Birds Of Tokyo - BRACE

Australian alternative rock band Birds Of Tokyo hit it big on their new record BRACE. It's a massive collection of both electronica and rock brought in with a unique vibe.

BRACE is the band's fifth record, and it really shows a progression. The album brings a seamless blend of electronics and rock to the table while still maintaining a core integrity. The album begins with the spooky synths of 'Harlequins,' crunchy, synthy guitar coming in with a dramatic beat before a stronger, heavier part comes in. The vocals are creepy, the dripping synths in the back adding color to the evil sounding track. Title track 'Brace' follows through with much the same vibe, instead getting to the instruments a bit quicker. The synth-laced guitar riffs are met with haunting choirs and a giant chorus to electrify the song.

There's a poppier side to the record, too. 'Empire' is more uplifting and not as industrial sounding as previous tracks were. The synths are more jumpy and hopeful, the vocals and key reflecting that. The instrumental washes over you rather than attempting to threaten you. 'Above / Below' doesn't necessarily stay purely uplifting, but its energetic synth and guitar leads give it a generally more uplifting vibe than the rest of the record, though the end does ultimately resolve into a dark, haunting ending. The Jezebels vocalist Hayley Mary features on 'Discoloured,' a smoother track that has a brooding nature but a dreamy atmosphere - combined with the sweet female vocals, it makes for a chiller track with a sweet urgency and powerful sense of melody.

Most of the record revolves around the epic, cinematic vibes the intro tracks set up, though. See 'Crown,' the pounding drums blasting with adventure and confidence as Ian Kenny sings with the same timbre of his progressive project Karnivool. The two are definitely separate entities beyond the vocals, though. 'Crown' reigns powerfully with haunting harmonies, the thick rhythm guitar sweeping smoothly but powerfully on top of the same creepy choirs from 'Brace.' The album's end is the nearly seven minute epic 'Mercy Arms,' beginning like a modern Pink Floyd before Kenny's voice brings in a searching wonder. The song builds with drive, the drum beat beginning its build as more and more powerful leads progress in each chorus. It reaches its heavenly climax before washing away like a wave, the remnants of the track slowly dissipating to conclude the record.

Birds Of Tokyo hit it huge on BRACE. It's powerful, covers a lot of ground, and develops its core principles cleanly throughout its run time, giving it both diversity and cohesion. Kelly has hit it big with his latest releases (can't wait for that fourth Karnivool record now!), and it's no surprise that BRACE is a giant record. Australia's finest is at work here.

Favorite Tracks: Crown, Discoloured, Brace, Above / Below

Least Favorite Track: Empire

Rating: 86 / 100

1st Quarter Of 2016 in Music - Wrap Up

2016 is off to an extremely strong start. Here’s just a list of all of the new albums I’ve listened to from January to March and links to reviews, if applicable.

Doing it a bit different this time, doing it by rating, from greatest to worst. Alphabetical just seemed trivial.

5-Star Albums (8.5 - 10)

4-Star Albums (6.5 - 8)

3-Star Albums (4.5 - 6)

2-Star Albums (2.5 - 4)

  • Killswitch Engage - Incarnate: 4
  • Cozz - Nothin Personal: 3.5

1-Star Albums (0 - 2)

  • None! :D


Top Albums Of 2016 (so far)

  1. AURORA - All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend
  2. Panic! At The Disco - Death Of A Bachelor
  3. Deftones - Gore
  4. Dream Theater - The Astonishing
  5. Foxes - All I Need
  6. Daughter - Not To Disappear
  7. Lacey Sturm - Life Screams
  8. HÆLOS - Full Circle
  9. Weezer - Weezer (White Album)
  10. LIGHTS - Midnight Machines

Top Songs Of 2016 (so far)

  1. AURORA - 'Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) (Acoustic)'
  2. Panic! At The Disco - 'Emperor's New Clothes'
  3. Deftones - 'Hearts/Wires'
  4. Foxes - 'Better Love'
  5. Lacey Sturm - 'Rot'
  6. AURORA - 'Through The Eyes Of A Child'
  7. Deftones - 'Phantom Bride'
  8. Dream Theater - 'Moment Of Betrayal'
  9. Daughter - 'New Ways'
  10. Jack Garratt - 'My House Is Your Home'

Thanks for reading my reviews and following! :) A lot more to come, I’m nowhere near stopping. Follow me on Twitter or add me on Facebook too, while you’re at it.

The Jezabels - Synthia

Indie Rock has been quickly becoming the norm over the past few years. Acts like Cage The Elephant and Imagine Dragons have quickly taken over modern rock and the genre continues to grow. There are some hidden gems within the vast sea of indie rockers out there. Australian indie rock outfit The Jezabels have released their third record entitled Synthia and it is laced with heavy electronics and slow moving jams.

There’s a lot of atmosphere and building on this record. ‘Come Alive’ is probably the biggest sounding song on the album, being to most true-to-rock song on it. It’s a bit disjointed with its layers of guitar and synths, the synths being very dark and brooding, almost industrial. ‘Pleasure Drive’ is another industrial-ish track, sounding like something that Trent Reznor would conjure up. The closure track ‘Stamina’ is a long build up full of huge percussion and distorted guitars. It builds up with vocalist Hayley Mary’s cries getting more and more passionate as the instrumental widens behind her. The intro track builds up a bit more quickly than the rest of the album does, ‘Stand and Deliver’ opening with a dinky synth and percussion line that becomes a driven indie jam. The album may be more electronic indie than indie rock, but there are still the bangers in the mix. ‘Come Alive’, and ‘If Ya Want Me’ are big rock tracks that would get crowds headbanging and jumping.

The lyrics on the album are hit-or-miss. There are some beautiful written pieces like ‘If Ya Want Me’ and ‘A Message From My Mothers Passed’, the latter of which has a very ethereal meaning. ‘Unnatural’ makes a powerful statement with its lyrics, as well as having a pretty interesting synth line throughout. There are some very sensually written songs too, like ‘Smile’, which is all about the intimacy of love. Other tracks, however, feel like an afterthought. ‘Stand and Deliver’ uses modern lingo that feels a bit too much for it, especially since the whole “daddy” thing doesn’t play itself well into the rest of the album. ‘My Love Is My Disease’ is an okay track, a bit too blunt, though; as is ‘Pleasure Drive’. ‘Flowers In The Attic’ is best left unspoken of.

The Jezabels brought a good album to the table this year with Synthia. It blends rock and electronic well with a modern pop sound blended into it. Lyrically, it’s not a masterpiece and it could use a little more variety. Not a bad album, but no masterpiece all the same.

Favorite Tracks: Come Alive, If Ya Want Me

Least Favorite Tracks: Flowers In The Attic, Pleasure Drive, A Message From My Mothers Passed

Rating: 7/10