Southend Music

Asylums: Camden Assembly, London

Southend’s Asylums celebrated their 5th birthday in style this past Friday at London’s Camden Assembly.  Supported by the raw talent of BLAB, the furiously entertaining Suspects and a certain breakout act of 2019, October Drift, it was a stark reminder just how fucking great the music scene in the UK is right now.

No one can touch Asylums on the pop-punk circuit right now. They check all the boxes of the greats with great hooks, melody and angst. However, it’s the lyrics which catapult them to another plain. Intelligent, witty and of the moment, Asylums can carry you to the mosh pit and lead you out the other side a better person.

‘Joy In A Small Wage’ is this generations ‘Live Forever’. Gallagher’s sentiment of ‘We’ll see things they’ll never see’ runs throughout. As fun as the sonics are, it’s the honesty and integrity of Luke Branch’s vocal delivery which cuts through the room. It almost makes Jarvis’ heyday look trite.  

Togetherness is thrown into disarray on ‘Napalm Bubblegum’. Worlds are torn down as their brand of cosmic guitar licks enter hyper drive. “This bubbles gonna blow” is putting it mildly. It erupted into a rabid frenzied attack of the senses.

With the success of their second album ‘Alien Human Emotions’, this was the perfect send of for the 2018 by the Essex outfit. Intimate but far reaching, feral but loving, Asylums have hit a groove that will surely win hearts and minds for a long time to come.

*Image courtesy of Rob Humm / Si Deaves / Thomas Prescott 

Get Cape Wear Cape Fly - Young Adult

Four years ago, Get Cape bid an emotional farewell to the moniker at the Forum. It was a celebration of all that was great about teenage escapism. The intervening years saw three albums released, two under his own name Sam Duckworth, and the other, ‘Baby Boomers 2’, a classic released under the name Recreations.

So, why the return? Why now? In short, Duckworth left London and returned to his native Southend. Sonically and lyrically, this album feels like Duckworth has come full circle from his debut ‘The Chronicles of Bohemian Teenager’ but, with sterner sense of wisdom only your thirties can bring.

Album opener ‘Adults’, closes with the spritely guitars and euphoric brass of the debut but lyrically, it’s a far more complex. Duckworth, wiser, can see through the political discourse around him but, like so many, is alienated by it all simultaneously. Amidst the confusion though, hope remains which is the true essence of Get Cape right?

The return to Essex takes a stark turn on ‘Man2Man’. A county where Thatcherism still reigns, this song details the cynicism and hypocrisy of the viewpoint. So often, social comment comes in the form of punk rock polemic. Here though, it’s within great melody, angelic backing vocals and a soaring urgency.

The Get Cape journey home isn’t always so clear-cut. ‘Always’ treads murkier paths of personal cataclysm. Meanwhile, ‘Scrapbook’ questions whether the teenage dreams have faded or the lack of freedom as an adulthood has taken its toll. Even in the darker moments, there is a sense of solidarity which breeds light and courage to up off the canvas.

‘Adults’ is not free flowing rock n roll music so, phrases like return of the King are unlikely to come Duckworth’s way. It is hard to view it in any other way. It’s a clarion call to all who have been forced out of city centres the world over that great art can come from anywhere.

It also highlights a remarkable clarity in song writing. There isn’t a track here which, if you took away the vocals, wouldn’t leave you thinking its anything other than a Get Cape song. The acoustic guitars, warming brass and intricate electronic production have and continue to serve him well. Make no mistakes though, this is no nostalgia trip.