Comic Review: ARXX – ‘Not Alone But Not With You’

The latest in our ‘Comic Reviews’ feature – where illustrator Sally-Anne responds to a new release with her wonderfully unique drawings – we check out the brand new single from total faves, Brighton duo ARXX. Following acclaim from the likes of John Kennedy, BBC Radio 1’s Jack Saunders and BBC 6Music’s Steve Lamacq for latest catchy alt-pop anthem ‘Deep’, they have now shared another gritty, yet reflective, and unapologetically honest offering – ‘Not Alone But Not With You‘.

Arxx

Of the track, vocalist/guitarist Hanni explains:

You know that sadness or guilt you feel when you’re surrounded by people you love but you are just missing that other person? Maybe it’s a loved one you’ve lost, maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s a partner. This last year has been different for everyone but we’ve all had people we’ve missed.” 

‘Not Alone But Not With You’ is out now. Catch ARXX on their upcoming UK tour – tickets here.

Sally-Anne Hickman
@sallyshinystars

Photo Credit: Bridie Florence

Track Of The Day: CIEL – ‘Never Alone Again’

A snapshot of uncertainty filtered through hazy guitars and soft melancholic vocals, Brighton trio CIEL have shared their latest single ‘Never Alone Again’. Inspired by front-woman Michelle Hindriks’ own experiences of feeling isolated, the track is a gentle reflection on the darker moments of life and an honest attempt to make peace with the past.

“Sometimes I spend quite a long time crafting the lyrics for a certain song. This wasn’t the case for ‘Never Alone Again’,” Hindriks explains. “The lyrics were just there, like they appeared out of nowhere, but they were accurately reflecting my feelings at the time. It’s quite scary to me to release this song into the world as the lyrics are very personal and intimate. I never really speak much about these feelings from the past to people around me – even close friends. But it’s the reason why this song feels really close and honest to me. It’s a part of my life’s story. I think it’s important to actually be able to speak about these subjects more openly in our society.”

In these heightened times of isolation and separation, CIEL’s new track provides a tender moment of comfort and relief, acting as a gentle reminder that loneliness is only a temporary state.

Listen to ‘Never Alone Again’ below.

 

Follow CIEL on InstagramTwitterFacebook & Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Ryan Deag

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: ĠENN – ‘Liminal’

Made for playing loud, Brighton-based genre-blenders ĠENN have released Liminal, an extended play that takes us on an audible journey of post-punky psychedelia. Following the release of their debut record, 2018’s Titty Monster (released under their previous name, Cryptic Street), ĠENN left their Maltese archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea to shoegaze at the British seaside, crafting six tracks that clearly define their transition to a more free-flowing sound, whilst still staying intrinsically true to their DIY punk-rock ethos.

Opening with ‘Feel’, Leanne Zammit’s funky basslines and Leona Farrugia’s ethereal vocals build to a hypnotic hazy, wavy kaleidoscopic conclusion of psychedelic instrumentation; perfectly encapsulating all the elements of seventies acid rock such as The Doors. Next up, Janelle Borg hooks us in (pun intended) with a cacophony of melodic guitar riffs on ‘Mackerel’s Funky Mission’, whilst Leona’s seductive spoken word escapism is steeped in mesmerising, rolling percussion, courtesy of Sofia Rosa Cooper. It’s fun to pretend you’re something else, so why not pretend to be a fish?

’23rd March’ – a date we here in the UK will not reflect upon with any warmth – forces us back to reality with passionate lyrics concerning the current political landscape, written in the style of Maltese expression. Leona prays for the souls of an inept Government and their failure in handling Covid-19, Brexit and Black Lives Matter. “I’m just gonna say a lil’ prayer for your soul / Yeah, we ain’t gonna stop ’cause you told us so!”

Chants for revolution see ĠENN exploring darker territories with the more politically direct and raw ‘Catalyst’; a furious combination of scuzzy guitar riffs, rumbling beats, and anthemic, indignant Riot Grrrl lyrics rallying for change: “We’re awake now / Stay awake now!”

‘Just Another Sad Song’ follows with a slow burn of emotionally-driven melody, making way for Janelle’s guitar to flourish – a tender moment further showcasing the versatility of the band – before ‘Falling Out’ concludes Liminal with an upbeat fusion of fuzzy basslines, grungy guitar licks, disco-influenced percussion, and a catchy Warpaint-esque chorus that will stay with you long after the needle is lifted.

With Liminal, ĠENN have produced an infectious record that frequently flirts with psychedelia and flows with pop sensibilities; 22 minutes of raw, escapism-fuelled post-punk – worthy of repeat spins – that displays the passion and confidence of a band not afraid to experiment with their sound without compromise. “Take me to my destination / You know where I wanna go!”

Liminal is out now via Everything Sucks Music.

Ken Wynne
@ken_wynne

Photo Credit: Bridie Florence

LISTEN: Joanna and the Dropouts – ‘Bad News’

‘Bad News’ by Brighton-based Joanna and the Dropouts is a breath of fresh air. With its rather addictive opening riff, garage drums and retro Wurlitzer-style keys, it transports you to a stupidly fun world of badass b-movies – and, in times like this, that’s a pretty wonderful place to be.

Singer Joanna’s cool vocals drip with attitude, channelling the Cramps’ Poison Ivy, as she sings about having her heart broken. Yet despite the subject matter, her anger and directness make ‘Bad News’ more of a battle cry than a pity party.

The song’s raw and dirty production, which makes it sound like it was recorded in a (probably haunted) basement somewhere, seals the deal and makes ‘Bad News’ feel like a proper rockabilly anthem. It’s nostalgic, but with a kick-ass attitude that brings it bang up to date. And I’m gonna have that riff stuck in my head for days!

‘Bad News’ is out now. Listen on Spotify.

Vic Conway