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”

Album Review: Rash Decision – Karoshi

“A pissed off, vicious slab of breakneck hardcore thrash.” FFO: Agnostic Front, Cro Mags, The Crumbsuckers, DRI.

Review by Ollie Stygall.

Have you ever been to Cornwall? I live pretty close to the border between Devon and Cornwall and go there pretty often because… Well… It’s like going to a foreign country without actually having to go to a foreign country! The middle bit of the county has been filled with nothingness with all activity taking place round the spectacular coastline. Maybe it’s the sea air, maybe it’s the surf culture that’s grown up around the county or maybe it’s the Cornish insistence that they are a nation in their own right that’s led them to adopt a different pace of life to the rest of Britain. Cornwall moves slower than anywhere else in the country… more relaxed and laissez faire. Almost like a county of stoners weaned on cider, pasties and putting jam and cream on scones the wrong way round. All this makes this new release from Rash Decision seem all the more incongruous as they deliver a pissed off, vicious slab of breakneck hardcore thrash that sits at odds with their surroundings.

Karoshi amounts to 14 tracks of kinetic, angry metal/punk crossover that, to my jaded ears, harks back to the New York hardcore of 80’s bands such as Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, Leeway, The Crumbsuckers… etc. The guitars are violent scythes of noisy crunch, drums rattle along with plenty of double kick action and the vocals are throaty, larynx stripping rants. All bar three songs come in under two minutes and say as much as most songs far longer, being rammed to the rafters with riff after riff and breakdowns aplenty.

The angry intensity spills over fully into the lyrics. Lyrically, if these songs were to paint a picture of life in Cornwall then the county’s tourist industry would be fucked in an instant. This is definitely not a child friendly album as the band spit out profanity after profanity and cover pretty much every taboo word going… and I’m the kind of cunt that fucking loves shit like that! In all seriousness though, like many punk bands before them, Rash Decision cover much of the usual punk rock subject matter… Being slaves to the system on Salary Man and just generally getting fucked over by life. The thing is, these subjects never go away and will provide abundant subject matter for punk bands for eternity.

Continue reading “Album Review: Rash Decision – Karoshi”

Album Review: Youth Avoiders – Relentless

Like a perfect hit of potent espresso, Parisian hardcore act Youth Avoiders are the big name being whispered around the UK scene right now. FFO: Minor Threat, Dead Kennedys, having your mind blown.

Review by Ollie Stygall.

France may not be at the top of everyone’s list of punk rock nations. In fact, France probably doesn’t register on anyone this side of the channel’s lists as a music nation full stop. Aside from Joe Le Taxi by Vanessa Paradis… which was 30 odd years ago… I defy you to think of any internationally successful French musicians. It’s a tough task. Aside from some dodgy stoner rock bands and some actually pretty decent hip hop acts, it’s slim pickings on the music front for French bands in the UK. It’s good, therefore to see a Parisian punk band breaking down that barrier and crossing the water.

One of the first things you may think of when it comes to punk rock, apart from a relentless barrage of speed, is a wall of fuzzy guitars. This is where Youth Avoiders stand out from the word go. For the most part these guys keep the guitars almost completely clean, giving the songs a jangly, almost surfy edge which is extremely refreshing. Especially when coupled with their breakneck take on DC-style hardcore. Imagine the Dead Kennedys jamming with Minor Threat and you’re in the right ball park. Youth Avoiders trade an abrasive sound for something far punchier and it pays off in spades.

Musically this 11 track album sets out their agenda to get in, get the job done quickly and then fuck off again. They pretty much have one tempo: fast as fuck. Most tracks barely make it past the two minute mark, making it a brief but thrilling ride. Continue reading “Album Review: Youth Avoiders – Relentless”

Album Review: Call Me Malcolm – I Was Broken When You Got Here

Meet the soundtrack to your summer. FFO: Less Than Jake, The JB Conspiracy, Lightyear, Random Hand.

I Was Broken When You Got Here is destined to be the soundtrack to your summer. London’s Call Me Malcolm have taken all the best elements of late-90s ska punk and rolled it into one irresistable package, modernising it by opening up about depression and anxiety.

It has been a long time since I’ve encountered an album that I couldn’t take off repeat, but I’ve listened to very little else for the last three weeks. It is due for release on Be Sharp Promotions and Bad Granola Records on Friday April 6th and take my word for it: you need this album in your life.

Press Art - Album CoverIt is not often nowadays that a ska-punk album comes along and completely stops you in your tracks. It’s not 2003. Ska-punk is no longer in vogue, if it ever was, however for those of us who do like our punk brassy, sunny and loaded with upstrokes, it is a very special thing. Arguably there has been a resurgence this year, but it’s been spearheaded by the return of some legendary live bands, not by new album releases.

Then Call Me Malcolm blast in out of left-field and drop this catchy, infectious masterpiece that grows more ingrained into your skull with every listen. Call Me Malcolm have been on the scene for quite a number of years and, although I’ve always liked them, I would never have expected them to come out with an album that, with the right marketing, could honestly rival Less Than Jake. Perhaps it’s my lack of presumption and expectation that allowed me to be wowed by this record, however it’s stood up to hundreds of repeat plays without becoming a ounce less enticing. Continue reading “Album Review: Call Me Malcolm – I Was Broken When You Got Here”