Introducing Minus Alive; a band who launched their first EP, 'Maybe This All Just Ends', this 1st of March. The lyrical theme of the EP is very much about the struggles of mental health, and this theme is wrapped in an ambitious and anthemic sound that does such a worthy cause justice.
First single "From The Grey House", talks about the impact a relationship break up can have mentally. "Are you more content with heartbreaks than with love?" singer Ollie Butler laments. And when the tension of the verse gives way to a typically big chorus: "Did you want to throw it all away?". This sets the standard for a suite of songs with arena-sized choruses. Also expect clinical guitar playing, growling bass lines and massive sounding drums. Track four, "Ghost Of You" further explores the effects of separation, with Butler now haunted by his past love. This is accompanied by some really unorthodox but great guitar playing.
Elsewhere, second single "Not The Only One" focuses on the subject of anxiety and lyrically has some incredible imagery. "Faces" begins with ticking percussion and a more glacial sound. It is about losing your identity and a deadening of feelings. Musically, it breaks into life about two-thirds in with another huge ending.
The title track closes things on a softer note, with acoustic elements and backing vocals. The theme is a feeling of disconnection with Butler reaching out with the repeated "tell me what's going on" refrain. I'm really glad the lyrics from Minus Alive are at the forefront and the music also gives a ferocious soundtrack to some powerful and empowering messages. Listening to these tracks, the band have introduced themselves with an assured opening statement. They head on tour in March alongside The Survival Code and Luna Kiss.
3.5 out of 5 Hooks
Written By Matthew Nicholson
Jed Gillies is a singer songwriter from Leven, Scotland but now resides in Perth. Scotland. Jed has an impressive skill as a lyricist who is able to portray his perspective of the world to his listeners within every track. This is our review of his debut EP ‘Free Spirit’.
‘Free Spirit’ is an easy listening record, which has emotional and meaningful lyrics set alongside a steady soft guitar rhythm. It is a solid start and a good foundation for Jed. He developing his own sound which from this EP you can tell Jed is following the right path.
The title track ‘Free Spirit’ is a sudden but welcome hit of reality, Jed lays bare his soul about a friend who means a lot to him who has passed away and ‘Free Spirit’ is a fitting tribute. Jed paints a picture with his lyrics and provides beautiful colour with his words on a more solemn background. The guitar adds to the tone to the song and compliments the words well, you get a real appreciation of this when Jed moves between chords and the sound of the frets and the scraping noise vibrates around the track.
‘Bee’ the second track is again another strong lyrical performance with a good display of why a verse is so important when structuring a song, Jed uses his guitar in an intelligent way to provide an extra layer during this song.
‘On Repeat’ is based around a pleasant guitar concept and backed up by a compelling vocal performance, this track has a potentially massive radar and could be easily be a radio worthy single from the EP. This is a song of a past relationship and the verses lay out for everyone to see the progression of this relationship breaking up.
‘Okay’ is a track which builds from the start with soft piano, leading to a much faster tempo driven by Jed’s guitar, it has a very catchy verse which is a friendly sing along song. ‘Okay’ would be a prefect inclusion to any relaxed free going playlist.
Music can speak to everyone and bring people together and that is what the track ‘Fly’ gives you, with lyrics that connects beats and emotions. ‘Fly’ has a drumming beat which echoes throughout the song, the steady rhythm will trigger movement within your body. ‘Fly’ is a fitting full stop to the record as it’s the most all round polished track on the EP. The song is faster paced than the tracks before and allows you to get a sense of where Jed’s musical journey will go.
There is more to come from Jed and we are interested to listen to what he can produce next.
3 out of 5 hooks.
Written By Kess Anthony
The Mute Group met and live in Nashville, Tennessee, the band are made up of John Westberry, Ryan LaFave, Zachary Gresham, and Amy Gill. They have produced a sound which is so unusual and obscure, thats is nothing short of brilliant. They describe their sound as ‘music that skews less vintage than ancient, medieval geologic. These are songs that might just as easily ward off the evil eye as entertain.’ This is a band which you can share with your friends and they will marvel in your well rounded musical appreciation while thanking you in the process.
‘Esureis et me celas’ is the perfect way to start the listener on their journey of discovery and a beautiful glimpse into The Mute Group’s world. After you have stepped through the door you are met with ‘Rodney O’ a song with an interesting vocal arrangement and an uplifting verse which could easily find its home on radio and as a future single.
‘From the island to the mountain’ Amy Gill produces a wonderful vocal performance backed up by her fellow band members this make the track transfixing and a calm piece of art in its own right. A song which you find yourself drifting along in a different world where we find “Gold and Silver and Bronze melded into one smoke and ashes rose like incense to the sun”.
Then two tracks later we come to the compelling piano playing of ‘AIEOU’ both haunting and theatrical in equal measures, there is a level change halfway through the song in which a guitar is allowed to find its moment in the story telling adding to the layers of this track.
An anticipation is steadily increasing as the knocking sounds echo around your ears at the start of ‘Brainplate in Eb’, a slower and softer track than the ones before blends well with the methodical tones which allows the song to take on a more sinister direction as the lyrics are provided on top of the music.
When ‘Abuse & Superstitions’ arrives your nearing the end of the album and you find yourself intrigued as this track is different to the other songs but still follows the similar traits as the songs that have come before, slightly faster, driven, and more focused on the lyrics and guitar.
The last song on the album is ‘Miriam’ and it feels like a natural end to the album, although I felt it lacked the theatrical impulse and mystic of the more accomplished tracks on the album, it’s too stripped back and raw but just at the end of the song the band picks the track up off its knees and the band delivers as they have all the way through this album but I just wanted it a bit sooner.
The Mute Group has done what many bands have failed to do, they have maintained their unique sound from the first track to the last and that is what makes you happy that you have been engulfed into the abstract world of The Mute Group and their album Sinister Hand
4.5 Hooks out of 5
Written By Kess Anthony
“Some good old, head nodding, alternative rock” - Off The Hook Music Reviews
Black Lakes have all the ingredients to deliver some good old, head nodding, alternative rock. If like me, you grew up on a diet of Kerrang in the early noughties, then you will find much to like about their sound. It puts you in mind of a whole host of bands whose patches were sewn onto my ridiculously baggy ‘Bleubolt’ jeans. If this is blowing away some cobwebs in your memory then Black Lakes are well worth checking out. Dissident, the second single from their debut EP is a great place to start.
Beginning with an interesting, almost oriental, arrangement of guitars and programmed drums, ‘Dissident’ quickly breaks into a big chunky riff backed up with pounding drums with some nice work on the snare. The opening guitars return as the vocals kick in and it really should be stated that vocalist, Will Preston has a great voice for this kind of music. Whether on a gruffer growl or the more melodic, Preston’s delivery is certainly among one of this bands many strengths. From here the song is driven by a catchy chorus that will rattle around your head for hours after listening.
At this stage it would be fair to say that this is not the most original work but there are plenty of reasons to think that as Black Lakes grows in confidence that their sound will grow with them. If they could start to incorporate the intriguing sounds that feature at start and end of ‘Dissident’ more fully into the song as a whole, then this would certainly make it stand out.
If alternate rock is not your thing then this will not be the song to change your mind but if like me you love something that is catchy, heavy and dark then give Black Lakes a go. You will find a band that is already much accomplished and well worth keeping an eye on.
Four hooks out of five!
Written By Jimmy Rock
During a time when the Establishment are in chaos and a tirade of fake news is shoveled in your face, anarchy will ascend. So welcome Crooked Little Sons and their track “Noosepaper” explaining how we feel in a punk anthem.
This song is a short sharp pleasant shock to the body system, guitars and drums, loud and fast, oozing with anger. After the track finishes there is a need for more of this wonderful trashing sound, this is a musical arrangement worthy for any punk fan.
When Josh Bessant's trashy tones screams the lyrics, "No No I won’t read it, No No I won’t believe it". The words are so identifiable to everyone who comes across the main stream media in their daily lives.
But read this from Off The Hook Music and believe it Crooked Little Sons and Noosepaper is a little bit special and you must hear it.
We present you the video to this review (https://www.facebook.com/466162570094203/posts/2156556697721440/), because Crooked Little Sons aren’t just about the music they also have a visual image which is confrontational and a delight to watch. Try and defy me and say this isn’t a way to win an argument.
Crooked Little Sons are cocky, addictive and furiously fun and for anyone who has nothing on tomorrow night and is in the Bridgwater area you can witness this craziness up front and personal as this band plays live at The Cobblestones.
4 out of 5 Hooks
Written By Kess Anthony
'Bring On The Night' have operated under a number of previous guises but have re-launched to challenge themselves afresh and reignite their love of making music.
They are twin brothers Joe and Alex, who operate from a flat in Manchester and are solely responsible for what's served up here; new single "Fake Royalty". Underneath the smooth surface of this second single "Fake Royalty" there's a dark pumping heart.
Heavy bass notes offset a nursery-rhyme piano line. It's an immersive experience, ultimately lifted by the discordant guitar riffing during the middle eight.
So musically, this is an accomplished piece of work indeed. But it's brooding sound gives texture to a powerful story of lost friendship. Joe and Alex describe meaningful relationships being dropped in the empty pursuit of superficiality.
By the sounds of their first offerings, 'Bring On The Night' are successfully making something fresh; an indie sound that belongs in 2019”. Anthemic but pensive - I found this an enjoyable listen that improved with listens.
3.5 out of 5 Hooks
Written by Matthew Nicholson
As soon as we heard Busted were making a comeback and releasing their new single, Radio, we hoped our radios would be broken. This is partly because we never got the craze first time around and 13 years later it seems a little cringe worthy watching three men in their 30’s pretending to be teenagers. We’ve grown up with Busted but they seem to have done very little growing with their sound.
The other reason is because like most of Busted’s other tracks it’s Charlie Simpson’s rustic voice which is their saving grace, you’ve got to feel sorry for Charlie his strong sounding voice deserves a song with better lyrics and music than Busted’s current offering. James (Bourne) seems to have slipped into the background, with Matt (Willis) and Charlie taking the majority of the vocals, which begs the question do the two main members really need their backing singer?
The band have also seemed to have left their guitars at home for this track and gone with a sound which most generic pop acts have harnessed recently. Maybe this is Busted’s way of showing us a different more developed style or maybe they are showing a willingness to adapt to where the money is in the industry.
‘Radio’ is very much a pop track with a catchy chorus, but it's pushed on you so much, you can find it tedious after a few listens. No matter what we say here at Off The Hook Music this track will over excite boy band fans and harden the views of Busted’s die-hard fans, and all they really want is more of the same.
This is a song which that will be totally forgotten by the year 3000 and more than likely by the end of 2019.
2 out of 5 hooks
Written by Kess Anthony
Hailing from Warrington this likable bunch from up in the North West bring you dark, indie, pop rock. They love the music they produce and we love it too. The latest delight from ‘32 Tens’ comes to you by a single called ‘What’s going on?’ The simple answer is a great tune!
The lyrics, sang in rich indie tones, are filled with raw heartfelt emotion, you feel the pain and confusion radiating from this track. For all intents and purposes there is a story behind this song and it is a page turner. The indecision and angst described in the sentiment ‘And if I ever had a clue, I’d still be sitting here just wondering... what’s going on? is both oddly relatable and profound.
The verse is so catchy you will find yourself singing along after only one or two playbacks of this song. But it’s not all about the lyrics, the musical arrangement is brilliant. The ramping up of the guitar and drums is thumping throughout the track and blends so importantly with the lyrics. There’s a middle 8th which rewards you with a flashy guitar solo and breaks the track readying you for another go of the verse. All together we have an anthem which is worthy for any indie listener in 2019.
This is simply a must for any music lover’s playlist who is worth their salt, check it out!
Written by Kess Anthony
Find Light by Cold Weather Company is an album that you will feel deeply. It is bold, unique, powerful and probably quite unlike anything you have heard before. They are at their best on album opener ‘Hazel’ which oozes an atmosphere that would seem perfect for walking into the wild on a rainy day, its dark, folky and evocative.
The New Jersey three-piece comprised of Steve Shimchick, Brian Curry and Jeff Petescia primarily lean on guitar and piano for this their third release, though they have widened their sound out to include drums, bass and strings. It is a sound that has real depth and a glorious texture which gels wonderfully on the track ‘Reclamation’ to bring something truly special.
They are undoubtedly a talented group of musicians with plenty of ideas and skill. ‘Circles’ marries piano and guitar beautifully whilst building suspense that tantalising never quite builds to the epic pay off promised by the hard hitting cords, as it loops backs in on itself to a more sedate close. ‘Do No Harm’ lets the piano and drums drive a rock song that is reminiscent of the early work of Muse.
If there is a criticism to had, then perhaps it could be said that the varied approaches of the three members, whilst bringing great variety, can also lead to a lack of clarity. The first ten songs can jump from sound to sound in a somewhat jarring manner and whilst songs such as ‘Pocket’ are successes within themselves, they do clash with the rest of the album which at 16 tracks might have benefited from some editing down to produce a more cohesive record.
With that said, the last six tracks from ‘Reclamation’ to the powerful finish in the reprise of ‘Do No Harm’, gain that sense of flow in a dark brooding wave that washes over you in a roar of piano, guitar and strings. Charming curios such as ‘Dawn and Dusk’ also leave hints that this is a band that is truly capable of delivering a sustained album of thematically linked music.
If you are looking for something accomplished and different then Cold Weather Company are well worth your time. ‘Find Light’ is a commanding collection of music that will inject chirpy melodies and dark beauty into your world. You will not regret listening to this album!
Find Light get 4 Hooks out of 5
Written by Jimmy Rock
Find the Cold Weather Company on Facebook or better still have a look at their website: http://www.coldweathercompany.com/
Kaiber Koi haven’t wasted anytime getting their sound out to the world, with only three gigs under their belt Kaiber Koi have found a track to present to listeners as a hint of their identity.
This means the Manchester based band has only just started their journey and this track is a good start on that journey, Kess Off The Hook Music feel this song is an important beginning for Kaiber Koi which allows them to build on to newer fresher sounds.
Archaic Wave is a lengthy track at 6 minutes and 26 seconds, which means this isn’t a song for the radio but a track for fans of progressive rock and metal alike.
We love how this track is guitar driven like taking a ride on a fast high speed wave which provides you with an instant guaranteed adrenaline kick.
The level change with the vocals during the verse is a pleasant addition, then a middle eighth which builds on a good guitar solo and brings you to a climax of the last minute of the track, you find yourself enjoying the sound of the rushing wave just before you land on solid ground.
The lyrics aren’t for the faint of hearted and they can be confronting but this is what a band like Kaiber Koi are made for, daring you to let the music engulf your body and take over your ears.
Written By Kess Anthony
This debut album from RRC could be considered brave but you get the feeling the band understand their sound and are not being brave at all, just proudly making their stance.
The relatively large sixpiece band from Liverpool is made up of; Fran Doran, Tom Williams, Michael McDermott, Simon Hepworth, Neil Lawson and Joe Corby, show they can produce a radio ready songs from the start. Track 1, Angeline, gives fast and lively kick to proceedings!
Lyrically the record shows that Red Rum Club have established their song writing craft. On first listen some of the tracks felt reminiscent of Manic Street Preachers, which is never a bad comparison. It takes great inspiration to make great songs, and they’re well on their way with this album. Throughout the album you pick up on refreshing layers, such as Joe’s trumpeting, which give an added texture to their songs and makes their alternative rock style unique compared to other competing bands on the scene, at the moment.
Track 8, Casanova, this one has a twinkle in it’s much like the song's namesake. Fran demonstrates a different style of singing compared to the other songs, which captures the energy and fun which the melody demands and deserves. it’s like Casanova is gleefully asking you to stay around to listen to the song again and you know you will.
Midway through the album Red Rum Club seem to slow down the tempo for ‘Nobody gets out alive’ and ‘Calexico’ which don’t leave the same impression as the tracks that have come before them. But follow with songs like ‘Casanova’ and ‘Remedy’ grabs back your attention and leaves an impression that the album you’re listening to will return to the faster catcher rhymes of the opening tracks. The statement of ‘Remedy’ is you’re going to be “drunk on a potion” but the listener is more likely to get drunk on Red Rum Club and the only remedy left to prescribe is to listen to the last track on the album Matador
Matador is a song with a story worth ending this album, you feel the pain and anguish of the bull who is obsessed with the powerful taunting Matador. This track has a steady drum beat providing the groundwork for this story to be told with a wonderful flow of sound.
However, our highlight of this album has to be ‘TV said so’ it is a great song which wouldn’t be hard to imagine getting a crowd excited live! Red Rum Club and their album Matador is a club which you will want to join, don’t be surprised if you listen to this album and find yourself signing up to be a fan of their music.
We give it 4 out of 5 Hooks,
Written By Kess Anthony
Single Name: Tide Wave
Release Date: 11/January/2019
Hailing from Finland, the ascending Cyan Kicks are on single number five and the album is tantalisingly close. And as you might expect from a song whose main refrain goes "Hit me like a tidal wave!", this one kicks in with a powerful rush to your veins.
The thunderous claustrophobia of the chorus is nicely balanced by a more serene and spacious verse. And during the breakdown you're able to kick back to the surface before that chorus thrashes you one last time.
Also offering a nice counter balance is the live instrumentation with more synthetic effects. But though the production values are high, the whole thing is underpinned by an impressive melody.
Mainly written by lead singer Susanna Aleksandra and guitarist/producer Niila Perkkiö; the pair have described how their songs production develops almost simultaneously to its melody and lyric: " it’s crucial for us to start building the soundscape right from the start (and) drive it towards our vision."
All of which ensures - for a band so new - Cyan Kicks big sound is close to being the finished product.
Written by Matthew Nicholson
Album name: Who do you trust?
Release date: 18th of January 2019
The 18th of January brings the return of a band who were a favorite for many adults in their teenage years, Papa Roach. Back in 2000 their breakthrough album ‘Infest’ spoke to minds and souls of millions of listeners with hard hitting sounds and lyrics like they had never heard before.
We have had a sample on their newest album ‘Who do you trust?’ having heard 4 out of the 12 new tracks, which has left us asking can we still trust Papa Roach? The short answer for us at Off the Hook is no.
The longer a band is around the more difficult it becomes to continue producing the goods. This is their 10th studio album which is an achievement in itself but the band’s sound has diminished over the years from meaningful hard rock to indifferent soft rock. As original fans it is difficult to still identify with them, but that’s not to say they can’t usher in a new fan base.
Long gone is the black cockroach infested imagery along with the days of Jacoby Shaddix singing and screaming his meaningful pain at your face, now we find Jacoby replacing this style with talking rap which leaves you yearning for your teenage memories rather than the new sound on offer.
We will reserve full judgement until we hear the rest of the album as there is still some redeeming qualities; the lyrics maybe lacking but the guitar and drums of the old Papa Roach is still lurking in the background, ready to be released.
When the 18th rolls around save ‘Who do you trust’ for as a last resort!
Written by Kess Anthony
“More Human Than Human make a roaring start with debut album ” Off The Hook Music Reviews
Album Name: Re-Evolution
Release Date: 1st of February 2019
Genre: Progressive Rock
More Human Than Human make a roaring start with their debut album, Re-Evolution, and the loudest roar comes from their song Black Bear. At track 13, It is hidden at the back of the album but provides a surprise kick which is worth the wait.
Unlike a bear stumbling into your tent when camping, this Black Bear is refreshing and rewarding. It’s the statement track More Human Than Human wanted to provide for their listeners to show what they’re all about. The band formed in 2017 and have transformed their traditional rock sound by cutting out the guitars and replacing them with synth music from their gigging circuit and placed that sound firmly into the core of the album.
More Human Than Human are a progressive rock duo who are based in Cheltenham, where the band has built up a fanbase from their memorable, lively, and heavy beat driven gigs. Tomislav Vucetic and Anthony Collins have made this album personal by being heavily involved in all areas of the production. The band have stated that this is a 100% DIY project album which they can’t wait to present to the people who love prog-rock and metal. The album was recorded partly in a local studio in Cheltenham and in Anthony’s study then mixed and mastered by the band, this has allowed them to have complete control over the production of the material they put out to the world.
Re-Evolution is loaded with heavy bass and beats provided by the bass guitar of Tomislav and drums of Anthony which defines every track of this album. The band have focused on music over lyrics with six musical interlude tracks included within the record, which for the listener adds a different layer and experience by changing direction with short sharp bursts of interesting sounds.
Songs like Burn it down, Acron and Head in a jar are solid polished tracks which hold the album true and firm to their sound, but ‘Off The Hook Music Reviews’ think there is another level for this band to reach with future material which can be found by developing on these tracks.
This is a good listen for people who are into progressive rock, with a sound to lose yourself whilst head banging.
Written by Kess Anthony
EP name: Lucid Trail
Release date: 29 of December 2018
Genre: Alternative Rock
After a successful track of the week for ‘Off the Hook Music’ with their song, Lucid Trail, The Gallerys follow up with the release of their EP also tilted ‘Lucid Trail’ which is a fantastic four track record combining; 60s rock, Britpop and new wave influences to create a innovative sound.
The EP was recorded at Squarehead Studios in Sittingbourne, Kent, by Dave Young & James Simpson they have managed to grab hold of the band’s sound and produce a tight and captivating piece of work.
If you close your eyes and listen to track one, Lucid Trail, it is easy to be transformed back to the 90’s when Britpop bands were dictating the sound of British music and the experience the listener should have. This song leaves you drifting off to a sunny afternoon on a sandy beach, before quickly reminding you it’s not the 90’s and it’s soon to be 2019! As such The Gallerys have taken everything which was great about the Britpop scene and put it into a song which relates to today’s music scene.
Lucid Trail EP is available for streaming everywhere online including; Spotify, Amazon Music, I tunes, Google Play, Tidal, and Deezer. If you are the kind of person like I am, who like an old fashioned CD well you can also order a CD on: https://thegallerys.bigcartel.com/.
For ‘Off The Hook Music’ the stand out track on the EP is ‘Steady Beat’, a song which is different to the others because of its heavier guitar riffs which shout out for your attention. This high energy track had us standing in the pub when we first heard it, and the beat soon descended down to our feet.
We predict a successful 2019 for The Gallerys and this EP is a taster of why the band is on many people’s radar, including ours!