The Cabana Kids – The Birds & The Bees

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Picture yourself lying on a sun kissed golden beach, a warm caressing breeze and similar thoughts coaxing the body whilst a tall glass of your favourite cold liquid manna satisfies the heat inside. The only thing left once the shades are applied is to find something to seduce the ears. That is where The Cabana Kids and their tantalising EP, The Birds & The Bees, is a forceful suggestion. The five song release is an indie pop /surf rock moulded captivation, a gentle yet imposing persuasion which swiftly suggests that this is a band with the potential to excite and thrill on a global scale.

The Cabana Kids is a New York based sextet which has been stirring up a buzz locally and further afield with their aural charm offensive enthrallingly masquerading as songs. This has led to an eager anticipation for the band’s first EP, no doubt egged on by the band’s recent acclaimed debut single Just Let Me Know. The song gave all the hints and temptation needed to spark an excited wait for The Birds & The Bees, something the Small Plates Records released EP rewards with its riveting and bewitching presence. Unveiling songs seeded in all matters of the heart, the release is a lingering evocative flight of melodies and harmonies aligned to pungent rhythms, not an instant raging fire for the passions but a smouldering proposition which hangs around tempting away far longer than most intensive blazes.

Before we start note that we are going by the song order on the promo sent through to us but it has been hinted that might have changed since. Anyway here the EP opens with Mexico, a song which initially wrong foots with its vintage croon 29yh84pof keys. Like the organ music which used to open up theatre and cinema shows back in the old days, so my Dad told me, the song’s entrance has a nostalgic breath which is swiftly intriguing whilst stopping thoughts in their tracks. It is a clever introduction which is only enhanced as the voice of Hannah Morris adds her emotive, again old school effected tones to the increasingly potent tempting. Acoustic guitars and gentle beats link up soon after, as well as a sultry melodic electrified twang and the strong voice of Joseph Lee for a country-esque, sixties surf balladry brought on a swaying gait. There is no escaping the delicious retro feel of the song, with the dual vocals, as proven time and again in the subsequent tracks, a striking and pleasing texture but only one in many provocative layers within each individual recipe.

The more energetic and equally magnetic You and Me steps in next, its stroll still relaxed and reserved but with a small swagger to the rhythms and dual vocals so it bounces along with a virulent catchiness. Keys and guitars radiate sparking designs of inventive and colourful enterprise whilst the slightly darker tones of the song bubble nicely through the pulsating bass and accompanying beats. It is the vocals though which steal the show, the vivacity and smile from both sides a hug to bask in whilst dipping imaginations feet into the melodic waters around them.

The bands single Just Let Me Know lifts its rhythmic and energetic feet a little higher again, its inviting canter wrapped in expressive hues of guitar whilst Lee adds a fifties tone and resonance to the emerging treat. Taking a breath the song breaks into a hot wind of surf and indie rock contagion, thoughts of Morningwood and Two Wounded Birds creeping forward as the song further blossoms into an enthralling flame of rock pop. It is very easy to see why the song alone sparked the attention and interest in the band and The Birds & The Bees, the glorious incitement just rock ‘n’ roll in its purest melodic form.

New single Oh Lorelei is set to be received in the same feverish manner as its predecessor you can only suspect, just as the EP ultimately one assumes. The song is a gripping weave of fifties and modern ingenuity. At some points it enchants with a Bobby Rydell like tempting, in others with a Surf City spiced revelry and all aligned to a whiff of The Strokes through the song. It mounts up though to something unique and fascinating and another gripping highlight.

The EP ends with the dreamier presence of Sortida, a tender glaze of sound which takes on a new persona and addictiveness through an infectious thumping and the siren-esque harmonies of Morris which embrace the senses with beguiling radiance. The darkest song on the release but also a beacon of sonic and vocal beauty, it is a scintillating close to a mesmeric encounter.

Though still early steps, The Birds & The Bees easily suggests that The Cabana Kids has the potential and invention to make a big statement in surf and melodic rock over coming horizons, a thought hard to contain the excitement over thanks to their excellent EP.

The Birds & The Bees EP is available now via Small Plates Records @ http://smallplates.bigcartel.com/product/the-cabana-kids-the-birds-the-bees

https://www.facebook.com/thecabanakids

RingMaster 08/10/2014

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Hollie April – Together Alone

Hollie April Photo 3

A smouldering and climactically sultry embrace for ears and imagination, Together Alone is further proof of the magnetic and striking talent that is Hollie April. The new single is a delicious evocative caress of drama and emotive seduction which whilst reinforcing the already impressive presence of April unveils a new vein of potential to her songwriting and sound, which in turn will surely leads to an inevitable increased spotlight on the lady.

The 22 year-old British singer-songwriter was born and raised in Gibraltar and from the age of 12 was performing professionally. Studying at and graduating from Leeds College of Music with a BA(Hons) in Music Production, 2013 saw April performing at an array of festivals and sharing stages with the likes of Emeli Sandé, Level 42, Texas, Lawson, and Olly Murs. Her debut EP Marionette stirred up excited attention and acclaim with its release at the tail of 2013, the song The Sun and the Sea from it especially garnering potent praise and focus. Now Together Alone is poised to open up a new charge of hungry appetites and acclaim through its mesmeric beauty and compelling imagination.Hollie April 'Together Alone' Single Artwork

A caress of guitar assisted by a minimalistic bass stroke opens up a deeply evocative breath to the song. It is a captivating entrance swiftly joined by the fascinating voice of April. As expressive as they are harmoniously intriguing, her vocals spellbind ears and thoughts immediately, flirting with the imagination and the gently coaxing sounds beneath her. It is only the start of the song though, the first passage in a masterful and inventive flow of ideas and sound. A heavy strum of guitar triggers a potent stride of rhythms and elevation in the richness of both April’s voice and passion next with thoughts of Katie Bucket and UK band Jingo immediately springing to mind, the pair sharing an organic and senses inflaming ability to melodically roar.

The song continues to ebb and flow in its energy whilst increasing the startling, dramatic air and texture of its presence and narrative. It is a glorious adventure emotionally and sonically, with April’s voice an evolving climate of charm and melodic beauty. The song is bewitching as it reveals another character to the presence and craft of April, a broad yet intimate sunset for thoughts and feelings.

Hollie on the evidence of her EP and new singles is destined to make major melodic statements within British rock and pop music ahead; she has already started to be fair with Together Alone.

Together Alone is available digitally from September 22nd

www.hollieapril.com

RingMaster 21/09/2014

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Body Futures – Brand New Silhouettes

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Mischievous, unpredictable, and relentlessly adventurous, Brand New Silhouettes is a debut which swiftly sets its creators apart from the crowd. The first album from US indie rock pop band Body Futures, the scintillating encounter is a delightfully warped and devilishly captivating collection of songs which seduce the imagination with the creative innocence of the playground and the adventurous revelry of illicit moments behind the school bike shed. To that there is a captivating mix of feverish ideation and exploratory maturity which turns every track into a unique emprise of ingenuity. The album is simply glorious which is destined to head best album lists and make the Wisconsin band one of your new best friends and lustful obsessions.

Formed in 2012, Body Futures took their time before stepping into a spotlight, taking their first year writing and rehearsing before making a live debut in 2013. Consisting of vocalist Dixie Jacobs (ex- White, Wrench, Conservatory), guitarist/vocalist Christopher Maury (ex-Five Mod Four), bassist/vocalist Michael Wojtasiak (ex-Everybody at Midnight), and vocalist/drummer D.J. Hostettler (ex- IfIHadAHiFi), Body Futures linked up with Latest Flame Records before entering Howl Street Studios to record their album with Shane Hochstetler earlier this year. What has emerged is one of the most riveting and exciting introductions to a band in a long time, certainly in the realms of indie and pop rock.

The Milwaukee quartet instantly engage ears and thoughts with opener Hooks & Eyes, the harmonically aflame vocals of Jacobs a vibrant caress to which the more unbalanced expressive tones of Hostettler bring a delicious almost crazed accompaniment. Rhythms jab within the appealing blend whist riffs carry a jagged attitude and the bass a darker throat to the enticement. It is not the most startling song to leap at the senses but a vivacious start to the album with its Weezer like festivity and slightly frenzied vocal glow which reminds of eighties band Girls At their Best.

Things move up another step with the following When You Had A Jaw and even further with A Complete Divorce straight after. The first of the pair with its great mix of male and female led vocals again carries that eighties essence, LFR-44-cover-300x300the same band as reminded of in its predecessor coming to thoughts as well as fellow US band Late Cambrian. The bouncy chorus and anthemic call of the song makes for a ridiculously catchy tempting but the band mingles it with a muddled flame of sonic agitation and atmospheric intrigue which turns the track into a whole other type of creative bedlam before closing out on the irresistible romp which set it off. It is a clever piece of songwriting and sonic incitement but soon left in the shadow of its successor. The third song starts with Jacobs alone, voice revealing more of its depths before being paced by the absorbing tones of Wojtasiak’s bass and subsequently an evocative glaze of guitar. The track is a ‘regular’ proposition initially but soon blessed by shards of discord kissed guitar resonance and a delicious flow of vocal harmonies. Thoughts of The Passions and Jingo come to the fore here, the latter the one band which most comes close to the inventive majesty of Body Futures.

From the first big peak of the album, the band dances with ears and passions through the feisty beauty of That’s So Church, its enthralling swing of hooks and beats as gripping as the mouth-watering vocals. By now you expect a little of the unexpected and the track certainly offers that with a closing discord lilted twist of inventive drama before making way for the more reserved melodic caress of Is The Skeleton A Weapon? The song smoulders and moves engagingly with a sixties teasing pop charm but along rails of sonic causticity which adds that perpetual tinge of surprise which roams the release. Not the strongest of the songs on the album but one to lick lips over all the same, it is followed by (That’s A) Big Smile (for Someone About to Drown) and its starting blaze of Sex Pistols seeded guitar and riffery. The track proceeds to jangle and rile up the passions with clashing but beautifully merged punk spiced vocals, predatory rabidity, and the melodic resourcefulness of Jacobs’ synth and autoharp prowess and of course her mesmeric vocals. Imagine Devo meets Morningwood and you get the gist of the beauty of the song which triggers another ascent in the album’s exploration and might.

The opening ‘Psycho Killer’ like lure of bass which opens up Save the Clock Tower is potent bait alone but with the military seeded rhythms and stabbing riffing soon courting the magnetic web being cast, the track is soon in irresistible control. Jacobs walks alone through it all, her voice and keys seducing from within the compelling trap like a solitary figure in the midst of an addictive alchemy, but she is really the puppeteer urging and pulling the listener into the concussive and at time disorientating maelstrom of sound and invention. It is a stunning track which is swiftly equalled by the similarly beautifully deranged fascination of Phantom Patterns Arson. Running with a pop punk energy and virulence, the track is as jagged and irritable as it is melodically rampant, vocals and keys a relentless temptation within the more antagonistically captivating web of rhythms and guitar endeavour.

Sha Na Na: Clone Project Alpha is a song about Elmer Edward Solly, an escaped convict who masqueraded as a dead member of Sha Na Na, and just as frantically warped as the other pinnacles of the album. Lurching around with the will and intensity of a Dervish yet still making time to smooch with ears through melodic fondling, the song is impossibly infectious and unique, a track to rival Save the Clock Tower though both have to bow to What Bugs Eat. The penultimate song of the album, it is an immediately challenging fusion of two extremes which simply thrills. On one side there is the vocal pop toxicity of Jacobs alongside acidic yet warming melodies and on the other, a caustic discord spawned rapacity of sound which breeds hooks and riffs which scamper over the senses with the irritancy of a thousand insects. It is a simply bewildering and brilliant union as the sides merge in a bedlam of enterprise and ingenuity

The album finishes on the thick and rich psychedelic sunset of The Spanish of Scraping, a track with a sultry air but unafraid to interrupt with moments of poetic lunacy. It is an outstanding end to a quite brilliant album, Brand New Silhouettes destined to be a marker for indie rock and pop to come you sense as it twists its mischief through ears.

Though not in sound, there is one band which Body Futures reminds of in unique invention and the distinctness of the sounds they can conjure, and that is Talking Heads and we all know what happened to them.

Brand New Silhouettes is available now on vinyl and digitally via Latest Flame Records @ http://www.latestflame.com/content/lfr-44/ and @ http://bodyfutures.bandcamp.com/album/brand-new-silhouettes

https://www.facebook.com/BodyFutures

9/10

RingMaster 13/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Pillar Point – Self Titled

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    Creating an immersive melancholic waltz for feet, thoughts, and emotions, the debut self-titled album from US electronica project Pillar Point is a fascinating captivation with a persistent almost niggling seduction which encloses the imagination in an evocative and reflective embrace whilst sparking the urge to shuffle and lift limbs. It is not a release to ignite a major fire in the belly but instead it simmers and smoulders earning a lingering respect and appetite towards its open invention.

    Pillar Point is the solo project of Seattle musician Scott Reitherman, an artist already known for his involvement with indie-pop outfit Throw Me the Statue. Exploring similar electronic textures and sounds to that band, Reitherman ventures into darker shadows and deeper emotive corners, tempering it with a melodic dance of imagination upon his solo release. Uniting with long-time collaborator and producer Charlie Smith for the Polyvinyl Record Company released album, Reitherman takes Pillar Point and the listener on a fascinating soar through crystalline atmospheres and sirenesque electro embraces, an adventure equally unafraid to step into personal reflective shadows.

     The album opens with the masterful Diamond Mine, the song a weave of electronic alchemy honed into an enthralling flame of melodic enticement. From its first caress of vintage sounding synthesizer the song is seducing the imagination, the mellow falsetto leaning vocals of Reitherman adding to the warm suasion. Dark bass tones politely groan from within the flames, beats adding potent jabs to cast a little further darkness to the sunspot of a song. It is an absorbing entrance and stroll but one which shows its true toxicity with the exceptional chorus. As it hits, discord invites itself to the mesmeric party and immediately cast a dark irresistible glaze to proceedings vocally and musically. It attaches its claws like a mix of very early Ultravox and Thomas Dolby filtered through the dark intimidation of Joy Division. It is a scintillating moment in a terrific start to the album, one it never manages to emulate again.

     The following infection soaked Eyeballs and the celestial Cherry give it a strong go though, the first an eager energetic bound of guitar teasing and mischievous rhythms within an electro cloud with as much tendency to haunt and shadow emotions as it has to seduce them. Its successor washes over ears with an ethereal breath and temptation which again mixes melancholy and warmth into an emotive sailing of the imagination. Like its predecessor the song is awash with an infectious bewitchment which lingers and inspires long after its departure.

     Black Hole steps up next with its rhythmic bait poised and ready to hypnotise from its first second, the ear clipping beats a constant provocation within a tantalising electronic entrapment. Smothering and inspiring thoughts into a personal adventure, the song is a vibrant tempting which has toes and heels itching to join the mix, something which Strangers In Paradise in its noir kissed romance also achieves with a slow steady saunter. As with the opener, there is an eighties synth pop essence to the song especially in its darkest climate, bands like Felt and Comsat Angels brought to mind by the sultry elegance and rhythmic intimidation respectively of the encounter. Its unpredictability and fusion of discord spawned ingenuity with warm melodic blushes is a compelling treat and across the whole album this type of union continually provides the strongest pinnacles of the landscape.

    Both Dreamin’ and Touch expressively glow in the passions, if at times with sluggish lures that stir rather than stoke the fires, whilst the delicious tease of Curious Of You with its electro devilry and contagious harmonies incites the coals to another feverish hunger. It is a track which holds the hands and whirls you around its hazy scenery in one fluid escapade for the duration of the refreshing dance. It is a magnetic incitement matched by the closing slice of mesmerism, Echoes. As its title the song resonates and pulsates relentlessly in the psyche and imagination, another weave of electronic and melodic beauty coaxed further by the impressive tones of Reitherman.

    The song concludes in fine style a magnetic release, an encounter from Pillar Point which maybe does not cause the passions to erupt but instead invites and persuades them to linger for vast swathes of time long past its farewell…a reward which arguably is the greater and very appealing.

http://pillarpointmusic.com/

8/10

RingMaster 04/03/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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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

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Rumours – Letters From The Memory Box

Rumours Online Promo Shot

    A fusion of rock and pop created within a melodic caress which easily seduces the imagination, Letters From The Memory Box is a very pleasing attention sparking introduction from UK band Rumours. The debut release from the young emerging quartet, it is fair to say it is not exactly presenting anything new or stretching borders for the ears but with a charm and lingering persuasion to its songs it is hard not to be tempted by the enticing release.

    Formed last year, the foursome of vocalist/guitarist Alex Mcmain, guitarist Neil Oliver, bassist Dan Mur, and drummer Jamie Hadley were soon drawing in a crowd of attention for their sound and live performances with strong support from the likes of Kerrang! Radio’s Alex Baker aiding their emergence. Inspired by the likes of Artist Vs Poet and Fall Out Boy the band as shown by their EP, crafts an instinctive and flavoursome blend of rock energy with pop enticement within openly thoughtful and inventive songwriting. As mentioned their release is not carving out new plateaus but it certainly brings a potency and adventure to its resourceful endeavour.

    Opener Forever Young appears riding bulging rhythms before offering a wash of melodic guitar and vocal temptation. It is aRumours Cover Artwork strong if less than dramatic entrance but one which firmly lures in attention especially as the song opens up its musically poetic arms and fluent harmonic temptation. Like the release, it is not a song to leave jaws hanging in awe but with strong vocals and cultured melodic endeavour it makes an endearing and infectious proposition setting up keen appetite for the following offerings. This aroused intrigue is soon fed wholesomely by the next up treat, Make Believe. From its opening breath ripe hooks are dangled before the imagination and even when it relaxes into a gentle stroll, the song still spears the ears with addictive barbs of rhythmic incitement amidst a melodic weave with similarly contagious bait. With an energy to match its exciting craft, the dynamic stomp of a song grips tighter than its predecessor to reinforce the already potent presence of Rumours whilst confirming the loud whisper suggesting their goodness which has covered the band in recent months.

    If You Could See Me Now is a rousing power of a ballad which again leaves thoughts and emotions satisfied and keenly contented. There is a familiarity to the encounter, something which in varying degrees applies to the whole EP, which arguably denies it reaping the full acclaim it probably deserves but it cannot prevent band and track brewing up another enjoyable melodic proposition. The deceptively anthemic Meet Me Half Way with its evocative narrative of keys is similarly awash with a recognisable if indefinable essence but with sinew built rhythms, jangling guitar temptation, and the ever impressive vocals painting a vibrant and melodically emotive picture alongside those elegant keys, the song seduces from start to finish.

    Both Just A Kiss and Lost Without You provide easily accessible encounters, the first confidently aligning melodic eloquence vocally and musically with a lyrical caress whilst its successor brings a tender reflection wrapped in charm from the keys and guitar which colours the emotive tones and descript brought by Mcmain. Though neither lives up to the earlier tracks the pair still embrace ears with a warm and ultimately persuasive smouldering of infectious melodies and rippling creativity.

     Closing with the acoustically bred Sense Of Direction, a decent enough and enjoyably accomplished if underwhelming song, Letters From The Memory Box is a very satisfying and melodically luxurious treat even if one which does not ignite the passions as intensely as it might. The EP undoubtedly provides enough evidence and quality though, not forgetting pleasure, to predict that Rumours will exploit their obvious potential for very successful and appealing horizons ahead, times we will be continually enthralled by you can only suspect.

www.facebook.com/officialrumours

8/10

RingMaster 02/01/2014

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The Hidden Cameras – Age

AGE album cover

    Providing the sumptuous musical bounty The Hidden Cameras are already recognised for whilst stretching the boundaries further with a spicy array of sounds and styles, Age the new album from the Canadian indie pop band irresistibly seduces and incites the imagination and emotions. It is an expansive and welcomingly invasive evocation which thrillingly drowns the listener in feverish temptation and enthralling colour drenched invention. Every corner, twist, and adventure explored emotionally and aurally, leaves a lingering persuasion and mark whilst Age as a whole shapes itself up as an early melodically sculpted pinnacle of the year.

      The brainchild of the perpetual creative driving force behind the ever enticing project, songwriter/frontman Joel Gibb, The Hidden Cameras has continued to challenge and impress musically and emotionally since being founded in 2001. From debut album Ecce Homo that first year, the Toronto hailing Gibb has pushed boundaries and thoughts through five acclaimed full-lengths with this the sixth being no exception. Igniting a dormant even non-existent music scene in his home city, Gibb became the first Canadian artist to sign with Rough Trade. Now Berlin based, the unique imagination and craft of the man has forged another questioning and spotting of sexual prejudices and social inadequacies in the Evil Evil released Age, a record which is a kind of coming of age investigation with undoubted personal incites and in the words of Gibb an album which “deconstructs my musical roots”.

     That deconstruction gives the expansive flavouring and diversity which openly calls out from Age, and is soon absorbing attention and appetite with opener Skin & Leather. Immediately vocals croon as a brewing electronic shadow looms up from behind their invitation, a potent lure soon aided by guitar stroking and the lyrical voice of Gibbs. It is a gentle and mesmeric start; a warm magnetic bait seizing the imagination easily getting it ready for the impending explosion of bulging rhythms and climactic melodic fire. Instantly contagious and sublimely tempting with the orchestral aspects the band is renowned for weaving an evocative beauty to immerse within without restraint, the song engulfs the listener in a wind of poetic beauty and feisty energy. Not for the last time there is an eighties indie pop essence, the melodic endeavour and almost raging anthemic gloriousness of the song sparking thoughts of bands like The Wild Swans and Bourgie Bourgie.

    Bread for Brat matches the impressive start with its own riveting imagination and incendiary tempting. Its brilliant start of acidic violin swipes alongside a deliciously moody cello coaxing which almost snarls at the ears is irresistible and only strengthens its potency as the smooth and expressive vocals of Gibbs opens up a provocative charm. Thick in drama delivered in a reserved gait though admittedly with a bold attitude, the track is an enthralling and luxurious baroque like encounter which bewitches an already strongly bred hunger before the following pair of Doom and first single from the album Gay Goth Scene add their vital stimulus.

     The first of the pair emerges from a dark brooding affair, synths and orchestral inducements flirting closely with melancholic intensity. Once the melodic electro grace and vocal harmonies spread their warm embraces, the song still cloaked in emotional shadows unveils a heated dance of lively adventure with folk undertones. Not as immediate as other tracks but equally as impacting and thrilling its presence it makes way for its outstanding successor. A song which apparently was written ten years previously and you assume addresses the times in Toronto for Gibbs when he staged what became legendary nights in Churches of the city, the single like its predecessor smoulders as it first comes into view, like a breaking dawn slowly filling the senses and imagination with strong vocals within tender orchestral bait. It is another strong breath of magnetic power which digs deeper with its lure once energy and intent raise their urgency through rapacious beats and vivacious electronic seduction. Add the increasing exertions physically and inventively from the strings and the wonderful wailing witchery of guest artist Mary Margaret O’Hara and Gay Goth Scene makes the most compelling and dramatic incentive for the album.

    The diversity of the release is already in full swing and takes another striking turn with the reggae lilted Afterparty, a track which saunters and breezes through the ears like a combination of the dub craft of Ruts DC meets the reggae seduction of By The Rivers. It is a mesmeric entrapment for thoughts and emotions revealing more of the inspirations which have impacted on Gibbs, more assumedly coming with the next up Carpe Jugular. An eighties seeded alchemy of synth pop and new wave exploration, the song resonates with a toxically infectious electro enticing. It plays like a cross between Heaven 17 and later Dalek I Love You providing a tantalising brightly glowing slice of melodic suasion. Bringing the kind of incandescent and virulently captivating melody driven weaves which marked the songwriting of Martyn Ware and Ian Marsh (Human League/Heaven 17), the song simply romances and invigorates the senses.

     The folkish element returns in Ordinary Over You, a song which also adds drama to rich flames of evocative enterprise in its short presentation, before final track and recently released new single Year of the Spawn brings the release to a stunning conclusion. As with all of the songs there is something engagingly familiar to the sound and heart of the track but this only adds to the fullness of pleasure and satisfaction. With strings and vocals painting an ensnaring allurement alone, a fascination which only increases through the blaze of strings and brass around a heady and sturdy piano scripted emotional narrative, the song is a mouthwatering evocation.

     Age is a magnificent confrontation, an album which makes love to the senses whilst awakening thoughts and emotions to wider issues and drama clad textures. Whether it is the best The Hidden Cameras album to date can be debated but certainly it is at the fore and a real treat to get the year really rolling.

http://thehiddencameras.com/

9/10

RingMaster 23/04/2014

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