Weird kids – We Are The In Crowd

The New York five-piece return with a much more mature album that will be singing its way around your head for weeks.

It has been a long time since We Are The In Crowd have released a record – about 3 years in fact – and with all that time the fans anticipation for their next album was sure to be very high. With ‘Weird Kids’ the band have met those expectations and surpassed them significantly; in a nutshell the album shows the band member’s transformation into young adults.

weird 1Straight away from the album’s opening track ‘Long Live The Kids’, it is obvious that the band have left behind their simple pop/punky style, and are starting on the road of a much mature record which looks at serious themes. A light piano and Tay Jardine’s – the lead singer – vocals drag us into the track, and as soon as the rest of the band come in it is obvious that this is a meaningful record. As Jardine sings about looking out for yourself and living how you want to live, “Hang on, be strong, long live the kids in us all”. However, despite what the lyrics say, it sounds as though the song is about anyone, that you should choose to live your life the way you want to; Jardine’s screams of “No, no, no, nooo” in the breakdown make sure of that. It is an anthem that starts off the journey of an incredible album.

‘The Best Thing (That Never Happened)’ is definitely the biggest track on the album, it forces its way in to your ears with an aggressive guitar riff as soon as the preceding track has finished; and will keep you listening as the band show how much they have grown since their last record. With lyrics like “So toxic, you ain’t nothing but a prick”, it is easy to see that Jardine is not messing around, the song’s meaning – about basically screaming to your ex that they are the ones missing out – appears to be one close to the vocalist’s heart. It’s such a well constructed song with a sing-a-long chorus that leaves you begging for more.

As the band – completed by Jordan Eckes on guitar, Mike Ferri on bass, Cameron Hurley on guitar and Rob Chianelli on drums – have matured through their music so have their fans, as they have grown-up with them. Whereas their 2011 album ‘ Best Intentions’ was a pop-punk party album that was more of a continuation of their 2010 EP ‘Guaranteed To Disagree’, Weird Kids is definitely taking a path to finding their sound. Everything about the album shows the band’s growth, whether it be the determined-to-make-a-statement lyrics from Jardine, the hard-hitting drums by Chianelli or the grainier sounding guitar riffs by Eckes, when they put it all together, you can’t help but sing a long and feel compelled to understand the lyric’s meanings.

As the album continues, ‘Attention’ kicks in; it was the first single released from this record, and gave fans a little taster of what was to come. The track combines the band’s new style in the verses with a pop/punk catchy chorus that mirrors their work on Best Intentions; the entire song gives everything that the group have right up until the end. As soon as this song finishes and ‘Dreaming Out Loud’ comes in we are reminded of the new sound which We Are The In Crowd are putting across. The track – which is the rockiest on the album – starts off with a very raw riff, and ends with an explosive screaming of the chorus which, like many of the other songs, ends too quickly and beckons for us listen again.

There are a lot of pop/punk bands out there making a name for themselves everyday, so it is quite easy to pass them by. WATIC offer something different though, something that makes them stand out from the others; the back and forth singing of Jardine and Eckes on nearly every song. By having the lead singer and guitarist exchange lines – and the fact that they are male and female – it gives them the opportunity to sing songs from two different perspectives. Just as they did on their 2010 EP with ‘Both Sides of the Story’; both sang from either sides of a break-up.

It is really hard to actually distinguish a weak song on the album, however the two that stand out more than any others are ‘Remember (To Forget You)’ and ‘Don’t You Worry’. Not because they are bad songs, but primarily because they come across as being more suited for the band’s previous album. The very light sing-a-long pop choruses just don’t fit in with the image that they are now trying to promote.

crowd 1‘Windows in heaven’ is a beautiful ballad from Jardine to her late father, and it captures the listener so well because of the lyrics which will be relatable to fans who have also lost loved ones. Through the entire song you can feel the vocalist pouring out her heart in hopes that her grandfather is proud of her, “If you could see me now, would you be pleased and proud.” I think it’s safe to say that he would be.

In the same way that their Best Intentions album ended with the powerful ‘Better Luck Next Time’, Weird Kids concludes with another catchy-hooking track – ‘Reflections’ – which will get any fan dancing around in their bedroom to. Just as the album opener screamed about living your life as you see fit, the closer touches on the topic once again, “Destiny is overrated, so I think I’ll write my own”. Jardine is giving a message to all the fans out there to write your own destiny and not live someone else’s. With that, the short album is over, and leaves you begging for more.

If this is We Are The In Crowd trying to find their sound, then I think they can stop looking. One thing is for certain, although these five kids may be weird, in the short 10-song album…they have definitely grown up.

Weird Kids is out now.

Listen to: The Best Thing (That Never Happened), Come Back Home and Dreaming Out Loud.

The full track-listing is as follows:

Long Live The Kids

The Best Thing (That Never Happened)

Manners

Come Back Home

Attention

Dreaming Out Loud

Remember (To Forget You)

Don’t You Worry

Windows In Heaven

Reflections

Cavalier Youth – You Me At Six

The Surrey quintet continue on the mission to find their sound on their fourth album; Cavalier Youth.

You Me At Six’s sound has constantly been changing since their début album ‘Take Off Your Colours in 2008; with their last album ‘Sinners Never Sleep taking the darker music route, which many pop-punk bands have been trying to do recently. With Cavalier Youth the band has stepped away from those dark themes and have taken their music to a place which slightly mimics their second album ‘Hold Me Down’, along with a new place which regrettably is more indie-rock sounding.

you_me_at_six_cavalier_youthThe album’s opener, ‘Too Young To Feel This Old’, is definitely a great song as it warms you up to the beginning of the record, with a calming guitar riff that would fit nicely into any song on Hold Me Down. However once we have been welcomed, and – lead singer – Josh Franceschi’s vocals pour in, something seems slightly odd. It’s not that the singer’s voice is somewhat different, because his vocals have been constantly changing throughout his career; it’s that his voice sounds so different in that first verse that I thought it was a different band playing. Thankfully the rest of the track, especially the breakdown, sounds like classic You Me At Six; and has opened up the album on a high note.

‘Lived A Lie’ was the first single that was released from Cavalier Youth, and was also what gave me the first clue that they were, although still a rock band, moving more over to the Indie side of things. Don’t get me wrong it is an enjoyable song, and one which I am sure will get a great reaction from a live crowd; but it just did not sound like one of their tunes. In a way it did scream You Me At Six in every way possible, but something just appeared to be missing and it is so hard to put my finger on what it was. It is not a bad song though, and Lived A Lie does fit in with this album well.

I am trying in the hardest way to not make this sound like the only reason I am slightly disappointed with this album is because it is more indie-rock themed, because that is not the reason. I just think that the band – completed by Max Helyer on guitar, Chris Miller on guitar, Dan Flint on drums and Matt Barnes on bass – were able to do so well in their own genre – whether that be pop-punk or rock – that there is no need for them to try to change that. Why not carry on down the same road that they already know and improve on that, rather than changing genres.

As the album proceeds onwards we get a feel for the sound of the songs, and if there is one song that sums up the entire album it would be ‘Fresh Start Fever’; the second single released from Cavalier Youth. It is a heart-pounding, fist-pumping, lung-screaming anthem that is going to get a tremendous sing-a-long at the band’s live shows. From the dramatic piano opening, through the foot-tapping chorus and to the climax the song just keeps on giving and never lets up. It is a power ballad all the way.

However much the band want a sound that comes across as more mature, there are always going to be aspects of their original material found in their albums; and ‘Room To Breathe is an example of that. With its raw guitar riff and Franceschi’s rough shouting vocals, this track sounds like a sequel to the likewise sounding ‘Tigers and Sharks’ from Take Off Your Colours. It is obvious that the band want to show that they have grown up, and Cavalier Youth shows that; but it is great that they still bring some of the same sound from the songs that got them their first group of followers.

Just as the previous track takes the listeners back to the earliest of the band’s work, ‘Win Some, Lose Some’ enters the album with a dark melodic guitar riff that mirrors the songs of Sinners Never Sleep, in fact the entire song could fit right into place on that record. The next couple of songs, including tracks ‘Hope For The Best’ and ‘Love Me Like You Used To’, simply portray what it is that the band do best; write thought-provoking lyrics, catchy tunes and fast-paced choruses that will have their fans singing at the top of their lungs in their bedrooms.

‘Be Who You Are’ shows a completely different side to the band, older fans will know that Franceschi has always sang songs from his heart and has no problem letting people know that. However this track sounds too much like a pop song, and I generally have a problem with interludes. When I purchase an album by a band I really like and in the middle of the tracks there is an instrumental song, it riles me up a bit because I would much rather have a full-length song by the band that I can sing along to.

ymas-promos-011-webhighresAfter the album took a slight detour from what I would call ‘You Me At Six music’, it gets back on track with the penultimate song on the record, ‘Carpe Diem’. As with the album opener the song draws you in with a comfortable catchy guitar riff – along with the drums and vocals. It is just an enjoyable easy-listening song which urges you to want to get up and dance, all the way through the choruses and up to the very end. Carpe Diem has been so well placed on the track-listing just as ‘The Dilemma’ was at the end of Sinners Never Sleep, they both pick their albums up from previous grim feeling songs.

Cavalier Youth ends in a way that appears to be tradition on a You Me At Six album; at least from the last three albums. It concludes with the same deep slow-toned sound on ‘Wild Ones’ which, just as ‘Fireworks’ and ‘When We Were Younger’ did on the preceding albums, looks at a topic quite close to the singer’s heart. In the past he has sung about letting the one you love be free and wanting your parents to be proud of you, once again on Wild Ones the topic is love; and it appears to be about the way you feel when you are with that special person.

It would have been easy to have just listened to this album by one of my favourite bands and said everything that I liked about it, but there were just too many weak points; and with there being such high anticipation surrounding the release of this album, it really needed to be more of a hard hitter that blew everyone away.

People keep saying that on Cavalier Youth You Me At Six have finally found their sound, personally I think their sound was found a long time ago…and hopefully sometime soon they will go back to it.

Cavalier Youth is out now.

Listen to: Fresh Start Fever, Love Me Like You Used To and Carpe Diem.

The full track-listing is as follows:

Too Young To Feel This Old

Lived A Lie

Fresh Start Fever

Forgive And Forget

Room To Breathe

Win Some, Lose Some

Cold Night

Hope For The Best

Love Me Like You Used To

Be Who You Are

Carpe Diem

Wild Ones

Hail To The King – Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold prove they are back, with their sixth studio album which packs a ferocious punch into the metal genre.

It has been three years since we have heard from the foursome – apart from the song Not Ready To Die on Call Of Duty: Black Ops in 2011 – and the anticipation has been eating away at the fans. Mainly due to them wondering how the album would turn out. It was unknown whether or not their 2010 album Nightmare would even happen, due to the death of drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan in 2009. It was uncertain if the band would be able to carry on, thankfully they did and produced a brilliant album which was a great dedication to Jimmy’s memory. It took the band a long time, however they were always going to come back to the studio, but the question was – would Hail To The King live up to the expectations, and it be worth the 3 year wait?Avenged-Sevenfold-Hail-to-the-KingThe record opens with ‘Shepherd of Fire’, a song which sets the dark atmospheric tone for the rest of the album. A sort of devilish, cataclysmic end-of-the-world theme which is echoed in to each of the preceding tracks. It begins the album with something that every metal album needs – an intro which gradually gets bigger and bigger as each instrument introduces itself into the song.

The album doesn’t let up as we delve straight into the band’s most recent single ‘Hail to the King’, which begins with an electric fast-paced riff, that continues into the hard-to-not-sing-along-to chorus. Which Shadows screams out as he sings about whether or not society needs all the people at the top who are in power, and why can’t we run our lives the way we want to. Doing Time is the next track, and although the shortest on the album – at only 3:27 – it is still a powerful metal punch, which gets your blood racing as it is one of the album’s fast-paced songs. Fans of Avenged have always known how unique Shadows’ voice is, it’s gritty raw tone defines their songs and it is used almost like another instrument in the band. So it is great when Shadows uses it to its full potential, which is what we hear in this song, his voice screams and nearly drowns out the rest of the band in a sort of Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) fashion.

For those of you not familiar with the band, Avenged Sevenfold consists of M. Shadows (vocals), Synyster Gates (guitar), Zacky Vengeance (guitar) and Johnny Christ (bass). Originating from Orange County California, the band were part of the heavy metal scene in the early 2000s along with Atreyu.

The middle of the record takes us on quite a varied journey, we get a story about the war within ourselves which we constantly fight on a daily basis in ‘This Means War’, and ‘Crimson Day’ is about Shadows wanting to be there for his son during his life. We are taken all 18th/19th century with ‘Requiem’ which turns the classic beautiful music pieces on their head, as the band create a heavy metal version of one.avengedsevenfold_650As soon as ‘Coming Home’ crept through the speakers it was obvious that it was going to be an instant anthem which rolled around in your head for weeks to come. It is definitely the most powerful song on the album and presents everything which is great about the band: a huge memorable chorus, a 2 minute guitar screeching solo and verses with riffs which make you want to raise your fist and bang your head as hard as possible.

The album seems to be much more slow-paced than some of their previous records, possibly because of the pace of new drummer, Arin Iljay. M. Shadows says that it is a metal album, and he’s not wrong, it’s just not as metal as their 2005 masterpiece ‘City Of Evil’, and their earlier albums – Waking The Fallen (2003) and Sounding The Seventh Trumpet (2001). Hail To The King takes aspects from different places in their career, it offers the face-melting guitar solos of City Of Evil, the thought-provoking lyrics from Nightmare and the powerful choruses presented by Shadows’ voice from their self-titled white album (2007).

Hail To The King is concluded in much the same way as their previous three albums did, with a song – ‘Acid Rain’ – which makes you listen and learn from the lyrics, whilst pumping out your best air guitar impression. The song never really takes off like ‘A Little Piece Of heaven’ did on The White Album though, and I don’t think the band are ever going to top the conclusion of City Of Evil which had ‘M.I.A’, one of the bands best efforts. But the huge screaming chorus and lyrics still dig right into your soul like “There’s no death, no end of time, when I’m facing it with you”. The band round off their sixth album with a tale about being with the one you love when the end of the world is happening, but not caring because as long as you have that person everything will be fine.

It has been said by some that Hail To The King is to Avenged Sevenfold, what The Black Album is to Metallica, and it is fairly obvious what they mean. Shadows has even said in interviews that this album is the band growing up and moving on from their previous albums, it shows a different side of Avenged, one that – in my own opinion – will see them creating music for many years to come.

Listen to: Doing Time, Heretic and Coming Home.

The full track-listing is as follows:

Shepherd of Fire

Hail To The King

Doing Time

This Means War

Requiem

Crimson Day

Heretic

Coming Home

Planets

Acid Rain

Best Intentions – We Are The In Crowd

Debut Album Puts Pop-Punk Rockers On The Musical Map

If the lack of music from female fronted bands in the past year has given you the blues, prepare to get back into the spirit of dancing and singing to catchy hooks and inspiring lyrics. The ambitious five-piece from Poughkeepsie, New York which are taking the Pop-Punk scene by storm are called ‘We Are The In Crowd’.

best-intentions-coverThe band formed in 2009 and is fronted by Taylor ‘Tay’ Jardine, who captures the true feeling that is needed in a band of this genre when she is singing and performing. Jardine is joined by guitarist Jordan Eckes, guitarist Cameron Hurley, bassist Mike Ferri and drummer Rob Chianelli. Together they will make you remember what this genre means.

Although every time a new band who has a female vocalist comes to prominence they are instantly related to the band ‘Paramore’, and the singer is ridiculed for copying the style of Paramore’s front-woman Hayley Williams. This can not be the case with We Are The In Crowd because they bring something new to the table by having Jardine and Eckes sing together and separately.

The transition between Jardine and Eckes works really well, and they create a style which not many bands before have been able to do throughout a whole album. The singers take on different roles in the songs, with the Jardine portraying a girl’s half of a relationship, and Eckes showing the boy’s side. These two really come together well and when backed up with catchy rhythms, huge guitar drops and sing-a-long lyrics, the band will win you over in no time.

You can see throughout the album how Taylor Jardine can be related to Hayley Williams of Paramore, because she sings with the same melodic highs and lows that Williams does. Plus with the style of guitar playing by Eckes it is no wonder non-avid listeners would mistake the band for Paramore.

We Are The In CrowdThe album does offer some good high points with the tracks, such as the recently released single ‘Rumour Mill’, this crowd jumping, fun catchy song is a great way to start the album off. However when listening, it seems to be the strongest song on the album, songs like ‘You’ve Got It Made’ and ‘All Or Nothing’ seem to be lacking something, they are songs which you can casually nod your head along to and wait for the next powerful song on the album. The band does bring back the power though with a great duet by Jardine and Eckes in ‘Kiss Me Again’, and the album ends with the catchy ballad ‘Better Luck Next Time’ which signs the album off on a good note.

With Paramore only releasing one official song (Monster) since the departure of guitarist Josh Farro and drummer Zac Farro and the music scene not hearing from fellow Pop-Punkers and female fronted band Hey Monday since their debut album ‘Hold On Tight’ in 2008 it’s a relief that a band has picked up the pieces and will carry the torch.

Here’s looking at you kids…

Best Intentions is out now.

Listen to: Rumour Mill, Kiss Me Again and See You Around.

The Full Track-Listing is as Follows:

Rumour Mill

This Isn’t Goodbye, It’s BRB

The Worst Thing About Me

Kiss me Again

On Your Own

All Or Nothing

Exits And Entrances

See You Around

You’ve Got It Made

Better Luck Next Time

 

Sinners Never Sleep – You Me At Six

Surrey five-piece return with a power they had once only dreamed of.

When You Me At Six announced that they were writing their follow-up to their 2010 album ‘Hold Me Down’, it was an instant assumption that it would be a rushed album due to the timing schedule; and like so many others would be not their best work. However this was not the case at all.

You_Me_At_Six_Sinners_Never_Sleep_489060849‘Sinners Never Sleep’ has shown that the boys can take different approaches to music and still create the same end result as they did with their previous albums, ‘Take Off Your Colours’ in 2008 and Hold Me Down in 2010. With songs like ‘Crash’ and ‘When We Were Younger’ vocalist Josh Franceschi has shown his feelings through lyrics once again, as he did with ‘Fireworks’ from Hold Me Down; but this time he has taken it one step further. He isn’t singing about past girlfriends anymore, with lyrics like “when I was younger, I never thought. That when I was older, I’d see you give up” and “when I was younger, I only dreamed, that when I got older you’d be proud of me” shows him singing passionately for his family and how he wants to impress them.

There is still the fan-favourite songs with catchy hooks such as ‘This Is The First Thing’ and ‘Reckless’; which will be playing around in your mind for weeks after. The album also once again has guest vocals on ‘Bite My Tongue’ from ‘Bring Me The Horizon’ frontman Oli Sykes, which really is nothing new on the guest vocals front, however that does not take away the fact of this being a powerful song which will surely get the crowd moving when performed live. The variation between types of tracks show how much these five lads have grown over the years, they have put the effort in, played their best and sung their hearts out; and it’s all paying off.

If You Me At Six keep on creating these inspiring albums, then who knows where they will be in 10, 20 years time. The way things are looking Josh Franceschi could soon become one of greatest lyricists of our generation.

Sinners Never Sleep is out now.

Listen to: Bite My Tongue, This Is The First Thing and Reckless.

The full track-listing for the album is as follows:

Loverboy

Jaws On The Floor

Bite My Tongue feat. Oli Sykes

This Is The First Thing

No One Does It Better

Little Death

Crash

Reckless

Time Is Money feat. Winston McCall

Little Bit Of Truth

The Dilemma

When We Were Younger