B-Leaguers ‘Death of a Western Heart’ Album Review

Going into this album, I barely knew anything about the group B-Leaguers. All I really knew about the group is that they are a self-proclaimed punk band from Lincoln. I love this approach going into unsigned music blind, because then I can give you guys the most accurate review without any prior complications. So let’s cut the waffle now and dive into the deconstruction of this album…

Wow. These guys are selling themselves short by saying they’re a punk band, they are so much more than that! This whole album possessed a maturity that I wouldn’t expect from a punk group; the instrumentals are varied and imaginative, the vocals powerful and recognisable, and the lyrics are creative and well phrased. It felt operatic at points as they hit me with this huge sound that I didn’t expect whatsoever. Also the album never relies on filler; each track felt valuable and necessary for the experience and that’s very rare.

Production wise the album is pretty solid. Usually punk tracks are frenetic and explosive without a care for how it effects the mix, but here everything seems to be dealt with well. Even in the more furious and fast paced sections of the album, I still feel like the mix holds strong; each word has diction and each note is well pronounced. The guitars have a decisive tone that rings out well despite the heavy distortion, the drums are deep and thunderous, the bass is wholesome and thick, and the vocals never whistle or create sibilance. The only errors here, are based around texture. Although only noticeable when looking for it, I just felt on occasion there would be a sequence where the drums didn’t quite mix with the bass creating a little shuffle (you’d have to be listening to the track very, very loud with multiple subwoofers to hear this).

Musicality wise, each track is quite brilliant. In prior posts on the site, the team here has commented on how British punk and pop punk has been dying due to an over-Americanised approach, here however, we get a unique band who are confident in their sound. Not once do they slip into sellout mode, but instead stick true to their immensely stylistic sound. The guitars have moments of real intelligence here even popping in the odd guitar solo; usually punk bands just strum away but these guys prefer to vary things which is more than welcome for me. Also, there are clean sections! Clean sections on a punk record, who’d of thought it would work so well! Why did they work so well? Well that’s because they were executed professionally in the right areas; the positioning on this track is great throughout. The vocal performance is also fantastic and definitely a highlight for me. The unique tone of the singer is left untampered with by post production which has allowed us as listeners to hear the character in the group so prominently. His melodies and frantic approach had me entertained throughout; it’s like Placebo grew some balls and belted out punk tracks at me.

Lyrically I really enjoyed each track. I found myself connecting with each and every lyric; the band never stooped to cliches and instead kept their integrity intact. In fact some lyrics portrayed the groups personality so well, that by the end of the record, it felt like I knew each and every member. I even chuckled every now and then; some tracks on this record had the best lyrics I’ve heard all month, that’s saying something.

So all in all, a brilliant album by a group that I will definitely be following from now on. Not only am I surprised, I’m thoroughly entertained; the fundamentals of this album are practically perfect, the record has done it’s job to a tee. For many music is about technicality, for many music is about expression, but for all listeners music is about having fun and enjoying yourself, that ideology is embodied here. A great showing by the group and I can’t wait to hear what they do next!

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