On this release from Italian melodic hardcore act Thousand Oaks, we’re brought to the forefront of intensity. The riffs are plentiful and the melody captures the soul. From the powerful openings to the harmonious approach, the record stands firm. Thousand Oaks sing about hearts breaking, desolation, and deprivation. Not many bands out there have their fingers on the pulse of the news or world problems. Thousand Oaks definitely do. They don’t ponder over using a word or phrase either. They steamroll the norm.
Bound For Destruction is an intelligent listen. So much is said about intellectual ability in music these days but Thousand Oaks scream sophistication. It isn’t pretty strands of poetry like pretty strands of hair, but they do integrate empathetic stanzas.
Bound For Destruction starts with “The Roar Of Consequence”. It’s a wonderful, guitar driven beginning. The instruments don’t let up, they pound and pound until the conclusion. “Battle Lost” opens slowly. The riffs are again on point, and the vocals edge close to manic screaming. The rush of fate is imminent and the lyrics are poetically hammered into the song. “Charge Backwards” is a ride into stormy avenues. It uses the punk template. The simple guitar line is pleasing and breakneck. It will remind the punk faithful of days gone by.
Thousand Oaks are a talented outfit, the light is bright.
Hatchie – Keepsake
Keepsake, the debut album by Brisbane dream pop artist Hatchie is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars
Brisbane indie-pop artist Hatchie (known to her friends and family as Harriette Pilbeam) is in the envious position of being a pop artist unspoiled by the many trappings of what it is to be a modern pop artist. Unlike some of her contemporaries who craft music by committee or with Sheeran-like self-importance, Hatchie is as of now, unsullied by the pressures of the cookie-cutter pop machine. Hatchie’s debut full length is a showcase for a talent who is supremely confident and composed in her abilities, and Keepsake is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars. The album is also a wonderful throwback to pop’s dreamy 60s influences that shuffle in and out of this delirium while working alongside distinctly more current musical touches.
There is the lush dream pop sounds of “Without a Blush”, taking cues from the best of what Stars and Goldfrapp conjure but heaping a tonne of Pilbeam’s charisma on it. Like her vocals, “Without a Blush” has this elegance that has the ability to elevate songs from being beautiful to grand. It is the kind of vocal elegance that really shines through on songs like the skittering, beat-driven “Obsessed” and the alternative, guitar-fuelled (yay!) “When I Get Out”. Indie/electronic closer “Keep” is a wonderful end to proceedings.
However, the great strength of Keepsake is not just its composure in how all the songs have been put together. It is also this genuine, natural-sounding quality that permeates the album- nothing overly written, overly produced or put together by research groups or music analysts. It just sounds like talent. We can argue that much of pop music is constructed to appease the moment- designed to grab as much attention as possible in an A.D.D. world. And sure, that can be said about almost any kind of music, but the resulting aural tone of Keepsake is anything but transient or transparent.
The best way to combat tepid chart-topping music is to write better pop songs. Songs like “Her Own Heart” and the disco-toned “Stay” are examples of pop music that come across as timeless. We are moved by the songs found on Keepsake when we listen to them today. And I suspect that in 10 years time, or in 20, we will most likely feel the same. It is rare to find the sort of ageless beauty you find on Keepsake.