From just the initial listens of A Favour For A Stranger, the new EP from alternative rockers Circle Of Reason you can feel this is a band with all the promise and ingredients to be a big force certainly in the UK rock scene ahead. The three track release is a compulsive slice of well-crafted melodic rock and boisterous energy honed with a fine progressive intent. The band has been compared to the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Silverchair, Muse, and Queens of The Stone Age, in varying ways to which you can easily add Biffy Clyro and Inme. Circle Of Reason have their own template of sound though which sets them apart from the majority of similarly gaited bands and leaves a sense of excitement for their future whilst giving plenty of pleasure in the now.
The Southampton band was formed in 2009 and has made a steady progress building a strong presence in the South West of England also reaching further afield. Renowned for their live shows which has seen them alongside bands such as Girlschool, Fighting with Wire, Freeze the Atlantic, Landscapes, Idiom, Rumer, and The Smoking Hearts across the UK, the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Simon Osman, guitarist Gary Slade, bassist Sam Cogher, and drummer Andy Milwain, have now set down a marker with the new release which has to be the platform for them to go forth and seize major recognition. It is an impressive aural base camp to venture forward with further invention from, exploration of headier heights in their own evolving creative hands.
The release consists of two previous video singles, which have garnered good play and attention from the likes of Kerrang! TV, Scuzz, and Lava TV, and a third track which is their new video single released to coincide with the EP. Chasing the Sun starts things off with big riffs and dazzling guitar play, a major feature of all three songs. Into its stride the song relaxes into a slightly reserved air as vocalist Osman joins the already intriguing song. He is a strong vocalist who especially excels when raising his vocal energies, though less striking when keeping it low key. He was also the cause of ignoring the majority of the song and release during the first couple of plays, as concentration could only be focused on who he sounded like. It is one of those frustrations which have to be alleviated with an answer before moving on, and thankfully, eventually it revealed itself. I have read him compared to Kurt Cobain (?) but actually he is a dead ringer for Paul Marsh from eighties band The Mighty Lemon Drops; of course that will mean nothing to most but just had to bring relief and closure to the ‘problem’. The song fires up throughout into strong melodic flames musically and in mass harmonies which leave the senses smouldering with contentment and glowing from the outstanding and precise guitar invention. Arguably still the weakness track on the release the excellent song is a deeply engaging piece of enterprise.
Sea Of Voices is a feistier proposition, striking sinewy riffs grabbing eager attention whilst Osman sweeps through the song vocally nicely backed up by the rest of the band with group harmonies. The song is a thumping stomp with the rhythms of Milwain forming a formidable frame for the basslines of Cogher to badger and guitars of Osman and Slade to incite and dazzle. The progressive intent of the band is at its creative fullness on the track with a wonderful though brief magnetically whispering aside of peaceful melodic grandeur stepping forward before the fiery climax. Everything is in perfect proportion in the songs, the riotous riffs, impacting rhythms, and emotive melodic beauty finding a seamless place in the overall impressive energetic contagion without bleeding into or overwhelming their companions, this song the thrilling example.
The release is completed by the latest single Silver Scene, a track which alone shows why the band is being talked so highly of. Again blending the sturdiest rock and metal riffs with a bruising intensity and infectious melodic invention all brought with unmistakable skill, the song is an irresistible weave of imagination and thoughtful songwriting. From first note to last it is an inventive lure for the passions and inciter of emotions, a mischievous conveyor of barbed hooks and impossible to refuse rock n roll. Other than an opening few seconds where the levels feel smothered compared to the rest of the song, it is a near perfect treat and like the other songs the basis for great anticipation of big things ahead for the band.
A Favour For A Stranger is an excellent EP which just gets better and better with every listen whilst raising hopes that Circle Of Reason has an album in the works for the near future. This is a band you should treat yourselves too very soon.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
There has been a little bit of a stir brewing around UK rock band Broken Links and after hearing their debut album Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene a few times it is easy to see why. To be fair it only took a couple of engagements with the vibrant and compelling release to be convinced but such its magnetic and powerful pull the resistance to returning time and time again was weaker than a paper boat in a tempest.
Since forming around four years ago, the trio from Southampton has seen a slow but very solid rise with their potent mix of post punk, rock, and industrial rock with strong whispers of new wave, winning over hearts consistently along the way. Certainly locally they are one of the most talked about bands and with the release of a trio of well received EPs have built a fan base which is loyal and feisty whilst moving farther afield. Influences come from the likes of Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Manic Street Preachers and Bush, flavours which Broken Links evolved into their own unique sound. The result is songs which trigger all the keen responses and taste buds their inspirations ignited, whilst opening up new depths of pleasure for themselves. Their eclectic sound also makes the band an easy and effective fit with many genres which their sharing of stages alongside bands such as British Sea Power, The Boxer Rebellion, InMe, My Vitriol, 22, Official Secrets Act, Fighting with Wire, and The Xcerts shows.
Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene brings many of the tracks which featured on those early self released EPs with a couple of new ones to create a stirring and towering expanse of emotive and melodic invention. Even though the release strikes a match to open a full magnetism towards its sounds from the start, the more impressive it becomes with time spent in its striking aural arms. Evocative and impactful, the album leaves one breathless and invigorated whilst fully charged to dive into its shadows and immense soundscapes again and again.
The release opens on the sonic simmering of Electrik, though the track soon explodes into a sonically burning sunrise of mesmeric charms. It is impossible not to be rocked back on ones heels by the mighty vocals of guitarist Mark Lawrence and the electronic blistering which ignites the atmosphere of the song like a cascade of hot golden rain. The rhythms of drummer Phil Boulter form a magnetic frame whilst bassist Lewis Betteridge is a prowling and imaginative shadow to the synths and expressive guitar of Lawrence. The track itself is a ravenous mix of Depeche Mode, My Preserver, and Muse, though the one band which did come to mind during the song was Ultravox, the early version before John Foxx and guitars became redundant.
Within Isolation and What Are You Waiting For? Raise the temperature even higher with their thumping urgency and inventive craft. The first is a sinewy romp of energetic vocals and riffs wrapped in riotous intent and acidic sonic manipulation, a barnstormer of an affair whilst the second explores darker corners of the sound with a smouldering heavy post punk resonance and metallic sonic licking of the senses. A Joy Divison starkness combines with barbed Comsat Angels like hooks to leave one drooling and when the atmospheric grandeur of Modern English wraps its emotive muscular arms around the song nothing but passion is apace. It is a track which reaps the riches of the eighties yet still is of the now, the band nurturing and evolving those seeds once again into something quite irresistible and distinct to themselves.
Great tracks come thick and fast, each song without fail leaving deep pleasure and ardour behind their accomplished ingenious lures. Tracks such as the brilliant electro rock/pop triumph We’re All Paranoid, the two part grandeur that is Choice/Decay, with Part I a chilled ambient and slightly disturbing build into the stunning crescendo of Part II, and the swaggering Shelter Your Loss, just captivate and evoke more and more heated enthusiasm.
Hitting even greater pinnacles with the snarling Therapy Sessions In The Dark and potently contagious Cherno, not forgetting the gloriously inciting What Are You Addicted to?, the album expertly and skilfully explores across styles and emotions. Melancholic and reflective, warm and oozing positivity, Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene is a true giant of a release and surely the first massive and impressive step to wide recognition for Broken Links.
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In a recent review we commented that many of the emerging female fronted alternative rock bands as impressive as many of them are have a similarity and familiarity which locks them together. Occasionally there are exceptions and one band which certainly stands out from the crowd is UK rock trio Mortdelamer. It is a band which sizzles with invention and imagination as proven by their outstanding new EP Words Within The Wires. The release marks them as one of the most exciting bands to have arrived on the scene in recent years, its five delicious melodic yet feisty tracks a thrilling and inspiring pleasure.
From Swindon, Wiltshire and formed in 2008, the combined talent and invention of childhood friends Joe Bishop (Bass Guitar), Sean Ivens (Drums), and Claire Sutton (Guitar, Vocals, and Keyboards) has earned a strong respect and following. The band has toured relentlessly since beginning, their dynamic live shows alongside previous releases, The Man With Two Heads in 2010 and the Leech EP of last year, pulling in a continually growing eager attention. The band has shared the stages with the likes of with InMe and Supergrass already with recent months seeing them take their impressive sounds into Europe. With the release of the Jonny Renshaw (DevilSoldHisSoul, Evita, Deaf Havana) produced new EP on October 1st the last piece of ammunition to trigger wide recognition is surely in place, the release set to fully ignite the passions of melodic rock fans nationwide and further afield.
Mortdelamer top and tail the release with their two weak songs…though when we say weak we mean powerful, dramatic, and senses spoiling. It is just the towering presence and invention of what explodes out in between which leaves them a little in the shade, though they still leave most other tracks to be unleashed elsewhere this year floundering in awe.
The opener Pieces And Reasons steps out from behind a soundbite to stand tall with feisty bulging riffs and demanding rhythms. It is a restrained assault with the vocals of Sutton mesmerising whilst the glorious harmonies which frame her voice leave one smouldering in contentment. As it opens up to its full height the song offers blistering sonics to dazzle the senses and an intensity to weaken knees, all this though through a still controlled and even paced energy. The song is a great start if arguably unadventurous; though that realisation comes in hindsight after the following songs captivate ear, senses and thoughts into an addiction.
The following I’ve Got My Backbone lifts one to the feet within seconds, its vibrant breath and beckoning hooks a hypnotic tease to light plenty of fires within. The riffs and melodic strikes of Sutton have a weight and intimidation which is rare in the genre these days but never challenge in the harshest way to leave the wonderfully melodic presence fighting for survival or effect. The bass of Bishop is a muscular companion whilst Ivens raps the ear with skilled precision and not to be denied intent. The track is excellent, a keen riot to fall in league with.
Things step up yet another level with the stunning song Fade. The track is sheer contagion, its quizzical hook simply magnetic whilst Sutton oozes emotive class with her vocals within the evolving evocative sounds. The fluid change of breath is impressive and only adds further depth to the ingenuity in place, without doubt the best song on the release.
The Hide though makes a strong challenge for that claim with its haunting aural whispers around the enveloping shadows and brooding energy. There is a strong Deftones lilt to the song, its slightly progressive nature an intrusive pleasure and provocative taunt. The snarling bass is an excellent contrast to more golden vocal harmonies whilst the beats keep one caged within the expressive dark caresses of the song. It is magnificent and again shows the diversity of Mortdelamer and why they are so exciting.
The closing Searching For Safety returns to a more standard rock structure and sound though it still offers plenty to intrigue and entice nothing but respect its way, even if it pales against the previous three towering creations.
Mortdelamer is a band all should pay close attention to and Words Within The Wires one of the most thrilling releases this year. This band will make great strides in 2013, the sparks start here.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Since receiving the promo for the debut single from UK power pop band Actions! the band has announced its demise due to personal commitments of its members. Despite this South Of The Water is easily worth checking out as the band bid their hello/farewell on a bit of a bang rather with two songs that displays much promise for what one suspects could have been a rather notable pop punk styled band.
The band started in the opening weeks of 2011 though bassist Mat Wilson and guitarist Ryan Stuart had played together from Year 9 in school and alongside drummer Laurence Mosley since 2008 when he jammed with their previous band. With the addition of vocalist Emily Cracknell last year Actions! became a complete and focused entity. Taking open pop punk influences from the likes of Blink182 and Amberlin as well as the pop styling of a Jessie J and Pink the quartet has developed a sound which is tight, energetic, and eagerly accessible, the single suggests the band were still yet to find their completely distinct sound but with rhythms that pump up the blood, guitar melodies which easily draw attention, and the excellent rich vocals of Cracknell the band was easily one of the more interesting and promising pop driven rock bands to emerge in the UK, as successful supports slots with bands such as Inme, Skindred, Paige, and Not Advised proved.
Released May 21st, the two songs making up the single were recorded at the beginning of the year and more than deserve firm attention even if the band are no longer a breathing creature. The song South Of The Water opens with a slow enchantment from the appealing and impressive vocals of Cracknell with a subtle melodic guitar in company. As the emotive bass of Wilson steps into view with the firm and punchy beats of Mosley alongside, the song spreads its wings and pulls one into a vibrant blend of impassioned guitars and flavoursome guitar driven rock. It is Cracknell that lights up the song most, her delivery and great voice well formed and captivating. The song does not explode within the ear but swarms around and warms up the senses with a fine all round display of craft and intent.
The second track on the release is a more direct pop punk energised pleasure. One Minute Smile dances and beckons with simple riffs that spark and again excellent vocals which lead every aspect of the great song with an assured belief and confidence. As with the first the song does not stand atop a hill of originality but satisfies and entertains with an accomplished ease and ability which is just as full and pleasing.
With essences of Paramore as apparent as previously mentioned references the band fit alongside the likes of Me & The Mountain and Hitchcock Blonde in promise, sound, and creativity. That promise is strong and unmistakable from this their debut and departure so it is a shame we will not get to watch and hear a great band evolve into one suspects would have been something even more special.
South Of The Water is a fine single that deserves plenty of attention and will leave many upon hearing it with disappointment that this is all we have from Actions! to enjoy.