Album Reviews

Kings of Leon

When You See Yourself

Kings Of Leon When You See Yourself Album Cover
Kings of Leon – ‘When You See Yourself’

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Kings of Leon – When You See Yourself – Album Review

Anyone looking for Kings of Leon to reinvent the wheel on their eighth studio album should probably temper their expectations. Whilst ‘When You See Yourself’ may be the bands first record since 2016, they haven’t spent the intervening years perfecting a new sound.

This is Kings of Leon doing exactly what Kings of Leon do. The good thing for the band is that what they do is create music for the masses, and they are very successful at it. Single ‘The Bandit’ gives you a flavour of what to expect from the album. It’s standard Kings of Leon stock. It’s trusted stock that people will buy in bulk.

Listen to ‘The Bandit’ on our Spotify Hot List

A once very exciting young band, Kings of Leon have reached a level of success that is unattainable to all but a very select few. The fact is the band could rest on their laurels and simply rely on their back catalogue. It should therefore be applauded that the band, albeit sporadically, feel the need to get creative.

Whilst remarking that they haven’t broken the wheel, it should be noted they that also haven’t “phoned it in” as it were. This is a very Kings of Leon record, but it’s also a very good Kings of Leon record that will sit well within their back catalogue.

Kings of Leon – ‘Golden Restless Age’

There are plenty of moments on the album that remind you just why you fell in love with the band. ‘Golden Restless Age’ in particular manages to stand out as just as good a song as the band have produced.

This is more unoffensive output from the band. Stick it on in the car on a Sunday afternoon leisurely drive and let Kings of Leon remind you who they are.

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Read our review of ‘Nature Always Wins’ from Maximo Park

Album Reviews

A Day To Remember

You’re Welcome

A Day To Remember You're Welcome Album Cover
A Day To Remember – ‘You’re Welcome’

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A Day To Remember – You’re Welcome – Album Review

The fact that the first single from ‘You’re Welcome’ was released roughly twenty months ago in 2019, should suggest immediately that A Day To Remember have faced issues with this album. Over the near two year period that has followed the release of ‘Degenerates’ a lot has happened.

A Day To Remember – ‘Degenerates’

There have been a further four singles released. There have been numerous delays with the scheduled release date kicked around, reported delays with artwork and delays with the albums mixing. The band sub-headlined Reading & Leeds Festivals in 2019, and oh yes there has been a pandemic!

This has been the longest delay between two new A Day To Remember albums in the bands eighteen year career, and that delay clearly can’t be blamed simply on world events. The band are on record talking about the high amount of material demoed for the record and the debate around experimentation of their sound and potential alienation of their fans.

Many of the bands peers have experimented with their music in recent years with varying levels of success. As a band pushing towards festival headline slots, there would clearly be pressure on A Day To Remember to produce an album that would appeal to the mainstream. What we have in ‘You’re Welcome’ however appears to be a compromise from the band.

They have tried to appeal to the mainstream world, whilst reining in certain elements as not to disappoint old school fans. Sadly what we get is a clearly compromised effort that feels forced and disjointed.

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This is a shame as A Day To Remember are a band that were always ahead of the curve when mixing up their sound to appeal to both traditional and mainstream fanbases. That is what brought them to the level they are at.

‘You’re Welcome’ is not a bad album, there are some songs that will slip neatly into forthcoming setlists. The problem with the album is that at this point in the bands career they didn’t need to compromise. After the time it took to finally release an album, you would expect a band the quality of A Day To Remember to have released a masterpiece.

Instead what we have is a collection of songs that doesn’t do the band justice and when held accountable with their back catalogue are sadly forgettable. Call it a mid-life crisis or a band struggling with their identity, but on this album A Day To Remember feel lost. Let’s hope that they find themselves soon as they can do so much better.

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Read our review of ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’ from Architects

Album Reviews

Maximo Park

Nature Always Wins

Maximo Park Nature Always Wins Album Cover
Maximo Park – ‘Nature Always Wins’

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Maximo Park – Nature Always Wins – Album Review

Because Maximo Park shot to prominence during the indie boom period sometimes harshly described as the landfill-indie generation, they are often lumped in with the other artists from this era with little thought. That generalisation does a disservice to a band that has always been a step above, artistically speaking.

Whilst the band has had their fair share of commercial success, it never felt like the aim from the band. Their longevity perhaps now provides the evidence that they were in it more for the music than the money. With the release of their seventh studio album they are once again bucking a trend from bands of that era, that is to simply rely on nostalgia.

‘Nature Always Wins’ is another trademark Maximo Park album and delivers another slice of quality over quantity from the band. I’ll say that there is nothing that upsets the applecart here. This is standard Maximo Park. But, that’s not a slight on the band. That’s because their albums have always featured an element of exploration of their sound.

Maximo Park – ‘All Of Me’

This isn’t a crude attempt to relive past glories. There is craftsmanship and care on this record that is so often found lacking by bands looking to simply put out another album to plug. From start to finish this album provides a fluid listening experience with the likes of ‘Baby, Sleep’ and ‘All Of Me’ showing that the band still has a knack for creating catchy indie pop magic.

Listen to ‘Baby, Sleep’ on our Spotify Hot List!

Fans of the band now have another solid album to fit into their collection. ‘Nature Always Wins’ is right up there with anything the band has already given us. Yes, Maximo Park continue to buck trends and demonstrate that they were always a cut above most of their contemporaries from the mid-noughties indie scene!

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Read our review of ‘When Life Was Hard And Fast’ from Ricky Warwick

Album Reviews


For Those That Wish To Exist

Architects For Those That Wish To Exist Album Cover
Architects – ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’

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Architects – For Those That Wish To Exist – Album Review

It feels like there is a lot of pressure on this album for Architects. This is after all a band who has been seeing increasing success in recent years. They are a band that has evolved their sound with recent releases. So, does ‘For Those That Wish To Exist’ continue this evolution? Will the band push on to a higher level on the back of it?

Architects – ‘Meteor’

The first thing to note is that at 15 songs and just shy of an hour this is a meaty album that demands attention. That attention is grabbed almost immediately with ‘Black Lungs’ and ‘Giving Blood’ delivering a statement of intent. A reminder to listeners of what this band is all about.

As the album progresses the expansive elements of recent Architects albums is clear for all. There are grandiose ambitions spread throughout the album with the band obviously striving for more. Some may feel that it’s mainstream exposure that the band is striving for. If that is the case then there is plenty on offer to achieve this. Whilst this may be the end result, this doesn’t smack of being a money grabbing, sell out album.

Read our Blog ‘Why We Need To Fix Our #BrokenRecord Industry’

It’s clear that care and effort has been put into creating an album which both pleases fans and satisfies the creative cravings in the band. There is a great deal of experimentation on this album, with Architects also recruiting some A list guests from the world of hard rock.

The three tracks which feature these artists all deliver the goods. ‘Impermanence’ featuring Winston McCall (Parkway Drive), ‘Little Wonder’ featuring Mike Kerr (Royal Blood) and particularly ‘Goliath’ featuring Simon Neil (Biffy Clyro) all help underpin the ferocious elegance of the album.

Overall the album gives Architects fans old and new something to enjoy without sounding disjointed; with ‘Dead Butterflies’ and ‘Animals’ showing that the band has perhaps struck upon their optimal output stylistically.

Listen to ‘Dead Butterflies’ on our Spotify Hot List!

‘For Those That Wish To Exist’ is everything that Architects need it to be. Whilst it may alienate a small portion of their fans, the majority and many new fans will hold it up as a masterpiece of the genre.

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Check out our review of ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’ from Normandie

Album Reviews


Dark & Beautiful Secrets

Normandie Dark & Beautiful Secrets Album Cover
Normandie – ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’

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Normandie – Dark & Beautiful Secrets – Album Review

Normandie are a band that has been showing great potential for a few years now from across Scandinavia in Sweden. UK audiences have welcomed them with open arms on various tour and festival bills and have been patiently waiting for the band to explode.

Normandie – ‘Babylon’

That time may have finally arrived as the band release their latest album ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’. The singles released ahead of time teased that this may be a very important release for the band. It is pretty clear from the opening notes of ‘Babylon’ that the band have created something special.

Both ‘Hostage’ and ‘Jericho’ sound absolutely huge and ensure that this album has your full attention. There comes a time in all successful bands careers when they hit their stride and you know that they have found their distinct sound. This certainly feels like that time for Normandie.

Listen to ‘Hostage’ on our Spotify Hot List!

By the time you take in ‘Holy Water’, ‘Mission Control’ and ‘Bury Me Alive’, you are fully absorbed by the mix of heavy hooks and catchy sing-a-long pop vocals. Let’s be honest, there are many bands that have seen the success of this hybrid and have tried to capitalise on it. Let’s be even more honest, most have failed miserably and their careers have taken a hit for it.

On ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’, Normandie sound natural and not forced as some others have. Where others careers have nosedived, Normandie are sticking their head above the parapet and showing how to create a masterpiece in the genre.

Many bands will feel a hit from not being able to tour new albums, and Normandie are a formidable live act. The fact is that with the release of ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’, Normandie deserve to fulfil the prophecy and become massive. Hopefully we can hear these songs live soon as they promise to take the band to another level.

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Read our review of ‘Who Am I?’ from Pale Waves

Album Reviews

Ricky Warwick

When Life Was Hard And Fast

Ricky Warwick When Life Was Hard And Fast Album Cover
Ricky Warwick – ‘When Life Was Hard And Fast’

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Ricky Warwick – When Life Was Hard And Fast – Album Review

Over the course of his career Ricky Warwick has kept himself very busy. Warwick has a CV boasting the likes of The Almighty, Black Star Riders and Thin Lizzy among others. He has also found time for a prolific solo career when not otherwise occupied.

There have been times when Warwick has found himself disillusioned by music and his solo work has provided new focus. Since the inception of Black Star Riders however, Warwick is a man on a mission, fully rejuvenated and in love with music.

That trademark passion is found in abundance on ‘When Life Was Hard And Fast’, the latest solo effort from Warwick. From the opening title track through ‘You Don’t Love Me’ and ‘I’d Rather Be Hit’ it’s already clear that this is Warwick at his very best.

Listen to ‘When Life Was Hard And Fast’ on our Spotify Hot List!

‘Gunslinger’ and ‘Never Corner A Rat’ keep the engine roaring as the album attacks your senses and gets your feet stomping and your head banging. Pandemic allowing, Warwick is due to tour this album with his own backing group ‘The Fighting Hearts’. Listening to these songs really whets the appetite for what will surely be a great tour.

As well as the hard rocking side of Warwick, the album also dabbles with his softer acoustic past. The beautiful ‘Time Don’t Seem To Matter’ adding a little melancholy to the middle of the album. That’s before ‘Fighting Heart’ and ‘I Don’t Feel At Home’ pick up the pace again and show a little more sheen.

Ricky Warwick – ‘Fighting Heart’

‘Still Alive’ however is straight back to the classic hard rock sound that Warwick has perfected. It is then down to ‘Clown of Misery’ and ‘You’re My Rock ‘N Roll’ to close out the album and showcase the depth of talent that Warwick possesses.

Certain releases include a bonus album of covers – ‘Stairwell Troubadour’ which is also fantastic. The covers chosen are at times surprising, but they are a real treat. If you ever wanted to hear Warwick cover artists as diverse as Britney Spears and Iron Maiden, track this deluxe version down!

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Read our review of ‘Death by Rock and Roll’ by The Pretty Reckless

Album Reviews

The Pretty Reckless

Death by Rock and Roll

The Pretty Reckless Death by Rock and Roll Album Cover
The Pretty Reckless – ‘Death by Rock and Roll’

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The Pretty Reckless – Death by Rock and Roll – Album Review

Over the course of a decade and three albums, The Pretty Reckless have already proven themselves to be more than just a vehicle for Taylor Momsen. In fact the band has far surpassed the expectations placed upon them at the start. Back when they were seen as just another young actress with visions of grandeur.

So as The Pretty Reckless release their fourth studio album, will their consistent streak of releasing quality music continue? The simple answer to that is yes!

Read our review of ‘Medicine At Midnight’ from Foo Fighters

If after all this time the band hasn’t demonstrated their rock capabilities to you, you need to re-evaluate your taste in music. Momsen is now perhaps better known for her musical endeavours than for her acting skills. That is probably the best compliment that could be paid to her.

Whilst discussing Momsen, it must be remembered that this is very much a group effort with Ben Phillips, Jamie Perkins and Mark Damon integral to the bands success.

Another surprise with hindsight is that the band has remained stable since their 2010 breakthrough. With ‘Death by Rock and Roll’ representing their fourth album, that stability has certainly contributed to the bands consistency.

The Pretty Reckless – ‘Death by Rock and Roll’

The singles that preceded the album’s release, in the title track and ‘And So It Went’, gave a snapshot of what to expect. Thankfully the rest of the record sticks to the high standards they set. The likes of ‘25’ and ‘My Bones’ further set the precedent for another quality output from the band.

The album also sees guest spots from Tom Morello on ‘And So It Went’ and both Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil on ‘Only Love Can Save Me Now’ which only add to the spectacle of a band at the height of their powers.

Listen to ‘And So It Went’ on our Spotify Hot List!

With ‘Death by Rock and Roll’, The Pretty Reckless have solidified themselves in the upper echelons of Hard Rock.  

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‘And So It Went’ by The Pretty Reckless will serve as the theme song for WWE Elimination Chamber. Read our countdown of the Top 10 WWE Entrance Themes!

Album Reviews

Pale Waves

Who Am I?

Pale Waves Who Am I? Album Cover
Pale Waves – ‘Who Am I?’

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Pale Waves – Who Am I? – Album Review

Following the success of debut album ‘My Mind Makes Noises’, Pale Waves are back with their sophomore record ‘Who Am I?’.

The album bursts into life from the first note of ‘Change’. There are immediate early-noughties vibes from the record, think Michelle Branch at her best. Another comparison that will likely come up often is that with Avril Lavigne, and that’s not a bad thing.

Pale Waves – ‘Change’

This album is unashamed in its influences and that is part of what makes it so great. With ‘Fall to Pieces’, ‘She’s My Religion’ and ‘Easy’ quickly in tow, you are sucked straight into the upbeat pop rock hooks.

Listen to ‘Fall to Pieces’ on our Spotify Hot List!

There is massive sing-a-long anthem potential at every turn. On this album the band has managed to capture a vibrant and exciting sound that will have you smiling wide and bouncing along.

From start to finish, this album shows very little ease from the pop punk onslaught that makes this such a spectacularly brash collection. Album climax and title track ‘Who Am I?’ however does provide a reflective finale. Overall though this is a stunning pop rock album; and is perhaps just what we need in these trying times.

Pale Waves have created something very special with ‘Who Am I?’ and the album will no doubt be hugely important in the bands career.

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Read our review of ‘FLOWERS for VASES / descansos’ from Hayley Williams

Album Reviews

Hayley Williams

FLOWERS for VASES / descansos

Hayley Williams FLOWERS for VASES descansos Album Cover
Hayley Williams – ‘FLOWERS for VASES / descansos’

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Hayley Williams – FLOWERS for VASES / descansos – Album Review

Last year Hayley Williams shed her Paramore bandmates for her first solo effort ‘Petals For Armor’. We enjoyed her debut so much, that we included the album in our Top 20 Albums of 2020.

Read our ‘2020 Album of the Year’ blog

Williams has now returned with a surprise release for her second solo record ‘FLOWERS For VASES / descansos’.

As with its predecessor ‘FLOWERS For VASES / descansos’ is far removed from the sound of early Paramore as Williams looks to cement her own musical path. Williams’ distinctive voice does however lend a sense of familiarity.

Hayley Williams – ‘First Thing To Go’

Williams recorded the album at home and the record is heavily intertwined with ‘Petals For Armor’. But, whilst Williams’ first album brought together a plethora of musical talent, this album sees Williams credited as “All songs written and performed by Hayley Williams”.

This album certainly feels like a statement from Williams, who has been targeted with many criticisms over the years in relation to her role in Paramore.

The record flows perfectly whilst journeying through folk, country and pop. It’s tender and warm. It’s thoughtful yet uplifting. Really it is a stunning piece of art. Its simplicity creates a majesty that elevates the music to powerful heights.

Listen to ‘My Limb’ on our Spotify Hot List!

On this album, Williams has managed to truly showcase her songwriting and musical talents for the world to admire. The word masterpiece is thrown around too often, but when the dust settles on Williams career, this album will be held up like Simba in the Lion King signalling the dawning of a new era.

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Read our review of ‘Medicine At Midnight’ from Foo Fighters

Album Reviews

Foo Fighters

Medicine At Midnight

Foo Fighters Medicine At Midnight Album Cover
Foo Fighters – ‘Medicine At Midnight’

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Foo Fighters – Medicine At Midnight – Album Review

‘Medicine At Midnight’ is the tenth studio album from Foo Fighters. Let that sink in. The band created by Dave Grohl in 1994 has been a part of our lives for over 25 years now. During that time their sound has largely remained intact. Driven by simple rock at their core, the groups first nine albums took the band from side-project to stadium fillers.

Read our review of ‘OK Human’ from Weezer!

So why would you alter that winning formula? Well, there have been accusations that since the masterpiece that was 2011’s ‘Wasting Light’ the band has been on autopilot. Foo Fighters-by-numbers some might say.

There was much intrigue therefore when they unveiled ‘Shame Shame’ as the opening single from ‘Medicine At Midnight’; the song representing quite the divergence from their natural sound.

Foo Fighters – ‘Shame Shame’

Fans worried that the band may have lost their hard rock sound needn’t worry though. There is still plenty of rocking available on this album. There is perhaps also a far greater amount of experimentation from the band than ever before.

This album is therefore anything but Foo Fighters-by-numbers. Whilst this is still definitely a Foo Fighters record, there are plenty of other elements that make up the album. There are numerous homage’s to the groups influences, with strong 80’s vibes coming through at times.

The album really feels like a love letter to both the bands own history and the music of those that influenced the members. Perhaps the best example of this is the clear Motorhead influence in ‘No Son Of Mine’.

Listen to ‘No Son Of Mine’ on our Spotify Hot List!

Ultimately this feels like an album that needs a little time to fall in love with, but when you do, it will be amongst your favourites.

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