5 Albums That Shaped Me – BERRIES

Based in London, BERRIES are a alt-rock trio that pack big riffs and destructive beats. Their latest release ‘Copy‘ was a scuzzy grunge inspired wall of noise that boasted intricate guitar licks and a huge energy. We relally wanted to know what inspired that unique BERRIES sound, so we asked the band to give us 5 of the albums that shaped their sound, here it is, 5 Albums that shaped BERRIES:

Nirvana – ‘Nevermind’ 

This was the first album I bought myself with my own pocket money and definitely the first album where I sat and listened to every single track and then put it straight back to number 1 and listened all over again and again and again. I decided I would teach myself to play the ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ solo on my acoustic guitar and sat for hours and learnt it. And it was pretty much the best feeling ever. 

Every track stands entirely on it’s own. There are no comparisons or wishing the album would hurry up and get to the good tracks or interesting bits. It just full on from the moment you press play. The dynamics and space that Nirvana are able to create has always inspired us too and how huge they are able to sound and how quiet and intimate they can sound at the same time. Especially on ‘Something In The Way’ it feels like Kurt is sitting in the room with you and then the gusty driven energy on ‘Territorial Pissings’ completely blows your ears off. The opening to ‘Come As You Are’ is one of my all-time favourite guitar riffs, it’s totally understated and incredible. My favourite melodies on this album are in the tracks ‘Polly’ and ‘Stay Away’ and lyrically it’s got to be ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. 

Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced 

Are You Experienced is just one of those albums that no matter how many times I listen to it I know I am going to hear new licks, fills and riffs. There is just so much going on and all of it excellent. As impossible as it is, I do think the producer Chas Chandler caught Hendrix’s live energy, especially on opener Foxey Lady. The album is pretty raw and I love it, it also feels like they didn’t try to make the songs short or more ‘commercial’ so the instruments are left to weave in and out of each other and pretty much jam out the song. Which is exactly what you want from a hendrix album. 

There are a tonne of classics on this album including ‘Purple Haze’, ‘Hey Joe’ and ‘Fire’. I love the main riffs in ‘Manic Depression’ and the opening to ‘Red House’ and then the guitar solo that follows is some of my favourite guitar work on the album. ‘Love Or Confusion’ brings a perfect amount of psychedelia. Melodically I think the stand out tracks are ‘Remember’ and ‘The Wind Cries Mary’. It wouldn’t be a Hendrix album if he wasn’t experimenting and pushing recording limitations and on ‘Third Stone From The Sun’, ‘Are You Experienced’ and ‘Can’ You See Me Now’ it displays how him and the band are always trying to push things and improvise, you pretty much feel like you are in the studio with them. My favourite lyrics are probably on ‘Stone Free’, which is a real rocky track and has some fantastic drum and bass work from Noel Reading and Mitch Mitchell too. This has to be one of the best debut albums ever without a doubt. 

Kaki King – Junior

Kaki king’s melodic and creative guitar work alone could carry this album but her lyrics are so relatable and the songs are so well thought out. She leaps through genres and has such a unique sound and playing style. I love the layers and the atmosphere she creates. It is a testament to how much of an incredible musician she is that one of the stand out tracks is the instrumental track ‘Everything Has An End, Even Sadness’. She conveys the mood of the track perfectly and no lyrics are necessary.

Other stand out tracks include ‘Sunny Side’ which is a very personal track about her girlfriend and is one of the tracks where she dials back the instrumental layering. Obviously there is still some incredible acoustic guitar to accompany the lyrics, I really love this track’s raw vulnerability. There are so many subtle surprises throughout the whole album, when she introduces a trumpet in ‘The Hoopers of Hudspeth’ it’s one of my favourite moments on the whole album. It’s so delicate and perfectly placed. The vocal melodies in ‘Junior’ and ‘Communist Friends’ really stand out and ‘Hallucinations From My Poisonous Mind’ opening guitar is just incredible and the riff in ‘Death Head’ is well up there. 

Biffy Clyro – Puzzle

This is my favourite Biffy album for so many reasons. They are all amazing but this one stands out for me. It’s just packed with dynamics from the first note of ‘Living is a problem Because Everything Dies’ and they manage to merge a perfect amount of melody with technical, interesting instrumental breaks and riffs throughout. Obviously, I mean it’s Biffy after all. Stand out tracks include ‘As Dust Dances’ which always surprises me as it’s one of their quieter tracks but it’s just a lovely track, the opening guitar is just incredible and really shows a different side to the loud jolty jaggedy band we all love. Speaking of which, ‘Get Fucked Stud’ and ‘Semi – Mental’ feature some of my favourite crunchy guitar riffs. 

On this album they are pushing the Math/Alt Rock box they get put in with full force and the piano intros on ‘A Whole Child Ago’ and ‘Love Has A Diameter’ wouldn’t sound out of place on a dark celestial folk album and ‘Drop It’ has big country vibes with some Johnny Cash influence sneaking in there. The creepiness of 9/15ths is on a whole other level and definitely includes one of my favourite melodies with the band chanting ‘We’re On A Hillside Help Us, Help Us’. Lyrically ‘Machines’ and ‘Folding Stars’ dig deep and the vulnerability of the band is exposed once again. Biffy are completely relatable and glorious. 

Sleater Kinney – The Woods

It’s pretty impossible to choose a favourite Sleater Kinney album. I went with ‘The Woods’ because, I don’t know if you noticed I am a bit of a guitar nut and it includes some of my favourite guitar on ‘Night-Light’, ‘Jumpers’ and ‘Rollercoaster’. They kick off the album with ‘The Fox’ and the off-kilter melodies and in your face SK style shakes you into their grunge chaos and it’s lovely. The shrill and confrontational vocal of Corin Tucker is plastered perfectly all over the record.

Something I really love about SK is their Call and Response style between Corin and Carrie, my favourite example on this record is during ‘What’s Mine Is Yours’ which is followed by an experimental guitar break from Carrie Brownstein in the middle of the track, this then circles back to the track in an effortless way. We definitely take inspiration from their instrumental breaks and structures. Just having women front a band and make-up their own rules and play their instruments however the hell they want to play them blew my tiny mind when I first discovered them. Favourite lyrics and melody are on ‘Modern Girl’ they scale the instruments right back and Carrie’s vocals are perfect with a good amount of anger, rawness and sincerity. There is so much raw energy on this album and it really showcases what an amazing, versatile and unique band they are. A big highlight is the 5 minute instrumental ending on ‘Let’s Call It Love’ leading into the haunting ending track ‘Night Light’ where they create so much space and angst.  

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