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  • Barber Westchester Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Dylan Kanner | SuperfanNews

    Barber Westchester Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Dylan Kanner Chris Peters 28 Jan 2022 Most of us have a favourite artist or at least favourite genre that we cuddle up to like a comfort blanket whenever we need music in our lives. A smaller portion of us listen to a wide variety of genres and are those annoying people who answer the question ‘what type of music do you like’ with ‘a bit of everything’. Even fewer of us have a soundtrack to our entire day encompassing everything from modern classical to doom metal and feel not so quietly confident that ‘we know music’. Well even that group are going to listen to Dylan Kanner’s soundtrack to the independent feature film Barber Westchester and know they have not heard anything like this before. The Barber Westchester Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is no less than 74 tracks of minimalist, experimental electronica by Californian singer-songwriter Dylan Kanner. The record is in many, if not all, ways a film score rather than a soundtrack in the modern sense. You will find almost every sound bite used in the movie represented here. Everything from the 10 second Barber's Arm Get's Flushed Down the Toilet to the 3 and a half minute folk pop number For You (Barber Westchester Version). Kanner draws us in to the musical madness with a surprisingly catchy and uplifting opener. Look Around (At the World Around You) has bouncy keys and sharp drums contrasting against Kanner's monotone vocals to make a fun, enticing introduction to the record. The biggest criticism of this opening track is that it ends just as we start singing along to the ascending chorus of Look Around. This could easily have been a minute longer to make it a legitimate song and it wouldn't feel like he only recorded exactly what was necessary for the opening credits. Fortunately the flavour of Look Around carries over to a handful of other tracks scattered across this record. In Professor Lemmings's Song Kanner channels a grade school Lou Reed over a funky keyboard and kick drum. For You (Barber Westchester Version) employs acoustic guitar, varied percussion and adventurous backing vocals and really succeeds in making an interesting, 60's inspired pop song that we really should have more of. The albums closing track, Promised Land, also benefits from childlike and fun backing vocals against a grand finale composition of organ sounds, saxophone and guitar solos and a running commentary from Kanner. Between these cheeky sing a long numbers however are endless short snippets of music that, out of context from the movie, do very little for the listener and don't make a great deal of sense. Some of these 10 or 20 second pieces are little more than a sound effect or a short keyboard progression. Some tracks, such as Email from NASA, show real promise that they could have been developed in to something we want to listen to more than once but for whatever reason the decision was made to not develop these further. This soundtrack oozes with potential that is completely lost in an ocean of poor decisions. I don't understand who Kanners target audience is for this record. There are songs here but they are so spread out and tangled up in confusion that most listeners will not find them. My advice would have been to take the handful of good songs and release it as a soundtrack EP or develop a handful of the better shorter tracks and make a 10 track album. I'm not sure even fans of the motion picture are going to want to listen to this record away from their screens. Take a listen yourself and let me know what you think. Chris Peters

  • Bubblegum by Elle Lexxa | SuperfanNews

    Bubblegum by Elle Lexxa Chris Peters 11 Feb 2022 If you want a crash course in how the music industry is changing dig in to Elle Lexxa. This is an artist whose rise and success has been, to date and will continue to be, heavily if not primarily defined by their Instagram and Tik Tok following. Initially recognised for her fashion and jewelry focused social media presence Lexxa has, this week, released her debut EP, Bubblegum. What does a self proclaimed '18th C Hot Girl' actually sound like? From the outset Bubblegum struggles to make a specific impact. Opening track Vacancy opens with a funky bass riff that continues through most of the song but before long becomes lost in a confusion of manic high hat, synth strings and ambiguous vocal samples. During the second verse the strings come in for a sharp little fill that doesn't seem to go anywhere but that's soon forgotten when Lexxa starts to rap. You heard me correctly. Pink Walls has a catchier structure, if we turn a blind eye to the spoken word portions, but production isn't sure what it wants to be. Electronic vocal filters are placed alongside baroque influenced keyboard melodies. The snare has a very unique quality in that I can still hear it assaulting my eardrums 20 minutes after the song has finished. By Liquorice it has become apparent that the reason this record isn't breaking any boundaries is because Lexxa isn't trying to break any boundaries. The whole production sounds as though it was a project to fill time between breakfast and lunch. The definition between various parts of the compositions are vague which, for a pop song especially, affects it's longevity. None of the choruses are defined enough to be memorable and the same criticism could be made of many of the verses. The EP closes with Obsessed which is backed by an arrogant rendition of In The Hall Of The Mountain King. The exact interpretation changes throughout as does the filter on the keys but we do get a grand organ piece mid way through to emphasise the intended gothic nature of the song. Everything comes to an end as the tempo drops the vocal samples are stretched out and we are given a bit of time to gather our things so we can get on with our lives. Elle Lexxa's Bubblegum is at best a half hearted effort to try and become a popstar. The vocals do not flow easily and the lyrics are forgettable. There is a strong suggestion that a different producer was used for each track but they all walked out mid way through leaving an incongruous and unfinished collection of work. If pop music is Lexxa's passion she should spend 15 times as long on her next release and try to inject some soul in to it. Take a listen and let me know if I'm wrong. Chris Peters

  • Gone To Color by Gone To Color | SuperfanNews

    Gone To Color by Gone To Color Chris Peters 15 Oct 2021 You could write all the Atlanta and Washington based electronic rock duos I know on the back of a stamp but that ends today! After a drawn out introduction comprised of no less than 6 tasters released over the last year Gone to Color have today released their self titled debut album. If you have paid any kind of attention to these guys over the last year then the main thing you are going to notice about this release is the disappointing number of titles written on the back. Sadly we only have two new tracks and less than 35 minutes of music. If you were content enough with those 6 releases then this record serves a purpose but if you were in any way hopeful for new material then you're going to be disappointed. What Gone to Color seem to focus on is providing a musical backdrop to showcase a parade of unique vocals. This record boasts an interesting mix of features including Kurt Wagner of Lambchop, Martina Topley-Bird and Carson Cox of Merchandise. This variety really necessitates thought through sequencing and that may have missed the mark. The albums opener The 606 is not exactly a fanfare. The snare tries desperately to raise the temperature in the second half but overall it leaves me wanting. The musical composition doesn't match the structure of Jessie Steins dreamy vocal performance that deserves a more structured platter to be presented on. I would have preferred something punchier to open up with and there are choices on this album that would have been much more comfortable in that position. Illusions feat. Ade Blackburn wastes no time with drawn out introductions. Ten seconds in we have layers of electronic ambiguity washing behind Blackburn's purposeful but tired voice. This should have sat up front. Gone To Color tend to produce fairly stripped back and understated pieces that work with a vocal composition but risk sounding incomplete without. The one instrumental on the record, Redok, is however, surprisingly enjoyable. Darkly atmospheric and with a clear direction that some of the other tracks lack, Redok makes me wonder if Gone to Color are at times relying on vocals too heavily rather than working with them. I would gladly listen to more instrumental work and feel this may be an avenue they are greatly underestimating. If you are looking for a catchy hook, repetitive bass lines or a pick me up then this album is not for you. Beneath the layers and in the cracks, however, there is some good work in there that perhaps just needs to be better presented. I'll keep an eye out for any future works without the word 'featuring' but for now this is being re-sleeved. The album is out now so please take a listen and let me know what you think. Chris Peters

  • Behave Myself by She Drew The Gun | SuperfanNews

    Behave Myself by She Drew The Gun Chris Peters 8 Oct 2021 Whenever I complain that there are too many nouns out there (which is more often than you would think) I get told I'm an idiot. But did we really need a genre called Psych-Pop? I have no problem with referring to some pop as psychedelic. You can adjective until the cows come home but I don't think we needed a new label. That said it seems like a good place to put Louisa Roach's band She Drew The Gun until the people at Collins start taking my complaints seriously. Wirral four piece She Drew The Gun have been no stranger to the studio with countless singles and an EP dating back to 2013, however today they released just their third studio album Behave Myself. Repetitive synth effects deep in the mix keep us chugging along through this album under a foreground of sharp drum beats and vocal effects. The echoey guitars give an occasional surf rock feel although the synth does a good job of scaring that off whenever it gets too prominent. The main act here though is Roach's voice which darts between monotonic spoken word and delicately sung dreamy hooks. Songs like Something For The Pain and Co-op that are melodic throughout leave, me at least, wanting more. Although beautiful, Roach's voice has a slight note of indifference that suggests she could quite happily roll over and continue sleeping at any point. Her spoken word in some of the earlier tracks on the album and particularly Class War make the listener feel they are here to learn something and remind us of the obvious punk influences at play here. Unlike some of those influences however I can comfortably listen to Behave Myself cover to cover without the lyrical content bogging me down too much despite the effort made. I like the subtle, politically driven, punk energy this album offers and the times when Roach treats us to her singing voice is where I am most happy. The album has a surprisingly clean sound which is really well achieved through directed and defined instrumentation which I really like. Behave Myself is out now so please take a listen and let me know your thoughts. Chris Peters

  • Your Light by cxlt. | SuperfanNews

    Your Light by cxlt. Chris Peters 3 Dec 2021 It's sad to see that the lowly vowel is getting bullied out of language these days. I can handle a Weeknd or even a Chvrches at a push. But try getting your smart speaker to play cxlt.. It won't. It doesn't have a clue what you're talking about. At best you might get Ian Astbury shouting back at you. In 2021 you'd think the smart speaker is a consideration for musicians when picking a name. Or even some consistency in how people are going to refer to you. Apparently not for this young Dutch producer who insists on a full stop at the end of his randomly selected letters. Thanks. Cxlt.'s latest album, Your Light, is his third this year, amazingly. Nothing about this record however suggests impatience or fast living. From the moment you pick it up, before pressing play, the title and stunning cover art start to strip away the stress and burdens of everyday life. The title track that opens the record has a muted, gentle drum beat floating on top of an ambient river of sound accented by subtle piano and the occasional ambiguous vocal sample. You'll do well to not fall in to a blissful waking sleep listening to this. The production style and general themes of the music are consistent throughout all tracks which really seems necessary for any of this to work so he has taken the right approach there. You will find gentle variations in the drum beats of some tracks but never to a point that it will break your meditative state. The piano tones are a familiar friend that guide you through the record but the accompanying ingredients do differ enough to give many of the tunes their own individuality. Are We Still Dreaming features what could be interpreted as digital whale sound during its midway bridge and the catalog of effects travel across the stereo range to help build on the already rich atmosphere. Reflection In The Water is backed by the ghost of a children's music box which, when the beat kicks in, sounds as though it is dropped in to an ocean possibly not of this earth. The biggest criticism of this record is that every track ends too soon. Although it is marketed as an album we are only given eight tracks totaling twenty one minutes of music. Barely enough for a relaxing bath. Cxlt.'s releases to date all seem to be very thematic so it would be good to have a little more content in each so we can stay in those worlds a little longer. If we can all get comfortable with pronouncing Mr. Cxlt.'s name then there's a big future for this guy. Your Light will sink you so far in to your mattress you'll barely be able to get out. Cxlt. has created a 3 dimensional artwork with this release with perfectly selected track names, title and cover art to compliment a beautiful selection of music. Please take a listen on Spotify or via the link below and let me know your thoughts. Chris Peters

  • Crosby, Stills & Nash by Crosby, Stills & Nash | SuperfanNews

    Crosby, Stills & Nash by Crosby, Stills & Nash Tom Radigan 11 Jul 2022 During the late 1960’s music had changed to more of a prolific and influential way than it ever did before with enlightened passion, being true to oneself and making a profound statement in one’s art. Three musicians from the biggest bands of the 60’s got together to make beautiful harmonies, and sophisticated lyrics. David Crosby was from the Byrds, Stephen Stills from Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash from the Hollies. Together they would become bigger than they ever were before with their other groups. This first album had a body of classic songs. Especially the opening track which is known as their most signature song “Suite Judy Blue Eye" written by Stephen Stills over his relationship with folk singer Judy Collins. Then the next track is Nash’s folk rock tune “Marrakesh Express.” He actually tried to record it with the Hollies but it did not turn out well. The next two songs continue the folk edge until the 5th and 6th track. Another Nash song called “Pre Roads Down” brings the rock elements of the late 60’s and style from other artists like the Beatles. Then going into my favorite track of the album “Wooden Ships” co-written by Stills, Crosby and Paul Kanter from Jefferson Airplane. The interplay of Still's rough but soft vocals to Crosby’s soothing and gentle voice brings a type of magic to one's ears as they listen to it for the first time. Then after hearing the heavy instrumentation from the guitar, bass, keyboard and drums makes you realize this band is special. Another essential track would be “Helplessly Hoping” which is another good example of the famous harmonies between the three singers. This song features a genius use of alliteration that Still’s was able to possess in his lyrics. Their other rock gem “Long Time Gone” by David Crosby brings out his rock persona that we would see carry on in their next album. This song is one example of their political statements which was written the night Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. Crosby has said the song is about losing great leaders with powerful voices like the Kennedy's and Dr. Martin Luther King. But don’t take just my word for it listen to the album yourself to experience a collection of three unique songwriters making music together.

  • Forgetmenot by Five Pebbles | SuperfanNews

    Forgetmenot by Five Pebbles Chris Peters 31 Dec 2021 Picking a name for your project can be hard. You need something that sticks in people's memories but is unique enough for you to stand out. Perhaps something that embodies the style of the sounds you are creating or holds a connection to some aspect of your artistic work. There are no rules in this game though which is why the simplicity of The Beatles worked equally as well as the ambiguous and difficult to spell Lynyrd Skynyrd. It seems nowadays however we can just give a different name to each individual product of our creativity. Are we here to discuss Sputnik, Weatherday or Five Pebbles? You decide... The answer is Five Pebbles! Forgetmenot is the noisy new EP from Five Pebbles, a pseudonym of Weatherday which is a pseudonym of Sputnik, a mysterious, unseen Swedish producer. This EP dives headfirst into twenty minutes of synthetic shoegazey noise pop with its opening track 'down softly' which employs fourteen thousands guitars or so to wake the entire nation from its wintery slumber. Similar melodic themes persist throughout keeping the track from descending in to cacophony but it is clear that Sputnik has melted down a copy of Loveless and mainlined it prior to conceiving this piece. 'Cat's tongue' is more adventurous musically and with vocals that, although heavily augmented, just about manage to poke their head above the ocean of noise if only momentarily. 'Kiss' doesn't offer me anything I haven't already been given elsewhere on the EP but does begin with one of the most pleasing melodies. Sadly it feels like four minutes of experimenting with where to take that melody. It's a four minute exercise rather than a song. 'We know the devil' is the first time since the opening track that I feel I'm being given a finished product. It's a slow moving train with a trance like rhythm that has a surprising amount of variation to it's, albeit synthetic, instrumentation. The vocals are much more prominent which isn't saying much but they do play a key role in the tune and move things along through the composition. The closing track 'förgätmigej' was put to the end for a reason. I think the noise approach has been misunderstood and the drum machine has, as far as I can tell, malfunctioned! The last three quarters of this two minute track lack any obvious purpose and simply drum a steady beat through your skull until you are forced to match the rhythm with your face against a brick wall. This EP may have been a way for Sputnik to experiment with some news sounds away from what they are doing with Weatherday and I hope it served it's purpose from that personal perspective. There are two tracks here at most that are album worthy but the rest come across as incomplete work in progress. Aside from the opener the rhythm section is naive and underdeveloped. The drums require far more attention to provide much needed structure to the tracks and the layered guitars need to be used more considerately. This is a genre that, when done badly, will only cause migraines and mental breakdowns. When it is done well with thoughtful and educated arrangements it will entrance the listener, keeping them locked time and time again. Five Pebbles is clearly a very early stage project but may have some scattered potential. Please take a listen and let me know what you think. Chris Peters

  • Pressurelicious by Megan Thee Stallion ft. Future | SuperfanNews

    Pressurelicious by Megan Thee Stallion ft. Future Cashway Cashway 23 Jul 2022 With cover art like this I was always going to be pretty quick to give Megan Thee Stallions new single a listen. It's such a striking image that wouldn't be out of place marketing a Kanye record in another universe. If it doesn't make you want to listen then you've got no right brain. As an artist who seems to be on the receiving end of a disproportionate amount of hate online, I've always wanted to like Megan. Especially when, from my perspective at least, she comes across as a genuinely likeable girl in interviews. You can't watch her on her recent Hot Ones interview and not be won over. With all that said I have struggled to find a version of her sound that really clicks with me. Some of the collaborations she has done have been fire, such as Lick with Shenseea and of course, the soundtrack of 2020, WAP by Cardi B. When Megan is one of many ingredients to a track and is there to deliver a couple of killer verses I feel she always add that flavour you expect her to add and does it with the perfect mix of confidence, sexiness and aggression, and sexiness. However her solo work struggles with variety. It's like she has found a gear that she likes and just coasts on that one rather than mixing it up anymore. This problem has meant that her solo collections have only ever really had a first listen from me and unless people have it sitting in the background I don't know how they are get multiple plays. So on to the new single. Pressurelicious is a collaboration with Future produced by Hitkidd. The beat is sexy and mesmerising with it's foundation being a shaky three note motif repeated through most of the tune. The hi hat is manic which is good, the snare's a little thin which is bad. If we only care about the production and not pay too much attention to the two main acts then I think it's hard to deny that this will be a club hit. This beat is going to make peoples bodies want to rub against other peoples bodies. Unfortunately, the fun ends there for me and not through lack of trying. Like I said, I want to like Megan Thee Stallion but there's just not enough variation to keep me here. The hook is barely a hook, the verses are disjointed and the split of vocals in the composition is a bit random. Future sounds like he's literally drowning under his reverb but that's nothing new for him I guess so the only criticism I can make to that is it's not my thing. Overall I think this probably works as an album cut surrounded by more exciting material but as a single I don't think it's got enough flesh. If this is supposed to get me excited about Megan's coming album then it's failed unfortunately. It hurts to have to criticise her because there's far too much unjustified criticism out there for this artist but I'm afraid it's a no repeat from me. Thanks anyway Megan and I still love ya!

  • is this what i look like by Yours Truly | SuperfanNews

    is this what i look like by Yours Truly Jesse Keel 15 Jul 2022 Australian readers have probably already heard of Yours Truly since their debut in 2020 did pretty well down there. Outside of the US though Yours Truly are still just beginning to break ground. This week they released a new EP, Is This What I Look Like, and it has captured my attention in all the ways I did'nt expect. Walk Over My Grave is a powerful opener. Mikaila sounding like Hayley Williams back in 2007 - I'm sure this comparison is going to get old. Disappointingly this opener does lack the memorable hook that many of the other tracks have but that's a minor criticism and potentially a matter of opinion. It's a heavy tune with fast, aggressive guitar, relentless rhythms from drummer Bradley Cronan and unexpected breakdowns. It's easy to think you know what's coming for the remaining 16 minutes after this track but don't be fooled. Careless Kind was released as a single earlier this month and is a slightly gentler offering. The track opens with layered vocals and a simple, defined riff. A muted guitar then makes way for the bass line to bring the song in to the chorus. Here is a much finer example of the Halestorm-esque hooks that this band is capable of. The track ends a bit prematurely but it's got the makings of a radio hit in every way. No reason why this shouldn't do well with a US audience on the West Coast. Careless Kind is followed up by the title track which starts out as a programmed drum and bass rhythm with scratch effects. The whole tune has much more electronic production than the rest of the EP with endless vocal effects chopped up and layered, repeated echoing guitar and a bass drum that has moved away from the shotgun sound of the earlier tracks and is now a machine gun. The transition to the following track Hallucinate is absolutely flawless and without looking at the listing you will miss it first time. Hallucinate is the shining star of this EP and deserves to be shouted about. It features guest vocals from Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six and that collaboration could not have gone any better. His voice fits perfectly and he sounds like a full time member of the band. The electronic effects carry over from the title track but the whole band are at play here with Mikaila scoring 10s all the way through, the guitar is magnificent and the drums follow the lay of Franchesci's voice in a way I can't explain. This should have been a hit. The EP ends with Lights On which falls a little short for me. The composition is incredibly poppy, the lyrics include a few too many oh-ohs but at least it has a hook that you'll be singing for days! A lacklustre ending to the record doesn't matter too much when the rest of the offering is the quality it is. I strongly recommend giving this a listen and I will be digging in to the prior releases by Yours Truly as well.

  • The New Home Of Independent Music Reviews? | SuperfanNews

    The New Home Of Independent Music Reviews? Aaron Meeks 5 Aug 2022 If you are a music nut, like me, you likely bore everyone around you with endless facts and opinions they didn't ask for. But it's no different to all the golfers boring us senseless with the arc of their swing or whatever rubbish they talk about. Everyone's got something they need to shout from the rooftops and that's why the internet God's gave us blogs. I dread to think how many golfing blogs there are out there - I almost fell sleep just typing the sentence. Thankfully though, scattered between the coma inducing sports publications, musos gathered en-masse and began filling the cyberspace with sites as creatively named as Johns Music Blog and Marlene's Review Site. The birth of the blog was an exciting time for those of us with rhythm in our veins. We were so used to journalists spewing out reviews for albums they had listened to once under strict instruction that they should 'have an article on my desk before 5pm'. Nothing says all engrossing passion like obligation through employment and a deadline. No, the blog was different. These people were getting nothing in return. They just needed to get their thoughts out there. Marlene's Review Site averaged a view a week and that was normally her husband. Did she care? Did she bollocks. This was therapy for her. Joking aside (I hope you understand there is a lot of joking going on here!) that one view a week was the problem that has become more apparent in recent years as the internet fills up with more and more Marlenes. I don't have the time or energy to be hunting down these blogs and visiting 400 different sites a week to get my fill on music reviews and opinions. There are now platforms out there that catalogue blogs and there articles but it's not the sexiest experience. What the music world needs is a master blog if you like. A repository for all the Marlenes and Johns to come publish their articles in one place. Those articles can then be presented in an accessible, digestible format and that would give me my fill of musical nerdery all in one location. You might call it the new home of independent music reviews and that home might look a lot like this. I believe that's what we have found here at SuperfanNews and for that I'm ever grateful. Marlene and John no longer have to bother with the upkeep of their own blogs. Marlene's opinions have far more reach and impact. The reach and impact they deserve. Most importantly I have reduced my open browser tabs from thirteen thousand to just one. Beautiful. Now, if you don't mind I'm off to read about Derek's 10 Favourite New Wave Albums 1980-1985. What a rush!

  • Personal Hotspots by Kitten | SuperfanNews

    Personal Hotspots by Kitten Chris Peters 17 Dec 2021 2014 was of course the year that Chris Martin 'consciously uncoupled' from Gwyneth and gave just another reason for Coldplay's music to induce vomiting every time they appeared on the airwaves uninvited. In another far more abstract part of the universe, however, indie pop rockers Kitten released their self titled debut album. Now, seven years later, with an entirely new line up behind front woman Chloe Chaidez we are graced with the follow up Personal Hotspots. Where will Chloe take us on this journey through her mind? Personal Hotspots is the album equivalent of being lured in to a party you didn't want to go to then having the greatest night of your life. The opening track The End Of Sunshine builds an, albeit stunningly beautiful, false sense of security with its choral vocals, sparingly utilised harmonies and subtle breadth of instrumentation. The tempo and power is then turned up with the vastly different 80s influenced pop tune What Year Are We In. The largely monotonic vocal delivery of the verses so heavily contrasted to the albums opener still holds a unique quality that works perfectly for this style of song. The drum breaks are especially inspired and totally embody that Kitten character that shoots veins through the whole record in one way or another. For a first time listener of Kitten every track will equal parts confuse and exhilarate. The fourth track on the album includes an aggressive, industrial, dubstep inspired post chorus which shouldn't work but absolutely does. In Reassuring Passage a distant figure voices calming words for one minute to cleanse our minds before the second half of the album. In between all the obscure curveballs however there are numerous classicly crafted pop songs with undeniable radio appeal I expect to be hearing more of in the coming months. Angelina with its dreamy verses dowsed in Californian sunshine was already released as a single back in 2020 and is an obvious pick. My Block has a similarly catchy hook and a snappy overdriven guitar riff just keeping the track from falling over the edge at times into club territory. The same guitar appears out of nowhere midway through My House for the beginnings of a dramatic 80s metal style solo. American Football also has all the makings of a summertime radio hit complete with canned crowd cheering in the background. The record ends with the oddly named and haunting I Wanted To Die, And Then I Met You which consists of little more than Chloe quietly delivering the line over a sparing piano and synth bedding. A strange piece but fitting for this project where we rarely no what to expect from the next track at any given time. It is surprising to check the time at this point and realise we have only been through 28 minutes of music. The rollercoaster of sounds and styles makes the record feel much fuller although a further 20 minutes would be greatly welcomed by me at least. Chloe Chaidez and her band have done an astonishing job of throwing together a plethora of styles yet keeping a distinctive character bleeding through all of them. Everything is done to a high standard whether it be the distorted screams of the industrial Daddy Don't Take My Phone or the gentle yet powerful dream pop opener The End Of Sunshine. The album is a well thought out piece of work with noticeable consideration given to track selection and sequencing. The songwriting ability displayed on this record is fantastic and in keeping with Kittens previous work and the production is absolutely first class. I hope we don't have to wait a further 7 years for the next significant release. The album is available to stream now so please take a listen and let me know your thoughts. Chris Peters

  • The Walls Are Way Too Thin by Holly Humberstone | SuperfanNews

    The Walls Are Way Too Thin by Holly Humberstone Chris Peters 19 Nov 2021 We are all guilty of judging books by their covers. We see a morose, hunch backed teen dressed all in black with an upside down crucifix hanging from their neck and we immediately assume we know the only thing that could possibly be coming out of their earphones is demonic screams and thrashing guitars. It makes me wonder, when people see this middle aged, conservatively dressed white guy strolling through the City of London could any of them guess I am listening to Holly Humberstone's latest EP The Walls Are Way Too Thin? Well guess what? I am. Holly Humberstone has spent the majority of her career to date in lockdown but that hasn’t stopped her synth based pop ballads from building her an ever growing online fanbase from all corners of the globe. Now that the world is desperately trying to get back to normal Holly is wasting no time in progressing further and has marked the next stage in her journey with this latest EP. Haunted House introduces this record and in my opinion that’s a real shame. A derivative drop in the ocean that is 2021’s ambient, piano backed, female singer songwriter ballads. Luckily it’s not too long but it does set an unnecessary tone as it is fair to say this is not a reflection of the rest of this record. In this age of streaming, speed clicking and insatiable digital appetites I wonder how many listeners will miss the rest of this record because the first track doesn’t grab them. The following title track thankfully turns things right around. The bouncy synth beat emulates a muted guitar riff and drums are perfectly judged. I can’t help but notice the similarities to Katie Pruitt but it doesn’t mar the listening experience and if anything that's a compliment. This is a great song in all aspects of Hollys voice and the production. Please Don’t Leave Just Yet is another success with slightly subtler production but beautifully accented backing vocals and sporadic electronic voice samples. Humberstone’s voice is layered at just the right times to add depth and variety. I find that when artists like this try to make the lyrics young and relatable they often do so at the expense of the quality and maturity of the song. She has masterfully avoided this trap and even when using expletives and references to, for example, her partner spending all their time on the internet, the track still feels polished and thought through. The highlight of the record is cleverly positioned as the fifth and penultimate track so the mood builds up to it. Scarlett is a faster paced pop tune with completely inspired production that blows up and holds back at all the right times. In the later chorus’ the vocal effects on the backing vocals merge them seamlessly with the river of synth strings. The composition is smart, the vocal performance is fantastic and I hope this becomes a signature sound for Holly. This was the fourth single off the EP prior to it's release and it really has all the makings of a radio hit. I'm still getting those Katie Pruitt vibes though. I can't be the only one noticing this! Surely! It's not helped by the closing tracks acoustic guitar and slight soft country undertones. This is a fairly underwhelming effort but works as a close to the record. Its nice to see the sequencing of even a six track EP has been considered. Holly Humberstone is a remarkable new talent and this latest release is a first class piece of work. The only notable downside is that it is not a full length album. Whether it is the uplifting production, the down to earth lyrics or the way that Humberstone's voice perfectly bounces off the beat in the more up tempo tunes, most listeners will find something to love. This record is an all round success and I can't wait for more. I have been critical at times but I don't want you to come away thinking that I regard this record as anything less than one of the best releases of the year. Take a listen and give me your thoughts. Chris Peters

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