Tag Archives: album

Charlie Fink – Cover My Tracks. Album Review

It’s been over two years since Noah and the Whale disbanded and all the members went their own way. Charlie Fink was initially keeping a low profile, but then released the song ‘My Heartbeat Lost It’s Rhythm’ in 2015 to give us a taster of what Charlie was going to later unleash onto the world…then we got COVER MY TRACKS which is indeed a fantastic and well-rounded album with plenty of offer, but a different direction to what I was expecting.

The album kicks off with the quaint and chilled ‘Firecracker’. The album opens with a relaxed melody which then carries on to ‘Anywhere You’re Going Is On My Way’ which is a very enthralling track that is so laid back, you could listen to this one song a million times over.

This is not to say the whole album is mellow, especially when track three kicks in. ‘I Was Born To Be A Cowboy’ will definitely get your foot tapping and the song will sit in your head all day. From this point, there does seem to be a lot of reflection (plenty of first person lines too) and it’s always nice to have that unique perspective which Charlie has always incorporated into his music.

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As the album goes on, there are certainly more peaceful, chilled-out tones with a few peaks along the way. As with many works by Charlie, there is a very personal feeling towards many of the songs. ‘The Howl’ and ‘Here Is Where We’ll Meet’ definitely keeps the album grounded.

It would be unfair to compare this to Noah and the Whale, but a couple of tracks were bound to get inspiration from the work that came before. That is the strength in this album, Charlie Fink has stuck to his roots and knows exactly what works for him. It would have been nice to see the more electronica side come out as teased from a few years back, but hopefully that will be for the next album.

Overall, I really enjoy this album. It works well as a complete story told from a female perspective, which is different to come from a male singer-songwriter, but that is the hook as you don’t expect it. After doing work on the stage adaptation of The Lorax and music for the film A Streetcat Named Bob, I couldn’t be happier to see the former NATW frontman back to making music!

Final rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

The album is available now through Amazon, iTunes and can be streamed on Spotify!

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The Lounge Kittens – Sequins and C-Bombs (Plus interview with Jen “The Red Kitten”)

My interview with Jen from The Lounge Kittens is live now, hear this while you read the review of Sequins and C-Bombs!

Click here to hear my interview with Jen from The Lounge Kittens.

The worst thing I can say is that it took me till this year to discover The Lounge Kittens, but I am so glad that I did. This album proves that the girls are truly creative and provide some of the best harmonies I have heard for years. When I first heard ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’, I knew there was something special with these ladies. Taking to Pledgemusic to get the album going, hitting over twice their target is a sign these girls are destined for big things! The blend of top hits with a more stripped back performance definitely makes a huge impression.

The Alice Cooper classic ‘Poison’ is the first track on the album, within moments you know that this is a very different iteration of the song you are familiar with. It works well and fills me with joy for the next fourteen tracks. Other bands that get the Kitten treatment include System Of A Down (‘Bounce’), Usher (‘Yeah’, which is just…wow!) and House Of Pain (‘Jump Around’). This is just for starters, and the variety does continue. A David Bowie song also feels like a fitting tribute to the legend who sadly passed away in January and that cover of Toto’s ‘Africa’ really does hit me every time I hear it.

The other gems that come up in this release is the medleys. Taking a collection of Prodigy hits into one mix is epic enough, but to then do the same with some Rammstein is also noteworthy. If you get a chance to listen to their EP, a medley of Sean Paul tracks is definitely worth a play or two. Because the main instrument of choice for the Kittens is a piano, it doesn’t mean that all their songs are mellowed. A cover of Drowning Pool’s ‘Bodies’ is a strange choice to say the least, but Jenny, Timia and Zan make it work wonders! Also, I gotta say I am a massive fan of Mumford & Sons. The Lounge Kittens really take ‘The Cave’ to new levels, it is possibly my favourite song on the album (trust me, it is hard to pick a favourite as the whole thing is bloody good!!).

From Mumford to Manson, this album does have a lot of thought and effort throughout. The vocal harmony in the three girls is astounding. Like I said, I have never experienced anything like this before. The biggest strength in The Lounge Kittens is that they work so well. There has been so much work put in to make them sound unique, but at the same time they are remarkably faithful to the source material of their musical selections. When album two comes up, there is a certain cover I would like to hear (Jen mentions in the interview one she wanted to do, and I hope it may feature next time around) and I would love to hear the Kittens do some original tracks next time. I can’t recommend this album enough! Jen, Timia and Zan deserve all the success they can get…now bring on the show at the 100 Club in London next month!

Final rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Richard Ashcroft – These People

Is it a well-known fact that Mr Ashcroft has now released as many albums in the solo form as he had done with The Verve? Well, it is hard to believe that this is now his 4th solo release. But, the man has once again managed to put together a great effort. There is a certain vibe in this album which some British groups have done and that is taking a more electronic vibe to go through the album. Coldplay’s had a few albums which weren’t far dissimilar to this one. While I may make a comparison, it does still have that Ashcroft sound to it.

Starting off the album is ‘Out Of My Body’, this is where I immediately just went “this sounds like Coldplay”. But, Chris Martin has always had praise for Richard Ashcroft and his music. So, who inspired who really? Anyway, the album really kicks off when we get to ‘This Is How It Feels’ and I feel we already have another classic on our hands. If I could describe it, I would say it has that same impact as ‘A Song For The Lovers’ when that first hit in 2000. ‘They Don’t Own Me’ and ‘Hold On’ continue the album at a steady pace, and is fairly easy listening. Title track ‘These People’ is another stand out. Could I be wrong in saying this is a swipe at the critics? With lines like “These People, sent to test us. Sent to play with our minds”, I think it is. But, Richard Ashcroft has always been someone for the fans. Not the critics.

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‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Hurt’ is an obvious play on the Solomon Burke hit where he talks about love instead of hate (if unsure, remember that really awesome sing-a-long song from The Blues Brothers). It has a good rhythm to it, but the more stripped back ‘Picture Of You’ really gets into your head and demands a repeat play. Let’s just hope this makes the set-list for the shows in December! ‘Black Lines’ is definitely another one which needs to be on the live shows, and its one for while your lighter or mobile torch is in the air swaying back and forth. This will hopefully generate some heat in the December gigs! ‘Ain’t The Future So Bright’ is out before we know it and the conclusion ‘Songs Of Experience’ brings a very Richard Ashcroft conclusion to a great body of work. The final song I think works better after a few listens, it is a grower and one I am sure Richard is proud of.

This whole album is almost a safe bet, there is nothing that really goes above and beyond the usual standard that Ashcroft produces. But is that a bad thing? No. We know Richard Ashcroft can craft some great compositions and this is no exception. Where a few tracks may seem throwaway, a majority of them will grab your attention. Some songs really make a big effort and there is at least half of this album I want to experience in London in December. In the same vein of Morrissey, Paul Weller and Sting, Richard Ashcroft proves to be as enticing as a solo artist as he ever was in The Verve. To hear this mixed with his other solo work and music from his former band, I am sure these tracks will become more popular as time goes on. Another fantastic release!

Final Rating: 8.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Album Review: Death Of A Bachelor

Introduction

One decade, six members, and now what we can call the end of all eras has begun with eleven tracks by the one and not-so-lonely Brendon Urie.

He has solidified himself not just as the lead singer of Panic! At The Disco, but AS Panic! At The Disco. He has taken the band into his own heart and soul, and that is heavily shown in his vocal independence on every song on this record. His golden voice has been highlighted beautifully by his fascinating skills on guitar, bass and drums, and the uniqueness from track to track proves how he can use all those skills to his advantage in many ways.

We first gathered news of Death of a Bachelor in October, when Urie decided to throw out a new song, new music video and – as we can see – a new album. Before the release on 15th January, we had already heard a handful of hits: Hallelujah, Victorious, Emperor’s New Clothes, Death Of A Bachelor, LA Devotee and Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time.

Each of these tracks have been extraordinary, in the usual Brendon Urie way, and just built up the anticipation for this release. We can sigh our relief, Panic! fans: we have been patient and here we are! Hallelujah!

I believe Urie has let go of his band past with recording these songs, and has embraced the theme of new beginnings: he’s the winner, he’s the king, he’s the murderer of his inner bachelor.

Let him gain back the crown, take his seat on the throne, and let’s watch him.

Tonight, he is victorious.

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Best Tracks

Being a major fan of Urie’s gorgeous, limitless vocals, I admired the tunes where his high notes, long notes and challenging notes were all I could focus on above all else. I then realised the trouble was, that was pretty much all tunes because that man loves to show off.

I would want to show some love for the title track, Death Of A Bachelor, for both the classic/modern mixing sound and the accompanying video. If you should know one thing about Brendon Urie, it’s his love for all things Sinatra; the video shows his aesthetic pleasure of Sinatra. Suited up, alone on stage, in an empty bar, all filmed in a greyscale filter – Urie has come a long way from busting into churches and putting fishbowls on people’s heads. Away from the video and back to the song: I believe it is one-of-a-kind on this record. The lyrics phrase reinvention in the scenario of a bachelor entering a relationship, ending his lonesome life and starting anew with the love of his life. He comments on how much of a difference it can be, closing one chapter and opening another, and how it’s still a feeling to get used to.

Overall, it’s a deep and catchy song to accentuate the tone of the album – so an amazing title track, Mr. Urie. Thank you for that one.

 

Another song that needs noting is Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time. The song is the theme song for a night out you will forget once you wake up; it sums up when you’re having your “last hurrah”, before having to live steady. I feel it sounds like a prequel story of the previously mentioned track, Death Of A Bachelor, as DTMWAGT could be the crime scene, leading to DOAB being the funeral for the destroyed personality.

The track dabbles into the common party scene in LA, where alcohol is at every corner and these new concoctions with whatever substance in them are being shoved down your throat – but when you are trying to enjoy your night, who cares what they do? That’s the celebrity life before marriage, as if describing the most hardcore bachelor party you would ever attend. I doubt he has ever lived to that extent in his 28 years, but he has witnessed it, and that’s where his documentation comes from. Altogether, one I would call the partier’s anthem of reality. Kudos to Urie for making a vibrant track that shows the pathway to disaster for the regular party goer – and I can’t close this without mentioning the awesome Rock Lobster sample.

 

The last song I’ll give my love to will be Victorious. As the opening track to this story-full record, it sparks the excitement from the start, once the beat kicks in. I would label it as the life-winner’s song; one to shout out to the heavens when you’re feeling mighty proud of resisting temptation or performing a good deed – what Urie demonstrates in the accompanying music video – and I love that message.

You should always feel strong, feel empowered for doing the smallest things to help yourself, and I think that’s what encouraged its inclusion on this album. Urie is one that is usually free in his actions, nothing pulling him back (can sometimes backfire but I’m sure you can still learn from your mistakes at 28), and he’s getting other people to join in with him in just being glorious in living life day by day.

With the right attitude, anything is a contest to be won. With the right song, Urie can show everyone that is a great viewpoint on life.

 

 

Final Verdict

How can I sum this up in a small paragraph? This album was just a wonder for the ages.

When your band has left you behind, for personal or musical reasons, you may just forfeit. You say “the magic’s gone” and move on to being solo. Not Brendon Urie. His band is still his, and if he’s not gonna have company to help him, who needs them? Every time the line-up changed, Urie kept his head up high, his voice clear and perfect. Now he’s there, alone, beside himself, and he is not suffering.

 

Keep singing on, Brendon. Hallelujah!

 

Rating: 5/5

Written by Joanna Cosgrove