Archive for alt rock

Novacrow – Look At Me Now

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 24th September 2022 by Mickelrath

Novacrow
Look At Me Now
Alt. Rock, Hard Rock, Alt. Metal
Released: 30th September 2022
Self Released

Well, it’s certainly been a while since I’ve written about Novacrow. Since I first heard about them, I’ve always thought that their music is special. Their unique mix of alternative rock horror-core, industrial and stoner rock makes for an enjoyable listening experience. Basically, if you like Black Moth but think it could do with more Arthur Brown and Alice Cooper influences, then Novacrow might be a band you would want to listen to. Their new album Look At Me Now is an absolute hoot of a record with fun catchy hooks, playful lyricism and creative production choices that stand far above any previous releases. I can’t tell you how much I’ve been waiting for an album like this again. Music that takes extreme pleasure in being entertaining without being bogged down in its own themes or concepts. It’s like the musical version of a B-movie. Fun, engaging and memorable. 

Genuinely, I think this album is in a whole other ballpark compared to previous albums. Novacrow has really done something with this album. The album hits all areas of the rock and metal genres and still comes out as one cohesive whole. I mean they’ve always been a playful band, dipping their toes into elements of horrorcore and coming up with weird concepts like “Fever Swamp” and “Fight The Horde”. Yet, this album feels like it stands heads and shoulders above them. For a starter, they’ve clearly tightened up their production. The instrumentation sounds absolutely amazing. All the musical elements blend so well together. The ominous guitars, the booming bass and drums and the vocals make such an impact. It all feels so glorious. Even the moments where the growled vocals come in, it feels like a natural extension of the songs. I especially like the electronic elements that twinkle and sparkle all over the tracks. Giving the music that literal extra character. 

But Mick… What about the lyrics and songwriting? Yeah, they absolutely nail that too. You see Novacrow are an atmosphere-driven band. So, if the atmosphere feels like a bad Halloween dug trip, I think they would call that mission accomplished. I think the songs work in their own little bubble to as they have a really good knack for writing catchy hooks and riffs that will get stuck in your head. Songs like “Medusa Medusa” and “It’s Alive” are certainly strong contenders for the best tracks on the album if you’re looking for straight-up solid rock songs. However, they have made some more, shall we say, out-there songs that are just flat-out fascinating to listen to. “Frankenfiiine” fits this a lot more, with its 60s-inspired groove that feels like it’s out of the jam-band era. 

Needless to say, I absolutely loved this album. It feels so good to have new music from Novacrow. Their brand of unique insanity is just what is needed in a sea of bands that are either trying too hard to sound like their idols or just sound like everything else on rock radio. Not them though, they are just being them. Which I really admire. So if you want something a little out there but still well within the confines of hard rock, this is an album worth checking out at least once. 

9/10

Mick Birchall

Royal Republic – Weekend Man

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 25th January 2016 by Mickelrath

Royal Republic
Weekend Man
Garage Rock, Alt. Rock
Released: 26 February 2016
via Spinefarm Records

The Swedish rockers, Royal Republic return with a new powerhouse of an album in the form of “Weekend Man”.  Such an appropriate title as I haven’t listened to an alt. rock album in quite some time that makes me want to just get up and dance as much as this one does. The energy is just contagious, the band sounds like they’re having the time of their lives while making this album and it really shows because I’m having so much fun just listening to it.  “Weekend Man” is for people who want to switch off and just have fun, with the crazy lyrics and the light production work so the music isn’t really in your face.  Also, the simple but incredibly catchy hooks will have you singing and dancing all night.

It feels like a Britpop album, in the way that the sound is very cerebral and impactful but at the same time it has that thumping beat that Euro-pop seems to favour.  All wrapped up in a rock’n’roll style sound.  So there are lots of layers here. With all that mix of styles it’s nice that the songwriting is so simple, standard verse-chorus structure with catchy hooks and a hefty amount of repetition, it all makes for an album that will stick in your head for a while.  Songs like “Walk!” and “My Way” bring that heavy garage-rock style that made them popular to start with. Yet, tunes such as “Kung Fu Lovin” and “ When I See You Dance With Another” have that pop style that makes them such a versatile band. “Kung Fu Lovin” in particular is an interesting specimen with its rock sound very much downplayed for an upbeat tone.  Come to think of it, there isn’t a somber moment in the album, it’s all very much get up and go.

My own personal favourite tracks and the songs I would recommend checking out are the title track “Weekend Man” and “Baby”.  Both of these songs are tunes that would give you a good insight into what this album, and indeed the band, is all about.  Upbeat fun tunes that you can bop and groove along to.  Thinking of these songs makes me realise how much the funk genre must have influenced their sound, as they have that mid-80’s disco funk sound to them as well. Really, I can’t sing this album praises enough.  In a time where most hard and alternative rock music is deep and brooding, Royal Republic have made a fun party album. Only a few songs really deviate from this on this album. “American Dream”, “Follow The Sun” and “On Any Given Sunday” all have a more serious tone to them.  It’s definitely not unwelcome, in fact it’s really where my Britpop comparison stems from.  These are the songs that carry that cerebral sound.  It also has a jangly college rock sound that’s pretty endearing.

This is a cracking album and something that I think may brighten up your day no matter what mood you’re in.  Superb music and something I would be comfortable recommending to anyone.

5/5

Mick Birchall