Mr. Strange – The Wonderful World Of Weird

Mr. Strange promo

Just to prove that insanity can be the sweetest potent seduction The Wonderful World Of Weird is here to exploit and uncover the darkest secrets of your mind whilst travelling the exotic and dangerous mental halls of its creator Mr. Strange. The former frontman of the UK’s greatest still to be truly discovered musical mutants The Shanklin Freak Show, though he is still healthily involved in the band, Mr. Strange voraciously stalks the senses and emotions with his fourth album. It is a release which soundtracks a bedlam of sound and adventure from a quite maniacal imagination.

The Isle Of Wight hailing songwriter/producer/vocalist/musician began his musical exploration as ‘The Mad DJ’ in 1998 before emerging as Mr. Strange in 2006. He founded circus rock/steampunk band The Shanklin Freak Show in 2003, guiding the band as songwriter and vocalist up until starting an extended break from performing live at the end of 2011. Alongside The Shanklin Freak Show albums including Act II – The Light Fantastic of 2009 and Welcome To The Show of 2011, a few other projects, and producing a couple of albums by Global Citizen, Mr. Strange unleashed his solo musical rapaciousness. Sounds From The Asylum came first to be followed in 2011 by the releases of The Fall and Freakshow, the last a 38 track retrospective album chronicling the songs that he wrote under the Shanklin Freak Show name  which included new, unreleased, and re-recorded or re-mixed tracks. Now the sanity puppeteer steps forward again with the magnificent temptation of The Wonderful World Of Weird, the finest Mr. Strange musical and mental examination yet.

With more flavours than a giant box of Jelly Bellies, the album is a dramatic and exhilarating flight through the darkest yet 555928_584429381594861_1695733989_nmagnetically and vibrantly compelling mind of the fictional character of its creator, employing everything and anything from industrial and steampunk to gothic rock and progressive metal, and that is just scratching the surface. With many of the tracks co-written with Gary ‘Stench’ Mason, The Shanklin Freak Show guitarist and provider of the majority of the guitar invention across the release, the album immediately lures in senses and imagination with the opening spoken narrative leading in the title track. It instantly intrigues as the scene setting premise strolls into the irresistible stomp of the song. Rhythms bounce around with a heavy mischievous gait matched by the electro and bass taunting whilst the guitar casts lines of sonic and melodic bait which is pure infectious toxicity. Best described as Dr. Jekyll meets ICP as early Marilyn Mansion helps Victor Frankenstein create aural life for them to toy with upon a set designed by Willy Wonka, the track is a delicious fascination and the first irresistible hint of the lunacy to come.

Creating the World is an expansion to the landscape previously crafted with a gentle psychedelic ambience washing the dawning scenery. It is a mesmeric, almost meditative soaring of harmonies and guitar elegance with rubs of dub and scratching teasing the riveting flight. The seducing continues right up to the doorway into the Psycho Surfing-A-Go-Go, one of the major pinnacles upon the album. Again as between numerous songs, the narrator lays down an invitation before the surf rock contagion drops its shoulders and swerves through the ear with irrepressible virulence. The grooves enslave the passions within seconds whilst the rhythmic dance only builds a cage for rapture to breed within as fire kissed keys add smouldering lures to the hot and epidemically addictive romp of sonic lava. The song is one of the best heard anywhere this year; a beach party in the mind of Hunter S. Thompson hosted by The Cramps and The Bomboras with Two Wounded Birds, B52s, and The Revillos adding extra entertainment.

From the dark sinister realm of The World’s Dark Heart, Mr. Strange lurks in the steampunk/industrial graced world of Metropolis 2984, a track which equally extends some classic metal and psyche sculpted imagination to its captivating persuasion. There is a swing and energy to the track which infects feet and emotions but equally an underlying dark tone beneath the celestially soaring harmonies which suggest more 1984 than Fritz Lang. Again the album and artist has the listener in a tight grip of pleasure and suasion, though it never slipped from the first breath of the album to be fair, which tightens with firstly Clockwork Man and explodes through Fire. The first of the two stalks the ears with the drama and theatre of a Tim Burton vision sculpted by the melodic ingenuity of Danny Elfman, though it has to be noted that every song despite the references sound like no one but Mr. Strange. This masterful manipulation of the senses and passions is soon left in the shade by its successor, the track another major peak in nothing but highs. The song is the closest to a Shanklin Freak Show tune that the album gets, its sexy tango pulsating mouth-watering foreplay for the beats and funk bred keys to add intoxicating spice to. There is something familiar to the hooks and stomp of the song aside from the earlier comparison, but it is indefinable and wholly galvanic.

Through the noir shadows of Don’t Stay (Where the Dead Ones Lay) with its jazz smooching funk lined temptation and the excellent gothic majesty of White Rabbit, the song reminding of The Damned at times, The Wonderful World Of Weird intensifies its resistance free toxin whilst the electro swing heart of Exile and the psychedelia soaked gothic tempting of Anti-Christ only spark further flames of lustful submission to the call of the release and its psychotic beauty. Every song is a wanton temptress in whatever guise and sonic clothing they frequent, and though admittedly hopes and expectations were of big things from Mr. Strange on past successes, the album left those assumptions insultingly short of the brilliant reality.

Completed by the classically crafted Journeys End, an enchanting epilogue if not to the levels of what came before, The Wonderful World Of Weird is pure certifiable aural manna. The CD version also has a track exclusive to its version, a very enjoyable cover of the Dr. Steel track We Decide. The able shows that there is only one Mr. Strange and his form of weird, one you can charter a sensational cruise through via our favourite album of the year, The Wonderful World Of Weird, that is if you are brave or eccentric enough.

http://www.mrstrangemedia.com/

10/10

RingMaster 28/11/2013

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The Felines – Daddy Walk

Within the musical shadows of Denmark there is a gem of an all-girl garage punk band called The Felines lying in wait and with the release of their debut single Daddy Walk August 6th, ready to step out into a broader and fuller spotlight. Their four track release is a thrilling and irrepressible feast of garage rock/punk, an instinctive stomp across the senses showing where the real girl power in music is thriving.

The trio from Copenhagen of lead vocalist/bassist Asta Bjerre, guitarist/ vocalist Ditte Melgaard, and drummer/ vocalist Mei Long Bao, formed in 2010 to as their bio states, ‘cause a bit of a stir’ at the Musicology Studies department at the University of Copenhagen. Inspired by their mutual love of 60’s garage rock, 77s punk rock, surf and 80′s revival girl groups, the direction of their sound was never a debate. Creating a garage punk to trigger inner primal urges and soaked in insatiable musical wickedness their sound has seen them since uniting leave stages alongside the likes of David Peter and the Wilde Sect, Thee Gravemen, and Black Magic Six, dripping in affection.

October of last year saw the girls record the four songs which make up Daddy Walk at the Grave Cave Studio in Malmö. Using an old school 8 track tape recorder to grab the raw nostalgic sixties sound the tracks combine to make a release which plays with a vintage air and modern freshness. Released as a 7” EP via Spanish record label Hey Girl! Records and digitally through Dirty Water Records, the single is pure and simple uncluttered bliss.

The song Daddy Walk immediately engages the ear with pumping riffs and beats accompanied by sweltering harmonies and unbridled energy. Strolling with a mischievous swagger and bursts of fiery guitar play the track is a wholly infectious slice of simple and inspiring rock n roll. With an element of The 5.6.7.8’s and The Ghastly Ones about it the song leaves one grinning from ear to ear and ready to further unleash ones inner mojo.

The A side of the release is completed by instrumental The Sneak, a track with a graveyard ambience and shadowed heart. It plays like a beach party between a field of tombstones with the dark pulsating bass tones and mesmeric sinister sonic fingerings raising a sinister and invitational ambience.

The flip side consists of Boots and Black Joe, two more songs to ignite the fullest pleasure. The first erupts with rampant rhythms from towering drums and enthused riffs ready to tease and whip the senses into a frenzied state. With vanity over relationships treated to The Felines touch, all songs of the band touching everyday life and elements with a style as simple and honest as the sounds, it continues the sheer contagion for the heart brought by the release.

Final song Black Joe brings a blend of early days The Horrors and The Pleasure Seekers plus again more than a flavour of the previously mentioned Japanese band. It has a melodic kiss which sends tingle down the spine and surging electric bursts to ignite further passions. Vocally it was by this song that the similarity to Fay Fife of The Revillos dawned on the thoughts with the cheeky and fun loving side of both bands also more than evident.

Daddy Walk is a brilliant introduction to a wonderful band and with their unique take on all eras of garage rock and punk we will be hearing and seeing a lot more of The Felines, thankfully.

https://www.facebook.com/thefelines

RingMaster 29/07/2012

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Thee Gravemen – Thee Gravemen

 

You cannot get much more simple a set up than offered by trash rock ‘n’ roll band Thee Gravemen or anything as incessantly infectious. Consisting of just a senses cruising guitar and insistent primal beats the duo from the UK, now Malmo, Sweden based, with their self titled album have created a release that knows its sound, loves its sound and is determined you will too.

Thee Gravemen were formed in the autumn months of 2009 by guitarist and vocalist Sir Lee Tea and drummer Devilish Daz Trash, who initially were just doing a one off gig as a duo. Luckily they decided to continue though it was through the lack of finding a suitable stand up bass player as much as anything that tipped the decision to remain a twosome. Behind them the musicians have a good pedigree with Tea having been part of the garage rock band Thee Exciters as well as currently part of Swedish r&b band The Branded, and Trash having been part of UK psychobilly/punk band Skitzo, under the name of Strut. As Thee Gravemen the pair have unleashed a raw and uncomplicated fusion of garage punk, psychobilly and coarse surf veined fuzzed up rock ‘n’ roll, a dirty and boisterous sound that sears the flesh and resonates within the bones.

As can be imagined the songs come from the darkest shadows of the two, the lyrics borne from horror movies, wicked intent and from beneath disturbed ground. The album grabs with an icy clawed grip from the opening ‘Hey There Pretty Baby’ to squeeze and tease, resisting the urge to let go right until the last lingering note of the album passes on. The opening track is relatively subdued compared to what follows throughout the rest of the album but it is immediately noticeable that the production though unfussy and pretty straight forward gives a rich generally full sound, in a way surprising considering the scarcity of instruments.

The album buzzes and crawls over the senses through track after track and though the core of the music is a set spine each song comes from different and enticing angles. ‘Come On’ is a slightly darker track than the opener and reminds of 80’s band The Orson Family whilst the instinctive rhythm led ‘Digging Graves’ has a scuzzed up garage energy that recalls their former bands in many ways.

There is not a weak track on the album; each having their own heart of siren like appeal though it is the beat and rhythm led tracks that make the strongest connection. The pulse beat stomp of ‘Friday At The Hideout’ and the voodoo raw primal rhythms of ‘My Girlfriend Is A Werewolf’, both with a Guana Batz meets Screaming Jay Hawkins like vibe lift the excitement higher but it is when the band go into the realms of The Cramps that they really stand out. ‘My Witch’ is glorious with its distinct twang as distinctly manipulative as the song’s character and ‘Six Feet Down’ alongside the outstanding ‘Shake It’ rip through the ear with primitive ease. The band’s cover of ‘Green Fuzz’ is equally excellent; a very valiant version of The Cramps’ version that easily exceeds the Randy Alvey & Green Fuz original.

Complete with another cover in the hypnotic shape of the Sandy Nelson song ‘Let There Be Drums’ and the immensely fun outro track with after a moments breath ends with a track that sounds like a fictional nightmare when Demented Are Go’s Sparky popped his cherry with Eugene Reynolds of The Revillos, the album is simply fantastic. Released on Dirty Water Records it makes no demands or offers any unnecessary frills but just feeds the soul with inspiring, mischievous and thoroughly essential rock ‘n’ roll.

RingMaster 11/02/2012

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