The Agency – Of Ghosts

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Regaling tales of gothic breeding and devilish intent, Of Ghosts the new album from UK folk/rock band The Agency is one of the most compelling releases you are likely to hear this year. It is not a release which leaps from the speakers, though it has individual moments which are inescapable, but over time casts a captivation which through slow and potent persuasion makes for a captivating proposition. Like a hybrid mix of Nick Cave and a folk version of Southern Death Cult with extra shadowing from Coil, the band’s sound and album is a riveting adventure. It maybe does not ignite the fires as much as it should but never relinquishes an enticing grip on appetite and imagination from start to finish.

Formed in 2012, The Agency started out as a large musical collective before slimming down to a five piece core, though the Newcastle upon Tyne band still invites guests and friends from the beginning to add their flavouring to their sound, Of Ghosts seeing Fraser Smith (Little Man Tate/Shed Seven), pianist Scott Wall (My Exit Music), and Jim Ward contributing to its offerings. Debut album For the Brave and Troubled the band’s first year raised strong attention around the band but it is with this successor that the quintet of Andy Ludbrook (bass), Steven K Driver (singer/songwriter/guitar), Steve Beyer (guitar), Garry Cosgrove (drums), and Kerry Ramsay (vocals) will surely breach a nationwide spotlight.

The album opens with She and instantly has ears and thoughts tied up in the song’s attractive coaxing. Teasing rhythms and a dark flirty bassline entice first before the plain yet alluring vocals of Driver unveil the first narrative of the release. The song slowly sways and embraces senses and imagination, its sultry climax increasing in colour as melodies swim elegantly across ears and the siren-esque harmonies of Ramsay float across the growing sinister scenery. The song is glorious, a sonic and emotional emprise to immerse in whilst an ever present mischief within the band plays.

Next Child So Careless gently shuffles in on a keen rhythmic lure aligned to another melancholic bass temptation and varied guitar revelry. There is no real urgency to the song but it still strolls with an energy and feistiness which brings Picture 73feet to life and has ears rigorously attentive. It is a thrilling encounter with brightly shimmering melodies within a smouldering climate of emotive and dramatic heat, reminding in some ways of fellow city kinsmen Bernaccia. Keeping the impressive start of the album going, the song moves over for the less immediate hugs of ballads For The Daughter and Border Song. Though both take time to seize thoughts compared to their outstanding predecessors, each explore enthralling landscapes of sound and intrigue to place a steady hand on a growing appetite for the release. The first is a warm yet haunting, almost funereal croon with strings an emotionally inspiring hue alongside the dourly expressive vocals whilst the second slips into an even more sobering atmosphere of melancholy and sonic radiance for a less successful but still enjoyable proposition.

The organ fuelled Fast raises the album’s strongest lure again, its thick drama and minimalistic touch a tender and sonically blistering incitement which would fit a Twin Peaks episode perfectly. It is only part of the story though as a funky folk festivity breaks out with melodies and vocals flirting with Wickerman like devilry. The track is engrossing, a pinnacle of the album and a doorway into the darkest corners of the band’s songwriting.

Through the colourful journey musically and lyrically of The Traveller and Sad Parallel which holds a tone and presence which can almost be described as Mark Lanegan meets The Doors, The Agency hold the imagination in the palms of their creative hands. Without lighting obvious fires, the tracks majestically get under the skin with lingering temptation before an atmospheric reprise of For The Daughter leads into the irresistible call of The Temple. The track is a warped dance of vocal and melodic contagion brushed with sonic causticity and addictive rhythmic bait. Simultaneously intimidatingly dark and vibrantly light, the song is a scintillating eventful stroll.

Of Ghosts is brought to a more than decent end by the evocative vocal and guitar led croon of Jack and Spade, a blood soaked reflection of gothic expression. It is a fine end to a release which simply grows and seduces with every listen. The Agency have a masterful ability to tell and colour tales from the darkest shadows for richly satisfying explorations for imagination and emotions, and their album an enthralling portrait of that skill.

Of Ghosts is available digitally and on CD now on Solarbear Records and @ http://theagency1.bandcamp.com/album/of-ghosts

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Agency/235291636504985

RingMaster 29/09/2014

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Melodic fire and raw passion: an interview with Kyle MacKenzie of 7stbaby

7stbaby - Promo Image

The turn of 2014 saw the unleashing of the debut album from UK rock band 7stbaby. Control swiftly announced a band to keep close attention on with their gripping blend of varied styles into a riveting stoner and grunge veined blast of heavy melodic rock. Garnering strong support and acclaim, the band’s album was a potent statement for 7stbaby and their emerging presence in the UK rock scene. Ahead of the band’s new single Horses, we grabbed the chance to talk with one of the band’s founders and vocalist/guitarist Kyle MacKenzie. Looking at the origins of the band, Control and the new single as well as his and his band members other project, Kyle led us to the heart of 7stbaby.

Hey Kyle welcome to the site and thanks for taking time to talk with us.

Thanks for having us

For those yet to discover the delights of your sound, introduce 7stbBaby to the readers for us.

7stbaby is a project Ben and I (Kyle) had decided we wanted to do several years ago while writing for the first Static Plan EP. There were lots of riffs and song ideas which were not fitting with SP’s style, but that we still really liked and wanted to use. In August 2013 we finally got round to doing something about it, Ben basically moved into my place for a couple of weeks and we wrote and recorded Control. We then asked Greg to join us on drums for the album, and he was happy to be involved. Although we didn’t want to pigeon-hole ourselves genre-wise, we are a project that is definitely coming from a stoner rock viewpoint, just with anything we like thrown in!

Can you give further background to the band too, exploits before and alongside the band for its members.

Hilariously, line up wise 7stbaby is basically Static Plan, so 7stbaby’s background for the members is pretty much exactly the same. Ben and I met years ago while we were studying at university, when I answered an advert for a rock band looking for a vocalist. That then became Static Plan with Jonno on guitar duties, and after several drummer changes we finally ended up with Greg, who changed the dynamic of the band for the better. We gigged our balls off for a couple of years while writing and recording as many demos as possible.

7stbaby then came to the forefront as Static Plan began to wane a bit. Member changes, money issues and health and personal problems stopped us from carrying on the great momentum we had built, but we still wanted to make music and get it out there. So Control was about creating without the pressures we had experienced over the last couple of years.

Your music as evidenced by debut album Control earlier this year, is unafraid to employ a wealth of styles and flavours in its roaring recipe. How would you describe your musical canvas?

7stbaby is about doing whatever we want to do musically. If people love it that’s great, but if people hate it, then so be it. We created a concept album in a very short space of time with the tools that were available to us at the time, and because there was an ‘anything goes’ attitude, we approached it with no fear. 7stbaby’s musical canvas is anything that we want it to be.

It suggests you guys have a wide range of inspirations personally too, what are some of the more potent influences on your sound and ideas?c

Yeah we have quite a diverse range between us I think. I love artists and bands such as Martin Grech, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Porcupine Tree, Karnivool, QOTSA, Alice In Chains etc. Honestly there are just too many to list! I am inspired by great songwriting and great musicianship. Ben has a slightly more ‘alternative’ influence list than I have, loving bands like Gorgoroth, Mortiis, Mayhem, Mondo Generator, Sonic Youth etc. By no means are we limited to these bands or genres, I think we both have a healthy appreciation of music and its influence over us.

I read that Control was written in just three weeks, was that the reality or were some songs already around in some form or idea before that?

There were some riffs and parts floating about from writing the SP EP a while before, but the vast majority of the album was written in three weeks

Control deservedly garnered eager praise and acclaim upon release, did that surprise you in some way the vocal support and enthusiasm it received?7stbaby - Horses Single Cover

Ha-ha it did a bit! I think I was expecting it to either get distinctly average reviews or none at all, I didn’t think anyone would understand what we were trying to do! But the reviews were great to read and made me realise that people did understand what the album was about. Some of the reviews were just emphatic, and really brought some joy to me after a difficult couple of years making music.

Give us some insight to its creation and how you fitted it in with your other projects like Static Plan.

Static Plan at the time had ground to a complete halt after a couple of line-up changes. Ben and I had some free time during the school holidays and we just decided to get it done. It was incredibly fun and made us really want to start work on the Static Plan album.

September 26th sees the release of your new single, Horses. Taken from Control, it is one of the album’s biggest highlights for us. Was it an obvious choice for a single?

I think it’s a heavy song on the album, and probably the kind of song that most people can respond to without hating it ha-ha! We debated for a while which song was going to be released actually, and Horses at first didn’t seem like the obvious choice to me, I thought Leave Me To Bleed would be the better single after releasing Somebody’s Bitch. After a while of debating I realised that Ben was absolutely right, Horses is just the right single; it’s much more immediate!

Have you tinkered with it for the single release?

We have not; it’s as pure as it was

Horses, as the album, is out on Got Wrong Records; your own label?

Yes it will be a pay what you want digital only release on my label Got Wrong Records on September 26th. Available at https://gotwrongrecords.bandcamp.com

Can you give us some insight to the inspiration and theme of the song?

Horses is about conquering the power someone can have over you, and breaking out of the cage you confine yourself to when you let them control you. It’s the climax of the album for me

Horses sparked thoughts of Life of Agony for us, its provocative nature and intimate energy reminding of the great US band. Is that something you can feel?

Yeah I can see that. They’re aggressive and melodic, and that’s what Horses is in its simplest form. We really wanted to get the emotion across in the vocals, so hopefully we have done that if you’re comparing Horses to Life of Agony :)

The song is accompanied by a great video, who was that filmed by?

The video was filmed with a lovely chap called Sam Sheridan. Ben and I wrote some music for a short film he made several years ago, and we lost contact afterwards. As we were hunting for a director to make the video for Somebody’s Bitch we got chatting and got him involved. He has done an amazing job with incredibly little budget and filming was an absolute riot. Our lead man Alex Netting absolutely smashed it as well, bringing some intensity and humour to the whole thing.

It looked like a fun day out ha-ha; I am imagining that the central character (Alex) drew plenty of attention from the passing throng during filming?

It was a hilarious day for sure! Amazingly every person that interacted with us on the day was very positive; they loved the idea, loved the make-up and loved the character. We definitely got a lot of attention that day.

You guys are in two bands to my knowledge ;) It is hard for any band to make an impression in the current state of music, so how have you found it juggling and driving forward with your projects?

Yep it’s hard, that’s just the way it is. I think it’s always been hard though. The key is to keep going and enjoy the small victories I think. It’s definitely possible to juggle everything and find the time if you are committed enough; you just have to want it bad enough.

How do you see the current state of music especially the catch 22 effect of the internet with its usefulness and detriment for bands.

I think that even though there are always things we can complain about, bands and artists are in a much better position nowadays for people to hear their music than say 20 years ago. It’s incredibly difficult to earn a living from it, but there’s no change there really. Hopefully in the years to come, with organisations like the Musicians Union working on behalf of musicians, fairer deals can be made on behalf of musicians on the likes of streaming royalties.

10505283_311135829045859_3576936077197922227_nIs it hard to hold your enthusiasm at times, or does the music always hold sway over the emotions?

Personally I go through high and lows on a daily basis. Sometime I can struggle to bring myself to pick up a guitar and other times I can’t tear myself away to go to bed.

What is ahead for 7stbaby?

Not a clue! We’ll have to have to have a chat about that at some point ha-ha

…And from your other projects?

I’m currently working on albums for Static Plan and Outpost Zeta, and Ben is working with Ventenner and Exquisite Ending.

Thanks again for sharing time with us. Any last words you wish to share?

Thanks very much Pete, we really appreciate the support! My last word shall be check out www.gotwrong.com for a free EP/Album from Static Plan, Outpost Zeta and 7stbaby, and spread the word ;)

https://www.facebook.com/7stbaby/

Read our review of Control @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/7stbaby-control/  and of Horses @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/7stbaby-horses/

Pete RingMaster

The Ringmaster Review 23/09/2014

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7stbaby – Horses

7stbaby - Horses Single Cover

Following up their impressive and acclaimed album Control, British rockers 7stbaby are poised to unleash their new single Horses. A track as voraciously aggressive as it is melodically seductive, Horses easily reinforces the presence and already in place anticipation of major success for the band ahead.

Formed in the autumn of 2013 by Kyle MacKenzie (vocals, guitar) and Ben Martin (vocals, bass) but an idea already long in place but held in check due to the work and success of their other band Static Plan, 7stbaby swiftly gripped attention and praise through the diversely flavoured Control. Merging the richest and rawest essences of stoner and heavy rock with grunge and progressive metal spicery, the Guildford pair along with drummer Greg Webber, also of Static Plan, set a high startling plateau for the project with their album. Taken from Control, the new single confirms and pushes further that impressive start, its mesmeric and muscular tenacity a cauldron of sonic invention and unbridled passion.

Released on Got Wrong Records as the album, Horses immediately fills ears with punchy beats and almost grizzled melodic grooves over scarring riffs. It is an intensive start given further weight by the vocal growls and increasingly gripping twang of the guitar’s grooving. As mellower tones move in to welcome the fiery chorus, there is a definite Life of Agony groove and emotion to the song which only adds to its flavoursome adventure and blossoming fascination. A slip into a more progressively honed stoner twist loses some of the song’s snarl but adds greater intrigue before the track erupts back into its compelling antagonism and captivating melodic enticement.

Horses is an outstanding provocation for ears and imagination as well as a potent doorway into the similarly terrific and impressive body of the band’s album. Think Queens of The Stone Age meets Deftones and the aforementioned Life of Agony after being filtered through a heavy vat of Electric Wizard and XII Boar and you get a sense of 7stbaby. British heavy rock is at one of its most exciting periods right now and this band simply adds more substance to that claim.

Horses is released on September 26th via Got Wrong Records with an accompanying video.

https://www.facebook.com/7stbaby

Read our interview with Kyle from 7stbaby @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/melodic-fire-and-raw-passion-an-interview-with-kyle-mackenzie-of-7stbaby/

RingMaster 23/09/2014

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Syren City – Escape EP

Syren City Online Promo Photo

Seemingly labelled as post hardcore, UK rockers Syren City has a sound which almost defies tagging as it employs a wealth of rich flavours such as punk and metal through to alternative and hard rock, and that is still only scratching the surface. It makes for a rousing incitement as evidence by their new EP Escape, a release which is best described as one almighty roar. Consisting of five tracks which twist with the flair of a pole dancer and has more moves than a senses ravaging roller coaster, the band’s new proposition is quite simply a ferociously compelling and thrilling adventure.

Hailing from Bristol and formed in 2011, Syren City took little time to light up venues around Wales and England, supporting the likes of Turbowolf, The Alarm, Max Raptor, Futures, Young Legionnaire, Attack Attack, and Blitz Kids, whilst festival appearances has seen them share stages with bands such as Brand New, Don Broco, We Are the Ocean, Mallory Knox, Kids in Glass Houses, and Feed The Rhino. Their live performances and their impressive portion of a split EP with fellow Bristolians and metalcore band Koshiro, has led to keen anticipation for Escape, an appetite fully fed by the impressive collection of contagious anthems.

The band hits top gear straight away with opener Bleed. It is a rampage of a song, heavy hitting and rigorously coaxing rhythms from drummer Louis Catlett aligned to the throaty lure of Adam Armour’s bass, an irresistible entrance soon PromoImageenhanced by the scything riffs and chords provided by guitarists Ian Chadderton and Adam Hopton. Instantly there is a feel of Foo Fighters to the muscular persuasion which increases as vocalist Simon Roach reveals his strengths. With gripping backing vocals and shouts adding to the incendiary array of hooks lining the charge, there is also an essence of Max Raptor and the now defunct Always The Quiet Ones to the stomp though all mere spices to something openly distinctive to Syren City. The track continues to set a fire in ears and emotions, its unpredictable invention and side steps in its imaginative emprise as swiftly addictive as the face on tempest of aggression and melodic enterprise.

The stunning start is followed by Our Disease, another track taking mere seconds to seduce senses and passion with its vocal bellow. This bait leads into a punkish antagonism in voice and sound before it in turn evolves into a hard rock stride. As it predecessor, the song mixes up gait and attack with seamless and skilled resourcefulness, never relinquishing its grip on ears and imagination with its increasingly catchy and enterprising temptation. It does not quite match the opening triumph, due to the majesty of that song, but easily ensures that the EP continues to inflame body and emotions as does its successor Fire In Your Name. The third song unveils an enticing sonic groove straight away which rapidly makes way for the potent lead and backing vocal mix, before returning to bind a stroll of punchy beats and raw riffs. As with most songs, that earlier mentioned post hardcore essence is a rich colour to the canvas of the track, but as with all it comes soaked in variety and diversity, melodic hues and a metallic sonic veining adding to the pop punk seeded emotive howl of the song.

The treats keep coming as Long Way Down enters the affair next. The blend of raw and aggressive confrontation within Roach’s predominantly melodic coloured vocals alone make a rigorously enticing offering whilst grooves and hooks in the heavily swinging tempest of the song, only add to its addiction sparking tendencies. The track shows a more savage side to the band’s sound and songwriting whilst still embracing their melodic natures; providing yet another highlight before final song Asphodel brings it all to an infectious close. Revelling in a hard and melodic rock web of enterprise, the song bulges with rhythmic sinews and fiery sonic endeavour whilst vocally Roach impresses once more as does the contributions of the band in the same department. At times raging with nostrils flaring and in others an evocative croon, the track is a mighty end to a similarly impacting release.

Escape is a riveting encounter from a band easily living up to the buzz around them whilst even in its impressive presence and success, revealing the potential for much more in Syren City.

The Escape EP is available now @ http://syrencitymerch.bigcartel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/SyrenCity

9/10

RingMaster 15/09/2014

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Unswabbed – Tales From The Nightmare Vol.1

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Not breaking the banks of originality but brewing up a rousing storm of metal and rock, Tales From The Nightmare Vol.1, the new EP from Unswabbed, is an encounter which easily inspires a very healthy appetite for more. Unveiling a new twist in sound and its direction from the French veterans, the five track release binds thick strains of melodic and nu metal with a harder rock voracity resulting in a proposition which holds no real surprises but has ears and attention fired up and greedy for the band’s fascinating adventure.

Hailing from Lille, Unswabbed began in 1995 with a harder and more voracious rock and metal fusion than found on the new EP. A couple of early demos bred an attentive fan base for the band which their 2004 self-titled debut album pushed to a wider spotlight. Two years later its successor Instinct was uncaged with a third full-length in the shape of In Situ coming a year later, both to critical acclaim. Across the years the band has also earned a potent live reputation and found responses for shows alongside the likes of Cavalera Conspiracy, (Hed)P.E. , Caliban, Senser, Empyr, Pleymo, Mass Hysteria and many more. The album Intact was unveiled in 2011, and following a decision to in 2013 to explore new musical landscapes and inventions, the quartet set about creating Tales from the Nightmares Vol. 1. Themed by individual stories spawned by nightmarish incitements, and written and sung in English, a first for the band, the self-released EP is a stirring slab of metal fusion. Not dramatically overwhelming or as mentioned casting brand new explorations it easily ties up senses and emotions in a thoroughly captivating and thrilling temptation.

The release opens with the excellent Come to me, a dynamic and gripping encounter which takes little time to ignite thoughts and emotions. A sonic coaxing is soon rife with magnetic riffs and thumping rhythms as the track bursts into life, to which an additional almost punkish coaxing aligns itself. The start alone has body and imagination involved which is only accentuated by the sturdier beats and rugged riffs which accompany the excellent clean vocal suasion. Essences remind of bands like Mudvayne and Nonpoint as the song continues to flare up and cast tight melodic lures across its invigorating and emotionally charged body. It might not be offering something new but boy the song is exhilarating.a2298760115_2

The following Wake me up employs a chorus of children chants initially which return throughout the release though maybe to a less convincing success compared to its opening pitch. The song itself is soon commanding thoughts and attention, keys brewing up a haunting ambience as guitars and bass carve out another magnetic web of persuasion. It is like a mix of (Hed) PE and Korn fed through the metal contagion of Fear Factory, and just as riveting as its predecessor even if taking longer to convince. Its potent enticement makes way for the darker croon of Hold the line. Expelling angst and drama with every note and vocal expression, the song slowly expands across the senses with thick exhales of caustic energy blended with gentle melodic caresses. Lacking the spark of the first two songs, it still leaves an inescapable enslavement over ears and emotions, luring both back time and time again.

Dead end zone is a hard rock romp with an open vein of rock pop to its joyful swing and anthemic beats. It is impossibly catchy from its first touch, hooks and grooves as irresistible as the continually impressing vocals and unpredictable invention which ensures no song is anything less than an event. It also shows another side to the heart of the release and the evolving sound of the band, and though it is probably fair to say the song is less adventurous than the other tracks in its character, when it sounds and feels so addictively good there is little to complain about.

The EP is brought to a scintillating end by Pull the trigger again, a track like the first which leaves the strongest bait to stalk the release time and time again. Cloaked in emotional shadows from its first enticing chord, the song is the dark to the light of the last song. Riffs from guitar and bass weave a brooding canvas over which expression drenched vocals and sonic suggestiveness brings intimidating yet simultaneously welcoming hues. It is an emotionally pungent and rigorously captivating track which at times stalks the imagination as it scorches the senses with its poetic melodies and sonic colour. It is a might end to a similarly impressing release.

Unswabbed is not carving out truly original ideation with their new direction but they are unleashing a highly rewarding and persistently thrilling proposal which leaves any familiarity to others redundant.

Tales From The Nightmare Vol.1 is available now @ http://unswabbed.bandcamp.com/album/tales-from-the-nightmares-vol-1

http://unswabbed.com/

https://www.facebook.com/unswabbed

8.5/10

RingMaster 02/09/2014

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Manumit – Digital & Hostile

Manumit Online Promo Shot

Creating a sound which is fresh and striking whilst employing a wealth of familiar essences from a healthy array of genres, Welsh solo artist Manumit follows up the success of and acclaim for his previous singles and EPs with debut album Digital & Hostile. It is an enthralling proposition which entangles rich elements of heavy rock and electronic invention with equally potent strains of amongst many dubstep, drum n bass, and post hardcore. Released via Lost Generation Records, Digital & Hostile is a thoroughly compelling proposition which ebbs and flows a touch in its still success but never submits to predictability whilst exciting ears.

Brought to life in 2012, the Bridgend, South Wales hailing project took little time in grabbing attention and keen recognition. Manumit’s first EP F**k Genres, Love Music soon woke a hunger in fans and potent interest from the underground media upwards for his sound whilst the music video for the track Walk Away soon become a centre of attention on the likes of Scuzz TV. Subsequent singles and videos emulated that early success and bred a stronger anticipation for the band’s first full-length. Bringing those earlier singles together with a host of new songs, Digital & Hostile is a ten track adventure which from start to finish intrigues and flirts with the imagination.

The release makes a gentle opening with the intro of Sacrifice, a guitar making a lone evocative coaxing within a colder atmospheric drift of sonic whispers. It is a thoroughly engaging start to the track soon making an even stronger seduction with the excellent vocals of Manumit. The song simmers in the warmth of melodic rock at this point with a folk lilt to the vocals and melodies yet all the time in the background you sense something is brewing and moving towards the foreground of the song. It arrives in a fiery blaze of electro rock, Pendulum immediately coming to mind as the track bristles and rages within the pulsating embrace of its electronic invention. It stops itself from being a replica of existing propositions though with the continuing of the excellent melodic rock enterprise unveiled earlier in the song and the great vocals which also employ post hardcore antagonism in their delivery.

The track is a strong and appetite sparking start which the following Walk Away easily continues. It also opens with a gentle emotive stroking, a piano this time casting its melodic beauty over ears and imagination swiftly joined by the Manumit Cover Artworkagain deeply impressive vocals. There is a touch of Coheed and Cambria to the start and it too is brought into an electro maelstrom of temptation though with a stronger lilt to the heavier rock side of the track this time. Vocal squalls add to the wide texture of the song whilst the aligning electronic endeavour brings a mesh of Nine Inch Nails meets Skrillex to its striding triumph. As with its predecessor, it does feel like the track is one spark too short in its fire, never exploding into the rigorous tempest you expect and hope but it does not stop either from making a thoroughly enjoyable and impressive start to the album.

Do The Right Thing also glides in gracefully, its exotic tempting on an electronic breeze almost Peter Gabriel like. In no time it erupts with raw emotionally charged vocals within a thick and inventive weave of electronic incitement, all veined with heavier rock riffs and rhythmic provocation. Vocally the song is as superb as those before and after, the strength and expression of Manumit a striking given success across the album, whilst the expectations evading twists of the song and the classical elegance of keys within the bustling sonic storm is at times bewitching. It is another very potent proposition for the main matched by both Everything Changes and When I’m Gone. The first of the two is a flowing persuasion of electro rock with plenty of tenacious essences from both sides of that mix in its evocative stroll whilst the second is a gentler but no less busy croon of emotive keys and electro radiance splintered by an array of punchy beats and incendiary guitar designs. Maybe the least impressive track so far it nevertheless is an infectiously captivating song showing the strength of the album.

Another diverse twist comes with the album through the magnetic balladry of Your Body Giving Up. Fronted by the glorious and seductive tones of Tanyth Roberts, the song is a sultry flame of atmospheric tension, melodic drama, and electronic intrigue which makes more of a lingering impression and success than an upfront persuasion but emerges as one of the most riveting songs on the album. Its enslaving provocative charm is followed by the energetic stomp of Can You Hear Us? From a nintendo-esque opening, the song bursts into a rampant charge of electronic and heavy rock tenacity, merging the electro punk roar of a Jensen with the more mischievous virulence of a Hadouken or Axis Mundi. It is an irresistible contagion which is as antagonistic as it is anthemic, and the best track on the release.

The raging urgency continues in Abuse Of Power, its raw challenge lyrically and musically tempered by the melodic vocals and electronic designs which seduce the imagination as much as the quarrelsome textures and hardcore tones within the proposition. Elegant keys also add to the drama and though the track does not grip as many others, it is still a masterful persuasion before making way for The Passing Of Nothing. It is a track which starts much like the opening pair on the album, from its delicious harmonic and melodic initial touch evolving into an electronic and vocal blaze around a stirring sinew sculpted slice of rock. You are never too far from thoughts of Pendulum with many songs but with the numerous other flavours flowing through them, here a Spineshank like industrial metal spicing at play, Manumit takes every song into a distinctive corner.

Closed by the transfixing Afterflow which from a underwhelming start emerges as another engrossing incitement, thanks predominantly to Manumit’s fine vocals and a steely anger to the song’s body, Digital & Hostile is a formidable and richly pleasing release. Whether it is as intrusive and raucous enough to match its undoubted potential is one for the individual but Manumit has shown himself with the album, to be one of Britain’s more creatively dynamic and exciting prospects.

Digital & Hostile is available via Lost Generation Records on 1st September @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/digital-hostile/id883699098 and other online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/manumitofficial

Live Band line-up: ( Manumit – Vocals/guitar/keys/samples;Skullfunk – Vocals/MC;Larusso – Guitars, Bandit – Drums.

8.5/10

RingMaster 01/09/2014

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Jingo – The Art Of Loving

jingo

One of the artists which has truly excited and impressed without reservation over the past couple of years has been UK band Jingo. The London based quartet has inspired critical acclaim and a hungry fan base through a series of diversely inventive and explosively creative singles. It has led to an impatient anticipation for the band’s debut album and now that it is here, it feels like we all short changed them with our hopes and expectations. The Art Of Loving is an exceptional encounter, a delicious collection of melodically fiery and emotionally intensive songs which have a revelry which seduces feet right through to the passions. Individually unique but uniting for a fluidly captivating adventure, the album brings some of their previously released singles together with striking new songs. Those older tracks though which fans already know well and love, have been revitalised in their mix as well as in their actual bodies to create nothing but fresh and scintillating exploits within the exhilarating album.

Jingo consists of guitarist/vocalist Jack Buckett, his American wife and vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Katie, drummer Joseph Reeves, and bassist Chris Smith. Since its early days and shows across Brooklyn, New York and London, Jingo has gone from their first gig which saw them supporting Graham Coxon of Blur, to being compared to the likes of Fleetwood Mac and The Magic Numbers, and to gaining fevered attention and support from independent press and radio whilst becoming one of the most talked about bands with fans and again the underground media. Their nine singles marked the band firmly out as having the potency to break into the strongest spotlight of attention and recognition, now the year in a half making The Art Of Loving could and should be the doorway into that expansive scenery for Jingo.

With former member Sahil Batra adding his talent to some of the tracks too, the band instantly ignites ears and imagination with album opener Black Flowers. A heavy air and throaty bass coaxing engrosses ears straight away but it is tempered by the vocal seduction of Katie. It is a magnetically intriguing union of hungry shadows and vocal temptation which only gains further potency as post punk scythes of guitar add their voice to the compellingly brewing emprise of the song. Once hitting its sultry stride, the track is awash with evocative keys and a metallic resonance to riffs which adds mystique and intimidation to the encounter respectively. The song is a dramatically contagious and ingeniously crafted fusion of light and dark, merging the  heavier seventies rock essences of Jess & the Ancient Ones in majestic flirtation with the melodic beauty of The Magic Numbers and the atmospheric beauty of Solar Halos, but ultimately something unique to Jingo.

   The following Skypunch opens with an elegant caress of keys but also another imagination grabbing breath of dramatic breeding. It is fair to say there is a powerful drama to all of Jingo’s songs, all different but all building an intensity and climatic narrative musically and emotionally. The second track soon parades a cinematic landscape of sound and emotion, its thick yet warmly charming enterprise suitable for a narrative of global espionage or intimate emotional dilemma. Keys and drums entangle with strenuous ideation across the song whilst Katie roars with mesmeric beauty matched by the similarly vocal endeavour of Jack’s expressive guitar invention.

Both When You Want Me and Belong To You take the listener into imaginative journeys of tenacious and creative revelry. The first comes through a sonic almost sinister ambience to cup ears in an engaging vocal tempting amidst a

bordering on tempestuous climate which like the rhythmic enticement seems to grow and bulge with intent the deeper into the song the listener finds themselves. Looking like it is heading into a storm, the song instead twists back on itself to parade a glorious stomp of funk seeded melodies and boisterous rhythms courted by a psychedelic enticing of guitar and keys. It is an engrossing and impossibly infectious song almost matched by its successor. Belong To You opens with a bass lure which offers hints of The Pixies before joining a warm flame of chords and the even hotter vocals of Katie. With a masterful rhythmic dance from the sticks of Reeves creating a gripping spine, the song smoulders energetically with a sixties pop and psychedelic infectiousness but also a provocative aural melodrama to voice and the multi-flavoured textures erupting throughout the outstanding track.

That sixties feel with a just as strong fifties pop additive, brings the following title track to enthralling life too. Barely a minute long and simply the voice and harmonies of Katie accompanied by finger clicks, it is simply mesmeric and irresistible. Like Wanda Jackson meets Sarah Vaughan, the track is a small treat and soon making way for Home. Right away there is angst and drama, a word impossible not to use with every song, to the thick bass hues and short stabs of guitar which skirt the visually provocative vocals. The track is sensational, a seductive and mentally intrusive aural movie which sets body and emotions ablaze whilst coaxing thoughts to create their own personal adventures.

A gentler flight is brought by the brilliant Blue Wail. Exotic vocal expression and jagged guitar teasing wraps engrossingly around thoughts whilst bulging rhythms and bass sultriness adds to the Caribbean coloured canvas spawning the

Artwork by Katie Buckett

Artwork by Katie Buckett

creative devilry emerging above it. It is a transfixing fascination of sound for ears and imagination soon emulated in its own distinctive manner by Before You Were Born. The song is an emotively enchanting ballad but one still fuelled by vivacity through its rhythms and invention which keenly engages the striking heart felt vocal presence of Katie. It is a delightful embrace, if not as potent on the passions as other songs on the album, which shares its intimacy and passionate depths with the magnificent Jaclyn. Written about a friend of Katie who killed herself, the song is simply creative vaudeville set in the walls of one of the most creatively inspired and melodically pungent songs you are likely to hear this year. Every second, note, and syllable is soaked in passion, anger and love entwined in a fire of invention and yes aurally poetic drama. There is also a sultry seduction to the song which weaves and swerves curvaceously before ears to entice and pull the senses into the heated grandeur and personal fever of the track. Brilliance hardly covers it.

The jazzy elegance of Same Without You is next and cored by a piano grace, proceeds to cast a melodic temptress of itself melodically and theatrically to stand hand in hand with the similarly seductive vocals. With broody basslines and individual fires of invention lining the sensational enticement, the song is a climate of invasively emotive hues, melancholic ambience, and lustful invention, much like next up IQ84. The track from its first moment is parading an irresistible web of choppy riffs, jangling chords, and mountainously heavy bass and rhythmic sculpting. Complete with seventies seeded keys, a touch of The Stranglers not for the first time hinting away in keys, and virulently suggestive and flaming atmospheres, it is another stunning pinnacle in the release.

The Art Of Loving is brought to a close by the increasingly captivating beauty of Don’t Call It Love, a resourceful and melodically shimmering ballad once again allowing Katie to show the depths of her voice before utilising it in a crescendo of creative courtliness enclosed in a tempest of united passion and inventive energy. It is a slow burner of a song which given time matches the depths and heights of the other songs on what is easily one of the albums of the year. Fans of the band will probably expect to hear that but even they will have their breath taken away by its magnificence.

The Art Of Loving is released on September 1st @ http://jingomusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-art-of-loving

http://jingomusic.com/

10/10

RingMaster 31/08/2014

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