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Inspector 34 - Don't Worry This Is Ok Review

Music you’ve heard for the very first time, but takes you to a place where everyone knows your name? That’s precisely where you’re going from the very first strum, the opening note of Lowell Massachusetts powerhouse Inspector 34.

This isn’t your typical EP either, Don’t Worry This Is OK, dropped with a transformative music video for their lead track “Fed Up.” Talk about hearing your guitar and seeing it in action, too! A band, who aren’t strangers to tremendous talent, are showcased front and center as the collective vision of Jim Warren, Pat Auclair, Silas Price, Ben Kaplowitz, and Alexandra Derderian! At just under 15 minutes (but you’ll wish for 5x that length in the end) this quartet of songs will leave you hungry for more! It’s all highs and no lows from here on out!

Your guide for the ride, check out the tracklist below!

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Don’t Worry This Is Ok:
1. Fed up
2. Hurts
3. Try So Hard
4. That Charming Man

If you gave this a listen before continuing, then welcome back! If not, then buckle in because you’re headed to transcendent places.

Have you ever wanted a soundtrack for your life? Needed something better than words to describe a feeling? Well look no further my friends. The opening track encapsulates you with a magnetic ambience, you are transfixed by the swelling of passion around you. Every track feels like the crest and fall of a wave, blending perfectly together. Sometimes we need more than words and other times we need outstanding voices! If I could sing, I would sing the praises of the vocals throughout this EP. What are a completely spellbinding incantation that takes you to the epicenter that is raw emotion.

In the mood for sexy baselines? Prepare to be seduced. Need a little bit of folk twang to start your day? Then look no further! Inspector 34 delivers on every front you’ve thought of and probably some you haven’t and that’s just four songs. Imagine what they have in store for you next!

Picking a favorite song here is difficult but we’re going with Track 3, ‘Try So Hard,’ and it does. I wish this track was longer, it’s the first song I played over again, and again, the attitude is infectious, the perfect illustration of what this band is capable of. This is the song you want headlining your life and playing in the background every time you do something “Cool guys don’t look at explosions” type worthy.

I have been in and around the music scene a very long time, and I struggle to imagine a more consistent, powerful band for my first formal review here for The Hook. You heard it hear first before you no doubt here it everywhere, you are going to want more, if you ever need a formula on how to do it right, this is it.

Let’s listen together, soon, and take a deeper inspection into Inspector 34 using their social media links down below!

Inspector 34: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram //Spotify

Architect the Destroyer - Tiny Thoughts Review

We're coming out of our hiatus to talk to you about Architect the Destroyer. You might remember Architect the Destroyer, aka Justin Genzo, from The Hook Journal's, The July EP where we featured "Cherry Wine," but if not, let us re-introduce you.

With a background in music, but never a clear place of belonging, Architect the Destroyer was born in early 2017 with an aim to hone in on the cross between indie, folk, & alternative. With the release of The Daisy EP in April 2017, Architect the Destroyer was really only preparing us for
what was to come - a sweet, heartfelt little wound that begs to be heard and paid attention to.

Tiny Thoughts is a 10-track debut album that features The Daisy EP favorites like "Cherry Wine," "Daisy," and "Bedroom Talk." The consistency of Tiny Thoughts is a cohesive, impressive debut for Architect the Destroy that has carved out a special place in my library for a discography as lovely as this.

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Artwork: Thomas Louis

Artwork: Thomas Louis

Tiny Thoughts Tracklist:
1. Cherry Wine
2. We Are Stars
3. Paper Heart
4. Daisy
5. Bedroom Talk
6. Adventure
7. Oil & Water
8. Sleep
9. Golden
10. Birds

 

After listening to this album a few times over, I really was left with an overwhelming sense of fullness. Tiny Thoughts pushes listeners into uncomfortable spots without them ever knowing, tracks like "Paper Heart" or "Golden" that etch away at things you're trying to forget. Or maybe you're looking for the way to say that thing to someone you love, or used to love, or never loved at all even though it sure as hell felt like it - "Cherry Wine" or "Oil & Water" might make you feel more whole than before. 

Something that Architect the Destroyer is really good at is encapsulating smallness and making it as large as it seems when it's in our heads. Not only was I impressed by the production of this album, all of which completed by Genzo himself, but the lyricism and musicianship that accompanies it feels weighted and well thought out. Tiny Thoughts matters to the maker, and in turn it matters to the listener.

However, we're about to get real deep into track 8, "Sleep" so how about you stream it down below and we'll catch up with you after.

Is it on? Good.

"Sleep" is one of the most profoundly interesting and underwhelming tracks on the album at first glance. At over 8 minutes long, you may ask yourself what possibly could be happening that is 8 minutes long on this album? But, I recommend not dismissing this track in the slightest, as it truly felt like an embodiment of what Tiny Thoughts felt like as a whole. A dissonant, mellow track that clings onto every moment it exists within. It coddles you, it leaves you be, it gives you nothing to hold onto except for the echo of "sleep." 

Bottom line? This album is worth the listen. It's moving, it's fun, it makes you feel good. Tiny Thoughts is a beautiful addition to a year full of good music, and we're so happy Architect the Destroyer is here to add to that.

To keep up to date with everything they're up to, check out Architect the Destroyer's social media down below!

Architect the Destroyer: Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

The Fifth Down - More Than Just Your Own Kind Review

We recently introduced The Fifth Down as one of The Hook's local features!

The Red Bank, NJ natives, The Fifth Down just released their most recent debut album, More Than Just Your Own Kind on June 3rd! The 10-track full-length rings in as The Fifth Down's debut album, a successor to their 4-track 2015 EP, A Reason To Celebrate. Let me begin with this: More Than Just Your Own Kind is a giant, successful step forward for The Fifth Down.

In comparison to it's predecessor, More Than Just Your Own Kind is more mature, using the members in a more precise and deliberate way, and sincerely filling out the big shoes that the indie-punk scene leaves open.

This album actually reminded me a lot of a happier Foxing if that doesn't sound weird at all?

More Than Just Your Own Kind Tracklist:
1. Young Moth, You're Just Like Icarus
2. Cowboy Dream
3. Monte Carlo
4. Canada Dry
5. Eagle To Apollo
6. Kettlecorn And Dopamine
7. Landmine
8. Gas Station Sushi
9. Bern
10. Bookends




First of all, let's talk about these track titles. You can peep the tracklist up above, and dang - I don't think I've ever reviewed a single album with track titles that are literal perfection. I mean, there is definitely something to be said for titles - they're gateways to interest. If you have a good title, you have an intrigued listener/reader and with songs named, "Bookends," or "Young Moth You're Just Like Icarus," how can you not want to listen to The Fifth Down?

Answer: You always want to listen to The Fifth Down.

Secondly, the tracks do not disappoint. I was blown away by the sincerity and intensity of the lyrical content that More Than Just Your Own Kind boasts in all 10 tracks. Some of my favorite tracks include "Eagle To Apollo," and "Bookend," which isn't to say that I don't love all of these tracks (because I do) these were just some of my favorites.

Here I'll name a few other favorites if you aren't satisfied: "Canada Dry," and "Monte Carlo."

With lyrics like "and you already know why i might like you / and that's the worst part about you / cause you don't need guys like me / to wax poetic for hours about you," (Eagle To Apollo) or, "with you crass comments and complaints / you were not designed for social restraints / and it's a blessing as much as it's a curse / to feel the breeze of a cold shoulder instead of letting it hurt," (Kettlecorn And Dopamine), I was immediately drawn to The Fifth Down.

As a writer (one who focuses a lot on creative writing) I was legit blown away by the lyricism of this band. The cathartic, poetic indifference in these lyrics - it's like I've thought these things without ever being able to put words to them. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of super clever bits of word play - all of this just the tinder to light the fire.

Pair this with the intensity of singer Kyle Murphy and the precise blending of instruments thanks to Elias Kotsis on keys, Bobby Lussier on guitar, Ethan Wagner on bass, George Ford on drums, and Dylan Levine on guitar. This five-piece creates this really stellar collaborative effort that turns More Than Just Your Own Kind into one of my favorite albums of this summer.

If you need more justification on how rad these guys are, I'll leave you with some lyrics "she said I had less friends than shitty guitars / so I found five friends and they're all in my car / now we're just five friends, and we know who we are / we're just five friends with shitty guitars" (Young Moth, You're Just Like Icarus)

Rating: 9/10

As always, check out their social media, buy the album, support your local bands, buy these guys some PB&J sandwiches. 

The Fifth Down: Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Greaver - The Faun Review

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There is a fine line between trend and art. With the advent of D.I.Y. digital distribution,it became much easier for musicians to reach out to fans and sell their music without the help of a record label. While this was a godsend to the misunderstood artist, it also gave way to a dilution of artistry. Anyone having the ability to release music does not necessarily mean all who do, should. In my endless search for new music, I seldom come across musicians I would describe as true innovators. Especially in more emotive genres such as Post-Hardcore. 

While they’re not exactly innovators, Greaver have put out a solid record that fans of Post-Hardcore and Emo acts like Thursday, Pianos Become the Teeth, and Envy will surely find some enjoyment in. The riffs are plentiful throughout the record, discordant and looming overhead instead of hitting you directly. Vocalists/Guitarists Michael Rozier and Michael Townsel blend together really well at the front end of the mix. A lot of the vocals are either duets or traded off throughout the record, creating an interesting and haunting dynamic. Tracks like “Southfield” and “Earth Rune” showcase the uniqueness this sort of vocal arrangement can bring. 

The production on this record really helps with the impact a lot of these tracks can have on the listener. The mix by Al Jacob, who previously worked with bands like He Is Legend, is visceral enough to capture the raw emotion of each song and really take the listener down into this hole that a lot of these songs are sitting in that’s certainly more unsettling than a lot of their peers. Although the production helps most of these songs stay memorable and fresh, a few such as “Last Breath” and “Third Eye” fall pretty flat compared to the rest. The instrumentals on them are both great, however the “voicemail” delivery of the spoken narrative on each of these tracks sound too forced to really draw you in. It’s obvious that these were written and not captured from reality. 

Overall, this is a solid record from an up & coming band. Definitely check them out if you are into any of the bands mentioned above.

I’m curious to see what this band will do next, and after hearing this, I’m sure you will be too.

Rating: 7/10

For more on Greaver, check out their social media!

Greaver: Facebook // Twitter

Waterparks - Cluster Review

After attending a show at The TLA in Philadelphia, PA a few months for Never Shout Never’s Black Cat Tour, I witnessed Texas natives, Waterparks open the show.

Of course, we were all there to see Never Shout Never and Metro Station, but Waterparks quickly pulled the crowd towards the stage with their high energy interactions and fun atmosphere. The band consisted of vocalist and guitarist Awsten Knight, backing vocalist and guitarist Geoff Wigington, and drummer Otto Wood - all of whom shared equal stage time, loosening up a stiff crowd.

Needless to say, I was blown away by their performance, which made me want to check up on their stuff – turns out they’re really great. In fact, they recently released Cluster, which came out on January 16th, a 5 track EP that is the exact kind of pop-punk I’ve been missing out on, and looking forward to – the track list is below (so check it).

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Track listing:
1. Crave
2. Territory
3. Mad All the Time
4. Pink
5. No Capes

Each of the above tracks exhibit new and exciting sounds that makes me excited to listen to the collection. My personal favorite being “Crave,” which feels empowered via intense instrumentals – this first track amps up listeners for the rest of the EP – which is reminiscent in sound, but completely different in lyrical demonstrations. I think what I most appreciate about this album is definitely the lyrics, something that listeners can hold onto – whether that’s on “Crave,” or “No Capes.”

If you’re looking for something new and exciting, you should definitely check out Waterparks. Cluster is a wonderful little EP that features intricate instrumentals, with intense pop-punk guitar, and lyrics to die for. We’ll be keeping Waterparks on our watch list, and you should too.

Rating: 8/10

For more info, check out their social media below!

WaterparksFacebook // Website // Twitter

Ghosts Again - The Closest Thing To Closure Review

On The Closest Thing to Closure, Alex Cortright, Brandon Washington, and Arun Bose strike gold. Hailing from North Carolina, these boys came together from the remnants of other projects to put out a refreshing brand of dynamic post-hardcore that harks back to the mid-2000’s, when bands like Underoath and A Skylit Drive dominated the scene. 

Listeners will be especially able to hear elements of the former, as Ghosts Again has a similar musical sensibility, playing music that offers enough technical structure to keep constant interest but not so much that it is unapproachable to the casual listener. They go from jamming a pulsing riff that feels similar to Bring Me The Horizon’s “This Sadness Will Never End” thirty seconds into the album’s first song “Skeleton Boy” to getting down and dirty in some face-kicking heaviness sprinkled on top of a steady, lively, anthemic blitz on “Les Enfants Terribles”.

Check out the track-list below!

The Closest Thing To Closure Tracklist:
1. Skeleton Boy
2. Pant's Division (The End Is Silence)
3. Les Enfants Terribles
4. Relive_Revive
5. Eleven



It’s almost hard to believe that these guys are a three-piece, considering how many layers their music offers. Each component is essential. Alex Cortright plays guitar with aplomb whilst simultaneously jumping between gloriously gritty cleans and powerful, vicious screams that are delivered to expertly punctuate lines with urgent edginess. Brandon Washington’s bass performance is the glue that holds every track together, maintaining a satisfying fullness to the album. Finally, resident stickman Arun Bose brings amazing attitude to the table, weaving intensity into each song with each swing of his sticks and giving the whole album a concise sense of motion. 

All in all, The Closest Thing to Closure is an applause-worthy debut for a band with a love for their craft. The EP will be available for purchase on April 22nd. If this first release is any indication, there will be more infectious, in-your-face intensity from these NC gents in the future.

Rating: 8/10

For more info on the guys in Ghosts Again and The Closest Thing To Closure, check out their social media below!

Ghosts Again: Facebook // Twitter

Lyrics Born - Now Look What You've Done, Lyrics Born! Greatest Hits Review

Celebrating twenty-five years of staying power in the music industry, hip-hop guru, Lyrics Born releases Now Look What You’ve Done, Lyrics Born! Greatest Hits. From “I Changed My Mind” to “Balcony Beach” the collection is a pleasant trip down memory lane, taking its listeners back to the late 70’s and early 80’s when hip-hop and funk hadn’t quite divorced yet. 

Though his sound is familiar, Lyrics Born was rejected at first sight, first perceived to be too out of the era, later proving to simply be ahead of it.  Lyrics Born grew up in Berkley, California during the 80’s, around the time when alternative hip-hop-funk innovators such as Parliament, Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow, De La Soul, Raheem, and Jungle Brothers were changing music as the world knew it forever. Their influences manifest themselves most in his song, “Lady Don’t Tek No,” a tune that samples grooves and melodies from Grandmaster Flash and Sugar Hill Gang’s “The Message.” The punch-like sharpness of his lines coated with his synthetic, smooth voice makes his delivery undeniably a collage of late 60’s to early 70’s Ron Isley, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurtis Blow or any other emerging rapper of the early 80’s. 

His voice is reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix, hitting high intensity, every word being on the brink of a belt, resembling the screech of a guitar most in his song, “Bad Dream,” a tune that depicts the basic, every day trials that arise while experiencing human condition. The song starts with the verses: 

    Woke up in the middle of the night cold sweating
    Eyes stinging, no breath, legs clinging to the bedside

    Hard pressed just to get a little rest every night
    Same shit can't remember last time that I slept right

    This situation's gotten out of control
    With all this stress and confrontation I just might overload
    My problems follow me to sleep at night won't let me go
    The more I hide the more they thrive deep down inside of my soul
    Listen


This song almost mirrors, “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and Sugar Hill Gang because of its similar chaotic narrative that builds in momentum: 

    Broken glass everywhere
    People pissin' on the stairs, you know they just don't care
    I can't take the smell, can't take the noise
    Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice
    Rats in the front room, roaches in the back
    Junkies in the alley with a baseball bat
    I tried to get away but I couldn't get far
    'Cause a man with a tow truck repossessed my car


Like “Exclamation Point,” “Bad Dream” depicts the common circumstantial and trauma induced frustration that humans experience. Invokes emotion, change, and perseverance. In his tracks “Differences,” “Chest Wide Open,” and “I like it, I love it” speaks about living operating in positive and negative aspects of romantic affairs. In other songs such as “Coulda Woulda Shoulda,” “I Got It (What You Need),” “Callin Out,” and “Balcony Beach,” he not only recognizes that, so far, he has survived tumultuous times in both his personal life and career, but he also that he deserves respect for it. 

Best illustrated in his song, “Real People,” Lyrics Born said his songs are about “real people,” about those who are overlooked or unfortunate, about “perseverance, surviving, turning the corner.” Now Look What You’ve Done, Lyrics Born! Greatest Hits allows its listeners not only to understand his intentions but also to wander a challenge course of emotions, letting them vividly live a life time, providing them the complete human experience within the frame of sixteen tracks.  

Rating: 9/10

Lyrics Born:
Website // Facebook // Twitter // Soundcloud

The Ready Set - I Will Be Nothing Without Your Love Review

Last Friday, and with much anticipation, The Ready Set has made a huge splash of a return with his newest album, I Will Be Nothing Without Your Love!

Jordan Witzigreuter brings back his fun and catchy electro-pop with the new 12-track LP. The tracks on this collection reverb in The Ready Set's typical pop-centric way - fast, electric beats, Witzegreuter's catchy, playful vocals. However, this album impressed me because it had a maturity to it that utilized what The Ready Set was already working with and basically making it better.

Which is really great I felt that way (and I'm sure others do, too) because The Ready Set had this to say about I Will Be Nothing Without Your Love“The record as a whole feels like a reinvention of myself, I stripped everything down and produced the whole thing by myself from top to bottom, so it could feel 100% true to what I wanted it to be. It's a fresh start.”

As I said above, the album consists of 12 tracks! Each feels unique in tone, beat, and lyrical content. Some of the tracks exhibit a more upbeat, and tropical tempo - while other songs are classically and gloriously pop. 

Check out the track-list below:

1. Disappearing Act
2. Being Afraid
3. Good Enough
4. Concrete
5. I Will Be Nothing Without Your Love
6. Run With Me
7. Should We Go Downtown
8. Swim
9. No Love (feat. Ansley Newman)
10. First
11. Fire In The Sky
12. See You

One of my favorite tracks is "No Love" (Feat. Ansley Newman) because I love Jule Vera (Ansley Newman is the lead singer), and also because the song sounds like I should be riding along the east coast in the thick of summer, waves crashing, windows open. 

Check out this album, open a window - walk your dog to it.

Rating: 9/10

For more info, as always, peek at the social media below!

The Ready Set: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram