Mallory Knox-Wired Album Review

From hard-hitting rock instrumentals to soft rock ones, and everything in between, Wired has it all. This is the newest record from English rock-alternative band, Mallory Knox and was released on March 10. Although they have tracks with hard rock elements and sound very raw in that sense, this album contains a variety of tracks not limited to that style. They have their core rock foundation, but the diverse use of their instrumentals makes the songs sound more diverse.

“Giving It Up,” “Better Off Without You,” “Lucky Me,” and “Saviour” are all songs that are hard hitting with raw guitars and drums that overpower the vocals in a way that works for the style.

“Giving It Up” begins the album with hard rock instrumentals and vocals to match. Already, lead vocalist, Mikey Chapman, demonstrates his talent. He shows that has no trouble hitting the high notes that he does in the chorus of this track. This is high-energy that gives the album an energetic and exciting start-similarly to the other hard rock tracks that are scattered at various points of the record.

The part of the album that leans more towards the side of softer rock includes tracks like “For You,” “Midnight,” and “Come Back Around.”

“For You” and “Midnight” have a similar groovy-like feel because of the way the guitars sound in these songs, especially. Both are still upbeat but have softer instrumentals to show off the vocals even more. The dual vocals between Chapman and back up vocalist, James Gillet are shown off in “Midnight” because of the way they blend with each other. “Midnight” even has some dreamy elements within the instrumentals which adds to the story being told and matches the title.

Some other stand out tracks that make this record what it is are “Falling In Love,” “Come Back Around” and “Mother.” “Falling In Love” sounds as if it will be the slow song on the record; once the second chorus hits, it’s back to an upbeat rock and roll track with powerful drums, guitars and angry vocals to match. It ends just as slow as it begins, which is a little twist to make it stand out even more.

“Come Back Around” is the song where Gillet’s back-up vocals shine the most. Chapman starts off the lyrics and Gillet finishes them, instead of repeating the lyrics, which occurs often with back-up vocalists. This is a simple change that goes a long way for the listener.

“Mother” sounds similar to other songs on this album, however; there is one part in the pre-chorus that is so different from all the other parts of the song and even the album. When Gillet sings, “Chin up kid, you’re counting down the minutes,” it gives such a pop punk vibe that is something not heard on this record. It’s yet another simple element that is so enjoyable to listen to and catch different styles in these songs. Since this is the closing track, there is a feeling of ending within to get across that it’s the final track.

Mallory Knox have created a diverse rock record and one that stands out among other releases. It’s full of different songs and styles, even if they are only in small parts of the songs. It’s almost like a reward for the listener to catch something as minute as it, but makes their listening experience so much more enjoyable.

Rating: 8/10

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Ed Sheeran-Divide Album Review

The long-awaited Ed Sheeran record has finally been released on March 3 and his third record follows the same mathematical titles as his previous two: Plus and Multiply. This time, it’s Divide and the album has a variety of tracks from his usual heartbreak tunes and those about love. He adds fun, upbeat songs that sound like the same Ed with a new flair listeners haven’t heard on his previous works. The majority of these tracks use personal experiences, which is a popular tactic for Sheeran, and it still works just as well as it had in the past.

What makes this album so unique is the use of different cultural sounding songs; he takes inspiration from countries like Spain, Ireland, and Ghana. These add a whole new feel and takes Sheeran’s talent to the next level.

Divide opens up with the track, “Eraser” which starts with his spoken word tactic that makes an appearance on his previous albums along with his favorite instrument of choice, his acoustic guitar. This record already begins with a personal experience about Sheeran’s career. “Age twelve telling me I’ve gotta chase those dreams/Now I’m playing for the people, dad, and they know me/With my small beaten guitar…” These lyrics demonstrate this perfectly and he even mentions his guitar, which he never fails to produce a song without.

“Castle On The Hill” is the second track and one of the singles released when this record was announced. It doesn’t have a stereotypical Sheeran feel to it, but that makes it even more unique. It’s a tribute to his childhood, teenage years, and close friends who he grew up with. He starts the story at age six, to 15 and finally 19. He describes what that time period was like for him and his friends. Even though they all went separate ways he will never forget the times they shared and how they shaped who he is now. “And I’m on my way/I still remember these old country lanes/When we did not know the answers.”

“Perfect” and “How Would You Feel” are both love songs that sound as if they could be about the same girl. In “Perfect,” the instrumentals are dialed down to put an emphasis on the vocals. This is a different approach because in this song his vocals are strong, not soft like his other love songs. “How Would You Feel” is clearly about personal experiences as well because of the imagery he uses. He takes simple moments they’ve shared and turns them into a beautiful love story.

The tracks switch gears to heartbreak with “Happier” and “New Man.” “Happier” is about how this girl is happier with her new relationship and how Sheeran was happier with her. “New Man” is the opposite instrumentally, it’s upbeat and describes with the imagery and detail that Sheeran excels in the new man his ex is with.

There are four tracks that take a cultural influence to them, which diversifies this album even more. “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan” have Irish influences, “Bibia Be Ye Ye:” Ghana influences, and “Barcelona:” Spanish ones.

In “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan,” Sheeran shows off his upbeat side with of course the appearance of his famous acoustic guitar. “Galway Girl” doesn’t have too much of a personal feel to it, especially when compared to “Nancy Mulligan.” Since the latter is a story about his grandparents falling in love as told from the point of view of his grandfather. This style proves to be an effective tactic, since he even uses it on another track: “Supermarket Flowers.”

“Barcelona” is the Spanish style track that demonstrates Sheeran even can sing in Spanish. “Mamacita, rica, si tú, te adoro señorita.” Something as simple as this, combined with the instrumentals gives an authentic feel that the listener is in Spain.

Listening to this record from front to back is the most effective way to listening to it, because of the story Sheeran tells with each song. The songs fit together and create a well-written narrative, which is what to be expected by Sheeran’s songwriting skills. Divide is a must listen.

Rating: 9/10