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Reviews Written by
C. J. Lewis (Shrewsbury, England)

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Be Human
Be Human
Offered by Global_Deals
Price: £5.41

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diverse, grandoise, epic!, 23 April 2009
This review is from: Be Human (Audio CD)
Following the implosion of former record label, Gut (via Institute Recordings) last year, Fightstar decided to form a joint venture with their management team (Search and Destroy Records) and self fund their third album. It was a risk, but much like Charlie Simpson's brave move to steer away from the manufactured pop word of Busted in search for respect and credibility with his new band, it appears to have paid off.

The quartet take a new, experimental step with Be Human whilst still maintaining their post-hardcore roots. You have to credit the four-piece for constantly trying to evolve their sound and clearly not wanting to be pigeon-holed into any particular genre. Co-produced with long term friend, Carl Bown, they drafted in a full 16-piece orchestra and school choir to create a diverse and ultimately huge sounding offering.

Opener, "Calling On All Stations", starts with slow orchestration under Simpson's soft vocals which leads into a powerful, guitar driven number. First single, "The English Way" introduces the choir to magnificent effect. The song is an anthemic sing-a-long with Dan Haigh showing off his talents with some buzzing bass lines. Latest single, "Mercury Summer" presents the band at their most melodic. A light and breezy number as a whole, it's perfectly executed with the duel harmonies of Simpson and Westaway.

"War Machine" is undoubtedly a stand out. The track has a distinctive, cinematic feel to it with the haunting strings and choir vocals to build a crescendo of noise. This could easily be the best track the band has ever written. Heavier moments can be found in tracks like "Colours Bleed To Red", "Chemical Blood" and "Damocles". The latter two combine the growling screams of Simpson with urgent strings whilst still showcasing powerful melodies.

One factor the band is often criticised for is the willingness to wear each member's influences on their sleeves. Arguably, this factor remains on the record. "The Whisperer" has Muse written all over it with its foot-tapping beat and hooky choruses. "Never Change" has a middle section harmony reminiscent of Weezer, while "Give Me The Sky" could easily be mistaken as a tribute for The Cure with its versus. But ultimately, the tracks don't suffer for it. They merely present the diversity of sounds found on this 12-track album.

"Tonight We Burn" is the electronic moment of the record. Preliminary lead by Westaway's soft vocals, it rides on top of the drum beats of Omar Abidi to create a track which proves a huge grower upon repeat listens.

The band chose to end the 46 minutes of running time with the ambient and epic builder "Follow Me Into The Darkness". This is the albums post-rock moment with beautiful violin's preceding a wall of passion with guitars, strings and piano.

As a complete body of work, this record ebbs and flows wonderfully to create a diverse and fulfilling set of tracks. Whilst the influences taken to create these songs are laid bare, it's an ambitious attempt that pays off which will surely allow the band to shake off Simpson's past and stand proud in the British alternative scene.


Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £13.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential punk-pop album, 11 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Nothing Gold Can Stay (Audio CD)
This is an essential album for any New Found Glory fan, or indeed punk pop fan.

The band's most raw and punk edged release, this record shows the foundations of where their sound was heading.

The production is raw, and while this isn't Pundik's best vocal performance (the latest NFG releases see his vocals really improve), it matches the whole 'DIY' ethic throughout the 12 songs.

Some corking tracks can be found here. "The Blue Stare", "Tell Tale Heart", "2's & 3's", "3rd and Long". The list is endless. This is just an album full of 12 superb punk tinged songs that can only be described as a classic of it's kind 10 years on.


Not Without A Fight
Not Without A Fight
Offered by westworld-
Price: £7.23

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Without A Fight (Album Review), 22 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Not Without A Fight (Audio CD)
Artist: New Found Glory
Title: Not Without A Fight
Type: Full Length
Genre: Rock
Style(s): Pop-Punk/Melodic Hardcore
Released: March 9, 2009.

The sticker on the front of New Found Glory's latest release exclaims, "The undisputed heavyweight champions of pop-punk are back!" That is quite some statement, but after listening to the Florida quintet's sixth studio release you'll have gone a long way towards believing it.

The band is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the release of their debut album Nothing Gold Can Stay (one of the reviewer's favourite ever albums) after emerging during the second wave of the pop-punk movement back in the late nineties. They are one of few who are still active today and seem to be like a fine wine, getting better with age.

Their last full length offering (2006's Coming Home) was a big step forward for the five some, a departure from their spiky and energetic pop-punk and opting for a slowed down and more melodic approach which drew praise from many critics as their most mature material to date.

So is Not Without A Fight further progression? Well yes and no. It seems the band has regressed to progress. It appears to take all of their back catalogue's best bits (The energy of their first two albums, the emotive melody of 2006's Coming Home and the hardcore influenced 2008 EP Tip of The Iceberg) and mashed it all up to make a quite spectacular record.

Mark Hoppus (Blink 182, Plus 44) has done a sterling job with production duties. While it certainly isn't as raw as their classic debut all those years ago, it is not over produced. Gang vocals, choppy and urgent guitars, driving bass lines and tight drumming are the order of the day throughout the 36 minutes of playing time.

There is nothing new about the topics explored here but it doesn't seem to matter when the songs are so good, and while Steve Klein has never been the best lyricist ever it's something that has definitely improved over the years. He wears his heart on his sleeve and that is no different here.

"Tangled Up", "Reasons" and "Heartless At Best" wouldn't have felt out of place on their previous record Coming Home. Everything that made that album so good can be found in these tracks.

"I'll Never Love Again", "47" and "Such A Mess" include strong hardcore influences and come straight out of the rule book for last year's Tip of The Iceberg EP. The latter being a personal highlight. Its hard and fast intro is followed by the anthemic cry's of "I need to pull myself together and let it out!". The gang vocals also prove highly impressive and effective.

Other stand out's include "Truck Stop Blues". This is fast and frantic with a brilliant chorus that will get stuck in your brain and remain there for hours. This is simply vintage NFG and with it clocking in at just 2:16, I'm sure this would please the fans of the Nothing Gold Can Stay and Self-Titled era.

It's hard to pick other highlights because this album is full of good songs; there is no sign of filler material here. "Don't Let This Be The End" is the perfect closer. Instantly relatable lyrics with chunky guitars and a chorus that will have you singing along at the top of your lungs.

When the final lines from Chad Gilbert's guitar fade out on track 12, you will have heard an album that brings everything that's good about pop-punk to the table and deliverers it in mighty fashion. If you're not a fan of this genre, this isn't likely to change your mind but this is somewhat refreshing in a scene that has become so stale of late. If anything is going to bring non cheesy pop-punk back into spotlight then this could be the album that does it.

Is this NFG's best material to date? Well it wouldn't be fair to say so soon. Maybe it will be more apparent as time goes by but things are certainly looking that way.

Not Without A Fight? Well New Found Glory don't really need one, the kings are back!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 13, 2009 10:26 PM GMT

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