On this collection of unreleased or otherwise-unnoticed songs, Sundials demonstrate that 90s-rock-influenced punk bands needn’t be boring. The band exhibits less of their indie college rock influence and instead brings the pop-punk; the homage to Alkaline Trio extending beyond the cover art. Their last album didn’t do much for me, so I’m surprised how much I appreciate ‘Always Whatever’. You’ll find the tracks worming their way into your head and providing the soundtrack to your day. Predictably the record doesn’t flow as an album, but the tracks will be brightening up playlists for years to come.
Chewing on Tinfoil aren’t the first punk band in the last few years to graduate from ska beginnings, but Marrowbone Lane could make them a contender for the most successful transition (…The Flatliners?). It isn’t just the Dublin accent that sets this band apart; their rhythm-driven punk style is relatively unique and succeeds in holding together a wide variety of styles and influences. The album swings from energetic punk rock to more sensible pop melodies and indie riffs, folky twangs and the occasional sing along chorus for good measure. Start to finish, there isn’t a wasted track on here.
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Yalla Yalla serves ‘Beirut street food’. The place was buzzing when we stopped for lunch, though service was quick. We punted for 4 mezze dishes for two of us; each costing £4-5. Good choice for veggies. Dishes were a nice size and 4 was plenty. I sampled the falafel, spinach fatayer and vine leaves. The chunky, spicy falafel and refreshingly lemony vine leaves made for a tasty meal, but the spinach fatayer was dry and weirdly sweet. Without houmous or baba ganoush, it was all a little too dry, which resulted in us guzzling some nice lemonades from their selection.
Society condemns the poor. But people can rise above their means and be vindicated by society. The premise of Les Misérables will never expire. The social ills of today differ only marginally from those of Hugo’s epoch, and the story’s pertinence will never wane. Hugo’s writing is inspiring and poetic throughout. The descriptions of love – for one’s child, one’s sweetheart, one’s freedom, one’s country – are incredibly moving. Confronted with these 531,000 words, it certainly helps to be a bit of a Francophile with a general interest in history. Nevertheless, I challenge anyone not to be enlightened by this extraordinary book.