Toumaï – Sapiens Demens

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Creating what they term psyche-fonk metal, French band Toumaï is one of those encounters which send tingles down the spine as it teases and ignites the imagination. Unleashing a majestic psyche twisting bedlam in the tasty shape of debut album Sapiens Demens, the quintet from the south of France bewitch and tantalise with each psychotic note and every maniacal rhythm. Their album is a tempest of ideas and cracked invention presenting an adventure like no other and a pleasure which only turns lustful over time.

What little we can tell you about Toumaï is that the band formed in 2006 and consists of vocalist Antoine Flaven Hude, guitarist Julien Mahoudeau, bassist Christophe Applanat, drummer Clement Mahoudeau, and Célia  on keys and trumpet. That is about it, apart from the fact that their first album is irresistible and uncontrollably insatiable with imagination, mischief, and inventive hunger. The five-piece bring influences from the likes of Psykup, Infectious Groove, Primus, Gojira, Mr. Bungle, Primus Band, Rage Against The Machine, Tool, and Red Hot Chili Peppers into their fusion of funk, rock, and metal, but it is only one shade of the whole picture; the release a musical canvas which only the ears can truly represent not our simple words, though we will give it a go of course.

The opening track is Little Psycho, a title so apt for song and album. From an initial percussive tease the drums lay down a riveting frame around which the bass roams and leans on the senses with a menacing glee whilst the keys dance with energy and mischievousness over the ears as vocals explore their narrative with quality and equally enterprising rascality. The swagger of the song is a delicious bait alone within its ever changing gait and presence of the song whilst bursts of aggression make the perfect suitor to the elegant beauty which coats the keys and their melodic caresses. There is a similarity to fellow Frenchmen Mucho Tapioca at times as the song climbs and soars through its persistently shifting glory but also of System Of A Down in its latter moments and Faith No More across its stirring flanks.

The impressive start is immediately left in the wake of next up Madness in Mind, the best track on the album with ease. Vocal croons wrap the ears right away as the guitar and keys stroke attention to its fullest height, before the song settles into a ska kissed, reggae bred stroll within metallic walls which get their turn to intimidatingly press upon and please the senses. With its funk hips swaying leading to the raucous chorus, the track is like King Prawn meets Korn though when it slips into a beauteous wash of ever engaging keys and vocal harmonies punctuated by another striking bass line and rhythmic probing, the band takes the listener down a more alternative rock avenue. This is only halfway in though and the track only accelerates to greater potency and persuasion once it lifts its knees to romp into an infection soaked waltz of enterprise fusing the loco folk/pop of Mano Negra with the contagious unhinged temptation of Kontrust before thrusting it all through a Skindred bred causticity. It is crazy and completely enthralling, not forgetting simply sensational.

The following Petit Punk en Ut#m is no slouch in tripping the switch to the strongest satisfaction either, its more noise seeded rock and disorientating psyche funk tempting another feast of unpredictability and hunger breeding invention. Scavenging the senses for the weakest spot, the song flares over the opportunity with punk belligerence and metal sculpted antagonism as it works towards its climax, not before having seduced with dazzles of psychotic indie melody seeded teasing. Another highlight, the song is backed in strength by the less crazed Anachron, a track which admittedly does not quite reach those earlier set heights but still magnetises attention and appetite with its funk stepping vibrancy and contagious melodic smile.

Both Bankster and Wiki Puppies keep the listener on their toes physically and mentally, the first and extensive expanse of craft and imagination which lays down a pulsating quickstep of reggae spawned pop. This is then wrung through voracious cantankerous crescendos at certain moments which burst from the song’s wonderfully exhausting enticement which builds towards a dramatically powerful and aurally traumatic brilliant closing declaration. Its successor pounces and leaps over the imagination as if its notes and ideas are crossing hot coals. It is a tempestuous mix of jazz, rock, psyche, and avant-garde devilry placed in a maelstrom which seamlessly forges an addiction spawning triumph from it all, rhythmically, melodically, and vocally.

The two parts of the title track almost come as a shock, the first especially subdued and restrained in its cinematic atmosphere and noir clad shadows and spoken vocals in comparison to the rest of the album, though the second part is soon climbing up the walls with scorching grooves and twisting melodic flames igniting the air around the again excellent vocal presentation. A relatively, and we say that with tongue slightly in cheek, straight forward heavy rock infused slice of metal with those continually entrancing keys of Celia enticing the emotions, the track is a deeply pleasing venture setting up the appetite for the closing mastery of  Prey of Birds.

The final song enjoyably plagues the ears with a kaleidoscope of sounds and challenging invention shuffled to an inch of its cohesive life, but as on all tracks it casts a proposition which is fully coherent and wholly. Sapiens Demens is a thrilling testament to endeavour and outside the box thinking but crafted with a knowledge nestling within Toumaï of how far to go and where to link everything for an innovative and breath-taking whirlpool of sound. Another to add to the must have list.

http://www.toumai-music.net/

10/10

RingMaster 07/01/2014

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Semitt Falls – I Know Bear Heads

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Like a great many we were impressed and excited by Monkey See, Monkey Do Doo, the debut album from UK band Semitt Falls. It was an unpredictable and inventive twisting of flavours and imagination which marked out a band with the potential to rise to major things. It also set a high benchmark for the band to follow but for the only time they meet expectations the Stockport quartet easily take that plateau and lose it in the wake of their scintillating new EP I Know Bear Heads. The four track release is a tremendous weave of captivating invention and busily flavoured enterprise which makes the earlier album look like mere foreplay to the main event. Fusing electro metal with more of its muscular cousins and then aligning them with a breath-taking web of genres such as drum and bass, hip-hop, dub, reggae, and dubstep, the band conjures a kaleidoscope of sound which tantalises and seduces whilst sparking a riot in the passions.

Semitt Falls was formed in 2012 by Paul Kendrick (guitar, vocals and programming) and Jay Kane (vocals, synths) after the demise of their previous band Halt Under Heavy Fire. Linking up with ex-Fortune Favours Nothing member Danny Houghton (drums) who since the EP release has left the band, and subsequently ex- Son of Shinobi Craig Gilroy (bass , vocals) after a few line-up changes, the quartet evolved an initially post-hardcore sound into a more electronic rock sculpted persuasion, a sound which has continued to move and change with every song and release. The release of Monkey See, Monkey Do Doo in May of last year thrust the band into a wider focus of attention with its intensive diversity and mouthwatering adventure but as mentioned it now seems just an appetiser for greater things from the band, a mightier exploration starting to confidently flex its muscle and invention upon I Know Bear Heads. With a line-up for the EP seeing bassist Sidge Rushton replacing the departed Gilroy, Semitt Falls have unveiled a riotous temptation which just will not take no for an answer.

The EP seizes ears, imagination, and passion right away with opener FIRE!FIRE!FIRE!, a track also featuring G.R.I.M. Folderfrontman Lance Hargreaves. Funnelling through a distantly starting corridor, riffs and vocals emerge in a flood of energy and transfixing sonic confrontation. Once fully exposed and immediately into its rampant stride the song sees mixed vocal squalls igniting the senses whilst resourceful riffery and a rhythmic cage sculpt compelling narratives to secure a swiftly brewed appetite for the song’s presence. Ripe with swipes of hip hop vocals, dubstep conjuring, and a metal bred antagonism the track is an irresistible rampage merging the electronic addictiveness of Pendulum with the punk metal of The Prodigy and Skindred. It is a thrilling introduction to the release breeding a keen hunger and greed for what is to come.

The following We Be Dinosaur takes little time in offering something different, a quality repeated from their previous album, every song a unique and individual character and proposition to the next. Opening with an evocative electronic caress with shards of crystalline causticity, the track at first has an Enter Shikari like coaxing to its offering though it is soon evolved into a stomp of ska and reggae fusion guided by excellent darker vocals and a delicious trombone croon from Rushton and Andy Jones. Adding some punk rapaciousness and electronic teasing to the impressive spread of vocals and exhilarating invention, the track roams and incites the passions like a mix of King Prawn, Hadouken, and Daft Punk with adding essences of Dizraeli and the Small Gods. It a glorious landscape of pleasure and imagination which takes the impressive start of the release up another notch or two in thought and creative wantonness.

The title track brings a less urgent presence to tempt the senses, vocals and guitars showing a more deliberate restraint to their enticement which the keys and vocals wrap in an evocation of sound and absorbing soak of emotion. With samples also adding their unique touch to the flowing musical narrative it is a strong and engaging encounter but one just failing to match the heady heights and quality of its predecessors. Nevertheless the song embraces focus and appetite tightly warming them up for the closing exploits of Global Warning. The final track retains the smouldering charms of the previous song whilst inviting the more predacious energy and snarl of the first two tracks, the result another incitement to launch a fresh breath of ardour for band and release even if again despite its glowing elegance and magnetic craft it just misses hitting those early plateaus.

Immediately a gripping and entrancing tempest of imaginative excitement, the EP just gets better and stronger with every traverse of its easily impressive body. Semitt Falls has all the potential and promise to be the next big thing in electro rock experimentation, something rigorously confirmed by I Know Bear Heads.

http://www.semittfalls.com

Get the I Know Bear Heads EP as a buy now name your price at http://semittfalls.bandcamp.com/album/i-know-bear-heads-ep

9/10

RingMaster 17/12/2013

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King Prawn – Done Days/A Solemn Man

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The return of King Prawn for us, like for so many, was an over excited thrill matched by lustful anticipation of new sounds from the UK punks. The band has forged themselves as one of the influential greats with their anthemic ska/punk fusions and authority antagonising lyrical confrontations, so much so that their split in 2003 left a big hole in hearts and punk itself as fans mourned with the band’s classic albums and songs as company. The announcement of their return earlier this year set passions aflame once again, live performances equally so, but new recorded material could only confirm it was not just wishful dreaming that King Prawn was back to challenge and ignite the country . The two track single is that confirmation, Done Days/A Solemn Man a thoroughly pleasing encounter and an extremely promising hint of the band’s next album, due spring 2014.

Reuniting 4/5 of the original line-up, vocalist Al Rumjen who recently had a successful stint with Asian Dub Foundation, guitarist Devil Hands, drummer Nikoli, and trumpeter Dr Nelly coming together once again, the band is further joined by new bassist Zac Chang (taking the place of the non-returning Babar Luck) and an expanded live horn section. The single combines two songs which have little difficulty in igniting the emotions, one an intriguing suggestion of things to come and one prime King Prawn, its company sparking the passions as if the band had never been away.

Done Days opens with enticing guitar strokes of the ear soon joined by buoyant vibrant brass calls and the distinctive tones of a1735681834_2Al Rumjen. It is an enthusiastic and vibrant introduction which captures the imagination and sparks thoughts of last album Got The Thirst whilst having an undefined element which points at an even greater wealth of inspirations in the songwriting and experience in its realisation. The bass of Chang has a prowl and throaty resonance which adds depth to the song whilst the brass and keys create a wash of warmth and enterprise which excites with a fresh suggestiveness from the band. It is fair to say that the track never explodes into the hinted eruption, especially the chorus which does not quite catch fire, but with feet stomping in unison to its beats and emotions lit from its adventure, the song is an undeniable satisfying and potent return.

The AA track of the release is a simply glorious slice of King Prawn invention. A sultry guitar enticement stands side by side with a brass flame of evocative heat to open up A Solemn Man, their beckoning soaked in Latin seduction and sweltering persuasion. There is a sense of a call to arms to the entrance of the song; it offering anthemic bait which settles into a transfixing ska saunter which itself evolves into a rock powered chorus.  With added gypsy punk spice and those ever spellbinding fiery brass temptations a persistently contagious and inventive persuasion, the track is King Prawn at its irresistible best creating a sound and encounter which is unafraid to attack and seduce whilst providing the most addictive groove bred punk. Not much left to say, King Prawn is back!!

http://king-prawn.co.uk/

8.5/10

RingMaster 08/11/2013

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The Karma Party: Dark Matters EP

KP

Standing eye to eye with and snarling viciously at governments, corruption, and the sea of injustices in society and then lyrically ripping their throats out, UK punk-steppers The Karma Party is an emerging force to call foul on the world whilst igniting passions with a fire of irrepressible sounds and electric energy. With debut EP Dark Matters the quartet from Blackpool has set the first aural landmark in their rise towards becoming one of the best incendiary creative confrontations in the country.

Consisting of vocalist Merc, guitarist Scummins, bassist Punkins, and drummer Luke, The Karma Party brews a heady tempest of hardcore, punk and dub-step with flames of electronica burning within the combative storm. It is a distinct sound but take pinches of Sonic Boom Six, King Prawn, Lazy Habits, and the Janice Graham Band with extra spice from Pendulum and you scratch the surface of their invigorating volatile antagonism.

The release takes its first bite with This Is Britain, an attack on the broken country brought with contagion and aggressively 1616807321-1sculpted conciseness. An instant scrub of heavy rhythms and scarring riffs led by the excellent vocals of Merc attach to the ear with a Dead Kennedys like hook entwined around the sinewy core of the track. The song questions and provokes in sound whilst simultaneously challenging with razor sharp lyrics delivered with a bite and accuracy which grips tightly. Melodic keys flame and caress in the skies of the song to add a melodic weave to the muscular senses barracking triumph beneath. As anthemic as you can wish and virulently infectious the song is a dramatic and impressive start.

An opening height easily matched by the following Collapse, the track another insatiably energetic and forceful welcome intrusion on thoughts and passions. From its first breath the song is stomping with purpose through the ear with sonic shots exploding within the brawling energy, openly furthering the already impressive diversity to the imagination of the band. Like all the tracks on the EP, the song is direct and uncompromising but the band ensures that there is a full capture of the listener through heated invention and a delicious maelstrom of ideas and sounds.

Push Forward continues the outstanding conflict whilst expanding the depth and diversity to the songwriting and creativity. Oriental blooms of sounds wrap the ear first to fix attention and intrigue steadfastly before Merc begins the descriptive voice of the track, again a potent statement with unreserved sounds to match. Another punk riot ensues with that oriental seduction continuing to set passions aflame, the song twisting and barging through its purpose with provocative skill and a chorus which resonates with electro pulses. It has an impossibly viral vocal call for which there is no remedy and is proudly another sensational instigator for mind and heart which with its eastern ethnic winds and verbal strength reminds of Asian Dub Foundation at their best.

Completed by They Tell Me, a mesmeric song with drama inspiring keys and sonic mists which stretch across the sound to further the evolving soundscape of the release, and the punk driven defiant riot The Opposition, the EP leaves the listener a churned up and riled force of thought, emotion, and pleasure. Dark Matters is a towering triumph ready to soundtrack and advocate change, something you feel The Karma Party will find an even stronger depth and potency to in the future. A must have release of 2013 which will apply to every year and decade thereafter.

Grab the Dark Matters EP for free @ http://thekarmaparty.co.uk

9/10

RingMaster 05/03/2013

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Late Cambrian: Social Season EP

The Social Season EP from US indie pop band Late Cambrian, is one of those releases you cannot help becoming enamoured with, its vibrant and excitable pop heart a smiling and infectious tease. The EP offers up five songs which ooze eighties new wave and melodic pop flavourings within the mischievous personality of a Weezer. It makes for in Late Cambrian, a band which you feel you already know as a friend before even the end of the first song and a companion to bring out the inner smile.

The Brooklyn band were formed by ex- Flying Machines and The Attorneys, John N. Wlaysewski (guitar, vocals, songwriter) who alongside drummer Colin Schiller began recording their debut album The Last Concert in early 2011. During working on the songs the band saw the addition of O (synth, backing vocals), her glowing voice enhancing some of the later songs recorded. By late March the same year, the band made their live debut with bassist Nunzio Moudatsos (A Crimson Affair) also on board. Social Season is the first release with the full line-up and probably the first enterprising introduction for many to the fun sounds of Late Cambrian, but better late than never.

The opening track Ryan Gosling has already garnered good acclaim and responses as the first single from the release across the US and beyond. The song drives a thumping beat through the ear guided by contagious riffs and jangling melodies which only ensure eager attention. Once the shining harmonies and warm vocals play within the sounds the pull is irresistible and openly anthemic, defying all not to join in with the simple chants and chorus. To be honest like all the songs, it does not try to bend boundaries or break out into new inventive realms for indie pop, but certainly makes finding many rivals in the deep contagion stakes difficult.

The following Trash Show has a slight punk swagger to its boisterous presence to bring a mix of Arctic Monkeys, King Prawn, and Presidents of The USA. As the guitars twist and flash across the ear and the vocals coax the senses into further addiction, the song is like an old friend returning home. The sounds and energy of the track is instantly recognisable but equally and immediately fresh and rewarding, indie pop punk at its best.

Already on a high the EP gets even better with Song 11, an enthused stomp which ignites all the primal rhythms and melodic passions within. The Monkees meets Blink 182 with Maximo Park for company, the song is a pulsating and riotous thrill which has an insatiable hunger to exhaust the senses and bring the heart to a climax. As before the song has one accompanying its voice and limbs thrashing to the wonderful discord which spices the guitars and boisterous energy. The combination of Wlaysewski and O when they come together is stunning and in general the harmonies are delicious. The song also features a solo from Brendan Brown of the band Wheatus which only ignites further enjoyment.

Hand Stamp reins in the energies a touch but still is a feast of melodic joy, the bass pulsating besides the air heating slices of guitar and vocal harmonic elegance. The track does not quite have the pulse rate soaring as previous songs but its warmth and sweet taste is a rewarding dessert to what came before.

Social Season ends with the instrumental Saint James, a track which probably means a lot to the band but is a little lost on others. It is a great piece of music skilfully presented but does not fit with what went before so feels ultimately like a filler. It does have a departure of sound which opens some different anticipation to things in the future from the band though to be honest.

Late Cambrian is one of those bands we all need, fun, excitable, and able to put a smile on the face with  richly pleasing and open infectious sounds.

http://www.latecambrian.com/

Ringmaster 22/08/2012

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Biting Elbows: Self Titled

With enthusiasm and thoughts racing faster than fingers can type in praise of the debut self titled album from Russian punk band Biting Elbows, the ending line to it all is that this is a release which quite simply is magnificently sensational. Consisting of twelve diverse and imaginative slices of melodic punk in its varied guises the album alone from first note to last revitalises and instils a fresh breath to punk music, as well as putting the majority of current melodic punk bands to shame.

Formed in 2008, the Moscow based quartet of Ilya Naishuller, Garik Buldenkov, Ilya Kondratiev, and Alexei Zamaraev, has already inspired strong attention with first EP Dope Fiend Massacre and videos of songs from the release. It is fair though to say to most they are still an unknown but with their debut album that must surely change as nothing this good can remain a secret for long. Recorded across five Moscow studios the album without be openly political challenges injustices of personal and global heights with an infectiousness and irrepressible mischievous energy which one can only eagerly jump on board with.

The wonderfully varied and unpredictable album opens with the ska punk flavoured excitement of Toothpick. The lead single and video from the release, it is a pulsating and mesmeric piece of joy. Like a mix of [Spunge], Face To Face and King Prawn, the song ignites inner fires with sharp riffs and a hypnotic bass sound as instinctive and primal as you could wish for, whilst the vocals of Naishuller are wonderfully expressive and direct without corrupting the ear. To be fair discovering a truly original ska tinted punk song is beyond rare but Biting Elbows bring the strongest challenge to be heard in a long time.

As the opener drifts away the thought of wow that was good is quickly over ridden by the excellence of City Of No Palms and its gnarly bass and attention grabbing beats opening. An emotive sunrise of slashing riffs and stirring vocals over an irresistible persistent grumbling bass, the song is spiced with great group harmonies and incendiary reggae strokes as it builds to a crescendo of greedy energy and melodic beauty. The song ignites the territory bands like Living End owned with Biting Elbows easily rivalling their likes.

Angleton is another Living End type song with more than a whisper of Arctic Monkeys to its air, it is also stunningly delicious. The track is a continually rotating piece of brilliance in songwriting and sound, its orbit bringing the finest individual enterprise and imagination whilst its journey seamlessly crosses indie, classic, and pop punk with more added flavouring. Tight and highly charged inventively the band just stands out from the rest with the progress of the album only bringing confirmation time and time again.

The likes of the police violence addressing Rabid Red, the ska(rred) Who Am I To Stand Still with great brass interjections and warm unexpected keys, alongside the raw old school punk fury of Scaffolds On The Babylon with its Stiff Little Fingers like itch, all fully thrill and incite the emotions as well as continue the great diversity through the album. As much as one tries to temper the adoration with suggested flaws of weaknesses within the album there really is nothing to pull it up on.

The departing half of the album keeps the glory coming through the outstanding Dustbus and Kill The Cooks, but it is the twin masterpieces of The Enjoyers and World’s Most Important Something which steal the honours in the second half. The first as much as one tried to avoid the obvious comparison is vintage Green Day like though as everywhere the songs when heard out of context are distinctively and unmistakeably Biting Elbows. The song plays with the heart through witty lyrics and potent melodic teasing whilst the harmonica even in its relatively brief presence is like that extra tasty flake on the top of your ice cream. World’s Most Important Something is a riot of vintage punk with guitars inciting pure addiction and the anthemic hook of the song leading voice and spirit in a total union. Again one has to use the word brilliant, a word which most accurately describes the album.

Released via Misertia Records on July 23rd, the album which ends on the best melodic sunset a release could have in One Night In ’99 is exceptional. From the packaging with its great material lyric sheet through the additional DVD containing the three videos spawn from their debut EP on to the music, it is pure quality and easily one of the best releases this year whilst Biting Elbows has emerged as our new favourite band.

http://bitingelbows.com

RingMaster 09/07/2012

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