The Punk Archive aims to be the only blog you'll ever need for reviews and news on the punk, ska, reggae and alternative music scenes. We will review music from the past, present, and future, looking at CD, vinyl, mp3 and hitting as many gigs as we can handle, as well as keeping you in the loop with the goings-on in our scene and interviewing as many bands as we can. Please enjoy the blog and feel free to send any comments or feedback to us via email to , or by visiting our Twitter at , or our Facebook at You can also find us on Instagram: just search for @thepunkarchive.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Look Alive: Translucent

Artist: Look Alive
Title: Translucent
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 21st October 2014
Reviewed By: Adam DT

It's easy to be disparaging of a genre that many would say has had its day. Disregarding punk rock (or pop-punk, or pop-rock or any of these similar, line-blurring genres) as simply “not quite old enough to be retro” is a little short sighted in my opinion. That said, I'm afraid Look Alive's new EP Translucent doesn't entirely help my argument.

Translucent is a confident and reasonably competent EP that has its feet firmly in the common ground between Jimmy Eat World, Rise Against and even H2O. Some noteworthy drum work and well placed melodic basslines form a backdrop for vocals that I suspect will divide opinion somewhat. It's raw and occasionally a little messy, but I respect the decision to keep this EP sounding almost live. So often rock bands fall into the bad habit of having their work overproduced, resulting in the soul of the music getting removed along with the reality of what five guys with guitars and a drum kit actually sound like. For the 14 minutes that this EP plays out I was reminded of why I love no-nonsense, balls-to-the-wall guitar bands. Tearing through your songs with no pretence or ambient between-track messing about is something that adds a sense of direction, and it's something that Look Alive do admirably.

However, from the moment opening track Putting The “I” In Isolation started, I was pretty confident what kind of listen I was in for. As opening tracks go, this one is frankly a little disposable, with forgettable verses and a chorus that doesn't quite land. There is such a limited amount of time to capture the imagination with an EP that you can't afford to open with what is essentially a fairly decent album track.

Unfortunately that is a theme that works its way into the rest of the EP, although Regrets Taste A Lot Like Hard Liquor does add a certain unexpected depth to the overall experience. Its slower tempo and channelling of Motion City Soundtrack in the verses (and even a touch of Death Cab For Cutie) certainly adds a dimension. It manages to stay just the right side of heartfelt rock, though only just.

The Bad Conversationalist, perhaps the most biting track of the four, and (not coincidently) my favourite, finishes the EP. It is arguably the most direct and musically interesting track on here, although its rather abrupt ending leaves the whole EP feeling somehow incomplete and its musical direction not fully realised.

I can fully imagine that Look Alive would make quite an impression on stage, and whilst this EP isn't their strongest musical output (check out their earlier track Inquisition) there is plenty to work with. Look Alive do what they do and they don't pretend to be what they are not. If you are a fan of New Found Glory, Small Brown Bike or Rise Against then Translucent is worth a listen, but don't expect fireworks. I can't deny that the more I listen to Translucent the more I like it, but maybe I'm just getting used to it.

Undercover Festival 2014: Preview: Mick Moriarty

We caught up with one of the organising team, Mick Moriarty, just days before Undercover Festival 2014 kicks off...

The Punk Archive: Are you excited for 2014's Undercover after all the work that's gone into it?
Mick: Excited? More like knackered and running on adrenaline! We have put a lot of our hearts and souls into this year and we hope everyone comes down and has a cracking time. Last year was a belter and let's hope this year is even better.
I am excited about seeing bands that have been around for years. I must admit some I've been following for years. I find music in general these days to be depressing especially when young, vibrant and talented bands with something about them and something to say are being suffocated by the media driven schmaltz of X Factor and all that shit! So if I am excited it's also about some of the bands we have lined up including a few that are under 18. Last year it was the unknown bands, those that were or are not established that made Undercover what it was as much as the headliners and more established bands. There is a lot of talent out there not getting the gigs they deserve and it is them I am really looking forward to working with and welcoming to Undercover.

The Punk Archive: What have you done to make it better than 2013's? What elements have you improved on?
Mick: Last year was pretty special so we have not done a lot to change it to be honest...Increased the festival to three days, and widened the sort of bands we have put on.  We have increased the amount of bands with longer sets as well...

The Punk Archive: Talk us through your band selections: were there reasons you went with certain bands?
Mick: Is there a reason or a rationale behind what bands we put on and why? I suppose if it feels right we do it and if it does not then maybe we will take a few looks before deciding not this time! If you're asking whether we have actually sat down and said 'this is what we are looking for and these are the bands we will put on', then not really.
I think with last year and Dreadzone headlining on the Friday we have gone for a band of that nature but different (Gentleman's Dub Club), but elsewhere not really. We kinda just went 'this band is so and so and does it fit?' And it was either a 'fuck yeah' or 'errr no maybe not!'
As long as it falls into the broad rainbow of alternative music we have identified (Punk / Ska / Northern / Dub / Reggae / Glam / Retro) then we are happy. It is then at that point we look around. Some of the bands that played last year are back again because they had to be and that made it a lot easier.
We have looked at hundreds and hundreds of bands. Hillsy, who I work with on this and mates threw loads of bands in the mix for consideration and in November we had 211 bands apply to play in eight days, and I listened to every one which was fun! There are a lot of really good bands and a few that do need counselling. Then we did the roadshow gigs in at The Cave in Addlestone so we could take a proper look at them as well as putting on a few bands that were already playing; as a result of this we added The Wonder Beers and T&The Mugs to the line up.
The most regrettable thing about this year is that we were not able to put every band on that played 2013, or put every band on that wanted to play; but there is simply no room.
As we are only a small festival with a cap of around just 1000 I suppose cost does determine why we can't put on some bands that many consider to be the big ones, but when a band's rider, add-ons and requests for a suite of 5 star hotel rooms is nearly what the fee is then you decide this is not for Undercover. We believe the line up we have got overall is pretty special and for a festival of our size I defy anyone to better it!

The Punk Archive: What's the best thing about putting on a festival?
Mick: When you organise a festival and there are only days to go you realise you have an inbuilt desire to do things that no normal and rational person would put themselves through and it is at that point you realise you must be mad. With three days to go and all that planning and last minute things to deal with I am knackered and I can't really think of much that can be said that is good about organising a festival. But ask me a week or so afterwards, as it is more than likely I will be buzzing as I was last year.
The build up has been fun, I have become a temporary radio presenter on Radio Woking, with 3 shows entitled Countdown to Undercover. Our last show is Wednesday 17th September 8pm – 10pm where we shall be packing the show with bands playing Undercover. The last two weeks we have had some cracking guests in the studio as well as playing tracks by bands that are playing Undercover or tracks by bands that have shaped what we are trying to achieve. On Show 1 we had Mat Sargent and Nic Austin from Chelsea and last week's show we had Eddie Roxy and Pete Jones from Department S which I was pretty chuffed about. The best thing about putting on Undercover last year was the buzz about the place and even though I was knackered that helped us keep going.  Hopefully we can recreate that buzz again.

Nic Austin from Chelsea on my radio show a few weeks ago summed it up: in all his years of playing festivals Undercover is one of the most enjoyable and friendliest he has been to. That sums it up really .

Undercover Festival runs from 19th - 21st September 2014. For information head to:

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Henrietta: The Trick Is Not Minding

Artist: Henrietta
Title: The Trick Is Not Minding
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 26th August 2014
Reviewed By: Millie Manders

Having formed in 2008 it has taken until now for Henrietta to release this, their first full length record due to wishing to fully evolve and nurture their sound before creating songs steeped in that maturity. They bring an all out American Indie sound from Florida, full of broody melancholy and occasional uplift. 

I have to be honest here: my computer failed me and for the first few listens I was only hearing half the album, leading me to the belief this was a rather bland and samey effort. Not so. Henrietta appear for all intents and purposes to have poured their souls out in bold and beautiful form into each track, those years of learning curves and musical evolution evident in the finished product that is The Trick Is Not Minding.

The more I listen to this album the more I am discovering quirks: A Spectrum, for example, is in 5/4. Someone who loves music but isn't “musical” per se can still enjoy this track but will feel the difference to a traditional 4/4 or 3/4 song. Its uplifting, bright guitars and dance-like rhythms get you moving but having an almost waltz-like feel because of the interesting time signature chosen. It's a pleasure to listen to a band that is clever, without alienating listeners.

The vocals on this album are filled with passion and emotion: pitch perfect and just enough harmonies throughout. Being a vocalist makes me very picky and I have really enjoyed this. At times it has a throaty quality to it like the early days of Kings of Leon (forget the Sex on Fire crap. I'm talking about when the uniqueness was celebrated). Unafraid to let the emotion crack his voice, Brutus is a perfect track to listen to it uninterrupted. Just guitars and vocals let the solemnity wash over you.

The Trick Is Not Minding feels like a journey. Musically, emotionally and I'm guessing from the lyrics, in part, literally and as with all long roads trodden filled with varying chapters of exploration and discovery. 

Both fragility and strength can be found in each song, and Henrietta come out the other side with their integrity intact. They have not moulded their sound in order to please the crowd or create something in order to become popular. Instead they have opted to showcase musical skill, creating decent songs with their own style whilst still being able to sit very comfortably within a chosen genre.

Vacations is what I would call the uplift track on the album. It's a traditional 4/4 song that instantly crashes in, drum stick count in and full band start, vocals coming in hard, bursting through bright lead and distorted rhythm guitars and a bold, distinctive bass line that's clean, simple but has that lovely thickness to it. Lush.

This track suddenly drops off in the middle, leaving just guitars and vocals. Oh the feels…. “And now I know, beauty fades, and loneliness, is what remains” bitter sweetness like a moment of vulnerability amongst the bravado of noise. Just beautiful. 

I could go on and give you a run down on each track but I do feel I would be spoiling some surprises. The Trick Is Not Minding was an unexpected rollercoaster that started with uncertainty but ended with the conclusion that I had just had a rare experience sharing Henrietta’s journey: discovery and emotions included.

Review: Late Summer Skank 2014

Headliners: Random Hand, New Town Kings
When: 31st August 2014
Where: The Fleece, Bristol
Reviewed By: Ben Chapman

Late Summer Skank hit Bristol again this year with twelve hours of variations on the excellent phenomenon that is the ska genre played live.

The Nomarks made themselves noticeable among the day's earlier bands with their upbeat and beer-friendly ska. The tunes bop along at danceable pace under classic reggae keys, shouty punkish singing, and a chirpy Hawaiian guitar tone. The Nomarks played an engaging set full of clean toned post-punk dissonance with a bright ska groove and layers of smooth horn that became progressively effective. Some songs digressed into a smooth and almost jazzy section but still didn't interrupt the steady skanking.

Next up was something a bit louder, hopefully not adding to the Fleece's unfortunate issues surrounding noise pollution, but sounding like they were well worth the risk, The Blitz formed the heaviest act of the early afternoon. Soon outside the venue becomes far less busy, everyone's warmed up and packing into The Fleece for some aggressive ska-punk and the promise of light moshing.

Later The Sneak Eazies led a smoother set of bouncy, self-proclaimed third wave ska with plenty of classic influences. The vocals had an authentic blunt flatness with politically informed subject matter, under a steady skank guitar backing and leg-melting walking basslines that got the crowd swaying. The horn section doubled up as backing vocals to vary the music and thicken the melodies.

The Fleece as a venue has a nice simple layout: big room with a bar on one side; the bathrooms all down one handy corridor; and everyone's free to pour outside into a cosy cobbled alleyway between sets. There's nowhere to get lost or for your party to sneak off and the focus is ensured to stay on the music.

Larryfish Experiment were an interesting watch. A few things set them apart from the other bands, namely their Mexican lau dress code and the drummer wildly coping with lead vocals in an energetically jumped-up punk-rock/ska hybrid. There was plenty of technical skill on display, as well as some fast and heavy thrash of chords.

The pleasantly awkward angular walk to the bass gave a nice dissonant edge to the more melodic ska sounding sections, which would quickly flip into harder rock at the drop of their weird homemade hat, which they'd named ‘Skankfish’. Before the band began the eponymous  song surrounding the hat, they offered the headpiece to the crowd, before forcing it upon a punter who had declined profanely. He was now The Skankfish, and proceeded to lead the dance alongside one of the band's funkier moments on the setlist.

This tuneful tomfoolery and the fact that the entire band are evidently having loads of fun, the entirety of its members getting involved on some shouty vocal lines, their rewrite of You've Got A Friend In Me, more commonly heard at the end of Toy Story, heard in a more crude rendition as You've Got A Friend In I, made Larryfish Experiment great to watch and hear, an excellent live performance that I wish they would replicate with their recorded efforts.

Cut Capers were one of the day's larger bands, busying up the stage with talented musicians and funky, offbeat-heavy sounds as suitably derived from ska as it was hip-hop. Adding an extra dimension to the genre mix was the female vocalist's sweet, almost torch-song vocals that sounded brilliant, but were sadly a bit quiet in the mix. As they started to play a half-memory of their Boomtown performance rushed back to me, when they were one-and-a-half songs into a promising set of downright groove before a power-cut interrupted them and everyone had to evacuate the fake hotel building that would have otherwise been a perfect setting for their opulent store of funk. Some excellent saxophone playing (from what was probably a bass saxophone, being huge in size and sound) and dual rapping sections kept the music varied and at a smooth but never boring pace.

Mad Apple Circus, despite struggling to fit on the stage, made up for their spatial organisation with an entertaining, vaguely jazzy set of ska influenced by big band and swing with a European melodic flavour that was always full of energy, beautiful vocal harmonies and the cheekiest of horn sections.

King Tut’s Revenge proved themselves kings of covers. Their skank-heavy version of Mad World won over the crowd in seconds with its genuine great sound rather than any cheap rousing of the crowd's memory of a popular song: these guys made it their own, made it suit their musical style with an efficiency that made you double take. Their attempt at Bob Marley's Stir It Up also went down tastily, avoiding the risk of straying into reggae cliché that it may do in the hands of other acts, but rather sounding nice, powerful, and upbeat.

Slagerij formed one of the more punk-orientated acts, with the stage more sparsely occupied than it had been all evening, the classic three piece line up played classic-defying punk rock with a heavier edge and ska influences that were sincerely and downright impressively felt without the influence of a horn section or keys. Fast and authentic stuff. The crowd reaction, the feeling of the bar rise in the moshpit, and the sales of beer rise at the bar, proved the band's relevance and deserved command at Late Summer Skank.

Imperial Leisure were on next and managed well to keep the pace at a similar level to what Slagerij had delivered. Their set was a fully developed incarnation of ska blended with the aggression of fast punk while the vocals flicked between an arresting wail and punchy rap. The audience heard perhaps the heaviest horn playing of the event with two blasting trumpets and a swaying trombone. The lead singer's good use of the environment helped keep the energy up, the room never looked busier during a strong performance: swinging around The Fleece's pillars and monitor amps, almost strangling his bassist mid flow, and generally strutting cool under a worthy backing from the talented band that made Imperial Leisure well worth the attention they received.

New Town Kings gave a cocksure performance as the Essex nine-piece intimidated the stage. The music wasn't as heavy as some of the day's early acts, which had gradually gotten more loud and distorted, but made an effective contrast as the tunes were just as developed in their own right, the sound of a classic ska that can be felt evolving into reggae with a variety of indistinguishable influences. Under the chordal layering of the horn section and steady offbeat bouncing, the crowd reaction to Late Summer Skank had so far been more headbang focused, the dancing now became truly orientated around the unstoppable repetition of the skank motion. Their confidence shined through, with the band addressing each other as kings; but as they began a track, abandoned it in a surprisingly musical record scratch mock-up, then demanded that the crowd tried harder to engage in the sing-along before launching into the track proper. Professionally executed but never wayward in its pursuit of entertainment, New Town Kings played a stand-out set featuring a varied mix of songs of downright reggae groove as well as the notably super-smooth croon of Take My Hand.

Late Summer Skank’s Headliners seemed well placed, effective in their own right without stepping on each other's toes, and Random Hand seemed perfectly set to conclude the night in a flurry of aggressive trombone (frighteningly not as impossible as it might sound), screaming vocals and condemningly tight bass and drums that really drove the crowd a bit mental.

A deeply heavy Northern groove, to paraphrase the lyrics in Play Some Ska “I love the beat but I need to shout”, explains how the music relies on a ska backbone that's shattered melodically in a frantic punk implosion carried off with supreme skill. It was interesting to see such an energetic vocal performance from the lead just before he connects his weapon-like trombone to the throat and lays down the abrasive brass melody. The resulting music was conducive to a type of moshing I hadn't experienced before, but an experience that's worth the bruises, getting everyone, and the singer, involved to make one final aptly heavy conclusion the evening.

It might sound like I've been overly positive here, it may be the latent effect of the event, the music, and the devoted audience, but I swear there wasn't a bad band playing at Late Summer Skank. It taught me two important things. Go to next year's Late Summer Skank, and hope that they never shut down the vitally helpful venue that is The Fleece.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Lonely The Brave: The Day's War

Artist: Lonely The Brave
Title: The Day's War
Format Reviewed: CD
Format Released: 1st September 2014
Reviewed By: Dan Stoten

It has taken me ten full days to be able to write this review. That is quite simply because my mere words are unable to do what is a life-affirming, game-changing and stunningly meaningful record anywhere near enough justice.

It's impossible to know quite where to start with Lonely The Brave, and with The Day's War. We've extensively covered them over the past year, right from their appearance at the UK leg of Vans' Warped Tour last year, to their London gigs, and through festival season. Across every article you will note the huge praise we have showered on them, the "these guys are your new favourite band" rhetoric, and the general feeling of the fact that The Punk Archive is in awe of these five Cambridge lads.

One of the astounding things about The Day's War is the impact it had on me as a listener. I don't have any tattoos, but there are countless lyrics within the songs which I want permanently in my head, on my body, and around me. The way the record moved me is something I hadn't experienced from music until now: it's one which really got me thinking, mulling over past choices, past mistakes, past events. In a weird way The Day's War has become a representation of everything in my life, and in my past.

This may be coming across as if the album is an incredibly depressing piece. This is fundamentally not the case, as while listening to the record, there are many moments when I feel like the sun is bursting over my life. It makes me feel absolutely deliriously happy, it makes me look around and consider just how lucky I am right now. How lucky I am to have the friends, relationship, people that I have around me. It is, as I said earlier, a life-affirming record.

You can probably tell, again, that I'm really struggling to iterate my thoughts about Lonely The Brave's début album. Fundamentally for me, it raises huge amounts of emotions, it puts me in touch with areas of me I thought didn't exist. It makes me feel massively joyful, it makes me feel incredibly contemplative, and it makes me sombre.

If that isn't what brilliant music should do, then I'm not sure I know what brilliant music is...

Thus far, I've not mentioned anything about any of the individual tracks within The Day's War. Two tracks, Backroads and Deserter have been previously available on the Backroads EP, so I don't need to mention those ones here. There are three tracks in particular, however, that I do want to mention, again for fear of not doing them justice.

First of these is Kings of the Mountain. Testament to the strength of the record, on which every song is a pure-gold five-star track, this one is pretty far through. I'm not quite sure what it is about Kings of the Mountain which gets me so much, but I think it's the way the track slowly builds and builds. All the tracks on the album don't so much as grab you and pull you in: it's more that the tracks become you, and you become them: you almost become the vessel through which the lyrics are sung, the notes played. It's the same with Kings of the Mountain. It starts out as a beautiful, soaring song which begins to pulse through your veins, in your blood, early on. You then get to roughly three minutes in, and it's as if heaven has been released. All elements combine in a moment of musical ecstasy. David's heart-wrenchingly beautiful vocals ebb and flow gorgeously with their now-familiar macabre, melancholic, sombre and almost humble style; Mark and Ross' guitar chords reverberate and soar wonderfully around the landscape of the track, while the gentler drums from Gavin and bassline from Andrew keep the track's natural smoothness. It truly is a special song.

The Blue, The Green was the song on the album I was most looking forward to hearing on CD. Having heard it live, the hairs on the back of my neck didn't so much stand up as jump from my body, and the goosebumps it gave me could have been mountaineered across. On the record, it does exactly the same. Here is a track which reaches such a gloriously impassioned crescendo that it is perfect for every occasion, every emotion. For me, it has been the perfect thing to listen to after a particularly dire day at work, the passion and energy within it being the ideal foil to my pent-up work-based annoyances. Yet at the same time, it's been the right song to turn up when I've been joyfully happy. It's a wonderful piece of music, one which can be the huge black clouds pouring angry rain onto life, but can also be the sun bursting out in a blinding light from behind those clouds. I've never, ever, felt emotion within me from music as I have when listening to The Blue, The Green.

The final song I want to draw attention to here is Call of Horses, the longest track on the album at just over five and a half minutes. It's another which slowly integrates you into it until again you are a true part of the track. The overriding thing here, though, is the dramatically stark beauty of the song. David's vocals are almost impossibly beautiful. The notes he holds are so amazing that at times you almost feel you're in a bit of a dream, and you can't help but laugh (or cry) almost in wonder at them. The pace of the song is perfect as well, ideally suited to the guitar and bass. Again it's the crescendo which is just gorgeous.

There's really no more I can write about this album. There's no more I can say about the way it makes me feel, about the emotions it brings up in me, about what it does to me when I hear it. What I can say, however, is that this is quite simply one of the best pieces of music ever written and ever released. It is certainly the best record in my collection.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Homebound: Coming Of Age

Artist: Homebound
Title: Coming of Age
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 21st July 2014
Reviewed By: Quinn

Three words spring to mind when listening to Coming of Age which are, fun, energetic and fun. Technically that's only two words but I thought one of them so important I stated it twice. I've been trying to think of the right narrative and tone to give this review, that will express those two, neè three, words that perfectly describe this 17 minute pop-punk romp. However, inspired by Apple's iPhone 6 launch event last night I have decided to write a pretentious, over-hyped review that will encourage you to drop at least £600 on this new release.

When deciding to write this unapologetically raucous EP Homebound knew they had to redesign the wheel, in the hopes of releasing something fresh, inspired, and revolutionary, full of power and passion that invited your ears to bleed as your ear drums burst at the sheer weight of the over whelming joy being pumped into them from the very beginning, right up to the final, sleek harmonious notes.

OK scrap that, this isn't an Apple launch event, there's no broadcast truck test card and U2 aren't here to give away their album to half a billion iTunes subscribers. Let's do this properly. With all the linguistic professionalism of a pregnant dung-beetle.

Coming of Age opens with the infuriatingly short Valour.  Infuriating because it comes with the feeling of ending abruptly after 90 seconds, just as you are getting into it. It's a nice opener, but the way it ends doesn't feel natural and personally, I think short openers should be left for full length albums.

I get over it fairly quickly though as the rest of the EP has so much to offer. You sometimes forget that it's only five more tracks because they all offer so much despite being standard length, 2.5-3.5mins, for pop-punk tracks.  Not a single one lets up.  Each and every song is a banger, a track that you instantly get into and gets you moving, bobbing  your head and tapping along, or whatever the alternative is for guitarists. It must have been hard for them to choose a track to record a video for because any one of them would have been perfectly fine, but they chose the title track which they opt to close the album with.  Anyone who read my Haze review will know this is my favourite thing, subverting the usual title track as the first track rule and throwing it right at the end so five shiny gold stars for them to display proudly on their MySpace Reverb Nation Facebook Bandcamp Soundcloud  … what platform are we hosting on these days?

The press release says they spent a year writing this EP.  If that's true then it has certainly paid off. Each track is meticulous in its efforts to create an energy that mixes effortlessly with the emotive story telling that you don't even notice the wild structures giving every song a unique freshness that is earned on each repeat listening.

My only criticism is that given this band are from Surrey, lead singer Charlie sings as if he is from California. Tut tut tut. Bad form Charlie, bad form.

I realise I haven't said an awful lot about the tracks themselves; that's because it's hard to articulate just how good they are without getting too cliché, but I love it, and I want to play shows with these boys.

By the way, Coming of Age is only £3, not £600, in case anyone missed the blatant satire at the start of this article. Go buy it. Now. I'm waiting ….

Track-by-Track: Ocasan, Confessions

We asked Buckinghamshire rockers Ocasan to take us through their latest EP, Confessions, and they responded emphatically...


The lyrical content is based on a turbulent love triangle between a Piano, a caretaker and the master of the house.

Both of the verses before the middle riff section portray two different story lines for each of the human characters. The Piano is narrating and has contrasting experiences with both the master and caretaker. The words "Passionately" and "unskillfully" depict the underlying affair and the confession that will unfold throughout the song.

The timbre in which we intended the caretakers verse is apparent on the EP and appropriately softer and sensual compared to the master's Verse.

The master discovers the affair and demands the caretaker destroy the piano and burn it. This section is accentuated with the violent middle.

We wanted this part before the final chorus to have the earmarks of a few of our favourite bands; Billy Talent, Rush, Paramore to name a few. This essentially enforces the death of the Piano. The fire sample at the end of the track is the final visual cherry on the cake helping embellish the narration.

Dark Cloud

This song is based on a real character we know. Dubbed 'dark cloud', unbeknownst to him, this drug dealer has been a prominent face on the UK gig circuit for many years. He's a creepy, solemn character as the song suggests.

"Would you make a deal with a big dark cloud for bit of sunshine", the sunshine an analogy for cocaine.

The track is heavily influenced by the Foo Fighters and has the guitar/bass riffs to match. It was written with the intent of being a punchy rock song throughout. Some of the album Wasted Light can be heard in the guitar tracking. This was intentional to help create impact and give a heavier edge contrasting with the previous reggae/pop songs on the first two Elixir EP's.


Drug use in the music industry is a given. Sometimes it's argued that it can allow for experimental creativity and sometimes it gets the better of us. Invincible portrays a turbulent character that we knew. The inevitable addict comes out in those who rely on pacification. The lyrics "Success comes with a test, think you're no good without a fix" allows the listener to understand the reasoning behind their thought process.

The groove in the verses deliver a reggae backdrop for the vocals to cruise on with a soft, informative lyric. This is similar to Panic at the Disco! and Fall Out Boy's earlier records. The pre-chorus/chorus is hard-hitting in comparison. The vocals have intentionally increased in dynamic to bring home the harsh reality behind substance abuse. Eventually it 'catches up'.

The riffs that start and end the song have been written and performed with a stabbing, turbulent minor key to portray the "Bipolar roller coaster" (lyric from verse 1).

Another inspiration for this song was also the unfortunate death of Whitney Houston. This gave us and the world a truthful glimpse of what can happen when fame, glamour and drug abuse are at play during an artist's career.


This track's routes are very close to home. A long time friend and professional roadie/driver had an unexpected illness that changed his life and ours forever.

Lyrically this song has a concerned, conversational rhetoric, that commentates the struggle during a life threatening illness from the eyes of family and close friends. The vocal melody line in the verse reflects this; "How's the head old friend, playing up again?" and has a definitive 'question and answer' with the bass guitar in the first verse.

Musically this is one of the more simplistic tracks that can be found on the Elixir. Most of the chordal/melodic work on guitar was actually created in the studio at the demo stage. This is also the case with many of the vocals. The sentiment helped fuel the vocal performance and allowed Nick to emotionally attach to the lyrics.

During the lead break we focused on a dark, unconventional melody and finish the section with a slight dissonant, discomfort melody to the harmony. This, we think, reflected the songs meaning and concept. It was unplanned and just came naturally when working in the studio.

Confessions is available on 21st September 2014.