Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Music Review: Kate Miller-Heidke - Nightfall

Following up from her hugely successful album Curiouser, Kate Miller-Heidke has released Nightflight. Her most personal album yet, filled with haunting harmonies, luscious musical hooks and enrapturing melodies.

Miller-Heidke has often been known for catchy and quirky tunes that are a little off beat but always with a powerful message. This remains unchanged yet the songs feel different and more personal with the overall album feeling a lot darker than anything we have heard from her before.

Kicking off the album is Ride This Feeling. The tune is catchy and piano driven as we have all come to know Miller-Heidke for. The lyrics are quirky and one needs to realise that she is actually describing a dream that she's had and it's enjoying the feelings inside the dream. The song is actually happy and uplifting with glorious vocal work.

Following on from the happiness is the darkest song on the album. Sarah is the story of a life event that occured for Miller-Heidke. Setting the scene at Livid festival in 1997 and the disappearance of her friend from beside her. The music is dark and terrifying when you listen to the story behind the song. The vocals and harmonisation that Miller-Heidke presents are stunningly beautiful. Sarah has to be one of the most beautifully poignant songs that Miller-Heidke has ever released.

The title track Nightflight is a return to the piano ladden track that Miller-Heidke is known for. The tale of an overnight flight and the trials that go along with it. The song is another testament to the beauty of Miller-Heidke's voice and her ability as a singer/songwriter. She truly is an amazingly talented woman. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.

Fans of Miller-Heidke will know The Tiger Will Eat the Child from her side project Fatty Gets a Stylist. Unlike the previous version, this is more acoustic and shows a tenderness which was previously hidden with the electronic measures on Fatty Gets a Stylist.

Let Me Fade is a powerful mix of isolationism, self-loating and desolation. The song has the whole feeling of someone with their hand in the air stating that they aren't waving but are drowning. The instruments are subdued and held in the background while the hushed voice of Miller-Heidke carries itself and a power behind it highlighting the enormous vocal control that Miller-Heidke possesses.

The first single to be lifted from the album is the wonderfully quirky track I'll Change Your Mind which carries it's own dark story. The music is a shadow of the pop standards that used to feature on previous releases. However when Miller-Heidke tells the story of a girl who stalks her ex-boyfriend determined to change his mind and get him to fall in love with her again, the song's story becomes darker.

Returning to the hauntingly, dark feel of the album is Humiliation. The music is more electronic than anything else on the album. The instruments are planned and played perfectly to make a gloriously moody track which carries the oppressive feeling of being humiliated and the sensation that goes along for the ride. The vocal production is emotive and will get in under your skin and reverberate within your soul.

Beautiful Darling is a break from the rest of the album in that it is a much happier inclusion. The sharing of hope, loves and dreams between lovers. The uplifting voice. The music that has a spring in it's step. It's a track that lives a happy smile on your face. The giddy heights that lightens the heart after hearing so much pain in all the previous tracks.

Finishing the album is Fire and Iron. The light and airy feel to Miller-Heidke's voice is like a slightly faded memory that still holds all the beauty and emotive power but the picture is a little distorted. The song sounds light and airy until halfway when the lyrics grow darker and the story appears. At the start, the song sounds positive and uplifting - a tale of falling in love. The heartbreak of the song comes when it describes the car accident which claims the girl's life. She watches and waits for the boy to let her go. The song does leave you with a sad smile as she realises that he's moved on when she sees him with his children.

The album is full of darkness with brief and brilliant flashes of light. Many will find the album too dark while others will embrace the beauty. The album is largely experimental for Miller-Heidke and it pays off. The album showcases her talent as a lyricist and story teller. The music is all perfectly polished. The vocal delivery flawless. The album crawls and hooks in under your skin and sits within the soul drawing out emotional memories and surrendering to the beauty of the music. Nightflight is one of the most powerful albums to be released so far this year.

Nightflight is out now through Sony Music.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Music Review: Serge Devant - Rewind

Following up the triumphant success of his 2009 debut Wanderer is Serge Devant with his electric sophomore album, Rewind. Filled with aural delight, the album is set to please trance lovers globally.

With such a high standard set by the release of his debut album, there was held breath as play was pressed for the first time. It was released as the first notes of Dice featuring the vocal beauty of Hadley first filtered through the speakers. The song is a mix of lush laid back beats with club sensibilities. It's a delight to the ear and excitement for the dance shoes.

3 AM Eternal is a track of musical delight. It has the anthemic makings of a Paul Van Dyk track with the driving beats of a TiĆ«sto classic. To compare Devant to the godfather's of trance may not be easy to stomach for some. After playing the album through, however, it is easy to see where the suggestion stems from.

One of the most exciting collaborations on the album is You & Me with Rachel Starr. Club goers around the world will rejoice at another stellar track from both Devant and Starr. The track is reminisce of Then There Was You by Starr and Addicted by Devant. The track is an instant classic and challenges the listener not to list it as an instant favourite.

On Your Own is an instantly likable track. The vocals are well played along with the music. The only downside is that it stops. Suddenly. The track sounds like it should have some extra play time but it doesn't and there's about 10 seconds of silence at the end of the track. Had it played out, it would have led nicely into True Faith. This is the ultimate song of the album. The song is everything that has been missing from music lately. The smooth vocals and catchy beat. Breath taking.

Appearing for the second time on the album is Hadley with the track Ghost. It's a catchy song and, as always, flawless delivery on the part of this stunning songstress. Listen to the song, immerse yourself in the sound and let the audio wash over your senses. The sensory delight is unparalleled.

The last four tracks are what we have been waiting for. The final tracks of the album that are purely instrumental. Their driving beats, the bounce and rythm that is everything that that a good dance producer should look for. The tracks, while easily to tell the difference between each track, what is indistinguishable is the fantastic way that they play to the ear. The energy of each song is excited and rivetting. This is what trance should be. This is what music should be. This is what anthems are made of.

Serge Devant was always going to triumph with his return, there was never any doubt. Whether he would meet the previous standard or exceed it was the question. Devant has set an all new standard even for himself. Rewind is a dance music masterpiece. For anyone who has a love of electronica, this album should be listened to at the very least.

Rewind is out now through Ultra Records

Friday, February 24, 2012

Book Review: Diane Adams - Broken Light (Book One 'Beyond the Night' Series)

Returning to the writing scene with another stunning addition, is prolific adult fiction writer, Diane Adams. From her start with her 'The Making of a Man' series, Adams has gone from strength to strength and dabbled in different genres. The one thing that stands true is her ability to write emotive pieces and characters which are easy to relate to and feel for.

This time, Adams has gone with a supernatural theme. With the story feeling quite similar to the WB show Supernatural, Adams has captured a mood of loss and yearning for something more perfectly. The research and hunt of supernatural villains is well crafted and watching the relationship between the characters grow and come to fruition is delectable.

The story starts with the heartbreak of watching our main protagonist, Jace Bennett, going through the heartbreak of losing his one reamining family members, Wade, to the supernatural. The lose is instantly emotive and you're challenged not to feel tears tickling the corners of your eyes.

The story progresses and we soon meet Jace's romantic interest, Elias. Jace is confronted with handling feelings that he had long suppressed and desires long ignored. The revelation and consequences of these emotions leads to a breathtaking journey which any gay or bisexual man will instantly align with. Adams has captured the confusion and inner turmoil beautifully.

It wouldn't be a Diane Adams story without man on man sex. The lead up is seductive and the peak is breath taking. The emotional and physical connection between our two main leads culminates into a vibrant display that as pleasurable to the eye as it is to the two characters.

Ever the storyteller, Adams doesn't have a straight forward story. There are a couple of twists. Some predictable. Others, well, not so much. The story line is entrancing and enriched with Adams descriptive and narrative writing style.

For someone who is looking for a mystery, romance and smut story all in one... here it is. Adams is a breathtaking writer and has given this story her all. The end result? Spectacular!

Broken Light is out now through Silver Publishing