(NEW RELEASE) The Balcony

So it’s been a long time coming. A band I have followed, enjoyed watching live countless time and even felt a sense of pride in whilst watching them grow.

It was almost two years ago that I watched these guys for third time supporting The 1975 and in my review I said that both The 1975 and Catfish and The Bottlemen have stardom waiting for them.

How right I was.

In excitement for The Balcony I read previews, a lot of people seem to dislike what they have heard of the album. One review even claimed this sort of thing was “out-dated”.

How wrong they were.

Opening song Homesick was fittingly the first single off the album to be released, a song that sums up the album within the opening minute, it’s melodic, heartfelt and then becomes explosive.

Second track Kathleen’s opening riff holds as much importance to the noughties guitar music that Franz Ferdinand’s “floorfiller” Take Me Out once did. This song truly showed the turning of the band when it was released and for me personally does nothing but proves their worth.

Third track, Cocoon, opening again with a full on bashing of a chord, pointed out by vocalist Van McCann as being stolen from Bartender and The Thief – Stereophonics is nothing but a worthy reference. The energy from this song is simply reckless, like a Wrecking Ball (minus Miley Cyrus, sadly). Lyrically audacious, the simplicity yet heartfelt sentiment is surprisingly poignant.

Fourth track, Fallout, surprisingly my least favourite from the album, not that it’s a bad song, it’s quite the opposite. It just seems to lack the same kind of umph that the other singles had, however the obscure lyrics at the end see I was a test tube baby that’s why nobody gets me/ see I struggle to sleep at night but it’s fine she doesn’t let me – are not only probably the weirdest lyrics I’ve heard in a while but are actually probably the best.

Fifth track, the wavey yet powerful, Pacifier, what seems to be a live recording (I could be wrong) makes sense, there’s a certain drive behind this song that can only be captured by watching or hearing it be played live – it’s particularly louder that way.

The softest moment of the album comes in the form of the song, Hourglass. With lyrics that only testosterone filled 16 year old boys would understand this song speaks to all the right people, and much like an Ogre, under the hard exterior (the almost unnecessary swearing) this song is truly quite beautiful.

The two tracks Business and 26 resemble that of a very early Editors, the down beat minimalistic guitar accompanied by the dark lyrics with an upbeat chorus in Business shadow that of tracks such as All Sparks.

The same can be said about 26, the explosive opening takes you way back to the likes of Escape The Nest – Editors. However, it lacks the insecurities evident in those songs, in fact it boasts confidence. They know what they’re doing and they have no shame in hiding how well they’re actually doing it. There is undoubtedly a certain type of “New York swagger” about this song and it appears that even after all of this time they have still stayed true to their original sound.

Next track Rango, is an even fatter version of what was released as the single, but still just as brilliant. The lyrics in this song particularly appear to be Van McCann at his best; the middle-eight is stripped back and a true pleasure to listen to. This is by far the best song on the album.

The two most important tracks on this album are Sidewinder and Tyrants. Sidewinder has been a solid one in their Set List every time I have seen them. Truthfully, almost like a fine wine it gets better with age and after this album has finally reached the masses, which it will, they will be drinking nothing but the finest of wines. (I needn’t review Tyrants, it explains itself, like a fine tin of Ronseal.)

They’ve proven those reviews wrong, guitar music is not dead, it has only been reinvigorated by this wonderful debut album. It’s full of energy like a young hungry Sunday league team.

Well done, lads.

10/10

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The Bulletproof Bomb

The Bulletproof Bomb

I was in The Boileroom in Guildford waiting for another astounding set to be played by Catfish and The Bottlemen but a band that really caught my attention was the five-piece support act known as The Bulletproof Bomb.

 

The polarising nature of having the optimism of The Maccabees but the cynicism of Jamie T give the band an upbeat, emotion filled angsty sound that really grabs you buy the collar and asks for your lunch money.

 

Songs such as Shoes and Suitcase had the crowd bouncing as though they were seeing The Sex Pistols for their third time.

 

Where as the very modest sounding Spacemen offers up a different angle, more emphasise on the beat means there is an instant sway in the song, nice harmonies too.

 

If you want a concoction of social realism with an upbeat sound to dance to, The Bulletproof Bomb is probably your type of band.

 

Catfish and The Bottlemen – Kathleen

Catfish and The Bottlemen – Kathleen

A band frequently blogged about here, Catfish and The Bottlemen, have just released their latest single presumably of their eagerly anticipated debut album.

 

Released via the use of what seems to be one of their new showbiz pals, Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record in the World’.

 

Kathleen certainly offers something new from the Welsh boys.

 

You can hear the growth in maturity from the band, as insignificant as it sounds in the opening lines, “You’re simpatico, and of all the lift homes and all the mixed feelings.”

 

This seems like a band that is no longer looking at love from the position of an angst filled teenager but a mature adult, a more realistic person if that.

 

Further from this is the music, it’s intricately different to what they normally release, I find it to be very “New-York-indie”, very The Strokes – Room on Fire.

 

But you can still hear that undeniably brilliant sound that is Catfish and the Bottlemen, the explosive chorus, atmospheric verses and powerful tone of lead singer Van’s voice.

 

Ladies and Gentleman, I think we have the song of the summer: 

 

The Class of 2013.

So we’ve drawn a close to 2013, loosened our belts from all the Christmas food and have prepared ourselves for the failure that our “New Years Resolutions” will inevitably become.

 

Sour note to begin, but here are the best singles, albums and newcomers from arguably one of the best years for music in the past decade:

 

2013 has seen the release of some unexpected albums, “Queen Bey”, some experimental music as it were; Arctic Monkeys, and just some down right fluffy lyrics with a sly hint of nostalgia; Peace – In Love.

 

Up first are the best songs from bands that have been around for quite some time already:

 

Arctic Monkeys – Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High.

Having spent some time in LA after the release of what was the slightly disappointing “Suck it and See” it’s safe to say the boys have spent their time well and created, yet again an absolute master class in song writing with this.

 

Biffy Clyro – Stingin’ Belle.

The scots doing what they do best, creating a racket with some lovely vocal harmonies and heavy guitar riffs.

 

The Cribs – Leather Jacket Love Song.

Amidst the release of their anthology album: “Payola” The Cribs decided to release, in short an anniversairy song to celebrate the ten years that they have thankfully been together. This song wasn’t considered that huge of a deal, but is well worth a listen.

 

Foals – My Number.

*WARNING CLICHÉ.

This song is *an absolute anthem. The punchy lyrics, absolute gem of a groove from the rhythm section and general musicianship makes you want to get tickets to every festival that Foals are hitting next year.

 

Kings of Leon – Supersoaker.

This album was mentioned earlier this year on this blog and it’s stil not boring. Yet Supersoaker seems to be the pinnacle of it all, released in summer, it unintentionally is THE summer song of 2013.

 

Vampire Weekend – Diane Young.

Vampire Weekend flew under the radar for a substantial amount of time after the release of “Contra” and came out with their unique sound with, somehow, even more quality – this band just keep getting better with every release.

 

Next up the prodigies of 2013, the next “big artists”:

 

Catfish and the Bottlemen – Rango.

This is a band that are use to this title being handed to them, but it looks like 2014, following their recent success will finally be the year for them, Rango is definitely gives you a million and one reasons as to why.

 

AlunaGeorge – Attracting Flies.

This isn’t even their biggest song by a country mile, but it just defines AlunaGeorge as the band that they are, simple and fantastic. Their album was released in 2013, go buy it.

 

The Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather.

A fantastic song from the American band that is closely affiliated with The 1975, and it’s understandable why, put it this way, if The Neighbourhood were English they’d be The 1975 and visa versa. This was the lead single from their album released this year. IT. DOES. NOT. DISAPOINT.

 

Jaws – Gold.

Young Brummies, writing probably the most used music on the Made in Chelsea  soundtrack, clearly doing something right if their good enough for some posh toffs.

 

Swim Deep – The Sea.

Understandably the band are considered to be quite successful at the moment, especially after releasing their debut, but it’s clear that their still yet to be a “massive success”. 2014 will be the year for that.

 

House music has been of a completely stratospheric standard in 2013 here our three songs that define the genre for 2013:

You & Me – Disclosure

Look Right Through (MK Dub III) – Storm Queen

Turn it Around – Sub Focus Ft. Kele.

 

The best albums of this year have both been debutants. Both offering completely different sounds to what is offered at the moment, and both having huge chart success.

 

The 1975 – The 1975.

Pretty much unknown until their single Chocolate, it’s fantastic to see such a raw live band not become just a one-hit wonder. Pretty much everyone and their nan has got the album, if you haven’t doesn’t that say something about you?

 

Peace – In Love.

This band had been together for only two years before they released this album. It’s interesting because this band sound as though they’ve been there, done that and got the T-shirt. What’s important is that they certainly do deliver live.