Over the last couple of moths of interning, school, and spending time with family and friends, I’ve been absorbing a lot of good new music. Now that midterms are over and I have a moment to catch my breath, I thought I would share some of my favorites from this season.
Bring Me the Horizon | That’s the Spirit
One of the first reviews I did for this blog was BMTH’s Drown – a single released late last year with little to no communication from the band about a forthcoming record at the time. Reviewing this band was unexpected for me in the first place, because up until now, I considered Bring Me the Horizon the lowest in the caste system of modern metal. I surprisingly enjoyed Drown for it’s sonic departure from their metalcore roots and this new album is BMTH’s new genesis. It has some heavy tones, a lot of thick synths, good vocal delivery from Oli, and lots of earworm choruses that will energize some big crowds.
Songs like Avalanche bring novelty with Oli doing falsetto vocals and Throne relies on synths for the melody – as do most tracks on this record (Drown did end up on this record after all). Doomed bends genres the most with hip hop/electronica programming, filtered vocals, and a progressive structure. This band has brought something new to their discography, but not to the table in the grand scheme of things. I feel like this album has been done before. Having said that, you must consider Bring Me the Horizon’s starting point and where they are now. That’s the Spirit reflects maturity and a willingness to shed skin. For what it’s worth, I’m really enjoying this record! If you like chorus heavy, radio friendly, modern rock music with a lot of melody, then check this album out.
Ben Rector | Brand New
I’d like to thank my friend, Nick, in Winona for this one. #spotifycreeping. I’ve heard of Ben Rector before, but never gave him a listen until recently. Brand New is a collection of introspective ballads and music hall bangers bolstered by stellar piano playing from Rector and well layered back up instrumentation. What I like the most is that all three of these songs showcased have their own personalities that make them stand apart from each other. Yes, there are a lot of similarities in instrumentation, but all they stand on their own two musical feet with distinct differences in pace and atmosphere. The Men that Drive Me Places is probably my favorite with a minimalist sonic approach, thoughtful lyrics about taxi drivers, and a memorable chorus. Paris has more of a big band with lots of finger plucking guitar and bouncing piano to accompany swinging vocals. This ends with the title track, which hits this sampler’s musical climax with crescendoing verses, an energetic boom-clap chorus, and a sing-along vibe. So far, this has been a solid introduction to Ben Rector. This sampler is a diversified listen that will have something for everyone’s musical palate. I look forward to hearing the rest of the record!
Rend Collective | As Family We Go
Irish born and bred folk group, Red Collective, are primarily known for their popularity in Christian circles, but I think it’s their swagger that separates them from the pack. Throughout their entire discography, Rend writes music that preserves this organic energy the musicians put into it that translates live and on record. Not only is their material well written and instrumentally diverse, it’s actually pretty fun! Listening to songs like their rendition of Be Thou My Vision get me out of my set! Musically, their new album, As Family We Go, takes the road less traveled at the yellow wood. It’s as if Rend went on a binge of Echosmith’s Talking Dreams and then bumped into Mumford and Sons while recording Wilder Mind. I think the mix of 80’s pop, alt rock, and indie folk works really well for Rend on this record. It does have a lot of familiar elements that fans have come to appreciate over the course of four albums. You Will Never Run and Celebrate encapsulate how Rend lives up to their lively stage presence and energy (watch the music video). Other songs like Never Walk Alone and Your Royal Blood slow down to a comfortable speed but keeps the album on the tip of your tongue. Lyrically, this follows suit of many topics on previous records, which includes worship and taking joy in the small blessings. It’s been an enjoyable listen since its release! If you want something upbeat and more mainline by comparison to modern alt rock, I would recommend this record.
Counterparts | The Difference Between Hell and Home
Counterparts are a Canadian-based post hardcore outfit that fits comfortably in the niche of modern melodic hardcore with complex compositions and song structure, brighter tones, and an aggressively calculated delivery. Their third album, The Difference Between Hell and Home received universal acclaim for setting itself as the tip of the spear for a newer generation of hardcore fans. It has something for everyone and is pretty well balanced. Between the winding song structure, switches in time signatures, a recurring, bright melodic riff coupled with a down and dirty breakdown, and believably bemoaning lyrics, tracks like Outlier are just over three minutes of everything I like about this genre of music. Decay follows suit of bands like Being As An Ocean and Hotel Books by musically putting the car back into third gear and having spoken word vocals over the track. Compass is probably the most frenetic passage of on an already aggressive record. Fit For an Autopsy guitarist, Will Putney (For Today, Thy Art Is Murder), took the helm on this record’s production. As with most modern metal and hardcore, it’s buffed to a bit of a high gloss, but manages to cage the raw energy on record. I would recommend this album for anyone who likes heavy, melodic music with some teeth.