Union Starr : Falling Apart Together

It has taken ten years from their conception for UK rock band Union Starr to reach this point and the release of their debut album Falling Apart Together. Knowing a decade has been spent on the journey of the music enclosed within the vibrant walls of the album, though obviously not the whole time was spent making the release, one in many ways kind of expects something special. The two previous singles taken from the album made suggestion that those hopes might be met but now as Falling Apart Together unveils its glorious beauty the truth is the album more than satisfies those expectations. The debut album from Union Starr is a magnificent collection of melodic heartfelt songs, a treat to brighten everyday no matter the dark it offers and a sunshine fiesta to excite the body into open worship.

      Union Starr is a collection of musicians brought together around the core of Roger Wells, Jason Applin, and ex-The Sundays drummer, Patch Hannan. It was as mentioned ten years ago that the seeds of the band began with close friends Wells and Applin exploring a musical relationship. After their first show the duo found themselves working with producer Nick Hannan and for their second attempt at recording material added Patch Hannan to the mix. This January saw the release of the single I Know About Art and a keenness for their sound growing as well as strong acclaim. Now that the band has unveiled Falling Apart Together it is impossible to see anything other than unbridled enthusiasm heading their way.

From the moment the infectious charm of opening song Landing Lights engages in a romance with the ear the album incites a warm glow and inner smile, with the face soon to follow. The song caresses the heart with dazzling harmonies, mesmeric melodies and an eager energy that lifts one up in tender embrace. The song is the first of ten which all connect with the emotions like they were born to be the closest of friends. With intelligent touches making songs unpredictable and always intriguing, Union Starr provide instant evidence of their outstanding craft and creativity.

Tracks like Friend, Everything We Say, and I Can Feel It provide the ear with a playground of glittering soft indie pop laced with American folk textures and flavours. Each song a spring day of freshness and a sultry summer of bewitching melodic ingenuity. To describe their sound is not easy, the harmonic and melodic brilliance that shines out from every song unique but as each track graces the senses the influences stated on the press release of Crosby Stills and Nash, The Band, Vivian Stanshall and Sid Barrett are apparent. To that though you can add bands like The Lightning Seeds, latter XTC, and The Bluebells to get a taste of the feast within Falling Apart Together.

Every song is a gem but some tracks glow with an even greater radiance. The latest single Photograph is a heady splendour that one just immerses into from the opening siren like notes. Passionate and heartfelt the song plays with a light and warmth that one takes in deeply and when the keys add their own eager voice it is bliss. The likes of the gorgeous Bluebells and first single from the album I Know About Art, continue the excitement and exhilaration upon the senses. The latter song invites the listener into its swagger and confident expression of reality with a pure blend of melodic surety and bedlam bordering discordance. Showing the diversity of the band in songwriting and ability the track is sublime and is only surpassed by one other.

That honour goes to the inspired I Kept Knocking, a track that flexes its muscle and brings a stirring primitive quality to the vibrant body surrounding it. Throbbing as heartily as the melodies pulsate, the rhythms, bass, and wonderfully hypnotic groaning synths instinctively spark up the fires within. It is a musical bruising that one just loves to press time and time again.

     Falling Apart Together is simply impressive, a musical ice cream to relish time and time again. It may have taken a long time for Union Starr to get there but every second was worth the energy and effort.

RingMaster 22/03/2012

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Tom Kills: Semi

The recent release of the single A Million Pieces from Tom Kills openly declared he was an artist with an inspired feel for bringing emotion, shadows and superbly crafted electronic sounds into vibrant and impactful soundscapes for the senses and thoughts to revel in. The song also bred an enthused anticipation for his debut EP Semi, something the six track release more than fulfils. The release is a real feast for the ear and beyond, its touch and caress upon the heart wholly infectious

From Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire singer, songwriter, musician and producer Kills has created a collection of songs with a heart seeded in the eighties and passion firmly set in today. The release leaves one glowing and grinning from an accomplished journey through a diverse electro pop kaleidoscope of sound. Semi dances with the heart and teases the senses whilst all the time keeping the mind active with emotive lyrics and compulsive ambient textures behind the mesmeric melodic flow. It is also hell of a lot of fun recognising bands and sounds from the past though the songs themselves have an independent life borne solely from Kills.

Silly Little Self opens up the EP with a reflective purge of emotion, the song a stirring expressive recognition for all in some degree. The music slowly envelopes the ear offering a heightened richness and touch whilst Kills surfs its melancholic wave with a vocal that encapsulates the tones of Bowie, Numan and Matt Johnson. Lined with inner shadows the song wraps itself around the senses without inviting pity to unveil its heart.  Though instantly mesmeric the track is a brooding darkened pleasure which leaves the following Dvorian Grey to bring a lightened swell to the proceedings.

The track brings a mix of sound that swarms warmly around the ear, its pulse offering the haunting elements of a Japan, the darker corners of Strangers, and the dazzling pop of a Visage. Dvorian Grey never breaks out in to an urgent glittering song but melds its enthused beacons of melodies into a darkened tome, the result a pulsating spread upon the ear.

Next Kills takes us down the darkened footpath of Catastrophe, its Joy Division/Depeche Mode corridors dimly lit with the warm melodic torch of an OMD. The overall effect is a wonderfully crafted eager play with the ear and a nostalgic feel of The The. Again one should note that despite all the references mentioned to try and portray the impressive sounds within Semi, the songs are spiced by these flavours but the recipe is all Tom Kills.

The excellent Million Pieces still holds court with the same majesty as when first we reviewed it, its beauty and tenderly hypnotic sway a dawning feast for all the senses to bathe within. Previously the likes of Depeche Mode and Strangers were stated as ingredients the song reminded of and though they still remain the more the song serenades the ear the likes of early Human League come to the fore, the League before misguided hairstyles and candy hooked songs came along. Graceful and bewitching the song is a near perfect electro pop pleasure, its power fuelled by the reserved energy and the caring nature of music and vocals.

Though still the favourite song so far from Kills and probably the best on the EP, Million Pieces is seriously challenged by Sex Robots. With a symphonic intro and computerised word the song steels up the EP with an industrial muscle and delicious electro waltz for the emotions. Part Marilyn Manson part Gary Numan with an excitable splash of Thomas Dolby the song leaps to its feet taking the listeners hand in a cyber dance and lustful affair. If you are not singing along and moving your limbs by the end of this irresistible piece of joy check for a pulse.

Semi is a true pleasure and treat, every aspect of the EP is a joy and impressively crafted. Light and dark fuel the release and one suspects Tom Kills too by the emotive edge unleashed on Semi and long may they rage with music this satisfying.

www.tomkills.com

RingMaster 22/03/2012

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