THE SOUNDBOARD STEREO: Banshees, Beyoncé & Black Adam

We’re back! Yes, after our hiatus for a lot of 2022, The Soundboard Stereo has returned, new and improved. Because you see, although music is kind of our bread and butter over here, it’s not all we do, and we want to reflect that here. So introducing The Soundboard Stereo MK II, a place for us to sound off anything we’ve been enjoying (or maybe not) each month, regardless of format, medium or whatever. So without further ado, let’s get started…

The Banshees Of Inisherin film poster

The Banshees Of Inisherin (2022)

Dir. by Martin McDonagh

It’s no secret that this is a very well-liked film. That was honestly inevitable from the start, bringing back together Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson with Martin McDonagh, as the nexus that made In Bruges so excellent in 2008. Of course, this is a far smaller story that that—Gleeson’s character Colm one day decides that he and Farrell’s character Pádraic aren’t friends anymore, and Pádraic desperately tries to cope with that. There’s so much charm that’s woven into that simple premise too, in how traditionally Irish much of the dialogue is, and how every character embodies an almost windswept, hard-bitten persona from it. The supporting cast is great too (special mention goes to Barry Keoghan, who’s excellent like he is in everything), but it’s when it’s all wrapped together in the setting and culture that makes The Banshees Of Inisherin truly feel special. Colm’s living as a folk musician puts together some wonderful diegetic pieces; the fictional Irish island Inisherin is sparse and rural, but rustic with some lovely vistas. It’s all brought together beautifully, moving at a brisk pace with some great understated humour. It’s hard to fault too much honestly, even with an ending that’s a little unresolved, but wraps up on the right bittersweet note that’s just right for this film specifically. With all of that in its favour, it’s not hard to see where the love comes from. • LN

Artwork for Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’



It finally happened. This writer finally buckled up and entered her Beyoncé era. There’s so much to credit across the star’s career when it comes to innovation and really pushing into uncharted territory, but the much-lauded Lemonade remains the perfect storm of auteurship and spectacle to keep it atop the singer’s other records. Though having perhaps paled in the eyes of fans and critics alike now the central adultery narrative isn’t the sucker-punch juicy gossip it once was, the album’s genre-hopping throughout is consistent, Beyonce pulling off Daddy Lessons’ country and Don’t Hurt Yourself’s rock with just as much conviction as Freedom or Formation’s more traditional anthemia. What really drives this record forward though is that uber-personal narrative; you really feel every inch of this story along with our narrator. You pull out your own weapons with the same undiluted, seething rage from the start of the album, you’re in the club in 6 Inch furiously losing your mind, your heart aches and shattered on the floor at Sandcastles, and there’s an overwhelming sense of hope for our central couple with the last few tracks. There’s so much to cherry-pick from Beyoncé’s discography, but Lemonade holds up as the best complete package from her albums, packed with total bangers to boot. • GJ

Black Adam film poster

Black Adam (2022)

Dir. by Jaume Collet-Serra

Would you believe that Dwayne Johnson has been attached to play Black Adam since 2007? You probably would when you see the film, considering it feels like a superhero movie from that era. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stress, seeing that it generally feels onboard with the whole ‘shared universe’ thing (it’s not much more than lip-service, but whatever…), but it’s still defined by flat, underwhelming action movie beats that the genre has kind of moved past now. Outside the fact that it’s another Dwayne Johnson role where he plays a man-mountain contractually obliged to win every conflict he’s in, there’s not much of a memorable story here besides the broadly-sketched basics of this sort of anti-hero narrative. At least it’s all acted well, with Johnson being pretty good for the part, though he’s handily outclassed by Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman and especially Pierce Brosnan’s Doctor Fate. As the main representatives of the Justice Society—because Noah Centineo and Quintessa Swindell feel impressively shoehorned in as Atom Smashed and Cyclone respectively—they’re honestly the driving force in what would otherwise by a film dedicated to Dwayne Johnson smashing up faceless grunts. Oh well—as the fallout from that post-credit scene would dictate, the DCU probably won’t be getting more Black Adam in a hurry. • LN

Aftersun film poster

Aftersun (2022)

Dir. by Charlotte Wells

With star Paul Mescal’s Oscar nomination this month, Aftersun is in the midst of a second wind after being one of the most buzzed-about indie films of 2022. As subtle as it is compelling, it centres on father Calum and daughter Sophie’s holiday to Turkey, relived through an adult Sophie’s watching of camcorder footage taken at the time along with her own cinematic memories. The focal relationship is captured beautifully by Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio, their easy-going dynamic that makes for some magical moments (like frank honesty and joyful dance scenes) the main cog in making the film so likeable. While the upbeat nature tricks you into succumbing into the feel-good scenes, there’s an underlying melancholy bubbling away throughout, one that’s integral to the film’s profound themes and implied ending. It’s communicated through the odd line or glance from Calum while Sophie’s back is turned, until the dam breaks and everything floods out in the dark. As mentioned before, Aftersun is subtle in the way it goes about things, leaving conclusion drawing completely up to the viewer (who feel the exact same way as adult Sophie attempting to find new meaning in the things her 11-year-old self experienced). This is a film that addresses every point of the emotional spectrum, with a realism that will make anyone want to squeeze the ones they love that bit tighter. • GJ

Artwork for piri & tommy’s ‘froge.mp3’

piri & tommy


As one might expect from a new, young dance act whose breakout single is pretty much the wormiest earworm going, piri & tommy’s froge.mp3 mixtape struggles to match up rather notably. It’s honestly not for want of trying; they make very light, tactile pop / drum ‘n’ bass that has the potential to suitably build on a rather standard one-trick of skittering percussion and airy, glazed-over atmosphere. It’d probably go down far better live for that exact reason, as music this heavily shaped by its vibe often does. Maybe on & on is just the fluke standout for its catchiness and repetition almost to the point of incessancy, because there isn’t much else that really squares up. It’s not all the bad either though, and outside of some detail on beachin that a sound like this is not in any way equipped to convey (for example: “I got him bussin’, he makin’ some mayo”), it’s generally likable as background music. piri has the sort of sweetened, quietened voice that makes that something of an inevitability, as does the largely lighter production style. Again, more in line for a summer festival than dreary mid-January; in the right environment, it’d likely go down far more smoothly. • LN

Artwork for Blondie’s ‘Parallel Lines’


Parallel Lines

Lots of Blondie’s most iconic songs (which also happen to be some of the best ever written) call their third record Parallel Lines their home. It’s a record that should be distractingly top-heavy after all this time, but delve in and the gulf between singles and album tracks is no more than a couple of steps. No song on Parallel Lines is just one thing – there’s pop, new-wave, surf-rock, disco and plenty of 60s favourites in terms of genre, then in the vocal department Debbie Harry captures every vibe possible across the tracklisting. One Way Or Another and their claim-staking cover of The Nerves’ Hanging On The Telephone see her ooze the most swagger and cool anyone has ever had (almost making you forget how utterly unhinged the words she’s singing are), while Sunday Girl and Pretty Baby show a sweeter side in vocal delivery (but never going all the way there with lyrics about depression and underage stars cast in sexual roles). These are simple song frameworks elevated by the unique perspective of the musicians making them, and the blueprint set by Parallel Lines, and Blondie in general, remains accessible but never entirely imitable to this day. • GJ

Words by Luke Nuttall (LN) and Georgia Jackson (GJ)

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