Jacko Hooper – For You

Photo - Nicolas Primout

UK singer songwriter Jacko Hooper has come a long way since emerging in his school days with The Rylics, a trio of school friends. It has been interesting and enjoyable watching his progress as a songwriter and musician over the years, the different twists and turns in his evolution which whilst not always fed personal tastes always left attention and appetite for his endeavours intrigued. For You is the brand new EP from Hooper, his first official solo release and an impressively potent and appetising proposition.

As mentioned the journey for Hooper started in his schooldays and even then he and the band were drawing strong attention especially when from the ashes of the first band, IAM:YOURHERO emerged. The band drew a keen and attentive following of fans and underground media exposure like from our own Audioburger Radio whilst at the same time Hooper was working on his own solo acoustic material. IAM:YOURHERO subsequently became Kai with the threesome continuing to draw praise and a greater following but you could also sense interest in the solo work of Hooper was gaining impetus. Recent years has seen that side take centre stage with Hooper to continued success, his music gaining YouTube views of over half a million and self-released CDRs in 500 runs being sold out in just six days. Inspired by the likes of Jeff Buckley, Bon Iver, Thomas Dybdahl, and Fink, his songwriting and folk teased sound has hit a plateau, with For You the clear evidence.

Funded through KickStarter and recorded with producer Paul Steel over the space of eight weeks, For You steals ears and thoughts within moments of its first song. Eggs Shells caresses ears from its first stroll of chords wrapped in a1353093189_2an elegant melody. It is an immediate enticing which only grows its call with the incoming smooth tones of Hooper’s vocals, their mellow first embrace growing with the song to show the greater texture and power of his voice already realised in the rockier premises of his previous bands. The acoustic stroking of the song is a quality tempting but once the song opens up arms of strolling rhythms and bass shadows within the ever expressive design of guitar, it truly blossoms into a flame of emotive beauty. As the release, the song looks at love and fear and shows that whilst there has always been an intimacy to the music of Hooper which was in advance of his years, there is a real genuine maturity to his songwriting now.

The following November 5th Song also moves from a gentle coaxing into a firmer revelry of beats and vocal adventure amidst vibrant melodic enticing and atmospherically sown emotion. Also as its predecessor, the track grows and swells with poetic expression and a bulging bewitchment of melodic energy and passion spawned energy for an almost rigorous and wholly absorbing stomp of infectious invention. The earlier solo material of Hooper impressed but felt like it was still too deep in its growth and evolution to make a real mark at the time but the first two songs alone on For You show that the Brighton hailing Hooper has not only come to the end of that cycle to fulfil the potential seen vividly within him but opened up another wave of potential to be explored and realised ahead.

Run Away With Me is a guitar and vocal croon which comes drenched in intimacy and shadows, the occasional growl and constant angst of Hooper’s vocals enough to expose the raw emotion of the song. It does not match the might of the first two songs but then it is a different proposition with its open lean canvas beneath an emotive colouring. The closing live cut of Roaming is the same, guitar and vocal reflection at one in an evocatively lighted spotlight within scenery of crowding shadows. It is a fine song but one which may not stand out as strongly in the hands of another, the bluesy scent which soaks Hopper’s delivery bringing it character and irresistible body.

Despite the success earned and found previously, this feels like the point where Jacko Hooper has arrived and is about to trigger the real ascent of his emerging career.

The For You EP is available now via One Inch Badge on Ltd Edition 7″ vinyl and digitally @ http://jackohooper.bandcamp.com/album/for-you

https://www.facebook.com/jackohoopermusic

9/10

RingMaster 16/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Thom Bowden – Searching The Brittle Light

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From the release of his striking and impressive The Damage EP of 2012 there has been a healthy dose of acclaim placed around UK musician Thom Bowden and keen anticipation bred for his debut album. This week sees the unveiling of Searching The Brittle Light and those hopes are sure to be satisfied with the ten track encounter. It is not a release which impacts as potently and consistently as Bowden’s previous proposition but certainly it brings another wash of the rich potential within his songwriting and highly agreeable sound.

Surrey based, Bowden takes inspirations from the likes of The White Stripes, Nick Drake, Dresden Dolls, Fugazi, and Neil Young into his imagination catching enterprise. As mentioned The Damage EP brought strong attention and responses from fans and media alike, something you can only see the album repeating and increasing. A collection of songs written when Bowden was ‘at a low point in his life’, the album was recorded with and mixed by Steve Albini (Pixies, Nirvana, Manic Street Preachers) and mastered by Steve Rooke at Abbey Road. Inspired by some advice offered whilst the artists was in Chicago by Kim Deal, the album brings a raw honest intent and beauty to the ears. There is also a slightly more adventurous variation across the songs than on the last EP, a move you can only respect and embrace even with its slightly mixed success in comparison to the consistency of the previous release.

With guitarist Richard George and drummer Steve Matthews alongside Bowden, the album opens strongly with Click!, a song taking mere seconds to seduce ears and thoughts with its opening seduction of sultry blues kissed flames. a2137786508_2The slow swipes of guitar are soon joined by punchy beats and a darkly drawing bassline before the great expressively twanged and unpredictable voice of Bowden starts revealing the lyrical narrative. His voice and a rich essence of the music has a Frank Black like temptation which only adds to the smouldering enticement, an invitation which burns increasingly brighter as the song evolves and spreads its senses sizzling charms. The feisty stride of the track is an incessant call on the passions whilst the increasingly warped vocal delivery which by this point has a more My Red Cell essence, Bowden sounding similar to frontman Russell Toomey of the defunct Welsh band, only captivates with mischievous bait. It is a strong and gripping start to the album which without lighting fires sets up a keen appetite for its offering, a hunger soon spicily fed by the second song.

So So Long makes a controlled and infectious entrance, guitars and rhythms a simple but entrancing lure to which Bowden’s grazing tones lay angst spawned invention and caustic passion. The track never lifts its gait to anything more than a slow determined canter but with expulsions of sonic heat and expressive melodic energy, the song irresistibly wins over ears, again thoughts of the previously mentioned Welsh band coming to the fore. It is a masterful slice of sonic magnetism bringing a licking of lips. Its potent presence is followed by the ballad My Arms, the song a union of voice, guitar, and emotive textures which certainly stirs up thoughts and attention but brings an unexpected and underwhelming halt to the thrust of the album. Obviously a highly personal offering, it is hard and impossible to dismiss, or not enjoy, but the song is a wrongly positioned rein on the passions for personal preference.

The following Control brings the temperature and energy back with accomplished and thrilling enterprise. Rhythms roll invitingly through the ears as guitars swerve and let fly with melodic scythes of enticement and sonic tempting which reawakens a thirsty imagination. There is a definite eighties new wave feel to the track, another shade of familiarity which in different designs attractively flirts with most of certainly the rockier numbers on the release. As it continues to tease and impress, the glorious song casts a web of inventive guitar endeavour, melodic mischief, and sonic alchemy to treat and seduce the emotions; it all aided by an emerging Pixies sounding toxicity.

Next up How About It? slips into a gentler hug of emotive intimacy and melodic caressing around a spine of shadow involving rhythmic invention from drums and bass. It is a slowly burning temptation which takes longer than certainly the previous song to persuade but emerges as a deliciously riveting and evocative highlight of the release. Its broody success is followed by the forty five second instrumental , a piece which is just there before the outstanding With Pace unleashes its grunge spawned sinews and punkish desires. As its title suggests, the track romps with swift, heavily thumping feet and fiery riffs around which rapacious grooves and fuzz encased vocals flirt and rage respectively. There is no escaping a Nirvana comparison but as elsewhere it only spices up the brawling encounter. The album and Bowden seems to wear inspirations on their sleeve, definitely more than the EP, to predominantly bring stronger aural colours to embrace.

The raucous air and exhaustive pleasure of the triumph is swiftly tempered and brought back to the ground with the folk seeded reflection of The Water Is Cold, a decent and strikingly performed song but again an underwhelming shift in scenery and suasion. Its emerging emotional stringed flight and expressive vocal coaxing does light thoughts and feelings, but there is the thought that the track would be better served elsewhere in the order or set on a separate release to find the reaction it deserves.

The bluesy plaintive cry of In The Ground comes next to stir up a nest of satisfied thoughts and emotions with its persistent tendrils of sonic imposing and fiery enticement around another roar of vocal lament and expression. It is a track which you want more of before the final elegant balladry of Sweet And Tender brings the album to a musically and lyrically rueful close. Soaked in more folk seeded melancholy it is a captivating end to a fine if inconsistent album.

     Searching The Brittle Light is an impressive next step for Bowden but because of its intent and bravery in stretching its boundaries may be fails to match its predecessor. The songs are a clear step on in craft and maturity let alone invention but the album feels like two releases in one which defuses its impact whereas separating them into EPs of rock and ballad seeded tracks might have brought the showcase and clarity they deserve. Nevertheless Thom Bowden is an exciting talent which will be creating remarkable and keenly devoured statements ahead, we for one wait eagerly.

Searching The Brittle Light is available digitally, on vinyl, and CD now via Audio Candle Records and @ http://thombowden.bandcamp.com/

http://thombowden.com/

7.5/10

RingMaster 15/07/2014

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Tina V – Cut The Tent

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Known as the vocalist/guitarist with the excellent UK rock band This Wicked Tongue, a quartet who released one of the best singles of 2013 in Mick Hucknall’s Hair, Tina V has stepped forward with her debut album to show a captivating diversity to her presence, songwriting, and invention. Consisting of ten tracks which employ essences of rock, electro, folk, pop and much more, Cut The Tent is an album which persistently dances and rocks, seduces and stirs up the senses. Most of all it is a proposition which irresistibly ignites the imagination and passions, an encounter set to thrust the lady into the keenest of spotlights you suspect.

Tina V, the performing name of Christina Maynard, is the founding member of This Wicked Tongue which began in 2010, not long after she had started performing solo. At the start the band beefed up her existing compositions before evolving into its own material to increasing attention and success with fans and media around the globe. Now Tina gives her solo side a sizeable airing and it is hard not to be thoroughly impressed and excited for her first offering. Recorded with Dave Draper (Spunge, Dodgy, Kerbdog), Cut The Tent follows her You Don’t Know Me EP of 2011, a release which it seems like us a great many missed, something you cannot see happening with the new album. The years between her solo offerings has seen This Wicked Tongue release a trio of increasingly acclaimed EPs as well as that triumph of a single, with Tina also engaging in numerous collaborations within styles from dubstep to classic rock. It is easy to suggest though that her finest hour to date is with Cut The Tent.

As soon as opening track Going Home embraces ears there is the feeling of a returning friend, the tones and potent voice of Tina as memorable and impressive as with her band but also with an immediately new and fresh twist and pledgeadventure. The first track cups the ear in thudding dulled beats and the harmonic beauty of Tina’s voice initially for a gentle caressing which grows through just as seductive harmonies as an electro seeded energy slowly but openly raises its head. Tina is soon unveiling the full lyrical narrative whilst adding a hint of fire to the encounter, a heat soon expelled forcibly with a melodic rock thrust of purposeful riffs and swiping rhythms. In full swing the track strides like a mix of dance music and gothic heavy rock, essences of Lacuna Coil seeping into the magnetic incitement for a rich and compelling start to the release.

You kind of assume from the track that you have an early handle of the album but those ideas are swiftly left floundering as the deliciously mischievous Feel Less steps in next. An acoustic punkish wipe of guitar makes the first suasion on ears before being swamped by a glorious jangle of guitars within a maze of melodic enterprise. This masterful weave intensifies as the song reaches deeper in thoughts and passions with its inventive endeavour, hooks and melodies a constant tango of broadly grinning revelry. It is pop rock at it very best with a puppeteer ability to make feet and passions dance to its every whim.

The title track comes next, agitated beats skirting Tina’s emotive tones with fuzz lent guitar lures adding evocative hues to the emerging melody sculpted canvas of emotion and elegance. With keys and harmonies adding their colour to the evolving scenery, a landscape which seamlessly punches with sinew bred steps or glides with stringed beauty, the song is a flame of dramatic melodic rock. It adds yet another facet to the character of the album as does the brilliantly bewitching Don’t Cry. A piano croon matched by additional keys makes the first breath of temptation before effect surfaced vocals trip eagerly between their evocative lines. It is a strong draw but it is when the song kicks off its shoes for a shuffle of fascinating almost devilish invention that it explodes to a new mesmeric plateau. Again rock and pop merge for a lasting suasion but equally flirtations of classical, melodic, and RnB to name just three of the flavours, add their tonic to the feisty aural wine.

The diversity keeps coming as first Could Have Saved and then First Born unveil their musically poetic ventures. The first of the two is a noir coloured captivation with pungent keys casting shadows over the vocal and musical drama brewing beneath. As intensive and sultry as it is sinisterly mysterious yet insatiably beautiful, the song is another pinnacle of the release. Its successor holds onto the tempered gothic feel as it casts its own melodic and provocative flame of sound and enterprise. A tide of irresistible harmonies and melodies veined by slight but spicy minimalistic intrigue from keys, the song engulfs the senses in a tenacious climate of sound.

The emotive balladry of And I’m Trying brings a warm breath over the senses, its body and charm epically potent but lacking the spark which ignited earlier songs whilst Golden provides another punchy pop rock canter with just a hint of country seeding. It also fails to meet the high demands implanted by its predecessors but still engages feet and emotions in a catchy and hunger feeding romp, both tracks continuing to push the album deeper into a lustful appetite.

The electro fuelled, eighties synth rock sprayed Tomorrow Comes ignites body and emotions fully again, its fire hot pop romping impossible to resist, even though it flirts with the mainstream area of the genre more than liked. To be fair though with bold rhythms and those ever commanding vocals, submission is inevitable with the track leaving a thick dose of pleasure in its wake which the closing ballad I Watch The Sunrise brings a hypnotic sunset to. With keys and Tina’s voice transfixing, the song is a final hug for thoughts and emotions, and a masterful end to a thrilling release.

If you are expecting something similar to This Wicked Tongue then you will be given much to eagerly devour, but a whole lot more varied ingenuity and enthralling invention to bask in. Cut The Intent is a masterpiece of melodic and unexpected adventure, and Tina V a presence, in whichever side of her creativity she offers, we will be increasingly pleasured by you can only suspect.

Cut The Tent is released on July 21st with the first single from the album, And I’m Trying available now.

http://www.tinaveronica.com/

http://www.thiswickedtongue.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 11/07/2014

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Latimer House – Birdcage Walk

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The make-up of Latimer House is a diverse mix which makes their new single and its sound a bit of a surprise as our introduction to the band. Made up of guitarist Joe Cook from London and drummer/ percussionist Jiří Kominek from Toronto, who set the seeds for the band in 2010 when linking up and playing together, alongside bassist Michael Jetton from Virginia and Baku hailing keyboardist Anar Yusufov, the Prague based band have a sound as English as it comes. New single Birdcage Walk has an eccentric and quaint air which plays like a mix of Ian Dury meets Cockney Rebel with a rich spice of The Kinks and Tankus The Henge in its creative toxin. From the varied globe covering line-up it is an unexpected proposition but one which engages with an irrepressible charm.

Birdcage Walk is an edited version of a track from the recently released Latimer House album All The Rage. Following and along with first single This Is Pop, the new release makes a potent and intriguing temptation for their debut album, one easy to expect a whole new wave of appetite for the band’s sound to be woken up by. Consisting of a collection of tracks recorded in 2012 with engineer Derek Saxenmeyer, the February unveiled All The Rage brought an eager spotlight upon the band with others, one set to one increased by the new pop folk tempting of Birdcage Walk.

Guitars and rhythms immediately enchant ears as the song opens up its melodic caress. It is right away a gentle and endearing stroll which sways with enterprise and quaintly jangling suasion. The vocals of Cook go much towards bringing that British feel but musically there are elements of XTC with whispers of The Divine Comedy to the song which only add to the distinct caress. Cook’s voice has a dulled yet vibrant monotony which increases the charm offensive of the song whilst matching the earthier lyrical narrative, writing which itself brings a Squeeze like essence to the whole persuasion. With keys colouring the more singular stroll of the track and its shuffling dance, Birdcage Walk makes for a captivating encounter. It does not ignite a fire in the belly it is fair to say but as a summer breeze certainly hits the sweet spot.

The song is accompanied by Until Then, an openly rawer and dirtier stomp with blazes of horns and melodic tantalising which themselves have a rough edge and fiery touch. Within that appealing almost teasing scenery a jazzy air and indie rock intrigue plays with thoughts whilst the guitars cast a sonic flaming which brings its own distinctive hue to the spicily varied landscape. Longer to convince but eventually just as persuasive and enjoyable as its companion, it along with Birdcage Walk just infests the imagination and makes an exploration of All The Rage a must and attention on Latimer House ahead inevitable.

Birdcage Walk is out on Honk Records now digitally, CD, and on ltd Ed vinyl @ http://latimerhouse.bandcamp.com/track/birdcage-walk

http://latimerhouse.com/

8/10

RingMaster 07/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Sons – Heading Into Land

the sons cover

Appetite for the new album from UK band The Sons was certainly awoken by their recent single Relic, but to say that the warm irresistible might of Heading into Land was expected would be a little misleading. Certainly the single brought strong hopes its full-length source but not to the extent that the album would dance with the imagination and fire up the emotions. The twelve track release is vibrant refreshment for the summer, a warm consoling for darker times, and one thoroughly enjoyable romp.

Consisting of Paul Herron (vocals, piano, guitar), Steven Herron (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Roger Millichamp (drums), Stewart English (vocals, guitar), Lee Blades (vocals, bass), the 2002 formed Derby indie rock quintet has employed inspirations from the likes of Crowded House, Wilco, Paul Simon, and Fleetwood Mac into a unique sound which has already brought acclaim and floods of fans through previous albums, Visiting Hours of 2007 and its successor The Prime Words Committee four years later. Their sound fuses in elements of folk and rhythm and blues into a melodic rock presence which is varied and persistently intriguing. Heading Into Land is their next adventure, a release for which The Sons started a Kickstarter campaign in late 2012. Despite raising over £11,500, the band just missed their target but rather than sink into pity came back with their own home-grown crowd-funding campaign. It was a successful endeavour thanks to their ever supporting fanbase and innovative rewards with Heading Into Land the result, a thoroughly enjoyable encounter to those who helped bring it to be, we should all share a thank you.

The immediately engaging Right Colour Makeup sets the album off on a strong note, a piano casting melodic expression as the vocals begin parading the narrative of the song. With similarly enticing rhythms the song makes a tempting start before darker bass tones and flirting guitar designs wrap ears. At times there is a feel of XTC to the offering as well as Union Starr within the expanding melodic caress, a flavour easy to consume, as is the song in its impressive entirety.

The strong start is matched by Death Love Money, a track with a sultry air to its stroll and expressive punch to its vocal and melodic swagger. There is also a southern croon to the heart of the song which colours its magnetic canvas, a landscape again crafted through the emotive hues of keys and guitar. A familiarity is also prevalent but only to add further suasion to the tempting, an air as with most of the songs breeding immediate friendship for ears and thoughts. That flavouring in another unique character flirts from within the deliciously rhythmic temptation of Crowd Went Wild. The rhythms of Millichamp roam enticingly across senses and imagination, every beat evocatively leading thoughts into an instinctive and organic canter of smouldering melodies and vocal descriptions. It is a glorious encounter, the first of a few lofty pinnacles within the already impressive release.

Both the riveting When I Want To and the I’m Not Happy keep fun and pleasure aflame, the first with its nagging piano lure and poetic guitar melodies. There is also a drama to the easy going and flowing persuasion which makes every note and syllable a spark for the imagination whilst its successor shuffles and twists like a Caribbean bred temptress, every swing of its rhythmic hips and wrapping of melodic caresses a vivaciously simmering seduction. It is an aural cruise for thoughts to bask in and emotions to explore, a reassuring siren for the heart leading into the immensely captivating Relic. Released a short few weeks ago, the song as mentioned laid down compelling bait and still after numerous excursions of its evocative seizure of ears and imagination, continues to ignite the strongest hunger. Opening on a gentle swing of emotive keys, subtle groaning bass, and the expressive voice of Paul Herron, the track evolves into an enthralling smouldering of mouthwatering enterprise and imagination. Intrigue sculpted crescendos erupt across the song’s body, each accompanied by melodic mystique and irresistible design from guitars and keys, whilst the bass groans with riveting expression. The song quite simply is melancholic beauty which just gets better with age.

We See Stars is another song destined to be a long-term friend, its crisp rhythms courted by the ever appealing throaty voice of the bass beneath absorbing breezes of melodies and creative imagination. As the album, there is a freshness and rich melodic colour to the castings on ears, a unique vibrancy which is just as open on the folk hug of On The Corner where dark velvety string plucks of assumedly an upright bass steal the show. Both tracks embrace and invigorate, though admittedly not to the extent of the outstanding Flash And Bang which follows. With bass carvings and an electrified web of guitar, the track is an anthemic indie rocker clad in inventive mischief and boisterous revelry. With a wind of eighties new wave and a vein of Late Cambrian like power pop, the track takes top honours on the album, sinews and melodic relish ablaze to incite feet and passion with puppeteer artistry.

A southern country bred air returns to soaks the next up Hard Life, another song which consumes thoughts with a gentle but formidable potency, if without exciting as infectiously as previous tracks. It is still a highly appealing turn in the album, setting up emotions for the excellent reggae seeded stepping of Down Sometimes, a track swerving its body with melodic fantasy and quirky key stabs for a beautifully sculpted and presented stroll. Feet and voice are instant slaves to the song so that the listener goes into the final title track on a high to fully embrace its dramatic and stormy yet uplifting landscape and emotional journey. It is a fine end to an impressive album which leaves ears and pleasure basking in melodic and creative mastery.

The Sons has been described as a ‘best kept secret’ but after the so easy to recommend Heading Into Land hits shore it is easy to suspect that the term will be quite redundant.

Heading Into Land is available now!

http://the-sons.com

8.5/10

RingMaster 30/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

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Arcelia – Wrap Your Bones

arcelia pic Lee Thompson

With the accompanying press release our only introduction to UK acoustic folk/soul trio Arcelia it is fair to say that the mesmeric seducing encountered within Wrap Your Bones was startlingly unexpected. As with any promo piece words were in praise of the release and quotes glowing, but neither truly hinted at the charm and tantalising glory of the album. Consisting of thirteen songs which bask in striking songwriting fuelled by shapely vocal and melodic harmonies, the release is a serenade for the senses and an evocative summer for the imagination; and the ears get rather wonderfully treated too.

With a name taken from an old Spanish word meaning ‘treasure chest’, Arcelia (pronounced Ah – KELL- ia) brings three striking musicians and voices together at its core. Simon Foster is a member of legendary acapella band The Flying Pickets and Teresa Gallagher a well-known voice artists who has appeared in a wealth of BBC Radio 4 plays and voiced countless characters in animated series such as The Octonauts, Noddy, Mr Men, and Gumball. Alongside the pair is accomplished songwriter and guitarist Gavin Alexander, completing a threesome which create a unique and virulently persuasion engagement through evocative sounds and bewitching vocals, as evidenced by their debut album. Coming together in 2012 the Kent based band’s sound has seemingly been feverishly embraced leading to their sharing tours and stages with the likes of Chris Difford, Mark Nevin, Mike Lindup (Level 42), Hamish Stuart (Average White Band), and Coope Booyes & Simpson. Wrap Your Bones is the band’s step into a wider sure to be keenly attentive spotlight and you suspect the start of a heady ascent.

The inspiring fusion of voice, guitar, cajon, and percussion from the trio, with just as flavoursome instrumentation from guest musicians to arcelia covercolour the acoustic elegance, Wrap Your Bones takes little time in tenderly wrapping ears in a lingering coaxing. Opener 45 Seconds instantly merges with emotions as a guitar dances through ears beneath almost as instantaneous harmonies. A piano is soon adding its evocative hues as the sandy tones of Alexander embrace the lyrical narrative and subsequently a swiftly established appetite for it. It is a masterful lure but one which reaches deeper into the passions through the melancholic call of the cello aided by the dark throat of a double bass as a southern breeze is touched by banjo and dobro guitar, all adding to the sultry atmosphere cast by the album’s entrance.

The following Long Man sees the simultaneously husky and dramatically melodic voice of Foster leading an emotive croon wrapped in again irresistible dark cello seduction. Though not quite as gripping as its predecessor initially, the slow burner steals thoughts and emotions with sublime ease eventually providing an essence of The Christians within its soulful suasion before making way for the Gallagher led Petal. With her warm sirenesque vocals a powerful caress alone, the song spreads melodic and enterprising hues across its easy going gentleness. The whole album sees one of the three core protagonists providing the lead vocals on individual songs but it is the balmy harmonies the three conjure together within songs as here which very often leave ears and emotions bewitched.

As impressive and enjoyable as the songs are to this point Cupid brings the first pinnacle, its shadowed strings against the riveting vocals of Alexander, a delicious flirtation for the passions over the simple percussive pull and irresistible harmonies. The song is a blaze of enticement but within an inventive restraint which plays the imagination and emotions as resourcefully as Phil Mulford and Ben Trigg do the double bass and cello respectively.

Both the humid emotive landscape of the Busking Birds, sculpted by guitar and Foster alone, and the summer glazed She’s Not Lost coat ears in a fascinating thought washing weave of inciting beauty, the second of the pair a mesmeric breeze of vocal addiction. They each thrill and seduce but are themselves put into the shade by the infectious romp of Another Song. There is a Buddy Holly like simplicity and irresistible hooking to its opening and ever persistent lure which enslaves right away before expanding into a catchy web of vocal and melodic bait. The word alchemy has been used in describing the prowess and ingenuity of Arcelia’s sound elsewhere, and right here it is hard to find any other word to describe the track’s majesty.

Through the poetic soul bearing Blossom and the emotionally beguiling This Time pleasure continues to ooze from the album whilst Save Your Soul offers a mouthwatering captivation, Gallagher uniting with a soulful guitar and a transfixing cello call for a breath-taking kiss on the senses. It is another heady peak in the lofty range of passion drawing songs, readily supported if not quite to the same level, by the provocatively twanged Lovely Bones and the outstanding aromatically melody flavoured Heaven which brings a pungent blues touched soul flame to ignite ears all over again. The latter of the two is a spellbinding encounter with all vocalists combining and aligning their specific beauty together in an equally dramatic weave of sound.

The album is closed by bonus track Broken, another slice of aural mesmerism which leaves a broad smile of pleasure and temptation on the face of ears and passions. It is a riveting temptress which just epitomises the quality and beauty of the band’s songwriting and sound as it brings a quite wonderful album to a potent end. Arcelia is one of those treats which you do not come across often, a band which can seduce the most riotous tastes and hearts as easily as those hungry for a gentle seducing whilst providing a quite arresting encounter.

Wrap Your Bones is available now.

http://www.arcelia.co.uk

9/10

RingMaster 23/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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John Bassett – Unearth

John Bassett pic

Having discovered the progressive rock might of KingBathmat and its founder John Bassett, admittedly far later than we would have liked but joining the legion of fervour gripped fans nonetheless with the release of their last album Overcoming The Monster, there was a definite spring of excitement upon receiving Unearth the new solo endeavour from Bassett. As distinctly different to the previously mentioned release as it is just as imaginatively gripping, the new album is an enthralling embracing of ears and mind; man and record a melancholic troubadour parading evocative reflections of life and emotional experiences. Its canvas is a rich exploration of modern psyche across acoustically crafted progressive landscapes coloured with the richest hues of emotively sculpted melodic invention. It is a masterfully sculpted journey for creator and listener, one of the most rewarding and impressive this year so far.

The multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter, and producer from Hastings has self-released seven albums since 2003, the last few via his label Stereohead Records. Born in Walthamstow, London, Bassett first picked up an acoustic guitar as a child. He struggled at first with playing chords until when going to a guitar teacher it was realised that he was playing a right handed guitar, left handed. As soon as he picked up a left handed guitar songwriting began to flow easily and subsequently his talent. It was not long before Bassett was recording songs onto his computer; honing his skill, sound, and fluency whilst finding a good reception to his online albums, especially for the third, Fantastic Freak Show Carnival. At this point he was beginning to be offered gigs and in 2005 he put together a live band to perform his music. Arguably it has been the last two albums of the band, KingBathmat, which has brought the strongest spotlight and acclaim, both Truth Button and Overcoming The Monster critically acclaimed whilst garnering a new wave of enthused fans. His debut solo album, Unearth is a full one man creation with only additional drums from Nathan A Summers an added spice. Holding the same invigorating melodies and unpredictable intrigue which marks the band’s releases, the new album reveals new sides and aspects to Bassett’s songwriting and enveloping sound, easily rivalling his previous triumphs whilst forging new avenues.

From its first caress, a dark and instant incitement with a stringed croon and suggestive keys, Unearth sparks something instantly in the unearthsenses and imagination through opening track Stay Away. As Bassett’s vocals join the evocative melodies there is a Bowie-esque breeze cast which evolves into a warm narrative which reminds equally of ELO and Porcupine Tree whilst wrapping tenderly around the senses as a truly distinct proposition. It is a glorious enchantment which only enriches the appetite the more it crafts its seduction around the passions; guitar and keys cradling thoughts and emotions in their provocative arms as the equally mellow and persuasive tones of Bassett press forward the lyrical potency. It is arguable whether Unearth ever reaches the heights of the first song again though the album certainly gives it a stirring try starting with the following Survival Rate. Welcoming beats open up the gateway into folkish scenery of soothing melodies and similarly engaging vocals. As its predecessor, the track permeates the imagination with suggestive and more precise designs, musically and lyrically, all combining for another infectiously magnetic investigative adventure.

The outstanding start is easily continued by both Nothing is Sacred and the title track. The first has a sultriness to its colourful dance, elements of the start and body again urging thoughts of Bowie with a touch of Paul Simon this time around. Equally there are plenty of moments where the softer facets of KingBathmat come through, an obviously unavoidable spicing which only enhances the immersive mystery and enticement of the songs. Guitar and voice brings its successor into potent view, its melody driven seducing soaking every pore and thought as richly as the lyrical temptation, this and every song  proving a powerful lingering suasion in sound and word. As soothing as it is inciting, Unearth is one of those temptresses which never releases her lure and grip whether by the side of or from a distance rivalling the first as the pinnacle of the album.

The gentle jazzy smoulder of Pantomime acts outs its elegant narrative next, lighting another appealing diversion for the imagination whilst the scenic expanse of the instrumental Kylerhea provides a cinematic soundscape to explore individual and personal adventures within. Both captivate without restraint if not quite matching earlier conquests of the emotions, something TV is God soon succeeds doing with elevated success. With a delicious expressive almost acidic twang and whine to the song’s exotic climate over an indictment of technological reliance for escape and hiding from reality, the track is a riveting recruitment of senses and heart.

Both the summery realm of Keep Dear with its XTC like temptation and the equally spellbinding flight of Something that’s More Worthwhile consume ears and imagination like celestial sirens both instinctively washing receptive emotions with unrelenting seduction; melodies and harmonies invasive beauty alone and just as compelling and stimulating as the inventive musical skill and songwriting of Bassett. The pair are quite shadow free compared to other songs of the release but still kissed by a melancholic presence which makes its strongest persuasion with the closing track Comedian. Piano and guitar crafted with the ever impressive voice of Bassett shaping their evocative tales further, the song is an absorbing walk from emotional shadows and musical understanding.

Unearth is as creatively imaginative as maybe expected going by Bassett’s band releases but explores deeper emotionally imposing landscapes, involving and inspiring similarly intense aspects from the listener. It is a wonderfully intimate and evocatively expansive journey proving John Bassett as not only one of the finest British songwriters in rock music but music full stop.

http://www.johnbassettmusic.com/

https://kingbathmat.bandcamp.com/album/unearth

9/10

RingMaster 30/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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The Written Years – Self-Titled

 

 Photo by Steven Toews


Photo by Steven Toews

    The Written Years is a Canadian band which we feel confidence in suggesting you will be hearing a great deal of over coming years. The reasoning for that comes with their self-titled debut album, an emotionally and melodically fuelled release which mesmerises ears and potently inspires the imagination. Consisting of eight songs which bring an original blend of post and alternative rock with folk and melodic inspirations, the album is a compelling flight of what the band calls “Winter Music”.

     Hailing from Kelowna and now based in Vancouver the trio of Wade Ouellet (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Kodie Krogh (guitar, vocals), and Kane Enders (drums), The Written Years has built a strong and well-followed presence with their inventive and original sound as well as acclaimed live performances. Casting tales of affection, belonging, loss, and nostalgia, their first release has all the potential and beauty to inspire the same reactions further afield, awakening new hungry appetites across the rest of North America, Europe and beyond. Aided by the talents of numerous guest musicians, the album is a masterful persuasion of open and smouldering temptation; one where resistance is unlikely to make much of an attempt to fight.

    Opening track It’s Not Your Fault emerges from a shadowed yet crystalline ambient mist with jangling sonics teasing ears twycover-largebefore a firmly placed stroll of guitar and keys bred melodies and colour breaks out. It is an immediately magnetic offering, especially as the song expands its evocative suasion to embrace the strong and expressive vocals of Ouellet. Steady punchy rhythms keep a dark edge skirting the warm touch and gait of the song, whilst harmonies fly with charm and energy across the sultry sky of the encounter. It is an infectious introduction with a tinge of the anthemic persistence Doves place in some of their creations.

    From a fly on the wall like studio link, second song I Would Miss My Home If I Knew Where It Was bounces into view with broad rhythmic shoulders and sonic tenderness to the fore. There is a wonderful folk expression to the indie spawned narrative as well as a creative revelry which dances with the imagination and passions. With wonderful additional vocals provided by Julia Huggins alongside those of Murray Ash, the song is a delicious romp with heady edges and darker depths. Already The Written Years show themselves to be unique to most, their sound a fresh mix apart from any other yet discovered but certainly for European readers there is a comparison to Irish band Knots which you could draw to give a sense of the invention at play.

     Homesick Dirge is a slow invasive treat, its title a just description of its sound though the track never reaches into the darkest funereal realm which might be assumed. Pungently emotive keys wrap equally passionate vocals whilst guitar and bass craft a web of intrigue and provocative colour to fill the heavy hearted yet refreshing canvas laid by lyrics and voice. A slower burn on the passions than its predecessors, the track over time is just as potent and challenging, as is the next up The Phone Is Ringing. Apparently the chord progression of the thought caressing song was the first element of the album, its creation six years ago the spark to the album which was completed with its final master in 2013. The track simply croons and lures the emotions from start to finish, every note and syllable drenched in enveloping melancholia.

     An elevated pace and urgency returns with You’re Too Kind, strumming guitars and lurking basslines entrancing ears whilst keys and vocals get to work on the senses. There is a sixties pop energy to the song, and element of sound which dare we say has a touch of Walker Brothers to it. The track is a masterful charge of inventiveness and emotional incitement, mini crescendos and resonating melodies flaming highlights in the outstanding proposition.

    Both Hospital Rooms and Are You Okay? keep satisfaction and full enjoyment high, even if the pair do not quite match the heights already set. The first is another with a punchy gait to its canter, rhythms crisply punctuating flames of melodic poise whilst its successor like most tracks is a weave of intimately touching and evocative feelings, the pair only increasing the greed of ears and passions for band and album.

   The release is closed by The Station, the song a glorious hug of hypnotic rhythms and bass persistence entwined with mesmeric melodies and thought caressing vocals, which reminds a little of Scottish band, Letters. It is an engrossing end to a similarly riveting release. With the bridging studio fiddling between songs the only negative thing on the album, their presence more a distraction which at times disrupts the flow of the release for personal tastes, The Written Years’ debut is just irresistible, an attention enslaving introduction to a band we are destined to be wrapped up in time and time again.

http://www.thewrittenyears.com

http://thewrittenyears.bandcamp.com

8.5/10

RingMaster 19/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Mark Morriss – A Flash of Darkness

Mark Morriss

     The Bluetones was a band which never really grabbed our attention, certainly nudging it numerous times across their thirteen hit singles and three Top Ten albums, but never making that incisive move to enthral as they did so many others. Former band frontman Mark Morriss though has had little problem managing to not only awaken but gripping that focus with his second solo album A Flash of Darkness. Consisting of eleven provocative flights of imaginative indie pop with a folk underbelly and soaked in evocative colour, it is a mesmeric adventure bounding eagerly and vivaciously through reflective and tempering shadows. Released via Acid Jazz Records, A Flash of Darkness is a masterful seduction and for our minds the best thing the singer songwriter has unveiled.

     The album follows Morriss’ debut album Memory Muscle of 2008, a folk-infused encounter featuring string arrangements from the legendary composer David Arnold which never really rustled up major attention. From the splitting up of The Bluetones in 2011, Morriss has engaged in successful solo tours as well as writing and performing with Matt Berry on his recordings and shows as well as creating his own prog outfit The Maypoles and writing music for David Walliams’ award winning Children’s audio books. A Flash of Darkness continues the musician’s solo adventure with a smile and swagger which enlivens the sounds and invention rippling through the release, the latter aspect a subtle coaxing rather than the loud toxicity you feel it might have been in someone else’s hands.

    The title track opens up the proposition, a song one originally written for a short-lived musical project of Morriss and Berry 1656207_635396076509138_2127819875_ncalled The Swedish Twins. A sultry Morricone bred call and ambience wraps the ears first, tower bells and whistles sculpting the scenery before the song falls into a sixties pop tasting embrace with the recognisable tones of Morriss adding their warmth to the climate. That mentioned vaunt soaks the song, a brass jazz temptation teasing greater emotion the way of the track whilst the tango of guitar invention and heated harmonies only intensify the virulently irresistible bait. Visually evocative and tenderly commanding, the opener is a sensational slice of songwriting, an artistic adventure to set things off on a real high.

    Whereas you can almost add a touch of The Wonder Stuff to the first song, its predecessor Consuela with its gentler yet no less infectious presence, has an eighties flavouring which induces thoughts of The Bluebells and occasionally The Lightning Seeds. Keys add further romance to the persuasion alongside that offered by the melodies and excellent vocal expression. Potent in sound and draped in provocative imagination fuelled hues, the track takes the passions by the hands and whisks them around that summer drenched eighties dancefloor with elegance and contagion before making way for the folkier and rhythmically punchy Guilty Again. A piano crafted beauty immediately kisses thoughts as vocals and a rhythmic prodding skirts its elegance but as with all songs it is one facet of evolving and expanding adventures. Like a lingering smooch, the track strolls with a boisterous gait flinging its happy melodies and hooks around with joyous enterprise to invite and ignite the same pleasure in its recipient.

    Both the mesmeric It’s Hard To Be Good All The Time and the enjoyable cover of The Shins’ Pink Bullets engage and treat with resourceful radiance and splendour, though neither can grip the same high level as previous songs. Despite that neither leaves satisfaction empty or provides weak enticement, diversity and ideas persistently leading the imagination into a submissive grin whilst the next infection under the guise of Low Company unveils an enveloping breeze of lyrical and melodic suasion in another sixties/seventies air to seduce from start to finish.

    Life Without F(r)iction  with its country twang is the next to lift feet from the floor, its bouncy heart unfussy and impossibly tempting before the best song on the album, This Is The Lie (and That’s The Truth), steps up to run its addiction coated fingers through the passions. An acoustic croon with Morriss offering a minimalistic lyrical and musical bewitchment, the track is pure aural manna, additional sirenesque harmonies and small bursts of energy bringing a creative virulence upon ears and emotions. It’s tempting borders on molestation but is simply melodic alchemy at play, the same toxin running through the veins of Space Cadet. The song with a wider brush of sounds and invention smothers the ears in a celestial ambience around thick and deeply permeating melodies, the result another exceptional fascination.

    The album closes with firstly another cover, this of Kavinsky’s Nightcall, which without earning the same ardour as the original material still leaves emotions enthralled, and the slow burning Sleep Song, an exceptional track which took time to make its strongest case but over time evolved into another big anthemic highlight. The pair closes up A Flash of Darkness in fine and endearing fashion leaving a return into the release a demanding option, a choice consistently rewarded each and every time by Morriss in one of the early albums of the year. Whether The Bluetones is a lure or not for you, this is one pop album you must not bypass without delving deeply into.

http://www.markmorrissmusic.co.uk/

9/10

RingMaster 24/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Tara Jane O’Neil – Where Shine New Lights

TJO

    To say that Where Shine New Lights is spellbinding would not be overstating the enchantment and allure of the new album from Californian based multi-instrumentalist, composer, and visual artist Tara Jane O’Neil but it only gives one sense of the absorbing and provocative evocation going on. Like being wrapped in someone else’s reflection which is soaking up and breeding greater evocation from your own, the release is a maze of striking textures and tantalising explorations creating a journey and landscape which draws and immerses the imagination in an unique experiment. The album is an irresistible seduction but one which equally challenges the psyche and emotions with its absorbing breath and permeating radiance aligned to a sonic discord bred lucidity.

     The Kranky Records Where Shine New Lights is the artist’s seventh solo album in a musical career which has seen her as a founding member of Rodan, amongst other projects, and part of collaborations with a wealth of artists including Ida, Mirah, Jackie O MF, Mount Eerie, Papa M, Come, and Nikaido Kazumi. In addition her visual art has graced galleries all over the northern hemisphere whilst O’Neil has received four monographs. As boldly evident on Where Shine New Lights O’Neil has a freedom to her composing and music, an unrestrained and uncaged invention which is unafraid to search the darkest and deepest corners of herself and everything around her whilst coaxing out the beauty, hope, and passion of the same sources.

    The album opens with Welcome, a short piece of floating vocal harmonies and simmering melodies which caress and seduce PromoImagethe air without disturbing its tranquillity. At its seamless evolution into Wordless In Woods a sonic shadow edges into view and remains, tempering the following beauty of song which follows. O’Neil’s voice is as charmed and sirenesque as the sounds wrapping its uniquely enrapturing narrative, the blend inspiring the track to avail its warmth and sensitivity to all. There is a hidden bounce to the song, it seemingly swinging across the senses without raising gait or temperature, something which is less shaded and equally as magnetic in the following This Morning Glory. It is a sublime and sumptuous embrace which transports the imagination into its own disconnected yet emotively honed visual interpretation. The sultry climate of the song through the guitar and harmonies raises a bead of sweat on the metaphorical brow and a smouldering flame in the passions with its quite glorious croon.

    The rhythmically cast and almost shamanic Over. Round, In A Room. Found. comes next and again has thoughts and passions burning with a fiery hunger. Hypnotic and transfixing in its simplicity and dramatically textured reserve, the song is mesmerism at its most potent with the vocal sounds of O’Neil another instrument in the unveiling landscape which expands and then diminishes its presence as it evolves into the haunted arms of Glow Now. The captivating and sinister ambience brewed within the new piece seeps into every thought and emotion sculpting a state of emotional limbo but a feeling enriched by hopeful and rich melodic hues soaking its breath.

    Through songs like The Lull The Going, a tender and bewitching echo of deeply fed emotions, the equally beguiling and poetically harmonic Elemental Finding, and the dark dredging alchemy of Bellow Below As Above O’Neil leaves emotions clasping any ‘firm surface’ whilst thoughts are pushed into places previously unknown or certainly hidden away from light. Whether a shadowed scenery or melody soaked flight, the songs on the album permeate the imagination before moving into closed off emotive depths with ease and infectious ingenuity. Before the last of this trio makes its pass on the passions, the album does take a brief lull through the songs All Now Vibe, The Signal, Wind, and The Signal, Lift. All three are provocative and inciting but do not spark the same intensive involvement as elsewhere, though you know it is not an album issue but only personal tastes at work.

    The almost abstract fascination of New Lights For A Sky brings the excellent encounter to a close, Where Shine New Lights leaving ears to senses and emotions to thoughts drifting in a disturbed yet golden haze of ingenious temptation and incitement. This was our first experience with Tara Jane O’Neil but the doorway ahead and in retrospect to an aural temptress and sculptor of richly impacting reflections.

http://www.tarajaneoneil.com

9/10

RingMaster 06/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com