Album Review: Liam Gallagher – As You Were

23 years on from the release of Definitely Maybe, Liam Gallagher is still seen as a legend in the rock world. He revolutionised the genre in music, and while not quite achieving as much success in Beady Eye, his post-Oasis supergroup, he still amassed a strong and loyal fanbase. Now, in 2017, he is making his first foray into being a solo artist, and I’m excited about it to say the least.

The first few singles did a lot to raise this excitement as well; ‘Wall Of Glass’ is a massive callback to the incredible sound that Oasis created in Definitely Maybe, one of the best debuts of all time. On the other hand, ‘For What It’s Worth’ shows a lot of maturity and growth, taking that signature sound and pushing it further with a soaring chorus and orchestral instrumentation.

And this record is as good as those singles suggest. Gallagher has taken the sound he has created as part of Oasis and Beady Eye, and then pushed it even further, adding a slower, more mature edge to it. At times it’s simpler, using mainly just an acoustic guitar, and occasionally it’s much more complex, using orchestral sounds and horn sections, but either way, it works. For example, ‘You Better Run’ is a catchy, danceable track with a great rhythm, whereas ‘Paper Crown’ is slower, more sombre and reflective. ‘Greedy Soul’ has a huge, Oasis-esque sound, and is one of the highlights of the record. A slower cut is ‘Chinatown’, but it doesn’t suffer for it, and the fingerpicked guitar sounds great.

Some people might think there’s no place for a rock star like Liam Gallagher in 2017, but they’re wrong. If anything, we need him even more, to inject a bit of old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll energy into everyone’s lives. In fact, this album has everything you’d expect and more; pushing towards a newer, more mature sound. This could just be one of the best debuts of the year.

Best songs: Wall Of Glass, For What It’s Worth, Paper Crown

Score: 7/10

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Album Review: ROAM – Great Heights & Nosedives

I loved ROAM’s last album. It showed a very talented new band making their first steps into the music world. It was a little rough around the edges. but what else can you expect from a new band? I feel like rather than taking away from the record, it made it even more charming. And the band definitely know how to write hooks, and big ones at that. But from a great debut like that, where do you go? Do you give the fans more of what they want and expect, or do you try and refine your sound and writing skills. This album is definitely more of the latter, and here’s why.

It’s evident that the band have improved massively from the beginning of the first song, ‘Alive’. The production has improved massively, with everything sounding crisper and clearer than anything the band have ever released before. Their writing is also much improved, proven by the fantastic ‘The Rich Life Of A Poor Man’, which contains probably the best chorus the band have ever written.

Other great songs include ‘Playing Fiction’ and the slightly slower ‘Curtain Call’, which is absolutely anthemic. There are some missteps however, as ‘Guilty Melody’ doesn’t sound quite right, while ‘Left For Dead’ is a little too generic for me. These do little to deter listeners though, as the rest of the songs are not only just catchy, but great quality too.

This is an album of two halves really, and while the first half is fairly middle-of-the-road other than a few songs, the second half really shows how far the band have come. The hooks are better, the vocals are refined but powerful, and everything sounds much clearer. Best of all though, everything just sounds bigger. Where the first album was a rough collection of okay songs with great hooks, this feel so much more like an album from an accomplished band, who really know what they’re really doing. If you’re looking for an album to warm you up as winter approaches, this is it.

Best songs: The Rich Life Of A Poor Man, Curtain Call, Scatterbrained

Score: 7/10

Album Review: Coldfront – Float Around

Coldfront are an up-and-coming pop-punk band from Ontario, Canada. Musically, they make energetic, but melodic pop-punk with a bit of a rougher edge than a lot of the band in the scene. At this point, alarm bells will be ringing in your ears if you know about my opinions on the state of modern pop-punk. But read on, because I have a bit of a different opinion on this one…

The first thing I noticed about this band was that their sound was a little more rough around the edges than your average pop-punk band. The vocals are very rough but also melodic, treading the line between intensity and melody perfectly. This is shown really well in the first song, ‘So Typical’, which has a really catchy chorus, but rough vocals that even break into a scream at one point.

Speaking of catchiness, this album has it in abundance. ‘Everything You Want Me To Be’ is one of the pop-punk songs of the year, whereas ‘It’s Hit Me’ is a two-minute bomb of energy. The album does blur a bit in the middle sections with songs like the title track and ‘Blame Me’ not quite hitting the mark, but that can easily be forgiven with the quality of the surrounding songs.

For a debut album, the sound and quality that Coldfront have created is really impressive. Over all, this is a great debut, and if you’re a pop-punk fan, you should check this out.

Best songs: So Typical, Everything You Want Me To Be, It’s Hit Me

Score: 6/10

Album Review: Citizen – As You Please

Citizen have made a release every couple of years for a while now. Their debut EP, Young States was released in 2011, followed by first album Youth in 2013 and Everybody Is Going To Heaven in 2015. True to form, this next album has come another two years later, marking not only the band’s ambition, but also their work ethic. Each album has marked a change in the bands style, slowly growing away from their hardcore roots and more into a newer, melodic sound. You wouldn’t usually expect that change to come easily to any band, but for Citizen, it has gone pretty smoothly so far, with each record improving on the last.

But as with every review, it is the here and now that’s important, and this, Citizen’s third full-length LP is impressive to say the least. It showcases some of their softest work, with a lot of heavier influences too. When you feel like the record is at its’ quietest, the silence will be punctured by thundering guitars and intense vocals, showing the band looking not only ahead, but favourably on their past. For example, ‘Discrete Routine’ starts off as one of the quietest songs of the record before slowly building up into an intense finale. And the great songs doesn’t stop there either, with opener Jet being a perfect example of what the band set out to do, with a perfect mixture of soft and harsh, and a great chorus. ‘In The Middle Of It All’ is also dark but beautiful, with an ending that made me check if my earphones were working. They were, it was just an effect of the song, and while I was thrown off originally, I think it works well.

The albums themes and lyrics paint an incredibly dark picture, but not in the way you’d expect. The album is disconcerting and moody, and the music helps to carry this sound along. In this way, the band don’t have to spell out how they’re trying to make you feel in each song, because the music is already taking you there. And when the music alone is conveying the mood, it means the album works! Of course by this point, that is abundantly clear. Citizen have gone even further with this album, and it has come off fantastically.

Best songs: Jet, The Middle Of It All, Fever Days

Score: 8/10

Album Review: Propagandhi – Victory Lap

Propagandhi have been around for a while. Their last album, Failed States came out 5 years ago, to great acclaim. That was a while ago, but with the state the world is in at the moment, we really need some great political albums to come out this year. Albums like Rise Against’s Wolves fit the bill, but we’ll take as many political rock groups making a stand as we can get. The lead single and title track was great, combining punk music with metal riffs, but is the rest of the album any good?

Propagandhi have a legacy in punk music that is untouched by many, and they could easily just live off that, releasing sub-standard albums that feed off the same topics that they’ve always been raging against, but this isn’t what this band is about. In fact, most of the songs on this album are quality. An example of this is the wonderful ‘Lower Order (A Good Laugh)’, which combines chugging riffs with atmospheric clean guitar sections. ‘Letters To A Young Anus’ is furiously fast paced and everything you’d expect from this band. One of the best songs on the record is ‘Adventures In Zoochosis’, which is a rollercoaster of a song, mixing the very loud with the very quiet. Oddly enough though, none of these songs fully sum up the record, because it has so much variety.

The variety isn’t offputting though, because the record is still very coherent. And that is key to making a good album; a coherent sound, but not enough to make it boring. If you like political music, I urge you to listen to this. We needed a good political album this year, and Propagandhi pulled through yet again.

Best songs: Adventures In Zoochosis, Victory Lap, Letters To A Young Anus

Score: 7/10

Album Review: Wolf Alice – Visions Of A Life

This is an album I feel like a lot of people have been waiting for. Their fist album was a sprawling but beautiful mess of melody, with a bit of punk energy mixed in. NME even called it ‘the best debut album of the 21st century’. Oddly enough though, the first single from this album, ‘Yuk Foo’ was met with mixed reception. It was an angry, rough, punk song, with enough aggression to fill an entire album. It was the first Wolf Alice song I ever heard, and I hated it at first. In fact, it put me off the band altogether. It was only after encouragement from my friends that I listened to the first album. And to my surprise, I loved it. Not only that, but I actually begun to like ‘Yuk Foo’ after I listened to it again. I feel like that was a lesson for me, teaching me not to judge a band on one song.

Wolf Alice’s first album was special. This album feels even more so. It’s a little heavier, and darker than their first album, and while that may disappoint a fan or two, I think it sounds great! This album shows the band maturing, and taking new steps, and stretching the boundaries of their already well-established sound. If you like the heavier parts of their music, ‘Yuk Foo’ is a two-minute blast of punk aggression. Less heavy, but just as dark is ‘Planet Hunter’, showing a brutally honest side of the bands’ writing. Just as honest is ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’, possibly the best song on the record. The album saves one of its’ best tracks for last though, with the title track. It is a rollercoaster of a range of styles fusing together perfectly to end the album.

I thought the first Wolf Alice album was a masterpiece, but this is something else. The band have pushed themselves on this, sounding like something new and something familiar at the same time. Their sound was raw and beautiful on the first album, but this is even more so, making this one of the must-listen albums of the year.

Best songs: Don’t Delete The Kisses, Visions Of A Life

Score: 9/10

Album Review: Makeout – The Good Life

Makeout are a band that seem poised to make it big in the rock world. Blink-182 have praised them as the future of pop-punk, and their new album has been produced by John Feldmann, essentially a ticket to fame in the rock world. Having said that, I’m less than impressed by their new album. Here’s why…

The album is catchy, that’s for sure. The melodies are great, and have a way of getting into your head. But unfortunately, that’s a necessity in the pop-punk world. Beyond that, there’s really not much substance to the album. A great example of this is the first song, ‘Childish’. Is the melody catchy? Yes. Is there energy? Tonnes of it. Is there anything more than that? Definitely not.

The album goes on in a similar way; high on production, melody and energy, low on anything else. But there is a bigger problem with this album, and that is the fact that the whole album seems so childish. For example, the asides in ‘Lisa’ don’t make me like this band anymore. In fact, they make me dislike the lead singer. He comes across as childish, arrogant and a bit nasty. Furthermore, ‘Secrets’ sounds incredibly immature, and ‘You Can’t Blame Me’ just completely rips off a Blink-182 riff.

If you’re looking for a new, revolutionary rock band, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you can stomach the lyrics, then maybe you’ll at least enjoy the musicality of this record. If not, avoid it at all costs.

Score: 4/10