The Alchemy are back with their third album this week. I have to admit, outside of the name and the stuff I’ve found on Spotify, I have absolutely no idea what to expect here. But hey, going in blind is always fun, right? Let’s dive right in!
A HUGE sound opens ‘Birdsong’, the high production value being evident immediately. It’s a wall of sound that builds perfectly but doesn’t at all feel too overpowered like it can tend to. We head into a stripped-back verse, the vocals sounding perfectly over the top of the simple drums and bass. The chorus soon comes in, another awesome riff behind it, the drums fitting perfectly behind it, and the vocals being infectiously catchy. The backing vocals are awesome and main riff is a real earworm. It feels very Lower than Atlantis in the best ways. The bridge is simple yet effective, dropping down and building up to a huge final chorus. It’s a fantastic way to open the album and introduce themselves to new listeners!
‘Lovesick’ continues the epic feel and sound and production, as well as another awesome main riff. It follows a similar formula to the previous track, a stripped back verse leading into a huge, arena-filling chorus. Again, the vocal harmonies and multi-track are a big highlight. Also, the slightly heavier approach to the bridge was great. If it had quietened down at first, it could have almost been a breakdown! It’s a really great track and easily makes it onto our playlist!
The album slows up a bit for its title track, it having more of an electronic, almost You Me At Six feel. The emphasis shifts from the big crunchy riffs and even more onto the insanely catchy vocals. It feels a bit more pop/indie than the previous stuff. It’s not quite as much my sort of thing, but it’s still a banging, very catchy song!
The same could be said for ‘True Love’s a Waste of Time’, ‘Real Life’ and ‘Sun Bleached’. It’s kind of a tale of two halves, as there are heavier tracks and riffs later on like the amazing ‘Brothers’ and the dark, closer ‘Hollywood’. Both tracks are amazing and real highlights of the album for me personally. It’s really interesting to bookend the album with the bigger sounds and riffs, leaving the poppier, more indie stuff in the middle. It’s really interesting and well put together honestly, and I feel like I’ve taken a journey listening to it through.
Also on the album is single and acoustic ballad, ‘Summer’. It gives me early 2000’s vibes, very Incubus, 311 or even Everlast. It’s a beautiful and incredibly well written song. The vocals are pitch-perfect and full of emotion, and the simple instrumentation behind it is amazing. And the band still manage to squeeze in some of their off-the-charts vocal harmonies, making it all somehow even better. This is not only one of the best tracks on the album, but easily one of the best ballads of the year I’ve heard. Fucking awesome stuff.
‘Normal People’ returns the band to the higher pace rock vibe, and it can’t be just me that hears U2 a lot in here? Between the huge sound, the style of guitaring and the vocal melodies, it really reminded my of Bono and co. Surprisingly enough too, I’m not particularly a U2 fan but I LOVED this. It’s the biggest, most radio-friendly chorus on the album, and the ‘woh’s following the guitar melody is a genius idea. And the bridge, while simple, is amazingly effective and still pretty heavy. Another track that easily makes its way onto our playlist!
Finally, ‘Glass Houses’ has a very early 2000s Red Hot Chili Peppers feel to it. It has elements of rock, funk and indie all mushed together, and it’s a really interesting sound. It’s another simple yet incredibly effective track too. The chorus is awesome, and that riff that kicks in after the choruses are heavy. It’s a lot of fun and another track I’d highly recommend listening to.
Overall: This is an awesome album! I had no idea what to expect heading into it, but I’m hugely impressed by what I found. The production throughout is top notch and the songwriting and playing is phenomenal. Sure, there were a couple of tracks that didn’t resonate with me as much as the others, but there is a LOT I love on this album. And, as a whole as I’ve said already, it’s incredibly well put together. These guys have hit their stride with this album, and I can see it pushing them far!
The Score: 8.5/10