Having finally released début album ‘Blood And Chemistry,’ we met up with vocalist/guitarist Andrew Groves to discuss the new album, being compared to Biffy Clyro and more.
Currently on tour with The Summer Set and a new EP set to be released soon, we caught
up with New Forest's Natives to talk about the new EP and album, the UK rock scene, the transition from being Not Advised to becoming Natives and much more.
This week Lansdale, Pennsylvania’s The Wonder Years released their fourth album - ‘The Greatest Generation,’ a record that sees the pop punk quintet reach their creative peak in a number of ways. With a wealth of material in their discography, Already Heard's Sean Reid and Tom Knott took on the tricky task of picking out the five best songs from The Wonder Years. Find out what we picked and let us know if you agree or disagree?
Following the release of their superb 'Signals' album, Mallory Knox have certainly become ones to watch in recent months. We caught up with the band to discuss joining Search & Destroy Records, how vital the festival season and touring are, what it feels like to be a part
of the expanding British rock scene and much more.
Over The Ocean have crafted a compelling, brooding record with their latest effort ‘Be Given To The Soil.’ With intense specific precision and delicate accuracy that echoes the likes of Explosions In The Sky and Sigur Ros. Jesse Hill from the band to discusses how the
album came together, the importance of precision, being compared to post-rock pioneers and more.
After a top ten UK album and an outstanding UK tour with festival dates on both sides of the Atlantic to follow, Bring Me The Horizon are having a fantastic 2013 and are now featured in the latest edition of "Versus." It's ‘There is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There is a Heaven, Let’s Keep it a Secret’ vs the bands latest release, 'Sempiternal.'
Unless the reader is particularly knowledgeable on the subject of American ska, there is a good chance the name Obi Fernandez doesn’t mean anything to him/her. Indeed, having spent the most notable portion of his career singing, writing and playing trombone for Boston ska outfit Westbound Train, our subject felt it was time to delve into new musical enterprises. Enter debut album ‘Confessions, Waves and the Garden State’, Fernandez’s personal project in which he expands his musical style beyond ska and into reggae and soul. Get your shades out, it’s about to get chill.
Opening tracks ‘It Happens To Me’ and ‘Don’t Turn Away’ don’t stray too far from home. We’re introduced to Fernandez’s ridiculously smooth vocals as he croones over relaxed reggae grooves. Particular attention should be paid to the fantastic work made throughout the album on instrumental tones and textures that evoke the classical sounds of reggae and soul’s finest (on these particular tracks more than ever). The issue with reggae, however, is its inherent tendency to rely on repetition both within songs and comparatively and, as competent a songwriter as he is, Obi Fernandez is unable to avoid these trappings. As such, even finely crafted songs such as ‘Pills’, ‘Get You Through’ andi rely on conventions that are already seem a little tiresome midway through the album.
Consequently, the album’s soul tracks help keep it fresh and interesting. ‘The Color Of Your Voice’ showcases his R&B skills with a sweet soulful love song brought to life through intersperced horns and old-timey background vocals. ‘Only A Fool’ starts soft and smooth with airy keys only to build up with clean staccto guitars and classy horns to create a terrific soul track. Certainly the album’s standout track, ‘Ugly Comes Out’ has Fernandez’s cool vocals the driving force in a near-perfect soul track. Effortlessly alternating between sassy verses and a sensational chorus no doubt helped by an astute deployment of strings, Fernandez is at his strongest here.
‘Confessions, Waves and the Garden State’ closes with bittersweet acoustic number ‘Overdue’ with Fernandez providing another masterful vocal performance of cool restraint and raw potency as well as a couple of interesting chord progressions. To conclude, this collection of perfectly-produced tracks helps showcase both Fernandez’s vocal and songwriting talents within a comfortable range of reggae and soul. While some of the reggae tracks can feel a little generic, the soul efforts are all delivered with supreme confidence and a knack for style. There’s enough here to bring some sun into the fall and some warmth into the winter.
‘Confessions, Waves and The Garden State’ by Obi Fernandez is available now on Paper + Plastick Records.
Words by James Berclaz-Lewis