Album Review: “Church Of Scars” by Bishop Briggs

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Today I will be talking about an artist that like Scrvina and VÉRITÉ , that have basically only released singles and EPs since starting their music careers. I’m happy to say that Bishop Briggs has finally released her debut album! Of course, “Bishop Briggs” is not her real name! It’s actually Sarah, but I find the stage name to be really unique and seems to be a special to her as she is honoring her Scottish roots! Everybody that’s not familiar with that sentence is scratching their heads right now! Look at a map of Scotland and get back to me!

I’ve actually only listened to like three of her songs in the past. She’s had two EPs out, first in 2016 and the other came out in the middle of last year. I’ve been kind of excited to review this record for a while. I’d say her music is like indie pop, it’s light but not as obnoxious. The album was released on  April 20th!

So we start with “Tempt My Trouble” and I liked the pop-rock sound of the song itself, however, I felt as though I have heard the same guitar introduction before and unfortunately, I was a bit distracted by that similarity, but the song itself is really good! I had a hard time keeping myself from dancing to the beat on my bed. I’ve grown to love her voice, it has a deep quality but it’s also very cheery at the same time. Second is a song that might sound familiar with people as it’s been featured on different TV shows for promos, for me it was used as part of a dance on Dancing With The Stars in 2016 with actress Heather Morris and the other female dancers. “River” has an unique beat to it, it’s pop-y, but also has an urban vibe to it so I really love it. Next is “Lyin” and this has a sultry beat, kind of mimics “River” in a way, but it’s much softer compared to it.

We move on to “White Flag” and weirdly enough, this was the song that made me realize that we might have ourselves a new song out, and then I found out that not only did we get a new song but a whole album too! YouTube has its perks sometimes! I really like this track too! I like the sassy beat, and it showcases Bishop’s low and taunting kind of tone in her voice. I have heard this song over a hundred times and I really want her and ZZ Ward to do a song together! It has that western, but bluesy-soulful type of sound that ZZ brings out in her music too! Next there’s “Dream” and finally we have slower song. It’s not a full ballad, but if she did an acoustic version, it would sound so beautiful! It’s pretty like this too, but I’m really curious to hear it like that or just stripped of everything, and maybe add a louder choir in the background? I’m giving myself too many ideas!

The sixth song is “Wild Horses” and I like the acoustic beginning before the drum kicks in, and then all of a sudden before the choruses end, we have a small bass drop! And of course, that kind of helps seal the deal for me! We have “Hallowed Ground” next and I like the fun, quirky beat we have with this one. One thing that I’m starting to notice is that every song is meshing into one another, a part of me likes it, but then I also think there’s no room for individuality. If it wasn’t one little element that’s different in each song, the whole album would be the same! So next, we have “Water” and finally we have the kind of song I’ve wanted since I started this review. A ballad. I think Bishop has a real unique voice, she has a lot of range that I feel kind of gets lost in these cool beats, and this one you can really hear her at every angle, when she goes to do high notes, she has that old school, soulful tone that should be highlighted more often.

These are the last two songs off of the album, starting with “The Fire” and again, we go back on the uptempo train. I like it, but the longer I continue to listen to the album, the less of the difference of the sound in each song, but it’s still good nevertheless. And finally we have “Hi-Lo (Hollow)” and I’m glad it’s another slower, ballad-y type of track. You still have the soulful vibe, but you can hear more emotion coming out of your voice, because you can tell she’s kind of straining a bit, but I really love it. And the mild bass drop is nice too, it doesn’t take over to the slowness of the beat overall, but it’s a good balance.

I didn’t have any expectations with this album, but I hoped for more as far as changing up the beat of the songs. I know I said that basically every song sounds like the other, except for the occasional ballad, but I actually liked the album. It just had some little things that just bugged me. I’ve already recommended it to a couple of people already, so maybe they’ll agree or disagree with me.

What are your thoughts to “Church Of Scars” as a whole? Did you think it lacked individuality with each song or did you like the songs for what they were anyways? Do you have any favorites yet?

snowflake

 

Album Review: “The Storm” by ZZ Ward

19437444_10154388996340882_3300483539664199082_nLast year the bluesy pop singer ZZ Ward released an EP called “Love And War” and now she’s back with her second full length album “The Storm” which was released in early July! I didn’t even know she was going to put out another album until this sucker popped up on my Spotify one afternoon! I really do like ZZ’s combination of a bluesy, almost soul sound mixed with pop accents here and there. It’s really interesting!

So we’re going to start this now, track number one is “Ghost” and it starts off just like I wanted it to, very sultry and mysterious. It has a nice mellow groove, goes great with her high-pitched voice! If you’ve never heard of her music before because it’s not overpowering in any of the areas. It’s perfect. Second is “Cannonball” featuring Fantastic Negrito and it is so bluesy and I love it! I love hearing the guitars and faded out piano notes in the background. It’s soft and sexy! I also think this Fantastic Negrito is a perfect addition to the song. That’s another quality I love about blues music is that with the right melodies and vocalists, it will turn anybody on! Oh, and I love the harmonica! I definitely don’t hear that anymore! Third is “Help Me Mama” and I feel like I heard this before listening it for this review. This has more of a gospel-soul sound, which the title indicates that right away! At least it did for me.

Next is the title track “The Storm” and it starts out with a light piano and guitar with ZZ’s voice, though its pretty softer in this song. In fact, the entire track is pretty mellow but it’s not exactly a ballad. You can clearly hear an orchestra in the background and it has a couple of fiddles in there too! It’s very nice! Fifth is “Domino” featuring Fitz and I’m thinking it’s the same one from Fitz and The Tantrums and I was right! This one definitely has more of a pop song vibe to it. I’m fine with it, because I think it’s nice to take a break from one genre to create something else in the other, so it has a good balance so far! After that one is “Let It Burn” and we’re back on the sassy, country-blues sound again! Considering I’m not the biggest country fan, I’m still shocked this gets by! This one has some good bass in it, which freaked me out, but I like it! I hope this gets used on So Do You Think You Can Dance because I think somebody could do great things with this one! That’s all I’m saying!

This next one is called “Bag Of Bones” and it’s very quiet, there’s nothing really to it and I actually like it. She’s letting the lyrics guide you and vibe is allowing you sway back and forth. I really like the acoustic guitar towards the end. It gives it a nice edge. “She Ain’t Me” is next and I was very ecstatic to see that we’d have a breakup song on the album! If there wasn’t one or two on a blues album even I’d be concerned! However it has more of a pop song to it so that part kind of bummed me a bit, but it’s not all that bad. The harmonica pops back into this one but I think I liked it more in the other song.

We’re almost done, the ninth track is “If U Stayed” and we finally have ourselves a ballad! It’s only her with her guitar and piano. It’s a breakup song, but it’s also gentle and very sweet at the same time. Next is “Hold On” and we’re on the upbeat train again, but it doesn’t sound obnoxious like I freaked it would be as second to last songs tend to be, which isn’t a bad thing. I usually like them. The last song is “Ride” and it features Gary Clark Jr. It was also featured on the soundtrack for the Disney animated film Cars earlier this year! That should have been my indication that ZZ was coming out with new music right there! Anyways, it has a good beat, very pop-y and a little bit bluesy. What more can you ask for?

I always look forward to new music by artists and bands, but once I hear a good album I tend to become very picky. Sometimes I want to hear something different from that person(s) because I think music should evolve and I don’t like seeing an artist being held back and stuck in the same genre and singing the same words over and over again. However, there are some were I do love the music they create enough that I don’t want them to change so much. I mean, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So I think ZZ’s second album is amazing and I think it’s one of my favorite albums to come out this year! If you’re counting, that’s two so far!

Are you a fan of ZZ Ward’s music? Have you listened to “The Storm” yet? What were your thoughts?

snowflake

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EP Review: “Love And War” by ZZ Ward

Back in 2012, I kept hearing a song playing on an advertisement of a show. The new seasons were about to start back up again after being off for whatever break, but I could not get this song to go away. It was everywhere! So finally I got the title and artist’s name and I began my search on finding more about this person. ZZ Ward was her name and the song was called “Put The Gun Down.” If anybody that is reading this right now, you know how much I love two genres mixing together and I L-O-V-E-D this freaking song! It wasn’t what I normally heard on the radio and at that time, I was in deep with rock/metal so I barely listened to anything in the pop category unless it was forced. Justin Bieber? Yeah, that was forced.

My love for ZZ Ward was pure and oh my god, did I love it! Describing the sound of the music she makes is a mixture between three genres in one: R&B, rock, and blues. Music is supposed to take you away from your problems in your day or life. I’ve unfortunately have had a rough time finding that kind of music to take me away from all of it. When I was into symphonic metal, I had a lot to choose from but once I started exploring other genres the chase to find the perfect escape became a harder thing to come by. ZZ Ward is one of the few that helped me. So I’m excited to find she’s got this new EP out for all her fans to listen and find some peace in their lives again. Something tells me these four songs are only just the beginning…

I first heard “Love 3X” not through Spotify, but on Sirius XM The Pulse and I listened to it ironically enough three times. I loved it! Love is a tricky thing! I love the feel good sound of this song, it sounds happy but not like in a pop song kind of way though! It has the sound of a good new modern jazz-pop sound that’s perfect for these younger generations to enjoy! Since I love hearing those older songs from Frank Sinatra, this is a bit tamer but I still love it the same as the others! For the next one “Lonely” I didn’t like it at first but once I realized how stupid I was, I quickly changed my opinion! I love the sassy intro, her deep almost twangy tone of her voice is beautiful for the chorus! I love the low beat, sounds like a good blues like sound. It has a nice groove to it and makes you want to dance a little bit.

In every album, EP out there. There’s always a ballad and “Rescue” this is ZZ’s version. I don’t want to call her it a “ballad” because it’s still very much upbeat but the vocals and lyrics can make it that way.  In the beginning it does sound like a normal ballad, but when the song continues it actually changes direction in the tempo. I love the addition of the full band, love the horn section! Ugh! A little bit before four minutes in, that song has ended but you get a sound of a door opening. It’s basically like a little skit before the next song starts, I’ll always loved these things! All of a sudden, you hear a very loud harmonica and it’s the most random thing ever and then it stops and last song called “Marry Well” plays and you can hear it play again with cymbals, bass guitar, drums… It’s all yummy! At three minutes in fifty-one seconds, the tempo changes once again but she is singing something it is too distorted to make out unfortunately! Something that I’ve always loved about ZZ’s way of putting her words together in the songs, is that she doesn’t give a shit if she curses or not! I feel it’s not a sense of rebelling, but I think if you are writing a song about love and the bad sides of it, you’re gonna want to release some of the anger that might be building up or things maybe you wished you could have said if they’re already gone. Trying to hold everything in doesn’t help very much, trust me!

Well, are you a ZZ Ward fan? How did you come across her music? What do you like about her new EP?