Music Reviews

Single Review: New Releases Roundup – BMTH, Finneas, Tigers Jaw, Wallows and Salem

Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke

Gemma and Kiah collaborate to give us their take on the most recent releases from some big names, as well as some up-and-coming artists.

Teardrops – Bring Me the Horizon (Gemma):

With EP ‘POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR’ on the horizon, the genre-defying Sheffield quintet continue to experiment, push boundaries, and explore their potential on synth-heavy single Teardrops. Vocalist Oli Sykes claims that the track is his favourite song off the upcoming EP, as it “feels like a classic Bring Me the Horizon tune but without feeling like anything we’ve done before.”

The band remain a fresh and exciting presence in the world of rock music

Despite the deeply emotional and heartfelt lyrics portraying feelings of depression and suicidal thoughts, the tune is energetic, full-of-life, catchy and ambitious. Even though the band have mastered a radio-friendly alternative rock formula in their recent full-length album releases, Teardrops proves that they have not entirely abandoned their heavier metalcore roots – the screamed vocals on the bridge of the track are nostalgic of their 2013 record ‘Sempiternal’ – but despite this nod to their former sound, the single is a definite step forward for the band. By blending the best of both their old and new sounds, the band remain a fresh and exciting presence in the world of rock music.

Can’t Wait to Be Dead – Finneas (Gemma):

Best known for being the writing and producing mastermind behind the music of his sister Billie Eilish, Can’t Wait to Be Dead proves that Finneas deserves to be recognised as an artist in his own right, rather than living in her shadow. The initially softly sung, acoustic guitar track gradually increases in pace with a dramatic build-up of percussion, resulting in an explosive and catchy sing-a-long chorus. Lyrically, the song portrays his relationship with the internet – put into his own words: “The internet makes me laugh, sometimes it makes me cry, sometimes it makes me hopeful. But sometimes, it really makes me wanna be dead.” We have all spent the majority of 2020 consumed by the internet, and sometimes the news has felt like a constant stream of inescapable negativity and tragedy – issues such as COVID-19, racism, and climate-change have undeniably defined this year. Finneas’ relationship with the internet is therefore relatable to all listeners, because his experience of 2020 mirrors our own. The track therefore provides a feeling of unity and comfort in knowing that you are not alone in the world during these times, which is something I feel like everyone needs right now.

Cat’s Cradle – Tigers Jaw (Gemma):

A band that originated in the DIY Scranton punk scene in 2005, Tigers Jaw are still prevailing despite line-up changes in 2013, with vocalist Brianna Collins now taking the lead. This is their first release since their first major label release, the critically-acclaimed 2017 LP ‘spin’and Cat’s Cradle arrived with the announcement of their upcoming record ‘I Won’t Care How You Remember Me’, to be released in March next year, produced by their long-time producer Will Yip. Collins’s vocals shine on this track – her silky, smooth voice compliments the layers of guitar and synths that drive the catchy and polished track. Collins explains that the song “is about the realization that no matter how much love, effort and consideration you put into a friendship, sometimes it just isn’t enough to make it work. The lyrics reflect on how being passive aggressive and not communicating directly can just lead to tension, confusion, and frustration in any relationship. With this song, I wanted to acknowledge my own thoughts and emotions without feeling bad for having them.” The track was therefore a means of catharsis for the vocalist to write, allowing her to reflect on, process, and accept her emotions, resulting in a highly emotional listen. Cat’s Cradle is proof that, despite it being a long 15 years since their formation, Tigers Jaw still have a lot of potential, and a lot of life left in them.

Wish Me Luck – Wallows (Kiah):

Wish Me Luck is the final track from Wallow’s new EP ‘Remote’, aptly named after the whole EP was recorded remotely over lockdown. Following their 2019 debut album ‘Nothing Happens’, the band has returned with a 6-track EP featuring previously released singles Nobody Gets Me (Like You) and Virtual Aerobics. The trio are known for their upbeat songs that encompass elements of alternative rock, indie and bedroom pop music – and this song and the EP as a whole follows similarly in that style.

The track discusses insecurities that can occur in a relationship; the chorus especially has a particularly melancholy tone

Wish Me Luck premiered on the first night of Wallow’s virtual tour, performed at LA’s Roxy Theatre, before officially being released via Atlantic Records. The song incorporates more synth tones than the rest of the EP, and is typical of a dream pop song, with melodic vocals and slow electronic textures. Through the lyrics, the track discusses insecurities that can occur in a relationship; the chorus especially has a particularly melancholy tone. The lyric “I’m always just getting stuck inside of my mind” alludes to the specific difficulties the song touches upon. Wish Me Luck offers a more calming tone than the rest of ‘Remote’, whilst still displaying the catchy melodies Wallows are renowned for.

Although none of the songs on the EP directly link to each other lyrically, they all contain aspects of 90’s music, and this is demonstrated in the EP’s artwork and the band’s promotional page for the EP having a Windows 98 theme. This can be seen in Wish Me Luck with the increased use of synth melodies and layered vocals creating a nostalgic feel to the song. This song and the EP overall see Wallows enter a slightly more experimental ground, whilst still retaining the upbeat indie-rock style of their previous releases.

Destroy Me – Salem (Kiah):

Destroy Me is the lead single of brand-new Southampton punk-rock band, Salem, from their self-titled debut EP released via Roadrunner Records. Side project of Creeper’s Will Gould and Matt Reynolds, the pair have managed to create a quintessentially punk EP that Destroy Me perfectly embodies. With the strong catchy guitar riffs and fast tempo, fans of Creeper will not be left disappointed as the track pays homage to some of Creeper’s earlier EPs.

From the very beginning, the song contains strong power chords over fast rhythmic basslines which give the track the recognisable punk-rock sound. Contrasting this are Will Gould’s distinctive charismatic vocals that describe a poetically passionate love through cryptic metaphors and dark imagery. Likening his affections to ‘A true love knife fight’, the strong adoration Gould conveys builds on the dramatics of Destroy Me. Despite this level of intimacy being unconventional in punk music, Salem employs it successfully with a gothic twist.

The pair have managed to create a quintessentially punk EP that Destroy Me perfectly embodies

The melodrama of the song’s lyrics is heavily influenced by horror punk, so fans of bands such as AFI and Misfits will undoubtedly enjoy this new release. Following this release, Salem will carry out their live debut at a Halloween inspired cabaret which will surely help build the mysterious and gothic imagery the band have created.

Destroy Me and the EP as a whole marks an exciting beginning for Salem; as Will Gould himself has said ‘There are so many possibilities for what comes next’,  and with the innovation and creativity of this project, the future of Salem is already highly anticipated by fans.

Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke

Featured image courtesy of Nina via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes made to this image.

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