Album Review: Mean Caesar – Self Titled

Mean Caesar’s 6 track, self-titled EP is a sharp collection of brash yet melodic punk rock, FFO: Hot Water Music, Leatherface and Samiam.

Review by Ollie Stygall.

The Caesars, the emperors of Rome, were by and large a pretty horrible lot. Venerated as gods they frequently abused their power to indulge their sexual and sadistic whims. So it begs a question, if a Caesar is mean, how much of an utter bastard must he really be?

Fortunately South London’s Mean Caesar are not a scary proposition. Fearsome, yes, but certainly something to be embraced in the punk scene. Mean Caesar have been an active gigging band since early 2018 but prior to that they spent two years holed up in the rehearsal space, honing their song writing and sound before hitting the ground running as a fully formed and functional outfit. This time spent and attention to their craft and presentation has clearly paid off in the first recorded fruits of their labours.

This 6 track, self-titled EP is a sharp collection of brash yet melodic punk rock that draws influence from Hot Water Music and the much beloved Leatherface. Each track is packed with more hooks than a fisherman’s tackle box and more drive than an episode of Top Gear, all capped off by vocalist Danny Lester’s impassioned, gruff bark. Vocally Lester will definitely draw comparisons to Chuck Ragan and Frankie Stubbs as he combines a rough gargle with a keen sense of melody. Continue reading “Album Review: Mean Caesar – Self Titled”

EP Review: The Run Up – Good Friends, Bad Luck

The Run Up’s latest EP is earnest, sincere melodic punk from a band who’ve found their sound. FFO: The Gaslight Anthem, Off With Their Heads, Iron Chic, The Menzingers

Review by Alan Corcoran.

On first listen the new EP Good Friends, Bad Luck washes over you like a sea of whiskey and ginger ale. It is sharp and sweet, it has a kick to it and you have to say it makes you feel good. Sure, you can sense underlying problems lurking and there may be emotional hell to pay later, but for now you’re feeling feelings, and most of them are pretty damn good.

The band are tight. Riffs and drum fills flow out of your speakers with such a natural cohesion that it feels like The Run Up are a five piece hive mind. They seem to anticipate each other’s musical quirks and if you told me these songs were the work of one obsessive genius and not five dudes from Bristol I’d believe you.

There’s a certain confidence in yourself and your bandmates that gets expressed when you have an opening instrumental song on a release. These type of songs come about when a band has found its groove. They have found their sound, they trust each other and they believe in the release enough to present it as a complete piece of art. It’s a subtle but stubborn ‘fuck you’ to the casual, impatient listener and a stimulating appetiser to those who are ready to experience all five courses. Continue reading “EP Review: The Run Up – Good Friends, Bad Luck”

Album Review: Nerdlinger – Happy Place

Australian melodic skatepunkers Nerdlinger has delivered a smasher. FFO Lagwagon, Frenzal Rhomb and Teenage Bottlerocket.

Article by Alan Corcoran.

It’s summer and most of the world has been burning to a crisp in the past few weeks, so what better time to dust off your skateboard, cruise over to your friend’s BBQ and listen to some punk rock, delivered courtesy of Nerdlinger and their new album Happy Place.

The Australian melodic skate punkers have covered a lot of ground both literally and figuratively since 2013 and it’s therefore no surprise that this album has both an energy and diversity to it that is damn refreshing in a genre that’s been going since the 90s.

A fairly standard 30 second intro song starts things off, followed by guitar playing and melodies in both Contagious and Can Yu Forgive Me? that will have fans of Blink-182 reminiscing on a time when Tom Delonge wasn’t off somewhere chasing space men.

 

The first four songs barrel past in under ten minutes and while there are the spicy riffs and drum fills associated with skate punk, there are also plenty of satisfying melodies that lean towards pop punk. The aforementioned Contagious is a prime example of an intro and verse that sizzle with intensity, before serving up a tasty chorus. Continue reading “Album Review: Nerdlinger – Happy Place”

Album Review: Eat Defeat – I Think We’ll Be Okay

Leeds’ Eat Defeat have created a true pop-punk gem, with a positive take on mental health struggles.

Review by Mark Bartlett.

Leed’s based pop punks Eat Defeat were already arguably the UK’s greatest unsung pop-punks, and I mean pop-punk in the classic Drive Thru record’s/Warped Tour sense rather than the diluted squash of the countless Neck Deep-alike easycore contenders. Their last EP Time And Tide, which was released through Umlaut Records, was a shining example of modern UK pop-punk. Their 2nd full album I Think We’ll Be Ok, expands on the promise of Time And Tide in terms of song composition (and recycles one song and a Japanese release exclusive track from it) and adds superior lyrics and a strong uniting album theme.

I Think We’ll Be Ok is their first release for Bearded Punk records and features some pretty gorgeous, colourful artwork that nicely sets the tone for an album that tackles tried and true topics such as depression, anxiety and the complexities of relationships, but all wrapped in a sugary exterior and an ultimately optimistic place.

First track A Little Less Than Ok sets a high bar immediately with an utter sharknado of melody attacking you from every direction. Lovely guitar textures abound and there’s enjoyable harmony and rich, crunchy and full production here in spades. ‘I can’t break out of this mental state’ sets up the lyrical conflict of the album pretty perfectly.

Second track Duvet Day, is as concise a statement as can be at 41 seconds but no less affecting; the lyrical sentiment, “You’ll take this duvet away from me when you pry it away from my cold, dead hands,” is one a lot of us can easily relate to. Continue reading “Album Review: Eat Defeat – I Think We’ll Be Okay”

Album Review: Consumed – Decade of No

The new Consumed EP is every bit as vital and vibrant as their late 90’s releases.

Article by Ollie Stygall.

What compels a band to reunite? Well, for some, like Guns And Roses, the lure of the mighty dollar and recent diminishing return in terms of popularity and quality are certainly a factor… But what of those bands who achieved small to medium success then fell apart amidst relationship issues/money issues/lack of greater success, etc.? Surely there can only be one reason: because they want to. Time is a great healer in terms of relationships, people have moved on to have careers outside of music and aren’t struggling so much financially, and gradually that desire to rock out again hits so bands reform… not because they need to, but because they want to. That’s the best reason to be in a band.

But can it ever be as good as it was before? Has age tempered the youthful rage? Well, from personal experience, having a career, having a family, being a homeowner and becoming more aware of the world actually increases the rage, so I would argue that bands that are reaching or have reached middle age are probably more effective at playing punk rock than they were 20 years ago.

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Consumed existed from 1994 to 2003 and achieved a level of success that a lot of bands would dream of, signing to Fat Wreck Chords, BYO and Golf in their career, all legendary punk rock labels, and touring the world. Now they’re back… because they want to be. Continue reading “Album Review: Consumed – Decade of No”

Album Review: Astpai – True Capacity

Austrian grit-and-guitar maestros Astpai reach melodic punk perfection on their fifth studio album. FFO: The Flatliners, Gnarwolves, RX Bandits.

Article by Sarah Williams.

Since beginning Shout Louder, I’ve been sent a lot of records. I listen to every single submission, so it’s easy for an album to pass me by, falling into the mediocre cracks in the floorboards of scruffy punk fodder. As a result, it’s a rarity that an album will grip me from a first listen but, guess what? True Capacity has done just that.

Astpai have been on the gruff-punk radar for many years now, pulling big, dedicated audiences in the UK as well as on the mainland. True Capacity is the fifth studio album from this Viennese five-piece; a strong melodic punk offering that will instantly appeal to fans of The Flatliners and Gnarwolves.

Main single, Best Years, has to be the one of the best melodic punk songs written in 2018. It hooks you in with a devilishly catchy riff before slamming you with understated, earworm lyrics. Astpai have nailed a unique and enticing combination of written-in-your-bedroom simplicity and owning-a-huge-stage atmospherics that resonates through the whole record. I’m singing along with the my fist in the air, nodding my head and tapping my feet for, “That’s the best you can do.” The more I hear this song, the more it resonates with me.

Zock’s gruffer, gently accented vocal is something of an acquired taste, but he’s outdone himself on this recording, bringing a passionate depth to the lyrics without being show-offish. “Rejection is the final nail to your coffin of despair,” on No Hero is another instantly memorable lyric, as is, “Love is a strong word when you don’t mean it.” Continue reading “Album Review: Astpai – True Capacity”

Album Review: The Human Project – Clarion Call

Leeds’ tech-punk tornado, The Human Project, produce another passionate call-to-arms on new album Clarion Call. FFO: Propagandhi, Darko, Fair Do’s.

Article by Joelle Laes.

If you’ve heard The Human Project’s previous album Origins, you already know what to expect. If this is your first time listening to this quartet from Leeds, let me give you an idea of what to expect from Clarion Call: 11 tracks of techy punk rock riffage with the occasional breakdown, singalongs and absolutely exceptional vocals.

In moshing terms: be prepared to go from a relaxed listen to stomping through the room, belting out the lyrics with fists in the air in a matter of seconds. Not advised to listen to while driving. Accidents will happen.

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Where Origins was already politically charged, encouraging listeners to stop and question what they were made to believe, on Clarion Call The Human Project sound like a band that have ran out of patience. They are clearly expressing disappointment and anger about today’s political climate because they’ve had enough. You could say that’s a classic ‘punk’ approach, but it is far more than that. For starters, their lyrics are much more eloquent than the standard, “Fuck the government.”

The Human Project have found a way to make tech-punk feel atmospheric and build up to outbursts of air guitar-worthy riffage, in combination with exceptional high-pitched vocals. On Clarion Call they’ve successfully incorporated a post-hardcore vibe that reflects their sister-band Sounds of Swami, with whom they share guitarist Luke Yates and drummer Joe Dimuantes. The outcome is Propagandhi-esque at times; slightly more melodic but equally as trailblazing.

Desperate Times starts off the album slowly, quietly building with an enticing voice, leaving me excited for what’s to come. Desperate Measures seamlessly follows and I found myself literally deafened and amazed by the lyrical beauty of it. I advise you not to give in to your urge to put the volume up a notch on the first song. That One Percent, the first single to be release from the album, brings the right combination of heaviness, speed and the THP signature vocal harmonies. Continue reading “Album Review: The Human Project – Clarion Call”