and do just that!

It should probably be illegal to have this much imagination and ingenuity because it’s simply not fair on the competition. The reality is though at this point, certainly in their chosen sphere, there is no competition and Creeper are in a league of their own.

It’s easy to wax lyrical here about this album, because it’s such a well rounded record. There are fantastic singles, or bangers as the kids would say, yet there is also such depth present as well. Pre-release singles such as ‘Teenage Sacrifice’ and ‘Black Heaven’, certainly gave a good insight into what to expect, but listeners really need to dig deep and immerse themselves into ‘Sanguivore’ to fully comprehend its brilliance!

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