Oversense: Egomania – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


German melodic metal outfit Oversense launch into a sweet, furious charge with the opening Toast To The Devil, coming complete with an awesome rocking chorus. The Longing is where an epic quality becomes present, mainly as a result of the symphonic direction and the use of grand vocal ensembles.

Be adds an extra punch with hammering drum beats and the like, and Herma of Sick N Beautiful sneaks in for an excellent accompanying appearance on the mic. My Eden is a swiftly paced heavy hitter and the most thunderous yet, and Tear Me Down has a noticeably darker, edgier feel to it, and the grungier singing matches that tone quite well.

Then we get hands down the best writing to this point with Love, which is emotional and melancholy and effectively garners sympathy, and it’d be a safe bet that a few listeners can relate to the themes of this one. Afterwards, the energy begins to empathically roar back with the colossal Faith, and the harmonically extravagant Ulli Perhonen is just plain great here

Rave In Hell infectiously kicks ass, with focal points including the prominent synths and the cool lyrics, then in a snap they fly straight into the blazing Antisocial with radical riffs galore. Memories is nice and sentimental, and the group go all in across all areas with the climatic Extinction.

The quartet’s second album Egomania is a breath-taking result defined by a magnificent scale which carries through each of the numbers that get your hairs on end and highly invested with little trouble.


Supa & Da Kryptonites: Nothing Lasts 4 Eva – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


The group bust out of the gates fast and furiously with Fight; Supa taking lead with his rhymes flying at such an impressively insane tempo that your head will be in a spin, but they reel back the pace to a satisfying medium for the title track, which features a chilled beat, and a solid production in general for that matter, while the lyrics hit the mark quite well.

Footprints In The Snow is another catchy song with a good chief hook courtesy of the wonderful KEL, and Supa particularly shines vocally as he gets open and personal, strongly bringing to life unfortunate private truths of a relationship that has fallen into tatters.

Following on from the aftermath of that is Hurting, which fitly captures a dark and depressive mood, especially with G Mungersdorf’s top notch performance involved, and completing the puzzle is I Understand Your Needs, serving as a necessary epiphany and in turn apology where wrongdoings are realised and admitted to, and huge changes are to be made.

Supa & Da Kryptonites have put aside their usual sound riddled with ska influences for a record that is focused more towards plain and simple hip hop, and the decisive result of Nothing Lasts 4 Eva is something more raw, transparent and story driven, and honestly, I consider it a welcome breath of fresh air as a mix up to their standard buzz-inducing material.


The Cocktail Slippers: Shout It Out Loud! – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


Norwegian troupe Cocktail Slippers are thoroughly proud of their feminine ways and rightfully celebrate that through their incredibly infectious music. Their latest album Shout It Out Loud sure isn’t any different in that fact.

In an instant, the ladies show off their personalities and carefree attitudes with the raw She Devil, mainly through their wonderful voices, while getting a major buzz flowing through the audience. Be The One begins calmly but quickly gains momentum and in time ends up rocking the joint, and City On Fire is the most energetic of the lot so far, headed by a bitching chorus.

The awesomely devilish vocals are the focal point of Say My Name and help it to stand out from the pack, plus it’s catchy as hell and has a juicy, head-bopping rhythm shipping it along, while You And I advances at a lucid tempo and is encapsulated within this thick, translucent ambience that is lusciously pleasing to the ears.

Night Train is bold and bubbly, and Like A Song Stuck In My Head is a fitting title because it’s sure to do as it says on the tin. I’ll Be Here For You is another warm ballad that is snug and holds you tightly with its wholesome, intimate writing. They return to the loud and large output with Excuse Me, before making their exit with a mighty bang via the contagiously feverish Hush.

The Cocktail Slippers’ most recent collection of tunes can be favourably compared to a massively fun, upbeat party that is a blast throughout, even including a few minutes dedicated to getting close and personal, so all in all, you get the complete package.


Rianne Downey: Fuel To The Flame – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


It takes little time and effort for Rianne to get you cosy in your seats as she commences with Stand My Ground, a pleasing upbeat tune with an infectious kick and a superb chorus highlighted by a dashing of excellent, fired up harmonies. Do Or Die has a wonderfully soft and suppressive guitar melody that is so easy-going beyond words, and naturally Rianne’s vocals emphasises said element.

Start Again is an incredibly wholesome song which practically serves as a two and a half minute therapy session, where Rianne encourages to not drag yourself down and feel bad about past events, but instead to get back on your feet and focus on building a positive future, fresher and more alive than ever before, and in a similar vein, the title track reiterates that life is indeed short and it’s best to move on and stray away from negativity.

It seems a little like beating a dead horse at this point, but the fact bears repeating that Rianne Downey is an outstanding artist who is capable of so much, especially if the superlative Fuel To The Flame EP is anything to go by. Give it time, and we may very well be seeing Scotland’s next major country-pop superstar unfold right in front of us.


Night Thieves: Spiral – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


English rock trio Night Thieves are a wonderful humble rock trio currently making the rounds and doing a solid job as of late. They’re worth checking out, and you can make a start by digging into their fresh new Spiral EP.

Atoned is an ideal starter course, coming equipped with the likes of raw and durable vocals, great riffs, a clanging rhythm section, and a nice chorus; the range of essentials you’d expect from an act of this description.

The energy continuously runs on healthy form with Off The Wire, which efficiently sways between calmer paced sections and the usual head-banging fare, with the hooks and attention-grabbing lyrics helping in that regard.

Each tune only gets better in quality, and that rings true for the third and final of the batch, Figure It Out, which has a cool, driving bassline punching through underneath, and at its whopping peak, this gets really catchy and aggressive, firing you up big time and eventually leaving you on cloud nine when it’s over.

While not going to go down as a staggering all-time classic obviously, Spiral still fits perfectly into the “simple but effective” category, with Night Thieves bringing their best to thrill and entertain the audience, with a hunger for more in the future.


Bemz: M4 – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


The intro track sets the scene very nicely, with Bemz making it clear that he has all the confidence in the world and will not hold back flashing his successes and his fellow teammates that stand loyally by his side.

Then with the M4 Freestyle, he kicks it into second gear with swift and snappy lyrics alongside the immensely talented X while the slick production matches the fiery pace.

The brisk tempo is maintained with Trappin, where Bemz and Just Easy are flat out spitting their intense breakneck verses deflecting the folk doing whatever they can to mess them about, with little respect for their honest grafting and grinding, and there’s an undeniable boosted layer of aggression with Know No Better.

In My Feelings is the most candid cut yet, with Bemz in tow with Washington being truthful about the different kind of person he becomes when stuck down the path of drugs and booze, and how he’s making the effort to avoid that in order to stay on the straight and narrow and achieve his goals.

On that note, His Story dives more into that absolute need to break the habit and be laser-sharp focused on breaking the glass ceiling, with Bemz making the most of the little he has available.

But with all the negativity tackled throughout this EP, he wraps up on a positive light via 26, reflecting on how far he has come, how grateful he is for the blessed life he has been guided to, and how he’s pushing himself to go all in for the sake for his family; his greatest priority.

Bemz made a definitive impact with Saint Of Lost Causes last year, showing off plenty of potential, but he has indisputably taken it to the next level with this record. Lyrically personal, emotionally deep and sonically ace, M4 is from bell to bell a superior product. Bemz is unmistakably right up there among the hip hop elite in Scotland as we speak, and things are only going to elevate from here on out for the chosen one.


Hamish Hawk: Heavy Elevator – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


Once every so often, an artist will come along and make one hell of a lasting impression with a record that they’ve unleashed to the world; sometimes doing such a good job that you’re happy to declare it one of the year’s finest long before it even comes to an end. Case in point: Hamish Hawk, and the spectacular Heavy Elevator.

Vivian Comma establishes early on that Hamish bolsters a rich, baritone voice which by itself is a major drawing element, and it blends impeccably with the quiet, atmospheric environment. Needs Improvements expands on the sound, namely giving us a more involved and melodic touch as well as Hamish’s vocals increasing in range, and the lyrics are simply wonderful and imaginative.

The latter are especially prominent and on full display to witness in Mauritian Badminton Doubles Champion, and it’s by this point where you are indisputably hooked by this album with no such desire to switch it off, then the personality continues to primely flow through in Bakerloo, Unbecoming, accompanied by a catchy beat and rushing guitars.

Your Ceremony is almost hypnotic in style, particularly with the additional gentle harmonies making their presence felt in the background, but in contrast, Caterpillar is viciously, addictively bouncy, with much owed to the freaking contagious bassline carrying the whole song along, and it only gets more mental as it proceeds, with Hamish going all out on the mic to some manic, off-the-wall proportions.

There’s no doubt that Daggers is considerably more reserved in nature and is another effectively written tune. Heavy Elevator itself is stripped down further still and manages to garner a few chills. Calls To Tiree is structurally simple but sticks with you with its memorable strumming chords, and last but certainly not least, we get the scopic and conclusive New Rhododendrons.

Heavy Elevator can be described in a variety of words: creative, smart, elegant, exciting, quiet, loud, and above all else, unforgettable. It’s not been until now where I’ve been truly appreciative of Hamish Hawk and his awesome talent.

Very few records in recent memory have blown me away to this degree, but he’s delivered that exact rare feat, and I hope a wider audience can experience that same remarkable sensation which I felt here.


Nicol & Elliott: Broken Eyes – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


When the duo of Nicol & Elliott stepped out with their debuting My Heart Will Wait, I claimed that they were “one of the most notable newcomers to the Scottish americana/country sphere”. They proved it then, they proved it again with The Storm, and now the third time’s the charm in a big way with Broken Eyes.

The title tune immediately seals the deal with it’s immensely infectious, grooving blues feel where the guitar chords are naturally cool and the strings just blend in seamlessly. The buzz continues along with Fade Away, which has a plucky, toe-tapping tempo, a bright, flowing melody, and fantastically engaged vocals.

Hard To Breathe is a little bit more reeled back but still just as wistful, with the instrumental performances and the writing checking off real nicely, and the smashing Going Down takes us home with a strong and memorable chorus on hand.

The initial two records from Nicol & Elliott, I really enjoyed, but in the case of Broken Eyes, this is the first of their releases which I can confidently say that I adore from top to bottom, where every song just fits tightly into piece and impresses with various qualities. The self-proclaimed folk-noir pair just keep getting better and better, and I’d like to think a full-length album is next on the horizon…


Life Model: Lost On Weekdays, Lonely By Sunday – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


I’ve been following Glasgow dream poppers Life Model for a good 6 or 7 years, but I feel like I’ve never given them enough of a spotlight in that timeframe, which is a travesty given their talents. Thankfully, with the recent drop of their latest effort Lost On Weekdays, Lonely By Sunday, I have the perfect excuse.

The early goings are quite strong as they play their way through Sit Still, with its enjoyable melody, nifty guitar chords and lovely vocals on hand to accommodate the listeners. Edith is laidback and whimsically misty in tone; the sound where Life Model shine their best; while also being accompanied by an utterly addictive chorus which will guarantee the words “backseat driver” won’t leave your head for days. The mood remains in a similar vein with Saskia, and the lyrics nail the emotional investment.

Walking Backwards is beyond lucid and luminous to begin with, donning such a fixating, velvety atmosphere which is only strengthened by the fantastic harmonies, then it transforms into something harder and ruggeder in the closing moments with a wave of distorted riffs, and they deliver one last dose of beauty with the tender and luring Blue.

Life Model’s newest record is undeniably their best work to date. Just about every element clicks here, and it’s so effective in whisking you away into a better place for its entire duration, bringing you back in a better and more comfortable state of mind.


Saving Jackie: It’s Critical – SMALL MUSIC SCENE


Since making their grand slam return in 2019, Texas rap-rock veterans Saving Jackie have had measurable success re-emerging into the spotlight and drawing new fans while maintaining the long-time supporters, and their greatest triumph yet following their homecoming has undoubtedly come in the form of their latest album, It’s Critical.

The title track is a bopping opener that kickstarts the energy to thrilling levels as soon as possible. It helps that Jenny is passionately feisty on the mic, and the chorus is a solid and catchy one.

Breaking Doors has a rougher and extra aggressive touch to it thanks to the rumbling bass tones and considerably more callow guitar riffs, and the highly devoted lyrics match up equally well.

Outlet, in the midst of some rad solos, emphasises the importance of trying that safe space to cleanse your bottled up negativity, and the tasty hook-riddled Sureness inspires to persevere in the face of doubt and other opposing influences.

The theme of holding true to your beliefs has been majorly recurring throughout this record, and it’s no more relevant than with My Faith Is Larger, where Jenny makes it crystal clear she is proud of the person she is.

And lastly, the coupling My Everything and Silence The Storm are decent cuts with sweet beats that do their best to carry forth the buzz right up to the end.

A great result from the group with a batch of heavy bangers featuring engaging content that you don’t even need to be a person from a religious background to necessarily enjoy, as the messages are still positive, and besides, you get plenty of sick grooves to keep you entertained anyway.

Sound-wise, it can be limiting, and it does begin to run a little out of steam in the later moments, but the faults aren’t that big of a deal, for the album as a whole is a mighty fine listen.