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Ivan Beecroft – Believe – Single Review

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With all the musical revivals arriving lately, especially sounds from the 90s, it was only a matter of time before the decade’s more varied sounds were adapted as well. With a rollicking piano line that runs up and down with a sense of hope, Ivan Beecroft’s new track “Believe” puts the brightness at the forefront, leaving the darker undertones for Beecroft’s lyrics. His heavy but uplifting verses, push the song forward but never outstay their welcome thanks to the pop sensibilities he brings, arguably his best strength as an artist. Some production hold-backs aside his abilities as a musician are strong as he lays down all the instrumentation himself impressively. His discordant chorus vocals while possibly abrasive to some make his chorus a lot more memorable and oddly catchy because of it. Bringing parts Collective Soul and The Church, he brings a lot of the spirit of the 90s through his delivery.

In his DIY video for the track Beecroft mixes a lyric video, with performance and a collage of effects the struggles of daily life. His slice-of-life shots come off the best as they pus the mood of the track further, although his zoom in style lyric focus is a clever low-budget work around to time consuming effects.


Their Finest – Movie Review

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Their Finest – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Elevation Pictures

The British have a different perspective of World War II, as while they weren’t affected in the same way Continental Europe was, the threat of Nazism was still nearby. The focus of Their Finest is primarily on the morale boosting done during the war and while it follows the expected story patterns, there is nonetheless an emotional attachment to the people affected. Even as the filmmakers seeking to bring patriotism to the British public are sitting in offices and typing up scripts, bombs continue to fly overhead. Director Lone Scherfig and screenwriter Gaby Chiappe, adapting Lissa Evans’s novel, craft the proper tone with Their Finest in addition to showing the power of good filmmaking.

Scherfig immediately manages to get a handle of the time period and need for morale during the Second World War. Even though Their Finest is largely fictional, the characters we follow feel like genuine members of the British film industry at the time. The chemistry between Gemma Arterton’s screenwriter Catrin and Sam Claflin’s head script writer Tom is sweet and it makes their inevitable romance one that feels earned. Their conflicts and closeness showcase the collaboration that can happen between creative types and how the melding of good ideas can turn into great ones. Bill Nighy and Jake Lacy are scene-stealers as a veteran actor and a soldier forced into the wartime film, respectively.

The best scenes in Their Finest are the ones showing the filmmakers at work. Considerable research appears to have been made on how the British film industry went about creating morale-boosting pictures during the war. The humour is not too in-jokey and throughout it all is a crew bonding and finding common ground in wanting to bring relief and inspiration to the British people. However, the script always remembers that Nazi storm cloud looming above and how cinema existed as a necessary relief for both the creative types making them and those who paid to see them.

Their Finest does tend to lag during the scenes of Catrin in her home life. Her painter significant other merely exists as a plot device and a necessity to keep her at a distance from Tom. Nonetheless, Scherfig delivers on the home stretch. Even as we feel her pulling the emotional strings behind the camera and Rachel Portman’s score swells, the audience reaction does feel earned. There is an authenticity when seeing the finished movie the filmmakers within the film have put together. One can imagine this same picture being released in the early 1940s, alongside the likes of Mrs. Miniver and In Which We Serve.

The troubles of war never truly disappear and that’s why inspirational films are needed to allow the populace to know they can triumph. Their Finest is itself an inspirational film, a charming and likeable piece of cinema and a fitting tribute to the British film industry. The actors all deliver and Lone Scherfig guides them and her crew to create the proper response from the audience. Their Finest does its job suitably enough and probably would not be out of place among the films the United Kingdom made during the Second World War to encourage the population. It is a needed film for the Great Britain that seems so divided these days.

 

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


Erich Mrak – With You – Single Review 

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Mixing a lo-fi synth pop into hip hop, Erich Mrak has an intimately digital sound thanks to the production styles of collaborator Bento. The cutting synth notes, mixed with the subdued drum machine and softer background keys make for a great layered blend of sounds for Mrak to rap over. The Macklemore and Watsky-esque style that Mrak puts into his rapping feel much more earnest and genuine, making listeners feel almost like the special someone Mrak is talking to. The pain in the love that Mrak sings about is all too clear as he flip flops on his feelings within the same sentence.

Moving from detached to attached, and then in love to hurt but in need, it tells a story all too familiar of loves that burn out suddenly after being all too strong in the first place. The suddenly bursting synth in the last half of the song takes the sound further before the dynamic drop that kicks off the last chorus. Hopefully the continued set of releases from Mrak means we’ll be getting a longer releases sometime in the near future.


Autumn Kings – Illusion – Single Review

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It’s not too often you hear the stellar blend of Latin-music with punk-rock. Windsor’s Autumn Kings manage to bridge this gap to powerful effect on their new single, getting all the grooves and bounce of Latin guitar mixed with the tone and attitude of punk. Scratchy distortion and overpowering chants bring catchy punk gusto to the track, the pop-punk vocals also managing to land somewhere between the smooth glide of Spanish vocalists and the endless hooks and lyrical styling of bands like Billy Talent. Somehow between all their thrashing they manage a sound somewhere between Maroon 5, the aforementioned Billy Talent, Santana, and even some of Muse’s more Latin-infused tracks.

Throughout Autumn Kings‘ new video for the track, the band rocks wholeheartedly in a loft to a rowdy crowd of drinking fans. Bouncing between the full speed electricity of their live churn, they also move into some slow motion moments to capture every second of exhilaration on the band and crowd’s face. Between the track’s lyrics about the illusions caused by lovers who say one thing and while wanting to leave it’s also interesting that a singular member of the crowd is focused on, going from rocking onlooker to phone-checking and mysteriously disappears at the video’s close.


Eddy Yang – Split the Night – Single Review

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Modernizing indie guitar pop isn’t easy, but someone has to do it. In his new single, LA indie-rocker Eddy Yang blends a parts of electronic dance, with his guitar tones to make something uniquely forward sounding. With layers of clanging guitars ringing over the pumping drum machine it sounds oddly like a new take on a natural sound, thanks to the warm feeling of the guitars pushed into the future by the drum machine. While there’s definitely emotion behind Yang’s vocals, the more relaxed delivery does feel at times to hold the true emotion of the track back, except in the choruses where it soars a lot more. Overall mixing parts REM with some influence from The Kills, and even The Velvet Underground, the sound takes some avant-garde style on what would normally be a straightforward sound.

Going for a classic love song, Yang brings tones of Snow Patrol in his lyrical content, shouting out about not wanting to lose himself for love, or wasting his youth. Self-confident in his declarations of reliability, he manages to write a song that while very derivative lyrically works like a song you’ve missed and wanted to hear again, integrating his lyrics into his melodies extremely effectively.


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