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I was not surprised that Kids in Glass Houses followed up their last album with this awesome effort.
There rock/punk/pop style of music really comes together in this album to form what I believe is a really special album for them. Songs such as 'Matters at all' and 'Undercover Lover' received a lot of airplay on many radio stations and music channels.
Songs on the album such as 'Artbreaker I and II', 'Sunshine' and 'Hunt the Haunted' show that they can successfully produce loud music which actually sounds good. 'Undercover Lover', featuring Frankie Sandford from the Saturdays, is a good example of what to expect from this album, which is a mixture pop-punk tracks and harmonious rock melodies, such as 'Giving up'.
Fans of their previous album will hopefully enjoy this latest offering as the songs are very similar to what we have come to expect from the band. Track 10 'Maybe Tomorrow' illustrates a much harder edge to the band, deterring away slightly from the pop punk style of music to focus more on a much faster rock sound.
The cover art for the album is somewhat intriguing and pleasing on the eye. Not much more can be said of the cover.
Overall I have to say this is one of my favourite albums, a mixture of all that is good to do with the band. I am not going to explain every song, I instead leave it to the reader to read this short synopsis and decide where it is for them.
Two weeks ago, I had never heard of Kids in Glass Houses before, and then I heard their new song 'Undercover Lover' on Radio 1 and was hooked. I was raving about it at a friend's house, and they went straight to their CD shelf and pulled out this CD and told me to listen to it, because it's amazing. The CD is their second album, released back in March 2010, and it is called 'Dirt'. I wasn't too sure about listening to it, as it's very rare that you hear one song and like the whole album, that being said, I took out my Glee CD and popped this CD into my car stereo and for the last two weeks have been listening to this album on and off.
Kids In Glass Houses are a rock band from Cardiff, and I read on Wikipedia that they got their name from the Glassjaw song 'Tip Your Bartender', who sung the lyrics 'not throwing stones at you anymore'. Of course this is Wikipedia so it might not be 100% true.
The lead singer is called Aled Phillips, and throughout the review I will be writing KIGH instead of their full name as it's a lot to write and takes up a lot of unnecessary space.
The first track called 'Artbreaker I' is not something that I would really enjoy listening to usually, it starts off rather soft, and quiet, so don't do what I did and turn up my stereo as I thought there was a problem with the CD. The song comes into full force about 35 seconds in, and the rest of the song is very powerful. Aled Phillips has a very good voice, he is straining to be heard throughout this track, but the little bits are fantastic and he does a good job. After just hearing the track 'Undercover Lover', I wasn't expecting this sort of music, and I'm afraid I skip it when I listened to it again in the car.
The next track 'The Best Is Yet To Come', is the sort of track I was expecting to listen to on the album, it's very different from the previous track, and it's quite nice to listen to. I think this will be another single for KIGH, as it's very catchy and it's a joy to listen to in the car, because it makes fantastic use of my speakers. I think the reason why I like this song, is because Aled's voice is really strong and doesn't feel overpowered like it does in the previous song. It's a very upbeat track like the previous track, and I'm sure a lot of people will enjoy listening to this.
'Sunshine' is the third track on the album, and I was really put off the first time I heard this song, as it's takes ages to get into it, and then Aled uses his falsetto voice which for me wasn't great the first time around, but after a few more listens it's a very nice track. I think this track could also be released as a single and do very well. Aled's vocals despite the falsetto at the beginning are fantastic, and very unique, it's a slower track to the previous two, but still remains upbeat, and is a real joy to listen to.
The second single released off the album 'Matters At All', is the next track up, and I have actually heard this track before, without making the connection. I love Aled's vocals in this track; they are beautiful and really work with the song. It's got a lot slower pace than previous tracks, but still remains in the rock genre and when you learn the lyrics it's a lot of fun to listen to in the car and sing along to, as the lyrics are just fantastic as the rest of the song. One of the best on the album so far without a doubt.
If I've read it rightly the next track is the first single off the album and it's called 'Youngblood (Let It Out)' and it's another one that I really love listening to. Aled's voice is very strong in the verses, he seems to have many sides to his vocals, as he is able to hold off the start of the song which felt almost pop(ish) to me, and then in the chorus, he lends his husky vocals to the song, which makes it sound very rockish and just makes the whole song gel together. One of my favourites on the album, and the first one I think, which really shows off Aled's vocals to their full potential.
Next up is the track called 'Lilli Rose', and I knew from the first bit that I was going to enjoy this song, the track at the beginning is overdubbed which makes it sounds fantastic, and again like the first track be careful not to turn up your stereo or your ears will be blown off when it gets into the scheme of things. A nice song, but nothing compared to a few of the others on the album.
With the next track 'Giving Up', I was praying for the song to be really slow and to really show a different side to the band, but after a little bit the drums join in and it goes straight to a rock track that we've heard before on the album. That's not saying it's not a good, but I think they've missed an opportunity here to show a different dimension to the band. Aled's vocals are very strong on this track however, I think this is the first one that shows off his voice to the best, as it is a lot slower than the others on the album, and doesn't overshadow his voice at all.
'For Better of Hearse' for me sounds like a track which should be on a Scouting for Girls album rather than KIGH as it just sounds like a copy of their songs in my opinion. This one doesn't really seem to do anything for me, as it's just a bit too poppy on this 'alternative rock' album. Aled's vocals in places are fantastic though, which makes up for it a little bit, but I've only listened to this track a few times because it just doesn't fit.
The next track on the album is I believe the third single and the reason why I borrowed the album in the first place, 'Undercover Lover' is a very different track from the others on the album, mainly because Aled is joined by a female vocalist called Frankie Sandford. I really adore this track; I have to say it sounds better on a fantastic pair of speakers rather than the tinny headphones I'm listening to it now on. It deserves the best, so please make your decision after listening to it on good speakers, as it gives a whole different meaning to the song. Aled and Frankie's vocals work fantastically well together, I think in my opinion that this is the best track on the album without a doubt, and so far none of the others have compared to how much I like this track. Just beautiful to listen to, and the lyrics are pretty awesome as well.
'Maybe Tomorrow' is another upbeat track, and for me after the brilliance of Undercover Lover it pales in comparison, and I always find myself quite disappointed when listening to it. That being said it works brilliantly on its own and it's a nice little track, just nowhere near the standard of the previous track.
'The Morning Afterlife' is the track that my mate played for me, to convince me to borrow the album as she knew it would be my type of song. Compared to the rest of the track, this could be called a 'ballad' and for me it works, because Aled's vocals are just beautiful to listen to, and the whole song is so well produced and kept simple that I would willingly listen to this track over and over again. The song builds up slowly throughout, but generally it is quite a slow tempo song, and very different from the rest on the album. After Undercover Lover this is my favourite track on the album so far, if you want to hear stunningly beautiful vocals, a well produced track and some beautiful lyrics this track is for you. I will say that at nearly 6 minutes long, it's quite a long song to listen to, but it really is beautiful in my opinion.
After the softness of the previous track 'Hunt The Haunted' is very different and it always seems to shock me when the track transforms to the next one. Aled uses his falsetto voice again, but this time this track really works with his falsetto and the track as a whole is powerful and really shows off Aled's voice to the best.
The last track on the album is called 'Artbreaker II' and for all of you very observant readers, you should remember that the first track on the album is called Artbreaker I. This track follows in the footsteps of the first track, and is a brilliant way to end the album, the fact that they've taken one song, and almost split it in two, and then put the others in the middle as a 'filling' works brilliantly with this album and as the first song was a brilliant intro, this track is a brilliant end to a good album.
With this stunning summer weather we've had over the last few weeks, this album has been a great addition for me, and I have had a lot of fun listening to it on my car stereo with the windows down and listening to Aled Phillip's vocals which are truly fantastic.
I know that KIGH supported Lost Prophets on their tour, so I'm sure if you like Lost Prophets that this band is for you, they also remind me of the brilliant 30 Seconds to Mars, and in quite a few places on the album Scouting For Girls and a little bit of Automatic. They are an all round band, and they do seem to cater for quite a few peoples' tastes in music, you're not going to like all of the songs on the album because of this, but for me the songs they shine in are the slower ones, when Aled Phillips get's to show off his amazing vocals.
I do think that KIGH's main fault is the fact that to be honest, this is nothing new and I've heard it all before in many of the bands mentioned above. It has all been done before, but I don't think there is a vocal out there like Aled Phillips, and considering before Undercover Lover I had not heard the name Kids In Glass Houses, it's a real shame, because he really does have something special and songs like Undercover Lover and The Morning Afterlife really show off his vocals to the best.
Undercover Lover which I have just been told by my younger sister features someone called Frankie Sandford, whom shot to fame in the band S Club 8 and more recently The Saturday's. I love S Club 7, but by the time S Club 8 came around I wasn't interested so have no idea who she is, but she seems to have a good little voice and it works brilliantly with Aled's. Apparently she's also in a band called The Saturday's as well, which means absolutely nothing to me, but it might interest a few of you reading this review.
All in all, this album is a great little summer album, and for me, the shining star of the whole album has to be their lead singers vocals which are just stunning, and in most songs just beautiful to listen to. I think that there are definite stand out tracks on the album, I actually prefer the slower tracks, whereas I know a lot of people will prefer the heavier, rockier tracks on the album. It really does seem to be an album which fits quite a lot of people, as it is a mixture of pop, alternative rock and a little bit of heavy rock in places as well. It is a joy to listen to in the car, where my speakers are pretty good, and Undercover Lover really sounds a lot better in the car for some reason as well.
At the moment you can get 'Dirt' for £6.99 on Amazon and Play, which for me is a little bit more than I would have been willing to pay for the album at the moment, especially considering that I have only kept 5 tracks I believe on my ITunes after giving the CD back to my friend. If this is your type of music and or you liked their previous album Smart Casual, then this album will probably be for you and at this price I'm sure it's worth it for a lot of people.
I enjoyed quite a few of the songs, but as a band, they are not that original, and in quite a few places, I think they forget what makes them slightly different from other bands, and that is Aled Phillips voice, which in a few tracks gets overshadowed. Please take a listen to some of the songs on YouTube before purchasing as always to make sure you think it's worth it.
Hope this helps.
(C) Kirsty 2010
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Best Is Yet To Come, The
4 Matters At All
5 Youngblood (Let It Out)
6 Lilli Rose
7 Giving Up
8 For Better Or Hearse
9 Undercover Lover
10 Maybe Tomorrow
11 Morning Afterlife, The
12 Hunt The Haunted