Album Review: For Crying Out Loud – Kasabian

Ever since their debut album in 2004, Kasabian have been specialists in creating massive rock anthems, with songs such as ‘Club Foot’, ‘Shoot The Runner’, and ‘Fast Fuse’, not to mention the incredible ‘Fire’. And after critical and commercial success with last album 48:13, they will hope to carry on that success with new album For Crying Out Loud.

The album starts in typical fashion as well, as opening track ‘Ill Ray (The King)’ is full of confidence and swagger. It immediately feels like it’ll be a live favourite, and as it’s playing, I can just imagine stadiums bouncing along to it. It is immediately followed by slightly slower, but no less infectious ‘You’re In Love With a Psycho’. The album already feels great, and that is compounded by track 5, ‘Wasted’. The song takes a poppier route than the other songs so far, but it works, creating a catchy, memorable track. But then, shockingly, the entire album takes a turn for the worse. The songs that follow aren’t bad, but not great either. I certainly can’t remember anything from any of them. This downward slide continues with ‘Are You Looking For Action’, an 8-minute-long slog through a repetitive drum beat, terrible synth effects and a frankly unnecessary saxophone solo. This is easily the worst song on the album. The next few songs do improve on it, but still don’t reach the heights of the first few songs. The album is rounded up by ‘Put Your Life On It’, a nice enough singalong track, but still nothing to write home about.

With this album, Kasabian are most likely to divide people. If you’re a fan, then there’s definitely content on this album to enjoy, but it still doesn’t compete with the rest of their catalogue. It’s not a bad album, not by any means, but the problem is that it isn’t all that good either. There just aren’t enough memorable moments for it to reach the heights of previous albums.

Best Song: Wasted

Score: 4/10

My Top 10 Artists

As my first opinionated piece, I think I’d take the time to introduce my music tastes, as they are the main things that will be on show throughout my time writing this blog. I’ve definitely mentioned that I’m mainly into rock music, but let’s take this opportunity to look deeper into that, and see what my favourite bands within the scene are.

Honourable Mentions:

First off we have some bands that just didn’t make the cut. I love all of these bands very much, but for some reason or another, they didn’t quite make it into my top 10. That isn’t to say they’re not very good, but there are a lot of good bands out there. They are:

  • AFI
  • All Time Low
  • Avenged Sevenfold
  • Blink-182
  • A Day To Remember
  • Fall Out Boy
  • Halestorm
  • The Killers
  • Neck Deep
  • Panic! At The Disco

Now into the actual countdown:

10. My Chemical Romance

What sort of 90’s kid would I be if I didn’t mention these at some point?! I did discover these later than most; just after they broke up, to be exact, but their music captivated me from the first listen. Whether it was the raw punk of their debut, to the melodic pop-rock of their final album, Gerard and Co. found a way to pull it off, and I truly believe that every album they have produced is a masterpiece – even 2010’s criminally underrated Danger Days.

9. Sum 41

Some people might consider this a guilty pleasure, but there’s nothing guilty about it in my mind. Sum 41 have been creating top-quality pop-punk for a long time now, and even though their new album wasn’t quite as good as it could have been, the quality of their music still stands up today.

8. Green Day

Now who doesn’t love a good bit of Green Day? The grandfathers of modern punk have been around for a good 30 years now, and 12 albums down the line, they’re still as good as ever. Not only this but their political activism is still causing a stir in America today. My opinion of a good political band is one that refuses to sit back and do nothing, and Green Day are exactly that.

7. Royal Republic

Royal Republic are a small band from Malmö, Sweden, that specialise in making energetic, fast-paced rock. I had never heard of them when a friend recommended them to me, but I was hooked from the first listen and have never looked back. Their addictive brand of rock is honestly one of the most catchy things I’ve heard in my life.

6. Muse

If I was writing this post a few years ago, Muse would have topped this list by a long way, and it is only due to my tastes changing a little that they miss out. Not to say that I dislike them now; quite the opposite. Matt Bellamy’s mastery of his voice is impressive on its own, not to mention his ability on the guitar and piano. And that is before you take into account what wonderful musicians Dom Howard and Chris Wolstenholme are. Muse are an incredible band who make great music, and are fully deserving of this place in the list.

5. Enter Shikari

So what can I say about Enter Shikari apart from the fact that they’re the most innovative, creative band on this list. For the past few years they have been pushing the boundaries of rock music, and redefining the genre. They truly are an incredible, inspiring band.

4. As It Is

As It Is will always hold a special place in my heart, because even before they were releasing their own captivating brand of pop-punk, I was watching lead singer Patty Walters flourish on YouTube, where he was creating his own great cover songs. I remember thinking at some point that he had more than enough talent to make it in the music industry, and turns out I was right. As It Is bring energy, melody and catchiness to the pop-punk scene, and I think they’re truly one of the better bands in the rock world.

3. Twenty One Pilots

And so the first (and only) non-rock band pop up in this list. Twenty One Pilots break the boundaries of genre, creating their own music regardless of anyone’s expectations, and I have huge respect for them for that. Not to mention that the music they do make is catchy, inventive, and packed full of meaning. Twenty One Pilots have captured a generation of music fans, and rightly so.

2. Red Hot Chili Peppers

The oldest band on this list, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been making music for a good 34 years now, and have somehow managed to keep the quality up all the way along. The band have gone through countless line-up and style changes, but throughout all of this, they have still retained the soul that their music has always had. They are well deserving of this number two spot as one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

1. Rise Against

What can I say about Rise Against? They are one of the most outspokenly political bands I have ever listened to, and they have found a way to mix that with angry but catchy punk rock. Each new song is a masterpiece in its own right, and a kick in the teeth to whatever injustice they are fighting this time. They are not only deserving of number one in this list, but to be remembered as one of the great punk bands of this generation.

Album Review: Makes Me Sick – New Found Glory

After 20 years of making music, New Found Glory are definitely one of the most well known names in the pop-punk scene. Their energetic style has influenced a whole new generation of pop-punk that has come after, including bands such as A Day To Remember, All Time Low, and more recently, Neck Deep. But eight albums and two EPs on from their inception in 1997, does their old-fashioned style of pop-punk still hold sway among the plethora of great new bands in the scene? Well I’m here to answer that question.

The band starts just as energetically as ever on opening track ‘Your Jokes Aren’t Funny’, with a massive chorus that will no doubt be echoing throughout venues all around the UK soon enough. But there is something new here. During the verses, a synthesiser is cleverly used to create a much richer sound. This is a welcome addition, and it is nice to know that twenty years into their career, they are still freshening their music up with new changes. However the next song, ‘Party on Apocalypse’ harks back to their old days, with a big chunky riff leading up to another huge melodic chorus, which could easily have fit on one of their earlier albums. ‘Happy Being Miserable’ is a personal favourite of the album, blending the new sound, synths and all, with a bit of classic pop-punk. Seriously, if you haven’t listened to this song, do it – you won’t regret it, although it will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Another incredibly catchy song is ‘Barbed Wire’, complete with yet another soaring chorus set to ignite crowds across the nation. This seems to be a speciality of the album. Finally, closing out the album is ‘The Cheapest Thrill’, a close second to my favourite song on the album, and a bit more of a complex composition, without losing any of the catchiness or charm of the rest of the album.

Overall, Makes Me Sick is a brilliant effort from one of the older bands on the rock circuit, and it baffles me how a band going on for so long can keep churning out such quality content. Not that I’m complaining though, I’ll readily welcome this new addition to the already huge arsenal of quality music New Found Glory have built up over the years. And to their credit, they continue to change their sound, bringing in slightly more complex sounds and even the odd synth or too to enrich their music. This album is very solid, and should definitely be remembered as one of New Found Glory’s better albums.

Best Song: Happy Being Miserable

Score: 7/10

Album Review: Okay – As It Is

So as my first post, I thought it would be fitting to review my favourite album of the year so far. As It Is are a British pop-punk band very close to my heart, and stunned me with their debut album Never Happy, Ever After in early 2015. This filled me with great anticipation for their sophomore album, but also a sense of worry that they couldn’t pull of what they did with their previous effort. I am glad to announce that, at least in my opinion, this is even better, and shows just how far they’ve come as a band since their first EP back in 2012.

The album bursts into life as soon as it starts. Bright, melodic opener ‘Pretty Little Distance’, sets the tone for what the album will be throughout; an energetic rollercoaster ride complete with catchy hooks, clean vocals and the occasional glimpse at something darker. First single ‘Okay’ continues that trend in a similar fashion, but without sounding so similar it became boring. And next up is ‘Hey Rachel’ – in my opinion one of the strongest songs on the album- an emotional but upbeat ode to lead singer Patty Walters’ sister. But where the album truly shines is in tracks six and seven. Track six is ‘No Way Out’, recently described in an interview as ‘the heaviest song we’ve ever written’. It certainly seems that way too as there is a darker, gritty edge underneath the normal pop-punk formula we’re all used to, but it is the bridge of this song that is a highlight of the album. Walters throws himself into a shockingly open monologue, revealing his own struggles of the past few years and making this song the most personal they have created at least on this album, if not in their whole careers. Then track seven starts, with some slowly strummed clean chords, tricking the listener into thinking that the album would return back to the formula of the first few songs. This is not to be though, as the band rush into ‘Soap’, a track that brings out the more bitter side of Walters voice as he duels with backup vocalist Ben Langford-Biss. The song is almost reminiscent of Brand New’s ‘Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades’ in the way that the lyrics wrap themselves around each other as subtle melodies are introduced, all building up to a blisteringly angry chorus. And believe me, being compared to Brand New is no small feat.

So in conclusion, Okay is even more proof that As It Is are a pop-punk band on the rise, if there wasn’t enough evidence anyway. Each song is near-perfectly crafted, and I will doubtlessly listen to it over and over again for the foreseeable future, and it will delight me just as much as it did the very first time. Hopefully, this album should catapult As It Is even further towards the higher echelons of modern pop-punk, but even if it doesn’t it is a massive sucess for the band, and rock music itself.

Best Song: No Way Out

Score: 9/10