Top 40 of 2015: 5-1

This is it! We’ve reached the conclusion of the countdown of the best 40 songs of what has been an incredible year of music! Bands from the USA, Canada, Australia and all over Europe have been included in this amazing countdown but the top five belongs to the UK (except one little group from New York City). Thank you all for following the countdown and see you in 2017!

5 – Catfish and the Bottlemen – Soundcheck

For a long period of time this year, Van McCann and friends were sat in the top position. When The Ride was released earlier in the year I was convinced nobody could top what they had done. Somehow Catfish and the Bottlemen topped their stunning first record which, as Van suggested, was only the warm up. How right he was; when Soundcheck was released, the ambition, the quality, the pure talent of the men from Wales was truly seen for the first time. This quality of this track was really hammered home to me in Halifax when, after the song had just been released, McCann only had to sing “Maybe” (the first lyric) and the 1500 strong crowd sang every word that followed right back to him. Although every Bottlemen song is a sing along, Soundcheck is the song that The Balcony was missing, the song that if they ever go they’ll be remembered for. It’s a brilliant piece of music and fully deserves to be in the top five of 2016.

4 – Augustines – Are We Alive

Where to begin with this.

In 2016, Billy McCarthy and Augustines possibly provided the highest points of the year with Billy’s live solo show being the pinnacle of live shows, but sadly, devastatingly one of the saddest moments of this tragic year when the band announced they were finishing. I rarely get genuinely upset but when I got the news on holiday in Amsterdam I stopped in my tracks in disbelief that one of the planets best voices, one of the worlds greatest live bands couldn’t continue anymore. The injustice was so great I knew the rest of 2016 was to be a bad one.

When Augustines released their final album in June, I saw it as a record that could go on and do the band great things, it was inventive, it was perfect and Are We Alive was simply brilliant. Both in it’s musical execution and passionate delivery from McCarthy, the song should have been the track that took Augustines all over the world, touring the record and propelling them to stardom. Instead, it was the best track they ever wrote, that will probably be heard in ten years time and everyone will say “damn they’re good, who are they?”, look them up and then be horrified that the music industry is such that a band like this can’t exist. For Billy, Eric and Rob, please, go buy the record, it won’t do much now, but this band deserve to exist, they deserve to have sold more records than they did. Let us not forget just how good this band were and hopefully will be again.

3 – Deaf Havana – Sing

From a band that broke up this year to a band I was desperately hoping weren’t going to after many rumours, Deaf Havana returned in 2016 with their best song yet Sing. Now it’s no secret that Deaf Havana hold a special place in my heart so when they finally announced a new single and then an album at Reading and Leeds Festival, I could breath again, at least for another few years. Sing is without doubt one of 2016’s best songs, it has everything you would want from a proper rock song. Heavy guitars, incredible vocals, and raw emotion (although I’m not sure James Veck-Gelodi knows how to sing a song without emotion) all combine in harmony and it’s so so good to have them back to their best. Nothing more can be said, just listen, listen and keep listening until the record next year.

2 – Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – Wild Flowers

Holy s**t. Like seriously, holy f*****g s**t.

1 – Biffy Clyro – Howl

And here we are. The best song of 2016 is Howl by the incredible Biffy Clyro who returned in 2016 with their 7th studio album Ellipsis. Scotland’s finest came back in style this year with Wolves of Winter a heavy, crashing, typical Biffy song which was worthy of the top spot also but Howl makes it because it’s so..not Biffy. It’s so atypical, it’s amazing. With happy chords, soft guitars and harmonies sent from the heavens, this song is the best of 2016 for so many reasons. Live the song is taken up a notch and the high notes throughout make me so, so happy and not many songs do that anymore. I present to you, the number one song of this year, Howl. 

Single Review – Native City – Tomorrow

Genre: Pop-rock
Hometown: Selby
Members: Robbie Cliff (Vocals), Richy Jones (Bass), Max Shaw (Drums), Ryan Mellor Davis (Lead guitar) and Jack Randles (Rhythm Guitar)
For fans of: 5SOS, All Time Low, Lacey

Born from local heroes Premonition, Native City are a hot new band hailing from North Yorkshire ready to steal teen hearts and make a dent in a dying genre, pop-rock. Their most recent single is a signal as to what Robbie Cliff and gang can create and based on song number one, the future looks bright.

After reforming with the addition of Randles in September of this year, Native City released “Tomorrow” soon after and the track quickly gained traction through York’s BBC Introducing section on Radio York and have since began to build a social media following building up to a big homecoming show on January 6th at York Fibbers.

The song is perfect for fans of the likes of All Time Low and 5SOS. It begins with typical pop-rock guitars and a controlled vocal from Cliff; “Just lose yourself forget everybody else, now it’s time to forget what we was told” harks back to my teenage years, wishing to be rebellious and will ring true for many of Native City’s adoring fans. Other perfect lyrics for the genre continue throughout, they wouldn’t sound out of place in a Mayday Parade song but the infectious pop melodies make this song much happier an propel Native City higher than basic emo-rock.

The song follows a very functional structure, but with Cliff’s strong vocals and harmonious backing vocals the song soon approaches the obligatory guitar solo which again, is perfectly balanced before reaching the final bridge. “I’m sleeping in this darkness i wanna wake up in that light, reality is painless but impossible to find” really is a beautiful lyric and the progression into the finale accompanies the rest of the song wonderfully. I would have been quite happy for the 3:43 minute length song to have been at least another 60 seconds but I can wait for the next release for that.

Native City have created the perfect pop-rock song. Drawing on current bands but harking back to when this genre was thriving in the early noughties, this band are a reminder that there is still a place for this type of music in the industry, a point I’m sure will be proven by an adoring crowd on January 6th.

Top 40 2016: 10-6

Into the final ten, the best ten songs of 2016, and isn’t this just so exciting! So far we have seen some simply stunning tracks from some of the worlds most established bands, freshest new bands and exciting alternative artists. It’s making my mouth water just thinking about these top ten songs so let’s get on with it!

10 – The Hunna – You & Me

Nothing much more can be said about this band that hasn’t already been said in 2016. The Hunna have quite simply taken over social media and the alternative indie world and had the best year of their career so far. Releasing their debut album earlier this year and embarking on a sell out tour whilst playing to packed tents at Reading and Leeds Festivals; this band have gone from strength to strength since the release of Bonfire last year. You & Me is a song which I would challenge anybody not to fall in love with; it is incredibly upbeat with happy lyrics and only The Hunna could pull off writing a song with their name in. 2017 is going to be even bigger for the band with their January tour on the cusp of completely selling out. #Onehunna

9 – Mallory Knox – Giving It Up

This. Is. Huge.

Mallory Knox have clearly been away thinking about how they could improve on their incredible second album Asymmetry and have decided to go big for their upcoming record Wired due in early 2017. Giving It Up presents a new, raw passionate sound that stretches Mikey’s vocals to it’s outer limit. The band have come a long way from the Lighthouse days; there is much more attitude, much more maturity in this recording and MK manage to create a wall of sound in the chorus that the big metal bands of the world would be proud of. Safe to say, I am very, very excited for Wired and the tour in March, do not miss it.

8 – Lonely the Brave – Dust and Bones

It almost pains me to not have this band in the top five such was the perfection of Things Will Matter, but that just shows how impressive 2016 has been in music. Dave Jakes has taken it up a level in 2016 shaking off some of his nerves whilst keeping enough to give LTB the individuality that makes them so unique. The passion in Dust and Bones is enough to make any grown man cry (and it has); when Jakes calls out “I’ve heard that you’ve blown in, but you won’t kick the s**t out of my dreams” the shiver that crawls across my whole body is enough to make me believe this band are going to be the world’s greatest one day (even if they are already in my mind). That line, this song, is so special and deserves to be so much higher in this list but for me, Dust & Bones isn’t a stand alone song, it is one amazing part of 2016’s best album and if an album list was being produced, there’s no doubt that LTB and Dust & Bones would be sitting right at the top.

7 – Green Day – Revolution Radio

They’re back! They’re actually back!

2016 saw the most overdue return to music since the Libertines burst back onto the scene. The world’s biggest punk band came back with the magnificant Revolution Radio record of which the title track is the pick. Wonderfully blending music from their best album Dookie with remnants of 21st Century Breakdown, Green Day have produced a very 21st Century sound whilst going back to the album that changed the punk world. Take a listen here to Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool doing what they do best.

6 – Creeper – Suzanne

Narrowly missing out on the top five are 2016’s craziest band Creeper. For a period of time this year, nobody knew where Creeper were; following deleted Twitter accounts and a strange mystery surrounding the disappearance of James Scythe (look it up) the whereabouts of Creeper was questioned across the emo world. Where they were, was creating their best song to date in preparation for their debut album out in March 2017. Suzanne shows exactly why people are heralding Creeper as the UK’s most exciting new band and being discussed in the same breath as My Chemical Romance. It is quite simply the perfect emo-punk song with vocalist Will Gould producing his finest work whilst his five strong band behind him beautifully blend musical styles to create one of 2016’s finest tracks. Look out for this band in 2017; they are about to take over.

Top 40 of 2016: 20-11

Into the top 20 we go and as you’ll be expecting, there are some serious “tunes” in the final half of the countdown. With only a few days to go, we will rattle through the next ten and then countdown the final ten from tomorrow.

20 – The Chaser – Twin Atlantic

Twin Atlantic’s triumphant “GLA” was released earlier in the year with The Chaser being the pick  of the new record.

19 – Highly Suspect – My Name is Human

With one of the records of 2016, sure to wipe the floor of awards ceremonies next year, Highly Suspect fully deserve their place in this list. Following a run of huge shows in the UK in 2016, expect a lot from these guys in 2017.

18 – A Day to Remember – Paranoia

Probably the heaviest tune in the countdown, ADTR’s Paranoia is a wonderful combination of huge vocals and mega-riffs. The best punk-rock track of 2016 by far.

17 – Black Foxxes – I’m Not Well

Without a doubt the stand out band of 2016 for me that I saw live. Black Foxxes are an incredible band with Mark Holley on vocals one of the most intriguing and genuine performers I have ever seen. I’m Not Well, is so intense, yet so beautiful Holley drags you head first into his mind in such a tragic but blissful way, you can’t help but feel enchanted by the vocal and the lyrics he is singing. Amazing track!

16 – Black Stone Cherry – In Our Dreams

Kentucky rockers Black Stone Cherry produced one of the finest albums so fair in their career in 2016. With huge tracks Way of The Future, and more mellow tracks like The Rambler it was hard to choose one. My mind was made up for me seeing this track performed live; it encapsulates everything BST have done in the past whilst demonstrating their their new sound perfectly. Listen here!

15 – Brian Fallon – Nobody Wins

Is there a more genuine human alive in the world right now than Brian Fallon, probably not. The record produced in 2016 was one of the best pieces of acoustic music possibly ever made; taking huge steps away from the Gaslight Anthem whilst sticking to his roots, Fallon manages to balance his raw vocal with heartfelt lyrics and “Nobody Wins” is the perfect example of how Fallon does his work best.

14 – Sum 41 – God Save Us All

Just brilliant. No other words, bloody brilliant!

13 – Taking Back Sunday – You Can’t Look Back

Until 2016, I hadn’t paid a huge amount of attention to Taking Back Sunday; I was never much of an emo rocker so to speak but with the release of their epic Tidal Wave record this year, I am now officially a fan! Adam Lazzara and crew have created nothing short of masterpiece and this track is without doubt one of the best of 2016, and perhaps the decade.

12 – The People the Poet – Happy Being Miserable

Just missing out on the top ten this year are the magnificent The People The Poet. The band from South Wales released the excellent “Paradise Closed” EP earlier in the year and although Club 27 and Matchday are phenomenal tracks, the track that has made me happiest in 2016 has been Happy Being Miserable; it is so immediately relateable and the music brings a smile to my face. It’s an exceptional piece of music, take a listen here.

11 – Sixx:AM – Rise

And hitting the bar, as close as you can get to the top ten are Nikki Sixx and Sixx:AM who in 2016 released two excellent albums and the first release “Rise” is one of about fifteen tracks good enough to make this final 40. I fully recommend listening front to back both of those albums released this year.

 

Top 40 of 2016: 25-21

It’s Christmas Day which means we are perilously close to revealing the top ten and best track of 2016. On this, a day in which 2016 has taken another musical great George Michael, it felt right to write a post celebrating fantastic music as it was something George Michael did all his life.

25 – Fatherson – Lost Little Boys

The lads from Scotland released their second album in 2016. Following solo tours and support slots with the Augustines, Fatherson had a busy end to 2016 which concluded with a homecoming set at the Barrowlands in Glasgow. Of the tracks released from Open Book, it was Lost Little Boys that stood out both on track and live this year. A fantastic vocal combined with heavy, structured musical riffs made this the 25th best song of 2016. I and many others cannot wait to see what’s coming in 2017 after their biggest headline tour to date in March.

24 – The Sherlocks – Will You Be There

Without a doubt, the best thing to (perhaps) ever come out of Sheffield, The Sherlocks had a huge 2016 releasing two big singles and touring relentlessly building an incredible fan base as they went. They ended the year signing a record deal which will surely mean 2017 is their biggest year to date and who knows maybe even an album (fingers crossed!). Will You Be There though, signaled a new start for the band, they have been growing and growing since the release of Live For The Moment, but this most recent release sounded much more professional, more clean, more accomplished and live, it takes the band to new levels not previously reached. They are without a doubt a band on the rise and it won’t be long before they’re a household name.

23 – You Me At Six – Swear

After a bit of time away from music YMA6 finally returned near the end of the year announcing a mini tour, new singles and an album to be released in early January. Of the new tracks, Swear is the one for me that feels most YMA6 and outshines the likes of Night People and Give. All the songs are bigger than ever though, and Josh believes the new record is their best yet; if Swear is anything to go by with it’s anthemic chorus and dirty bassline, then I would be inclined to agree with him!

22 – Lower Than Atlantis – Had Enough

Continuing the theme of fantastic British bands, LTA released three tracks from their upcoming 2017 record this year. Had Enough is unmistakably Lower Than Atlantis however, and that’s why it’s my pick. Dumb and Work For It are awesome tracks but Had Enough is just that next level above. Starting with riffs any festival headliner would be impressed by the track flows beautifully with Mike Duce’s effortless vocals combining with perfect drum beats before unleashing the huge chorus which will be belted out by fans on tour in March.

21 – Pretty Vicious – Cave Song

From Scotland, to England and finishing in Wales, Pretty Vicious end this run of five with their excellent Cave Song released early in 2016. The shaking guitars, incredible vocals and thumping chorus make this song one of the best tracks of the year. There is honestly no words I could use that would do this track justice because it really is one of a kind; nobody is doing what Pretty Vicious are trying to do right now in their music and that’s why they’re leading the way in Welsh rock music. Take a listen right here and see for yourself why this song is up here and only just missing out on the top 20.

Top 40 of 2016: 30-26

Now we’re getting serious, the best 30 songs of 2016. Bear in mind, at some point in 2016 over 300 songs were considered for this prestigious list so these final 30 really are quite special.

30 – Blink-182 – Bored to Death

I honestly didn’t think I’d be sat here in 2016 writing about an excellent Blink-182 record. I fully believed their best days behind them but how wrong I was; with Matt Skiba on board, Blink are revitalised, back to their best, some might even say writing their best ever music. Bored to Death is only one of many songs from California that could have made the list but being the lead single, it was fitting that the song that marked their triumphant return was the one to be included. Blink haven’t significantly matured in their lyrics, but their sound certainly has and that’s why their 2017 UK tour will be their biggest yet.

29 – Rival Bones – Lost Along the Way

This is another unfortunate case of “I wish I had heard of them sooner”. Rival Bones were one of the highlights for me at the recent Kazoopa festival in Leeds and this song, had I been listening to it all year, most definitely would have finished higher. I struggle for words describing just how good I believe this band could be and already are; James and Chris make so much (constructive) noise, to paraphrase myself, I just don’t believe only two people make the kind of music they do. This song is so beautiful, so melodic, yet so raw and real, you can’t help but feel one day this duo from Liverpool will be selling out arenas globally. (Rival Bones are a “One to Watch” for 2017 so check back here very soon to read all about them).

28 – Falling in Reverse – Coming Home

Released in the last week, this song only just made the cut, but I really couldn’t miss it out of the list. Since their stunning 2015 album Just Like You it’s been a matter of waiting to hear what Falling in Reverse have been up to. We now have our answer, they’ve been away changing their sound, becoming more anthemic and making everything, well, bigger. All the signature “FIR” features are still there with a big chorus and stunning chord progressions but Ronnie’s vocals have gone up about ten levels compared to anything we’ve seen before. From clean, pop vocals to aggressive rock, Radke gives it everything in this song and has made me, and other fans I’m sure, very, very excited for what’s coming in 2017.

27 – The Amazons – Nightdriving

The pick for 2017, the Amazons are a band that are seriously going places. With four huge releases in 2016, it was extremely difficult to choose just one, but Nightdriving was the song that made this years Y Not Festival for me and therefore had to go in. For those that don’t know The Amazons, fear not, you will soon. Nightdriving is an upbeat, indie-rock anthem; when the chorus kicks in, only pure brilliance flows out of the song. I can’t say much more about the song because you just need to listen to it to understand just how good The Amazons are; do check back here though as the band will have a full 2017 preview post as one of my “One’s to Watch” for next year.

26 – Against Me – Rebecca

One of 2016’s best records was Shape Shift With Me by Against Me and the song that stood out most for me was Rebecca. The song is so typically Against Me with upbeat guitars, lyrics we can all at some point in life relate to and Laura putting her all into delivering a hard-hitting vocal, but Rebecca stands out on the new record as it’s Against Me +. It’s everything we know and love, but ramped up a few notches. The best way to really appreciate how huge this song is, is to watch it live so here you go:

 

 

 

Single Review – RedFaces – Kerosene

Genre: Alt-Rock, Indie
Hometown: Sheffield
Members: Harry Lyon (Vocals/Guitar) Isaac White (Bass/ Backing Vocals) Ryan Laycock (Guitar/Backing Vocals) Charlie Yapp (Drums)

In 2015, RedFaces, a new indie band from Sheffield put up a demo track on Spotify titled Katie Come Home. It was an excellent track which helped them gain support slots with the Courteeners and festival sets at Stockton Calling and Mosborough. Since then, all their fans (including myself) have been asking for is, well anything. Another demo. A single release. Anything. And this month we were finally rewarded for our patience with Kerosene.

As soon as the track you can’t help but feel the last year of touring and playing festivals has changed the way RedFaces want to make music. Compared to Katie Come Home this is much more macho. With a Kasabian esque opening bassline and a punchy vocal Tom Meighan would be proud of, Kerosene is a statement of intent from the band that they perhaps now know where they want to be going with their sound.

Drawing inspiration from Britpop artists such as Damon Albarn and Oasis, RedFaces beautifully combine 90s indie with 21st Century alt-rock genres on this new track which gives them an edge in the market they will be trying to break in 2017. “Don’t you want to feel it don’t you want to know” leads fans into a chorus fit for any major rock band and everything on the track fits so well; combining genres, sounds, vocal effects  can often be a mess but not in this case, it’s quite frankly superb.Kerosene is an upbeat, rhythmic but hard-hitting song that leaves listeners excited as to what will be coming next.

Without a doubt, one of the shining lights of what has been a very dark 2016.

Catch them early next year on their huge UK tour.

January
20th – Stoke, Sugarmill
21st – Sheffield, Yellow Arch Studios
24th – Oxford, The Cellar (Independent Venue Week)
28th – Newcastle, Think Tank Underground
29th – Birmingham, The Sunflower
30th – Liverpool, Studio 2
31st – Nottingham, Bodega Social Club

February
2nd – Manchester, Sound Control Bar
3rd – Aldershot, West End Centre
4th – Bristol, Crofters Rights
6th – Brighton, Prince Albert
7th – Plymouth, Underground
8th – Leeds, Oporto
10th – Stockton, KU Bar
21st – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
25th – Stowmarket, John Peel Centre

Top 40 of 2016: 35-31

Continuing the countdown, the next five songs see artists from all over the globe from Orange County, USA to the Czech Republic and of course, God’s own county Yorkshire.

35 – Asylums – Alternative Occupations

Asylums are a band who are going to very quickly become one of the most instantly recognisable acts in the UK. With an extremely unique sound, this group of lads from Southend (UK) have hit mainstream radio and festivals this year and their most recent effort Alternative Occupations was the pick of the bunch. Fast tempo, a catchy chorus and intriguing guitars all combine to create a cracking tune that signals the end of a fantastic year for the band.

34 – Ignite – Work

2016 saw the first release in ten years by the epic band Ignite. A War Against You is nothing but a masterpiece from the California based band and Work is the song that stands out from the record. Zoli Teglas (vocals) really pushes himself to the limit throughout the record and the aggression and politically fueled tones in this song make it one of the songs of 2016. Let’s all hope we’re not waiting another ten years for the next release!

33 – The Gospel Youth – Wildfire

Without a doubt, the most exciting band I came across in 2016 was the brilliant TGY (The Gospel Youth). With an ambitious target set at the start of the year to release a new single every month, TGY have been very busy. Although many of the releases could have made this list, only one could make the final cut and Wildfire for me shows off the capabilities of the band best. Reminiscent of great British bands (Deaf Havana, We Are The Ocean) TGY combine catchy melodies with infectious lyrics and Wildfire just works on so many levels. Watch out for these guys in 2017, if this year was anything to go by, we could be hearing a lot more from them very soon.

32 – The Barmines – Reliance

I feel very late to the party with this Leeds band as I only came across them very recently. After seeing them announced for Kazoopa festival in November and the reaction they received on social media I immediately knew I was missing out on something special. I was right. Reliance is by anybody’s standards a fantastic tune. There are many bands working in this area of rock music at the moment but The Barmines have something a lot of other groups don’t, genuine, raw natural talent. None of what they do is forced. None of it is faked. It is pure class on every level from the rough vocal to the stadium filling guitars and the perfect drum accompaniment. Had I had more time to digest this song properly it probably would have been higher up the list but keep a close eye on this blog as I will be reviewing them as a “One to Watch” for 2017.

31 – We on the Moon – Crashes

The only European band to feature on the entire list not from the UK are the excellent We on the Moon hailing from the Czech Republic. I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it then swiftly fell for the whole Home EP released earlier this year. Tom’s vocals on Crashes are without doubt the best they have ever been and propel the band right up there with the likes of Mayday Parade and All Time Low. The beauty of We on the Moon though is that unlike many bands doing what they are doing, they are so understated, so unknown and that makes them that bit more special. Crashes is a wonderful culmination of what they have been working towards since their 2013 album release and the future certainly looks very bright for this Czech outfit.

Top 40 of 2016 – 40-36

This epic countdown of the best songs from the rock and alternative world in 2016 has begun. Despite 2016 being a down and out year, British, Australian and American rock has been thriving and this countdown has been changed almost weekly since the start of the year as artist after artist released new tracks. Enjoy!!

40 – Jackobins – Hasty

A seriously big summer tune made for the festival stages these guys from Liverpool graced over July and August. The fact this song is in 40th shows how strong a year of music 2016 was as I was in love with this tune for so long over the summer months! (Keep tuned for a full article on the Jackobins being a “One to Watch” in 2017).

39 – Hands Like Houses – New Romantics

In February, Australian hardcore band HLH burst back on to the scene giving us their third album. New Romantics was the highlight of the record combining huge guitar riffs with even bigger vocals. HLH recorded a beautiful live acoustic version of this track which is not to be missed (see below).  Touring with Lower Than Atlantis next year they are not one to miss in 2017.

 

38 – Good Charlotte – Life Changes

Another huge return in 2016 was that of American punk heroes Good Charlotte. With duets with Simon Neil (Biffy Clyro) and Kellin Quinn (SWS) on the new record it was hard to choose the best song. Life Changes though to me best shows the difference in maturity Good Charlotte have shown in their new style. Even though their live shows at R&L suggest they are still as fun as ever, these new songs add a new dimension to them and I for one am not complaining.

 

37 – Neck Deep – Serpents

Released from their 2015 record, Serpents is Neck Deep’s finest effort so far in their, potentially, genre defining career. Setting the precedent for British pop-punk right now this band know exactly where they’re going. The track almost signals the end of this era of Neck Deep as I feel from here they are only going to grow and produce some of the finest punk records the UK has ever seen. With support slots booked with A Day to Remember in the New Year and who knows, an album on the horizon, the future is bright for the Welsh rockers who are proving punk is definitely not dead yet.

36 – Paves – Take Me While I’m Here

Rounding up the first five tracks of this fantastic countdown are London lads “Paves”. I only heard of these guys late in the year when Kazoopa festival announced its lineup and immediately knew they had something special. They have a hell of a lot of talent and I’ve heard they’re nice guys too, what more do you want! For anybody who hasn’t heard of these, very soon you’ll be in the minority because these guys are on the rise. I won’t say much more as just giving them a listen will explain everything you need to know. (Watch this space for an article on why Paves are one of the “Ones to Watch” in 2017)

 

EP Review – Future Theory – Fool’s Dream ★★★★☆

Genre – Alternative Rock
Hometown – Lincoln, United Kingdom
Members – Max Sander, Chris Moore, Jake Scarbro, Rohan Parrett

Future Theory are a self proclaimed “ambient and moody” rock band harking from Lincoln in England. As somebody who, prior to the release of this EP, had not heard of them I was looking forward to discovering a new band who in the short time they have been together seem to have built a fan base that following the release of “Eye of the Storm” in 2015.

Eye of the Storm – 4:18

The EP begins exactly as I’d expect for a band who suggest they are ambient. Throughout the intro, the echoing guitar softly leads into a wonderful starting drum beat. As the vocal kicks in the song immediately I am taken to early Radiohead, namely “My Iron Lung” but with a little more..ambiance (There’s a theme here). As the song builds you can imagine being in a tiny, sweaty club venue with the crowd losing themselves, immersing themselves in the music. The way the song progresses and ends so beautifully makes me want to listen on to the rest of the EP with intrigue as to where this young band are going.

Fool’s Dream – 3:41

The title track is very different, much more intricate in style yet just as punchy as the previous song. As this track moves from subtle acoustic melodies into a Reigning Days-esque chorus you get the impression these guys know what they’re doing. The melodic vocal that ensues is moody, it reminds me of an early Soundgarden and underneath the vocal the intricacies continue with overlapping guitars, perfect percussion and quite frankly the song ends too soon. I felt it could be an 11 minute instrumental epic if it wanted to but for a debut EP, it would perhaps be arrogant to attempt that.

Horses – 3:48

For me, this is the stand out track from this mini-record. I love the opening riff, and the vocal timing on the run in is so accomplished you would not know this is the bands first EP. Having the feel of a more “traditional” indie track it is perhaps more immediately accessible than the first two and the harmonies add a lovely dimension to it during the chorus. A common feature of this EP up to this stage is Future Theory’s ability to progress a song; many current bands play on this ability like Foals and Biffy Clyro so to even be considered in the same sentence as bands like that is testament to how good I feel this band are already. The heavy outro ending only satisfies further with the cold, harsh ending fitting the song very nicely.

Listen Closely – 4:45

“Listen Closely” again shows how diverse, yet committed to the genre Future Theory are. Although demonstrating more funky, staccato style guitar riffs there is a smoothness and a flow to the song and even though the chorus seems much more natural than the verses, the blend works in this case. The middle section feels like a Stone Roses track with the lengthy vocals and instrumental wizadry; but then the funk comes back and it feels like an entirely different song again. I feel this track, after a few more listens may become a favourite but even after five or six it demonstrates the ability of Future Theory and how they’re not afraid to mix genres, sounds and musical styles and tempos to create ambitious tracks.

Horses/Koncide

Now this is different..

Does it work? I’m still not entirely sure. Although I don’t feel this “dance” track if that’s what you want to call it does the EP justice as a closing track I can’t help but think it matches the ambition and fearlessness the band show throughout the previous four tracks. Not being my genre of choice I find it hard to fully relate to the track as a whole, but as part of the wider EP and the bands vision I do believe it belongs here.

Summary

I’m excited by Future Theory.

This EP left me with a different view I was going to present halfway through the penultimate track. I was going to sing their praises musically, how they mix genres, blend styles and rip up the musical rule book to create something quite stunning for a first EP. Instead how I want to end is by saying, yes, Future Theory do have talent, and do have those capabilities, but even though I am not the biggest fan of track five, it has added to my belief this band have something different, something that will suit them in the music business. They are fearless and have a vision to make the music they want to make, not be defined by boundaries or what people say they should be making and that is what defines them as a band.

Rating: 4/5