Checking out what feels like the my first listen of an AFI album in over fifteen years, it seems this Warped Tour caterpillar has come out of the cocoon a full on goth death’s head moth with layers of lush 80s pop to boot. Finally completing the inevitable metamorphosis they began at the turn of this century.
AFI always seem to have a bit of a mixed legacy, somewhat down to their Hardcore roots and their association with Dexter Holland’s Nitro label. The band has come a long way since then and doesn’t get the credit which is due to them a lot of the time. The group has a strong stakehold in the dark 80s revival of the early noughties, making waves long before Emo raised it’s fringed head. Perhaps a classic problem for this bands place in the world: Too young and fresh for the original Misfits fiends and too much like the old guard for the younger Emotionally Melodic Hardcore ones.
Album number 11 kicks off with Banshees tinged number ‘twisted tongues’ with everything from the urgent drum beats to the stirring guitar lines, setting up the listener for this tour de force of goth emblazoned post punk. If there were any trepidation in the groups genuineness, track two completely kicks the doors down. Sounding like a forgotten relic from the Modern English back catalogue coupled with the irresistible singalong vocal delivery of frontman Davey Havok.

The band manages to dip it’s toe into more mainstream waters whilst maintaining their integrity, particularly with some cleaner production and electronic beats. Imagine the Killers during their more respectable runs had a creative epiphany when listening to a shit load of Bauhaus.
The main takeaway from this record is that the band has clearly shown growth without losing identity. The album is accessible without compromise and the band has shown different angles of their sound without falling into pitfalls or being pigeonholed. The strength of songs such as ‘no eyes’ and ‘looking tragic’, the brooding of tracks ‘back from the flesh’ and ‘tied to a tree’ show the potential to reach a whole new audience who may have put AFI in a box a long time ago without considering the groups ability to adapt within their skill set.
I for one have been pleasantly surprised by Bodies and cannot wait to coerce my friends into rolling the dice on this not so hidden gem. Give it a listen and surprise yourself. You’ve got nothing to lose.
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Author: Dan Kasm

Another new album from Pup and another new album that’s a must-have. Canadian punks Pup have been causing a stir for the best part of a decade now and this is album number three.  Not too shabby on the recording front to be fair.

A wall of pop-sensible punk rock with lyrics out of the teenage bedroom scrapbook raging against growing up its the modern progression of kids who grew up listening to Green Day and Weezer.  The songs have an edge of the underground but I don’t know how long they’ll be able to hang out with the cool kids in the underbelly of entertainment because this is going to push these cats overground (I’m confident of that). I haven’t got a clue what they’re going to shout and scream about then. Whatever it might be I’m sure it’ll sound great as this does.


The title track is an excellent warmer upper with a smattering of angst profanities about not fitting in and being bored and a tad pissed off. It’s catchy and pissed off all at the same time – you get some lush gang vocals on ‘Free At Last’ and the chance to thrash around a bit as the song soars towards its abrupt ending.  ‘See You At Your Funeral’ sounds like its Weezer meets My Chemical Romance and downs a vat of beer at the frat house then fucks off to act the nuisance and I like that – a lot.

‘Scorpion Hill’ begins with some piano and guitar all melancholy and a cotton picking cats choir before the inevitable take off. for a five minute song, you sort of knew it was coming but when it arrives it’s decent and that’s all you can ask for as it meanders its corse to the end. Are you real or Fake’ is the question they ask on ‘Bloody Mary, Kate And Ashley’ a real high point of the record with great vocals from all the gang as the noise builds. ‘Sibling Rivalry’ is a wall of noise on the intro but you’re almost lulled into a false sense of security as we reach the chorus and again you can’t help but move to the rhythm.

‘Full Blown Meltdown’ is just that, They knock out a perfectly acceptable slice of raging punk rock with everything turned up to 11 and sounding like a Bronx song (but they’re not Bronx I know but this is in that universe and that’s always a cool place to be).  With only a couple of tracks left I felt the record flew by only noticing where I was because I had to flip the record over which is a compliment that this almost forty-minute album has flown by. Ending the record with ‘City’ their most diverse song to date with its melancholy first half then a feedback-laden middle while the bass turns up the noise before everything distorts and kicks the jams right out and fucking with the sound engineers headphones the band sign off in style and I can declare that indeed ‘Morbid Stuff’ is a roaring success make the most of this band because before long there will be an avalanche of fans demanding their attention and on the strength of this new record it will be thoroughly deserved.

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Author: Dom Daley

Dom Daley.

I love the Living End or at least I used to love the Living End Now I like them a lot but wish they’d regain the early highs.  Listen Chris Chaney is one awesome guitarist and the band are always excellent live, the last time I caught them was supporting Green Day and these cats stole the show that day hitting hit after hit out of the park with so much energy it was a joy to see.  Prior to that the Living End did a warm-up show in my town many moons ago and it was a small club that was barely half full and that night they were incredible but, and it’s a big but.  The last couple of studio albums were missing that bit of magic that spark That killer song you know the couple of classic Living End tunes that littered earlier recordings so forgive me for entering ‘Wunderbar’ with more than a hint of trepidation.

as I dropped the needle and listened to the first play a little like the scream painting by Edvard  Munch but hey ‘Don’t Lose It’ sees my hands drop and that fear ebb away as this is more like it.  The Living End have a fire in their bellies again and a great opening tune that sounds pretty bloody decent goes a long way to help that.

So with a great heartening opener under their belt ‘Not Like The Other Boys’ is a little more laid back and commercial but it’s still better than anything on the last album or two easily.  By the time we reach the rapid pounder of ‘Death Of The American Dream’ the Living End I know and love are in the house and the salamander stick slap in the breakdown is excellent as are the lyrics. Superb.

Like a magpie, the band pick pieces from here and there and throw them in the pot that gives them their identity and when ‘Death Of The American Dream’ fades through the final lament I’m really enjoying this record.  Wherever their mojo was it’s back and I can easily grow to like their more commercial edge like ‘Drop The Needle’ when its bookended with such quality.

Damn ‘Proton Pill’ is a blast and the band goes for it maybe I’ve been unfair on the band and I should revisit the last two albums but not until I’ve given ‘Wunderbar’ a lot more love. ‘Amsterdam’ might seem a strange song to pick for the second single from the album seeing as there aren’t any bass or drums on the song but a fantastic melancholic ode a fine city it is.

To be honest with you I’ve really enjoyed ‘Wunderbar’ and if you have ever been a fan then check it out Sure it might not be the best record they’ve ever made but it is definitely a return to form and a band that has a fire and passion in their heart and from top to bottom this is a rock n roll solid album and I’d give it both thumbs up no question.

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