Thursday, 31 March 2022

Album Review: Groundhog Days by Clueless (by Ilse R. Smit)

Generally speaking, contributors get to pick which release we want to review – a pretty sweet deal. However, sometimes the release picks you and that can be the best thing. It really means a lot when an artist/band trusts you with their new material before it gets released, such an honour! I had the pleasure to receive and review the new Clueless record, Groundhog Days. Clueless is a Dutch power pop band from Enschede that has been around since 1999 with its members currently scattered across the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Their new album has been in the making for a couple of years now and will finally emerge and not see its own shadow on April 1st (or whatever the tradition is). I hereby invite you to unleash your inner groundhog and burrow through this record with me.

The opener of the album is You Do The Talking. I love the energy, it sets you up for what is yet to come perfectly. I also love the little “whoo!” in the synth-heavy intro, those are so fun. Not unlike most of the other tracks on the record, you can’t get around the uplifting and lively sound of Clueless. The lyrics on the other hand are a lot darker and more vulnerable sounding, not wanting to be left alone with your thoughts, but made easily digestible by the easy-on-the-ears instrumentals and Tim ‘Voice of an angel’ van Doorn’s vocals. This guy can make a desperate plea to keep him company sound sweet and endearing. The lyric “My brain is my biggest enemy” hits HARD though! I especially like how the delivery of that lyric in the last verse contrasts with the pleasant sound of the rest of the song, perhaps signifying that the “battle for sanity” is not looking so good for him at that point.

The opener is followed by the track There’s A Schnitzel In My Pocket and I can’t write about/listen to this lyric without it making me laugh. This song sounds a tad heavier (also less synthy) and makes me think of confronting yourself with maybe not so healthy coping mechanisms, dealing with the fact that you’re getting older, making poor decisions under influence of poor mental health and/or substance abuse, suffering the consequences and not learning from your mistakes. The underlying weight of the lyrics do come through a little stronger compared to the first song, but is still (as the title suggests) very upbeat and fun to listen to.

Track three is called Something Loud. The synth is back, the intro could have been from a The Rocket song. All these songs have so many layers to them, you’ll keep noticing different things as you listen to them. The backing vocals/harmonies really stand out to me in this one. If I had the voice, I’d love to belt out the bridge (which feels more like an alternative chorus). I think the song tackles the feeling of a mismatch between your skills and expertise, the skills and abilities that are useful to assist someone in your life who needs help, and feeling useless for not being sure what you can do for them. However, I also think that this song can provide some comfort to anyone who listens to it, so there you have it!

We shift gears as we reach Bathroom Breaks, and we transition from the personal to the political and kick it up a notch while we’re at it. Speth’s drumming really stands out here, giving the track a skate-punk edge we haven’t heard thus far. Speaking of things we haven’t heard up until this point: the delivery of the second verse is razor sharp, as could be expected when Hans Roofthooft (F.O.D. and solo work) is generous enough to provide guest-vocals. Van Doorn’s and Roofhooft’s voices really complement each other, which manages to give the message of the song more gravitas. We see and know history is repeating itself. But rather than just observing the normalisation of harmful ideologies, what’s the plan?

The Answer Is Zero is the first song that nested itself in my brain as I first started listening to the album. The chorus is incredibly catchy and I love a gaming-reference (that I get). I’d say it’s a great feel-good/cheer-up track! It’s a well crafted reminder to not overthink as much as we do, and to try to come to terms with the fact that we make mistakes. There’s no point in (mentally) re-living a situation time and time again, and Clueless wants you to know it’s okay to just move on. Isn’t that lovely?

Doubting yourself? Imposter syndrome got you down? Put on Scapegoat and your worries will melt away instantly! I imagine this song being the embodiment of the sentiment expressed in Something Loud (comforting and supporting someone through art rather than helping with everyday tasks), although I’m fairly certain that doesn’t add up chronologically when looking at the writing process.

Ode To The Sun V2 manages to be both kind of sad and uplifting. The lyrics are clearly very heartfelt, coming from a place of grief and having started processing loss. Coming to terms with the anger-phase and its repercussions. That, even though it won’t be easy, there is beauty to be found in pain as well – a paper-thin silver lining if you will.

Time for the title track! It opens with a fragment of a certain Bill Murray-venture (no, it’s not Ghostbusters) and also happens to be the first song to be written for this release (coincidence? I think not!). The lead guitar really drives the intro forward, contrasting wonderfully with the harmonies in the intro. My favourite lyric is “You wonder what tomorrow brings, When it is you that does the grocery shopping”. It’s very easy to feel stuck, like you’re not moving forward, especially when you’re coping with grief or depression, and that’s very understandable! But eventually you are the one who’s in charge of what’s gonna happen next. The lyric seems kinda funny at first, because of how specific it is, but I think it’s a great metaphor!

If you somehow dozed off at this point, Timmy D & The Art Of Postponing is sure to be an attention-grabber. Short but sweet, and mostly FAST! There’s a lot happening there, which makes it an interesting (very repeatable) listen. And it’s relatable as hell. This is the soundtrack to not being able to get yourself to work when you have bunch of stuff *internal screaming*. Those familiar with Van Doorn’s other band(s), St. Plaster, will probably notice some hints of I Can Stop Anytime I Want – The Capitalist in there (he’s not being subtle, but I’m not mad about it).

If the intro of Too Far South gave you the impression that it was gonna be a slow song, you’ll soon find out that you are dead wrong. Its upbeat sound might not be a unique selling point, given the rest of the album, but this time the lyrics actually match the vibe! It’s all about daring to dream and give it a go! I love it when a lyricist is not afraid to paint an unflattering picture of themselves but my favourite lyric from the song goes to “One foot in the grave? Well the other’s gonna dance”. It makes a lot of sense to put this song on the second half of the album, a lovely change of pace lyrically.

Numb Skull (This One’s For You, Stephen Miller) was the first single to be released from the album and it’s a banger, a great choice! A proper punk rock track, giving the finger to all the Stephen Millers out there. All the pieces work perfectly together, always highlighting something without drowning out the vocals or guitars. It sounds edgy and smooth at the same time, which is my sweet spot. If that wasn’t enough, Clueless is joined by Perry Leenhouts (The Travoltas) in the second verse. Not unlike Roofthooft, Leenhouts has a very distinct voice and that really adds another layer to the track. Leenhouts also produced Clueless’s first album, and we love a full circle moment.

Ricochet is an interesting song because although it definitely belongs on the record, it’s unlike anything we’ve heard so far. Calming, like being at the beach, watching small waves roll onto the sand. The acoustic guitar plays a prominent role in this song, but in my opinion the real MVP are the pizzicato-style violin samples (a technique that uses string picking rather than the bow). That really makes it sound more whimsical and dreamy, it’s a very interesting instrumental technique that I don’t hear on a lot of punk rock records!

Favourite lyric: “Full color isn’t always right. The grey makes me able to sleep at night”
This lyric stood out to me because I feel like we tend to focus on our peaks, and while that is understandable, it would be way too intense and probably quite unfulfilling if our life would consist of highlights only. We may not always appreciate the grey days, but we sure need them to appreciate those full colour moments, or to just prevent ourselves from burning the F out.

The subject matter of Feed Me Distractions, given the context of the rest of the album, is fairly self explanatory in my opinion. I love the contrast between the verses (more frantic and faster) and the chorus, and the seamless transitions between them.

Favourite lyric: “Words are redundant but loudness is golden”. Perfectly describes the sentiment of the song. The distraction itself doesn’t matter, as long as it works and takes your mind off of whatever is consuming you. But in itself it also works on a different level as it makes me think of how we as a society seemingly prioritise the medium over the content in a general sense. Real deep stuff.

With this last song, Perspective’s The Keyword, I was very curious about the lyrics. Because on the first couple of listens (without having the lyrics in front of me), there were some instances where I was thinking: “wait, what are they trying to say here?”. As the title suggests, several perspectives are represented in the lyrics and catching that makes it a lot easier to interpret them. Not gonna lie, I’m having a pretty hard time writing about it because I have a complicated relationship with the subject. Like, I don’t know what the right way to deal with people that support racist traditions/beliefs is. Sometimes I feel like people try to humanise them a little too much. Like me just now, why did I not just call them “racists”? What good does it do to keep empathising with people that (indirectly) cause harm? While at the same time, I also believe that a significant portion of those people are just a product of their environment that up until recently never had anything or anyone challenge the way they (sub)consciously see the world, and lash out because they feel threatened by that.

I understand wanting to shut out any opinions that strongly contradict your own, while at the same time I don’t want “the other side” to do the same thing and bubble up as well. But I also don’t think it’s reasonable to expect people to “just have a conversation” with whoever defends racist (or any other -ist or -phobic) viewpoints or actions all the time, especially when they’re on the receiving end of those actions.

However, to get back to the song, I guess at the end of the day I do think it’s important to challenge yourself every now and then. To not (always) instantly dismiss people and to be aware that they indeed can change. What a way to close Groundhog Days.

This album, what a ride! If you made it this far, props to you, you’re a real one. Don’t let the length of this review scare you off! It’s not nearly as heavy as I make it look, it’s such an easy and fun listen. Those 39 minutes fly by! Daniël, Florian, Tim and Willem, you’ve all done an amazing job making a heartfelt, upbeat album that shows range, yet it has a very recognisable and incredible sound. Since the band won’t be performing live any day soon, come hang out with Tim van Doorn on April 1st at this Facebook-live event!

You can stream and download Groundhog Days on Bandcamp and most, if not all other streaming platforms. Like Tim van Doorn on Facebook here.

This review was written by Ilse R. Smit.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Album Review: Cuts by One Million Motors

One Million Motors are a four piece alt-punk band from Newcastle in the North of England. They’ve been working hard at their craft for a number of years now and have a handful of tours and releases under their belt. In 2021 they released one of my favourite songs of the year in the form of You’re Not Viable (You Just Don’t Know It Yet) and now they have just released a brand new EP titled Cuts. It features four brand new songs that I was very excited to hear.

The first of the four songs on Cuts is titled They’re Getting Away With This. The opening guitar feels like a siren going off before the rumbling bass line joins the party. It’s not long before the whole band gets involved and we get some explosive vocals. It’s a political song calling for us not to let the people in power get away with all their wrong doings. The song is shorter than a lot of previous One Million Motors songs and certainly packs the punch I suspect they were aiming for. Next is Distractions which again starts with a killer guitar line. This song does go over three minutes long which allows more time to build and grow. Of the four songs on Cuts, Distractions is definitely the most familiar sounding for folk who were already a fan of the band. I’d like to say that the song has some quiet parts and some louder parts but, in truth, it’s more that it’s got some loud parts and some much louder parts – I loved this. Great tune.

ACW was the first song that One Million Motors shared in the build up towards the EP’s release. At just one minute long, it felt like a perfect teaser for what was to come. Starting out with a phone ringing before we blast into a song that manages to pack a lot into its short time frame. I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t go on for longer as it finished just as I felt like it was getting going but it did leave me itching for more. Last up is Know What’s Best. From the beginning of this track I noticed a shift towards a heavier, more fancy guitar riff style for the band. This gives the band a whole new layer to their sound and helps them stand out from many of their contemporaries. It also shows off just what a talented bunch of musicians the folk in this band are. Special nod to the drumming which is first class throughout the whole EP. Despite the heavier sound, the track is packed full of hooks and moments to scream your lungs hoarse too.

Cuts is another fine release from what I think is one of the most exciting newer bands in the UK. If you don’t know One Million Motors yet then now is the time to check them out.

Stream and download Cuts on Bandcamp here.

Like One Million Motors on Facebook here.

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Album Review: Dear Darkness by Dan Andriano & The Bygones (by Lara Roberts)

I’ve been a big fan of Alkaline Trio ever since I first set ears on Fuck You Aurora all those years ago, and I always loved Andriano’s smooth voice juxtaposed against Skiba’s vocals, with them both complementing each other. I always enjoyed Andriano’s songs and craved more of them, lapping up solo projects he’s worked on.

This album starts off as I had expected and hoped, with Narcissus, Amateur Classic Narcissist providing the reassuring familiarity of Andriano’s silky vocals melting over his guitar, and Sea Level and Dear Darkness both sounding straight out of the books of Alkaline Trio. There’s plenty of Andriano’s distinctive sound from the start – beautiful, rich, and smooth, just like that first cup of coffee in the morning.

However, despite the coffee being one you could easily drink all day, you find yourself reaching for a different taste – the flavours on your tongue are getting a bit stale after a few mugs of the same brew. You’re looking for a pick me up to carry you through the rest of the work day. Wrong provides that something a little different. It starts with the familiar, deep vocals over gentle piano, before building up to more of an anthemic sound, incorporating a weird 80s metal guitar line before ending with a fade-out. Unfortunately for me, the song ends up living up to its name. The Excess suffers the same fate, with a strange jazzy start and 80s metal-esque ending.

It’s at this point that you find yourself reaching for the first batch of coffee that you ground that morning. You realise that there was nothing wrong with the first cup – it was dependable, likeable, and much more enjoyable than the others. Which is good, because Andriano’s brooding voice and stunning lyrics in both The Rest Of You and Into Your Dream (The Sophie Moon) take us back to the original blend of the album, carrying us through to the end, ensuring a strong finish with no bitter aftertaste.

Stream and download Dear Darkness in all the usual places and like Dan Andriano & The Bygones on Facebook here.

This review was written by Lara Roberts.

Monday, 21 March 2022

Album Review: The Puget Sound by The Drolls (by Chris Bishton)

That Puget Sound is the debut album, released in January on Snappy Little Numbers, from Seattle's The Drolls. The band consist of Denny and Josh, ex-members of much loved 90s pop punks Sicko, teamed with Julie D from Chincilla and, more recently, Guest Directors.

With two thirds of a band that I adored when I was younger, The Drolls have been pretty high on my bands to keep an eye on radar. I've been anticipating this release ever since they first formed a few years ago and put out a single in 2019. Ean, the other member of Sicko, had also relatively recently formed a new band – The Subjunctives – and put out a debut album with a pretty familiar sound and I was hoping The Drolls had also continued this trend. Although Sicko were never on Lookout Records, they easily could have been (they put out a split with Lookout alumni The Mr T Experience), and to my mind if you've loved it before you can never truly grow bored of that sort of pop punk.

The album kicks off with Getting Old. I love this! It sounds like Sicko – fast and catchy – but whereas I used to relate to songs about my wisdom teeth hurting, I now find myself smiling to a song about dragging myself out the door and feeling out of place. That's not to say this song is downbeat or depressing in anyway, by the way, it is not! It's super energetic and a lot of fun.

Nobody Move is the second track and it's more jaunty and distinct from both the opener and the sound of their previous band, signalling that not everything on this album is carbon copied. There's still a liveliness to it, but it's the first sign that their sound can be a little different. Whilst it should be noted that at their heart they have Sicko's pop punk DNA, The Drolls are a band that are a little more 'refined'. There's an element of The Replacements/Big Star/Lemonheads/Sugar all in here. An indie guitar sound seems to have found its way into Denny and Josh's playing as they've gotten older.

The rest of the tracks on the album jump and dash around, picking up on this power pop punk vibe as well as songs that are more rooted in the Sicko vein. Sad Little King, Worse Things and Mythology, for example, are more fixed on the power side. Whereas, listen to a song like Bad Ear and you'd be forgiven for thinking it could have come from them at the end of the 90s. Alternate Timeline is the only song that I'm a bit nonplussed about as it's a bit slow, but it comes at the end of the first side of the record so, if you're listening to it on vinyl, it feels like the right place for it.

The second half of the album starts with Downstream, which brings us back up to speed and then it's Rehashed: Rehashed – a 'reworking' of the Sicko song, Rehashed, that sits perfectly in the second half of the album. It's a little slower, which allows you more time to take in the vocals, and the line "you've heard this song before 'cause I'm not gonna care about it anymore" sums up how impeccable their sense of humour seems to be. A song about bands sounding the same from a record put out almost 30 years ago now has me really grinning.

The album finishes with In Big Country, a cover by the band Big Country. It's a great way to end and I can't help think it's another nod to their past as their previous band's debut also ended with a cover (Closer To Fine by the Indigo Girls, which to this day remains one of my most favourite covers).

If you like The Drolls, you're never not going to compare them to Sicko. I think that's fine as, after all, the band themselves make no effort to hideaway from their past. Thankfully, it doesn't differ too much, but it differs enough to sound fresh and relevant. As the band state, "Two of us used to be in another band together. Now we're in this band." and that it's an album with "some energetic power pop songs about ageing, wasting time, the environment, political BS and one really fun cover song" …Pretty much what I want from a pop punk album.

Stream and download The Puget Sound on Bandcamp here.

Like The Drolls on Facebook here.

This review was written by Chris Bishton.

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Album Review: Sidesplitter by Sidesplitter (by Emma Prew)

Sidesplitter are a new – very new if you discount the past two years of the pandemic – Melbourne, Australia, based band formed of members of The Eradicator, Foxtrot, Dawn Of The Jackal and The Suicide Tuesdays. The Suicide Tuesdays were one of my absolutely favourite Bandcamp discoveries of the past few years and I was gutted when they decided to call it a day. However, I’m really glad that vocalist and guitarist Joe Guiton has continued to make music, first with Boom! Civil War and now with Sidesplitter.

Joe got in touch with us about reviewing the band’s debut EP and despite describing it as being different to his previous musical outputs – ‘shorter, much louder and screamier’ – I was very keen to check it out. I figured that if it wasn’t quite my cup of tea then someone else at CPRW would be up for reviewing it but… obviously, I loved it so it’s all mine! Although I can’t wait for everyone else to hear this, when it is released to the world on the 1st of April (no joke).

The first of the three tracks is the relentless 49 second long 2020. ‘Screamy’ was certainly a good descriptor, at least for the first half of this short track, but it’s also wonderfully melodic and cathartic. The track is about the dire state of the world at the moment – and, indeed, in 2020 – and how people can be so needlessly selfish just to get their own way or prove their own point. The track may be short but Sidesplitter certainly manage to pack a lot into it, including some brilliant call and response vocals. I can only dream of how good this must sound live. You can watch the slightly longer than 49 second video of 2020 here.

2020 is followed by Heartbeat Of The Underground, a longer (just over two minutes) but no less ferocious hardcore punk track. It’s a what some might think of as a true punk rock song, with lyrics about protesting the system and those who tell us how we should live our lives. It’s angry but it’s also passionate and optimistic about wanting a better world. The chorus in particular is just begging for a crowd to add unofficial gang vocals – ‘An open letter to the ones, Who preach their hate, We lit the fire we tear it down, We liberate, No more spreading lies, To build divide, We don’t need alibis, We'll live our lives the way we want, We choose our fate’.

Just The Way We Are closes out the EP in style. My initial thoughts after listening to the EP for the first time is that this track is the most similar to Joe’s previous bands in that it is a little less ‘hardcore’ but is no less melodic and fist-in-the-air inducing. The track also features Joe’s brilliant storytelling songwriting style which I absolutely love. From the opening lyrics of ‘We watched the sunrise over the city’ through to the second verse ‘The day gets longer, and the drinks get stronger’ and the song’s closing words ‘It’s just the way we are’, this song is an honest and personal one that will be relatable for many. Just The Way We Are is about friendship and confronting the demons that come with adult life with people who care about you by your side. A brilliant way to finish the EP and probably my favourite song I’ve heard so far this year.

As I said earlier, the EP will be released on 1st April – you can preorder it (and listen to 2020) on Bandcamp now. There is also an EP launch show planned for 8th April at The Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar, Melbourne, with Udder Ubductees, Von Stache and The Shadow League.

In the meantime, like Sidesplitter on Facebook and check out the band members’ previous work.

This review was written by Emma Prew.

Monday, 14 March 2022

Album Review: Gurnal Gadafi by Gurnal Gadafi (by Emma Prew)

Hardcore isn’t exactly my go-to genre of music but every now and then I do like to delve into the heavier side of punk rock. I especially enjoy it if the person shouting in my ears isn’t your average angry white man – it’s just so much more refreshing. And so that’s why when checking out all of the bands playing at this year’s Manchester Punk Festival, Gurnal Gadafi grabbed my attention – that and their amusing name, of course. Gurnal Gadafi are a four piece based in Manchester, featuring Willy Binghi on drums, Devon Cryer on guitar, Charlie Cross on bass and Cookie Love on vocals, who blend spoken word and poetry with brutal hardcore punk.

At the time of me doing my MPF research (six members of the CPRW team will be each sharing ten picks for the festival next month), the band had only recorded and released one song – the venomous, short and fast Matador. It’s great – go and listen to it here. I soon found out that the band would be releasing their debut EP at the end of February, which I hear has been five years in the making. For me, this meant waiting almost no time at all, but I imagine for Northern folks who have seen Gurnal Gadafi live, this may feel like a long time coming. However, I don’t think anyone will be disappointed with what the band have put together here.

The EP is eight tracks in under 15 minutes although, surprisingly, Matador isn’t one of them. After opening with spoken word piece titled Gary and introducing the EP as being ‘poetic extracts from a time and context long lost in your speakers’, Gurnal Gadafi waste no time in amping up the volume for a ferocious, face-melting series of hardcore bangers about the ills of modern life. Second track, Alexa, is a big hit with me as well as the two parter of Come Down With Me 1 and Come Down With Me 2. The first of the two is a raw, emotional and hard-hitting spoken word piece about, you guessed it, a come down after a wild night (or a series of wild nights). The second is actually the exact same lyrics but set to the heavy music I’ve come to expect from Gurnal Gadafi. Each version hits differently but both are powerful in their own way, showing how expressive and well crafted Cookie Love’s lyrics are. And that goes for tracks about drug use such as Pingers – even though I can’t relate to them, I’m obviously not the target audience – and lady parts, Fire In My Hole, too!

Stream and download Gurnal Gadafi on Bandcamp – if you buy/download it, you’ll be rewarded with a bonus track, as well.

Like Gurnal Gadafi on Facebook and follow them on Instagram, then go and see them when they play MPF. I’ll be standing at the back, trying to avoid getting crushed in the inevitable mosh pit.

This review was written by Emma Prew.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Album Review: Best by Forever Unclean

We’ve been following the work of Danish indie skate punk trio Forever Unclean since the release of their first EP, Shreds, back in 2015. Since then, it’s been absolutely amazing seeing the band grow with each release. Not only has each release been better than the last, they’ve also continued to build a following each time they’ve made their way to the UK to play some shows. Seeing them play to a packed New Cross Inn for Do It Together Fest in early 2020 was one of my highlights of the entire weekend. Something has been missing though and that was a full length release from the band. On New Year’s Day that was finally remedied when the band, with the support of Disconnect Disconnect Records, Hidden Home Records and Nasty Cut Records, released Best. I’d been eagerly awaiting the release for months after drummer Leo mentioned a full length was coming when he appeared on the CPRW Podcast. It then took me forever to get around to reviewing it because sometimes I’m slow. Here it is though, my review of Best.

Looking at the tracklist before hitting play, it’s nice to see Forever Unclean sticking with their tradition of short, one word track names. Best begins with Dream. Dream starts with just some guitar and Lasse’s familiar vocals before the entire band comes in. The song is about the realities of going on tour and how, despite it seeming like you’re living out on your dreams, it can be very hard on you mentally. A solid start to the album. Persona was one of the songs that was released as a single before Best’s release. Persona is about learning that it’s okay to be the person you are and not feeling like you have to be somebody else. I really liked the crunch that the opening guitars had before flowing into the usual Forever Unclean sound. There are moments during the song where Lasse’s vocals sound at their most strained which adds a lot of anguish to the song. Rules is just thirty-three seconds – which is short even by Forever Unclean standards. During the track, Lasse asks many questions about dealing with a social situation and not knowing how to act. Despite the short song length the band manage to pack a lot in, which is impressive.

The fourth song is named Crowds. The song continues with the theme of struggling to be yourself and not knowing how to conduct yourself in a social situation. I really liked the line “and it seems like such a waste of breath, to berate my ceiling.” This creates such a good image of laying in your bed with your mind running through your day and over-thinking all the things you should have done or said. I also enjoyed the “ba ba ba ba” section which will unite a crowd in singing along. Woods was another song that was picked as a single. The track starts slowly before the vocals come in and the song explodes into life. This slower moment is great, giving you a short rest after what, so far, has been a pretty relentless album. Once again, the lyrics do a wonderful job of painting a picture. On this occasion it’s the band and their friends when they were younger going off into the woods with their guitars and having a wonderful time. As the song goes on, there becomes a bit of a divide between the friends with one half wanting to have fun forever and the others thinking that they can’t live like that forever. This is a thing that happens in most friendship groups, so a lot of people will be able to relate to the song. The sixth song, Mandy, sadly isn’t a Barry Manilow cover. It is, however, a nice love song about how spending time with that special someone is a great escape from the horror that can be life. This is a super catchy song that you’ll pick up in no time – I’m certain it will get great reactions from live crowds whenever the band play it. Scars, another single released in the album’s build up, is another short song that manages to pack a lot into its duration. It’s a song of two halves. The first is just Lasse and his guitar and the second is the full band. I like the effect that is seemingly created by Lasse standing a bit further away from the microphone in the recording. It has the great live feeling to it.

Kold is the first song that the band have released where the band use their mother tongue, Danish. As handy as it is that bands sing in English, I do always enjoy when foreign bands put out songs in their own language as well. After a quick Google translate, I deduced that the Kold is about feeling emotionless, cold and soulless and just not caring about anything anymore. Anyone who’s suffered with depression at any point will no doubt understand the feelings in this song, assuming they speak Danish or use Google translate (probably quite hard to do if you’re watching the band live though). Kold also has a really cool guitar riff at the start that pulls you in and will get stuck in your head. Lasse delivers a stunning vocal performance on the ninth song, Broken. The emotion in their voice, particular during intro of the song is quite something to experience. At a lengthy two minutes and thirty seconds, this is the longest song on Best. I think they needed that extended time to achieve everything they wanted to with the song. There’s a slow bit, a big sing-along, melody changes and even some backing vocals (I think they’re drummer Leo’s) during the track. There’s absolutely loads going on. Listen for yourself to experience it all. The penultimate song on Best is titled Smile. Leo puts in one hell of a performance behind the drums on this song. He powers the band through the first half of the track before the band slow things back down for a more emotional ending to the song and it’s completed with some gang vocals. I do love gang vocals. Best is completed with the song Change. To me, this is Forever Unclean’s attempt at a country song and I love it. The opening of the song invites another big sing-along and it’s not too long before the band revert to the indie skate punk sound that they’ve become so well known for and then they switch to a huge sounding segment to finish the album off in the Best way possible.

I always think of Forever Unclean as a UK band despite the fact that they’re based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and are Danish. The reason being is that they’ve become a big part of the UK punk community during the last few years and, like I said in the intro, it always feels as if they play to bigger and bigger crowds whenever they return to the UK. With the release of Best I feel like they’ll be playing to their biggest UK crowds ever. We shouldn’t have to wait long to see them again either as they’re due in the UK for Manchester Punk Festival in April. I cannot wait to see them again.

Stream and download Best on Bandcamp here.

Like Forever Unclean on Facebook here.

This review was written by Colin Clark.