Archive for the Pop Punk Category

The SoapGirls – Elephant in the Room

Posted in CD, Pop Punk, Punk Rock with tags , , , , on 22nd September 2019 by mickbirchy

The SoapGirls

Elephant in the Room

Punk Rock, Grunge

Released: 12 July 2019

Self Released

If you’re not acquainted with The SoapGirls, then you’re in luck because neither am I. This is my first real taste of what they are about.  The Debray sisters, Noemie and Camille, have been around for a little while now, bringing their own brand of punk rock to the masses. From what I hear and what I’ve seen, they are an interesting and divisive band that deliver hard rocking tunes. Since their first album back in 2015, they have been pretty consistent release-wise and have garnered a decent fan-base. I say they’re divisive because, when I see conversations about them online, it almost always ends up in squabbling between the quality of their music. From what I can tell, the people that like them, really like them and visa versa.  So, where do I stand? Well since this is my first real exposure to them let’s take a listen and see what the crack is with these punk rock gals.

Pretty much from the get-go Elephant in the Room is a pretty entertaining listen. Not too aggressive or edgy and nothing overly produced. It falls somewhere in the middle of that. The production is clear enough and the music is well written. The melodies just flow so well and the harmonies are well integrated. This is nothing particularly fancy about the instrumentation, it’s all quite serviceable. The guitars are nicely toned with that typical hard rock tone and the drums are tightly locked into a decent rhythm on pretty much all of the tracks. The vocal performances are nice too. Again nothing overtly edgy or aggressive. In fact, they carry a tune really well. There are quite a few songs that really get stuck in your head as the choruses are quite catchy and leave a little bit of an ear-worm. 

However, my biggest problem with the album is the length. Whilst there is nothing bad per se on the album, there really isn’t enough of an incentive to keep listening to 19 songs straight. It’s not like this is a prog-rock opera with massive changes to the tunes. It’s just well played and well-performed punk rock. Yet, a punk rock album should get in and get out as quick as possible and this just drags on for a long time. Even though there is nothing explicitly wrong with the quality of any of the songs, there is just too much here for one sitting. 

This was fine. Though not something I feel I need to return to any time soon. The SoapGirls just aren’t necessarily my thing. I would have preferred it if their music was more intricate, unpredictable or if there was more an over-the-top personality to their character as a band. However, as is, this is just okay. Not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but not enough to keep me invested in their music or justify the sheer length of this album.

6/10

Mick Birchall

Ben Parcell – Expectations

Posted in CD, Folk, Pop Punk with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 5th September 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Ben Parcell
Expectations

Released 14th September 2013
Acoustic/Folk/Pop Punk
Released via By The Sea Records

Since becoming a solo act, Ben Parcell has gained a relative amount of fame through the East riding area and beyond for his soul-fuelled songwriting, distinctive voice and hard working attitude. Ben has clocked over 250 shows around the UK, playing both gigs and festivals. Taking influence from a wide range of different acts and genres such as Frank Turner, The Beatles and Green Day, Ben has established his own sound whilst staying true to his roots.

Opening up the album is the title track, Expectations, which proves to be a gentle yet honest song filled with emotive lyrics as well as distinctive accompaniment of piano. Out Of Here has a different sound all together, with a new pulse added to it by the use of percussion while the lyrics and vocals a certain tension to the music that rings out with all the strength of church bells minus the inducement of headaches. The use of guitar has a slight jig to it, blending in elements that are hard to explain. Gracie Falls‘ vocals inject a docile but rare touch into the song.

Forget The Pain has a misty, Stygian atmosphere that is reflected gracefully through each note and dances seductively with the lyrics. Given the darkish sound of the song, would it be safe to classify this as doom folk? Painted By Numbers is the upbeat number that appeared on Ben‘s EP of the same name (the review of which can be found here). The backing vocals, as provided by Edwina Hayes, adds a pillar of strength to the song while Ben‘s vocals and guitar work laid the foundations. I Don’t Need You continues with the upbeat tempo though the lyrics and vocals leave a trail of dusk and solemn feelings in their wake – A contrast that clearly works well for Ben. The piano medleys add a handsome sound to the song, keeping it fresh yet gloaming.

Undertow sails down a similar route to that of the opening and title track Expectations but some interesting changes of course throughout its journey whereas Jetsam a stable and silky campaign from beginning to end – A perfect chill out song. Stay In Touch is another song from Ben‘s Painted By Numbers EP and makes for easy and pleasant listening, though the pace picks up ever so slightly after the introduction. Too Late To Say Goodbye also appeared on Painted By Numbers, capturing the sobering and reflective side of Ben‘s music. The last song to feature on the album from Painted By Numbers is Love Song, which rings out with emotional lyrics and soul-filled music.

The album finishes up with Light At The End Of The Tunnel. The guitar passages whistle out a partially majestic sound, underlying the subtle emotional tones in Ben‘s voice. The organ sounds summon up a thoughtful, somber sound that makes the song almost infused with doom-flavoured elements which are eventually added by the grave use of Black Sabbath-based electric guitars.

Since his career began as an acoustic act, Ben Parcell has slowly become one of the well known musicians of East Yorkshire’s acoustic and folk scene and Expectations is a testament to Ben‘s talent and is one of the most important albums in the East Yorkshire’s folk scene – If not, the UK’s. Blending influences and elements from different genres and musicians, Expectations also clearly shows an evolution in Ben‘s sound and style.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Ben Parcell online:

http://www.benparcell.com
http://benparcell.blogspot.com
http://gplus.to/benparcell
http://benparcell.bigcartel.com
http://benparcell.bandcamp.com
http://www.twitter.com/benparcell
http://www.reverbnation.com/benparcell
http://www.myspace.com/benparcell
http://www.soundcloud.com/benparcell

Versus The World–Drink. Sing. Live. Love.

Posted in Alternative, CD, Pop Punk, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 27th July 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Versus The World
Drink. Sing. Live. Love.
Released: 31st July 2012
Alt. Rock
Released via Viking Funeral Records

Versus The World rung a bell the second I received their new album Drink. Sing. Live. Love. however at first I wasn’t sure where I had heard the name (aside from the Amon Amarth album of the same name) but it wasn’t until recently I realised I’d first discovered these Santa Barbara rockers through one of the WWE games that one of their songs were featured on.

The album is taken on a wild ride at the beginning of She Sang The Blues. While the riffs display a furious raw sound which I’m somewhat familiar with, the vocals are more tame compared to the music. Mason Grace changes completely from the previous track, becoming more of a heavy pop punk track that does match the vocals very well but can be a bit of a come down for anyone expecting driving force of angry riffs.

A Fond Farewell is another pop punk based track where the riffs, again, work well with the vocals, emphasising their unique sound. Following the short dialogue at the beginning, The Kids Are Fucked offers up a lovely serving of aggressive, in your face and melodic guitar playing and violent drum work. The vocals have a callous touch to them as well, adding emphasis to the song. Fortunately Lullaby allows the fierce guitar stylings to continue for a short while before coming more tame and laid back.

These Bones sounds very much like a Paramore track but with male vocals instead, which can be somewhat entertaining. A Love Song For Amsterdam keeps the pop punk sound flowing from the last track, minus the Paramore sound. The following track Crooks & Liars takes on a different sound to everything else on the album, featuring more emphasis on the bass, which rings out powerfully like church bells in the morning. Oh Brother Where Art Thou doesn’t particularly stand out though some of the riffs are well composed and played.

The next two tracks, In The Fear Of The Finale and Donner Pass, travel down the same road, musically, displaying angsty riffs and callous drum work. Angry February is a very sombre affair, mixing a range of different, solemn emotions together in the form of staunch vocals and slow guitars and rhythm. We Were Alive finishes the album in a melodic, pop punk fashion.

Drink. Sing. Live. Love. is a hard one to judge due to its diverse sound though this might cause it to not be everyone’s cuppa tea. However, the album is enjoyable though there are some parts that need polishing.

4/5

Nico Davidson