SMS #1 | As December Falls



It was 2014 when Nottingham pop rock band As December Falls came to be, and very quickly they established themselves as one of the hottest new acts to emerge from the city, only getting better with each passing year.

In 2018, with an EP and a live album to their name already, they concocted to produce their first full-length record, and after what has felt like an eternity of waiting, they are just days away from unleashing it to the world, and we can proudly say that those who have been highly anticipating it since it was announced are going to love the results.

On The Edge makes for a great starter to set the bar, and naturally they throw in more of their previous singles including Ride, More To You and One More Night, all running off a high-level energy and defined by enjoyably catchy choruses, and their latest one No Money is definitely a highlight, with it’s strikingly engaging hooks that make it perfectly suited to be played at gigs and sung to an audience.

They even revive the classic Don’t Say A Word, and it’s just as awesome as ever, but of course there are plenty of new additions. Ones like Do You Remember, Zombie and Tired have such appealing, zealous melodies, while others such as the sweet I Don’t Mind go in a more mature, emotional direction, and succeed in doing so.

Bethany brings her A-game with simply astonishing harmonies that have this intense power behind them and get the hairs standing on end. The zealous dual riffs from Ande and Will are as polished as they come, the bass work from Timmy is on form and Lukas’ drumming is top-notch.

Given just how loaded to the brim this album is, we had concerns that it would suffer from repetition or a case of quantity-over-quality, but thankfully that is not the reality whatsoever. As December Falls’ self-titled album is an entertaining rollercoaster all the way through that represents their talents to the best degree possible, and it will undeniably go down as a major musical highlight of the year for us.




Folk quartet Sister John have long stood as one of indie label Last Night From Glasgow’s most notable acts, having first made a big impression with Returned From Sea back in 2017, and now they’re kicking off the year with their highly anticipated self-titled sophomore effort.

Amanda is generally an elegant vocalist and she even has spots where she displays a sharper edge, but she never fails to show conviction through her voice. Heather and Sophie, on top of providing their nice harmonies now and again, are equally a really unified rhythm and string section, and Johnathan is a fantastic guitarist as always.

Among the highlights from the consistently strong line-up of songs on offer, I’m The One and Nothing Else are catchy ditties, Waiting On The Sun and Silver Whistle perfectly build into grand tracks, and the pairing of Lost And Won and Love Me Or Not are gripping pieces that forge these immensely pulling atmospheres.

On the run up to the release of this album, we were promised something special, and this is definitely special. A tremendous work of art that is engrossing from both a musical and lyrical standpoint, and it will almost certainly rank as one of the finest Scottish records to have seen the light of day in 2019.

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GALLUSDon’t Be Shy

The Glasgow-based indie punk five-piece haven’t been together a full 2 years yet, and already they have established themselves as one of the city’s most promising acts currently on the rise, having especially generated a buzz around them throughout 2018, and now they are put to the ultimate test with the release of their debut EP – Don’t Be Shy.

Their latest single Looking Like A Mess is a ripe choice for the opener, as it sparks an instant energy and gives us a cracking chorus with a wild vibe and lyrics that immediately stick, and thankfully they keep that pace going through the reminder of the record, with the aforementioned qualities remaining constant, while the vocals are pretty robust, the guitars are electrifying, and the rhythms are just mental.

With a blistering off-the wall energy surrounding the whole thing, Gallus’ first output is nothing short of a belter that is insanely good on all fronts, only getting better each time we choose to stick it on.

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While Nottingham outfit Shadows Like Strangers came to official fruition in 2018, it was a project being built from the ground up since 2014 by frontman Jezza, and his vision has become fully realised with their debut album – Cali.

A pulse is ignited from the get-go as they kick off with the catchy Counterpart, and it rarely dulls down as they progress, running off a spirited energy and dishing out memorable, lively choruses more often than not sandwiched between sweet, melodic verses.

Jezza brings the great writing to life through his excellent vocals, while Scott keeps himself occupied with a slick showing on the guitar, and Dan and Paul help to form the fine rhythms on the bass and kit respectively.

Chock full of highlights such as Night Vision, Love Again, It Doesn’t Matter At All, and the best of the lot A Way Home, this is a record that is equally poppy as it is rocking, giving it that extra touch of depth to complete what is a smashing first effort from these folk, who we will be keeping an eye on as 2019 goes along.

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RCKLSSSo Cynical

Hailing from the musically-rich city of Brighton, RCKLSS have been on the go for a number of years and describe themselves as “heavy pop”, leaning mostly towards pop-punk. Since forming in 2016, they’ve been going from strength to strength as they’ve developed their craft, and now feeling ready to do so, they’re here with their long-awaited debut record – So Cynical.

Upfront, their sound hooks us in – certainly being both heavy and poppy as promised – and the tracks are fueled by this great, dynamic energy, especially the opening number Every Time, and this becomes a regular aspect as they chug along, except when those moments where they tone it down for something more low-key, i.e. Struggle.

The performances are pretty good overall from all members, with Matty taking lead with passionate harmonies, Lewis shining on the guitar, and a mixture of solid bass tones and drumming from Laurence and Josh. The writing is a key element, touching upon a variety of emotions as best showcased in Tell You and Sorry For Trying.

The guys claim that they felt like they had something to prove with this EP, and we feel they’ve proved themselves to be a worthwhile commodity. So Cynical is an enjoyable compilation that gives us plenty of reasons to revisit it time and time again.

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DEAD COYOTESWhere Demons Dance

2016, Glasgow. Two lads named Rory and Stephen get together to form a rock band. In time, they are joined by Dom and Calum. They are Dead Coyotes. Fast forward to 2019, a new EP hits the digital shelves, named Where Demons Dance.

The four showcase their skills with a trio of grooving rock tunes that shine with tasty, thumping bass chords, potent drum beats and cracking riffs, with each subsequent track only getting all the better in quality; Post Sordidum serving as a wild climax to cap off a short yet satisfying record.

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LO RAYSUnstable Air

Lo Rays are still fairly fresh on the Scottish scene but are doing a lot to put themselves on the radar, and their recently released debut EP – Unstable Air – is the finest possible introduction to the group we could have asked for.

Laura is one of the most impressive vocalists that we have had the pleasure of discovering lately, bringing forth this real brutish attitude through her voice like few others can. The rest of the band hold their own too, creating some tantalisingly raw tracks driven by aggressive rhythms that dig into the eardrums; Bare Hands and the awesome 2 Variables being the go-to highlights in that regard.

After a few listens, we’ve quickly fallen in love with Lo Rays, and we have little doubt that they’ll continue to grab the attention of more folk.

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