The comma (and bracket) filled thoughts of Sam Coleman.

Live Review – The Wonder Years (8/5/14) – Scala

The Wonder Years

Credit – Meghin Moore

There’s a fascinating variety to a pop-punk show’s crowd; there’s easily as many Daniel Bryan shirts on display tonight as there are band tees. The grand setting of London’s Scala makes this gathering all the more bizarre but with over a thousand diehards rammed in, The Wonder Years are unlikely to care about their immediate surroundings. This is a band that’s been on the up for sometime and with ‘The Greatest Generation’, they’ve added another brilliant record to an already sterling back catalogue. Clearly they’re going to be selling out venues much bigger than this in years to come but is the hype justified?

First though, State Champs arrive for their first gig in London, though you wouldn’t know it from the massive welcome they receive. They bound onto the stage like homecoming heroes before ripping into opener ‘Nothing’s Wrong’; vocalist Derek Discanio’s energy immediately getting the front rows involved. Their debut album ‘The Finer Things’ was easily one of the best releases of last year and it’s great to see it transition so well into a live setting; it helps that the band don’t put a foot wrong throughout their half hour set. Set closer ‘Elevated’ incites the biggest singalong with the incredibly apt line: “This is where you need to be”; don’t miss these at Slam Dunk.

After nearly a decade of activity, A Loss For Words are elder statesmen of the pop-punk world nowadays, but their arrival on the Scala stage is noticeably muted compared to their younger counterparts. Still, that’s not going to put off a frontman like Matty Arsenault. In his own words, he’s “not afraid to get rowdy” and he moves around the stage like a man possessed, trying to rinse every ounce of energy from the front rows. He even climbs in the pit to kickstart some movement for ‘Stamp Of Approval’ and their Jackson 5 cover, ‘I Want You Back’, gets the sort of reaction you’d expect. ‘Conquest Of Mistakes’ from their newest album sees The Wonder Years’ Soupy get involved too but there’s no doubt that for whatever reason, A Loss For Words simply missed the mark with tonight’s crowd.

Perhaps the fault instead lies with the band at the top of the bill. The Wonder Years have quickly become the kings of the pop-punk genre with latest album ‘The Greatest Generation’ and as a result, Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell has become one of rock’s most unlikely heroes. To put it bluntly, the dude can write and while ‘The Greatest Generation’ is loaded with self-examination and criticism, it’s also dripping in melody and hooks. Played live, these tracks sound huge and it helps when they’re played to a crowd as vocal as this. ‘The Devil In My Bloodstream’ unites the whole room in song while one fan takes ‘Came Out Swinging’ incredibly literally, seeing it as the opportune moment to scramble across the venue to climb onto the stage. Security aren’t impressed but Soupy’s wry smile paints a thousand words.

The band close with the awesome ‘I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral’; just like on record, it’s a beautiful closer which draws lines and inspirations from across ‘The Greatest Generation’, almost like taking a greatest hits package and rolling it into one song. It might also be a statement of intent; this show could be the final London date for a while due to the band presumably moving onto writing new material. If so, this is one hell of a send off for one of the greatest records in modern pop-punk.

Review – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

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Hopefully at some point in his fictional life, Peter Parker will actually catch a break. An orphan whose foster father/uncle is also killed through his own error; calling Peter a tragic hero is an understatement. Even having amazing (pun intended) spider powers fails to improve his life dramatically; after all, with great power comes great responsibility.

It’s fair to say that with Tobey Maguire’s portrayal of the webbed wonder, we found amusement in his constant failings. With Andrew Garfield’s younger turn as Parker, the whole thing is slightly more emotionally draining. In this sequel to 2012’s reboot, his relationship with Gwen Stacy is put through the ringer by visions of her recently deceased father, serving as a constant reminder of Peter’s promise to stay away from her; Sam Raimi’s film trilogy never dealt with the psychological effects of playing the hero like this.

This sort of exploration is exactly why Mark Webb’s Amazing reboot has been so thoroughly enjoyable. The focus on the man behind the Spider mask results in less action scenes than any other superhero focused film but it also leads to a stronger set of characters who we actually want to see succeed. That sort of emotional attachment works wonders on a character like Peter Parker and Amazing Spider-Man 2 succeeds simply by continuing down that path. It’s especially good to see that whenever Spider-Man goes toe-to-toe with his super-powered foes, the civilians of New York City still come first in his mind as he zips, swings and flips to keep them safe at all costs. It’s a lesson that a lot of other superheroes could learn from (I’m looking at you Superman and your building destroying ways).

The biggest success story of this reboot though is Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. Equal parts brain and beauty, she’s never content to sit idly by and let Peter take all the heroic plaudits. In doing so, she’s arguably one of the best superhero sidekicks around; she certainly carries a lot more interest than your typical damsel in distress. Her relationship with Peter is so important to this franchise that it dominates the early scenes of the film though it never borders on tedious; their lovey-dovey banter may be a bit cringe worthy from the outside looking in but isn’t that the case with most relationships?

Even the main villain gets enough care and attention to create an entertaining story, to begin with anyway. Jamie Foxx was always a bizarre casting as Electro but Mark Webb seems to have embraced that by handing him the most bizarre supervillain origin you’re likely to ever see. Amazing Spider-Man 2’s main villainous star begins life as Max Dillon, a nerdy but quiet Ozcorp worker who one day avoids death by car thanks to Spider-Man’s timely interference. Dillon soon turns Spider-crazy, turning his apartment into a shrine for New York’s finest and every scene featuring him is laugh out loud entertaining.

Even his inevitable demise and literal fall comes as a result of his own goofiness but it’s after this transformation that the character suddenly falls flat. Turned into a walking insectocutor, Dillon suddenly finds all eyes on him for the first time and he loves it… Until Spider-Man shows up and the attention returns to him. It’s plausible but the switch from adoration to hatred is too sudden and it honestly feels overly dramatic. Then again, Electro really isn’t given enough time to develop his villainous side properly as the pre-release worries start to rear their ugly head.

If you know anything about Spider-Man’s comic book adventures, you’ll see the ending coming a mile off but impressively, it still manages to shock. It’s the film’s greatest achievement; the emotionally charged finale only comes courtesy of all that came before it and it pays off dramatically well.

Unfortunately though, Amazing Spider-Man 2 simply introduces too many new character and story arcs to be contained in one film. Many are left unfinished (the introduction of several future villains, like B.J Novak as Alistair Smythe, will pass most people by) and those that receive some sort of closure never really satisfy. Harry Osborn’s descent into madness is rushed and as a result, Green Goblin receives minimal screen time (although he’s the most impactful villain on the film in that short timeframe) and Paul Giamatti’s Rhino, who was featured heavily on pre-release materials, plays a cameo role. Worst of all, it pushes several of the series’ major characters to one side; Aunt May has little impact on the story, despite some entertaining scenes, and Uncle Ben is barely mentioned.

One long lingering story arc is brought to the fore-front in this sequel too with Mary and Richard Parker’s final moments shown in the opening scene. Again though, despite spending more time with these two characters, we’re almost none the wiser on who they were actually running from, leaving little doubt that their story will again be shifted over to the third film. It might seem an odd complaint to criticise a film for extending its story lines but forcing so many together in such a short space of time (the film clocks in over two hours but thankfully doesn’t ever drag) means we end up hopping from story to story for a bit. The movie even ends in the middle of a fight scene, a decision that might seem anti-climactic to some.

Ultimately, the movie spends too long building up to future instalments; the newly announced Sinister Six movie especially. As a stand-alone movie, there’s plenty to enjoy in Amazing Spider-Man 2; there’s just enough action to satisfy your average cinema goer and there’s still a great sense of humour running throughout. The bigger problems arise when you look to the future and see that Columbia Pictures have already announced a further four films for the series; it would be such a shame to see the quality of the films compromised by a desire to cash in.

Long story short…

Amazing Spider-Man 2 continues where the first film left off and betters the previous trilogy again with interesting characters and a real sense of what makes Spider-Man so Amazing in the first place. Too much time is spent building up the Sinister Six spin-off but it never fully detracts from the thrilling yet emotional experience.

Review – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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There’s a delicious irony in seeing Captain America triumph over adversity to become a big screen superstar; after all, nobody overcomes the odds better than Steve Rodgers. Often derided as the most uninteresting hero in Marvel’s stellar roster, Captain America: The First Avenger went someway to establishing Steve as a bona fide action superstar; can follow-up The Winter Soldier propel the character even further?

In a word, yes. Pretty much from the get go, The Winter Soldier throws Cap into a morally ambiguous world where his 1940’s views are unwelcome. Following the attack on New York, Shield has collectively decided to create a pre-emptive attack on those who would do the Earth harm, creating three helicarriers which can pinpoint targets and eliminate them before they’ve even lifted a finger against the world. “I thought the punishment came after the crime” remarks Cap, placing himself as the firm moral compass for the film. Immediately, The Winter Soldier deals in real-life issues such as national security, making its mark as a political critique to begin with.

Juxtaposed to that is Steve Rodgers himself, still not completely over his seventy year spell in the ice. He still bleeds red, white and blue but he finds himself at odds with his new world – he’s great at cleaning up the various messes that Shield gets itself into but he’s struggling to find a reason to do so; “this isn’t what I signed up for” is a line that no doubt rings true with many people. It’s this sort of character depth that makes Steve Rodgers a far more engaging character; Tony Stark may have the ego and Thor the hair but neither are as human as Captain America.

Still, one brooding Captain probably wouldn’t provide enough entertainment for a two hour long blockbuster, so it’s lucky he has a great supporting cast to back him up. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow finally gets the screen time necessary to become a proper character and she’s the main source of wit and humour within the film; constantly ribbing Steve for his old-fashioned ways while trying to set him up with the various women of the Shield office. The romantic elements of this new relationship seem a little forced though and it will be interesting to see how it carries over (or if it even will) into the other Marvel films.

Nick Fury gets more of a grab at the limelight too, throwing up some intriguing questions about his personal past and his future in the Cinematic Universe. Fury’s investigation into a datastick filled with Shield information launches a plot which deals with deception and corruption within Shield itself, revealing that even Fury himself can miss what’s right in front of his one good eye. The titular Winter Soldier is added to the mix at this point, providing a shadowy adversary for Cap to hurl his shield at. Cap’s various fights with the Winter Soldier actually turn out to be quite refreshing, mainly keeping to personal hand-to-hand combat scenes; Marvel films have a slight tendency to turn into massively scaled battles where lazers and rockets decimate everything in sight. Keeping it grounded actually benefits the skillset of Captain America and the film feels all the better for it.

There are still plenty of over-the-top moments though, thanks mainly to the introduction of Sam Wilson aka the Falcon. His mechanical wings allow him to soar and swoop to dodge anti-air turrets during the finale, providing The Winter Soldier with the blockbuster moments to fill trailers with. There’s also a ridiculously silly scene where Cap destroys a Shield chopper with only his shield and his agility; it honestly feels unnecessary when compared to the rest of the film, especially the tense final brawl with the Winter Soldier.

Happily though, Captain America: The Winter Soldier doesn’t disappoint; the film’s greatest achievement is feeling short at 136 minutes long. It successfully establishes Cap as the moral hero of the Marvel Universe and shows that you don’t need excessive CGI to make an exhilarating film. Excitingly, it does all this while offering some interesting looks at the future of the Marvel Universe, introducing two well-known characters in a mid-credit scene and setting our heroes on differing paths and stories that we’re desperate to see explored. If you aren’t on board with Captain America yet, this film will set you straight.

Review – All Time Low – Don’t Panic

All Time Low have a lot of people to convince. Named after a New Found Glory song and with a sound very reminiscent of Blink-182 and Green Day; many write them off as a copycat act. Last year’s Dirty Work was an attempt by ATL to break out of this norm but received little success. A return to Hopeless Records for their 5th album has sparked a revival of their old sound but is it going to change those that aren’t already devoted?

In a word: no. That’s not to say that this is a bad album. In fact, it has several stand out tracks. ‘For Baltimore’ starts off with Alex Gaskarth’s best Billie Joe Armstrong impression but breaks out into a huge and catchy chorus. ‘Backseat Serenade’ is destined to be their next big single and ‘So Long, Soldier’ is the heaviest song written by the band (not that that’s saying much mind) with a riff to bang your head to. The same criticisms are still present though. ‘Outlines’ was written with Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump which is probably why it sounds so much like Folie à Deux era FOB. The various comparions between artists aren’t enough to ruin the album but they do distract slightly.

By far the stand out track is ‘Somewhere in Neverland’ which is proof that All Time Low do have their own sound. Quick fire drums lead into the album’s biggest chorus which showcases that when ATL get it right, they can be amongst the best in the current pop-punk scene. One thing that All Time Low don’t seem to get enough credit for is their ability to write songs for the live show; ‘Somewhere in Neverland’ is certain to become a part of their set for years to come.

Overall, this is a good album but it’s largely what you would expect from an All Time Low release. Some great songs and some okay songs that aren’t going to set the world alight. Don’t listen too much to the copycat criticism – this is still an enjoyable record and easily eclipses Dirty Work. If you’re not convinced by now, you probably never will be; but for everyone else, this is going to be filling your ears for months to come.

Review – The Dark Knight Rises

(Note: I would suggest seeing the Dark Knight Rises for yourself first before reading this; as I would any other film. I would hate for anybody to accuse me of spoiling the film for them, so take this as a disclaimer.)

This is it people. This is the one we’ve all been waiting to see. Honestly, can you name a film as anticipated as this? Christopher Nolan has turned Batman from a camp 70s icon into the biggest fictional bad-ass on the planet. Dark Knight Rises brings the trilogy to an end before Nolan goes to help Zack Snyder reboot Superman… But does it leave you wanting more or much, much more?

+ Positives

+ Selina Kyle

The Bat family is arguably as important to Batman stories as Batman himself. Robin is as much of an icon as Batman is and characters like Nightwing and Batgirl in recent times have become just as important. It’s odd then that Nolan hasn’t used any of Bats’ supporting cast until the casting of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman/Selina Kyle. Now you see that ‘saving the best for last’ isn’t just an expression. She steals pretty much any scene that she’s in. A lot has been made of how women are portrayed in films and games recently;  nobody can accuse Nolan of misogyny. There was some outcry about Hathaway’s casting as such a vital character but all of it was misplaced. She’s witty, sexy, determined, scheming and a whole number of other adjectives every time she appears. Borrowing character elements from Frank Miller’s Year One has brought Catwoman to life, making her appearance one of the high points.

+ Joseph Gordon-Levitt

As Officer Blake, Gordon-Levitt would probably have stolen the show if not for Catwoman. His character’s destiny is obvious from the moment he steps onto the screen but he adds the humanity that Bruce Wayne often lacks. Having been an orphan in Gotham, he is the hothead that drives the middle section of the movie, giving us a ground-eye view of the city. It’s kind of a shame that the character wasn’t introduced earlier – he really could have become as important to the trilogy as Batman. They really should have just named the character Dick Grayson or Tim Drake though.

+ It’s Batman.

There are just things that make a Batman film better than any other film. Beating ten guys in hand to hand combat simultaneously. Driving really fast in a Lamborghini. Using a range of gadgets that you can’t even begin to imagine in reality. Heath Ledger has rightfully taken much of the praise for the success of The Dark Knight, but the style of Nolan’s films are evident in all three. You kinda hate Bruce Wayne but you really, really like him. Jim Gordon would have retired years ago if he existed but his perseverance lets him roll back the years. You pay your ticket price to see Batman get overwhelmed but inevitably rise (see what I did there?) from the ashes: this is why Christopher Nolan is so celebrated for this trilogy. Batman used to wear spandex and have a stupid theme song –  Nolan has made him into everybody’s favourite hero. When Batman is riding around on his motorbike shooting rockets and evading the police, it’s hard for anybody not to be enjoying it.

– Mixed

– Bane

Overall, Bane’s a threatening villain. He differs hugely from the venom riddled monster from the comics but it suits the overall tone of the movie. However, it sacrifices so much of what makes the character unique. You could replace Bane with any typical thug and little would change. Large portions of his character are stripped away by the plot twist near the end and he pretty much becomes a sideshow. For a trilogy that’s put so much emphasis on building its central villains (Ra’s Al Ghul, The Joker, Two Face), it’s almost remarkable how bland Bane is.  Good in places, but expect no Best Supporting Actor awards for Tom Hardy I’m afraid.

– Plot

I read a comment just after watching the film and it basically summed up the direction for me perfectly. It said that the Dark Knight Rises should have been named Gotham City (although I would say Gotham City Rises would be much better overall). Obviously the film would never have been called GC, but the point remains: this isn’t a film about Batman. Of course, without Batman there is no film but in no way is he the only focus of this movie. Commissioner Gordon has been a vital character throughout the trilogy, but new characters Miranda Tate and Officer Blake also take pivotal roles within the story. It’s not a bad thing; it just leads to a lot of jumping around, particularly in the latter stages of the film where the film darts around to wrap everything up.  Apart from this the plot is pretty good, with classic stories Year One and Knightfall clear influences, particularly with Catwoman and Bane. It’s just a shame that a 2 and a half  hour film can feel rushed.

– Negative

The Ending

I’m going to attempt to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. The cynic in me always struggles to feel completely satisfied at the end of a movie but I felt flat-out letdown by the Dark Knight Rises’ final ten or so minutes. The plot twist arrives from seemingly nowhere to introduce a classic Batman character. Bane is built as the masterful villain until the new character arrives to unceremoniously push him aside. There’s no real feeling of a Batman triumph and it kills any sort of momentum towards the finale. The ending scenes were so predictable (in particular, one involving Alfred’s holiday) that it was hard to feel shocked or surprised. As a cliffhanger for a sequel, it would suffice. As the end to a trilogy, its barely satisfactory. A certain character’s discovery at the end makes it evident that this world will be revisited – so it’s hardly a goodbye at all. Perhaps it will all lead to a Dark Knight Returns-esque storyline, but for now, I feel a little disappointed.

There’s little doubt in my mind that this is the worst film in the trilogy, although not by much. Of course, it is still a damn good movie. It just couldn’t live up to the expectations put upon it. My problems with Bane may not ruin the movie, but a stronger villain would have been a benefit to the film. Largely it’s the final act that annoys me so much about the Dark Knight Rises. Admittedly, I’m a cynic that has perhaps read too many comics, but I just find it hard to believe that the predictable conclusion was deemed the best one. A great movie then; it just could have been so much more.

(Edit – Jonathan Crane makes an awesome cameo in this movie and it is by far my favourite part.)

Agree? Disagree? Tweet me – @colemansa.

Review – The Amazing Spider-Man

Having entered July, we are now right in the heart of summer blockbuster season. This year, the highlights include two of the biggest superhero franchises going head to head: Spider-Man and Batman. While we must wait another two weeks (not that I’m counting down) for The Dark Knight Rises, reboot The Amazing Spider-Man hit cinemas this Tuesday. Here are my mostly spoiler-free thoughts on the film (read ahead at your own risk!)

Positives

+ Cast

Largely, the cast in the film is pretty good. Andrew Garfield looks and acts more like Spider-Man/Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire with near constant wise-cracking, erasing all fears that his age (28) would make him useless at portraying a teenager. Emma Stone is an engaging love interest as Gwen Stacy, but it’s the roles of Martin Sheen and Sally Field that are a highlight. Sheen as Uncle Ben makes the most of his character’s short time, bringing the philosophy the character is renowned for but adding an extra steel in his lecturing of Peter. At first, I couldn’t shake the connection between Sally Field and Mrs. Gump, but in the second half, despite a lack of screen time, she fits a classic role well. Rhys Ifans as Doctor Connors does fairly well, though a large number of his character’s plot points are left under-developed for the inevitable sequel.

+ Plot

The plot to the film was well done, despite the obvious problems with rebooting a franchise (see the negatives). Doctor Connors made for a compelling villain, borrowing a lot from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for good use. It leaves a lot of the plot open for a sequel but satisfies you with what it concludes here. Fan pleasing details such as Spider-Man’s web shooters link back to the comics far better than Raimi’s films. Richard Parker (Peter’s deceased father) is often an underused character in Spider-Man stories but here he plays a large part, although much of it is yet to be revealed. Some may argue there’s too much Peter Parker and not enough Spider-Man, but for an origin story, it’s a pretty good balance.

+ No Osborn

Norman Osborn (or the Green Goblin) is used in nearly every Spider-Man origin story I’ve ever seen, due to his role as Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis. Thankfully, to prevent re-releasing Sam Raimi’s 2002 movie, Norman Osborn is left out of the film for The Lizard to take the central villain role. Osborn still presides over a lot of the film’s plot but all from an off-camera position. There’s no doubt he will be showing up in a future sequel due to his position in the plot, but for now, the film feels like a proper reboot without his appearance.

+ Easy on the eyes

Visually, the film is very impressive – any trailer or screen capture of Spider-Man flying over NYC will prove that. There are a couple of sequences where the camera takes Spider-Man’s view point, which capture the visuals of the city best, although the change in perspective can be off-putting at first. A scene where Peter handstands on top of a building to check his balance had my fear of heights racing – that’s when you know a film’s visuals are working for it.

Mixed

– Action

In places, the action scenes were really well done. The scene on the subway with Peter taking out five or six guys without even realising was really good. However, in some places I was reminded of Transformers’ awfully confusing action scenes. Spider-Man moves at such a quick pace that sometimes you can hardly keep up with him. In general as well, the film is less about action and more about Peter’s romance with Gwen. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just odd for a Spider-Man film to not have an action sequence that steals the show (think the scene with Spider-Man stopping the train in Spider-Man 2).

Negatives

– What’s old is new again

The main problem with this movie is the amount of retreading it does, with scenes almost directly taken from Raimi’s Spider-Man. Of course, the Spider-Man origin story is fairly set in stone and a little repetition is guaranteed, but perhaps the first movie’s plot is still fresh in my mind. In particular, the fifteen or so minutes before Uncle Ben’s inevitable death gave me massive déjà vu despite the differences in location and scenario.

– 3D?

I’m not the biggest fan of 3D anyway, but Amazing Spider-Man uses almost no 3D. In fact, the only scene I can remember actually using 3D properly is the final shot. Sure, you can argue that the 3D improves the visuals overall, but with a lack of depth of vision or memorable 3D shots, it’s just an easy cash-in really.

– A whole load of questions, few answers

Peter’s relationship with his father (or lack thereof) is explored in this film, although it is largely stunted by the other stories running through the film. In particular, Doctor Connors association with Richard Parker and his implied involvement in his death is mentioned but unexplored. A mid-credits scene reminds you of this, but opens even more questions up. Obviously it is intended to interest in the sequel but for now, it leaves too much unexplained.

In many ways, The Amazing Spider-Man feels like it’s a challenge to DC Comics’ upcoming release. It raises the bar for Spider-Man films in general and repairs a lot of the damage done by Spider-Man 3. It will be interesting to see how the series proceeds from here, particularly with a scene during the credits raising even more questions. Overall, the film is a blast and reminds me a lot of how Christopher Nolan’s slow start with Batman Begins. I look forward to Spider-Man’s Dark Knight equivalent.

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below or tweet me – @colemansa.

Review – Make Do And Mend – Everything You Ever Loved

Chances are, you’ve probably never heard of Make Do And Mend. Hell, I hadn’t until I saw them supporting Set Your Goals back in May. I’m now kicking myself for not getting into this band sooner.

Their first album, End Measured Mile, fused melody and aggression to make a unique sound, with James Caroll’s throaty vocals being a highlight. Everything You Ever Loved follows suit with ‘Blur’ grabbing your attention immediately following a subdued opener. Musically, it’s polished but intense. The solo near the climax of the song comes straight from the Jimmy Eat World book of hooks. It’s an opener designed to please fans. ‘Disassembled’ continues with some fantastic guitar riffs during the chorus – it’s a song that seems to have been written to please fans during their main stage sets at Warped Tour in the US. ‘Count’ is a moody self-examination of Caroll with an almost furious chorus. ‘St. Anne’ is almost ballad-like in its approach, allowing Caroll’s vocals to take the limelight again. ‘Stay In The Sun’ is dipped in pop elements, particularly on the fantastically catchy chorus.

‘Royal’ is a return to MDAM’s heavier moments and would sound perfectly at home on ‘End Measured Mile’. On here, it’s a mid-album highlight. ‘Drown In It’ is a return to the slower melodies with atmospheric strings, before lead single ‘Lucky’ flies at you as the best song on the album with a ridiculously catchy riff to open with. ‘Hide Away’ follows with a slow burn before ANOTHER huge chorus. While other bands fail to keep their quality over the entirety of an 11-track album, Make Do And Mend have no such problem. ‘Storrow’ is a song your head will love bouncing too and album closer ‘Desert Lily’ is filled with aching and a wonderful melody to end the album on a high note.

This is a more melodic Make Do And Mend but it’s also a better Make Do And Mend. The sheer power behind this album, despite a lack of screamed vocals and heavy riffing, is remarkable. A punk band with the ability to write such fantastic softer moments makes MDAM one of the most unique bands around right now. From front to back, Everything You Ever Loved is a constantly changing, exciting listen and should be considered as one of the best albums of this year. It’s time to be introduced to your new favourite band.

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below or tweet me – @colemansa.