Paramore – “brand new eyes”

Paramore, the Tennessee quintet that have risen to become pop-punk superstars, are FINALLY back with this, their third studio album entitled brand new eyes. And this time, they’re out with a hell of a lot to prove!! This is by no means the sound of a band continuing to create music for the sake of it. No, this is the sound of a band breaking out of their comfort zone and shouting their message right in your freakin’ face!

If their debut 2005 album All We Know Is Falling was the sound of a small band from Tennessee starting out in the world with good material and catchy hooks and vocals, and their second album in 2007 entitled RIOT! was the sound of them spreading their wings and finding their own voice, then brand new eyes is by far the sound of Paramore taking flight and soaring to entirely new heights of  success. Considering the troubles that the band have experienced in-between RIOT! and brand new eyes (i.e. near break-ups, cancelled tours and personal troubles amongst the band), this album has been called a “cathartic process”, and renewing a “broken band on the brink of separation”, and this is clearly reflected not just by the tone of the music, but in the lyrics and the construction of the album itself.

Careful opens the album with its fantastic swell and burst of an intro, and lyrics that profess “it’s only the real world: a life you will never know” which is great at showing how the first lot of songs on brand new eyes are the ones most fraught and twisted with unsaid feelings. This then leads into debut album single Ignorance, and one of Paramore‘s most abrasive, powerful and hard-hitting songs of their career. It kicks in with Josh Farro and new band addition Taylor York’s jarring staccato bursts of guitar and only increases the pressure of the song with Billy Talent-style backing-yells before bursting through with the line “Ignorance is your New Best Friend”, a line that says more about the fraught and emotional times the band have been through than most people would know, and has been described by Paramore themselves as “the song that saved our band”.

Although Paramore have never really described themselves as a Christian Rock band, they haven’t exactly shied away from their beliefs either, especially with songs like Miracle from RIOT!. However, the song Playing God addresses their beliefs a lot more head-on than before, and speaks of struggling with faith and people’s opinions with lines such as “you don’t deserve a point of view if the only thing you see is you” and is a real display of how much the band have had to grow up being on the road.

Brick By Boring Brick is, to put it bluntly, a pretty awesome song. Hayley Williams’ vocals scale to new heights on this song, the lyrics of which speak of someone living their lives with their head in the clouds whilst their real life isn’t what they want, and contains the chant-along anthem of this album that Woah! and Born For This did on their respective previous two albums. Turn It Off goes back to facing the troubles of how beliefs are tested more and more, whilst The Only Exception presents the first slowed down, love-ish song (it seems too cynical to be a proper love song) of the album.

Feeling Sorry regains some pace to the songs, and starts melding into an attitude that comes out the far end of the darker times the band have been through and steps into the light of their new era, whilst Looking Up brilliantly describes new mentalities amongst the band with lines like “I’ll never trade it in ’cause I’ve always wanted this and it’s not a dream anymore” before finishing with a powerful chant of “I can’t believe we almost hung it up. We’re just getting started!”, which is to say that this “new phase” for the band can only take them to better times.

Where The Lines Overlap is another fantastic set piece of the album that totally contrasts the songs at the start, and is a rock song with almost “anti-rock” lyrics which fully state the new status quo amongst the band. With a chorus that goes “no-one is as lucky as us, we’re not at the end but oh we already won”  and lines dotted throughout the song like “nothing to it, I’ve never been happier”, it’s hard to ignore the fact that this is by far the new shape of Paramore to come. This leads into Misguided Ghosts, which is a beautiful yet haunting acoustic song that lingers under your skin after just one listen. Finally, All I Wanted really shows what Hayley’s voice is capable of, spiralling into the stratosphere towards the end, and bringing the album to a brilliantly sentimental close.

The single Decode that the band wrote for the film Twilight is also included on the album, which in a way is a bit of a shame since it sold so well on the soundtrack that the album could have done without it. However, since it’s a Bonus Track and isn’t used as filler for the actual album, it works out alright and since I don’t own this song anyway, I personally am not complaining too much. It’s still a good song; it’s just that it doesn’t fit the progression and tone of the album all that well.

Overall, brand new eyes is a fantastically dynamic album that progresses from emotive, fraught and abrasive songs to lighter, more moving and passionate songs that show just how much the band have gone through to get to where they are now. This is a collection of brilliantly raw, brutally honest and frankly awesome songs that show just how much growing can be done by one band. This is what growing up sounds like. This is the TRUE sound of Paramore.

To be honest, I love this album. It’s completely fantastic, and is by far my album of the year, if not my life.


LISTED Film Previews – October/November ’09

Hey! Sorry it’s been a while, but I’ve been up to my eyeballs in busy stuffs! More stuff being put up here soon, hopefully, but in the meantime here’s another lot of these Film Previews I do for Listed Magazine every month – I went for a mostly Halloween-themed lot this time since its my favourite time of year! Enjoy!

SAW VI (18) (Dir. Kevin Greutert)

“You won’t believe how it ends” read the tagline for the last Saw. You bet we won’t, because it doesn’t! Whilst this looks to up the ante even further in the twisted games that Jigsaw plays, and his “grand scheme” finally comes to light, one wonders just how far things can really go now, and just how exactly Tobin Bell will appear in the film. But either way, this is definitely going to be good Halloween fodder! Just so everyone’s clear now, Saw VII and VIII ARE already planned, so there’s lots more to look forward to as well! Released 23rd October.

JENNIFER’S BODY (18) (Dir. Karyn Kusama)

Diablo Cody, the award-winning writer of Juno, brings us this new horror-comedy starring the tasty Megan Fox. When cheerleader Jennifer Check gets her body possessed and turns into a killer specialising in offing her male classmates, all hell breaks loose in her high school and it’s up to her best friend (Amanda Seyfried) to stop the horror! Plenty of gore and dark humour here, so if you enjoyed the writing in Juno, get a ticket for this! Released 6th November.


When a young Darren Shan goes to the travelling Freak Show, he meets the mysterious master of the circus (John C. Reilly) who turns out to be a Vampire. Now, Darren must leave his normal life behind to go with the Cirque Du Freak and become one of them himself. Based on the best-selling children’s books, this is family-based “horror-lite” for the slightly younger viewers wanting something new. In a similar vein of film to The Haunted Mansion, anyone that read Goosebumps would probably get a kick out of this too! Released 23rd October.

SHUTTER ISLAND (15) (Dir. Martin Scorsese)

A freaky mystery-thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a U.S. Marshal in 1954. Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) is sent to investigate the disappearance of a murderess from a high security hospital for the criminally insane, on the dark and remote Shutter Island. But after his arrival, further mysteries about the inmates start unravelling, and not all is as it seems… Go and see this if you enjoy suspense-filled films with twists and turns a-plenty! Released 9th October.

UP (PG) (Dir. Pete Docter & Bob Peterson)

Taking a somewhat “lighter” note from all the horror and blood, the UK finally sees the release of new Pixar animation Up. After already being released in the US back in May, this new visual masterpiece tells the story of 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen (Edward Asner) who sets out to fulfil his dream of seeing the wilds of South Africa by tying thousands of balloons to the top of his house, but finds out shortly after that 8-year-old wilderness explorer Russell has stowed away in his home. This will be sure to please anyone who enjoyed Wall-E, and if you need a break from all the screams and shivers, then this makes for a light-hearted alternative. Released 9th October.

As Published in Listed Magazine Issue 22 and on

Twin Atlantic – “Vivarium”

Twin Atlantic are a little known, Ayrshire four-piece that specialise in creating strong, strange, anthemic sounds in their own brand of rock music. Similar in certain aspects to the likes of Sucioperro and Biffy Clyro, both of whom Twin Atlantic share a homeland of Scotland with (in the case of Biffy Clyro, a shared hometown!), this band is slowly but definitely on the rise and heading for some major action. And with Vivarium, their debut mini-album, that success is sure to come even quicker!

What originally interested me in Twin Atlantic was their expansive sound and their ability to write interesting, original lyrics, in much the same way that first interested me in Biffy Clyro. Vivarium also contains the first song of theirs that really caught me, What is Light? Where is Laughter?, but this isn’t even the most popular song on this mini-album. Album opener Lightspeed is their most recent single and it sets the album off at the perfect pitch, with singer Sam McTrusty’s (and yes, that IS his real name!!) clear vocals and strong accent bringing more to their innovative sound than any other instruments really could.

You’re Turning Into John Wayne is another utterly fantastic song filled with quiet-loud/stop-start explosions of expansive guitars, with the conscientious theme of people moving to the “land of opportunity” and losing their heritage in the process. What is Light? Where is Laughter? hits you in much the same way that Biffy Clyro’s Saturday Superhouse did the first time I heard it, and there are some beautiful turn-of-phrases in there, such as “I’m over and over and over and out” and is a genuinely great showpiece of what Twin Atlantic  are capable of doing between just the four of them. Audience and Audio is one of their previously released songs as well, but this too is a brilliantly emotive song, technical in its creation and engaging in its sound, whilst Better Weather is a fantastic album closer, starting off with the right kind of bang that an album should go out on, but also finishing with a beautifully crafted part of just simply guitar/vocal work. Just the right touch of both to end an album on.

Even though Vivarium is only 8 songs long and only clocks in at just over a half-hour, it’s still says as much about the band, their roots, their style and their ambitions as any full-length debut would, and proves that Twin Atlantic are definitely a band to watch out for in your local areas, especially if you’re into Biffy Clyro’s style of the strange and symphonic all at once!