Saturday, 25 April 2015

Album Review: I Feel Weird by Great Cynics

Giles Bidder, Iona Cairns and Bob Barrett are three immensely talented individuals who together form one of the UK's finest punk bands, Great Cynics. Having already put out two excellent albums named Don't Need Much and Like I Belong in the past few years the trio are about to release their third album – I Feel Weird on Specialist Subject Records. Here's my review.

I Feel Weird begins with the song I Want You Around [Chunky], a song that I've seen Giles play a couple of times when seeing him play acoustically by himself. This full band version immediately reminds you of that classic Great Cynics sound. Combining the best parts of rock, pop and punk Great Cynics have created a sound all of their own. The song, inspired by a great friend of the band “Chunky” is about a friend who is fed up with the way life is going but his friends reassure him that he is still great. The second song I Went Swimming is a song that really caught by attention on the first listen of the record. There is a great pounding drumbeat that helps carry the momentum of the track whilst Giles sings about doing the things that make him feel better when he's feeling down, and how sometimes it can be the most simple of things. You just know that in a live setting that this song will become a huge favourite. Iona takes over lead vocal duties on song number three, North Street. North Street falls more in the pop punk category as Iona's vocals give the song a sense of urgency. Iona has a great voice and it really serves as a great weapon in an already impressive arsenal in the Great Cynics camp. From The Creators Of Love Actually has one of the most interesting guitar introductions on the album. Giles takes back lead vocal duties on a song that really focuses on lyrical content. The chorus is sadly I relate far too much too. It goes “lock me up and pull my hair until I feel no pain at all, keep me down and fuck me up I'll still love just like a fool.”

The opening chords of Complicated remind me of The Bouncing Souls song Airport Security. This is one of the slower songs on I Feel Weird but definitely has its place. Complicated is about working your way through life's difficult problems by taking one thing at a time. Everyone's A Little Bit Weird is the poppiest song on the album and is also an extremely positive anthem. It's about it being perfectly okay to be different. It's another song that will go down really well live, I can see a whole room of people proudly singing “Everyone's A Little Bit Weird, Everyone's A Little Bit Queer, So What, So What's The Problem.” Absolutely fantastic song. Lost In You was the first song officially released for the album with an awesome music video. I really love the disjointed introduction to the song, there is a feeling of everyone playing a different song before they all come together for one of the harder songs. Giles and Iona's vocals work together perfectly as Giles takes control of the verses whilst Iona really shines on the chorus. I've said so many times before how much I love bands that use multiple vocalists and how it gives a great feeling of accessibility to a band. The harmonies towards the end of the song are first class as well and give the song a number of extra levels. The eighth song Kind Of Like has another great guitar riff, sounding like something the Dropkick Murphys would be very happy with. It is a song that makes me wanting to get rowdy and have a good dance. There is an uplifting feel to the song and I especially enjoyed Bob's spoken word segment towards the end, I wonder if they'll attempt that live.

Please Don't Hurt Me Anymore” is the chorus of the ninth track, Tread Gently. From that I think it's pretty obvious what the song is about and is again something I all too easily relate to. Bob Barrett's rolling drum is joined by some much darker guitar tones at the beginning of the song before Giles leads us on a tale of woe and sadness. The way in which he sings the chorus feels like the pleading of someone who is at their wits end. Iona takes charge on the lead vocals again on the penultimate song I Know Nothing. After the urgency of North Street here Iona puts in a more restraint vocal performance. The song begins with just some simple guitar chords and Iona's soft voice before Bobs drums crash in and the full band join. I Feel Weird finishes with a song named By The Sea and is quite different to any other Great Cynics song I've heard before. Lead by an acoustic guitar but ably joined by bass drums and at times a xylophone the band have created a hugely enjoyable and different sound.

I Feel Weird is Great Cynics best album yet. Don't Need Much and Like I Belong are both brilliant but I Feel Weird takes the band to a whole new level as musicians and songwriters. The trio are one of a number of bands in our punk scene that should really be huge. Anyone can relate to the band and is completely accessible for fans of a lot of different musical genres, Great Cynics offer something for everybody. Can't wait to see where they go next. 

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