Category: Pop

The Living Eyes

Year: 2013

Label: Z-Man

Track Listing:

  1. Sittin’ Sick
  2. Wrong Doings
  3. Down And Out
  4. Heard It All Before
  5. Up And At Them
  6. Economy First
  7. Outta Doubt
  8. Slave Labour
  9. Ways To Make A Living
  10. Stuck In My Own World
  11. Cry In Shame

Subculture Media ‘The Living Eyes’ – The Living Eyes Review:

For the younger generation of music fans there is a familiar daydream – a dream where they once found themselves packed into a beer-soaked, smoke-filled concert hall in the 1960s as they watched a young band made up of musos with the names of George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and John Lennon plying their trade. This of course would have been before The Beatles were international stars, the daydream doesn’t work if you can’t say you were one of the first people to discover The Beatles. Well now you can do that with another band.

The comparison between Geelong band The Living Eyes and of course The Beatles isn’t exactly such a far-fetched one to make. Certainly The Living Eyes have learnt a thing or two listening to The Beatles over the years, not only are their music styling very similar but Billy Gardener, Mitch Campleman, Dayle Herbert and Nicholas Hill know how to create a special brand of pop rock, a brand that to be honest it has felt that The Beatles have a hold on for all of these years.

The band’s self-titled new release is an absolute gem of an album, one that you know you are going to listen to over and over for years to come. Opening track ‘Sittin’ Sick’ reels you in with its garage rock fused with 1960s pop sound and the album has you from there.

Short and sweet tracks like ‘Wrong Doings’ and ‘Slave Labour’ leave the listener wanting more while you just know if a track like ‘Down And Out’ had been released back in the 1960s it would have graced itself on the soundtrack for the television series of ‘Heartbeat’, as it certainly would have been a track that would been remembered for a long to come.

‘Heard It All Before’ sees Billy Gardener bring an almost punk vibe to his vocals while it’s the brilliant guitar chords he pulls together with Mitch Campleman that makes you want to give ‘Up And At Them’ another listen.

Again it’s the guitar work on the opening of ‘Economy First’ which reveals The Living Eyes as a band with pure skill while it also shows that as a band these guys know how to write music so catchy that any audience will fall in love with it straight away… a really handy skill for a band to have if they want people coming to their shows and buying their CDs.

Even an average track like ‘Outta Doubt’ is worth another listen while ‘Ways To Make A Living’ again brings some raw emotion to the album… it’s track like the latter that makes seeing The Living Eyes live something to put on your bucket list.

‘Stuck In My Own World’ consists of some melodies that most bands would kill for while it is once again Gardner’s vocals that brings back that raw emotion with ‘Cry In Shame’.

This self-titled album really proves The Living Eyes to be one of the finds of 2013. If you are serious music lover then buying this album is a must while seeing them live should be a dream you fulfill really soon.

Rating (out of 5): Stars(5)

Amali Ward - Back In Time

Year: 2013

Label: Precious Records

Track Listing:
1. Leave Me Alone

2. Knock You Out

3. Upside Down

4. Victim Of Love

5. Prettier Than Me

6. Come Inside

7. Back In Time

8. Handbag

9. Break The Mirror

10. Black Dog

Subculture Media ‘Amali Ward – Back In Time’ Review:

Most people would remember Amali Ward as the young singer that many of the judges on Australian Idol thought was too young to be there. She proved them wrong and excelled and since her time on the show has gone away finished school and worked extremely hard at becoming one of Australia’s top singers… and she has the song-writing awards to back it up.

Now it’s time for Ward to show Australia (and the world) just what a fine artist she has become, with the release of her debut album ‘Back In Time’, and if you’re expecting just another stock standard pop album then you are in for a rude surprise. This actually will be one of the finest pop albums you hear this year.

‘Back In Time’ kicks into a gear with the smooth ‘Leave Me Alone’, a track that gives an early warning that this is going to be a special kind of album. Those thoughts are then justified with the brilliant ‘Knock You Out’, the new single off the album that is made up of what most pop tracks these days lack… real attitude. It’s easy to tell that Amali Ward has written this track from a really deep voice and the results are sensational.

‘Upside Down’ really puts the magnificent song-writing skills of Amali Ward on show, who else could turn a song about a bad night out into something so poetic. With these kinds of skills it’s not surprising that Ward has the ability to produce an album so good, even average tracks such as the sweet and catchy ‘Victim Of Love’ are well worth a second glance (or should that be listen).

There is a little bit of Alanis Morissette about ‘Prettier Than Me’ which sees Ward take a swipe at sooky guys, but instead of delivering a straight does of venom like Morissette would have Ward disguises it under a layer of sweetness that is very deceiving.

The one thing that Amali Ward isn’t afraid to do on Back In Time’ is genre-switch, she eases between various musical sounds with ease that that is nowhere more evident than on ‘Come Inside’ which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on ‘The Sapphires Soundtrack’.  The title track of the album, ‘Back In Time’ sees Ward once again return to the pop genre and along with ‘Handbag’ really does show that pop music doesn’t need to be generic and boring… these are stunning tracks.

‘Break The Mirror’ is catchier enough to suggest that it one day may find itself on radio station playlists, it’ll certainly have you singing along to it as you listen, while the jazzy swing sounding ‘Black Dog’ is made of some more deeply personal lyrics for Ward. It shows that songs clearly sound better when they are written from the heart.

‘Back In Time’ proves that ‘pop’ doesn’t have to be a bad word, this album alone should re-introduce a faith in this genre to music lovers that have thought that pop music has needed a good kicking for a long time. Imagine the thought provoking lyrics of somebody like Tori Amos mixed in with the sweet pop/R&B sounds of Rihanna and you’re some of the way to understanding what Amali Ward sounds like. ‘Back In Time’ is a brilliant album that really showcases the talents of one of Australia’s most promising up-and-coming stars.

Rating: 5/5


PanamaYear: 2013

Label: Independent

Track Listing:
1. Heartbeat
2. It’s Not Over
3. Magic
4. One Piece
5. Stop The Fire
6. We Have Love

Subculture Media Review:

For a long time Australian pop music has been something that the locals have been a little embarrassed about. Sure we have winners of shows like ‘X Factor’ and ‘Australian Idol’ but normally their first album does well and then they simply disappear into obscurity… well come in who knows what branch of McDonalds Casey Donovan and Kate DeAraugo are working the Drive Thru at now?

But if you are an Aussie pop lover then it is really time to rejoice, because along comes a group called Panama. These guys released the sensational ‘Magic’ last year and now they are back with an EP titled ‘It’s Not Over’ which is a great little release.

The opening track, ‘Heartbeat’ reveals a really different sound to what you would normally expect from an Aussie pop outfit… there is no hint of cheese (that’s saved for Casey’s cheeseburger) to be heard and instead it is obvious that Panama brilliantly fuse a the sound of pop, electronic and house music together extremely well.

Fans of Underworld and Joy Division (if you want to feel a little older) will lap up title track, ‘It’s Not Over’ with its great vocals care of Jarrah McCleary and a catchiness that makes very infectious. The groovy sounds continue with the track we all heard last year, ‘Magic’, which of course if you haven’t heard is very disco sounding.

‘One Piece’ delivers a very smooth electronic sound with some high notes that the Bee Gees would have proud to have called their own while the catchiness returns with ‘Stop The Fire’. The EP then closes out with ‘We Have Love’, another piece of pop magic.

‘It’s Not Over’ reveals that Panama are elite amongst pop groups just in Australia but around the world. Make sure you grab a copy of ‘It’s Not Over’ because it’s a must have at any party this summer.
Rating: 3/5