Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
Gemma and Kiah review the newest releases from Kero Kero Bonito, Wolf Alice, Waterparks and Maisie Peters.
The Princess and the Clock – Kero Kero Bonito (Gemma):
After their ‘Civilisation I’ EP in 2019, it seems logical that Kero Kero Bonito will be releasing a follow-up EP called ‘Civilisation II’. They announced this new EP alongside the release of lead single The Princess and the Clock. The EP consists of three tracks recorded using vintage hardware only, and it will be released on 21st April.
According to the band, The Princess and the Clock is a tale of a young explorer who is kidnapped whilst sailing the world, imprisoned at the top of a tower and worshipped as royalty by an isolated society until she suddenly disappears. This concept perfectly captures the unique nature of Kero Kero Bonito’s song-writing, as the track is crafted around a “legend of their own invention,” which appears to be loosely based on the classic fairy-tale of Rapunzel. The song is fittingly accompanied by an animated music video.
Despite being written long before the days of COVID lockdown, the themes of isolation, loneliness and escapist dreams will be relatable to so many people right now. However, these dark lyrical themes contrast entirely to the sound of the track. It is a lively and experimental pop song, much like the rest of Kero Kero Bonito’s discography. The influences of the hyperpop genre can be heard in the sound effects throughout, such as the ribbiting frogs and robotic glitches woven into the instrumental.
The track therefore couldn’t have been released at a more perfect time. “It’s a song for anyone who has ever felt trapped, lost and alone,” whilst also being a catchy, upbeat and uplifting listen.
The Last Man on Earth – Wolf Alice (Gemma):
Wolf Alice’s new single The Last Man on Earth comes alongside the announcement of their third record, ‘Blue Weekend’. It is their first release since 2017, and has been long anticipated by fans. The song is typical of Wolf Alice, but it is also entirely unique from the rest of their discography.
The larger-than-life track can be split into three sections. The first section is an intimate slow-paced ballad with soft, almost whispered vocals. The vocals and instrumental then become increasingly more layered, building up to the anthemic middle section, which fully emerges halfway through the song. The instrumental then switches for the final minute of the track to an orchestral and mesmerising waltz.
”Why does everything need to mean something more?”
“It’s about the arrogance of humans,” said lead vocalist Ellie Rowsell, explaining the lyrics. “I’d just read Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and I had written the line ‘Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from god’ in my notes. But then I thought: ‘Uh, your peculiar travel suggestion isn’t a dancing lesson from god, it’s just a travel suggestion! Why does everything need to mean something more?’”
The song-writing is mind-blowingly clever: an assessment of the nature of humans to inject importance into books and songs, based on the events occurring in our own lives. We are unable to objectively view art, without considering whether it makes our emotions feel seen due to our egotistical, arrogant and self-indulgent nature.
Alongside the rise of TikTok, a lot of hit songs only provide a short fifteen-second adrenaline rush. However, it is refreshing to hear a track which provides much more – a 4-minute journey which one can get truly emotionally invested in. The track isn’t loud or showy; instead, it is hauntingly beautiful in its subtlety, yet simultaneously anthemic. Three albums into their career, Wolf Alice continue to prove that they are one of the most exciting bands to emerge from the British music scene.
Snow Globe – Waterparks (Kiah):
Alongside the announcement of their fourth studio album, ‘Greatest Hits’, Waterparks released a new song Snow Globe, the second single expected to feature on the new album. ‘Greatest Hits’ will be Waterparks’ first album after signing with the major record label 300 Entertainment last year. Breaking away from their pop punk influences heard on their previous single, Lowkey As Hell, Snow Globe is a slower synth-pop song that also features piano pieces and electronic sounds.
Snow Globe can be seen as Waterparks’ most experimental single yet, surprising fans with their new, calm and slow sound. Although Waterparks incorporated elements of electro-pop and power pop in their last studio album ‘FANDOM’, this marks the first major change in sound to be heard on a single. Lead vocalist Awsten Knight’s lyrics are self-aware of this shift in sound, with lines such as “Everybody hates you, people miss the old you,” a topic that was heavily discussed on ‘FANDOM’.
The unusual creative process behind ‘Greatest Hits’ could see Waterparks head in a bold new direction
When talking with Kerrang!, Knight discussed the interesting way that the new song developed: “I would either make stuff up, or I’d be going through my notes and just singing different lines that I liked that felt like it went with it.” The unusual creative process behind ‘Greatest Hits’ could see Waterparks head in a bold new direction with their sound.
The end of the ‘FANDOM’ era for Waterparks was marked last year when Knight cut off his bright green hair associated with their third album; the new sound introduced in Snow Globe is an exciting new path for Waterparks’ future, with the rest of ‘Greatest Hits’ still to come in May.
John Hughes Movie – Maisie Peters (Kiah):
Maisie Peters has unveiled the first song from her highly anticipated debut album, John Hughes Movie. After releasing two EPs, Peters has announced plans to release a full studio album, with the title and release date yet to be announced.
Peters gained recognition from her music through her detailed storytelling lyrics and catchy rhythms. In 2015 she started uploading her own original songs on her YouTube channel before releasing her debut single Places We Were Made in 2017, and signing to Atlantic Records UK. John Hughes Movie showcases Peters song-writing abilities, detailing the heartbreak of rejection.
The title of the song is named after the American filmmaker John Hughes, whose famous films include The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. His coming-of-age films typically end happily, which Peters contrasts with her real-life experiences of teenage angst. The calming backing to the song is reminiscent of an 80’s movie soundtrack, which adds to the peaceful atmosphere of John Hughes Movie, coming to terms with more negative feelings and realising your worth.
John Hughes Movie marks Peters most successful chart debut, reaching number 1 on the UK iTunes Charts and entering the US Top 200. With the success of the first single from her debut album, fans are excited to see what the release of a full studio album will mean for the singer-songwriter.
Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
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