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Album Review: Gentle Bones
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Album Review: Troye Sivan - TRXYE
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Album Review: Jack White - Lazaretto
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Album Review: Gentle Bones

By Nikita Sep 01, 2014

Soulful artist Gentle Bones aka (Joel Tan) is back with a new Extended Play, deriving his endowment from its intimacy and yet he is willing to share it with his listeners.This revolves around the different aspects of love, shunning away from reality or mending a broken heart after a bitter relationship. The roller coaster journey was something which drove Joel to compose tracks such as Elusive, Save Me, Until We Die, Lost and Settle Down. We don’t have to elaborate much about love and Joel allows the lyrics to speak for itself.

There are two tracks which I feel strongly connected with: Save Me and Elusive. Save Me takes on a half rapped and half sung stylistic approach which triumphs in the chorus, in turn channeling out those blunt phrases to convey the pain and intensity of long lost desires. Can’t help but love you more, come back please babe I adore you. Powered by thudding beats and rhythmic grooves, this song edges the listeners to move to the beat.

I love the deep bass tone of the kick drum which resembles the pulsating heartbeat of one when in a desperate situation or it defines ones state of mind after a break up. My interest was piqued after the first listen, and Joel hones the power of composing songs that reflects one's plight. The breathy rasp of his voice accompanied with his falsetto in the chorus brought a crescendo to the song.

While Elusive takes on a mellow approach and I constantly feel myself drifting away to another dimension. And every night I just dream this dream of you/ And calling out the same name over and over again. Love the infusion of the violins which exudes this dreamy feel.

At a tender age of 20, I believe that Joel has a bright future ahead of him. His wistful and resplendent voice injects an appealing depth to tunes. Eagerly anticipated fans of Gentle Bones are in for a treat as his EP certainly meets the benchmark set for him.

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Chart topping hit singer Troye Sivan is back with his prior Extended Play entitled TRXYE. The release of single Happy Little Pill made it to the 25th spot on Shazam Australia within 2 weeks.

The animus behind Happy Pill dawned upon Troye when he was swamped by loneliness in LA and someone closed to him started to seek solace in anti- depressants. Happy Pill talks about the aftermath of drugs. My happy little pill take me away/ Dry my eyes / Bring colour to my skies/ My sweet little pill. It reminds me of A Team by Ed Sheeran, both artists are jocular to craft a song behind the abuse of drugs.

Call it love at first sight before sparks is prodded between two love birds, it’s all about the right moment when it comes to love. Touch encapsulates the thoughts of physical intimacy and achieving a close physical relationship based on trust. The slow tempo of the song amalgams with the lyrics as it allows listeners to envision the physical intimacy.

Inspired by the reality of fighting for the army and the current war crisis happening. Fun highlights the truth about the cult reality by joining the army. Just don’t look them in the eyes/ You just gotta take their lives/ Fun you and me in the Middle East.

Are u a victim of a post traumatic breakup? Gasoline will be a perfect fit for you! Troye opens up his feelings  in this song filled with integrity which left him feeling doubtful about the release of this song.

Ending it off with The Fault In Our Stars, a ball changing song for Troye. Recorded in his basement and filmed at a local hospital, the video garnered over 3 Million views on YouTube  and 100 000 sales from the tracks with all proceedings going to the local hospital.

I certainly wished that there would at least be one up-tempo song as the entire EP is filled with slow tempo songs which has a similar melody!

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One of rock 'n' roll's wildest personalities is back with his second solo album and it's yet another glimpse into the non-White Stripes side of the brilliant Jack White. Lazaretto brings more of the same adventurous sound as seen in Blunderbuss. The blues rocker has explored more diverse genres than he has in the previous album with a slight hip-hop feel in some tracks for instance. But Jack has still carried on from the Blunderbuss vibe with reinforcing more piano parts here and he hasn't died down on his uniquely strange fuzzy guitar ideas and skills.

I love the fact that this album's songs were inspired by stories and plays which Jack had created himself back when he was still just 19. I'm around that age and Lazaretto gives me some hope for the crap I've been writing down straight from my head.

Tracks like the energetic High Ball Stepper and the tongue-twisting titled That Black Bat Licorice emulate the sound from his White Stripes days of Icky Thump. Jack cries his heart out in the hauntingly personal Would You Fight For My Love which I theorize is about Meg White. The track Lazaretto is one full of attitude telling the story of the protagonist being quarantined in the isolation hospital or "lazaretto" of the world with the deadly diseases of everyday life with a tasty violin solo. Out of the many short-story themed songs, I'm amazed mostly by the lyrics in Temporary Ground which I think is, oddly enough, about dinosaurs. This laid-back western duet is about how the earth we live in will not last forever and just like the dinosaurs we will go extinct too off of this temporary earth. 

Despite the very different styles of some songs in this album, tracks like Alone In My Home and Want And Able sound too familiar to the Blunderbuss tracks and it may be a long shot, but I'm pinning my hopes on an imminent reunion with Meg to resdiscover that garage rock sound with The White Stripes again. Finger's crossed, Stripes fans.

Tip: Get Lazaretto's ULTRA LP. It's a vinyl that's first of its kind.

Track Cuts: Lazaretto, Temporary Ground, That Black Bat Licorice

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Album Review: Jason Mraz - YES!

By Xinhua Aug 12, 2014

I don't think anyone has quite found their groove as well as Jason Mraz has. Once a witty word-meister full of wordplay tricks up his sleeve, it seems that he has mellowed out, in persona and also with his craft. Amping up the mellifluous from 2012's Love is a Four Letter Word, we get YES!, an album largely shaped by acoustic-folk and the genius harmonies of LA singing-songwriting quartet, Raining Jane.

I'm not sure if Mraz is trying to come off as an enlightened love guru (if that even exists), but he sure as hell is selling the karmic idea of "love and you will receive love in return", in his lead single Love Someone. It's stripped of the big beats and electronics, but still manages to enrapture the listener with his soothing vocals and matter-of-fact delivery. 

The upbeat comes in the form of  Hello, You Beautiful Thing, a little ditty that you might bob your head to now and then when it comes on the radio, but is largely forgettable save for the hook, "I know, I know it's gonna be a good day; Hello, hello you beautiful thing". 

In fact, most of the songs make up for the soundtrack of summer - Long Drive, with its sitar-backing and gentle, mid-tempo beats, and the ethereal echoes/harmonies. It's a song for cruisin', that's for sure; or for when the campfire is at its imminent end, flickering embers emitting a low light and warmth, ideal for snuggles.

Quiet has that hint of country, as Mraz tries out a country twang, slowly starting out but blending into a calming piano track. The phrase that will surely hit home for many, "Will you be my constant through it all?" and  "Everything goes quiet when it's you I'm with". Another song that will grip hearts is the acapella-esque It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday; a welcome refrain after all the guitar strumming: vulnerable and enchanting, this one is definitely worth a listen.

At 14 tracks long, it's quite overwhelming to listen to this all in one sitting, but as standalones, some songs do shine brighter than others, and could definitely be made more compact an album.

Track Cuts: Hello, You Beautiful Thing, It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday, Love Someone, Quiet, Long Drive

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Coldplay is back with their sixth studio album, Ghost Stories. A step-down from the extremely experimental Mylo Xyloto, Ghost Stories centers around frontman Chris Martin's separation with actress-wife Gwyneth Paltrow which gives rise to 9 tracks filled with his sorrow and longing. The tracks are filled with deep lyrics and unfortunately a very consistent sound throughout which gets boring after a while. Sure Coldplay has tried to liven up the tracks with their collaboration with artists like Timbaland and Avicii to fuse some EDM qualities in their songs, but overall none of the tracks really stand out. 

Despite the dwindled creativity and variety of approaches to the songs' production, Coldplay still manages to create a steady flow of songs which ultimately tell a sad but truthful story of what happens after a breakup. It's like each track is a chapter in this tale and I've roughly listed them out,

1. Immediate impact of a break-up (Always In My Head)

2. Trying to save the relationship (Magic)

3. Depression (Ink)

4. Denial stage (True Love)

5. Starting to go crazy (Midnight)

6. Missing the things you did together (Another's Arms)

7. Starting to give up (Oceans)

8. Regaining some self-hope (A Sky Full Of Stars)

9. Finding yourself again (O)

Coldplay really showed their influences from Radiohead and Sigur Rós in songs like Midnight and Magic and though some may look down on this "copying", I rather like that the fact that they share the same sound. I interpret Ghost Stories as a story about your "ghost" or lost loved-one and it starts with the immediate impact of a break up to the last song realising that love doesn't last forever and you've got to move on. If only the music was much more varied, it could be just enough to live on as a classic breakup album.

Track Cuts: Magic, True Love, A Sky Full Of Stars 

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