Album Review: Ghostly Times – When All That’s Left Is Grey

We’ve had a lot of beautifully atmospheric rock music released this year. From Manchester Orchestra’s fifth album, to Bellevue Days’ third EP, people have been perfecting the art of creating an atmosphere through their music all around the rock world. One more band that aims to do this are Brooklyn-based Ghostly Times, who have created a fantastic sound on their debut full-length album.

The first two tracks typify this sound fantastically. ‘Ghostly Times’ and ‘Sleepless State’ create a great atmosphere that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The lead singer’s great voice is perfectly complimented by a plethora of guitar sounds, ranging from melodic swirls to low rhythmic accompaniment. This, alongside the fantastic drumming all comes together to make an atmosphere that is both beautiful and melancholy at the same time. Not all of the songs are the same though. ‘Book of Love’ takes much more of a typical rock format to great effect, and ‘Sit Back, Relapse and Go’ is a 6-minute-long odyssey. Not to mention the incredible ‘Murder of Crows’ – my favourite song on the album.

I have never been one for longer songs, and this album has quite a few of them. Having said that, the band has managed to make them in a way that has kept me engaged throughout the album. Everything on this album just feels right, from the start to the end, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for this band.

Best song: Murder of Crows

Score: 7/10

Classic Album Review: Bowling For Soup – Drunk Enough To Dance

Bowling For Soup have been creating the catchiest pop-punk for well over 25 years now. While some people may say that their music has lessened in quality recently, no one can deny that they still have a talent for writing some incredibly catchy hooks. And that ability catapulted them into fame in the early 2000’s, so much that their name is still mentioned amongst the greatest pop-punk bands of that era. There was one album that started all of this success though, and that was 2002’s Drunk Enough To Dance. This album would change their fortunes forever.

Without listening closely enough, this may sound like just your average 21st century pop-punk album. But what’s unique about it is vocalist Jaret Reddick’s ability to create a catchy hook. From the chorus of ‘Emily’ alone, I knew that this would be a memorable album. Every song has something catchy about it, from the first track to the last, and even on incredible bonus track ‘Punk Rock 101’. Are all of the songs perfect? Of course not, but all of them are good enough to stay in your head for the next week or so. And let’s be honest, what more can you ask for? The lyrical side of the album isn’t bad either. Most of the songs have that trademark Reddick humour that Bowling For Soup songs are known for. Occasionally this can come across as childish, but never enough to be a real problem.

Even if the name Drunk Enough To Dance might not be remembered much by pop-punk fans in ten years or so, the songs will definitely stick to people’s memories. The songs are catchy, energetic, and humorous, which is exactly what any pop punk album needs. This album has had a lot more influence, and is a lot better than people give it credit for. I hope it will be listened to for years to come.

Best song: Emily

Score: 8/10

Album Review: Goldfinger – The Knife

John Feldmann is a busy man. Not only fronting Goldfinger, he has produced some of the best rock albums of the last few years. Blink-182’s California, Panic! At The Disco’s Vices And Virtues, and Good Charlotte’s The Young And The Hopeless are just a few of the albums he has worked on in his illustrious career as a producer. If that doesn’t speak for itself, then I honestly don’t know what does. But in his time as a producer, he has had less time to spend working with his band; before this the last Goldfinger album came out in 2008 – nine years ago. But recently he has taken a short break from his busy producing schedule to work on his own band’s album.

Having said that, the band is barely recognisable from what it was back in 2008. In fact, Feldmann is the only member who has remained. Instead of the old members, Story Of The Year’s Philip Sneed, MxPx’s Mike Herrera, and Blink-182’s Travis Barker have joined Feldmann in creating this new album. Some famous names for sure – but is it all for show?

The answer to that is a resounding no. The album bursts into life with 90’s pop-punk styled ‘A Million Miles’, complete with incredible drumming by Travis Barker and a fantastically catchy hook; a Feldmann speciality. It’s clear that even though most of the band has changed, the music still has all the heart and quality you’d want and more. ‘Orthodontist Girl’ has not only the odd charm and humour of a Blink-182 song, but a sterling performance from guest star Josh Dun, whereas ‘Tijuana Sunrise’ takes on a slower but no less energetic ska sound.

In the nine years he’s been away from his band, John Feldmann has not lost the ability to make some great songs. I shouldn’t be surprised, given the albums he’s produced, but the quality of this album really shines through. I will definitely listen to this one again.

Best song: Put The Knife Away

Score: 7/10

EP Review: Fire In The Radio – New Air

Without doubt, 2017 has been a year of resurgence for both emo and punk music. Bands like Creeper and Miss Vincent have been gaining massive popularity over the past six months, among many other up-and-coming bands. One band that arguably fits into both of these categories is Fire In The Radio, a Philadelphia-based punk band that have created a refreshing new sound in this EP, New Air.

This sound is perfected in the first two tracks: ‘New Air’ and ‘I Don’t Know, I Remember’. The lead singer’s unique low voice is surrounded by bright, melodic guitars, sounding both energetic and melancholy at the same time. And that’s a pretty hard balance to keep. However the record would be pretty one-dimensional if all the tracks had a similar sound- songs like ‘Adeline’ and ‘Holy Shit’ help to switch things up with a slower tempo, but no less catchiness. Not to mention the incredible ‘Lionel Hampton Was Right’ – the best chorus on the EP by a long way.

From front to back, this EP never seems to drag on or overstay its welcome. No track feels out of place, and I’m actually thankful it lasts as long as it does. Work of this quality shows great promise, and I can’t wait for whatever this band come up with next.

Best song: Lionel Hampton Was Right

Score: 7/10

Album Review: Rozwell Kid – Precious Art

A fourth album in six years. If nothing else, Rozwell Kid sure are consistent. Not only this, but they have been touring relentlessly from the very beginning – this is a very hard working band. But that consistency isn’t the only thing they have going for them – they have been receiving glowing reviews all the way from Kerrang! to Pitchfork. So I thought I’d check this, their newest album out.

From the beginning, the frequently stated Weezer influences are clear to see. Guitarist Adam Meisterhans has nailed that fuzzy guitar sound typical of the blue album, particularly on ‘Total Mess’. ‘UHF on DVD’ also showcases their typical sound, with the addition of melodic synths over the top, and ‘Wendy’s Trash Can’ is another great example of this. But they aren’t essentially just a Weezer tribute band, with songs like ‘Wish Man’ nailing the essence of a humorous song – short, simple and most importantly funny. ‘Gameball’ is another unique song – a slower track with incredibly atmospheric guitar and vocals.

Everyone talks about the bands Weezer influences, but I don’t think they are the only thing that make this album great. For one, the use of synthesisers is excellent, with them not being used often enough to be boring, but showing up exactly when needed. These 12 songs fit together perfectly without sounding too samey. Worried this band are just another set of Weezer copycats? Listen to this album and I’ll let them prove you wrong themselves.

Best song: UHF on DVD

Score: 8/10

EP Review: Ten Cents Short – Major Steps, Minor Setbacks

This, the second EP from pop-punk band Ten Cents Short, instantly seems to be making a statement. Their first EP showed a brand of energetic pop-punk that was incredibly catchy. It seemed influenced by old and new pop-punk alike, with shades of bands like Neck Deep and New Found Glory at the same time. And this EP seems to take off exactly where the first left off.

‘Draw The Line’ shows off a low, chunky riff, before blasting into a frenetic verse and chorus. Sounding like New Found Glory mixed their sound with a band like ROAM, this shows exactly the promise this band has. ‘Beggars’ is very similar to this, while ‘Higher Powers’ shows an acoustic beginning, before blasting into more of their trademark pop-punk. The closest the album comes to having any sort of a slow moment is in their final track ‘Make It’. It is the slowest song on the album, but in style, it is still as pop-punk as ever.

This album is typical, catchy pop-punk, but I have one problem with it – it rarely changes things up. This album is so promising, but to be really successful, it needs to do more than just typical pop-punk, or the band will be at risk of falling into the sea of same-sounding bands there are around at the moment. And by this I don’t mean stop playing pop-punk, far from it. Just vary the sounds of the songs up a bit – write some slower songs, some faster ones, and maybe throw an acoustic track or two in there. Just add in some much-needed variety. Despite this, it’s a great second effort from a promising band.

Best song: Higher Powers

Score: 6/10

My Top 100 Songs: 90-81

90. Nightmare – Avenged Sevenfold

Turn this song on, put your headphones in, and listen to the intro of this song. If that doesn’t leave you with goosebumps, then I have no idea what will. From the beautifully creepy opening right to the end, this song is a loud, but haunting masterpiece.

Find it on: Nightmare (2010)

89. Bleed American – Jimmy Eat World

This song is Jimmy Eat World at their loudest and angriest, and I love it. On an album with songs like ‘Sweetness’ and ‘The Middle’, this stands out as being one of the most aggressive songs the band have written.

Find it on: Bleed American (2001)

88. My Oceans Were Lakes – As It Is

As singer Patty Walters put, this is ‘the only happy song’ on Never Happy, Ever After, which makes it stand out even more as being one of the best songs on that album. The beginning is beautifully soft and slow, and the song slowly builds up all the way until the end, where it explodes into life in the final chorus. A great song from a wonderful band.

Find it on: Never Happy, Ever After (2015)

87. Too Shy To Scream – AFI

This song is often overlooked as it is from 2009’s slightly disappointing Crash Love, but it is amongst the best songs that they’ve ever written. The thundering guitars and drums are catchy enough on their own, but Davey Havok’s lyrics give this song life, driving the verses along, and adding beautiful melody to the chorus.

Find it on: Crash Love (2009)

86. Stupid For You – Waterparks

Waterparks are a clever pop-punk band, taking all of the great elements of classic pop-punk and adding modern electronic elements to create an incredibly catchy blend of music. Stupid For You is almost the best example of this, as one of the most catchy songs I’ve ever heard.

Find it on: Double Dare (2016)

85. Time Is Running Out – Muse

This song features some of Matt Bellamy’s vocal work of all time. His voice along with the driving bass during the verse showcases some of the best Muse have ever sounded. Not to mention that the chorus is incredible too.

Find it on: Absolution (2003)

84. Heavydirtysoul – Twenty One Pilots

I hated this song at first, judging it for it’s genre over the actual content of the song. But after I’d got used to singer Tyler Joseph’s voice, I began to love it. The lyrical content is excellent, not to mention the incredible rapping and drumming featured on the song.

Find it on: Blurryface (2015)

83. December – Neck Deep

This is such a sad song, but it is also packed full of meaning and incredible lyrics. The chorus will never get out of your head either. Definitely one to sing along to on a cold, miserable day.

Find it on: Life’s Not Out To Get You (2015)

82. Fire – PVRIS

This is the best song from one of my favourite albums ever. Lynn Gunn’s great vocals pull the listener in before they are treated to an incredibly intense chorus with electronic influences. Basically everything PVRIS are good at.

Find it on: White Noise (2014)

81. Jerk It Out – The Caesars

There is a lot of sentimental value I have associated with this song, as I have loved it ever since I heard it on a FIFA soundtrack when I was younger. But unlike the other songs, I have never stopped loving it. It is basically the perfect pop song.

Find it on: 39 Minutes of Bliss (In an Otherwise Meaningless World) (2003)

Come back in a couple of weeks for songs 80-71!