Monday, 15 February 2016

Album Review: Views by The Lamplighters

The Lamplighters are a four-piece punk rock band from Köthen, Germany. On Boxing Day 2015 they released a brand new album on No Panic Records named Views. When I first saw the artwork for the album I loved it so had high hopes for the actual record itself.

Views starts with its title track. This starts out slowly with some gentle sounding guitars and a repetitive drum beat before some gravelly vocals come in at a slow temple that is perfect for singing along with. I loved the chorus, beginning with the lyrics "what is right and what is wrong, it's just a little punk rock song". There is also some great handclapping and "whoa-ohs" throughout the chorus. This is a perfect song to start the album with. The second song, Here And There, sees the band pick up the tempo. This melodic punk song is another great sing-a-long track, something I predict every song on Views will be. I really like the vocals on the song, combining the gravelly voiced style of Chuck Ragan and adding enough attitude that Fat Mike would be proud. Basement sees a big change in musical styles - it's a pop punk song complete with a "1,2,3,4"! It's a song about starting a band in your basement just for the fun of playing music with your friends. I loved that The Lamplighters changed their sound up to play a song like this. This song is also a big tribute to The Ramones with a lot of references to their song titles. I won't list them but you could play a fun game with your friends trying to hear them. The next song, Burden, sees the band return to their more melodic punk rock sound. This track features some great dual vocals throughout the song but the real highlight of the song is the breakdown. It's used to build towards an amazing finale of passion and energy.

The epic Fairytale starts out fairly slowly with just some big, gruff vocals before some fast guitar kick in along with what I think is a harmonica. After this The Lamplighters play some ferocious melodic punk rock that really gets your heart pounding. I love hearing a band really go for it and give it everything. When I saw that the song was over five minutes long I worried that it might drag slightly but in truth it goes very quickly. Proves the saying "time flies when you're having fun". The sixth song is titled Getting High. Musically the song is pretty straight forward with some really deep and gruff vocals carrying the melody of the song. It's played at a mid-tempo speed allowing for some big sing-a-longs. The next track, Out Of Control, starts with some ear catching guitar work. Vocally it's much more controlled than the previous two songs but maintains the same sing-a-long qualities that The Lamplighters jam pack their songs with. Wish is the title of track number eight, and there is a real Hot Water Music sound to the song, clearly a band that The Lamplighters are influenced by. The Gainesville quartet have created a whole genre of music by bands influenced by them and on this evidence The Lamplighters do it as well as any of their contemporaries. 

I Don't Like You sees The Lamplighters venture down the street punk/oi route. It's a shorter song with an incredibly catchy chorus that goes "I Don't Like You, You Don't Like Me, I Don't Like You, You Don't Like Me, I Don't Like You". Nothing too complicated, just some fun and catchy shouting along fun times. All We Need is a stand out track on Views. It is a love song about finding that special someone and realising that you’ll never need anything else. The albums cover art seems to symbolise this song. The man and woman in gas masks who staring at each other and holding hands are clearly was inspired by the lyrics "You And I, We Go Hand In Hand, This Is The End Of Time" and "Whatever Happens I'm With You, Whatever Happens This Love Is True". I also love the lyrics in the chorus "Forever, Together, Forever And Ever, You Make Me Happy And Complete". It is kind of rare for a punk band like this to write such a beautiful song about love. The Penultimate song on Views is named Swallow and it marks a return to a harder sound after the loveliness of All We Need. Here the gruff vocals have a restrained feeling to them again, until a breakdown with an interesting spoken word section followed by the vocals coming back in with all their booming glory. The final song on View is called Hold Me and starts with a fantastic building intro. Often bands use the final song on an album to rock your socks off and that's definitely something The Lamplighters do. It's one final fist-in-the-air, gruff, gravelly shouty-voiced sing-a-long song. The lyrics "Here Comes The End, We Can Not Pretend" are very fitting given that is the final song.

Views by The Lamplighters is a fantastic album, If you're a fan of Hot Water Music, Red City Radio, Banner Pilot or any other of the many, many HWM inspired bands that are around these days then you should definitely give Views a spin.

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