Tag Archives: album review

Maroon 5 and The Script – V and No Sound Without Silence | Double album review | Music

The Script and Maroon 5 double album reviewIt’s not every day new albums come out which you actually care about. Unfortunately there just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to ramble about them all (far less than usual actually, sorry about that lone fan), and so slamming two together in what could be described as, but isn’t really, a head-to-head seemed like a fun option.

The reason Maroon 5 and The Script together sit together nicely is because they are bands in similar areas of the industry (though the Maroon 5 boys have a few more years and albums under their belt), but they are different enough to listen to back to back.

Maroon 5 – V

Maroon 5 - VWith their fifth album – however did you guess… – the boys have taken the dancier sound from Overexposed and refined it, bringing a bit more instrumentation back in as well as using more of their layered vocals from Adam Levine which made Songs About Jane stand out.

Opener and lead single Maps is a perfect blend of the band’s catchy melodies and memorable guitar style. There aren’t many bands who can get away with repetition, even in a clearly pop-focused single, but Maroon 5 are excellent at taking a simple idea and elaborating on it through a song, driving it forward.

Animals continues the theme in style, before It Was Always You mellows things out a little, dialling up the dance beats a notch.

Levine’s vocals contain some of the highest notes we’ve heard and his various grunts and oohs build to screeches as the music swells, but in a way which refuses to step over the line into a piercing noise, similar to how Michael Jackson got away with it on many tracks.

Maroon 5 - VWith a mixture of ballads with a beat and catchy numbers, the rest of the album plays out much as you might expect, with the odd 80s nod in the synth drums. It’s a collection of songs that hangs together well without any sticking out too far, but it may prove too middle-of-the-road for some as a result.

No doubt there are top ten hits here waiting to be unleashed (so many in fact, that you could easily make a sweepstake out of it), but it’s only a small step from Overexposed compared to where the band began the consistency has improved but undoubtedly the edginess that made them most endearing when they crashed onto the scene has dulled slightly.

That said there’s an awful lot to enjoy on this album, particularly for crowd singalong moments, and where Overexposed dragged its heels in the middle and became uninspiring, V never does.

The Script – No Sound Without Silence

The Script - No Sound Without SilenceThe fourth album from the Irish pop-rockers is a similar continuation on a theme, with the catchiness and excitement of #3 taken up a notch with lead single Superheroes. First track No Good In Goodbye has some excellent plays on words, including “Where’s the us in trust gone?” and “Can’t take the ache from heartbreak”, cementing the band’s position of one of the best lyrical groups in the charts.

The sound overall has good mix of upbeat and more reflective songs, far more laid back than V certainly, but you do find yourself longing for one more singalong classic along the lines of Breakeven or The Man Who Can’t Be Moved.

There are influences here of other bands like Coldplay, Bastille and even The 1975, but never more significant than the odd moment.

The themes of the songs are still quite personal, but generally more aspirational and uplifting then they have been in the past. The Energy Never Dies and It’s Not For You both insist that you don’t have to take the situation you’ve ended up in and leave it at that, instead you can at the very least choose your attitude to it.

The Script - No Sound Without SilenceMusically the band’s use of piano is much more natural this time, but otherwise it’s hard to find many stand out moments, it’s more just that the entire mix – particularly the interplay of vocals between all three of the brand members – is really impressive and at several moments really makes the tracks something special, to the extent that you can feel the odd goosebump.

It might not have as much ammo for the charts as previous efforts but the songs are well crafted and fit together beautifully, creating an album you can just sit back and relax to or jump around the room with here and there.

In short, both these albums deserve your attention, do yourself a favour and at least pick, but, if you know what’s good for you, choose both.

James Michael Parry


Alkaline Trio – My Shame is True | Album Review | Music

Alkaline TrioSurviving 15 years strongly in the punk scene is no mean feat and this new release from the Chicago threesome sets them up to continue to remain relevant to a whole new generation.

Sensing the tone

While Alkaline Trio‘s ‘heart and skull’ imagery can make everything seem dark, My Shame is True is surprisingly one of their lightest albums to date. Tonally at least, the first few songs have a hint of Green Day and Blink 182’s ‘skate punk’ about them, though by track 5, ‘The Temptation of St. Anthony’, play has returned somewhat to normal.

Unlike Green Day, who’s momentum has dipped in the past few years, the band haven’t veered off in any extreme direction. Previous album This Addition was designed to bring the band back to their roots, but arguably without that goal in mind, the album they have produced here proves to be more effective.

Keeping it simple

My Shame Is TrueBased around the theme of relationships, the album reflects leading man Matt Skiba’s recent troubles with love, and delivers songs with messages relatable enough to connect with fans young and old alike.

Opener ‘She Lied to the FBI’ is a fairly basic pop-friendly anthem, but one which states the band’s case for the record without giving too much away. By the half way point ‘I, Pessimist’, which features Rise Against‘s Tim McIlrath, the momentum is really flowing, and doesn’t really let up until the more relaxed and reflective closing tune ”Till Death do us Part’.

Instrumentally the band have pushed things up a notch since the past album, with Derek Grant’s drums in particular standing out as well as a smattering of synth here and there for effect. Production is still much more stripped down than the days of Crimson though, and the album feels more ‘real’ for it.

Pleasing the crowd

The songs need time to grow before they really become sing-a-longs. Don’t expect to find the next ‘Stupid Kid’, ‘Private Eye’ or even ‘Mercy Me’ hidden here, but there is a lot to like. Dan Andriano gets front-runner time once again on songs such as ‘Young Lovers’ and ‘I’m Only Here to Disappoint’, on top of the almost duet with McIlrath on ‘I, Pessimist’.

The balance works well, as it always has, and Andriano has the strength it lacked on older numbers like ‘The Poison’. Skiba pushes the envelope too, wailing his way through ‘The Temptation of St. Anthony’ in true battle cry style, really wearing his heart in his throat.

For those new to Alkaline Trio this as excellent entry point. The album takes the best of the latter days of higher production values and more confidence and variety in instrumentation, but still holds on tightly to the emotion and relatability of its songs that the band made their name on.

Rating: 4/5

James Michael Parry

Music | Review: Feeder – Generation Freakshow | This Is Entertainment

courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/feederwebby now from Amazon.co.ukFeeder return to the mainstream with a vengeance in new album Generation Freakshow. Following the Renegades ‘experiment’, which ended with the Feeder album of the same name, fans were yearning for a return of the pop rock anthems of ‘Just the Way I’m Feeling’ and ‘Buck Rogers’. The three-piece have delivered that 100% with twelve infectious slices of pop mastery.

While the days of pop chart domination may be behind them, Feeder have always remained consistent, while still keeping room to try something different. This latest effort is no exception, with a trumpet making an appearance in ‘In All Honesty’, which throws in an incredibly subtle slant to the mix in what is one of the most upbeat songs on the record.

Leading man Grant’s singing-with-himself style is in abundance here, but it never seems unwelcome. On a song like ‘Tiny Minds’ it even adds something in itself by suggesting multiple smaller Grants to be the minds suggested by the title.

Singles ‘Borders’ and ‘Children of the Sun’ are prime examples of what Feeder does best. The first is a punchy anthem complete with all of Feeder’s trademarks. There is delayed vocals and ‘woo’-ing from Grant, as well as a fringe of keyboard and soft distortion on guitars in the verse. The song tells a story of Jessie, a girl who wants to get away and escape from a life, something which everyone can relate to at one time or another. The ideas are simple, but effective, with the inherent catchy-ness we have come to expect from the band over the past 20 years.

The second is a sombre closing number which could well be about the band itself, holding on through the years and through the changes and challenges they have all faced together – especially in the face of the freakshow obsessed generation which the album’s title alludes to.

The album hangs together beautifully, with each song returning to its central themes of feeling like an outcast, or an outsider, and not understanding the whims of modern society. The titular track ‘Generation Freakshow’ epitomises this, continuing Feeder tradition of the album title track being one of the strongest on the album. The song is gritty and less produced than the other songs, coming off as more of a pop/punk tune, rebellious and full of attitude, but still fitting in effortlessly with the rest of the album.

This record sums up everything Feeder are as a band in 2012. A group with a wealth of experience, but still outsiders in the charts compared to the likes of Muse and Coldplay. Crucially though, the band don’t mind that.

They are making music for the love, and after seven varyingly successful studio albums, their eighth is still up there as one of the best of their career. It might not be the height of innovation, but is a clear example of a band playing to its strengths.

Grant said that those who enjoyed Yesterday Went Too Soon and Comfort in Sound would enjoy this album, and it pitches between the two of them perfectly. While it might not propel them into the top ten, it deserves to keep them around for years to come.

Rating: 5/5

James Michael Parry

Pictures courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/feederweb