Phonotonal

Beck

Michael Beck is a long-time writer for [the-mag] and Phonotonal.
Michael Beck
  1. Music
  2. EP Reviews

Blending guitar fuzz and pop synth, Sophie Powers’ Red in Revenge is a very nearly album-length hyperpop record with seven insanely catchy tracks. If you haven’t come across hyperpop, it is a spin-out from the genre-bending trend that merged metal with sweet-pop to create high-contrast tracks that were visceral and candy-coated all at once. In […]

  1. Music
  2. Single Reviews

Cassyette takes on Harry Styles’ ‘As It Was’, slowing things down and deploying a great emotive rock vocal to transform the song from its original bouncy pop form into a real heart-wrenching ballad. Accompanied by a crunchy guitar, this is a stripped-back performance that lets Cassyette’s vocal really shine. As the song approaches the end […]

  1. Music
  2. Single Reviews

Pushed along with The Four Season’s ‘Beggin’ piano chord progression and drum beat, Yeah Yeah Yeahs new single ‘Burning’ has orchestral overtones. Even the vocal has a big band room feel on this track. Lyrically, things are abstract (though the song was inspired by Karen O setting fire to her New York home with an […]

  1. Music
  2. Single Reviews

The latest single from Willow, and the second to be released from forthcoming LP <COPINGMECHANISM> after ‘<maybe> it’s my fault’, we have a sexually charged love-at-first-sight song in ‘hover like a GODDESS’. The basic theme is spotting someone, being instantly in love, and wanting to quickly get into the nearest bathroom or bedroom to get […]

  1. Music
  2. Single Reviews

With a saxophone-heavy introduction, the sway of ‘Happiness’ will be more familiar to early fans than much of the more recent material, with distant echoes of ‘Heart Out’. It still participates in the onwards march of The 1975’s sound. The song is beat-driven and features bass runs and intricate guitars, with the saxophone (supplied by […]

  1. Music
  2. Single Reviews

With a loose beat and lo-fi fuzz, ‘Human Condition’ gives Pretty Sick the odd accolade of joining Chris de Burgh in rhyming dance with romance. This is the only trait this song shares with the famous ballad. After a string-sliding introduction, the bass plots a course with the guitars scuzzing over the top. The vocal […]

  1. Music
  2. Live Reviews

With the King Tut’s stage shining black with surface water, a general moist haze, and the band opting for sweaters, Beabadoobee still brought the sunshine to TRNSMT. Always one to look on the positive side of the grey clouds, the summer daylight was suppressed to make the stage and lighting pop dramatically. The setlist started […]

  1. Music
  2. Single Reviews

If ever there was a single that rolls together a lot of content, it’s ‘Part of the Band’ from The 1975. There really is a great deal to unpack and re-assemble, so we’d better just get started. It all begins with cello and Matty Healy’s voice. Layers of strings join the ensemble of what has […]

  1. Music
  2. Single Reviews

Bitters‘ latest single, ‘Loving Me’, provides a gentler take on their sound. Lighter and more plaintive than ‘Stole Your Car’, but still a worthy and shimmering heatwave of a release. The guitar provides a tuneful hook to lead us in, with Mills’ vocal providing a rich and warm tone. The verse is almost acoustic, the […]

  1. Music
  2. Single Reviews

If you’ve seen Pale Waves live this year, the opening riff of ‘Jealousy’ is going to be enough to trigger those hairs on the back of your arms. This is a song that bumps along in the verse and unleashes a big smooth feel in the chorus. Yes, this is a good single. The single […]

  1. Music
  2. Single Reviews

It seems like only 21 minutes ago that the tap was dripping, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip… though this assumes that Beabadoobee is snuggling up on the same Saturday night referred to by Smith, Tolhurst, and Dempsey¹. Though, thinking about it, that was in 1979, a full 21 years before Beabadoobee was born. […]

  1. Music
  2. Single Reviews

What a slick and driven song Blind Channel have dropped with ‘Don’t Fix Me’! Their signature sound is firing on all cylinders, with neat flips between the distinctive sections of the song. The vocal-cram verse collides with a melodic pre-chorus before punching through with the huge ‘Don’t Fix Me’ cry. There are smart moments in […]

  1. Music
  2. Single Reviews

If there was a resurgence of the werewolf genre in the movie theatres – another wave of Underworld or, perhaps, a new city ripe for exploration by a lycanthrope of American origin – Pixies would certainly be joining The Waterboys on the soundtrack with ‘There’s a Moon On’. The song starts with a howling guitar […]

  1. Music
  2. Single Reviews

As Pale Waves get ready for the release of their third album, Unwanted, on 12th August, ‘Reasons to Live’ arrives to give us our second taste after recent single, ‘Lies’. The song gets its first public play in about two hours’ time, but here’s what to expect… Similar to ‘Lies’, this is a stomping rock […]

  1. Music
  2. Single Reviews

Quick and quirky, Lauran Hibberd’s ‘Step Mum’ is a comic-book caricature song with alt-pop bounce with a chorus break that references The Colour and the Shape, which we file under “unexpected influence”. The song is playful, though cutting, and barely steps across the two-minute mark. It’s the kind of irreverent material that Lauran does so […]

  1. Music
  2. Album Reviews

Experts in the art of massive sound, Brigade’s new album, Dissonance, has all the hallmarks of a masterpiece; an album that is worth listening to in full. It’s thick and rich throughout, with sparkle at the edges and powerful melodic vocals, so let’s look at just some of the tracks on offer. In a break […]