• Charlotte Hardman

'Red Lights'- Milestones / Turned Up Louder

Manchester has always been a hub for exciting new talent in the music world, and it seems only fitting that it has become the base for one of the most exciting small bands in the world of British pop rock: Milestones. After touring across the UK and the US with many of their musical inspirations and gaining a steady core fan-base, -all off the back of just one, 5-song EP, titled ‘Equal Measures’- the band have at last released its follow up in the form of their debut album ‘Red Lights’. The record is a display of everything that forms the foundations of the band, while also showing huge growth in their song writing ability as well as their ability to pen songs that are distinctively personal and their own: from the first listen, it is guaranteed to pique the interest of critics and fans of modern pop punk alike.

The thread of the aftermath of turbulent relationships weaves its way through the lyrics from bouncy pop rock opener ‘Bittersweetheart’ to the bubbly ‘Eighteen’ which hides undertones of dagger-sharp condemnation beneath the light, effervescent melody. Lead single ‘Paranoid’ is an instant favourite, hitting home on two levels with its irresistibly lively chorus line that sweeps you along and the emotionally intimate imagery that draws you into the track, demonstrating clearly that Milestones are far from another fluffy pop rock band without substance.

There is a shift in tone a short way into the way into the album, as Milestones delve deeper into their collective emotional experiences. An unexpected gem comes in the form of ‘This is My Life’ – the song ripples up out of the depths of the opening ethereal whispers and rumbling drums, bursting into bloom as a movie-soundtrack worthy anthem of self- liberation. The soft, melodic ‘Hold On’ is worthy of comparison to the iconic Good Charlotte track of the same name: it is kept ticking over by the heartbeat thud of the drums, a constant beneath the melody that builds towards the soaring guitar riff in the bridge. Closing track ‘Forever or Never’ epitomises perfectly the growth Milestones have experienced in their sound since the release of ‘Equal Measures’. The bouncy pop rock foundation that so endeared them to their core fan base is still very much present, but it is overlain with soaring vocals and a fuller sound that illustrates the personal and musical experiences they have gained over the early part of the band’s career. Milestones have found a sound that fits their identity as a band, and makes the potential future for them an undeniably exciting prospect.

Undoubtedly the record’s crowning glory is the gut-punchingly emotional ‘Counting Cars’ with the soft piano tones swathing its lyrics woven together from vivid images of rain-washed windows and glaring streetlights. The song’s climax is a swooping hook into the final chorus that will hit you straight in the gut and can’t fail to bring tears to your eyes, leaving nobody in any doubt that with 'Red Lights’, Milestones have established themselves as one of the most promising new bands in the world of British pop rock.

'Red Lights' is out now via Fearless Records.

Check out the video for the record's lead single, 'Paranoid', below: