Smash Fashion – Big Cat Love

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The wantonly enigmatic sound and presence of US rockers Smash Fashion has always made for a compelling and thrilling proposition since forming in 2004 and new album Big Cat Love provides no deviation in that potency. In fact it takes it to richer captivating levels with another collection of riotously varied and adventurous fusions of rock ‘n’ roll. The album sees the band again reaping the blooms of various decades and styles of raw and boisterous rock music, hard and glam rock as home within their invention as fifties rock ‘n’ roll and power pop. It makes for a tantalising proposition from the band’s third album, one which even with a couple of lulls in its persuasion is a stirring captivation from start to finish.

Hailing from Los Angeles, Smash Fashion consists of musicians drenched in experience and successes. The band is led by vocalist/guitarist Roger Deering alongside bassist Nigel Mogg (ex- London Quireboys), drummer Repo (ex-Smack), and guitarist Lloyd Stuart Casson (ex- Rock City Angels). Their previous full-lengths A Gentlemens Guide to Sophisticated Savagery and Don’t Pet The Sweaty Things in 2006 and 2009 respectively, set the band apart and into an eager spotlight for their expansive sound whilst last year’s single Blame It On The Brandy more than hinted at the promise of and raised anticipation for the new release. It was potential easily realised by the again Electricpudding Recordings released album, a confirmation of that clue and of the ever hungry invention and appetite of a band which has graced stages with the likes of Ian Hunter, Arthur Lee and Love, The Zombies, Cheap Trick, Psychedelic Furs, The Alarm, Missing Person, Orson, JET, and The 88 over the years.

A gong opens up attention and the entrance of first track Wicked Ways, a shock to ears which are soon filled with enticingly grooved big-cat-love-albumguitars and crisp probing rhythms. It is instant agreeable bait which only increases its lure with the vocals of Deering and an increasingly potent infectiousness which soaks the melodies and chorus of the song as well as the vocal delivery. You cannot say that the song is a startling protagonist for the imagination and emotions but it is a persistently persuasive stroll of finely sculpted hooks, fiery grooves, and sonic enterprise which achieves the same impact. Feeling like an old friend in new clothes in many ways, much like the album, the song is an impressive opener which is swiftly matched by Marionette. Bringing more punkish seeds than the first whilst still firmly involved with a hard rock canvas, the excellent track seduces like a mix of early days The Jam and The Vapors, easily igniting and passions. The fact that it is a reworking from an appearance on the last album makes no difference to its might and presence on the album, such its thrilling offering.

The following Strike My Fancy (Knickers Down) is as flamboyant and wonderfully sleazy as its title suggests though with a refined touch in restraint behind a melodic colour which flames around the senses as keys tease their submission. It is another excellent romp with more contagion than a strip club and just as sexy, especially with the incendiary guitar craft blazing across its body, a skill just as evident in Stay Off My La La and You Love to Suffer. The first of the pair shows its intent to rock from the first seconds, riffs and vocals a keen devilry within a sturdy frame of rhythms and dark roaming basslines. As all the songs there is something virulently catchy and anthemic to the track easily bringing feet, voice, and emotions into its grasp. Thoughts of bands like The Motors and Eddie and the Hot Rods are stirred occasionally through the song before it makes way for its successor, a smouldering ballad which from humble temptations emerges over time as a riveting enticement with dark sixties punk croon to its suasion.

The title track comes in next, starting with a mischievous almost tribal groan which sparks real intrigue but then as swiftly abandons the bait to twist into a glam/seventies pop rock which is more than decent but just does not excite like the previous songs. Like Darts meets The Quireboys it is a satisfying romp but not one to fire up any real passion in personal tastes, though the bass endeavour and climactic conclusion to the song are big pluses. The perfectly accomplished and varied Just a Kiss At the Starting Line is much the same in success though different in sound with its country rock twang and bold melodic rock stroll. The guitars and drums again ensure there is plenty to engage and run with, just not enough to spark any major ardour for.

Super Glam next builds a bold rock lure of country bred spice amidst a power pop lilt and darkly toned vocals. It is another song taking time to convince but succeeds eventually through its excellent pop swagger and hard rock veining of outstanding guitar craft and pumped rhythms. It is one of those devious songs which takes a deeper grip than first realised to be a lingering presence, though the following punk infused Aim for the Heart soon has total attention for itself, the song an outstanding fusion of the addictive hooks of Buzzcocks and rich drama of Psychedelic Furs all immersed in the kind of premise which only Smash fashion can conjure. The song is an infectious temptation with feisty intent, a mix equalled by Blame It On the Brandy right after. The song immediately has ears at attention as it opens with ridiculously addictive rhythms before settling into a brew of alluring hooks, stirring riffs, and healthily anthemic vocals. Bringing seventies glam flourishes into a tempest of blues kissed rock n roll, the excellent encounter is a mix of American rock and Thin Lizzy, and a complete joy.

The dusty climate and vocal shade to Live to Tell makes for another very satisfying if not explosive avenue to the album, its scenery a bloom of shapely guitar invention and flavoursome rhythmic wile, before Stairs to Nowhere brings Big Cat Love to a rousing close. A big boned mesh of seventies hard rock and garage punk with unsurprising but enjoyable animated energy and passion, the track makes for an eventful conclusion to a fascinating triumph. Boundaries are not worried and originality arguably left alone for the main by Smash Fashion on their album but they still present a proposition which incites pleasure and the rocker in us all and that is more than enough for us.

Big Cat Love is available via Electricpudding Recordings now!

http://www.smashfashionmusic.com

8/10

RingMaster 09/05/2014

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Sisteray – She Likes The Drama

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     Since forming in 2012, British rock band Sisteray has been building a rather potent fan base and appreciation through  their live performances and releases, an eagerly followed presence which their new EP She Likes The Drama gives plenty of evidence to the reason why. The four track release is an engaging proposition which from making an initially decent if unsure persuasion emerges as a magnetically appealing enjoyment. It is fair to say the EP does not quite reach in to ignite a flame in these particular passions but from the sure satisfaction definitely found you can easily see that it will be a different proposition for a great many others.

    Hailing from London and consisting of Niall Rowan (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), the Connolly brothers Daniel (lead guitar/vocals) and Ryan (drums), and Michael Hanrahan (bass), Sisteray take influences from the likes of The Kinks, The Beatles and The Who but equally from 70’s Mod Revival bands such as The Jam and Blues bands such as Dr. Feelgood, The Yardbirds, and The Rolling Stones. Those spices are open in the Sisteray sound as are also inspirations from more recent bands like The Stone Roses, The Arctic Monkeys, and Oasis. It is a striking mix which despite that rich soak of inciting flavours, does find a voice distinct to Sisteray as loudly evident on She Likes The Drama.

    The title track kicks things off, a single guitar tempting luring in attention and imagination before being joined by a nice dark 1536716_554607001299650_1249032493_nbassline and melodically sculpted riff strokes. It is a clean and precise persuasion of sixties blues kissed rock ‘n’ roll with a seventies garage rock breath and nineties indie endeavour. The song never explodes into the fire it hints at, especially around the chorus, but it is as infectious and compelling as you could wish for and undeniably makes a pleasing impact. The vocals of Rowan like the song are expressive with a strong buoyant tone whilst the prime hook of the song is irresistibly potent and with the other enticing elements of the song it all adds up to make the track an increasingly enticing offering over time.

      The following Rollin’ Over also offers a highly coaxing entrance into the song, a lone throaty and slowly parading bassline beckoning ears before the subsequent flame of melodic guitars and crisp rhythms joins the tempting. There is a stronger blues aroma to the song right away which the group vocals around the chorus accentuate into a quite inflammatory suasion. Again the band never erupts into the assumed and hoped to come unleashing of anthemic energy within the track, which does disappoint slightly, but there is plenty in the swagger and voice of the song to draw in appetite for and enjoyment in the encounter.

      I’m Free emerges on a fuzz ball of sonic intrigue increasing further the blues fire which smoulders and burns in each song, whilst a certain Oasis bred croon equally impacts on the ears. Not as tantalising and ultimately impressing as the other songs, it still captures the imagination especially with the constant almost brawling blaze of sonic scowling which cores the musical narrative. Providing the heaviest rock ‘n’ roll moment of She Likes The Drama, the track keeps momentum and strength of the release strong and engaging before making way for the closing Coming Up.

     The song ensures the release ends on the same high as it started, actually an even greater success with the track the best on the EP. It takes a mere second before the irresistible hook of the song steals the imagination, its call switching with a more sobering but inviting swipe of riffs. Into its stride the song is soon urging feet and emotions to partake in its revelry, its presence a mix of the mod power pop of Purple Hearts, the raw punk simplicity of The Fall, and the addictive nature of Arctic Monkeys. It is a masterful and wholly contagious thrill which alone confirms that Sisteray is definitely a choice emerging force in UK rock.

     As previously stated She Likes The Drama fails to spark up the strongest emotions in our personal reactions, well until the excellent final song anyway, but it is impossible not to hear the potential and already toxic strengths of the band which has captured so many hearts already, with plenty more to follow you can only suspect. A release if any of the previously mentioned comparisons take your fancy, to give a big slice of attention to.

http://www.sisteray.com/

7.5/10

RingMaster 15/02/2014

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No fear just imaginative provocation: an interview with Dale Crover of Melvins

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Any real rock fan knows that the legendary Melvins never shy away from invention, exploration, and mischief within their continually impressive creativity and releases. Three decades have seen the Washington band ignite the senses and imagination as well as music itself with their one of a kind ingenuity, and the release of Everybody Loves Sausages presented yet another album to lift the emotions and provoke the senses. Consisting of cover songs from bands which the members of Melvins have a passion for themselves and featuring an array of guest vocalists the album is one of the biggest sparks to strike 2013. Intriguing to find out more about the album and its creation we had the pleasure of asking drummer Dale Crover about the release, particular songs, and some of those additional friends helping bring the album to life.

Hi Dale and many thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

You have just released your excellent album Everybody Loves Sausages, a collection of cover tracks. Did the fact that the songs were not yours originally bring a different emotion and feeling compared to your previous releases as it’s unveiling to the world loomed?

We started recording cover song with the idea of releasing them as singles. It wasn’t until we had a bunch of songs done that we realized we had a decent albums worth of material. We didn’t treat this record any differently than any other release.

Did its recording also offer up a different type of fun just because they were songs which you had no involvement in the writing of?

We’ve always done cover songs since day one and we’ve always liked playing covers. Almost every record we’ve ever done has a cover song on it. If we’re going to do a cover, we try to own it like we wrote it. We either try to improve it or at least do it justice.

The time and attention given to each track and your interpretation suggests the songs and bands were ones which had a strong impact upon yourselves, is that the case and the reason for their choosing?

Well yeah, these are all songs by bands that we really dig!

Was there an extended debate within the band over chooses or the songs were relatively unanimously agreed on from the start?

No! We’re all in agreement here. We have pretty much the same musical tastes. I don’t know if Coady and Jared knew much about The Fugs, but they seemed like they were into it. That’s a band that has a pretty big influence on us. Listen to that song, and then our song Black Bock and maybe you’ll hear it.

In the choice of tracks was there any element of mischief, making choices to catch people off guard maybe?16315_10151432583720939_1671142432_n

We thought going from Venom’s War Head into Queen’s Best Friend would throw people for a loop. From totally aggro to I love you! It works perfectly! We weren’t trying to be ironic doing either of those songs though. We really do love the Queen song! It’s a great tune!

You are no strangers to doing cover songs as you said but how big a step did it feel making a full length album of them and did it offer experience or problems which your own compositions do not inspire?

In case you haven’t noticed by now, there’s nothing we’re afraid of doing. I’ve read reviewers say that we did a covers record because we have nothing left to say. Obviously these people haven’t been paying attention to what we’ve been doing. In a space of a year we put three releases by three different versions of the band, toured across Canada, did a record setting tour of the US, released a series of split 12″, toured Europe twice and now put this record out. I’m sure I’m probably forgetting about something as well.

The album also sees a wealth of your friends vocally adding their individual touch to many of the tracks, was it a concentrated decision before the start who you would bring in for what or did the tracks almost invite obvious choices for you?

Some of them we’re well planned. Mark Arm from Mudhoney doing Scientists for example, or Jello Biafra doing Roxy Music. I think we had a few different ideas for Jim Thirwell. He chose Bowie.

Did you give them precise directions to approach the songs especially vocally or let them run with the idea and ball? I ask as our favourite track on the album In Every Dream Home A Heartache, which sees Jello Biafra transforming the Bryan Ferry bred shadows in an organic almost improv like evolution before the ear.

We worked with these different people because we like what they do. We wouldn’t dare tell anyone what to do, or how to sing. I did however tell Clem Burke from Blondie that he was going to do a drum solo. He asked what type of solo to play. My only instructions were to “freak out”!

How long did the album take to make and was it all recorded in one studio or across varied stages with all the guests involved?

We did most of the tracking the winter before last, mostly at Sound Of Sirens studio. A few things were recorded elsewhere.

Is there any particular song or moment which lit your personal fires a little more intensely on the album than most?

Hmm, that’s hard to say. I like hearing the songs when they start to gel. Usually that happens in the overdub process, after I’m done with the basic structure of a song. That’s when I start to get ideas or hear parts in my head. That’s the moment for me where I feel the most creative and exited.

I have to ask about The Jam track Art School which features Tom Hazelmeyer on vocals with a great tongue in cheek cockney accent to song and the following skit end. Was it coincidental that his closing fun felt like a mischievous pop at the middle class background of the great band riding the supposed anarchy of the punk movement in their early days?

Less coincidental and more whiskey fuelled. The English are an easy to target to poke fun of.

180178_496925000938_3202216_nIs the album something you would look at doing again, have already ideas of songs to cover prompted thoughts in that direction?

We recorded way more than what’s on the record. For the vinyl we’re going to release each song as a single with unreleased B sides.

Melvins is an iconic band who has inspired so many bands across your influential years, what inspires your creativity most potently?

Everything that surrounds us.

Will you be taking the album or tracks on tour and if so will your friends on Everybody Loves Sausages be lured to make their part too?

I doubt it, but I would like to play some of those songs live.

What is next on your horizons as a band and individually?

We’re doing our 30 year anniversary tour of the US this summer. After that I’m not sure. Probably more of the same. Hopefully I’ll get to produce more records. Our engineer Toshi Kasai and myself produce bands under the name Deaf Nephews. We recently worked with the bands Qui and Federation X. Toshi has a studio now and we’re for hire to produce and perform on projects.

Once more a big thank you for sparing time for us, any last thoughts or temptations for the readers?

Yes, I know what the real meaning of life is, and its…

Read the review of Everybody Loves Sausages @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/melvins-everybody-loves-sausages/

http://themelvins.net/

The RingMaster Review 16/05/2013

 

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Melvins – Everybody Loves Sausages

Melvins Everybody Loves Sausages hi res

Bands doing covers is always an intrigue if only to see what one assumes has inspired them but when it comes to whole albums of bringing forth hopefully re-invented versions past experiences usually show it is just a lead to disappointment. So many bands just produce the original in their own voice without seemingly using a thought to actually making the songs their own. Approaching Everybody Loves Sausages from the Melvins though there was only excited intrigue with doubts given no breathing space just because it was the Washington band, a group who has never just painted by numbers.  Of course there could still be a chance they would fall the way of so many others but the thirteen track triumph soon puts that notion to bed. The album is magnificent, a window into the as vocalist/guitarist Buzz Osborne explains, “This record will give people a peak into the kind of things that influence us musically.” Melvins do make the songs theirs and even those they approach using the template of the original it still offers twists and seditious creativity which only leads to lustful wonder.

Released via Ipecac Recordings, Everybody Loves Sausages as expected has a mischief across its length though also an open respect for the sounds and artists which inspired them. It is impossible to imagine the original creators of the songs being anything other than impressed and thrilled by the release even when some of the tracks actually outstrip the originals. The album sees the full line-up of Osborne, Dale Crover, Jared Warren and Coady Willis on the album though there are a trio of tracks with the Melvins Lite incarnation of the band on Osborne, Crover and Trevor Dunn.  It also sees plenty of guest appearances to add extra texture and riveting enterprise to the release.

The release opens with Warhead, the band faithfully brewing the seeds of the Venom black metal classic with the bite of Scott Kelly of Neurosis rearing its might on vocals and guitar. It is an immediate lure into the potently eclectic album, its abrasive snarl as anthemic and tempting as the original setting the senses off on a rush of anticipation as the following Queen track (You’re My) Best Friend steps forward with a surprising Nintendo like 8-bit beckoning. With Caleb Benjamin from Tweak Bird handling the vocals wonderfully, the song is a mellow caress with the veins of Mercury and co wrapping the ear from within the seductive and fiery touch of the Melvins. Though not as flamboyant as the original though with a broader pop invitation, it still brings a grandeur and showy embrace forth which leaves the listener warm and energised for more.

After the impossible to disapprove of take on the Ram Jam track Black Betty, the album breaks out its real glories starting firstly with Set It On Fire, an excellent track of The Scientists revived and given a fresh growl with Mark Arm of Mudhoney adding his ever outstanding vocals. It is an excellent aural scowl upon the ear which is then pushed into the shade by the stunning Station To Station. Already haunting and experimental in the hands of Bowie, Melvins turn it into a deeper more intimidating corrosive beauty. The opening industrial malevolence of everyday intensity stalks and congests the ear, a sonic ambience stinging the senses within the restrained yet bedlamic shadowed fuelled wash enveloping the listener and thoughts. From within a lone melodic figure steps forward accompanied by a carnivorous bass provocation before the guitars send sonic flames across the roof of the psyche bending track. With vocals from JG Thirlwell of Foetus bringing the narrative to vibrant life within the scuzzy cavernous texture, the eleven minute song is wonderful, its busy snarl a step into everyday life torture never investigated in the excellent original.

Further intense highlights to rival the pair come in the likes of the punk grazing Attitude with Clem Burke of Blondie joining the band on the Kinks song, the excellent Timothy Leary Lives, one of the tracks with the Melvins Lite line-up and a song which plays like a mix of Stan Ridgway and The Dickies, and an abrasive punk version of The Jam song Art School featuring Tom Hazelmeyer (founding member of Halo Of Flies and the proprietor of Amphetamine Reptile) on vocals and guitar. The last of the trio borders a Spinal Tap moment but pulls it off brilliantly with the fake cockney accent coming over like Danny Dyer playing Jimmy Pursey but recruiting the passions and sending them off with the devilment of the closing almost valid piss-take. To be honest every track is a gem, the choice of material and its re-working contagious with even tracks which held no place in the passions before now finding an elevated status in the arms of the Melvins.

Two more great moments come with the closing take of Throbbing Gristle’s Heathen Earth, the band re-inventing its existing brilliance and the stunning In Every Dream Home A Heartache. The Roxy Music track features Jello Biafra and ex-Melvins bassist Kevin Rutmanis, and is a delicious dark entry on the album and psyche. Opening on a funereal doomy entrancement with Biafra adding an irresistible psychotic lilt to the already shadowed provoking song, the band ignites further sonic flames and intense energies to stretch its chilling presence.

Everybody Loves Sausages is pure joy and an album to set standards for all others contemplating covering other’s material, with first key being do it with passion, something Melvins do everything with.

http://themelvins.net/

9/10

RingMaster 29/04/2013

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The Longsands: Little Britain

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    Little Britain is the third single from The Longsands’ excellent debut album Meet Me In Spanish City and once more it offers the mightiest persuasion as to why the band is so highly rated and passionately followed by their fans. The Northumberland quintet has earned an impressive reputation for their passionate and fiery live performances and a wealth of acclaim for their singles and album. The new release will be no exception, the song a potent and attentive inciting companion for thoughts and emotions.

Emerging from as guitarist Ian Barnes said in our interview with him, “…mucking about with a few tunes in 2006 and it was more of a hobby…”, the band went from winning a national unsigned competition to selling out local venues the following year and touring Greece with a commission from Sony music and Jack Daniels.  With the line-up of Barnes, vocalist Trevor Cox, lead guitarist David Stanyer, bassist Gary Ormston, and drummer Paul Stephenson in place from this point, The Longsands has continued to ignite audiences across the UK, gaining notable fans in the shape of Steve White of The Style Council and Bruce Foxton of The Jam, who the band supported on a tour, and gained support and exposure through the likes of Bob Harris, Dave Stewart, and Simon Fowler of Ocean Colour Scene, who The Longsands have just completed a February tour with.

     Little Britain is a smouldering fire which grows and impresses the more you allow its anthemic and rich defiant fire to burn upon the ear. Emerging from a guitar stroke of the ear which is laced with elements of The Jam even in its brief unaccompanied moment, the song is soon a brewing passion of licking guitar flames and the continually impressive expressive vocals of Cox, Soon a velvety growl of bass from Ormston brings its shadows to bear accompanied by the firm rhythmic frame engineered by the forceful beats of Stephenson. Fully into its stride the track evolves into a heart driven melodic tempest of confrontation and impassioned intensity of emotive elegance and political honesty.

The song is a call to arms for thoughts and emotions in league with an irresistible temptation for the passions to feed lustily on its glorious melodic feast and enrapturing crescendos of power and craft. Whilst reviewing their album we as suggested earlier found the song a slow burner but it soon stood and still stands as a track which ignites the richest emotions inside with each welcome meeting.

Completed by the engaging An Affair In Manchester and an instrumental version of the single, Little Britain inspires a real passion for itself and the band which their album accelerates further. With an accompanying video for the single which features Howard Marks, the release should finally see The Longsands find the deserved break into the widest recognition, they certainly burn brightly on our and a great many others radar already.

www.thelongsands.co.uk

8/10

RingMaster 23/02/2013

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Mason Summers: Who Wants The Future

Who Wants The Future from US Christian rock punksters Mason Summers is an album which has been out a while but easily deserves another look at for those who still have not come across its unique and distinct presence.  With the band working on their new album the time felt right to re-expose the irresistible if slightly warped creative charms at play within Who Wants The Future. Like all the best faith driven releases it does not preach or make demands, just hopes to persuade one to look and think about things whilst giving full pleasure at the same time. That the album certainly does its unpredictable and slightly manic fusion of imaginative ideas and ‘random’ sounds delicious and rewarding. It is a release which in places takes a little warming to but once fully engaged leaves nothing but greedy satisfaction in its wake.

From meeting at church one day and realising their shared love of punk rock music, the trio of vocalist/guitarist Mikey Scars, vocalist/bassist Lydia Danger, and drummer Napalm Nate, have toured the US and UK supporting the likes of Flatfoot 56, Children 18:3, Mustard Plug, Peelander Z, Street Dogs, The Toasters and many more along the way. As with the album, their live performances grab attention and ignite full enthusiasm for their compulsive sounds, Mason Summers is a band once heard never forgotten or deserted.

The seventeen track riot of fun starts with the title track, a song which with uncomplicated charm sweeps the ear into an accomplished piece of raw edged rock n roll. With strong guitar and bass riffs backed by the firm rhythms of Nate, the song is a steady and pleasing start if slightly underwhelming in hindsight once into the heart of the release. It is a song which suggests great things like the excellent dual vocals between Danger and Scars which subsequent songs prove and expand on; here her tones are gentle glances against the leading delivery of Scars but the following Battleflag reveals she is an equally feisty vocalist and the perfect foil and companion to the direct style of Scars. This second song is a more abrasive proposition, a hardnosed attitude offering but complete with additional warm reprieves in emotion and warmth such as an excellent melodic mix of children vocals alongside the returning caresses of Danger.

As it plays the album just gets better and better, a mighty run of three consecutive tracks starting with Devils Plea the first major highlight of the album. The track is a seductive lure of mischievous vocals, teasing keys, and heated energies from guitar and intent. Scars sounds like a muscular version of former Only Ones front man Peter Perrett, his roguish tones expressive and emotive whilst Danger entwined with the guitars and rhythms is the wonderful serpent in the mix. The equally outstanding Lonely Planet steps up next, a track which opens with a sweet heavy bass murmuring before expanding into keys and melodic guitar strokes which remind of The Jam from their A Town Called Malice era. With additional flares of sax, the song is a thumping slice of punk pop with only its briefness a negative.

Pedestal was the first song we came across from the band and immediately opened the door to an enthused interest. It was an infectious joy at the time and still fully captures the imagination. It is a strolling mix of psychobilly and punk laced with noise rock which just flicks all the right switches. From the cantering beats and tingling piano jousts to the sinister sample and challenging intent of the great dual vocals, it is a masterful evocative piece of rock.

Tracks like Keep It Unusual with the bass of Danger once more stealing the show, the haunting rock n roll romp though shadows and shimmering blues heat that is Fall To Pieces where the whisper of The Cramps is more than just on lips, and the garage punk fuelled Pride, all make their companionship a lingering joy. To be fair you can say that about every song. Some as mentioned take longer to persuade but all eventually leave a willing thirst for more.

The reggae sauntering of Two Or More and the excellent closing punk storm of You Really Bring Me Down with Danger leading the way vocally alongside off the leash keys and sax, provide a couple more pinnacles in an album where there are only highs. Who Wants The Future is a gem, a release which might need time to prove itself but is far more rewarding than any instant pop punk candy treat and longer lasting.

https://www.facebook.com/MasonSummersMusic

RingMaster 31/10/2012

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Allegro: Forever

This week sees the release of the album Forever from UK punk n roll band Allegro. It is an ironic title as the London band is no longer around to benefit from what is sure to be an enthused and positive response to the collection of pop punk and rock n roll gems within the release. Two years ago the band was on the rise, their feisty and energetic sounds grabbing a growing army of fans  through their renowned chaotic yet irresistible live shows. Supports for the likes of The Holloways, Reefs, The Towers of London and Martha Reeves as well as their own adrenaline soaked shows saw Allegro on the verge of big things. From signing to a minor label for next to nothing things went awry, their debut album was delayed and delayed until eventually the band split, the label retaining all rights to the release and all things Allegro.  A long battle ensued until now thankfully the band has permission to and is able to release the album. We say thankful as it would have been a travesty if something this great and fun was never to see the light of day.

Forever is not an album to offer anything particularly new, though it is packed with imaginative and unique mischief, but certainly it is a release to guarantee nothing but pleasure from its hungry pokes of prime rock n roll. Quite simply it is a release of energetic slaps of punk n roll to dance and let loose to. It is also an album which is nicely varied without moving too far from its infectious attitude and stance. This helps make the album stand out from other similarly driven releases and makes the thought of how impressive the band could have been if they had not called it a day frustrating.

The album opens with City Lights and within seconds of its rapping beats and dark bass swagger it has one hooked. The mixed guitar slices of sonic sharpness and jangly rubs fire up the senses whilst the keys envelope the ear with a gentle and warm embrace. The track is a merger of slowly wrapped beauty and thumping rhythms and energies, a fiery stab of rock which easily ensures attention is primed and secured.

The following punk blistering rampage of Stringys is an abrasive pleasure complete with blues toned guitar invention which points at the diversity of sound within the release, soon backed up by the excellent Chuck Berry Waltz N All, to complete the opening trio of outstanding tracks. This song is a captivating brew of flavours, its opening keys and rhythms sound like The Jam around the time of The Gift and the emerging acidic hook a delicious Buzzcocks like piece of mesmerism. Not for the first time or last, there is an Arctic Monkeys tint to the sound too, though not as over powering and distracting as can be found in other bands and releases. The band comfortably brings it all into a smooth union with their own invention, to create a track which just excites and energises the heart. The sixties inspired keys which soak the song elevates the attraction to greater levels and though arguably it is not one of the most immediate songs it is one of the most powerful.

The likes of the wholly infectious View From The Water Rats, the rhythm jabbing I’ll Stand By You, and Alright, a song which just stokes up the fires with its primal beats and acidic unpolished guitar grazes, all hit the sweet spot. The latter of the three ventures and slips through different faces with skill and accomplished songwriting to engage and intrigue completely, a strength amongst many which can also be applied to Forever.

As great as the album is from start to finish it leaves its biggest highlights until the closing stretch in the irresistible shapes of I’ll Be There For You and Hola Senor! Rita. The first has the appetite dribbling from its opening vocals and harmonies before securing adoration with its senses clashing riffs and melodic saltiness. Like salt in food the slightly harsh touches just enflame the addictive pull of the track. The second of the two is simply majestic old school seventies punk updated with extra naughty relish and greedy imagination, just magnificent.

Forever is a wonderful album which thankfully we now all have the chance to dive into and devour with hearts a blazing. Maybe Allegro will rise again, but if not they have finally given an album to ensure they will not be forgotten.

RingMaster 21/10/2012

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