Ideals – Reflections

Ipswich band Ideals swiftly drew attention their way from the moment of their formation in early 2010 and an almost immediate deal with Intruder Records. Through the year the release of four strong singles, Lungs, Love Song, Forever Leisure, and Don’t Tell Anyone, from the now London based quartet further confirmed their promise and showed an instinctive ability to write impressive melodic and dramatic songs. This year has already seen the release of the immense Significant Other and May sees the continuation of the bands progress and growing fan base with their new single Reflections. Eventually this and Significant Other will form part of an EP with four new tracks to be released later in the summer but for now it stands alone as a beacon for the great sound that is Ideals and currently as a free download before its official release July 4th.           

Reflections simmers over an unrelenting scorching bass riff that drives the song forward but without overpowering the creativity of the sweetly vibrant guitars which flesh the track out with at times solemn feelings and in others moments lift it into dynamic crescendos. The rhythm spine of Simon Wilson on bass and the drums of Ben Ward bring the perfect balance to the stirring guitars of Johnny Healey and vocalist Andrew Major. Lyrically Ideals are typically poetic but without the words losing their sharpness, whilst the delivery of Majors enhances the self reflection feeling which resonates from within the melancholic sounds, all combining to create a song that is felt as well as heard. At times the track has a slight feel of Divine Comedy fused with Pulp but with a potent darker touch that lifts it out onto its own unique plateau.

Though it does not quite reach the immense heights of its classic predecessor, and it is a comment on the quality of the former and not anything negative about this release, Reflections is an inspiring and wonderful piece of well thought out and realised song writing, played with balanced control and passion. Ideals are part of and in many ways leading a new indie trinity of bands that create music that is felt as much as heard, the other two Letters and Galleries also making music that one slips into with all senses and thoughts. Ideals stand out though and whether with lively dynamic tracks or mellow potent songs tinged with sadness they are always irresistible and freshly thrilling. This year should be the moment they truly step into the light for many more fans of real music.

http://www.myspace.com/idealstheband
http://www.intruderrecords.co.uk/idealspress

Pete RingMaster 21/05/2011

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Galleries – Darkness Coming

    

Guitar led indie bands are quite prevalent currently but few produce music with a depth that reaches beyond the ear and stays long after the sounds have ceased their charms. Glasgow quartet Galleries are one of the few exceptions. Their indie rock/pop has character and layers that result in songs which are full and very satisfying. Early 2010 the band made their first mark with the Galleries EP and notably the track Underground Overground, instantly making an impact on many people. The single Rocket Science improved upon that reaction as well as showing a further progression in their writing skills and new single Darkness Coming is another impressive step in their development though that is not to say they are lacking in any department now.   

Currently working on their debut album, Galleries have released Darkness Coming with a clear message that this is an indication of what will fill the future release and it will be worth all the eager anticipation. The song is simply a great pop song, instant and addictive but without submitting to any cheap tricks or obvious lures for the listener. The striking delicious dark bass riff from Adam Hall, the firm and taut drums of Andrew Black, and the soaring guitar play from Paul Campsie and David McAdam combine to tell a melody laced musical story. The vocals of McAdam are smooth with an occasional pleading tone that brought a sense of 80’s artist Pete Wylie, and bringing an edge to the quietly atmospheric sounds especially with the subdued backup vocals. Darkness Coming is also one of those great songs that is easily accessible but also cleverly holds something back for discovery on subsequent plays.

Already no strangers to air play with BBC Radio 1 Scotland, Darkness Coming will surely ensure that is repeated and further afield, especially with their popular live shows and festival appearances attracting more and more fans and great interest. Galleries are a band to watch and enjoy right now and the sooner their album appears from over the horizon the better. Theirs is a sound that just feels right in every way and leaves them wanting more every time.

http://www.galleriesband.co.uk

Pete RingMaster 21/05/2011

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The Horn The Hunt – Depressur Jolie

Reading interviews with and about the background of Leeds based duo The Horn The Hunt, there is the feeling that adventure is in their blood whether physical or artistically. Their second album Depressur Jolie is an instant affirmation of that thought upon hearing the thirteen tracks living within its borders. Like little exposures from an exciting journey the tracks reveal and instil images of rewarding struggles inner and from the outside. The sounds of Clare Carter and Joseph Osborne have been labelled as pop music by some but that simple tag does not do justice to the depths and layers within their songs, certainly not those that live and breathe inside Depressur Jolie.

The album opens with the title track and what a track it is. From the moment ‘Depressur Jolie’ erupts into life with a big deep resonating bass riff surrounded by soaring synths a sensational ride ahead seems a guarantee. The song is a glorious weave of musical ideas and sounds that attach themselves to the side of the driving rhythm creating a musical kaleidoscope. All this makes for an impressive canvas for the stunning vocal ability of Carter to swoop, soar and play upon, though there is nothing light about her delivery or skill. As the album evolves song after song she with ease travels from dark and aggressive through smooth and controlled to a J-pop like delivery, often within the same song.  The big folk drawl of ‘Harpoon’ takes over proceedings with a glorious imposing dark slow bass riff joined by crashing guitars and keys over a twanging series of chords. This and the next track, the recent single ‘Raptor’ a song with a rhythm that seems to stalk like the predator of the title, show The Horn The Hunt come from the same creative pool as Dutch band De Staat; builders of multi layered songs with sometimes the most unexpected sounds which always work wonderfully.  

Carter and Osborne can do mellow and more straight forward too as the emotive ballad ‘Be The One’ with vocals so controlled and skilful they raise hairs on the back of the neck shows. ‘Lava Dreams’ and ‘Bear Trap’ deliver it even more simple with lean synths sounds and rhythms underneath the enticing vocals; both tracks recalling the basic organ and guitar genius of 80’s band Young Marble Giants but with attitude. Of course simple for The Horn The Hunt is complicated for many but they show they have the vision and ability to paint glorious musical pictures in many ways. ‘Henry’s Out’ and ‘Animal Magic’ deserve a special mention too, the first with its great synth indie pop groove over a tapping finger type rhythm and expansive chorus, and the latter for its smooth pop sound over  soft tribalistic beats and cries.

Depressur Jolie is a musical blessing for the ear, inventive, unique, and best of all extremely enjoyable. Where many try and fail when being creative with sounds and what seem on the surface like random noises, The Horn The Hunt excel making each song an event which offers something new on each subsequent play. An album of mini tales and big sounds Depressur Jolie is a must listen for anyone looking for originality. The album is released on White Label Music on 23 May 2011 and the bands official website is @ www.thehornthehunt.com

Pete RingMaster 17/05/2011
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Dead Boy Robotics and The Machine Room – Tape Singles Club

The 23rd of May sees the first presentation of the Tape Singles Club as well respected boutique recording studio in the centre of Edinburgh Tape, in celebration of their new 2011 studio, are releasing a series of vinyl split singles featuring some of the great artists they have worked with. The plan of Tape Singles Club to release three of these singles a year, each featuring 2 bands, kicks off with its first entry with a track each from Edinburgh bands Dead Boy Robotics and The Machine Room. Both bands having recorded EPs at the studio caught the ears and hearts of those behind Tape and have been given the honour of heading this new series of releases.


The Dead Boy Robotics track is ‘Ever’, a song taken from their forthcoming debut album which will be released later in 2011. This album and their debut EP Tale Of The Winter Kids were both recorded at Tape; the duo of Gregor McMillan and Mike Bryant winning over the studio team with their creative blends of sounds and genres. ‘Ever’ is a delicious soundscape of sounds, a musical journey drawing in crisp melodic synth swirls light and dark in tone, striking guitar and bass rips that give the track depth and a contrasting edge to the atmospheric melodies, and flowing smooth vocals punctuated with screams and yelps. There is originality about the track that is rarely seen these days and the way the band fuse the almost haunting soft synths tones into the gutsy dark guitar tension is impressive and very satisfying. An eager and stylish well created song; it is the perfect way to kick off a series of releases as well as a teaser for the new album. This track alone enthuses one into diving upon the release when it sees the light of day.

   The Machine Room gives a neat synth pop offering to partner and complete this first split release. The quintet comprising of Tom Adam, John Bryden, Adie Emanuel, Scott Hitchings, and Ryan Marinello deliver a delightful and perfectly complimentary but contrasting track to its ‘sister’. Light and summery ‘Girly’ has an ethereal quality from the music and soft falsetto tones of singer Bryden. Its chorus a full and enrapturing wave of upbeat joy makes a clever and important break between, like on ‘Ever’, the haunting verses which walk the edge of emotional despair wonderfully. The Machine Room, though coming with a different array of sounds and attack, bring forth thoughts of another great Edinburgh band Letters; both able to conjure through their uncomplicated but inspired music, emotions within the listener that stays long after the track is done. It would be fair to say Dead Boy Robotics make that a trio of bands who can claim this.
The very first Tape Singles Club release is simply a wonderful debut edition in this new exciting series of music; showing the depth and quality of new artists in Edinburgh, the definite promise of the near future arrival of more from the bands, and the quality of the recording, production, and mixing abilities of Tape studios. The only drawback is the wait until single two comes our way though until then this will more than suffice.
Tape Singles Club is released on limited edition 7″ vinyl on the 23rd May and promoted by four Scottish launch party dates for details go to http://www.tapestudio.com

Pete RingMaster 14/05/2011

http://www.myspace.com/deadboyrobotics
http://www.myspace.com/themachineroommusic
http://www.myspace.com/tapestudio

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Hungryheart – One Ticket To Paradise

   We all know a fine wine or scotch needs a fair few years to mature into something of a distinct quality and the same can be said for Italian hard rockers Hungryheart. It took ten years from their beginnings in 1998 before the release of their self titled debut album its arrival, bringing encouraging and positive responses; now the quartet return with their follow up One Ticket To Paradise on Tanzan Music, full of sounds ranging from power, hard, and melodic rock at its best.  Hungryheart take their influences from 80’s classic hard rock, flavouring their sound with sprinkles from the likes of Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, and Journey amongst others. Consisting of twelve melody led tunes One Ticket To Paradise is a vibrant pleasure for those people readily eager for good AOR releases as well as those who might be dipping their toes into the waters of melodic rock for the first time.

The album begins with the unashamed straight classic rock glory of ‘Stand Up’. This is simply great rock ‘n’ roll written well, created solidly, and delivered perfectly. Yes, it may not be the most original track you will hear but there will not be many as instantly accessible or have you eager to join in either. ‘One Ticket To Paradise’ follows and immediately stands out as a contender for the best track on the release. Further venturing into the album reveals not quite but the song shows the bands musical skills at their height.  The guitar of Mario is riveting and mesmerises the listener throughout the track  whilst the rhythm attack of Steve Lozzi on bass and Paolo Botteschi drive the song skilfully and firmly as they do on every track on the album. Enhanced with the great vocal ability of Josh Zighetti the title track is more than pleasing. The ballads on One Ticket To Paradise show the band can bring emotion and atmosphere just as easily as simple rock sounds to a song as in the rock ballads ‘Let Somebody Love You’ and ‘A Million Miles Away’.  The first of the two heartfelt tracks shows Zighetti can sing with great expression to match the lyrical sentiment whilst the latter featuring Percudani  on lead vocals with its neat elegant mellow flow show a band in control of their music and songwriting. 

Two tracks vie for the best on album, ‘Boulevard Of Love’ soaked in great harmonies vocally and musically, and the bluesy rocker ‘Let’s Keep On Tryin’’. The second song is a flat out blast of great rock music, infectious and satisfying. Stylish and rippling with the musical prowess of each member of Hungryheart it encapsulates all the band is about within its frame. One Ticket To Paradise is not a 100% perfect album with tracks like ‘Just A Little Closer’ and ‘Love is The Right Way’ though decent enough slipping under the level of other tracks on the release and staying too rigidly to the standard formula of the genre. This is really a minor criticism and a compliment to the standard of the strongest songs on show. One might also wince at the inclusion of the  Michael Jackson song ‘Man In The Mirror’ but actually the band pull off a strong version and though fans of the original would disagree one could arguably say a better  one.

One additional feature to the album is the wonderful keyboard sounds of Alessandro Del Vecchio. The newest member of Eden’s Curse is a rock music maestro who unfailingly accentuates the mood of any  track as well as giving it depth. On One Ticket To Paradise he delivers yet again bringing his special spices to already great songs. Hungryheart has provided rock music fans a fine addition to the hard/classic rock genre and though it may be too lightweight for people who enjoy sounds that drill away at the senses, for those in love with hooks and melodies it is a must have.  Check out Hungryheart’s official website at www.myspace.com/hungryheartofficial

Pete RingMaster 11/05/2011
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