Album Reviews

Panic! At The Disco

Viva Las Vengeance

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Panic! At The Disco was a vessel for frontman Brendon Urie years prior his total custody of the moniker as an all out solo project. Recent releases have seen Urie fully embrace the spotlight and allow his ego to run untapped.

Often this is a bad thing, but in the case of Urie he possesses that flamboyance and je ne sais quoi that only a handful of musicians do. No matter the project or outlet he would naturally become the centre of attention, so in this case it’s only right to let that creativity and showmanship loose.

New album, ‘Viva Las Vengeance’, is everything that you’d imagine that it will be. To some that would be a bad thing, this is modern day Panic! At The Disco by numbers to many extents after all.

But importantly there is one sonic element that Urie has incorporated that helps keep things interesting and gives fans a taste of something a little different. That component is the outpouring of love for 70’s glam rock! This album is a love letter to T-Rex, Queen, Bowie et al, and Urie is able to pull it off with utter panache.

Panic! At The Disco – ‘Don’t Let The Light Go Out’

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The title-track, ‘Middle Of A Breakup’, ‘Don’t Let The Light Go Out’ and ‘Local God’ all lead the charge before the likes of ‘Star Spangled Banger’ and ‘God Killed Rock And Roll’ unashamedly and theatrically drive the point home.

Panic! At The Disco aren’t breaking any moulds these days, in fact they are something of a safe bet. Again, to some this is a boring and uninspired trend over recent albums, but others will argue if it isn’t broke then don’t fix it.

What is clear on ‘Viva Las Vengeance’ is that Urie is having fun, he is doing what he wants to do and for him that’s all that matters; and hey if doing so can keep him headlining festivals and playing the biggest arenas in the world then he’d be mad to change at this point!

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Album Reviews



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Few artists have the momentum that YUNGBLUD has right now. Having burst onto the scene in 2018 with his debut album, ‘21st Century Liability’, there has been no slow in pace since then with a new third self-titled album now upon us.

2020’s ‘weird!’ not just continued the impetus of ‘21st Century Liability’ but instead strapped a jetpack to this young musicians back. The question here then is does this third effort suffice to keep the train rolling?

Simply put, yes! Seemingly that momentum is relentless and YUNGBLUD is once again able to not just capitalise on his successes but fully build on them. His distinctive vocal presence ensures that all his work is easily identifiable, which almost allows some additional freedom to experiment musically.

Surrounded by talented collaborators such as WILLOW on single, ‘Memories’; YUNGBLUD is able to push boundaries whilst not alienating his pre-amassed and incredibly loyal fanbase.

YUNGBLUD – ‘Memories’

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The snobbish gatekeepers of rock music will be disgusted to hear that this hugely talented musician described as the future of rock but whilst dinosaurs like Gene Simmons continue the tired trope that rock music is dead we need to evolve and unshackle ourselves from our preconceived notions of what rock music is!

The difference between YUNGBLUD and some of the posers that have trod this path is that he has the musical substance to equal his powerful aesthetic. He achieves his admiration through a total package and that sets him apart from many of his contemporaries.

This self-titled album is exhibit number three in the case for YUNGBLUD as the future of rock, and the jury are ready to return their verdict of guilt!

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Album Reviews

Pet Needs

Primetime Entertainment

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Eighteen months ago, mid-pandemic, Colchester punks Pet Needs burst onto the scene with their debut album, ‘Fractured Party Music’. An all or nothing exercise for a band at a crossroads in their career, the album permeated into the consciousnesses of the Xtra Mile Recordings scene of bands and their hardcore fans.

The catchy pop hooks and rambunctious rock and roll energy of the album established the band their own dedicated fanbase and took them on an adventure of a lifetime touring the world.

Read our review of ‘Fractured Party Music’

Now the band are once again ready to unleash a smorgasbord of musical pleasure into the wild as they follow up that debut with their oh-so important sophomore record, ‘Primetime Entertainment’.

Picking up where their debut left off, the record bursts straight into life with ‘Lost Again’, ‘Ibiza In Winter’ and the anthemic ‘Get On The Roof’. Listeners are left in no doubt about the direction of the band as they hoist their punk rock mast again.

Pet Needs – ‘Get on the Roof’

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Like predecessor ‘Fractured Party Music’, ‘Primetime Entertainment’ is also produced by Frank Turner. His fingerprints are all over the album with the sonic growth of Turner’s latest effort ‘FTHC’ also present on this album.

‘Spirals’ is an incredible rip-roaring track which pushes everything the band offers to the extreme. Given the energy and passion of Pet Needs live, ‘Spirals’, is surely destined to be a highlight of their upcoming tour.

Thematically speaking, ‘Primetime Entertainment’, is Pet Needs at their honest and reflective best. There’s plenty of the tongue in cheek lyrics which made ‘Fractured Party Music’, such a fun record, but there’s perhaps a greater sense of seriousness this time around.

When the world is in a bad way, and you just want to lose yourself in some loud guitars and singable songs; don’t fear Pet Needs are here again to service your needs with another liberating release of energy!

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‘Discover’ New Music Podcast – Episode 15 – Pet Needs
Album Reviews


Will of the People

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It always feels like a momentous occasion whenever superstar rockers Muse release a new studio album. The otherworldly act are shrouded in the grandiose with their over the top visual presentations.

‘Will of the People’ is the groups ninth studio album and has seen the band mix up their approach slightly with the first glimpse of new music coming on social media in a video filmed in frontman Matt Bellamy’s car. A handful of festival appearances and shows have followed as promotion has been ramped up, but really there hasn’t seemed to be the usual sense of anticipation.

That is until the play button is pushed and the opening of ‘Will of the People’ instantly grabs hold of you and screams that Muse are back! Second track ‘Compliance’ serves as confirmation that the over the top and grandiose soul of Muse is in full effect.


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‘Liberation’ shows that ‘Will of the People’ isn’t a one trick pony before ‘Won’t Stand Down’ escalates the intensity as the album continues to ebb and flow. Yes, the various musical identities of Muse are seemingly all present and correct on this all encompassing record.

The hard rocking, symphonic, galactic, political and quite frankly absurd sonic buffet on offer will surely be enough to please Muse fans of all ages. It really does feel like the band have just thrown everything at the wall to see what sticks like a maniacal splatter painter in the midst of a moral breakdown.

‘Killed or Be Killed’, whilst a standout track could also be the bands motto at this point, and there is no way that they will allow themselves to be killed! Sit back, strap yourself in and enjoy the majestic lunacy of Muse at full throttle!

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Album Reviews

Lauran Hibberd

Garageband Superstar

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Lauran Hibberd has spent the past few year’s releasing a steady stream of singles and playing an endless run of shows and festival slots. During this time she has built a solid following and garnered much praise from those taking notice.

With a firm groundwork beneath her and anticipation high, it’s now time for her to unleash her debut album, ‘Garageband Superstar’, and complete her world conquering mission.

Despite that stream of pre-album singles, ‘Garageband Superstar’, was always going to be a major hurdle for Hibberd. A debut album for any artist is a statement and whilst there are some famous exceptions, this first impression is often make or break for artists.

Lauran Hibberd – ‘Still Running (5K)’ feat. DJ Lethal

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Hibberd manages to navigate this hurdle with ease, with her debut album an all out statement of intent. ‘Garageband Superstar’ is brash and in your face yet also vulnerable and relatable. This highly accessible thread runs throughout album standouts such as ‘Still Running (5K)’, ‘Average Joe’ and ‘I’m Insecure’ and adds layers to the pure enjoyability of the album.

Musically the album captures everything that helps Hibberd standout live with a bouncy indie pop vibe making this a very fun record. Lyrically ‘Garageband Superstar’ is brutally honest and completely unashamed. This combination feels like a winning one, with the early hype now justified and that anticipation more than met.

This is no doubt the first step in a very long and prosperous career for the talented garageband superstar!

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Album Reviews

Pale Waves


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Pale Waves only released their second album last year, but with momentum in their favour they are back already with album number three. ‘Who Am I?’ was a huge release for the band, taking them to number three in the charts and taking them into larger venues and bigger festival slots.

Eighteen months later and the band are ready to capitalise on their hard work and push for greater success. With a date already set for the legendary Brixton Academy this November, could new album, ‘Unwanted’, be set to push them into arenas?

Well, opening with the epic, ‘Lies’, is a very good start for the album, and the pace doesn’t really ease as the group let their pop punk side out!

Pale Waves – ‘Lies’

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Across their three albums the band has now shown strong evolution and confidence in creating an eclectic mix of sounds. That being said each album has been distinctively a Pale Waves album with a familiar sonic undertone throughout.

With Heather Baron-Gracie at the helm their sound continues to feature an uplifting element despite the often dark and personal themes. This album fits a continued narrative of relatable music which helps to create a strong connection between band and listener.

Tracks such as ‘The Hard Way’, ‘Jealousy’ and ‘Reasons To Live’ have given a accurate view into the make-up of ‘Unwanted’ as a whole. If you’ve enjoyed the pre-release singles then you’ll love this uninterrupted tour de force of an album.

If ‘Who Am I?’ was the album to put Pale Waves on the map, then ‘Unwanted’ is raising their flag aloft and stating their ambitions for world domination!

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Album Reviews


The Alchemist’s Euphoria

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To say that Kasabian’s seventh studio album, ‘The Alchemist’s Euphoria’, comes with a burden of added pressure would probably be an understatement. When one of the biggest bands in the country loses an iconic member then eyes will naturally be on what comes next, this is amplified when that iconic member is the singer!

Not to mention that it’s the nature of the world that we live in that those eyes watching are bound to be highly critical. No doubt, there will be many looking on and hoping to see Kasabian fail for various reasons.

Thankfully for the band they have already taken the time out to prove the doubters wrong in the live setting, with the band confirming that they are still one of the best live acts on the scene, the question is now turned to their studio output.

One of the reasons for Kasabian’s success over the years has been their adaptability and willingness to experiment. This works in their favour when reflecting on ‘The Alchemist’s Euphoria’, as whilst it doesn’t give the band a free pass it certainly allows extra freedom to explore their sound.

Kasabian – ‘CHEMICALS’

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With guitarist Serge Pizzorno moving to the vacated lead vocals position, some clearly wondered if he would take the band down the more electronic route of his SLP side project. Alternatively would the band return to their early sound or maybe just continue on the path of 2017’s ‘For Crying Out Loud’.

The answer here is the one that probably should’ve been expected from the start – all of the above!

You can certainly feel the Pizzorno influence taking a bigger hold, there are nods to the early lad-rock leanings of the band and there are some playful festival favourites the likes of which emerged from the albums predecessor.

To an extent this is clearly Kasabian pressing the reset button. With ‘The Alchemist’s Euphoria’, the band has reassured fans that the past isn’t forgotten but the future remains one of exploration just as it would of done.

This album does what it needs to do to shore up the ship, but it almost leaves you now asking what’s next. This isn’t a forgettable album but it is a cleansing album to purge the difficulties of recent years and set up what’s to come.

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Album Reviews

The Interrupters

In The Wild

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You’ll likely have seen The Interrupters name gracing many festival bills over the past five years. You may also have noticed their name moving higher and higher up those line-up posters. Yes, there has been a slow but meaningful buzz building around the band for a while now.

It hasn’t been overnight success for the band and new album, ‘In The Wild’, is their fourth album; their debut self-titled release coming in 2014. As with many bands the pandemic came at the worst time as far as career momentum is concerned, with the hype surrounding The Interrupters fully taking hold.

Now then is probably the ideal time for the band to release a new album and get back on that horse, there has also never been a better time than now for you to jump on the bandwagon!

‘In The Wild’ sets its stall out early with ‘Anything Was Better’ and ‘As We Live’ which features Tim Armstrong and Rhoda Dakar. This is another anthemic riot of ska punk that will grab you by the hand and pull you onto the dancefloor.

The Interrupters – ‘Anything Was Better’

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Musically this album is packed full of the upbeat ska infused punk that has garnered The Interrupters such attention. They really do seem to have perfected a mix of these genres that works to elevate that basic punk sound without reaching the potentially comical capabilities of ska.

Lyrically this a personal, unshackling record in which singer Aimee liberates her troubled past. It can be tricky to tackle difficult subjects whilst pumping out ska punk, but on ‘In The Wild’, Aimee and the Bivona brothers have managed to do so faultlessly.

There isn’t a bad song on this album and too many highlights to bother listing. Realistically the best thing for you to do, is go and find ‘In The Wild’ and press play. You won’t regret the time spent savouring these incredible songs and you will get to jump on that bandwagon just before the band takes that final leap to superstardom!

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Album Reviews

The Kooks

10 Tracks to Echo in the Dark

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The Kooks have been busy celebrating their seminal debut album, ‘Inside In/Inside Out’, on recent tours, but they are a nostalgia act just yet!

New record, ’10 Tracks to Echo in the Dark’, is the group’s sixth studio album, which isn’t the most prolific discography but is on par with most of their contemporaries. What the band has done however is deliver consistency with each of their previous efforts showcasing their talents well.

Over the course of these releases The Kooks have evolved sonically and the differences between that debut and this latest release are clear. ’10 Tracks to Echo in the Dark’ features the bands now signature expansive sound and bursts straight to life with opening track ‘Connection’.

The Kooks – ‘Connection’

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At just over half an hour this isn’t a long album, which I feel helps it maintain the listeners attention. There is much ground broken on the record, now that you’re really expecting or wanted experimentation from The Kooks in 2022. That said there is enough here to fend off that nostalgia scene for a little longer.

The band do appear to have found their groove which is far removed now from the sound that broke them into the mainstream. Of course, those songs still exist and feature heavily in their live shows but if you are expecting another ‘Inside In/Inside Out’ from The Kooks you’ll be disappointed.

Expectation therefore is key when approaching ’10 Tracks to Echo in the Dark’, something which the slightly ostentatious title does assist with. This was never going to be the so called “classic” Kooks sound.

That’s not a bad thing though and this isn’t a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, it just needs a little perspective. The album isn’t a bad way to spend half an hour, but it won’t leave much of a lasting impression either.

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Album Reviews

Deaf Havana

The Present is a Foreign Land

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The entire career of Deaf Havana has been rather stop/start with vulnerabilities and insecurities often holding back; ironically though it’s also those same traits that have made the band such essential listening in the past.

The band has had many highs but their previous effort, ‘Rituals’ and the touring that followed saw the band perhaps at their lowest. The band clearly had high hopes for the record and hoped the pop direction and polished visuals would contribute to their greatest successes, only to be demoralised when the album fell flat and the bands momentum actually faded instead of escalated.

Watching some of their final UK shows on that album cycle, it was clear there were issues. The passion appeared to be gone and it felt as though the band were simply going through the motions. It was not really a surprise then at the end of last year that James and Matthew Veck-Gilodi revealed that the band had planned to split in early 2020.

Instead the duo announced that they were now the only remaining members but that new music was coming. That new music comes now in the shape of the bands sixth studio album, ‘The Present is a Foreign Land’.

It’s been a turbulent musical journey from their post-hardcore debut, through their folk rock and alt rock albums to the pop sound of ‘Rituals’. The first question for me was, which Deaf Havana would appear on this album, and secondly would whichever version appearing be any good?

Deaf Havana – ‘Going Clear’

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The brutally honest lyricism of their finest work presents itself instantly on the opening track, ‘Pocari Sweat’, and their peak ‘Those Countless Nights’ vibe comes out on early highlight, ‘19dreams’. Soon enough some of those folk influences emerge, before the pop sound makes its presence known also.

The answer to that first question clearly being, E. All of the Above! This certainly feels like a fresh start for the band, a new beginning, but one that recognises just where they have come from.

On the second point of quality, this is leaps and bounds ahead of the poorly executed experiment that ‘Rituals’ felt like. This feels more like the band that many tipped for huge success. The pop sensibilities are here to stay but they have been intertwined with the sounds that made you fall in love with the band.

Whereas ‘Rituals’ felt forced, ‘The Present is a Foreign Land’ feels like the natural evolution of Deaf Havana. This band is far too good to disappear, so let’s be glad that they’ve emerged from this latest change still with important things to say!

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