Record Reviews

Fairewell - Poor, Poor Grendel


Poor, Poor Grendel

Released: Dec 5 2011

Genre: Synth Pop/Post Rock

Label: Sonic Cathedral Recordings

Rating: 6/10


By: Dan Titcombe

Fairewell produce a melancholy and ambient endorsing sound intertwined with a traditional. 27-year-old Johnny White has been making music since the age of 9 and as a result has turned into a rather talented individual who appeals to a wide audience. With his new album Poor, Poor Grendel he really flourishes as an artist.

There are four melancholy-sounding tracks on his new album; but the one ambient track that seems to stand above the rest is ‘Wild Meadow/ I’ve Been Locked Away’, which is a compilation of emotions starting off timed and slow but slowly building towards a tremendous and awe inspiring mid section that will soon fade back to a simmer as the track concludes. This song may not be for everyone but if your looking for a calm relaxing song to unwind to this may just be the kind of thing you’re looking for.

‘Others of Us’ is the first song on the album that offers a more traditional approach to music with an upbeat melody and fitting rhythm those similar to the kind of music you would expect from the likes of ‘Norah Jones’ this song is one of the highlights of the album and would be the obvious choice for a single release.

One of the last tracks on the album ‘Born Under a Bad Sign’ is another upbeat traditional song but with a unique atmospheric riff created by keyboard adjusted to a strange effect that gives the song a truly unique feeling, those who enjoy bands like ‘Forest Fire’ would appreciate this song and defiantly Fairewell as an artist.

Fairewell can be referred to as a male Norah Jones who doesn’t just stick to the traditional style of music and as a result has produces some inspiring atmospheric tracks that share the same kind of tendency’s you would expect from the classical genre of music, a truly creative and talented artist.

Fairewell – Honey Street

The Shell Corporation - A Force Majeure

The Shell Corporation

A Force Majeure

Released: Aug 25th 2011

Genre: Punk Rock

Label: Death To False Hope

Rating: 7/10


By Chris Fishlock

Although not pushing many boundaries with A Force Majeure, The Shell Corporation have made a fine record of a well written, catchy and addictive songs that rewards you with repeat listens. Despite clearly having some anti-corporate themes on the album many of the songs are quite hypocritically commercial punk sounding which is by no means a negative thing and makes them a great gateway band for the young possible future punk rock fans, the band don’t hold back their themes lyrically but the band don’t hold much of a aggressive sound for how much anger the songs do possess, with the right amount of popularity the band could lead those new to punk rock to more aggressive and less commercial sounding bands.

The album’s sound perfectly fits into the Californian punk rock scene with a sound somewhere between Goldfinger’s more pop punk records and Anti-Flag (who are also comparable lyrically). Unlike many punk rock records from bands of this style A Force Majeure does cover a decent amount of change in pace and style from the usual fast paced pop punk tracks, such as the slower “Broken Hearted Loser” featuring just vocals and guitar, and the acoustic start to “All of the Best” making the album a more interesting listen than the many albums these days of generic 12 tracks sounding all exactly the same.

A Force Majeure has enough commercial merit for the band to go far while also maintaining their own mentalities throughout the lyrical themes to keep them true to punk. An enjoyable gateway album that perhaps lacks the aggression that some of their songs are clearly calling for, and although not having an incredibly original sound the album does expand its sound in terms of tempo and heaviness while also including some perfectly catchy pop punk tunes such as “What If?” and “Fuck ‘Em” that leaving you wanting repeat listens.

The Shell Corporation – Fuck ‘Em

Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood of Colour

Enter Shikari

A Flash Flood of Colour

Released: Jan 16 2012

Genre: Electronic/Hardcore

Label: Ambush Reality

Rating: 8/10


By James Murray

Enter Shikari has always been about breaking boundaries. Rewinding back to their earliest days under the ‘Hybrid’ alias, exploiting the predefined boundaries of music genres was the core aim: ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’ shows that this motive remains – their most profound and polished record to date.

In a rather crudely simplified way, ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’ sounds like a refined ‘Common Dreads’. As expected, the dubstep/drum & bass influences are heavily featured, however, this time round productions are tighter and as a result the record is a lot more professional sounding.

Opener ‘System…’ ‘…Meltdown’ eases into action with the identical buoyant synth used to introduce ‘Common Dreads’; euphoric keys take the place of a vocal introduction – a subtle hint at the electronic-driven tracks which, for the first time in the history of Enter Shikari, perhaps overtake their hardcore elements. That’s not to say this is an electronic record: ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’ is still heavy at times, driven by political rage and robust as ever – Enter Shikari are just perfecting the electronic cross-over sound that they’ve been experimenting with for years.

The opening two tracks are heavily influenced by drum and bass, including the now familiar-to-many ‘Sssnakepit’, which epitomises the new Enter Shikari sound. While the intense breakdowns, relentless rock/synth melodies and trademark Enter Shikari choruses dominate the majority of ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’, the less experimental, toned down tracks are equally, if not more effective. The downbeat ‘Search Party’ is vocally emphatic; evoking the vision of far-reaching fields filled with chanting Enter Shikari fans at mind.

The hit-hat driven ‘Arguing With Thermometers’ showcases the most infectious, dance-floor friendly choruses Enter Shikari have ever created, and as a result it won’t take many listens before it’ll be jammed into your head for days: “That’s the sound of another door shutting in, in the face of progress, in the face of progress”.

Stalemate’ and ‘Constellations’ follow suit with this much softer Enter Shikari sound. Both politically forceful and educating, ‘Stalemate’ acts as an instrumental ode to ‘Adieu’ – though not quite as mellow, the same melodically/vocal hard-hitting formula remains. The entire five minutes of ‘Constellations’ is a steadily progressive message of optimism, beautifully delivered with light keys and heart-felt vocals.

A Flash Flood of Colour’ is a forward-thinking record for forward-thinking music fans. If you’re expecting a musical regression back to ‘Take To The Skies’ look away now. For the pro-evolutionist, this record encapsulates almost every successful trait Enter Shikari have ever possessed – delivered in a musically mature, and as a result, engaging third full-length.

Enter Shikari – Sssnakepit

Foxes! - Foxes!



Released: Jan 16 2012

Genre: Indie Pop

Label: Big Salad

Rating: 8/10


By: Dan Titcombe

Foxes! offer a breath of fresh air within the indie pop music spectrum, through their captivating rhythms and simplistic, yet infectious melodies. Foxes! husband/wife partnership gifts them with an innocent aura which separates this straightforward indie pop from other upcoming bands.

Their self-titled album ‘Foxes’ is a compilation of 12 songs, each with their own atmosphere but with enough familiarity to defines Foxes! as a band with exceptional talent.

Amongst their many standout tracks is ‘The Panda Bear Song’ which flaunts an innocent and childlike motif, held up with a toe-tapping drum-beat, harmonic lyrics and an outstanding guitar technique which showcases the beauty that this band can achieve through their music.

‘Welcome to the Jivin’ starts with a style which sounds, as the title sounds, very close to that 1930s sound – a real slice of nostalgia and exceptional demonstration of diversity. ‘Welcome to the Jivin’ has a relaxing keyboard melody, a great drum beat and a fantastic rhythm section, which combined with the right tempo creates yet another beautiful song on this outstanding album.

Another admirable track is ‘Oh Rosie’. This song has an incredible guitar piece which closely eludes an almost chaotic atmosphere and when the song starts to break down you can really sense the emotions bursting at the seams.

Foxes!, with their eponymous debut, offer their own truly unique take on music with this record. This album could quite possibly kick start this band and place them on the path to success. Foxes! is most certainly a name to look out for.

Foxes! – The Panda Bear Song

Dan Sartain - Too Tough To Live

Dan Sartain

Too Tough To Live

Released: Jan 30 2012

Genre: Rock

Label: Swami

Rating: 3.8/5


By: Dan Titcombe

Dan Sartain’s latest album; Too Tough To Live is an inspirational record

Too Tough To Live is a rock album compiled of short songs, and by short I mean songs of 1-2 minutes in length but this isn’t a bad thing – he has kept all his songs short and sweet.

Dan’s style of music has similarities with; The Clash and even Queens of the Stone Age (if your looking for some of the rhythmic guitar) and these days there doesn’t seem to be enough of this type of rock music, so this album is a very welcome edition to the music world.

The album is compiled of 13 songs, some are a bit hit and miss when it comes to diversity, but overall the majority of the tracks have a strong vibe to them. As the songs are so short there’s hardly any room for the lyrics to have any emotional meaning, but nearly every tune is contagious and will have you dancing in seconds.

The song; ‘Even At My Worst I’m Better Than You’ is one of the stand out tracks on the album, with a great rhythm guitar mainly compiled of power chords this song delivers the kind of ‘I don’t need anyone’ message that will put you instantly into a good mood!.

Boo Hoo Hoo’ is another great song on this album, again with a great rhythm that evokes a  ‘lets do something stupid’ atmosphere, which when paired with the right situation could lead to great times. This song has the power and potential to make memories.

Because every song on this album is so short it is an easy listen and highly enjoyable. This record may lack some diversity, but it has to be said if you like the type of music that inspires reckless and fun behavior then Dan Sartain and his album Too Tough To Live is definitely for you.

Dan Sartain – Now Now Now

Dead Jerichos - Please Yourself

Dead Jerichos

Please Yourself EP

Released: Nov 14 2011

Genre: New Wave

Label: Def Jam

Rating: 2/5


By: Dan Titcombe

The first song on the  EP is the self titled; ‘Please Yourself’, with a good rhythm and tempo this song has real charm. It’s the kind of song that will have you bobbing your head within the first 10 seconds. The Dead Jerichos vocalist has a similar style of singing to that of Yannis Philippakis which suits the hectic music style perfectly.

‘Spaces and Sounds’ is the next track on the EP, which starts with a great little guitar riff that makes short appearances through-out the song and it has a really catchy chorus. Unfortunately there’s little else to analyse here as ‘Space and Sounds’ is  dangerously similar to the previous track.

The last two songs on the EP are remixes of the first two tracks, in my own opinion they’re nothing too special as these new sounds are essentially minor song manipulation – which doesn’t impress that much.

Overall the EP starts off great with ‘Please Yourself’, which is the track to listen to, however, the lack of diversity really pulls this record down.

Dead Jerichos – Please Yourself 

Slow Down, Molasses - Walk Into The Sea

Slow Down, Molasses

Walk into the Sea

Released: Mar 15 2011

Genre: Alternative/Indie

Label: Little Pictures

Rating: 3/5


By: Dan Titcombe

Slow Down, Molasses are an alternative/indie band that share a similar sound to ‘Snow Patrol’ so if you like them the chances are that you will love Slow Down, Molasses. Little Pictures released their album Walk into the Sea on March, 15 2011 and as mentioned before if you like the style of music that Snow Patrol give it is worth giving these guys ago!

There are a couple of great tracks on this album but the stand out track is ‘Late Night Radio’, the song starts with a rhythmic guitar and drum beat (the kind that would get your blood pumping and you up and moving). The song breaks down halfway through to give of an almost atmospheric feeling of suspense, and when the song finally does pick up again it grants a great ending to an amazing song. This track is also available for a free download and is definitely worth listening to, in order to help form a good opinion of the band, so what are you waiting for?

The opening song on the album is titled; ‘Sometimes We All Fall Apart’, this song offers an overall feeling of what to expect from these guys, the song starts off slow paced and almost depressing accompanied by beautiful lyrics but it does build up and blend seamlessly into the next song.

These are both two very different songs from the band that portrayed completely different emotions whilst keeping the same style that represents the band and to be able to do this they must have a lot of talent, so if you like the kind of rhythmic styling’s those similar to ‘Snow Patrol’ this band could be one for you!

Slow Down, Molasses – We All Fall Apart

Drones Mutiny



Released: Dec 5th 2011

Genre: Punk

Label: Lockjaw records

Rating: 3/5


By: Chris Fishlock

Young UK punk band Drones hail from Camberley in Surrey and recently signed to Lockjaw records. Their debut album ‘Mutiny’ is a fast paced record of short high tempo shouting punk songs that never give up or give a chance for even a breath. The album is at a short 25 minutes yet fits in 11 tracks, only one of which is over 3 minutes long. This fast and loud record is certainly not for anyone who can’t take their punk rock at full volume and speed.

Lead vocalist and guitar player Daly George leads us through the tracks with his unique voice, which may put some listeners off but you soon get used to it and the rawness of the vocals really fit into the punk sound of the band. The rest of Drones equally help the awesome punk racket with the fast bass playing of James Kerr, while Mitchell Thomas pounds the drums with a great deal of aggression, as well as both giving backing vocals.

‘Mutiny’ has a fantastic rawness that reminds you of what punk is about, the band’s simple set up and fast aggressive playing mixed with their political lyrics help make this one of the truest punk rock debuts this year, that also keeps the spirit and energy of Drones’ powerful and in your face live performances.  If you like your punk fast, simple and raw then you need to be listening to this album, it’s great to have a fresh young, energetic and talented band representing UK punk in a time when so many American bands dominate the scene, Drones remind you of a younger Anti-Flag, who knows where the future might take this band. This record will throw you into in from the second you press play and keep you attentive throughout; it’s a must for anyone who wants to remember all that is great about punk rock.

Drones – Shells Fall, Pins Pulled

Mat Gibson - Forest Fire

Mat Gibson

Forest Fire

Released: Oct 3rd 2011

Genre: Folk/Country

Label: Clubhouse Records

Rating: 4.4/5


By: Dan Titcombe

Mat Gibson’s album; Forest Fire is a 7 track LP which offers a beautiful and
relaxing dose of folk music.

Every track on this album is worth a listen – but if you only had time to listen to a
few here’s in my opinion the top 3 songs from the album.

The first track on the album; ‘Lord Only Knows’ really displays Mat’s passion
for his music and adept skill with his acoustic guitar – as Mat sings about not
worrying about a problem that can’t be changed. ‘Lord Only Knows‘ is a relatable
track which gives you an instant connection to this Mat Gibson.

The self titled track; ‘Forest Fire’ is a highlight as Mat spills his heart and soul into
the vocals which truly evoke some emotion and combined with his guitar and
other various percussion instruments this song is given real character and spirit.

Where Demons Go’ is the last song on the album and what a song to end on. This
track a little more rock-orientated than the other tracks on the album, it has a
real lets-get-up-and-do-something attitude about it. Mat Gibson is obviously
using a semi-acoustic guitar to create this type of atmosphere – starting off soft
and gradually building up until the electric side kicks in and the song just stands
up and flaunts.

If you like Johnny Cash, City and Colour or even White Snake you will love Mat
Gibson, Forest Fire could be the album of his career so far!

Mat Gibson – Yonder Burning Trees

The Brains - Drunk Not Dead

The Brains

Drunk Not Dead

Released: Nov 14 2011

Genre: Psychobilly

Label: Stomp Records

Rating: 2.5/5


By: Chris Fishlock

The Brains, hailing from Canada, bring us a mixture of horror-tinged punk and psychobilly – sounding somewhere in between the classic tracks of horror punk icons The Misfits and the recent psychobilly sounds of Australia’s The Living End. Within the half hour run time of Drunk Not Dead, The Brains take us through a fast 13 songs without giving us time to breathe, with no songs even reaching the three minute mark.

Sadly, despite having established their own unique sound they don’t experiment away from this sound at all, keeping the same song formula for every track, making it a bit tiring by the end of the album. The album is full of great chanting chorus’ bringing you back to the days when The Misfits wrote some of their best punk songs, along with a thumping double bass line in every song giving it that psychobilly tinge, as well as the occasional enjoyable rockabilly style guitar playing. It’s a good song structure and style but with it being the same for every single track it gives you the feel of listening to the same song with different lyrics over and over, despite the album including some great punk tracks (‘6 Rounds’ and ‘Take What I Want’ are particular highlights) this weakens the album a great deal.

Drunk Not Dead is far from special, but they have at least mastered their own sound, fans of the psychobilly genre will most likely enjoy this a decent amount but the album and welcome a fresh new act to the psychobilly scene but the album will unlikely impressive any other music fans, being unable to bring them much of a wider audience.

The Brains – 6 Rounds

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