The Talks – Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves

The Talks 2014 photo SJM 2 landscape

You may have already found your feel good encounter of 2014 but it is never a bad thing to keep looking right up to the closing days, especially when as winter opens its eyes you get a treat as irresistible as Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves, the new album from UK ska rockers The Talks. Bringing eleven tracks to infest feet, the body, and the imagination, the release is a stomp of addictive revelry which cannot fail to put a smile on the face and emotions.

Since the release of their debut single Picture This in 2008, The Talks have been on a steady climb with the past couple of years seeing a fevered acceleration of attention for their fusion of ska, punk, reggae, and two-tone. First album Live Now Pay Later! in 2012 awoke a fresh spotlight on the Hull quartet which last year’s Westsinister E.P and singles Can Stand The Rain, which featured Neville Staple from The Specials, and Friday Night swiftly pushed to new levels. Alongside the releases, the band’s live presence has been just as dynamic in garnering acclaim and luring the passions, the foursome of Patrick Pretorius (vocals/guitars/sax), Jody Moore (vocals/guitars/keys), Iain Allen (bass), and Richard Lovelock (drums) sharing stages with the likes of Madness, The Specials, Rancid, The Beat, and The King Blues, as well as playing festivals such as This Is Ska, Mighty Sounds, and Rebellion over time. The previous EP was a highly anticipated encounter with Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves finding itself more eagerly awaited, and again the band has surpassed hopes and expectation with their contagious exploits.

The band’s sound lies somewhere between the provocative roars of The Vox Dolomites, the punk causticity of The Members, the melodic reggae and ska charms of By The Rivers and The Beat respectively, and the virulent devilment of The Jellycats. It is a proposition though which whilst embracing familiar essences develops its own unique devilry as swiftly shown with album opener Don’t Look Behind You. The initial warm embrace of keys has ears and thoughts engaged immediately, especially as riffs chop and rhythms start leaping as keys open up a new inventive flirtation whilst the pulses and strokes of the song work on the passions. Loaded with bait feet cannot resist, the song spreads its seduction further with the mischief of vocals and bass alongside the jagged majesty of guitar stabs, hooks, and beats.

The brilliant start is emulated instantly by recent single Radio, an insatiable two tone fuelled escapade with the delicious whiff of The Selector to it. Within moments its chorus is leading the Picture 156anthemic stroll, the song’s swagger as virulent as the brass flames and exotic keys colouring it. There is a punkish air to the vocals which again reminds of The Members whilst the punchy rhythms consume the vivacious dance of the encounter like an epidemic. The track is aural addiction, a breath-taking protagonist of body and emotions leaving a tall order for the following Tear Us Apart to match up to. With sultry keys and warm harmonies its first breath, the song is soon stirring up ears and imagination with its reggae bred enterprise and melodic summer. It mesmerises with its caressing canter of sound, reminding of fellow Brits Shanty as it floats and immerses the senses in its mouth-watering adventure.

Both Fire and Ceasefire keep the thrills ablaze, the first a muscular slab of ska provocation with bulky bass lines and feisty riffs pouncing on ears with antagonistic intensity and infectious rigour. The track has its nostrils flaring from the first second but the increasingly impressive vocal melodies and dramatic brass hues tempers the roar for another riveting big boned incitement; think King Prawn meets Lazy Habits and you are somewhere near the potency of the song. Its successor which features Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox of The Kings Blues, is an immediate blur of sonic drama and rhythmic provocation, a great dirty baseline aligned to agitated beats the frame for combative vocals and smouldering melodies. Teasing with dub enterprise over a ska crafted canvas, the track bounces with confrontation and climatic resourcefulness, every twist a striking reward for ears and a spark for thoughts to match the lyrical impact.

The gentle warmth and catchy romance of Light Up replaces the previous exhilarating tension of its predecessor, the swaying proposition a melody rich call with keys and harmonies embracing another irrepressible earthy bass temptation. Its masterful charm and joy is followed by the pop punk infused All in a Day, the band regaling the album with yet another thrilling slice of diverse and creative magnetism. A mix of Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish but unique again, the song bounds along with a recognisable air around a creative humidity which fires up into an irresistible persuasion, especially once the outstanding escape of deranged keys occurs.

It is a track, as all to be fair, which feet and voice of the listener are unlikely to resist, a lure across the album which is no more inescapable as in the brilliant Hacks. New wave soaked pop punk meets the spicy flirtation of Bad Manners, the track is an ingenious enslavement of ears and passions based on a ridiculously captivating rhythmic enticing and spicy guitar tempting, all matched in expression and allurement by the punchy vocals. The song tells you all you need to know about The Talks, their inflamed imagination and diverse sound, it all encapsulated in two minutes of instinctively seductive alchemy.

The equally thrilling Tune In steps up next to seize the passions, its opening jangle of chords the lead into a melodic coaxing straight out of the Martha and The Muffins songbook ,which in turn shares its space with swipes of feisty rock and ska sculpted endeavour. As punk as it is ska and adrenaline fuelled rock pop, the song stalks ears with a predacious ingenuity before making way for the smoky presence of Sam, reggae and indie rock embracing in a humid embrace, which in turn leaves for final track Alright with Me to close things up. The last song has blues flair to its keys and a choppy texture to the guitar enterprise shaping the expressive musical narrative, a transfixing croon to bring the album to a fine end and show yet more of the variety and creative depths of The Talks.

It is impossible to listen to Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves just once in one sitting, and certain tracks many more times on top. As stated at the start it is a feel good album but more than that, it is a release from a band to which invention and uncompromising adventure is as instinctive as the rapturous infectious sounds they seem to have stockpiled up inside them.

Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves is available now via All Our Own Records now @ http://www.thetalks.co.uk/store/4575625721

http://www.thetalks.co.uk

RingMaster 25/11/2014

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The Vox Dolomites – Self-Titled

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British punk has been at a feisty high for a couple of years now and just gets more potent which each emerging band and release. At the heart and criminally not getting the attention deserved is The Vox Dolomites, a quartet which turns the seeds of punk rock and ska into lyrically and musically gripping dramas. Their songs and EPs have proven the band has an instinctive knack at inciting feet and thoughts with energy and skill. Just recently the Stockport based band released their self-titled debut album, a release which surely will finally draw the keenest spotlight upon their presence.

Formed in2011, The Vox Dolomites is a tenacious and voracious creative stomp driven by guitarists/vocalists Ant Walsh and Will Farley, bassist/vocalist Chris O’Donnell, and drummer Simon Dunnington. The band soon grabbed attention, including ours, with the release simply called First Demo 2012. Their introduction was a blaze of punk and ska revelry which instantly made with its raw and inventive presence, an instant and lingering impression. It was a success subsequently emulated by tracks like No Split Ends and the Down For Three / Joan & Frank single of 2013. Live too the band has earned a renowned reputation for their ferocity of sound and drive, playing acclaimed shows not only at home but across the globe where especially in Japan, the band is feverishly devoured. This was no more evident than in The Dirty Work Tour 2012 movie which came out last year. Filmed by Chalkman Video it honestly followed the band on tour out East, revealing everything about the connection between band and their fans. Working hard on their first album through the first half of 2014, The Vox Dolomites has now opened the cage to a stomping release which declares that the band has hit their sweet spot creatively and unleashed their most adventurous and eclectic songs yet.

Choppy riffs make an instant potent tempting as opener Backtrack steps forward, their lure accentuated by the stroke of piano which sparks a flavoursome stroll of shadowed bass and keys wrapped in expressive melodies. A breath is swiftly taken before vocals and songs rouse up the imagination with their spicy enterprise and punk tenacity. It is a riveting mix, raw punk and melodic rock colluding for an infectious proposition equipped with essences of Rancid and NOFX for extra flavour. Making a striking start to the album, the richly pleasing track is surpassed by the outstanding Battle Scars, a feisty roar with thicker sinews and predatory intent compared to its predecessor, cored by the gripping throaty bass of O’Donnell amidst an acidic blaze of guitar. One of the band’s early songs which graced a previous EP, the track has been revamped and given a new antagonistic tenacity so it stomps as a new beast

Both Down For 3 and Alone In Mexico keep the adventure and quality of the album flying, the first of the two a ska rock dance with the crisp beats of Dunnington coring a flirtatious bass enticement and the radiant devilry of keys. Vivacious and exhaustive for feet and emotions, the song is a virulent bounce infused with sixties garage rock seduction and insatiable melodic charm. The second of the pair explores a sterner old school punk attitude and sound, the switching of two vocal attacks an alluring graze to compliment the similarly harsh sounds. The song still develops an imposing catchiness though which is as irresistible as the brooding fury within its depths and narrative.

The brilliant No Split Ends comes next, a pop punk provocateur with ferocity to its jangling riffs and punch to its intimidating rhythms. Again the busy energy and intensity of the track is a breath-taking onslaught but also it is ripe with a seriously addictive lure and temptation which snarls as it seduces. As the previous older song, the track has been revitalised and twisted into an even greater slice of punk alchemy to take top song honours and reinforce reasons why those in the know wax lyrical about the band.

As mentioned there is strong and highly pleasing variety to the album as shown by the melodic and hard rock infused 6AM Rain. Fiery but simultaneously a gentler stroll, the track comes with skilled melodic endeavour and blues rock imagination whilst still showing its punk breeding. Whereas the previous song had a sense of Russian punks Biting Elbows and also [Spunge], this whispers a calm Turbonegro and Bad Religion fusion whilst still sounding distinct to the Brits. Without sparking as certainly its predecessor, the track is an intriguing and pleasing different side to the band’s evolving sound, as is the more ruggedly bruising ALA where again heavier rock riffs and that increasingly delicious carnivorous tone of bass bind attention and appetite. The stirring and muscular brawl of punk ‘n’ roll is an inescapable imposing setting up the passions perfectly for the impossible addictive Horrorshow. Ska punk with a growl to vocals and riffs tempered by the melodic seducing of keys, the track is one of those stomps which once infested by never leave thoughts and passions. Bands like Face To Face and Operation Ivy have helped drive the style of music employed, but whether either has crafted a track as potent and irresistible as this is debateable.

I Fought The Lawyer brings us back to old school punk fury with Clash like attitude within raw rock ‘n’ roll whilst the gnarly Kojak With A Kodak with stabbing riffs and a rumbling bass lining, takes ears into yet another new aspect in the band’s punk ingenuity and exploration. A slow burner compared to other songs on the album, even with its eager gait, the track reveals itself to be a fascinating and richly creative persuasion unveiling a little more to its depth and lure with every listen.

The album goes out with a bang through firstly the mouth-watering aggressive stomp of Break Down The Walls, the song another long-term lust in the making, and lastly the ridiculously contagious and body igniting Losing Hands. Punk does not come any better than these last two songs, well apart from the other tracks on this excellent rampage of an album. It seems we are praising The Vox Dolomites more and more with every release and there is no reason to change with this seriously impressive album. They are a band which deserves the keenest spotlight and hopefully now they have found the trigger to such attention and recognition.

The Vox Dolomites is available now via STP Records @ http://www.stprecords.co.uk/page4.htm on CD with a vinyl version scheduled for 2015.

http://www.thevoxdolomites.com

RingMaster 06/11/2014

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Rancid – Honor Is All We Know

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It is approaching six years since Rancid unleashed their last album Let The Dominoes Fall but the wait for another provocation individual to the band is now over with Honor Is All We Know. The California quartet has sculpted a presence truly unique within an intensive and expansive punk scene, and it is that sound and invention which again fuels the new release. A greatly satisfying and undemanding stomp, Honor Is All We Know is quite simply what Rancid does best; creating short stabs of contagious incitements which hit home lyrically and musically, punk and ska entwined in mini provocations.

Upon the fourteen track stomp, the band seems to revisit old times from across their years though they are certainly also mixing it with fresh attitude and energy. It is fair to say that surprises are low and familiarity high, resulting in a typical yet virulently addictive slab of sonic Rancid bred prosperity for ears and emotions. Expect some raising dissatisfaction at its almost ‘safe’ rioting in sound but fans will definitely and greedily lap it up whilst it is easy to see uninitiated pop punk fans making the leap into the bosom of one of modern punk’s founding fathers.

Released via Hellcat Records and produced by Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz, Honor Is All We Know instantly has feet and emotions alive with Back Where I Belong, a prize bull of Rancid incitement which roars and sonically squalls through ears. Guitarist/vocalist Tim Armstrong straight away stands tall and distinct in the infectious brawl whilst the bass lure of Matt Freeman pulsates with its similarly additive bait. Everything about the track is prime Rancid, the beats of Branden Steineckert insatiable whilst Lars Frederiksen also flares and sizzles on guitar and vocals, and whilst it feeds expectations there is nothing at play in the song to leave an already established appetite unfulfilled.

The following Raise Your Fist strolls in on a dark bassline whilst guitars layer caustic glazes of temptation. It soon settles into an imposing and unfussy stride, beats and vocals driving the raw punk tone and attitude of the track. Employing a healthy dose of oi to its again recognisable minimalistic landscape, the song also flirts with melodic scenery but it is just added colour to a rugged anthem which is matched by the fiery enticing of Collision Course. There is a feel of the band’s Let’s Go moment in time to the song linked to a Transplants spawned causticity, both uniting for another unavoidable anthemic persuasion which has body, voice, and hunger heavily involved.

Evil’s My Friend leaps in next with ska bent hips and riffs twisting and enticing respectively, keys just as flirty as guitars whilst the bass saunters and seduces with throaty temptation. The song is one inexhaustible bounce, its irrepressible energy and melodic irreverence pop/ska punk a contagious treat recalling the pinnacles of Armstrong’s solo album A Poet’s Life.

Both the title track and A Power Inside pound ears and imagination with raw riffing and pungent rhythms aligned to melodic and cantankerous enterprise. The first is a senses grazing slice of punk ‘n’ roll loaded with bruising antagonism whilst the second is a muscular yet easy going call to arms with infectiousness as insatiable as the plague. It also, around a delicious flaming of sonic endeavour, finds the band at its rawest and almost unruly in vocals and presence, lifting a good song to greater success before the aggravated intimidation of In The Streets snarls over ears      with its heavier rock intimidation. The track like many hits the spot without setting a blaze but still provides full enjoyment before the snarly dance of Face Up pushes up the ante again. With a sizzling melodic lilt to the guitar’s enterprise and thumping predation to rhythms courted by another binding bassline, the song has that familiar Rancid devilment and prowl which is maybe predictable but inescapable.

The raging hostility of Already Dead provides the next barracking, its spaghetti western climate over a ferocious canvas of antagonistic vocals and riled riffing speared by a devil spawned heavy bassline. The song is a riveting croon which does spread into new terrain for the band in some ways before the rhythm slinging, riff growling stomp of Diabolical grabs its moment in the spotlight. The track enslaves within seconds, never relinquishing its forceful devilry until the pop and sixties garage rock brew of Malfunction leaps upon the passions, it an irresistible hop of sound and energy with the flaming hues of keys as potent as the duelling vocals and cheek slapping beats of Steineckert.

The angry, busy barracking of Now We’re Through With You kicks up a bruising provocation next, its presence a senses tramping bitch slap of a treat whilst Everybody’s Sufferin’ slips into ska flirtation for a glorious two-tone shuffle which instantly makes subservient slaves of feet and emotions. Both tracks leave ears and appetite full but are surpassed by the closing triumph of Grave Digger, a quarrelling slice of street punk which has no excess to its lean confrontation but offers a fat anthemic lure which lingers as it brings the album to a mighty end.

It is hard to make claims that Honor Is All We Know is bringing anything truly new from the band and difficult to be convinced that it can convert those aware but not already enamoured with the band into their fold, but for a rigorously enjoyable assault of Rancid punk rock, it is another richly appetising scrap.

Honor Is All We Know is available from October 27th via Hellcat/Epitaph Records.

http://www.rancidrancid.com

RingMaster 27/10/2014

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Spooky Jefferson’s Ideal Lunchbox – House of Dolls

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Ever wondered what the warped and twisted offspring of Madness, Oingo Boingo, and Mr Strange would be like? Then welcome to the dark ska-deville world of Spooky Jefferson’s Ideal Lunchbox.

Entwining the revelry of ska with the insatiable temptation of psychobilly and dark hearted vaudeville theatrics, Spooky Jefferson’s Ideal Lunchbox is an irresistible incitement to question your sanity to. Hailing from Tyne and Wear, the septet is a full on drama and irrepressible mischief which through their new five track EP takes ears, imagination, and passions on a non-stop mystery tour. House of Dolls is a thrilling proposition which makes you wonder why ska and horror has not prolifically mixed before. Better late than never though, and if you are enjoy walking with the dead, aliens, and the kind of fantasies only the mind of Tim Burton can conjure, all to the swinging sounds of devilish invention then this is a band for you.

The opening of Spooky’s Lunchbox sets the Graveyard Calling released EP, a UK-based cassette/digital label, off in fine riveting style. A lone piano offers its haunted expression initially to tease thoughts and nudge the imagination. It has coveran air of a dusty run down theatre holding a steampunk breath of old and modern. The instrumental soon has the senses and thoughts embraced in its noir bred shadows, the keys continuing to evocatively colour the scenery under melancholic sax lighting. It is a mesmeric enchantment which leads straight into the celestial charm of Aliens. It is a coaxing soon immersed in a ska driven stomp, the steady rhythms of drummer Raggz Chandan hand in hand with the dark lures of bass cast by Rob Carrol enslaving an already firm appetite for ska. It is barely seconds before feet are jerking in unison with the jagged riffs of Allen Humes whilst the delicious expressive keys of Davie King incites ears and the flaming sax lures of tenor sax player Dean Wiseman and Ben Creaser on alto sax take care of the imagination once again. It is a gloriously striding song which if you ask us is basking in the attention of its alien abductors and their invasive investigations. The vocals of Kieran Jobling have a rawer less polished feel, his expression flirting and enhancing the drama of the scenario and song perfectly. At times the song apart from those earlier references has an essence of Mojo Fury about it and also for unsure reasons eighties punk folk band The Dancing Did. As eccentric as it is virulently infectious, the track is a riveting adventure which is as impressive crooning as it is running with nostrils flaring.

The following Do You Know? is another breath-taking instrumental dance, this complete with manic chuckles and demented urgency. Like Night Boat To Cairo off course and going through the tunnel of a Ghost Train, the track is inescapable bait for body and soul and it is a sad parting as it drifts into Freak Show. The track soon creates its own unique and seductive adventure though, to hold all attention and thoughts. Adding a carny like atmosphere with Jobling like a side show barker, the band writhes suggestively with its inventive bedlam of lyrical intrigue and musical unpredictability. Like the final blast of devilry for lost souls, the song’s finale is a crescendo of wanton melodies and lustful rhythmic lunacy which could be a distant cousin to those found in Cardiacs.

The title track brings the release to a close, a sonically sepia piece of drama linking it with its predecessor before the song dances into ears on its melodic toes led by another delicious tease of piano. Veering to the more folk side of sound, think Tankus The Henge, the track strides with an air of knowing that it has the listener in the cups of its hands. Melodies sway and caress whilst rhythms swing with a robust tenacity, and as for the brass they croon with a slightly melancholic breath to complete the soulful yet haunted landscape of the song.

With a healthy diversity and compelling drama across its tracks, House of Dolls is pure pleasure, especially if a rich dose of ska and theatrical madness is a tasty brew for you. Spooky Jefferson’s Ideal Lunchbox is not exactly creating a new style of music but they are certainly crafting a template as yet undiscovered.

House of Dolls is available via Graveyard Calling @ http://graveyardcalling.bandcamp.com/album/house-of-dolls digitally and on very Ltd Ed Silver-screen grey cassette.

www.facebook.com/SpookyJeffersonsIdealLunchBox

9/10

RingMaster 28/08/2014

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Michael Franti and Spearhead – All People

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This week sees the UK release of All People from Michael Franti and Spearhead, an album of feel good hymns which brings fun filled light and adventure to any day. Consisting of sixteen tracks which flirt with and incite feet through to the imagination to romp with refreshed energy and appetite against any ills clouding personal climates, the album is a mouthwatering sunspot of diverse pop flavoured enterprise. It is pop though bred from the richest essences of everything from rock to funk, ska to Hip-Hop, soul to folk with plenty more in between. It results in a release which brings a persuasive familiarity to new adventures, an encounter which ultimately shines like a beacon in the shadows of life.

     All People is the tenth album from Michael Franti, a very different proposition from where the San Francisco based singer/songwriter/guitarist began. Starting his journey with post-punk band The Beatings and then acclaimed hip-hop group Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, Franti has always fought and supported the ‘underdog’, something which has never lessened as his music found its course into a more varied and pop accessible destination. It is just as full and vocal on All People, songs looking at an array of issues and flaws, worldly and intimate, but all realised in anthems for summer days and sultry nights. The follow-up to the acclaimed 2010 release The Sound of Sunshine, the new album, which sees Franti collaborating with the likes of Adrian Newman, Sam Hollander, and Canadian production team The Matrix on many of the songs, may have taken its time hitting British shores after its US release last year but it is hard to imagine it not taking over the impending summer’s soundtrack over coming weeks.

The title track starts off the party with a gentle seduction initially; acoustic guitar and the instantly evocative keys of Raliegh Neal caressing F4A96317-E24D-4C83-833F-CBCA94257239ears before Franti and guest vocalist Gina René add their tender touches to the opening coaxing. Soon pulsating heavy beats from Manas Itiene join the enticement but it is when a switch is flicked and the piano slaps its keys down on the senses that the song takes off in climatic style. Drama suddenly soaks the dancefloor incitement; the throaty bass of Carl Young bringing richer textures to the excited stomp as both vocalists again court thoughts and emotions with ease. It is the first song and first anthem of the release, setting things off explosively.

Things hit a new pinnacle right away with the following Earth From Outer Space with features K’Naan. Again as the first song, its entrance is a soothing beckoning rather than anything gripping but once the song slips into its reggae bred stroll, melodies and vocals streaming warmth and aural smiles from their notes and syllables, slavery of feet and emotions is a done deal. Lyrical repetition and easy going hooks ensure as in most tracks you can join in within one chorus and a single stride of a verse, the sheer revelry dancing resourcefully with ears. The great vocal mix and seductive colour of the song leaves that feel good factor in full flow which new single I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like) embraces ravenously. The guitars of Franti and Dave Shul from the first breath are lending a creative warmth and mischief to the imagination, contagion subsequently pouring from theirs and every rhythmic and vocal design. Again the catchy heart of the pop rock track is irresistible, body and soul joining its swagger and a festivity so potent that even the downright miserable will be swept up in its scintillating arms smiling broadly outside and within.

Things take a breather with next up Long Ride Home, the song a gliding evocative croon of expressive keys and moody basslines over which Franti lays his engagingly textured tones. There is still a pulse beat to the tempered balladry of the song which eggs feet and emotions in to a keen stride of movement and reflection respectively. It is constantly brewing up a passion across its offering which ends in a potent crescendo before making way for the folkish charm of Life Is Better With You, a song with a definite Simon & Garfunkel spicing, and the pungently emotive hip-hop seeded 11.59, a track inspired by the Trayvon Martin shooting. Though the three songs cannot match the fire of their predecessors, each brings an invigorating variation and impacting enthrallment to the album.

That diversity continues with the darker light of Closer To You, a track finding its origins seemingly in the post punk formative years of Franti, its opening especially reminiscent of the chilled climates of a New Order or early Cure before expanding into an electro sculpted slice of indie rock, and the brilliant Gangsta Girl. Flaming with a delicious ska/pop stomp and sultry swerve of melodic spicery, the track is infectiousness uncaged. Its feisty canter is just like The Beat in their heyday, a broadly grinning flirtation which has feet and passions swerving like a puppeteer.

Through the again uniquely shaped pleasures of emotive rocker Show Me A Sign, the richer ska seeded I Don’t Wanna Go, and the funk infested Do It For The Love, the album continues to diversely excite and thrill whilst musically it continues to hit the sweet spot in skill and invention. The trio of songs also slip below the irrepressible temptation of the songs right before them, though each leaves body and heart alight and greedy for more which the warm and breezy Let It Go featuring Ethan Tucker, and the Lennon-esque On And On feed fully with their own unique characters in the suasion of the album.

The evocative pop enchantment of Wherever You Are followed by the emotionally fuelled ballad Say Goodbye, lead the album to its enjoyable conclusion though they do lack the kick of the rest of the album. Nevertheless they do leave a lingering breath and tempting to dive back into the album once an acoustic mix of Life Is Better With You finally brings things to a fine close.

All People is an excellent proposition to inflame the day and heart, rock pop in its most potent and impressively flavoursome forms. It is fair to say that Michael Franti and Spearhead with All People has just ignited the British summer.

All People is available now!

https://www.michaelfranti.com/

9/10

RingMaster 03/06/2014

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Johnny Kowalski and The Sexy Weirdos – Kill The Beast

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How best to describe the sound of Johnny Kowalski and The Sexy Weirdos which runs virulently threw the veins of new album Kill The Beast. Well if you take a fusion of Tankus The Henge and Gogol Bordello and spice it up with healthy doses of Les Négresses Vertes, The Pogues and Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, you get a fair flavouring of the fun found within the band’s second full-length. The ten track release is a magnetic energetic party of varied sounds and flavours brewed into the band’s own riveting “carnival punk” proposition, it one rigorously exciting and enjoyable encounter. Essences of gypsy punk, ska, swing, and straight forward punk also add to the irrepressibly captivating mix, the result a wonderful deranged waltz of unpredictable adventure.

Johnny Kowalski and the Sexy Weirdos spent their early years honing and shaping their sound on the live arena before unveiling debut album Victory for the Monsters in the October of 2012. Acclaimed the release was followed by the band striking out on tour across France, Belgium, Germany, and the Czech Republic, again to strong and eager responses. Returning to Europe again last year, the Birmingham based band courted the passion of countries such as Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg in the course of their next tour, whilst appearances at festival such as Boomtown, Y Not, Tramlines, Nozstock, Wychwood, and Swingamajig as well as a third European excursion has only strengthened their presence and reputation, breeding strong anticipation for their new album. Produced by Gavin Monaghan (Editors, The Destroyers, Robert Plant), Kill the Beast seizes attention from its first breath refusing to release its hold until the final note of the last song. It is a release which like all punk bred incitements, which it really is in so many ways, the album challenges and thrills with mischief and antagonistic wantonness, rewarding with a feel good factor other bands can only imagine.

Nailbiter starts things off and is instantly throwing its body through ears, revelling in its boisterous energy as brass inflames the air and rhythms march resourcefully over the senses. Eventually settling into a more controlled yet still rebellious stride with a sultry mystique to its evolving sound, the song seduces and incites the imagination with the violin of John-Joe Murray a potent lure within the strong rhythmic frame provided by drummer Matthew Osborne and bassist Chris Yates. A devious swagger breaks out from within the captivating stomp, the guitar of Kowalski stirring things up before his raw vocals add to the striking dance. There is a fairground barker drama to his delivery, expelling forcibly the narrative as strings and brass colour the scenery further, the trombone croon of Ellie Chambers and trumpeting pouts of Simon Noons rich hues to immerse within. Building up to an explosive crescendo which wickedly never materialises, the track is a glorious start to the album setting a high bar for the other songs to match.

The following When the Time Comes makes a worthy attempt, growing potently from its reserved opening stroll with flumes of brass warming a rhythmic scattering and the more reserved delivery of Kowalski. It is a spicy romp, which like a smouldering temptress sways and swerves with melodic curves and energetic tendencies over the senses, teasing with its seductive nature. It does not match its predecessor’s heights but still leaves emotions and ears enraptured as the Tequila Song stands poised to inflame their ardour once again. As you can probably imagine from the title the song is a festival in the ear; liquor kissed revelry which stomps with rhythmic knees high and infectious melodies bordering on salaciousness. The brass again almost taunts with their evocative blasts, adding to the mischief breeding every note and syllable uncaged by Kowalski and the backing shouts of Osbourne and Murray.

Next up Question the Answers strides with a rhythmic tantalising courted by a great throaty bass lure and punctuated by again fiery stabs of brass. There is a sense of unrest to the sound and feel of the song, a troubled sigh locking onto the rigid contagious press of rhythms. As vocals and subsequently violin bring their unique flavours to the developing evocative landscape, the track absorbs attention and appetite, twists of guitar and acidic stringed invention spearing the enveloping premise. The track is more restrained and arguably straight forward than the earlier tempests of adventure but no less gripping, much like Same Mistakes which swiftly adds its bold canter to the terrain of the release. Again it is a more reined in protagonist but with plenty to engage the ears if without sparking the same strength of fire in the passions as certainly the first and third song.

The excellent folk/gypsy vaunt of Raggle-Taggle Gypsy comes next to bring a traditional treat with a sense of the Pogues to its exhaustive imagination infesting polka before making way for the instrumental ‘shanty’ of What Shall We Do With a Blonde?, another track which lifts spirits and feet like a maniacal puppeteer for the fullest of pleasures. The album sees the additional dark charm of the tuba from David Yates across its body, and here he is at his exhilarating best perfectly matched by the mouthwatering skill of Murray.

     Another major treat comes with the carnival-esque sortie of That’s the One, brass and violin casting a picture of circus swing which the expressive vocals and gypsy punk spawned heart of rhythms and guitar paint in their own rich textures. In its full stride the song is an addictive tempting which as others steals control of feet and soul but it is not maintained throughout to the same potent effect leaving the listener feeling the song missed an indefinable trick somewhere. It is still a vivaciously pleasing track which the punkish The Good Shark builds from. Like The Clash meets Mano Negro in many ways, the song is a feverish provocateur which impresses and excites even more when from its fire flailing romp it hits a vein of dub/ska haunting sparking that Strummer and Co reference and thoughts of Ruts too. Finishing on the same brash and vigorous exploit it started with, the track is a wonderful slab of fun.

The title track brings the album to a strong hypnotic close with plucked violin strings around a resonating beat immediate bait and trap to devour greedily. That enticement is soon accentuated as Murray spreads the charm of his craft pushing deeper the core temptation of the song. The track as it explores its walls has a feel of Dizraeli and The Small Gods, not so much in sound but the way the song is constructed and blossomed, though the guest vocal skat of Call Me Unique itself holds some similarity to the other band’s Cate Ferris. It is a maelstrom of sound and imagination providing a final blast of fun and adventure to a tremendous album.

     Kill the Beast is a scintillating treat which even in its less lofty moments still leaves appetite and emotions raging. Johnny Kowalski and The Sexy Weirdos are the minstrels of ‘Body Snatching Carnival Punk’ and if coming to a graveside near you are well worth gripping tightly on to.

Kill The Beast is available now@ http://sexyweirdos.bandcamp.com/album/kill-the-beast-2

http://www.sexyweirdos.co.uk/

9/10

RingMaster 26/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Lazytalk – Just A Ride

 

lazytalk pic

    When the body is turned into an eager puppet you know you are in the hands of something special and that is exactly what the new single from UK rockers Lazytalk is. Just A Ride is an insatiable stomp fusing the richest essences of indie, ska, and punk with plenty of other variously seeded excitement like drum ‘n’ bass. It draws in ears and imagination from its opening note, never relinquishing its contagious grip until the final vivacious second.

      Lazytalk was formed in 2011 and it seems was soon raising up the passions from a loyal following with their resourcefully inventive sound. Exhilarating venues and audiences across London and the UK ever since their debut day, which has included supporting Babyshambles on their UK tour, the band drew strong responses with their debut EP, the Gordon Raphael produced Luzaville. The new single follows the release of the excellent track Memories which came out as a free download a couple of months ago, and treats ears and imagination to their finest irrepressible slice of revelry yet.

Just A Ride opens with jangling guitar strokes which immediately suggests an Arctic Monkeys like bred adventure ahead. The joining rhythmic bait of Tag Ara soon accelerates the already brewing appetite for the song, impressively aided by the vocal beckoning of Piers Robinson. It is a tremendous temptation which explodes to another plateau once the bass darkens its tone whilst the guitar of Jack Wilson aligned to the keys of Joshua Culter, scythe across and thicken respectively. the riveting dance of the encounter. There is a definite eighties new wave swagger to the more angular aspects of the adventure, one which slips seamlessly beside the gently stabbing ska enticement and the fiery and infectious weave of melodies. The rhythmic cage of Sam Woodward keeps the vivacious energy and irresistible mischief of the song encased in a controlling body but one which allows devilry like the pleasing sax croons from Culter and the raw vocal harmonies to play and add their engaging hues to the scintillating and wonderfully exhausting romp.

      Lazytalk is one of those bands you just sell your soul to, well we did as once Just A Ride placed its hand on ears and passions there was just no escape. If is safe to say that we will not be alone in offering up our submission and doing it time and time again as the band realises the rest of their potential and rises to the loftiest heights of attention and ardour in the UK music scene.

http://lazytalk.co.uk/

10/10

RingMaster 23/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com