Album Review | Her’s – ‘Invitation To Hers’

Hers - Invitation to

Liverpool Dream Pop Duo Her’s do Good on their Debut Album ‘Invitation To Hers

The charm of dream-pop duo Her’s is that you never quite know where you are with them, yet that dizzy displacement is what you came for. It’s 2018, and we have been given ‘An Invitation To…’: a succinct slice of wit as a title, heightening the supposition that here we have an album that is a confident debut; a statement of standing by their intent. Her’s take us by the hand into their kaleidoscopic world: jarring in its restlessness, captivating in its colour.

Her’s have been dogged, since their first collation ‘Songs of Her’s’, by parallels drawn between themselves and the hazy chimera of Mac DeMarco. Though they were once steeped in DeMarcian sensibilities, with swooping, twinkling guitarwork and drawling vocals as nonchalant as a backyard hammock, ‘An Invitation To…’ is a bold step away from that. Her’s have tapped into the springs of originality, bravery and identity. ‘Harvey’ opens with a sleepy Parisian instrumental that kicks into skittering drum beats and gleaming synth that feels like you’ve been dragged back into a kitsch 50’s gameshow. They tamper with vocoder-distorted vocals, at once kooky and almost nightmarish. Despite ‘Harvey’ being a frontal curveball, it’s an infectious track that is as silly as it is fun. In a genre that is meant to be light and free, yet weighed down by taking itself too seriously, Her’s have created something that feels authentic.

‘An Invitation To…’ is packed with melodic ambition. With instrumentals echoing the carefree jangles of 80s pop music in the likes of ‘Mannie’s Smile’ and ‘Low Beam’, their sound is sun-dappled, contrasted with slippery vocals; one moment baritone, the next minute soaring high, but always mocking. There is nothing smooth about Stephen Fitzpatrick’s voice. The minute you are settled with the sound, he distorts it at will.

‘Don’t Think It Over’, one of the more visceral, sensitive tracks on the album. Its throbbing basslines from Audun Laading and shrug-of-the-shoulders mumbles is at odds with the lyrics that tell a story of budding paranoia: “Still you sweat / Over what she could be doing / It’s a simple threat / Is it only the beginning?”.

The influences on ‘An Invitation To…’ are far more variegated than what you could imagine; Her’s show a refreshing irreverence for the confines that come with being a “dream-pop duo”. Wallowing vocals walk bravely into the post-punk territory in ‘She Needs Him’, optimism clashes with numb melancholia in a Joy Division vein. Laading’s inclination for powerful bass is best shown in ‘Under Wraps’, which exudes a Brooklyn-born coolness as if it came from the same streets as The Strokes, just breezing along, rather than running at a hundred miles an hour.

This is a knock-out debut album. It’s hard to not be enamoured with its ever-changing style and sound – but above all, its imaginative sense of humour. It sounds beautiful and strange without the ostentation of other artists in their milieu. How could you refuse an invitation to Her’s?

Words By Sophie Walker



Album Review | MASK – ‘The Famous’

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Belfast Band MASK deliver on their Debut Album ‘The Famous’

This is the debut album for Belfast band MASK, however it doesn’t seem like it is regarding how refined the songs are. After starting out in 2004, the band released ‘The Truth’ EP last year, and after a lot of hard work and a quick turn around, they have a debut album!

The opener ‘You Know I Know‘ took 50 seconds to give me a vocal. but don’t let that put you off.  The eager anticipation is rewarded, with the drums making a fierce entrance, and the booming vocals makes that initial delay worth the wait!

The first song pleasantly joins the next tune, ‘Celebrity’, with the same uplifting drums setting the pace. I particularly enjoyed this song, it’s lyrical controversy may cause some heated debates understandably, but it’s catchy country, what do you expect? And it sets you up perfectly when you reach the track ‘So They Say’, which is melodically tremendous, and also lyrically interesting.

You don’t have to play by the rules/ do what you want to do! “on to ‘Rabid Dawg’, which gave me hints of the Arctic Monkeys actually, I enjoyed it! And moving on I think There’s a pattern emerging within the lyrics, through this whole album. I feel like punk rock has went up a level, it’s a big middle finger in a spectacular fashion.

The song ‘Greatest Lie’ starts with an awesome acoustic riff, which reminded me of green day, good riddance, and vocally it was more controlled than the previous tracks, which I was excited about, it delivered more skill and range.

This album had me imagining a cowboy, back flipping off a horse, kicking open the saloon doors, giving everybody inside the death stare, demanding a whiskey neat and explaining to every one inside that what they’ve understood to be, is not to be. It’s cheese-free, witty and clever, and while deconstructing perspectives, it’s addictive rock music worth listening to.

Words by Captain Sound

Album Review | Camp Cope – ‘How to Socialize and Make Friends’

Camp Cope - How to Socialise and Make FriendsI first came across Camp Cope last year when I stumbled across their self-titled album, and ever since then the album has silently stuck with me. The Lo-Fi production of it all was endearing enough, but the topic of the songs and the emotions that were being conveyed throughout each track were something else. That album was so enjoyable, with it only being 8 tracks long it left you wanting more, and each track felt important to that album. There was no filler, which is a problem in the modern music age of releasing albums.

Fast forward a year and they’ve released their second album ‘How to Socialize and Make Friends’, finally it was time for another Camp Cope fix. Once again the band opt for a sensible amount of songs, as the album features 9 tracks – but there’s no filler, it’s all premium material.

The album opens up with the suitably named ‘The Opener’ and immediately Georgia Maq is opening up her heart and letting it bleed over the record as she begins tells the tale of a shitty relationship and how badly you can be treated sometimes. The stories in the track are so relatable and put across in such a blunt and honest way in the lyrics.

Tell me that no one knows me like you do

And tell me that my friends don’t tell me the truth

And maybe I’ll come crawling back to you

Like, that was your plan, right?”

The song then quickly takes a turn as Maq sticks a blunt middle finger up the male dominated music industry. She continues to pull from personal experiences, making the song authentic and making the song one of the best on the record.

This is a recurring feature of the album as Maq consistently dives into her library of experiences and morphs them into beautiful songs for people to understand.

The title track also has these qualities as she expresses how difficult it is to fit in and feel a part of something, with the constant feeling of being lost as she sings “I’m riding in the dark/on my bike with no handlebars”. ‘Anna’ is another insightful track where Georgia urges you to “Get it all out/ Write another song”. It’s hard not to think that this her giving advice to anyone who’s struggling or dealing with something, as it’s quite clear this is how Maq thinks things through and starts shifting that weight of her shoulders.

Musically it’s great to hear that the band have stuck with their sound, as it still has that lo-fi gritty sound attached to it. In some respects it could be considered as part 2 of their first album, as there’s not much difference instrumentally – but the songs are individuals due to the topics sewn to them.

The band then work their way through with ‘Sagan-Indiana’ and ‘The Omen’ which are both talent-fuelled. ‘Animal and Real’ really sticks out in the mind due to the vocal performance, which has this desperation clinging onto it, which again lends to the argument that everything Camp Cope do has meaning attached it and isn’t just thrown together for the sake of.

The final track ‘I’ve Got You’ is a circle song which means the chords cycle in the same order, beginning to end. The song is about Georgia’s father Hugh Mcdonald who passed away in 2016, and in isolation, when nothing is going on around you, this song is emotionally very powerful. Georgia throws everything into this track allowing herself to be an open book. She provides lyrics like :

“They said there’s something inside of you / So they tried radiation, chemicals too”

Along with,

“And you said there’s broken links in your brain/ And I said it’s okay, mines exactly the same”

It’s lines like these which make the songs very real and close to home, and for someone to have the ability to craft a song out of times like these should be respected. Not only because the song is a stunning piece of work, but to write about something like this helps so many people who are going through similar struggles in their life.

Personally this album triumphs their last, because it feels like they have become somewhat more refined in their songwriting, and also this albums is capable of emotionally moving you and making you think. Camp Cope have become more of a well-known band over these last two years to due to their solid releases on Bandcamp, however I see this album being their most pivotel and most important to their progression.


Words by Alex Wise @AJWise