Monday, 15 September 2014

iplugtoyou TV episode 2

Just a quick post today as I'm extremely busy at the moment with work (well, A-levels). I'm not sure if I'll be posting too much over the next few weeks but if all goes to plan I'll be uploading a couple of reviews, new videos and my monthly round-up as normal.

Here's episode 2 of iplugtoyou TV, I'd just like to thank those of you who watched it and gave me feedback, it is much appreciated. After episode 3 I intend on varying the content and making how to be posting vinyl care/collection guides as well as reviews so look out for those in the coming weeks. 

Once again, thanks for reading the blog, I am nearing 8,000 views in total which is extremely exciting and hope to continue this success in the future. 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Introducing iplugtoyou TV

Ok, so it's time for that 'big announcement' I've been yapping on about. Basically, for the past year I have been pondering whether to start making videos to put on the blog alongside posts, just to make them more dynamic and engaging (plus I was feeling kinda inspired by The Needle Drop). 

Anyway, after completing my GCSE's I was speaking to my maths tutor about schemes for young people running in my local area and she happened to mention that she was setting up a platform for young people to showcase their interests thorough her company Galaxy Learning. So as a young person with an interest, I saw a window of opportunity and took it, and here we are...

So from now on I will try my best to include videos in my posts (not all of them of course, that would probably get monotonous after a while). I'm taking a fairly lighthearted approach to this and completely acknowledge and accept the fact that I am not BeyoncĂ© and thus won't be raking in the views. Instead I aim for about 250-500 views for the channel by the end of the year. That's not too much to ask now is it?

And now, without any further ado, I present to you the very first episode of iplugtoyou TV, in which I delve into my record collection, dropping a 'lil bit of insight as I go along. 

(If you think I'm awkward here then I apologize because this is pretty much the best it gets)

Self-deprecation aside, here's the video:



Sunday, 31 August 2014

Best Of August

Hey everyone, I'm sorry that I've only posted once this month, I mean I haven't even been that busy so I don't really have an excuse...except for the fact that I've been planning ahead to September; I start A-Levels soon and I want to ensure that I can maintain my 3-post-a-month plan. So I promise I will try to keep up from now on. 

ANYWAY

Back to music, yeah, this has been a good month. In terms of albums it's a bit on the slow side, but September is quite the opposite so I'm not too fussed. There are however lots of great tracks floating about and some incredibly exciting new albums coming soon (hence the need for a new post). There is also some extremely exciting news which I will announce in due course...

Albums of the month



FKA Twigs - LP1


So as you may have gathered from my gleaming review, I am pretty much infatuated with this record, but don't take my word for it; the world of FKA Twigs is ready and waiting to be delved into. But what I can offer you is the following advice: If new to Twigs, give it time and you will reap the rewards. If you're already accustomed to her artistry, you'll agree it's a masterpiece and want to marry it. I've listened to this record relentlessly and can assure you that there are no weak spots, each track is special and will become your favourite at one time or another, that's the beauty of it.

Read the review in full here


Marcel Dettmann - fabric 77: Marcel Dettmann

Through a series releases and his world-renowned DJ sets, Marcel Dettmann has become one of the biggest DJ's in techno. His latest release fabric 77: Marcel Dettmann is a long one, it's nearly 3 hours yet never once feels tiresome or boring. This is techno at it's most skeletal and steely. There are moments of sparseness as well as mind-numbing density during the more club-ready tracks like 'Transit 0.2', while the menacing 'Inside Of Me' adds an element of darkness.


The Bug - Angels and Devils

With a track list featuring acts such as Copeland, Death Grips and Liz Harris (A.K.A Grouper); how could the fourth album from Kevin Martin as The Bug be anything less than excellent? The answer is it couldn't. The album features everything I could ever want from it; stellar guests, strong instrumentals and an expansive range of sounds. The only track I genuinely don't care for at all is the Death Grips track, that's simply because the lyrics suck. As this is a two part LP it's safe to say I prefer the lighter and more accessible first part, otherwise known as 'Angels'. But as a whole it is a really strong piece of work and Martin's best release to date.

The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers

After two rather underwhelming records, The New Pornographers have come back fighting with Brill Bruisers. This record sees the band reclaim their ‘best indie rock/power-pop super group’ crown (from whom I am not quite sure). Whether it be the soaring harmonies on the explosive “Brill Bruisers”, the melancholic “Champions of Red Wine” or the driving groove of “Backstairs”, this record truly feels like the band have managed to find the fire which made their early releases so highly acclaimed. The album’s celebratory and joyful spirit is exemplified by the closing track and leaves the listener with an overwhelming sense of appreciation for the mundanities of life. It may not be their best record but it’ll certainly put a smile on your face, and thus rightfully earning the band’s power-pop tag.

Read the full review over on Earbuddy.

The Wytches - Annabel Dream Reader

After months of hype from various publications; Brighton-based surf-doom outfit The Wytches finally released their debut album this month. As far as an album of this genre goes, Annabel Dream Reader is pretty expansive and features a range of moods and tempos. From the face-melting 'Digsaw', the psychedelic riffs of 'Wire Frame Mattress' to the moody slow-burning 'Robe For Juda', the band are pushing the boat out here and bringing a new meaning to 'surf-psych'.

Songs of the month (see playlist below)



Caribou - Our Love

If you journey back to June, you may remember Caribou's 'Can't Do Without You' topping my 'best songs of June' list, well he's done it again. 'Our Love' the second cut from his forthcoming record of the same name is yet another intoxicating IDM banger filled with off-kilter synths and drum machine sounds. As much as this is very much a summer track, I'm sure a song of this calibre can be appreciated all year long. If early reviews are any indication, the record is full of these euphoric epics so I suggest you brace yourselves...

SOPHIE - Hard

Oh Lord, where do I start with this? It's hard to really talk in-depth about a track like this because it is quite literally all over the place. Is it garage? is it pop? is it dub-step? I don't know. All I know is that the song is brilliant and I can't stop playing it.

Mr Twin Sister - Blush

Earlier this year Twin Sister announced that they had changed their name to 'Mr Twin Sister' and were no longer with Domino Records (why exactly I am still not sure). This got me worried, especially considering how much I loved their last album In Heaven. My anxiousness intensified once I heard their single 'Out Of The Dark', as good as it is it simply isn't the band I know and love. However, all of this doubt was irradiated by the incredible 'Blush', with its jazzy undertones and soothing chorus, my faith is now fully restored. 

The Juan Maclean - A Simple Design

~A Moment to appreciate this song's length~. Ok, 'A Simple Design' is a sleek, catchy and funky piece of synth-pop, it seems that the addition of Nancy Whang as a full-time vocalist has done wonders for John Maclean's (former) solo project. Let's hope that their up and coming LP features more bangers of this magnitude. 

Pharmakon - Body Betrays Itself

WARNING: This track is not for the fainthearted. So if you don't like screaming, loud electronic noises or angry women, I suggest you skip this track (hence why it's at the end of the playlist).

She's back. 

Margaret Chardiet (better known as Pharmakon) has been very much embedded in my mind ever since her debut Abandon harpooned it's way into my ears last year. A mash-up between noise, power-electronics and avante-garde; Pharmakon's sound is certainly an acquired taste. But I happen to love it. And with a new record on the way in October, this new single proved her throat-shredding game is as strong as ever. 

Run The Jewels - Blockbuster Night Part 1

What started off as a collaborative album between Killer Mike and El-P became one of the most successful rap projects of the last year. From the beats to the bars, everything was pretty much on-point and the fact it was free was the cherry on the cake. 'Blockbuster Night Part 1' picks up where the duo finished off, but the production shows that they've clearly upped their game. 

My Brightest Diamond - Lover/Killer

Next month, Shara Worden will release her fourth album under the moniker My Brightest Diamond. The album in question is called This Is My Hand and it is excellent, this track in particular being one of my favourites. 'Lover/Killer' combines Worden's signature baroque elements with funky guitar licks and horns, the result is extremely unique, much like Worden's talent itself. 

Lily & Madeleine - The Wolf Is Free

Teen sisterly duo Lily & Madeleine released their bewitching debut last year following the immense success of their earlier buzz tracks and covers. Now, less than one year on they are gearing up to release their sophomore album Fumes in October. 'The Wolf Is Free' is easily their best track to date, with subtle hints of chamber pop and barber shop harmonies, it is clear that the young duo are constantly honing their skills. Despite it's light aesthetic, 'The Wolf Is Free' packs a punch and suggests that their up and coming sophomore album is not to be missed. 


 
Wardell - Dancing In The Freeway

Just because Summer is over does not mean that I can't still pretend; the poor weather will not stop me from listening to sun-soaked pop-rock at an obnoxiously loud volume. Wardell's 'Dancing On The Freeway' delivers this sentiment much better than I ever could. Bearing in mind I've been waiting around a year for them to follow-up their excellent Brother/Sister EP, this fills the void wonderfully. 

Hookworms - The Impasse

I was initially going to end this with a light and melodic soul-pop track but this came along at the last minute and nabbed the last spot on my playlist (hypothetically, as it isn't on soundcloud). Leeds outfit Hookworms released their debut full-length Pearl Mystic last year to rave reviews and are now ready to release the follow-up in the form of The Hum. To tie us over until November, the band have dropped 'The Impasse', possibly their most accessible and focused release to date, yet maintains their ramshackle charm. 


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

FKA Twigs - LP1 Review



It is not uncommon for an upcoming artist to build interest through the release of an EP (or in this case, two EPs), especially in an age where technology is progressing at a frightening rate and artists tend to have a diminishing window of opportunity to make an impact and sustain a fanbase large enough to ensure longevity. But what is particularity astonishing about Tahliah Barnett's ascent to prominence is how she manages to captivate the internet by defying the norms of modern pop. Each track came accompanied by unique and stunning visuals which encapsulate the mood of the tracks whilst not detracting from the music itself. Her sound was always startlingly assured for such a newcomer to the game; rich in texture and brimming with off-kilter beats and sounds, she seemingly ripped apart any genre-specific labels the industry or media may have tried to impose on her. Suffice to say, Barnett has truly delivered a game-changing debut album which pushes all the boundaries whilst maintaining a considerably expansive reach.

Imagery is an integral part of Barnett's artistry; her visuals and sonics go hand in hand to create an experience for the listener/viewer, this enables them to feel even more connected to the music on a deeper level. Arguably one of the main reasons for the immense success of prior singles 'Water Me' and 'Papi Pacify' is the music videos which accompany them. They immerse the viewer in the concept of the song and bring new meaning to Barnett's lyrics. The artwork of LP1 (created by Jesse Kanda) itself is no exception to this; the cover art is a partially digital portrait of  Barnett is placed on a tranquil blue backdrop, representing the more ambient part of her sound whilst the quiet sense of longing on her face lends itself to the darker soundscapes in her music.

The album opens with 'Preface', which consists of one, very powerful lyric; "I love another and thus I hate myself", a quote from the 16th century poet Thomas Wyatt which I feel sums up the lyrical tone of the record to a tee. The notion of self-loathing induced through the love and undying devotion to another human being is a poignant one, this only reinforced by the throbbing basslines and punchy synths laced across the record. And then of course, there is her voice. And what a voice it is; from breathy and wispy coos to gutsy and rich cries, her vocal delivery is as colourful and dynamic as the production it juxtaposes. Despite its running time, it makes a huge impact on the listener and sets the tone perfectly, it oozes grandeur with every second, much like the lead single 'Two Weeks'. The latter is undoubtedly Twigs' most accessible song to date, plus it's a bona fide jam; the throbbing bass line, shuddering drum beats and spine tingling vocal delivery as well as the accompanying visuals take Twigs' regal aesthetic to the next level. The lyrics on the other hand are anything but, "Higher than a motha fucka, dreaming of you as my lova" are hardly the words of a queen, though the way said lyric is delivered evokes an overwhelming sense of empowerment, she is truly owning her sexuality here and it's awe-inspiring to witness.

You'd be foolish to even attempt to pigeonhole FKA Twigs; she does not belong in any old rigid genre structure, her sound created through the fusion of various styles and the intention is not to fall into any genre-specific category. Nobody I feel articulates this better than Barnett herself, in a recent interview with The Guardian, she said: "When I first released music and no one knew what I looked like, I would read comments like: 'I've never heard anything like this before, it's not in a genre.' And then my picture came out six months later, now she's an R&B singer." Essentially, because she's mixed race, people (the music press) rather carelessly class her as "Alt-R&B", because its easy and they don't care to look deeper into the music she creates, and that's a great shame. Barnett's genius is in the fact that she creates boundary-less and thought-provoking electronica with nods to chamber music, soul, trip-hop, along with avante-garde and ambient thrown in for good measure.

In that same interview Barnett also declares her love for "annoying sounds, beats, clicks. Kakakakaka", this is evident on many of the tracks on LP1. Take closing track for example; laced with haunting vocal samples and throbbing synths, 'Kicks' climaxes with a glitchy and unusually catchy breakdown which ends the album on a euphoric note. She also said [of the album] that "the structures aren't typical, it's relentless. It's like punk; fuck alternative R&B!", another statement I'd have to agree with, Barnett's sonic innovation in this record's production is certainly that. A prime example of this is the track 'Pendulum', which features Barnett's signature 'clicking'; though brittle, it is also unsettling and gives the track a subtle sense of menace. The track then opens up in the most mesmerizing and majestic of ways into an explosion of plush soundscapes as she coos "so lonely trying to be yours, when you're looking for so much more".

So as you may have gathered, I am pretty much infatuated with this record, but don't take my word for it; the world of FKA Twigs is ready and waiting to be delved into. But what I can offer you is the following advice: If new to Twigs, give it time (less than two weeks) and you will reap the rewards. If already accustomed to her artistry, you'll agree it's a masterpiece and want to marry it. And if none of the above don't apply, I simply do not know. I've listened to this record relentlessly and can assure you that there are no weak spots, each track is special and will become your favourite at one time or another, that's the beauty of it.

9.2/10

Standout Tracks: Two Weeks, Pendulum, Numbers, Closer, Give Up, Kicks

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Best Of July

Even though we are over half-way through the year, I truly feel the best is still very much yet to come; upcoming releases from Rustie, Perfume Genius, Flying Lotus, The Wytches, Karen O, Caribou and Zola Jesus all have AOTY potential. Not to mention FKA Twigs, whose debut album has been blowing my mind for some time now, so make sure you check that out when it's released in August. Here's a roundup of the albums and tracks which have been on heavy rotation in July:

Albums of the Month



Alvvays - Alvvays

As you may have guessed (if you read my review, that is), I'm pretty into these guys (and have been all year). Whilst many debuts tend to blend into a host of other sub-Parr albums before fading into obscurity a few years (or even months) later, I feel that this won't be the case with Alvvays. Even though it's clear that Alvvays are influenced by bands such as The Smiths, The Vaselines and Teenage Fanclub, they pay homage to them through crafting songs that are often on their level of greatness. This is not only true for the excellent pre-release singles, but for many of the other album tracks also, primarily 'Next Of Kin' and 'Party Police'. Their brand of jingle-jangle pop evokes all the happiness that makes the genre so great whilst adding more dimensions through their melancholic moments of lyrical genius. In summery, this record won't change the world but it certainly makes mine a little happier, and therefore better.

Read my full review here.

La Roux - Trouble In Paradise

If you journey back to January, I wrote a post about the albums I hoped would surface at some point this year, one of those was a new album from La Roux. And to my delight (and surprise), La Roux returned (as a solo artist) and released this masterpiece. Ok, maybe it's not a masterpiece, but it's still pretty darn good. After 5 years, the pop scene is almost unrecognizable, so for her to come out with a bold tropical-pop record of this calibre is pretty impressive. Summer soundtrack for sure. 

Jungle - Jungle

Following the release of their (ever so slightly overrated) buzz track 'Platoon', Jungle have been making their way to the forefront of the British music scene. As samey as their melodies can be, the production is consistently solid on this LP, not to mention a handful of tracks (The Heat, Busy Earnin', Lucky I Got What I Want, Lemonade Lake) being among my favourites of the last few months. If the band can find a way to introduce some more eclectic and varied sounds on their future releases, I'm sure whatever they produce in the future will be very special indeed.

Honeyblood - Honeyblood


As far as debut albums go, Honeyblood has it all; anthemic moments like 'Super Rat' and 'Fortune Cookie', melodic slow burners like 'Bud' and '(I'd Rather Be) Anywhere But Here' and of course, the band's specialty, raw and punchy pop gems like 'All Dragged Up' and 'Killer Bangs'. Yes, one could say that it would've been slightly better had the track list been a little shorter to allow the very best songs to shine brighter. But from where I'm standing this is a record created with passion and skill, making it an absolute joy to listen to and proving that you don't need a multitude of synths and software to make an excellent record in 2014.

Read my full review here.

Songs of the Month



Rustie feat. Danny Brown - Attak

Glasgow producer extraordinaire Rustie is set to follow up the incredible Glass Swords this month with a new LP titled Green Language. Thus far we've been treated to lead single 'Raptor' (which I featured in last month's write-up), and now he's also put out 'Attak', a collaboration with Pigeons and Planes fave Danny Brown. In true Rustie style, the arrangement is chaotic and the beats are as hectic as ever, but Danny's flow takes Rustie's production to the next level of explosiveness. A dream partnership.

Perfume Genius - Queen

One of my favourite songwriters of all time; Mike Hadreas, who performs under the moniker Perfume Genius, has released two of my favourite albums of the last decade. His vocal delivery is startling raw and emotive whilst his arrangements are experimental and bold. On this new single however, we see Hadreas more confident than ever; this is easily his most ambitious track to date, and insinuates that his forthcoming album Too Bright will be excellent. 

FKA Twigs - Video Girl/Pendulum

As I said earlier, I've heard the FKA Twigs album and I can tell you that it's pretty much immaculate. There is no filler on LP1, just killer. She could've put out any song from the record and it would be as strong a representation of the overall quality as any of the other tracks. Her approach to melody, production, tone and songwriting are exhibited wonderfully by both tracks, with 'Video Girl' sporting one of my favourite hooks of the entire record. (Only 'Video Girl' is available on soundcloud so 'Pendulum isn't on the playlist:/)




GOAT - Hide From The Sun

Following their ground-breaking debut World Music, GOAT have announced its follow-up in the form of Commune, which supposedly features their heaviest material to date. So colour me excited. Our first taste, 'Hide From The Sun' features psychedelia in abundance, not to mention a killer guitar solo towards the end. 

Spoon - Do You

Spoon are one of the most well-respected and loved rock bands of recent times, which is probably why I never really got into them previous to this campaign, I've acknowledged their existence but that's about it. But for some reason, their latest album They Want My Soul has really captured me, particularly this track, which is easily their most upbeat and catchy track to date.

Karen O - Rapt

Following their, well, shite fourth studio album Mosquito, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are having a bit of a breather. In the meantime, front woman and all-around badass Karen O has decided to release an album of old demos called Crush Songs. As much as I would have loved some new material, if new material would've sounded anything like this, I'd gladly take a collection of old demos, thank you very much. Anyway, the first track, 'Rapt' is gorgeous and can be streamed via the rather ethereal clip below. 




Shura - Just Once

As crowded as the whole, 'sparse R&B indietronica pop' scene is becoming, when a track is heads and shoulders about the other efforts, it really shows. Relative newcomer Shura has offered yet another stellar track in the form of 'Just Once', a track which oozes sophistication and breeziness in every immaculately-produced second. More please. 

The Wytches - Burn Out The Bruise

Over the past year, Brighton's finest The Wytches have become one of the most exciting emerging forces in psych-rock. This is completely understandable, after all their rhythm section is incredible in every track, the vocals are punchy and the level of reverb is just right. Their debut album Annabel Dream Reader is out in August and if the singles are any indication, it should be one of the best of the year . 

Lia Ices - Higher

As I mentioned last month, Lia Ices' new material is bloody excellent. Adding some more off-kilter beats into her folky repertoire has clearly worked wonders for her sound. On 'Higher', Ices is able to retain her ethereal aesthetic whilst also emitted a sense of  strength and bite through the audacious flourishes in the production. 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Alvvays - Alvvays Review


Indie rock, indie pop, jingle jangle pop, or whatever you want to call it, is a genre I am generally rather critical of; Despite how excellent it can be when its done well (The Smiths being the optimum example), I feel that bands (mainly new bands) can sometimes be a bit half-arsed with their approach, whether it be their lyrics, arrangements, melodies, hooks, vocals or production; many indie pop bands tend not to be able to deliver a solid record. Step in Alvvays, a Canadian outfit whom have received immense critical acclaim with their prior singles 'Adult Diversion' and, more notably, the brilliant 'Archie, Marry Me'. With the internet swooning over their glistening indie pop, the band have exploded out of buzz-band status with an impressive debut.

Judging by the calibre of the material we were treated to prior to its release as well as the fact that it is merely 9 tracks long; Alvvays was intended to be an all killer, no filler affair. And that it certainly is. Every single track on here is strong and memorable in its own right; even the lesser tracks are brilliant in their own way. 'Adult Diversion' kicks off the album with a blast of sun-drenched guitar hooks, before frontwoman Molly Rankin's sugary sweet vocals elevate the dynamic hooks further. This is preceded by 'Archie, Marry Me' (arguably my song of the summer) which, despite the heavy reverb on this track, never feels disconnected and is easily one of the most engaging slices of pop I have had the pleasure of hearing in a long while. 'Next Of Kin' provides a toe-tapping moment which feels ideal for a day frolicking around at the beach (which is kind of ironic as its about drowning).

Now at this point you may be thinking: "Yeah, yeah. But what (if anything) makes this particular record any different from the multitude of indie pop albums which are generally warmly received and then swiftly forgotten?". Well, Alvvays just has a lot more depth than your average indie pop record, not only do the melancholic lyrics juxtapose nicely with the campfire aesthetic, but instrumentally it is rather complex at times. For example, the 20 second outro of 'Party Police' or what I describe as an insanely pretty spiraling manifestation of  synth which is easily the most intense moment on an otherwise joyous and breezy record. Despite its breeziness, this is also a dense and layered record, this being exhibited through its use of psychedelic guitar-led soundscapes on tracks such as 'Ones Who Love You' as well as the lyrics, which, in terms of delivery are very Morrissey at times (though, to Rankin's credit, far less pretentious).

Whilst many debuts tend to blend into a host of other sub-Parr albums before fading into obscurity a few years (or even months) later, I feel that this won't be the case with Alvvays. Even though it's clear that Alvvays are influenced by bands such as The Smiths, The Vaselines and Teenage Fanclub, they pay homage to them through crafting songs that are often on their level of greatness. This is not only true for the excellent pre-release singles, but for many of the other album tracks also, primarily 'Next Of Kin' and 'Party Police'. Their brand of jingle-jangle pop evokes all the happiness that makes the genre so great whilst adding more dimensions through their melancholic moments of lyrical genius. In summery, this record won't change the world but it certainly makes mine a little happier, and therefore better.

8.6/10

Best Tracks: Adult Diversion, Archie, Marry Me, Next Of Kin, Party Police, Atop a Cake

If you like what you've read, check out my introductory Alvvays playlist below. I thought it'd be nice to include tracks from relevant bands (mainly those reference in the review itself), plus they only have 2 tracks on their soundcloud and I wanted to flesh it out a bit, so...

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Honeyblood - Honeyblood review


The relevancy of guitar music will always be a hot topic, especially considering the popularity of artificial production methods (not to mention our reliance on technology as a whole). Are guitar bands dated? What's the point when it's all been done before? My personal response is response is: Who the hell cares? All that matters is that the music is well-made with thought and soul, regardless of genre or format. Honeyblood are one in what has proven to be a surge of rock duos to surface in the last few years (Royal Blood, Deap Vally and Drenge being a few examples), all of which embracing sounds from many other, more established bands yet still managing to find their own style to an extent. Hailing from Glasgow, a city which produced Belle & Sebastian and Camera Obscura amongst many others; Honeyblood seem to have hearty indie rock prowess running through their veins as killer melodies come ever so naturally to them. This, their debut album has certainly done their city and it's rich musical heritage proud.

Honeyblood's greatest strength is it's consistency, all of its 12 twelve tracks contain a memorable hook or refrain which makes each track stand out in its own right.  Although every track is equally satisfying and enjoyable, it also means a handful of tracks could be removed from the track list and it wouldn't make that much of a difference. That being said the highs on here are truly glorious; standout track 'Choker' is full to the brim with crunchy hooks whilst 'Killer Bangs', the album's most erratic moment, grabs the listener with an irresistible ramshackle melody. 'Super Rat' meanwhile provides the album's key sing-along moment as Stina Tweeddale chants "Scum bag sleaze! Slime ball grease! You really do disgust me!", an insult if ever I heard one. All lyrical themes revolve around relationships, romantic or otherwise, from the highs to the lows, no base is left uncovered here, thus complying with the compelling nature of the melodies perfectly.

Sometimes with duos, there is an issue with diversifying their sound due to their set up size, Honeyblood manage to overcome this through channeling country/folk sounds on tracks like 'Bud' and '(I'd Rather Be) Anywhere But Here'. For me, the most impressive moment on Honeyblood is the immense closing track 'Braid Burn Valley' in which we see Stina at her most venomous as she spits 'Another fucking bruise, and this one looks just a rose' against a blazing guitar riff and an intense drumline, courtesy of Shona McVicar. The way in which the instrumentation builds to this epic moment, not to mention the unexpected addition of a piano ballad in the form of a hidden track prove that Honeyblood have far more tricks up their sleeves.

As far as debut albums go, Honeyblood has it all; anthemic moments like 'Super Rat' and 'Fortune Cookie', melodic slow burners like 'Bud' and '(I'd Rather Be) Anywhere But Here' and of course, the band's specialty, raw and punchy pop gems like 'All Dragged Up' and 'Killer Bangs'. Yes, one could say that it would've been slightly better had the track list been a little shorter to allow the very best songs to shine brighter. But from where I'm standing this is a record created with passion and skill, making it an absolute joy to listen to and proving that you don't need a multitude of synths and software to make an excellent record in 2014.

8/10

Best Tracks: Fall Forever, Super Rat, Choker, Killer Bangs, Braid Burn Valley

Discover Honeyblood's music with this handy little playlist I put together below: