James King and the Lonewolves – Lost Songs of the Confederacy

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It might be thirty years and more since its release but the James King and the Lonewolves single I Tried/So Alone, has never drifted away too far from the musical landscape here at The RR. With the band coming to a close less than a handful of years later, it is a regular reminder of what might have been and of the potential locked up inside one of the eighties lost opportunities to shine even brighter musically. So it was with surprise and excitement that the band re-emerged a couple of years ago and that the debut album lost to that collapse of the band, was to be released. The original Lost Songs of the Confederacy was recorded with John Cale but as mentioned never saw the like of day, but now ‘mark II’, with re-recorded and re-mastered songs supplemented by new recordings is here and at times it is like the band has never been away.

James King and the Lonewolves emerged in the early eighties in the heart of Glasgow’s music scene and swiftly grabbed attention and support with their feisty and fiery Americana influenced rock ‘n’ roll. The aforementioned single I Tried released via Cubre Libre/Virgin, sparked a wider awareness, certainly grabbing some of us down south. The following Texas Lullaby ‎12″ EP found acclaim of its own too and with the band signing with Alan Horne’s Swamplands label in 1984, it looked like things were about to break for the band. An ill-fated performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test where their profanities drew countless complaints from viewers led to the label dropping the band after just one single and before the album was unveiled. That in turn added to the turbulence within the quartet which saw it subsequently self-implode.

Skip forward to 2011 though and after a ‘long running feud’, James King and Jake McKechan putting differences aside came together as The Lonewolves for a memorial show for former agent, Alan Mawn. Completed by bassist Nick Clark, guitarist Joe Sullivan, and drummer Corey Little; band and audience saw the chemistry was still ablaze within The Lonewolves and they decided to carry on. Released via Edinburgh’s Stereogram Recordings, Lost Songs of the Confederacy is a bridge to the past, ‘unfinished business to be done’ in the words of King, and spark for the future, and as also shown on the recent Pretty Blue Eyes EP, the band’s sound is just as potent and rebellious as ever.

The album seems to work itself up to its biggest triumphs, the first few songs making an appealing and satisfying persuasion but the real roar and fire in the album coming a little later. In saying that opener Fun Patrol immediately ?????????????????????????????????????captures ears and imagination, its initial sonic shimmering bringing a lick of the lips before riffs and rhythms huddle in an imposing stance. King’s vocals carry a mature snarl to his still distinctive tones whilst guitars toy with a bluesy colour to their sultry enterprise. It is a pulsating slice of rock pop, bass almost stalking the senses across its imaginative landscape whilst a flame of harmonica simply lifts spirits and passions further.

It is a mighty start to the album which is not quite matched by either Over the Side or Fly Away. The first caresses ears with sixties melodic coaxing initially, its Kinks like smile an engaging persuasion which the shimmering climate of melodies and throaty bass stroll only accentuates. It is a highly magnetic proposition but is missing the indefinable something which lit its predecessor, the same which can be said of its successor. The album’s third song has a riper infectiousness to it, riffs and hooks inescapable bait but again that certain spark fails to materialise to take an enjoyable song into being an inescapable one. The flame of brass and contagious swagger it carries does it no harm though before it makes way for the hazy presence of Bridgeton Summer. Its air is steamy and melodies again sultry, both wrapping inventive climbs of emotion and energy within the transfixing balladry fuelled song. It also just misses those early heights but provides a vein of ingenuity which is exploited to the full as the album suddenly kicks up in the creative gears.

Even Beatles Die dangles sonic bait to straightaway hook ears and thoughts but it is when the punk voracity and intimidating riffs from guitar and bass break-through, that the track becomes a thrilling predator. It has a nagging to it which is as contagious as it is unrelenting whilst the poppier exploits of guitar and hooks simply flirt with seventies rock ‘n’ roll temptation. It is a treat of a romp setting up the richer blues hued strains of While I Can. With a jazz blues tease of keys leading into stalking bass lures and aligning riff and vocal growls, the track twists and shouts with an old school rock and R&B devilry to also ignite ears and emotions, though it in turn is just an appetiser for the majesty of (Un)happy Home. Instantly holding a delicious whiff of The Mighty Lemon Drops to its net of melodic enterprise, the song prowls and strides with switching adventure to sculpt a dynamic and insatiable stomp of punk ‘n’ roll tenacity and adventure. Everything about the album’s best track, from growly vocals to spicy riffs, seductive low toned bass to crisp rhythms, is pure contagious persuasion.

   Pretty Blue Eyes swiftly keeps the levels flying high with its raw and jangly endeavour, the song seemingly bred from the seeds which early Orange Juice and Josef K employed so well. It is a compelling encounter which rather than grab the psyche by the collar slowly burns its way into causing its subsequent arousal. Igniting an instant reaction is no problem for Texas Lullaby though, the track from its tantalising melody washed jangle brewing up and growing into an impossibly addictive and irresistible chorus. At that moment there is a pungently healthy Skids air to the song but a flavour soon transformed into a Lonewolves tapestry of emotion and lingering persuasion for another massive peak to the increasingly impressing album.

     Lost Songs of the Confederacy is brought to a close by the gentle melodic stroking of A Step Away from Home, a strongly evocative and pleasing prospect but another not quite equipped to match songs like the one before it. Nevertheless it still leaves ears content and pleasure full as it brings a ‘lost son’ of an album home into the hearts of the band’s fans. This is an album which is much more than a memory trip just for fans though, its daring and inventive drama a certain lure for those unaware of James King and the Lonewolves. It has been a long wait but boy was it worth it for them and us.

Lost Songs of the Confederacy is out via Stereogram Recordings now digitally with a vinyl version available from November 10th. Find out more @ http://www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk/audio/lost-songs-confederacy/

https://www.facebook.com/JamesKingLonewolves

RingMaster 30/10/2014

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Late Cambrian – Golden Time

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Our introduction to US indie rock band Late Cambrian came with their Social Season EP and became a lustful attraction through second album Peach, a release offering a thrilling dance of vibrant personality with matching sounds and imagination. It was an encounter of at times stunning brilliance within a constantly refreshing and warm temptation which stirred up the passions within seconds of contact. Now the band returns with its successor Golden Time, a release bred from the same eclectic invention and making a potent first impression, but working with a slower more sultry seduction and smouldering pop vivacity reaches the same captivating heights. The album reveals another leap in songwriting and sound maturity without relinquishing the bands almost mischievous use of hooks and melodic grooves. It takes its time to reveal all its depths but Golden Time emerges as another irresistible proposition from the Brooklyn quartet.

Late Cambrian has continued to make impressive marks from debut album The Last Concert released in 2011, onwards. Their Social Season EP of the following year raised the bar and bred one of their most successful and greedily devoured songs to date, Ryan Gosling. It was with Peach though that John N Wlaysewski (lead vocals, guitars, synth, percussion), Nunzio Moudatsos (bass, backing vocals), and Olive ‘O’ Hui (vocals, synth) sparked a much stronger and global spotlight. Now with the addition of drummer Alex to its line-up, the band offers a new tantalising treat with Golden Time. The band has often been compared to Wheatus, who Late Cambrian are touring the UK and Europe with as this review is posted, but the new album shows a unique and distinctive bloom to its summery sound and presence, which flourishes in that maturity spoken off earlier.

The PledgeMusic funded release opens with an immediately enthralling and virulently infectious Throwing Shade. As soon as guitar stabs, with a tone quite distinctive to the band, crosses ears there is a warm glow in emotions and imagination bred from past experiences with Late Cambrian’s invention. There is the quirky manner and enterprise which fuelled the last album on immediate show but also a melodic elegance and relish which provides new scenery to indulge in. The welcoming and harmonically bracing vocals of Wlaysewski backed by Moudatsos and O, embrace like an old friend but again with a new hue to their enterprise and stature. It is a thrilling entrance which the song reinforces across its length with a transfixing wash of radiant keys and punchy rhythms, but it is the Steely Dan like caress, vocally and musically, which steals the deal.

The following title track is no less compelling and invigorating. Electronic pulses lead to a coaxing guitar twang, which in turn moves into a bold stride of crisp rhythms across rich and magnetic melodies. The song’s title fits the sound Golden Time album Artworkwithin it perfectly, the duet of vocals between Wlaysewski and O as seductive and bright as the feisty pop melodies dancing around them. Again there is a contagion to the song which is inescapable for ears and an energy enslaving feet but it is its melodic swing that ignites another hungry urge in an already keen appetite.

Illamasqua swiftly installs its insatiable persuasion next, rhythms and vocals the prime lure initially, before the song slips into a tenacious stride of jabbing beats and lively yet sultry keys. As with many songs on the album, there is an instant familiar breath and touch to it which by the close you realise is simply from the band having their own distinct sound and presence. Also noticeable is that the song hints it has a fire to expel but instead remains in its enjoyable smouldering. This happens a few times across Golden Times and though at times you wonder how things would go if the band had ignited that extra mystery spark, the album flourishes in its inventively controlled and imaginative calm.

Both Game Show and Now keep the creative and appealing flames in ears and emotions sizzling. The first is a gentle canter of a song with potent and varied vocals against eclectic melodies and unpredictable endeavour, all flirting around a deliciously throaty bassline, whilst the second flows with a slow seducing of mellow yet vivacious vocals within a web of sharp hooks aligned to wispy blues kissed melodies. Though neither quite grips the heights of certainly the opening pair of tracks, both shine with a blaze of charm and bold imagination before making way for the thrilling romp of Objects May Appear. Big riffs and beats dance with ears straight away, their tango irresistible and only enhanced with the joining of similarly jaunty vocals from the band in turn. There is no escape for body, voice, and emotions to the album’s anthemic lure, the track a beguiling and fascinating stomp taking best song honours.

DYBIL with its crystaline melodies alongside riveting vocals and harmonies, provides a powerful romance for ears and senses to immerse in and passions to grow for whilst the following acoustic hug of the emotive Montauk simply whisks the imagination off on a seductive waltz to leave satisfaction brimming. Both reveal more of the evolution in, and growth of, enterprise and songwriting within the band before Shiny Cars brings the album to a healthy close. The outstanding final song has a thick and heavy resonance absent from much of what came before which again only offers another enjoyable shade to the album, whilst it’s gentler but lively vocals and melodic adventure only declares that this is a band coming of age.

There is no go for the jugular stand-out on Golden Time, no jaw dropper like Ryan Gosling or Wolf, but every track has a body and heart which outshines plenty of Late Cambrian’s impressive catalogue and combine for the band’s finest moment yet. For beautifully sculpted and dramatically radiant rock pop it is hard to think of many better offerings this year than Golden Times.

Golden Time will be available in November, for more details and remaining dates on their tour with Wheatus and  MC Frontalot go to http://www.latecambrian.com/

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RingMaster 17/10/2014

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Jacksons Warehouse – Right Here, Right Now

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A constant source of intelligent hook laden songs as thick in passion as they are in insatiable infectiousness, UK rock band Jacksons Warehouse has also shown the ability to write resourceful flights of emotional temptation, and maybe none finer than new single Right Here, Right Now. With an underlying energy and contagion which scoops up feet and emotions in its keen arms, the song is a mesmeric croon of sound and vocals which mix the attractive hooks the band are renowned for with a fresh expansive flight of emotive and sonic expression.

Formed in 2004, the Basildon band has constantly increased their fan base and acclaim through a parade of addiction sparking singles such as the brilliant Hotel by the Sea and their acclaimed and imposingly impressive debut album Homes Next To Houses of 2012. Songs seemingly flow from the minds and talent of the band like water drops from a leaking tap, a constant supply of always attention grabbing offerings which leave a lingering persuasion in varying degrees. Right Here, Right Now is one of their releases which make the strongest impact on ears and imagination, its mellow yet fiery presence a provocative embrace to hungrily immerse in.Shark

Crisp inviting beats from Cy Chant enticingly bait ears first, their gait setting down the keen energy kissed spine of the song. They are soon wrapped in elegant melodies and a darker bass tone, their addition laying down an emotive canvas for the distinctive voice of guitarist Stuart Brown to paint the song’s narrative and heart upon. The slight warble to his husky tones lies perfectly with the almost ethereal caress of keys from Simon Brown and the more intense but as warm strokes of enterprise from the guitars of Marc Barnacle and Stu. It is a transfixing incitement, the sultry glaze of sound tempered skilfully by the shadowed presence and tempting of bass sculpted by Rich Hawkins. The song may be a slower stroll than usually crafted by the band but its infectiousness is just as potent and full, vocally and musically the track almost anthemic in its effect on feet and emotions.

Right Here, Right Now is a treat of a song and marks a new twist in the creativity of a band already no strangers to acclaim if still yet to find the break-through into the strongest spotlight. The new single will do Jacksons Warehouse no harm in that direction though.

Right Here, Right Now is released October 13th

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RingMaster 22/09/2014

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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

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9/10

RingMaster 13/08/2014

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Diet – Palindrome

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Brewing up a potently agreeable blend of grunge indie rock with a healthy wash of pop punk and garage rock, US band Diet have just released their latest EP Palindrome to stir up the senses and catch the imagination in a sonic temptation. Consisting of five diverse and fascinating propositions of raw and enthralling noise seeded rock ‘n’ roll, the release is one which does not spark a fire in the passions but lingers relentlessly in thoughts and emotions to provide a more than healthy incitement. Increasingly persuasive and striking over time too, Palindrome simply leaves appetite alert and satisfaction full with its compelling and pleasing proposition.

Hailing out of Staten Island, New York, Diet began in 2009 from when it has continued to evolve its sound whilst flirting with various styles, eventually finding the individual flavour evidenced on the new EP. Compared to bands such as Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate), American Football, Tigers Jaw, and Basement, the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Thom Kinnear, guitarist/backing vocalist Chris Taranto, bassist Fernando Hernandez, and drummer George Bulger, take little time to seize attention with EP opener Pigman. From a sonic coaxing over a distant sample, the song turns into an infectious stroll of jangling guitars and jabbing beats, both aspects skirted by the darker almost secretive tones of DietPalindromeEP1500the bass. Once the song relaxes into a restrained caress, the vocals of Kinnear open up throat and narrative whilst the now bold basslines add their potent temptation to tempt the returning tenacity of the song. Hooks and melodies with their discord touched tempting, swirl and spark within the song whilst also vocally an off kilter lilt to the voices only adds to the quirky and unpredictable bait of the increasingly inventive and contagious track.

It is a fine and feistily captivating start to a release which swiftly wrong foots expectations with the seductive embrace of Three. The second song strokes ears with gentle guitar charm whilst raw vocals swarm just as captivatingly over their evocative suasion. It is a smouldering lure but soon finding itself in the midst of a tempestuous dawning of abrasing atmospheres and sonic intimidation, caustic scythes of guitar swiping across the scenery as a volatile air erupts into a fiery and abrasive crescendo. The imposing track then slips seamlessly into the punk stomp of Four. Straight away noise rock and pop combine for an instantly appealing brawl before evolving into a minimalistic landscape of guitar and bass enterprise. With punchy beats courting the shifting soundscape, the song like its predecessor spawns a voracious climate to its magnetic body but this time with a more controlled and clearly textured canvas to which guitars add their imaginative sonic colour.

The next up Soap is a floating slice of mesmeric enticement, melodies and vocals owing plenty to shoegaze at times whilst behind their elegant drifting and seduction, the coarse vocals squalls of Taranto lie in wait, preying on the warm flight of the song with their corrosive shadows. It is a highly evocative song which seems to gain potency and new qualities over every listen. Its strong success is matched by final song I Can’t Sit Still, an infectious romp of firmly striding rhythms and again guitars which jangle endearingly as they sculpt weaves of irresistible hooks and addictive riffs. Vocally the song seems to lack the spark of other tracks, though there is no openly apparent reason that they are missing the fire to their presence to match the excellent blaze of sound around them. Nevertheless the track is outstanding and a favourite on what is a thoroughly enjoyable encounter.

As mentioned Palindrome did not ignite a wish to shout from the rooftops but it is a release very easy to recommend and return to over and over again. Whether it is break through moment for Diet is arguable but it will certainly breed plenty of happily satisfied, enthusiastic support you suspect.

The Palindrome EP is available now via Imminence Records and @ http://dietnyc.bandcamp.com/album/palindrome

https://www.facebook.com/dietfudge

8/10

RingMaster 09/08/2014

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Visualise/Colours/Stop – Projected Thoughts

visualise_colours_stop - Projected Thoughts cover

If the first single from UK trio Visualise/Colours/Stop is an indicator of things to come, then imagination and emotions are in for some thrilling and impacting incitements to come with the band. Projected Thoughts is a glorious evocation of expressive rhythms and sultry melodies aligned to compelling vocals amidst a climactic atmosphere. It embraces the senses with a tender caress initially before evolving into an almost tempestuous landscape of emotive tenacity and evocative flames. It is a formidable introduction to the band, one instantly raising keen anticipation for their horizons.

Hailing from Lincoln, Visualise/Colours/Stop consists of vocalist/guitarist Alan Kissane, bassist Gaz Bailey, and drummer Dale Hagger. Initially called Fabonacci, the trio took on the name Visualise/Colours/Stop from a friend’s defunct band, who released an album in 2011.Things are a little hazy here as to the extent of the link between the two but we suggest members maybe are shared as the accompanying promo piece suggests the new single is the band’s first yet they have a link to the older version’s album on their Facebook page. Most importantly though is the strength and stature of Projected Thoughts, a song ‘reflecting on the demise of a relationship and questioning the world with that in mind.’ Mixed live by the band on old analogue recording equipment, the single is an evolving confrontation which simultaneously serenades and wakes up thoughts as it immerses ears in a rich drama of sound.

The song opens with the melancholic groan of bass within a slight but crispy percussive coaxing. It is a slow minimalistic kiss which presses closer through the dark tones of Kissane’s vocals against small but emotive eruptions of melodic radiance. As the track slowly begins to unveil its narrative and aural canvas thoughts of Black offer comparisons whilst as the rhythmic bait of Hagger brings an unpredictable and magnetic lure aside the growing suasion of guitar and vocals, references turn to Comsat Angels and to a lesser degrees Modern English, all offering a slight eighties hint. The track is mesmeric, a tender seduction which captivates ears and attention with irresistible majesty, never losing its grip as it eventually shrugs off its restraint for a still shadowed blaze of sonic intrigue and provocative melodic hues. At this point you can add the likes of Doves to the spicing veining potently through the now dramatic stride and tenacity of the increasingly contagious song.

Leading to a fiery finale which is as riveting and tirelessly compelling as the gentle almost sombre start of the proposition, Projected Thoughts provides a dark alchemy of sound and emotion which broods longingly from its first note right through to its explosive final breath. The single is scintillating and whatever the questions about the bands past, makes their future and an impending EP something to keenly anticipate.

Projected Thoughts just might be the start of something major for British rock, it might just be one song but it is hard to imagine Visualise/Colours/Stop making anything less than a gripping impact such the quality and enthralling presence of their single. Time will as ever tell…

https://www.facebook.com/VisualiseColoursStop

9/10

RingMaster 01/07/2014

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The Sons – Heading Into Land

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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

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