Friday, 6 October 2017

The Institutes - You Stole My Baby (single review)

The Institutes - You Stole My Baby (single review)

You Stole My baby is the latest single from Coventry rock band The Institutes. The song follows a similar pattern to their previous single, All I need, however YSMB adds a harmonica to give a 70s classic rock/southern rock vibe to the song that fits nicely. The harmonica drones through setting a strong atmosphere for the song which is quickly complimented by Andrew Ferris' vocals. The melancholic vocals are full and give off a very hard-rock-esque style in their delivery being slightly coarse, Ferris' vocals are a particular highlight of not just this song but The Institutes as a whole, being melancholic but powerful - feeling like something that wouldn't be out of place in a 90's post-grunge band, however do not think The Institutes are a 90s revival band. While clearly having many influences the band are very unique and Ferris vocal work is a huge part of making that.

YSMB sounds professional and has excellent production. The band are clearly impressive musicians, knowing exactly when to or when not to play - a rule that Andy Lowe follows particularly well as for example when the harmonica is wailing at the beginning of the song Lowe plays a
small but noticeable bass riff that fits unbelievable well, while small it is simple things like that that put The Institutes above other underground bands with their impressive musicianship and connection in their playing.

What sells this song so well is Andy Hall's guitar solo that picks up the pace with Ferris screaming "come into me". This makes YSMB a more interesting listen with the sudden change up of tone and pace, especially in the drumming which feels fast paced and aggressive in a way that will psych up any listener; YSMB feeling heavier than anything else I've heard from The Institutes before.

The Institutes have delivered again with another impressive and memorable single, YSMB is catchy and a little more daring then All I need and for that it makes it a huge step up from what was already great in the first place. Incredible work from one of Coventry's best.

By Daniel A. Clarke

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Institutes - All I need (single review)

The Institutes - All I need (single review)

All I need is the newest single by rock band The Institutes. A band that are on a steady rise, as they have played up and down the country, even getting an opening slot for radio-rock superstars The Kings of Leon in the Genting Arena


All I need opens with a melodic guitar riff that is joined by vocalist Andrew Ferris in an equally melodic delivery, flowing through the instrumental in an almost ghostly fashion. It is apparent from the start The Institutes have a radio-rock vibe (that is not an insult, no matter what metal elitists say) that seems accessible with the catchy song structure and emotional delivery in the vocals. The Institutes are a band that understand how to structure a song greatly - not being too repetitive or complicated, meeting in the middle perfectly.

Andy Hall's guitar solo is simplistic but has emotion, something that is much more important than 'technical' and needless shredding, his playing style fits the band perfectly and fits on top of the rhythm section. The Institutes are good in playing their part respectively, with Kirk Savage (drums) and Andy Lowe (bass) locking together and forming a strong foundation for the melodic guitars and vocals that when combined connect and build up a solid track and massive sound despite only being four people. Lowe's bass is played in a typical rock fashion, his playing is a bouncy rumble that reinforces and adds to the huge sound of the four piece. Hall's guitar playing is very reminiscent of the 90s alternative sound and it overall corresponds well with Ferris'  mid-range style. Savage's drums, in a similar fashion to Lowe's bass playing, is rock inspired and hard hitting that is made even better with little fills in the song that add to the large scale of the song.
Ferris feels like the star of the show on All I need as his vocals are memorable and unique and build on the songs emotion with a melancholic tone to his singing, Ferris appears to be a vocalist who works incredible well with the equally talented musicians of The Institutes.


There is no convoluted pretentiousness here, just a simple rock track that is a pleasant listen for both rock fans and those of more mainstream tastes, and that is where All I need and The Institutes themselves benefit. The talent of all four members is apparent on All I need as well as their previous single: Million Miles, which feel full and atmospheric. Pounding drums, thudding bass lines, guitars with overdrive and smooth vocals, The Institutes know how to write a modern rock song well which is obvious just from All I Need. The Institutes have amazing potential and will please listeners with their sophomore effort: All I need - being released on August 18th.





by Daniel A. Clarke

First Single (million miles)-

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Blank Expression Issue 3 review

Background - Blank Expression is an online Music Magazine that covers music of the West Midlands as well as music from around the world.
Featuring a wide variety of musical styles from local up and coming artists being covered in interviews, reviews and articles. Blank Expression (which presumably is named after the song by Coventry 2 tone band The Specials) is run by only two people (with the support of a few others) yet is professional in both the presentation of the website and the writing.

Blank Expression currently have 2 zines on their website which feature interesting articles regarding a wide variety of musically related things not just bands, such as record collecting. The formatting from issue 1 to 2 does change but is significantly improved on issue 2. Blank Expression looks like a company made magazine ready for shops, the best thing is it is free to read on the Blank Expression website.

The website states any support from other writers, photographers etc is welcome, Please offer as much support as you can as Blank Expression is trying to help keep the local music scene vibrant and prominent.

Issue 3 -
with another improved style change to the layout the magazine looks great. It is apparent that Blank Expression seems to put a lot of its focus on punk music and alternative, this is a huge positive as those genres are very interesting to read about and discover however many styles are looked at and presented attracting a wide audience

Featuring a live review of Cabbage and a review of Mussel Head's debut EP (I was glad to see they gave Mussel head a positive review!) plus more. several interviews including a great interview with Sealford Mods that was an enjoyable read.
The Issue is written with care and shows a love of the local scene rarely seen today. With added details such as playlist that features a personal favourite: Futumche - Gazing as well as little things such as a cut out and a fashion tips section, an all round varied magazine that is fun to read.

The Magazine is free, this alone is an incentive to check out this great issue. The amount of effort and time put into one issue alone is astonishing, I urge you to check out Blank Expression and take a look into the local music scene that is in heavy need of attention and support for its brilliant artists.

Issue 3 will be released on 12th August and has previously been sold in shops such as HMV.


Check out Blank Expression's website here: https://blankexpressionzine.wordpress.com/zines/

Dan Clarke.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Blink 182 - Barclaycard Area 7/7/17 (Live review)

Blink 182 - Barclaycard Area 7/7/17 (Live review)
Tour - California European tour
 Support - The Front Bottoms, Frank Turner and the Sleeping souls

The lights dimmed, the crowd screamed and the big union jack flag covering the stage with Blink's logo on the front dropped - a flaming "Fuck" illuminated the back of the stage, so hot the audience could feel it on their already dehydrated selves. The band, who are looking on top form, opened the show with Feeling this. The fan favourite gets everyone singing along and created an explosive atmosphere that did not die down. The Rock Show followed, Mark sounded impressive in his vocal delivery. This is a surprise to many as Mark has often sounded flat and monotone at shows of more recent years, however here is an exception. Mark sang well, got the crowd to scream along and most importantly hopped around on stage like a man in his 20s playing his first gig, clearly a man who despite his age (45) moves onstage with more energy than most singers half his age, all whilst playing, albeit simple, bass lines.

Cynical, the opening track off of the bands newest release, and first with new guy Matt Skiba, California goes down very well with the crowd. Blink prove they aren't just an old band who come to play the hits/classics, they've made a new album and they're going to play it. The set list is in fact majority California material featuring 8 tracks off the album.

Photo - J. Dempsey
To appease both fans and people who only know the hits, Blink play a trio of classic mainstream Blink material with Anthem pt 2, What's my age again? and First date. All of these songs are well received as everyone in the crowd screamed with all their strength, telling the whole arena "nobody likes you when you're 23" and the relatable nervousness of a first date.

Next up were more California tracks with the phenomenal Bored to Death, a song in which Skiba's vocals shine on and Mark's subtle bass chords are fitting to the whole song's tone. Built this pool followed, a 17 second long comedic song about wanting to "see some naked dudes"
Down was played, the crowd love it but it is only the calm before the storm as the crowd are brought into a joyous frenzy with Miss You. Skiba sounds incredible and truly proves that he is worthy to sing the song in the place of Tom DeLonge. While not a technical masterpiece, the song is truly a milestone in the band's career and their lyrical ability.

Two Enema/TOYPAJ era tracks are played followed by two California tracks, it is clear the earlier works are better received however Kings of the weekend and She's out of her mind are interesting and catchy and certainly not bad, just when compared to classics such as Dumpweed they do appear less enjoyable.

Violence was a highlight of the shows, with Travis Barker's precise and often underappreciated drum work shining through, the man never slowed down during the show, an incredible showman despite being at the back and not saying anything, that shows true talent. Skiba sang the choruses with ease as the adoring crowd sang along, a memorable moment and a performance that proves Blink 182 are not a joke but a talented band who, at times, like to have fun - Violence is the band showing their more serious musicianship and lyricism as a band.

Before Violence Barker was given a brief drum solo, while short it showed the immaculate drumming of a man who is often disregarded for playing for that band "who wrote a song about fucking a dog in the ass". however, like the whole of Blink, Travis should be respected for his musicianship and physical ability, he plays with the energy, power and speed of a man half his age. Travis Barker is the most talented musician of Blink 182, that is undisputable.

The band announced a "special surprise", while some were expecting a new song, instead the band played something better - happy holidays, you bastard! The crowd had the stage lights off and instead had the audience light the room with their phone lights, a short song that created an immense amount of energy within the room that is unchallenged by many other bands. A stupid song that brought a room of thousands of people to stupid grins as everyone yelled "Unless your dad will suck me off" and "and he's always fucking shitting his pants!". Stupid, fun and an unforgettable moment.

Ending the show with another California track, Los Angeles, an anthemic catchy song that is a highlight of both California the album and the show itself.

The lights darkened for a coupe of minutes, the crowd still screamed, they knew an encore was certain and it was one hell of an encore -

All the small things, a somewhat awful song, somehow is infectiously  enjoyable. the crowd sing in unison as "na na na na na na" is chanted over and over. A weak song in the Blink library, yet live it is an enjoyable nostalgia wave that is impossible to not sing along to.

Dammit, the only track to be played off Dude Ranch (which recently had its 20th anniversary), makes the crowd move, The short punk rock blast of teenage aggression about losing a girlfriend still has the same energy being sang by the band who are in their 40s and married, they may be older but they can still perform the songs they wrote as young men convincingly with passion. Flames and gritty distortion ends the shows.....until they band continue with Barker's  son, Landon, on drums and the band played a small minute or so jam that then concluded with Hoppus casually saying "bye, bye Birmingham" - and the show is over.


An incredible experience the band kept the whole audience of mixed ages interested and invested in them and their antics. Each member performed with flawless skill that struck awe into the admiring viewers. An unforgettable show that pleased both causal and hardcore Blink fans.

Daniel A. Clarke

Set - http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/blink182/2017/barclaycard-arena-birmingham-england-be4159a.html

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Alice's adventures in wonderland - Lewis Carroll (book review)

Alice's adventures in wonderland - Lewis Carroll (book review)
year - 1865

Image result for alice s adventures in wonderlandAlice's adventures in wonderland, or better known by its more commonly movie coined named Alice in wonderland, is a fantasy novel that is often considered  a classic by many, even being one of Queen Victoria's favourite stories.

The story doesn't follow a coherent plot, switching from place to place randomly, at times it follows a pattern but definitely not always. Carroll's writing finds its strengths in the creativity of his imagination, explaining Wonderland but never going into an immense amount of detail, leaving the reader guessing and using their own imagination, however Carroll didn't need to use such detail in his writing as he included 37 illustrations within the novel, while this is a good way to shortcut long drawn out explanations of the weird and wonderful creatures of his novel it can also be problematic, for example many cheaper prints of the book (one I happen to have) do not include the illustrations meaning that without the internet a reader would have no idea what a Mock Turtle is, as a proper description is never given, however this is not a fault of the novel as it was clearly intended to be printed with said illustrations, this is purely a fault of a publisher.

The plot of Alice's adventures in Wonderland is an odd journey which, when broken down, is just about a girl trying to fit in and figure out who she really is, this obviously being made very clear through Carroll's overt symbolism of literal transformation as the protagonist goes from the size of a mouse to that of a house several times throughout the novel. It's a simple message intertwined into crazy events such as a tea party hosted by a Hatter with his animal friends.
Carroll was clearly not aiming to make a deep fantasy plot that later writers such as Tolkien did as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is clearly a children's fantasy story but is so great in it's light tone and madness that adults enjoy the novel still to this day. Many modern interpretations of this novel take the meaning as more dark and malicious, with Carroll's potential paedophilia and drug addiction and while yes, they are important factors, a reader must remember that this story contains nothing outrageous in its content, the only thing that can be considered particularly immoral is the context of the writer and his personal life, not the book itself. Don't let Tim Burton's gothic interpretation in his recent movie fool you, Lewis Carroll's novel is a children's tale that has stood the test of time and become a phenomenon  in pop culture.

A novel that is not about character development or a detailed plot, instead Carroll created a novel that relies heavily on word play to create its brilliant comedic effects, similarly to how Shakespeare does in Twelfth night through Feste, Carroll has moments where he questions and plays with language, sometimes just throwing a random poem into the story for fun. For a man who's profession was actually a mathematician, Carroll knew how to play with the English language in a way that was witty and dry, reinforcing the traditional style of "English comedy". While not a laugh out loud experience, Alice's adventures in Wonderland is clever in the same way Shakespeare was clever in his writing, obviously Carroll was not on the same level of Shakespeare however he clearly shows a defined and mastered skill of wordplay that Shakespeare popularised and in some cases - created.

An innocent tale that people of all ages can enjoy, those older can pick out the language effects and laugh at that, those younger can laugh at the very idea of a disappearing Cheshire Cat or playing croquet with Flamingos, truly a universal novel being an easy but enjoyable read. An undeniable classic.

Daniel A. Clarke

Friday, 30 June 2017

Futumche! - Gazing into misery (EP review)

Futumche! - Gazing into misery (EP review)

Year - 2017

Futumche! are a 3 piece experimental rock group from Coventry, Gazing into misery is their sophomore release.
Opening with a slowly picked bass line by Jaz Rai, the rest of the band soon join and add to the unique song that is Gazing, the song leaves the listener in a daze as the writing style swaps from a thudding, almost nursery rhyme rhythm to a slow reverb laden sound that switches from dreamy to ferocious in seconds. Futumche! straight away show they are odd but not a gimmick, a sound that they hone into their own, making it their own creation. With Rai, previously of punk band Bad mouth men, and guitarist and co-vocalist Steve Clarke, also of Coventry rock band Superhooch, using their very different styles to create a juxtaposition in tone that leaves a listener intrigued. Gazing ends with a beautiful guitar section that is completely different to the rest of the song's thudding rhythm. The EP's "A side" is opened very strongly.

Misery fires out next with a very punk inspired tone, with gritty distortion, a catchy bass line and Brandon Garrigan's drums holding it together, keeping a steady rhythm as Rai shouts "I can't be happy, you can't be happy now!". The punk inspiration on this track is overtly clear and it sounds great, but Futumche! prove they do not stick to one formulaic style, slowing down into a more gloomy aggression as both Clarke and Rai shout in unison "trapped inside your misery!", all while Garrigan savagely hits his kit. A memorable track, even if it is unconventional from a "catchy song" point of view. The band's weirdness and aggression shines on this track.

The rest of the tracks on the EP are put under "side B", these tracks being recorded in various locations and then being Mastered by Clarke. Laer opens up this "side", a distorted attack of various experimental sounds that is followed by the much more mellow track, Forward, an instrumental track that has an infectiously memorable bass line.
Wait Inside is a strong track, with synth and droning spoken vocals; Wait inside feels like Kid A era Radiohead if Thom York had a deeper voice. possibly the EP's second best track behind Misery, Wait inside is a unique journey that  any fan of  Radiohead would appreciate.
 Futumche! close the EP with Through the mountain, a calm acoustic guitar led instrumental that is very relaxing and ends the EP in the complete opposite to how it starts, showing the broad range of writing talent the 3 piece have.

Gazing into Misery is a surprising and undeniably strong debut that shows that 3 people can make a full sound, with no section of this EP feeling "empty", and Futumche! have made a sound that is their own and no-one else's, splicing together various influences into one EP. Futumche! are unusual but it only adds to why their music is so enjoyable. Futumche! have a promising sound and overall Gazing into Misery is an outstanding sophomore effort.

Daniel A. Clarke

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Slack Alice - Wiseman (single review)

Slack Alice - Wiseman (single review)
year - 2017

Wiseman - Fuzz laden rock n roll that kicks life into the genre

Wiseman is the debut single by Coventry hard rock band, Slack Alice, who formed late last year, in their small time as a band they have opened for Phil Campbell's (Motorhead) band - The Bastard sons.
The song opens with a distinctive bass line that clearly has a fuzz pedal used on it producing a rumbling and somewhat classic sound, giving a stoner rock and psychedelic vibe to the song. Wiseman screams hard rock conventions with fast paced pummelling drums that are locked and tight with the bass lines, all topped by Wiseman's grizzly heavy guitar lines, the musicianship on this track shows off Slack Alice's high quality  of skill as song writers and at playing their respective role within the band, the great production also gives clear clarity between each instrument and the vocals sit just right in the mix, not being drowned out by the furious distorted attack of the song.

The vocals are a high wail that show clear influences from the 70's rock scene and are easy to listen to, not being grating - this being a common problem with bands with higher pitched vocalists. Slack Alive over come this and produce a very strong and memorable debut single that feels uncanny, sounding similar to 70's rock whilst adding a new tone and feel to their sound that keeps classic rock and newer rock fans interested.

A great debut of fast paced rock and roll distortion and high pitched vocals, with a nice guitar solo fitting in comfortably half way through the song. A band that show clear potential to be something big!

*Wiseman will be released on Friday 23rd June*

By Daniel A Clarke

Monday, 19 June 2017

The Majik Bottle - Superhooch (EP review)

The Majik Bottle - Superhooch (EP review)
Year - 2017


A blazing and ferocious sophomore effort from Coventry band Superhooch


Superhooch set off strongly with The Viscous EP, an EP any band would find difficult to follow, however Superhooch have followed up their debut incredibly well, by retaining their unique sound but also by adding in new, more complex techniques to their music...
Fast Cars and Blank Faces starts off the EP, with growling dual guitar riffs from Chris Worsley and Johnny Kingham, but not in a pretentious "play fast to look good" way like bands such as Avenged Sevenfold do, instead the duo incorporate a very doomy feel to the riffs, but manage to keep the stoner psychedelic sound that featured on their debut. This clear new musical influence keeps The Majik Bottle interesting and not just a rehash of The Viscous EP with both Fast Cars and EP closer Lost in the sky feeling like a doom metal song spliced with 70s rock, a combination that proves to work well.

The Lizard is something completely new for Superhooch in that the song does not fit with the rest of the EP, having a catchy bass line by Steve Clarke rumble in the background as Jonny Worsley sings over the top, not fitting in doesn't make it bad by any means, as unique songs show off the creative ability of a band, definitely not the EP's strongest point, but still an enjoyable, albeit odd, song.

Worsley's vocals are stronger than before, and no songs show this more than Stigmatize, a fast paced attack that builds up the anticipation for follow up track: Slow Burn. Slow Burn is easily the strongest song on the album, both musically and vocally, Worsley shows off a wide range and gives off a convincing and emotional delivery. Clarke open ups the  track with, what appears to be, a Sabbath inspired bass riff that is heavy but also catchy, showing off their influences but not ripping them off, a task many artists can never manage (and end up just straight up stealing from other bands). Throughout the track Clarke fills in with smooth and technical bass lines, theses connect and lock with Peanut Marshall's drums that are heavy hitting and fast, feeling even stronger than his drumming on The Viscous EP, as a whole the rhythm section never disappoint on this album.
The Guitar work is also deserving of praise, both Worsley and Kingham play soulfully but technically at the same time. Worsley's rhythm work is heavy and blares through whilst Kingham's guitar playing appears much more based around 70's and 80's heavy metal/hard rock style. These two styles work very well together and add to the size of the band's size, on tracks like Slow Burn it is hard to believe that this only a 5 man band making such a big sound - the two guitarists synch in a way that shows tight musicianship and a good working relationship in song writing.

Numbskull follows, and it is not disappointing, and considering it follows the best track off the EP, it shows the song is worth praise. Sounding aggressive, this is a fiery and bloody track that's tone is made by the vocal delivery of Worsley and the guitar work of Kingham and Worsley.

The Majik Bottle closes with the first single off the EP, Lost in the sky, a track that heavily features Chris Worsley on vocals alongside his brother Jonny. This adds a nice change to EP that doesn't make it boring or monotonous. An odd combination of doom metal and psychedelic rock, Lost in the sky deals with drug use/abuse and it switches in tone, going from a almost tortured retelling of drug use during the verses, then during the chorus the 7 minute epic changes into a fast paced offense that has Worsley wailing "We're dancing on the line drinking SUPERHOOCH", a great reference to the band's name which is named after an alcoholic drink. A great song that closes the EP leaving the listener wanting more. A 7 minute song that remains interesting throughout is a sure sign of great musicianship and song writing ability.

The Majik Bottle tops The Viscous EP, a surprising feat, considering the strength of that release. The new writing styles work well for the band and prove they don't rinse and repeat their songs, easily one of the best independent releases from a rock band that clearly have a passion for their art, all the songs are produced well and are mastered by bassist Steve Clarke, clearly the band didn't want to just write great songs, but to also have them be of a high production value, something many unsigned bands do not do (or can't do). Overall The Majik Bottle is a hard hitting mix of genres that forms 6 truly brilliant tracks, and also offers a new best song for the band - Slow Burn.
Superhooch are one of the best bands on the Coventry music scene and deserve a high amount of attention and praise for their efforts that have so far, never fell short.

by Daniel A. Clarke

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers - The Search For Franks Brains (album review)

Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers - The Search For Franks Brains (album review)
year - 2017

The Search For Franks Brains is the sophomore effort by Charles Dexter Ward and The Imagineers, a nostalgia enducing rock outfit from Coventry.
Opening their album with a bang, the listener is greeted with a booming distorted guitar that grabs attention straight away. God Knows Stomp opens the album and allows a new listener to hear the truly unique, yet oddly familiar sound of Charles Dexter Ward and The Imagineers. Charles Dexter Ward's vocals are, like the guitars, a screeching force of fuzz and distortion, this makes the vocals and strong muscianship intertwine into one. A strong opening track.

The band's riffs are heavy with distortion but retain a bluesy 70's Zeppelin vibe that will sit well with any fan of classic rock. However do not think this band are simply a 70s hard rock revival band, these guys bring something new to the table, especially in the aforementioned vocals, while not exactly melodic, they're hard rock vocals that attack, hitting their listener into a trance as the song booms on.

Apocalyptic is an impressive show of musical ability, the song acts as a psychedelic journey that feels as if it's a stoners classic in the making, captivating and fluent. smooth lead guitars, fuzzy bass and a to the point drum beat. Together this band hit the nail on the head and do their job, particuarly on Apocalyptic
Charles Dexter Ward and The Imagineers are by no mean a one trick pony, they can go from slow psychedelic stoner rock to a full on hard rock offence shown on fast paced gems such as Franks Brains, where the drum beat is ferociously quicker and Ward's vocals feel incredibly focused (a song worthy of being a single) and Merlin's Beard, which is a highlight, the guitars are fast to get the listener head banging along. the guitars are paired with a thudding bassline that is brilliantly locked in with the band. Merlin's Beard is the band at full force and a song worthy of serious recognition.

The Search For Franks Brains is an impressive second album that does not disappoint, it's focused, the musicianship is tight, unique but with a hint of nostalgic 70's vibes thrown in and the vocals - odd, yet amazing. They're a fuzzy screech that fits in so well with the music it creates a flow that will keep any listener focused, thrilled and most importantly happy they just discovered an up and coming band that have the talent and ability to become a new star in the rock scene. Don't believe anyone who says "rock is dead" when bands such as Charles Dexter Ward and The Imagineers are making music. Check out this band.
8/10
Highlights - Apocaplytic, Merlin's beard, Franks Brains, Graverobber Blues.
By Daniel A. Clarke 

Monday, 12 June 2017

Mussel Head - Mussel Head EP (EP Review)

Mussel Head - Mussel Head EP (EP Review)
year - 2017

Mussel Head is the debut release by Coventry based grunge/alternative rock band of the same name.
Opening the EP with Monkey Bone the band use a steady drum beat and melancholic vocals that display a depressing tone, but thankfully are not overly "heart-broken" like bands in the Emo genre, from the get go the band show a talent of creating an emotional vibe that is not too whiney or agitating to a listener. The band all come in for the chorus with explosive guitar riffs and heavy grunge vocals that sound as if they're straight from the 90s Seattle scene. A strong way to start off the EP, keeping listeners interested for the second track..

Ache starts off on a much heavier note, then quickly juxtapositions to a smooth melodic light guitar riff with the similarly melancholic vocals, but again this track goes into a atmospheric distorted attack of frustration as the band seem to let out their anger. Ache feels less grunge like than Monkey bone, offering a heavier alternative rock sound that will certainly induce mosh pits during the chorus. The best part of this song is the atmosphere in the vocals and guitar, they connect and land well with the listener. only two songs in and Mussel Head manage to show off their instrumental skill.

Criminal Run is a, like the previous tracks, rather bipolar, going from reverb guitars to screams and crunchy guitar riffs - this may put some off, as some do not enjoy tracks with contrasting styles/tones, however for what Mussel Head appear to be going for, it works. It shows angst, but in a mature and clever way, this isn't a band of 15 year olds screaming about their girlfriends leaving them, Mussel Head are better than that, instead they use bright lyricism that is consistently strong throughout the EP.

Five Penny piece is a strong track, opening with female vocals, adding a different sound that keeps the listener interested, making Mussel Head not repetitive.
The instrumentals on Five Penny Piece are much more melodic but build up to a great climactic ending that makes the song easily one of the highlights from the already strong EP.

Mussel Head close the EP with Foreign Voices, a song that is lighter in sound and much calmer too, it works as a great ending to the EP, with a brilliant guitar solo closing the song, Mussel Head did the difficult job of ending the EP on a strong note, just like opening in a captivating, the band have clearly understood the importance of having a satisfying ending to any EP/album.

Mussel Head are clearly a strong band destined for great things with a sound that is unique but also borrows from the already loved grunge sound, making it easily accessible for a new listener. A great first EP with impressive production and direction, this band could be the next big band on the alternative scene.  Mussel Head are an act to watch.


By Daniel A Clarke

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Ras Tinny - The Warning (track review)

Ras Tinny - The Warning (Track review)
Genre - Reggae
Year - 2017

The Warning - A reverb haven of relaxation and clear talent

Ras Tinny is a reggae singer from Dublin, Ireland, The Warning is his debut release - and it's a strong start.

inny's vocals are relaxing and ghostly, fitting and moving with the smooth instrumental tracks. Tinny clearly fits his genre with his vocal style as well as having a deep bass line bumping along combined with simplistic but effective drums, but to not be a typical copy and paste reggae artist Tinny and producer Dan Taliras add in modern dub elements that only enhance the extremely relaxing chilled out tone of the song, but also typical of reggae tropes The Warning has deep and topical lyrics written in a very poetic way, which is a great thing has it battles the stereotype that all reggae is about is cannabis, a label that truly undermines the talent of reggae artists and their lyricism. The flow of the instrumental track and how the vocals intertwine with the music are key to this song and making it what it is, an undeniably good track. both the vocal and dub track versions of the song are equally as relaxing, both making good use of reverb and a decent drum beat to create a catchy song that is easily accessible for an listener.

A strong release from Echobus Records, Ras Trinny has shown huge potential for the future with the warning .

Monday, 29 May 2017

The Dives - Everybody's Talking

Everybody's talking - The Dives (EP Review)
Year - 2017
Genre - Hard Rock

The Dives are a New York hard rock band and Everybody's Talking is their debut, is it good? better.
kiss
The Dives open with Make it like the movies, a catchy little radio-rock song that feels straight out of the early 80's, now to some that's a bad thing, personally there's nothing better. Singer and rhythm guitarist Evan Stanley is the son of Kiss frontman Paul Stanley, and much like his father he shows off a wide vocal range that is easily accessible to any listener, with Make it like the movies something you can sing along to by the second chorus if you've never heard it before. while Stanley does show traits of his father a listener must understand that he is by no means a copy and paste, Stanley has a unique talent in that he recreates the 70s/80s rock sound in an uncanny way, offering a new tone to the genre while still retaining a Bruce Springsteen/Paul Stanley-esque style. Stanley is a charismatic singer ready for the levels of superstardom that his father has.

The Dives aren't just a one trick pony though, with their second track, Anticipation, The Dives are even stronger. The undeniable thing about all these tracks is the band's ability to write a hook but also the great guitar skills of Mike Lefton, who along with the rest of the band add backing vocals to give a full and powerful sound. A defiant and strong track to really kick the EP into gear.

Third track in is the title track, and it starts off in a typical rock n roll drum beat by Jimmy Meier that seems fitting as Lefton's melodic guitar comes in. a song this good certainly will make everybody start talking about how great The Dives are.

Closing the EP is Man, oh Mandy, and it is by far the strongest track, with every member showing off their massive level of talent, the guitars are not too flashy but are by no means underwhelming, less can be more. the vocals are at a new level with Stanley showing off his talents with the rest of the band doing an amazing job with the harmonies, the drums are tight and complimented by Sergio Ortega's precise and thudding bass work. Man, Oh Mandy is a hard rock track that easily could be a huge hit single!

The Dives truly show that rock music is not dead as they recreate and pay homage to the incredible sounds of past bands and make it their own. it is clear each member is talented and well deserving of credit, do not feel as if this is a band famous because of Stanley's family, The Dives have earned their rising popularity due to their undeniable talent, shown fully on Everybody's Talking. If you love catchy rock - check out The Dives.


Daniel A. Clarke
*note*

I Saw the Dives last night as they opened for KISS on their world tour, easily the best opening band I've ever seen (with the exception of Alice Cooper for Motley crue...however seeming as he is an already established artist that isn't a fair competition!). The whole band were energetic, charismatic and were clearly happy to be there, for the first time ever I actually bought the opening band's merch as well as the headline act's, I was that impressed.
After their set The Dives were doing a meet and greet signing, they proved to be extremely friendly, humble and grateful, taking a photo with everyone who wanted one, signing CDs and making conversation - The Dives were a pleasure to meet and added to the experience of the gig like no other up and coming  band ever have - I personally hope these guys make it big. they deserve it.


Meeting The Dives

Friday, 26 May 2017

Anal Trump - That makes me smart (album review)

Anal Trump - That Makes Me Smart (Album review)
Genre - Grindcore
Year - 2016

Anal Trump are an American Grindcore duo that, as their name suggests, parodies Grindcore legends Anal Cunt and also mocks far-right American President Donald Trump. 

Each song is around 3 - 10 seconds long, something similar from bands such as Napalm Death, with a heavy distorted guitar,  quick blast beat drumming and  harsh screamed/squealed vocals.
Each song is hilarious in their mocking of Trump and his questionable opinions/political standpoints.
a particularly brilliant track is Dave Mustaine is cool  which features Megadeth's bass line to peace sells.

Anal Trump may be labelled a joke band but it is undeniable that the duo have a talent and a market, appealing to all the left-wing who hate Trump, with Rob Trump playing all the instruments, doing an excellent albeit very small job (the whole album is only 3 minutes 10 seconds long) and the same can be said for Travis Trump and his deep brutal vocals. Anal Trump are a band that are relevant, funny and most importantly; talented .

while That makes me smart is short, it is definitely an album worth checking out and will not disappoint (unless you voted Trump....). Buy it and make Grindcore Great again.




By Daniel A. Clarke

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Viscous EP - SuperHooch (EP review)

Image result for superhooch bandThe Viscous EP - SuperHooch (EP review)
Year - 2015
Genre - Stoner rock, psychedelic, hard rock

The Viscous EP is the debut released by Coventry based rock band SuperHooch -
SuperHooch were formed primarily from 3 Coventry bands that have now disbanded (with the exception of Chris Worsley and Steve Clarke's project "Octogoth"), from this collective of experienced talents SuperHooch were formed, and it shows on The Viscous EP.

Opening the EP with lead single Tamed, Chris Worsley's slide guitar sets a lurking southern rock feel to the track that is quickly joined by the steady beat of Peanut Marshall's drums - this is then completed by an explosive attack as all the band members start playing together. The riff to Tamed is energetic and has an authentic raw feel to it, Clarke's bass riffs bounce through and work with Marshall's fast paced drums. Jonny Worsley's vocals are unique with a higher fuzzy feel that may be a choice taste to some but they clearly work with the band's style, with a snarl that cuts through explaining the traumatic feeling of getting used to the rigid prison system and then being alienated by the outside world after the song's character is free, but "tamed" to the system that controlled him previously. With great lyrics and high quality musicianship - tamed is a great example of how to open an EP.

Followed by the fast paced attack that is Neon Shine, by no means a bad song, yet not on the quality of the opener, with a more straightforward hard rock approach and a weaker chorus that lets the song down Neon shine is easily the weakest song on the EP, however it is not a bad song, it has qualities that work very well, the drums,  guitars and verses are very good and show the skill of the band.

The band swiftly go back to top quality again with Remission - opening with a rumbling bass line from Clarke and Worsley's vocals are on top form The Viscous EP is from this point onwards consistently as strong, with Kingham and Worsley's guitars adding a heavier deeper edge that connect with Worsley's vocals, which he shows a new skill in his range here, going higher than the previous two tracks, truly showing his improvement since, now disbanded, Monochrome State.

The Wit of the staircase follows, and it is the strongest song on the EP, with Worsley's vocals sounding their best, especially during the chorus as he wails with force "it's complicated! I should've known". Kingham and Worsley work well together on this track - their playing seems to intertwine together to make one big sound that shows that symmetry between the musicians can bring a song to another level.
The drums are fast and powerful, crashing through furiously adding to the songs venomous attack, "Wit of the staircase" shows the band at full form, embracing different styles and being heavier than before but still retain their initial uncanny sound that is unique yet familiar, while not the first single (however it was released as one), "Wit of the Staircase" is the EP's definitive track.

Charm offensive comes after with blaring a guitar riff that is instantly memorable, SuperHooch take a new approach, using a group-like chant that makes the song catchy to any listener. The strongest part of the song comes from when Clarke plays a fast and defined bass line along with Worsley's vocals that are sang in a upbeat rhythm. Charm offensive shows even more musical expansion in the bands style, being fast paced hard rock to a heavy, almost doom-esque, breakdown that juxtapose each other but still work, a common thing featured in SuperHooch's music.

Closing the EP is Cosmic Shotgun, an ever-changing mix of almost aggressive "Banananana" chanting that is then switched to a smooth calm section, then kicked straight back into the fast paced aggression, with Chris Worsley adding to this with a quickly shouted backing vocals, they're only brief but they add to the song immensely. Kingham then plays a solo that is fiery and shows off his vast ability as a guitarist. Cosmic shotgun is a 4 minute song that swaps style several times, keeping it interesting, clearly a strong way to end the EP.

Overall The Viscous EP is an incredible debut formed from the talents of experienced musicians and it clearly shows, SuperHooch never stick to one genre, instead swapping between numerous influences to make a band that is unique and promising.  

By Daniel A. Clarke

Monday, 15 May 2017

In Silence - King Sloth (track review)

In Silence - King Sloth (Track Review)
year - 2017
genre - alternative rock


In Silence is the newest track released for King Sloth's "demos" release -  and it may be the best yet.
Opening with a thudding fuzzy bass line that seemed absent from the previous two released tracks, adding a low end rumble that fills up the song.
The Guitar comes in strong and loud, then stops, so (Mole) Carey's melodic vocals can come through, sounding as great as before, then the whole band kick back in to really get the song in full swing.
Feeling like an immense cross of modern rock titans Arctic Monkeys and Royal Blood, the band appear uncanny, being familiar yet unique at the same time - In Silence has the fuzz and energy to be a single ready for the masses to hear, despite being demos, that are, as mentioned before, of an unbelievably high quality.
In Silence works well, fitting and adding to the previous two released songs but the band feel tighter and musically more slick than before, with interesting high backing vocals, melodic guitar being thrown in at just the right moments and a catchy chorus - musicianship this high of standard is a rarity in unsigned bands, just showing the determination and talent of this Scottish rock band - record labels should be fighting over unsigned talents such as King Sloth.

In Silence is a brilliant addition to their already released "Demos" and is easily the best of the now 3 tracks, hopefully the band will have more soon as In Silence is extremely promising.

10/10

by Daniel A. Clarke


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Lost in the sky - Superhooch (track review)

Lost in the sky - Superhooch (track review)
year - 2017
genre - psychedelic, Stoner rock


Lost in the sky is the latest single released by Coventry stoner-rock outfit, Superhooch -

Lost in the Sky is an ambitious move by Superhooch as it shows a stylistic change from their debut EP, The viscous EP, being an 8 minute single that feels like a progressive journey telling a story about drug abuse/use ("The monkey on my back became the kraken"), heavier guitar riffs that feel akin to doom metal that then change to a smooth reverb that'd fit right on a pink Floyd album  - the many style changes within this song are used in a way that doesn't appear uncomfortable or out of place with each change to the song being unique and musically very skilled - keeping the song interesting.

The vocals also take a new dynamic, lead singer Jonny Worsley being joined by guitarist Chris Worsley on co-lead vocals that add a melancholic deeper sound that clash but also compliment the lead singer's high pitched style. It is heavier but still retains melody - something many modern metal bands fail to do. Lead Guitarist Johnny Kingham and Drummer Peanut Marshall add to the backing vocals as well to give a fuller sound.


Like any decent band a strong rhythm section is required and Superhooch do not disappoint on Lost in the sky, with Marshall's drums and Steve Clarke's bass playing working together furiously adding a huge driving force behind the song.


Lost in the Sky is fast, slow, unique, strange and complicated - and it surprisingly works! Adding a new dynamic to modern rock music and breaking the ideology of sticking to one genre, Superhooch are an extremely promising band that offer something new to the scene instead of  the monotonous "scream-grindcore" bands that are filling the local underground music scenes now.

With a catchy chorus that makes reference to the bands name, presumably as its named after an alcoholic drink, a fast and aggressive solo by Kingham and overall a general progression in the band's writing SuperHooch have released something special here.
highly recommended!

9/10
Daniel A. Clarke
Superhooch have an EP coming out on the 13th of May as well as having their first EP, a live album and Lost in the Sky all on Bandcamp. 

https://youtu.be/VdcEQrcB0F4 (Lost in the Sky lyric video)

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

King Sloth - Demos (review)

King Sloth - Demos (review)
year - 2017
Genre - alternative rock, hard rock

Demos is a two track demo collection by Dundee (UK) alt-rock band King Sloth - and it is extremely promising!

opening with "Not Unknown" King Sloth introduce themselves with a bluesy yet modern riff and ferociously fast drums that lets listeners know they're entering something worth their time. King Sloth then slow down for the vocals to enter, and lead singer Mole Carey does an amazing job - it is incredible to think the band consider these demos when the musicianship and mixing is of such a high quality.
Throughout opener "Not Unknown" and second track "something in the water" guitarist Daryl Robertson is able to show off his skill with memorable riffs and precise playing, all being beautifully complimented by Jamie Butler's drums and Connon Watts' keyboard work. Everything fits well and works smoothly.

With the huge popularity of Royal Blood, there is a clear  space in the rock music world for King Sloth who have a similar sound in some aspects - fans of Royal Blood will certainly enjoy this band.

Demos is
definitely worth your time and shows huge potential for a band that I personally hope will make it big - as having Demos this good is a rarity! let's hope the band will release an EP or album soon that can hopefully thrust them into the limelight - in short, check out this band!

8/10

Daniel A. Clarke

I love pogo and beer - The Defectives (album review)

I love pogo and beer - The Defectives (album review)
Year - 2016
Genre - Punk


The Defectives are a punk/hardcore punk band hailing from Milan, Italy.

starting with the appropriately titled opener, "we are the defectives", the listener is invited to their signature  hardcore punk guitar riffs that make the listener want to jump around and "pogo", with trashy shouted vocals and harmonies that juxtapose each other but fit so well together in an odd and honestly brilliant way.

The Defectives have hit the mark with this release as it captures exactly what a punk album needs - the fast guitars that are simplistic and wild but also The Defectives utilise the often ignored punk rhythm section, with fast pounding drums, best shown on "Pogo till we Oi", and thudding picked bass lines, best shown on "we have a shitty face".

The Defectives are a middle finger to anyone who dare say "punk is dead" as they are a promising revival of the genre and with current political situations in the USA, Europe and the UK the world truly needs punk rock again, this band can fill this place and hopefully lead the way for a possible continental punk rebirth. The band's music, image and lyrics may be slightly ridiculous but that's the beauty of punk, it doesn't always have to be a serious manifesto to make an impact and to challenge the norm.

Great band, great album and well worth listening to!

7/10

Daniel A. Clarke

*note*
this album is available on Bandcamp, I decided to get the black 7" vinyl version with the digital album included, this came to around £5 something plus £9 delivery, so if you've got £14 spare, get this on vinyl with a free digital download - you won't regret it!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Snowy Dunes - Atlantis pt 1 (track review)

Snowy Dunes - Atlantis pt 1 (track review)
year -2017
genre - psychedelic, stoner rock

Image result for snowy dunes atlantis part 1Snowy Dunes are a psychedelic rock band hailing from Stockholm, Sweden. Atlantis Part 1 is a (nearly) 20-minute song, and the only track on the band's first part to the recently announced part 2 which will (hopefully) be released soon.

Opening with a hazy guitar riff, you can tell from the get go this is going to be a journey - a journey Snowy Dunes do not disappoint with. Atlantis pt 1 is a dreamlike song that entices listeners with the smooth guitar riffs, thumping bass, steady drums and incredible vocals, the band add a huge twist in your musical journey as they switch from gentle nirvana to a harsher sound that is heavy yet not to a point that it completely throws off a listener and ruins their experience.

Atlantis part 1 is a song that is extremely promising and shows huge potential for the band, Snowy Dunes deserve to be the next big rock band.

10/10
Daniel A. Clarke



*note* this is not part of the track review but instead a recollection of how I discovered Snowy Dunes; the band were playing a gig at the Arches, Coventry UK, in which they had the second slot on the bill, opening for another band I sadly did not get to see as I had to leave, I originally only went to the gig to see my Step brothers' band Superhooch as they had the first slot on the bill, after they did their slot (which I will add, was amazing) Snowy Dunes came on, and I was going to leave, but instead decided I'd stay for the bands set, Snow Dunes had me captivated in minutes, with a cool atheistic and a dreamy sound anyone could get lost in. the gig is very special to me as I'm not very comfortable at pub gigs and I was kind of standing on my own in the middle looking awkward but my Brother's Girlfriend pulled m next to their group at the front so I wasn't just standing on my own, and for the first time I felt completely involved and comfortable at a gig. The band were inspiring for anyone who is a musician who aspires to be playing gigs one day (like me), after their set I went straight to the merch stand and got their CD. I will clarify I am not biased towards this song just because of that incredible night, this band genuinely are something else, a band that will hopefully get the recognition they deserve.   

Sunday, 7 May 2017

CKY - Days of Self Destruction (track review)

CKY - Days of Self Destruction (track review)
Year - 2017
Genre - Alternative metal.

Image result for cky days of self destructionDays of self Destruction was a surprise release from West Chester alternative "skate rock"/metal band CKY, after being absent from making new music since 2009s poorly recieved "Carver city", since then original vocalist and rhythm guitarist Deron Miller has left the band leaving Guitarist Chad I Ginsberg as vocalist for the now three-piece. 

Opening with heavy distorted guitars that are instantly recognisable as being CKY, being complex but grounded, not going over the top like bands such as DragonForce do, there's a clear return to roots on this track. The bass work by Matt Deis rumbles below the main riff very similarly to the bass work on CKY's first album; Volume 1. This return to roots is pleasing for any fan on the bands incredible late 90's/early 2000's work.
As always Jess Margera does an exceptional job with the drums, arguably the most talented member of the band from a musical ability point, Margera never goes over complicated and dominant but instead drives the song with precise and unique playing that is unmatched and irreplaceable in the CKY sound.

The issue for many is Ginsberg's vocals, many feeling that they are too different to Miller's, which is true, they are different but equally as good, Miller orientated himself around heavy metal style vocals that were rough and angry (with exceptions obviously) whereas Ginsberg, on this track, uses a more sleazy vocal style that is smooth and feels more dreamy, feeling similar to Stone Temple Pilots, which fits with CKY's dreamlike synths that they utilize on "Days of Self Destructions" as well as using various unique effects on their guitars/bass to give a truly one of a kind sound.

Catchy chorus, interesting instrumentals and great vocals, all topped off by a fast and technical guitar solo by guest musician Brent Hints (Mastodon). This is what CKY fans wanted and the band have made a surprising delivery, just in time for their May 2017 UK tour.

An incredible single, if the rest of The Phoenix (CKY's new album out in June) is like this song, it will definitely go down as a cult classic among Alternative metal fans.

9/10
By
Daniel A. Clarke.

6/8 - Blink 182 (track review)

6/8 - Blink 182 (track review)
year - 2017
genre - pop-punk, alternative

6/8 is the newest single to be released for the soon to be released deluxe edition of the critical and commercial success that is "California", the first album by Blink 182 to not feature founding member Tom Delonge.

Opening with an A Day To Remember-esque riff that is clunky, distorted and somewhat fast, the listener straight away knows this isn't another "all the small things", after the stomping opening Mark (Hoppus, bass) comes in with his vocals that are feeling stronger and more emotional in tone, a vast improvement as Hoppus' vocals could sometimes come across as toneless and weak, but here Hoppus is on top form, singing "Learn to swim in rushing rivers, crashing on the shore" with great dexterity.

This song feels heavier, with Matt (Skiba, Guitar) giving emo like shouts for the backing vocals to the extremely catchy chorus which thankfully doesn't feature any of the "na na na na's" that sometimes dominate Blink's music

Both vocalists shine on this track and feel very interdependent on each other to give a full impact on the intentions behind the songs meaning as well as making it enjoyable to listen to, as this sounds like a band that are working together well, it can be obvious through the music when a band is falling apart internally ("sympathy for the devil" - Guns n Roses for example?) and Blink, despite the hardships sound like a band that truly click and connect and 6/8 shows this very well.

As with the majority of Blink tracks, Travis Barker's drum work is fast paced and energetic giving Blink the pop punk energy that got them to this position and the fast paced semi-technical drums are a perfect compliment to the alternative/modern-pop punk sound that dominates the song.

6/8 is a promising track that is of an incredibly high quality, giving an Blink fan an incentive to buy California Deluxe edition, 6/8 will be a welcome edition to an already great album.

7/10

By
Daniel A. Clarke

Friday, 28 April 2017

Alice Cooper - Hey Stoopid (Album review)

Alice Cooper - Hey Stoopid (Album review)

Year - 1991
Genre - Heavy metal, Glam Metal, Hard Rock

Catchy choruses, flashy guitar solos...another glam rock album

After Cooper's hugely successful glam rock mega-hit that was "Trash" Cooper went to release Hey Stoopid to similar commercial success even in a time when glam was starting to die out.

Cooper was going for catchy songs on Hey Stoopid with every song on this album being clearly set out to get stuck in your head and no doubt be a big hit single, which most were.

The songs are by no means bad, not at all, fast guitars and Cooper's brilliant vocals are enjoyable, but does the album have substance or a great meaning? not really. That doesn't mean it's bad but for anyone looking for more contemporary music, this is not the album for you.

Cooper starts off this album fairly weak, with singles "Hey Stoopid" and "Love's a loaded gun", they serve their purpose but really leave little impact, however "snakebite" (another single) really changes the feel of the album, while sounding similar to the previous songs it somehow feels of a higher quality. The musicianship feels tighter from this point on. None of the songs are exceptional but they're all good to say the least, simply put, it's a late 80's/early 90's glam rock album. They all sounded similar but Cooper was fortunate as he not only had great musicians but the skill of his own writing, which on his work from the 1970's was truly exceptional.

This album is packed with amazing guest musicians, Joe Satriani bringing Snakebite to life and Nikki Sixx adding a thudding bass line to Feed my Frankenstein with guitar duo Joe Satriani and Steve Vai making the song feel like something otherworldly.

Hey Stoopid is fun, a fun album for rock fans, not much more but no less either. Cooper's best work? No. A high standard album, especially compared to a lot of the late 80's dismally bad glam rock? yes!

A record for all fans of Cooper as well as Glam rock to own, but past these fan bases, Hey Stoopid has little appeal.

Cooper has proven in the past he can create innovative rock music but seems to be too taken up in the "MTV radio rock" sound that dominated the scene, this album is disappointing when compared to his masterpieces of the past, but by no means its a bad album in its own right.

6.5/10

For fans of - RATT, Cinderella, Poison, Twisted Sister.

Highlights - Snakebite, might as well be on mars, Hurricane years

D.A. Clarke

Monday, 17 April 2017

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey (Book Review)

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey (Book Review)

Year - 1963


Ken Kesey's phenomenal first book on the complications and corruptions of a 1960's mental health institute.

 Told from the perspective of  one  of the Oregon's psychiatric ward's patients, Cuckoo's Nest is a novel that opens the eyes of its readers. Kesey has the story told through the eyes of "Chief" Bromden, a tall inmate who is half Indian (Native American) and supposedly deaf and dumb. We see the Ward in which he lives on change with new inmate McMurphy who is not having any of the lies and corruption of the heartless, controlling Nurse Rached.

From this unique narrator the reader can see corruption from a man who acts as a grey blur in the background, as part of the scenery, very few people seem to notice Bromden, yet he is there to hear all the darkest secrets of corruption within the ward, this creates something never before seen in literature, Bromden and the writing style in which is narration is written by Kesey is insightful and fair yet at times the reader is reminded, this character IS not mentally well, from his visions, however what a reader gains from this is, yes he isn't "sane" but does that mean his opinion doesn't matter?
Kesey sets out to educate and inform from this novel, and he delivers well.



The novel cannot be summed into a single genre or tone, some parts are genuinely heart warming and funny, other moments fill the reader with hope and a sense of justice as the characters get back at the system, then of course there are moments which are infuriating due to the cruelty and injustice as well as moments that are heart breaking. Kesey created an emotional rollercoaster that is simply perfect, in balance, structure and feel.


Cuckoo's nest features drawings done by Kesey himself that add an interesting and different overall experience to the novel, adding a more depressing feel, as, personally, the drawings feel disturbing, showing the horror and affect of psychiatric wards on the patients.

Nurse Rached deserves to be discussed,  an unconventional villain, purely being a woman that is a nurse, villain stereotypes are broken by Kesey, you as a reader will despise this woman and I challenge anyone to try and find good in her, though I am sure there are excellent interpretations that do so.

McMurphy is a character like no-other, the original anti-hero, none of this "Deadpool" stuff that is now considered an anti-hero, McMurphy is a lying, cheating gambler who likes to show his dominance and cause trouble, but he also wants to help and expose the corruption of the system within the ward, he may be coarse, but he's one hell of a character and a literary character that is inspirational, along with narrator Bromden.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is an in-depth study/critique of behaviourism, a novel laced with controversy, from bad language to prostitutes, Ken Kesey wrote a masterpiece that will go down in history as an incredible classic in literature that truly attacks the corruption of hospitals and their methods, showing that mistreatment can happen to those who don't deserve it, everyone should read this novel.


rating - 10/10

by D.A. Clarke

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Danny Worsnop - The long road home (album review)

Danny Worsnop - The long road home (album review)
Year - 2017
Genre - Country, rock


Image result for danny worsnop the long road home
From metal teen idol to big bearded country singer, The long road home (originally titled as the much cooler "Prozac sessions") truly shows the evolution of Worsnop's music. starting in metalcore band Asking Alexandria, starting hard rock band We Are Harlot, leaving Asking Alexandria, to then return Worsnop has now decided to give his love of American country ago on his debut solo album.

Worsnop has created something unique in his debut, but unique does not necessarily mean it is good, long road home is a very hit and miss mixed bag of an album, with some songs having the potential to be classics, such as "quite a while" and "Prozac", but others, such as the obnoxiously bad "Don't over drink it" hitting the album and stopping the flow. The issue for many people will be the fact they are a fan of Worsnop's previous work, being more oriented in low tunings and blaring screaming vocals, The long road home appears fake, as original fans of Worsnop will know he had a very clear British accent which is not anywhere to be seen on this album, instead the listener is treated to a southern American accent that is convincing but it does feel false. Getting past nostalgia and the false accent The long road home is an interesting piece of work, having smooth guitar lines, thick rumbling bass lines, solid drum lines and of course the immensely powerful vocals of Danny Worsnop, to say this album is bad would be wrong, however saying it's fantastic would also be incorrect, as it lands in the middle being enjoyable but nothing special. The long road home features very typical conventions of Worsnop's work, such as sex, drugs and heartbreak, these conventions, while silly at times, are not bad, in fact they're a lot of fun. "I feel like shit" is the best example of being a song that is slightly odd yet easy to enjoy.

Overall if the listener were to get over their initial nostalgia of "the old Danny" they will easily enjoy this album and personally it seems that Worsnop has the potential to reinvent country's popularity, offering the genre to his young adoring fans, soon they might be listening to Johnny Cash as well as Slipknot. Good, not terrible, Worsnop clearly put his heart into this record and it shows, if you're a fan of Worsnop's previous work or country, buy this album.

rating - 6/10

for fans of - Aerosmith, Bon jovi, We are Harlot, Garth Brookes.
Best tracks - "Prozac", "I feel like shit", "Quite a while", "Mexico".

By D.A. Clarke

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Carrie - Stephen King (book review)

Carrie - Stephen King (book review)
year - 1974
Genre - Horror, gothic.

Image result for carrie book coverCarrie is the first published novel by acclaimed writer Stephen King, even as a debut it put King into the mainstream as a writer who was capable of becoming huge within the mainstream horror market (which is exactly what he did).

Carrie centres on a ridiculed teenage girl in her final year of highschool, mocked for her clothing, appearance, religious background and later her lack of knowledge regarding the female menstrual cycle, the latter half of the novel details her revenge on those who wronged her.
King states in the novels introduction that his inspiration stemmed from two girls he knew of from highschool, one bullied for her unfashionable clothing, the other for her religious beliefs. Both girls sadly committed suicide, King stating "both girls - fortunately or unfortunately - did not have the wild talent of Carrie White". King described the two girls as "ghosts" who "kept coming back to me" urging him to combine them in one of his novels. This background to the story gives it a raw and emotional setting which is clear in the writing, not only was King writing this because his family needed money but also as an homage to the two girls who were the victims of bullying within the American  highschool system.

Carrie is written in a unique narrative style that swaps between the events of 1979 from the perspective of several characters, most prominently Carrie White herself then to magazine articles, autobiographies and police reports among other things to discuss and elaborate on the strange and tragic case of Carrie White, leading to the infamous "Prom night". At times the magazine articles regarding telekinetic powers can be a little slow but its a small gripe considering the rest of the novel and its unique narrative style are immersive and thrilling, being a literal page turner.

King creates many of his traditional conventions within this novel, the most obvious being taking place in Maine as well as taking jabs at religion/extremism. King also seems to borrow from various traditional  gothic tropes such as religious overtones regarding good/evil, the female character in distress but also empowering her with powerful inhuman strengths (something later gothic writings would do) and the supernatural abilities in general. I think Carrie could be interpreted as a gothic feminist novel (similar to that of "The Bloody chamber collection" by Angela Carter), as it shows the patriarchal system in American culture in which a girl can be bullied relentlessly purely for the way she looks as well the many references to blood being a possible metaphor for periods, which in a sexist society is seen as dirty and even something to be ashamed of, not as a natural process of female anatomy. Obviously that is just one interpretation that could very well be wrong, though this novel is definitely a gothic classic, that is undeniable.

Carrie is chilling but not necessarily scary, the novel acts very psychologically on what is right and wrong, for example there is a character who dies yet he was only doing good, it shows injustice, and clearly what happens to Carrie White is unjust and evil, yet was she correct in her actions? that is the sort of questions King leaves the reader asking themselves. Carrie shows the ruthless and cruel acts of people that can push others to a point of no return.
Not lacking in gore and violence, Carrie is an undeniable horror classic that shows the true power of the supernatural and the pain that bullying can cause, King truly started off his career strongly with Carrie as a memorable and thrilling debut that will leave readers feeling on the edge.

8/10

By D.A. Clarke