Posts Tagged ‘swagger’

21st May 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

With their latest single in the run-up to their debut album due to drop in July, SENSES threaten ‘an absolute stomper soaked in bass and synth… one for any BRMC fans out there’. And in a bit of a shift from the previous two singles, which showcased more psychedelic and indie leanings, that’s what they deliver. ‘Harder Now’ is one of those classic, scuzzy rock ‘n’ roll tunes that’s simple but effective, and centres around a solid rhythm section and nagging, repetitive riff.

So maybe it does nab the bass stylings of the intro to ‘Spread Your Love’ and the drawling vocal hook of ‘Stop’, but so what? BRMC always amalgamated an almost stereotypical rock ‘n’ roll swagger with a dash of The Jesus and Mary Chain – breezy melodies in a collision a with a whole load of overdrive – and no-one owns these things. That’s the beauty of rock ‘n’ roll: it doesn’t have to be radically new, or break new ground to be of merit: it just has to be good. ‘Good’ can be many things, of course, is subjective, but objective good is having that all-important riff that hook, that self-confidence, and a certain knowingness.

In context of their releases to date, it’s clear that SENSES have a sense (sorry) of history, and a keen appreciation of a span of music of a certain vintage – a vintage that has come to possess a timeless quality.

They’ve got some savvy songwriting going on, and the musical skills to deliver it with just the right vibe, and ‘Harder Now (For Love)’ is a cracker.

Harder Now (For Love) single cover

11th December 2020

London trio Slow Cooked Bears are all about the hybridity, bringing together a mixture of visceral alternative noise rock to forge what they describe as ‘a left-field, avant-garde sound that’s both nostalgic and modern with elements of grunge, synth pop and reverb heavy post-rock’.

Now, nostalgia ain’t what it used to be, especially now it’s become the last cash cow for late capitalism to milk, and there’s never been a better time to milk it dry than in 2020 when half the world is stuck at home, unable to socialise, see friends or family, shop or conduct all of the activities that have been part of everyday life for the last century. Who doesn’t yearn for the past? Who hasn’t at some point in recent months delved into musical memories that remind them of time spent in the company of friends?

Their releases to date all carry something of a spacey theme, that seem to have little correspondence to the oddball barbarism of the band name, which makes ‘The Grand Scheme’ something of a departure from Eclipse (2018) and Space Odyssey (2019).

It kicks in with a big swaggering blues riff and burns into a grungy alt-rock descending chord sequence for the chorus. It’s hooky as hell, and they sound confident but not cocky, and there’s a 90s vibe that hints vaguely at Placebo while they’re kicking out Zeppelinesque guitar breaks spun through a contemporary filter that alludes to the likes of Rivals Sons and (earlier) Royal Blood. As such, it’s nostalgia, but with a twist, and it works. In the grand scheme of things, and even by any measure, this is a pretty strong single cut.

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