Tag Archives: new album

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

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Biffy Clyro – Opposites | Album Review | Music | This Is Entertainment

Biffy Clyro

Biffy Clyro - OppositesBiffy Clyro are a band which always seem to have been around. Despite rising to power with debut Blackened Sky back in 2002, the band never seem to grab attention in the same way as a charismatic rock outfit like Foo Fighters, which is a shame when you consider the strength of their catalogue to date.

Latest effort Opposites is no exception, and succeeds in grabbing attention from the very beginning with ‘Different People’, in which a slow build of keyboard give way to a perfect sing-along melody.

Title track ‘Opposite’ is as touching a ballad as any of their contemporaries have ever managed and sets the tone for the album as a whole – this isn’t raw and gritty Biffy, but this isn’t them going soft either.

The sound has been distilled, concentrated and rounded off, but without sacrificing the band’s edginess. Their fiddling of offbeat time signatures remains present, as does the occasional Scottish twang from the vocals which never fails to raise a smile. You won’t find anything quite like the early works such as the iconic ’57’ and ’27’ here, but the polish added with time has made the band shine rather than dull, and those familiar with the Only Revolutions era are sure to feel right at home.

The music adds in a few rogue elements to full effect, such as trumpet in the appropriately named ‘Spanish Radio’, and despite having the usual dash of melancholy, Simon Neil’s dark vocals continue to hit home with their vivid imagery, forcing you to engage where other bands may be happy to let you phase out. The tempo swings up and down, often within the same song, making the album arresting to your ears.

In truth, Opposites has all the elements to serve as a very strong entry point to the journey of Biffy Clyro themselves. Still going strong after almost 20 years, this album is a stop which could see a lot of new fans jump on board for the ride, and the train shows no signs of slowing down.

With such a consistently strong album, Biffy deserve to be noticed and recognised for their obvious talents, and a few songs could even sneak into the pop charts if marketed right. It’s unlikely that this is what the band had in mind of course, but to show the world that the British can still make music, bands like this need to step up and take their well-deserved place in the sun.

Rating: 5/5

James Michael Parry

13 for 2013: Our most anticipated films, music, gaming, technology and cyberculture | Entertainment | This Is Entertainment

The fun and games of 2012 is behind us, so it’s time to stop doing Gangnam Style, put down your ‘New’ iPad and think about all the exciting things which will clamour for both your attention and your wallet this year. Here are 13 things we are really looking forward to:

  1. Ingress (Available Now)

Screenshot_2013-01-03-07-50-32It might seem strange to start with something which you probably haven’t heard of, but its mysterious nature is what makes it interesting. Currently search giant Google is beta testing an augmented reality app, which calls for users to investigate the world around them using their phone as a scanner.

Using the software from the Google glasses demo released last year, the team have come up with a narrative based around CERN’s Higgs Boson experiment. To request an invite for the beta go to the Ingress website (but expect to wait a few weeks). Expect more on the site in the coming months as we delve deeper into the mystery.

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  1. DmC: Devil May Cry (11 January)

dmcWhile the obvious candidate for the crown of ‘anticipated game of the year’ is Grand Theft Auto V, we decided to avoid tackling Rockstar’s media-teasing monstrosity and talk about some of the smaller hitters, beginning with DmC, a reboot of Devil May Cry.

Danté is back, now with a harcore-fan-outraging new look, and a more user-friendly play and combat style. Developers Ninja Theory haven’t held back in taking the series’ ingredients and throwing them in a blender to make a more dynamic and edgy game, not that it’s tricky to make a demon hunter who is half angel and half devil look edgy. What we’ve seen so far looks impressive, though the team have an uphill struggle to convincingly gain ground in the third person slash-’em-up arena.

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  1. The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law (21 January)

Wolf's LawAfter a stunning debut album from the Welsh three-piece, they are due to strike back this year with their second album. The band perform amazingly well live, and their songs have that element of originality mixed with a few familiar pop tricks which make them compulsive listening.

Lead vocalist Ritzy’s voice is immediately striking and the synergy in the group is second to none. First single ‘The Ladder is Ours’ picks up where the first album left off and drives the band’s music forward. Expect some well received live performances on the back of this CD later in the year.

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  1. Bad Religion – True North (22 January)

True NorthHardcore punk rockers Bad Religion continue to churn out albums at an alarmingly consistent rate and this latest effort is looking to be no exception. First single, ‘Fuck You’, has all the uncompromising energy and attitude you could expect from a punk band who have been making music for over 30 years.

Title track ‘True North’ reveals more, and gives a sense of the overall tone of the album itself, somewhere between the blisteringly quick songs of early days with albums like Incomplete and the philosophy of The Process of Belief.

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  1. Windows Surface Pro (28 January TBC)

Windows Surface ProWe’ve already waxed lyrical about Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8, and what more could you want? Windows 8 in a handy portable package of course. The RT version of the Windows Surface tablet has been out for a few months and has sold “modestly”, but many IT enthusiasts are holding off for the full ‘Pro’ version, which runs standard windows programs as well as Windows‘ own tailor-made apps.

With boosted specs and plenty of positive reviews of the RT version already circulating, this could be the technology purchase of the year (well it’s less likely to be replaced in a few months like a new iPad might in any case).

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  1. New(ish) gaming IPs: Remember Me (May 2013) and South Park: The Stick of Truth (March 2013)

Remember MeDespite the Xbox 360 nearing the end of its life (see point 11), there are still new IPs coming to the console which look promising. South Park: The Stick of Truth, though not entirely new since it is based on the South Park cartoon series, is the first which cartoon creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been directly involved with throughout (reportedly because they were sick and tired of bad South Park games). The game riffs on the classic staples of turn-based RPGs and is sure to have plenty of the sort of laughs and cultural references the TV show is known for.

Remember Me is Capcom’s take on manipulating reality by changing people’s memory in the near future. The game features a protagonist called Nilin, a ‘memory hunter’ who has lost her own memory and is on a quest to get back what she’s lost, while forcing people to kill themselves through memory manipulation along the way. The game is being handled by newcomers Dontnod Entertainment, but reception to the game so far has been promising, so hopefully this won’t be a case of all shine and no substance like fellow near-future jaunt Syndicate was last year.

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  1. Star Trek into Darkness (17 May)

Star Trek into DarknessZachary Quinto and Chris Pine reprise their roles as Spock and Kirk as we go Star Trekking once again, this time with the help of Sherlock Holmes, well, Benedict Cumberbatch. Star Fleet is under direct attack this time around, and Cumberbatch, who plays an unknown character who may or may not be linked to classic Trek film The Wrath of Khan‘s Khan.

The first teaser trailer shows all the destruction and drama you have come to expect from J.J. Abrams’ reboot, and with the acting talent in the mix it would be difficult to not make this the cinematic spectacle of the year. At least unless a bunch of superheroes turn up…oh…

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  1. Man Of Steel (14 June)

Man Of SteelZack Snyder directs the latest in a long line of Superman films, but this time, for the first time ever, Superman himself is British. Jersey-born Henry Cavill, who you may have seen in The Tudors TV series or 2007’s Stardust, dons the red boots in a familiar tale, retold.

Not much to get excited about you might think? But with Christopher Nolan on Producer duty, the studio must be keen for some of his success with The Dark Knight Trilogy to rub off on Man Of Steel.

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  1. Comic book films return (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (4 Oct USA), Kick-Ass 2 (19 July), Thor: The Dark World (Nov 8), Iron Man 3 (26 April), The Wolverine (26 July))

Christopher Mintz-Plasse in Kick-Ass 2Superman isn’t the only superhero doing the rounds this year of course, there are a bunch of sequels on the way to astound and delight us all. Of these the most exciting is Kick-Ass 2, which sees Kick-Ass, Hit Girl and Red Mist all return, with original actors Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Morentz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, for another round of crude and comic caped action.

This time Red Mist is seeking revenge, as teased at the close of the first film and Jim Carrey also makes an appearance as Colonel Stars and Stripes. With so many dark and ‘mature’ style superhero flicks flying around it’s good to have something like this as an antidote.

(No Kick-Ass 2 trailer just yet I’m afraid, but Iron Man is shaping up nicely too).

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  1. Reading Festival 2013 (23-25 August)

Reading Festival 2012With organisers Festival Republic kicking off the hype train early this year, we already know that Eminem will be one of this year’s Reading Festival headliners. Also in the mix are Alt-J, Deftones and Sub Focus.

The event always pulls in some of the greatest acts in the world for the year and the atmosphere is difficult to beat for a full weekend festival. Plus following the re-jig and re-brand last year things will be running even more smoothly, leaving more time for drinking and moshing than ever before.

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  1. The next Xbox (Q4 TBC)

The next Xbox?The Xbox 360 has now been on shop shelves for seven years, with hardware older than that, and in some places it’s beginning to creak at the seams. The lack of big game release dates after May this year leans heavily towards a hardware reveal at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, after a decidedly by-the-numbers affair last year.

The gaming community are beginning to cry out and despite manufacturer Microsoft’s claims in 2010 that the console was only half way through it’s life cycle, the clock is ticking. The time makes sense for the company too, since they won’t want to risk falling behind rival Sony‘s next release, which is still unannounced.

At present no concrete news has come out about the next Xbox console, despite rumours being rife, but whatever happens it is likely to slot effortlessly into its parent company’s efforts with Windows 8. The question is, will they strike while the iron is hot?

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  1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (13 December)

The Desolation of SmaugAfter the success which Peter Jackson had with the first instalment of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, we have our fingers firmly crossed he can keep up the momentum for a further two films. The subtitle for this year’s film, The Desolation of Smaug, would suggest this is the chapter in which Smaug is vanquished, but what does that leave for film three?

The multi Oscar-winning director is doing it for the love at this point, so it’s hard to see him making a misstep at this stage, but the real draw for this next film is the returning cast, all of whom shone in part one. How can you say no to more Gandalf?

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  1. The digital entertainment tipping point (TBC?)

The final point in our list is more speculation (speculation you say? On a blog? Outrageous!) around the subject of digital distribution. It might not be something to look forward to if you are keen on polishing the boxes on your CD shelf, but the digital revolution is happening right now. In music in particular the market is struggling to cope, as consumers begin to buy songs online through the likes of iTunes more and more.

The BBC recently reported that in 2012 CD sales fell by 11.2% overall, with sales of physical copies down 20% to 69.4million, compared to a rise or 14.8% for digital, bringing its total up to 30.5million. Surely the day we see digital in the majority isn’t far away?

In gaming and films too things are changing, as more people stream or watch films online, sometimes through games consoles, and various on demand services such as Netflix providing access to thousands of films without the bother of popping down to Blockbuster. Games on demand on Xbox remains uncompetitively priced, but avenues such as Valve’s Steam platform are proving more popular than ever before.

The interconnected nature of technology is making viewing entertainment easier every year and this year could be the time when we start to see the digital future really come into its own.

A Digital FutureJames Michael Parry

Muse – The 2nd Law Review | Music | This Is Entertainment

Muse's new albumVariety can divide people. For almost 20 years Muse have been steadily growing in popularity, culminating this summer by being asked to contribute the official song for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, not to mention selling out the London O2 Arena.

In what could well be the height of their career, you might expect the band to play it safe and give chart-lovers what they want to continue their ascent into legendary status. The 2nd Law however, is not afraid to buck the trend and give fans something different to what they’ve heard before.

From the outset the album is unmistakeably Muse, with the signature crunchy guitar and operatic vocals introducing opener ‘Supremacy’. All the things fans have come to know and love about the band are present and correct, including the slightly hypnotic vocal style of leading man Matt Bellamy, in a tune which wouldn’t sound out of place as a theme song for a new James Bond film.

Almost immediately though, the band shake things up with second single ‘Madness’ a track stripped bare and back-to-basics, it could just as easily have been an acoustic number. ‘Panic Station’ takes a completely different tack altogether, sounding like a lost gem from the early years of Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Throughout the album the band continue to change things up with every track, making an eclectic mix which just barely hangs together as one album. In interviews the boys have said they wanted to write songs for this album which couldn’t have appeared on any other Muse album – and they have undoubtedly succeeded.

The influences shown with previous effort The Resistance have moved on again this time around. There are clear elements of Queen in ‘Madness’ and ‘Survival’, but that couldn’t be further from the likes of album tease ‘Unsustainable’, which has a glimmer of dubstep akin to the likes of Skrillex.

Carrying the torchIn many ways the Muse DNA shown in their previous album has been pushed to its limits here, reflected in the contrast between the geometric technicolour of its cover art, to that of The 2nd Law, which is a mass of sprawling strands of colour, almost fighting to escape.

If it’s ‘normal’ Muse songs you are looking for, then there is still something here for you to enjoy. ‘Big Freeze’, ‘Animals’ and ‘Follow Me’ all stick closest to the ‘traditional’ formula, but still each offer something new.

The band’s knack for a deceptive slow number continues with ‘Explorers’, which seems to be the spiritual successor to tracks such as ‘Invincible’, ‘Guiding Light’ and even ‘Sing for Absolution’.

The real unexpected pleasure on the disc is the much-discussed debut of songs penned by bassist Chris Wolstenholme: ‘Save Me’ and ‘Liquid State’. As well as writing, Chris also takes lead vocal duty, and the songs really give a completely different vibe to not only the rest of the album, but the entirety of Muse’s back catalogue.

Luckily both tracks are a triumph. Chris’ voice is similar to Francis Healy from soft pop-rock outfit Travis, and the effect of combining it with Muse’s style is excellent. ‘Save Me’ is a calmly flowing plea for help, while ‘Liquid State’ is more familiar waters musically, but has a refreshing tone to it. The most enjoyable part of the songs is that Matt remains almost completely silent and lets Chris steal the show, no easy task for a musician with such distinctive talent – though since he still remains timid at live shows he may well have enjoyed sinking into the background.

This album is not out to prove anything to anyone but the band itself. It takes a while to get used to and doesn’t necessarily give the first impression you might expect, but it rewards perseverance in a way no other album in Muse’s back catalogue does.

Rating: 5/5

James Michael Parry

Image courtesy: brookegoesharvey.tumblr.com

Music | Live Review – Young Guns @ Bucks New University, High Wycombe, 02-02-12 | This Is Entertainment

Courtesy Alicia J BeddenWhen a band comes home for an intimate show where it all began, you can’t help but expect something special. The energy of the crowd was filled to the brim as Young Guns took to the stage, and it didn’t drop in the hour-and-a-quarter long set.

A momentary bit of day-confusion aside (hey, it’s rock ‘n’ roll), the band were confident and met the crowd’s enthusiasm head-on, with leading man Gustav Wood ending up among them for most songs.

The set opened with the anthemic ‘Bones’, which quickly had the crowd singing along, though unfortunately the acoustics of the venue meant that much of the guitar precision was lost to the muddy bass and rhythm sections, but fans were too caught up in the excitement to care.

Vocally the band stayed mostly quiet, aside from effective yet unimpressive gang vocals, and let Wood handle crowd interaction. He explained that the band had got up to some pretty big shows on their last tour, and so they had wanted to come back and play a more ‘intimate’ venue. He also threw down the gauntlet early on, saying: “It’s the first night so we’re allowed to fuck up, but you guys have got to get this tour going.”

The band produced a typical selection of tunes, many from new album Bones, but balanced them with more well-known tunes like ‘Weight of the World’ and ‘Winter Kiss’. The latter triggered a particularly noticeable reaction, with a pit opening up on the floor despite the size of the venue.

In all the band put on a good show. The energy and swagger of Wood, who effectively channelled Lostprophet’s Ian Watkins in both stage presence and vocal style – no bad thing –, was balanced by a driving rhythm section and filled-out with the guitars to create a typically British slice of rock.

While the crowd might have already been on their side before they stepped up to the mics, they’d certainly won over a whole lot more by the end of the night.

Rating: 3/5

James Michael Parry

Music | Album Review: Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood Of Colour | This Is Entertainment

Originality is a hard thing to come by in music. Endless samplings, covers and re-releases plague the charts on a regular basis, which makes the likes of Enter Shikari all the more refreshing. With this third release, A Flash Flood of Colour, the band have really found their niche, a perfect mix of melodic and hardcore synth rock, filled with energy and, most importantly for this album, defiance.

The band have always poked fun a The System. You only need to look at the lyrics of their breakthrough release ‘Sorry, You’re Not a Winner’, with lyrics like “Scratch card glory, waist low pleasure?” and “What have you got to lose but false intentions and a life so pretentious?”, to see the band wants to say what’s on people’s minds.

This album goes a stage further, preaching the destruction of society in no subtle terms. Luckily not to the extent that it makes the music bloated or self-indulgent. From opener ‘System…’ there is a massive scale to the album which grows with each track, dancing from rave to heavy rock (often within the same song) – this isn’t the sort of album you can sing along to, but that’s no bad thing.

The slightly more radio-friendly tunes, such as ‘Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here’ and ‘…Meltdown’ really bring the extremes of the band together best, and even the rage-fest ‘Gandhi Mate, Gandhi’ somehow manages to get its point across.

The album is bristling with musical talent, to bring keyboards and heavily distorted guitars together seamlessly is a skill, and while there are moments which might be too shouty for some, there are no tracks which really stumble.

Some of the songs, particularly the hypnotic ‘…Meltdown’ demand a live airing to get the full effect, but the energy captured on disc is impressive, pulling the listener from track to track relentlessly – even through the quieter moments.

In all a fantastic slice of musical prowess, delivering everything we’ve come to expect from the band and a few extra twists and turns thrown in for good measure.

The reflective closer ‘Constellation’ offers a final coda that sums up the album’s energetic journey. It paints a picture of two trains, one bound for destruction and one for sustainability, but after this formidable release it’s safe to say Enter Shikari have their seats reserved on the latter.

Rating: 4/5

James Michael Parry

Believing the hype – Part 2: Most anticipated albums of 2012 | This Is Entertainment

In part two of our excitement-building series of articles, we turn to the ever-varied world of music. Prepare yourselves as This Is Entertainment brings you five CDs from five fantastic artists, which you really should be physically unable to wait to buy (/illegally download*).

ImageFeeder – Generation Freakshow (26 March)

The kings of British mainstream rock, this release marks the trio’s eighth studio album. To have been going strong, admittedly with varying levels of chart exposure, since 1991 is no mean feat for a band in this day and age. The fact that the band have name-checked classic release Yesterday Went Too Soon as an influence is a very good sign, placing the album somewhere between the energetic rock of the album and the more radio-friendly Comfort in Sound. The fanbase will stick with them no matter how it turns out, but since the group had a back-to-basics release with 2010’s Renegades, it’s likely this album will give a single or two which will make its way to the airwaves, which is where Feeder truly shine. As always with the band this won’t just be ‘more of the same’, and lead single ‘Borders’ gives us some idea of where the style is pitched as well.

ImageMuse – The 2nd Law (September/October)

After a stellar performance as 2011’s Reading and Leeds festivals – quite literally with a complete run-through of their rock opera crown jewel Origin of Symmetry – Muse show no signs of slowing down. Countless Best Live Act awards have been thrown their way over the years, despite frontman Matt Bellamy’s notorious shyness on stage, as well as wins for their recorded material even as recently as last album The Resistance. Of course, this is with good reason, the last album saw a departure from the rocky side to embrace the piano, will Matt throw out some more killer riffs which rival the likes of ‘Knights of Cydonia’ and ‘Citizen Erased’ with this latest release? If bassist Chris Wolstenholme is to be believed, the new album will be “radically different” from previous releases. Whatever form it takes, it will be sure to be something magical and certainly an experience not to be missed.

Matchbox Twenty (TBC)

A band which refuses to take the UK charts by storm despite acousto-rock perfection, Matchbox Twenty have been treading water for a while now, with their last full album, More than you think you are, first on sale back in 2004. Since then the band have released a greatest hits complete with new tracks, and lead singer Rob Thomas has released two solo albums. With Thomas clearly the driving force in the group, having written all the songs up to the new tunes on their greatest hits compilation, it’s fair to take his latest solo release, cradlesong, as an example of where the groups sound might progress to. So far the news is that recording has been done, even the tracklist has been tweeted by the band, but there is still no solid release date. Thomas has been keen to stress a mantra of “getting it right”, since he feels the band are now beginning to get on in years – “Realistically, how many more times do we get? So we’re going to really make this record the one we want it to be.” With Thomas’ singwriting still on board it’s hard to see how this could go wrong. The band’s first collaborative single – ‘How far we’ve come’ – was the most upbeat and catchy song of their career, which can only bode well for more tunes put together as a unit.

Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood Of Colour (16 January)

Just days to go before another injection of British hardcore. The band have been releasing one-off tracks for a couple of years since second, and far superior, album Common Dreads. This up trend is relentless, with the band’s subsequent releases ‘Destabilize’ and ‘Quelle Surprise’ filled with passion and plenty of noise. The teaser posted on the band’s YouTube channel hints at an album filled with a mixture of melodic hardcore and heavy screamo, with plenty of keyboards and killer riffs thrown in for good measure. Undoubtedly the most original band to come out of the UK for a while, this group is something to be proud of. The blend of catchiness with stop-start electronica sections carries through from their first hit ‘Sorry, you’re not a winner’, and while occasionally a bit much all in one go, the band command attention on the stage. All signs point to this power extending to their latest CD as well.

Lostprophets – Weapons (2 April)

A band which undeniably Welsh from the second you see them take to the stage, it’s remarkable how they manage to mask even their British-ness in their recorded releases. After a severely delayed fourth album, Betrayed, the band are looking to claw back platinum sales with this release, last achieved with second album Start Something. The first single from the album, ‘Better of Dead’, is a more rap-influenced tune than fans might be used to, achieving a sound closer to Linkin Park at their height, but still full with plenty of rock might. With their last effort proving a tad inconsistent, this album should hopefully land right on the mark with all the tracks delivering what fans have come to expect – rock with attitude.

The inevitable comeback album:
The Offspring (TBC) – After a fantastically received performance at Reading and Leeds, The Offspring deserve to reclaim the punk rock crown. The band are often imitated and have diminished over the years to join Green Day in American punk’s has-beens. With chief song writers Dexter Holland and Noodles still in the line-up, there’s no excuse for them coming up with something irresistible. Since they went into the studio again last September to finish up a brand new CD, 2012 could well be their year. It’s been four years now since their last album, and they are far from the heights of Conspiracy of one, but the time is right for them to remind us what they can do.

*Illegal downloads are bad, don’t try this at home kids

James Michael Parry