Holly Walker: Bedroom Bangers EP

Holly Walker is quite simply a poet who uses clean and uncomplicated music to punctuate her insightful and sharp lyrical observations. She is a literary guerrilla striking from the inside of music and life to highlight with wit and wonderful flair the world of the artist and us. Easy to relate to and even easier to be captivated by the debut EP from Holly Bedroom Bangers, is immense and easily one of the most striking and thoroughly enjoyable releases this year so far.

The EP unveils four new songs from the artist and brings her skills as a trained pianist and striking lyricist into an additional blend of restless lo-fi beats to create a hypnotic minimal aural breath. Imagine a mix of John Cooper Clarke with Young Marble Giants and a splash of the likes of Lily Allen and you get a flavour of the stunning talent of Holly Walker. She brings a pied piper effect with her music, the EP from its start having an immediate pull and irresistible lure and by its end leaves you needing to follow her music anywhere.

Opening track Modern Life begins on a single repeated piano note before slowly spreading its fingers for a catchy grip of the ear whilst Holly stalks those supposedly in the know with their own recommendations and words though the lyrics can just as easily be read for our own personal cyber endeavours and lives. Simply piano and voice with rhythmic rattles of beats and a persistently underlying muted bass like pulse, the song hooks the senses with the fullest power and addiction whilst lighting up thoughts and pleasures.

The following Penelope ignites the senses next to cause an even more viral infection upon the heart. With a slightly livelier pulse but still beautifully uncluttered the song sways and teases to send inner and outer smiles to their wider and fuller climax. With flushes of strings weaving throughout the song and lyrics again sparkling with a mischievous grin it is vocally where Holly really captures the imagination, her delivery seizing her words to thrust them forward with at times military precision and always with an enchanting and spicy clarity.

Third song Sterile Facile badgers and jabs the ear with initial beats and a feistier energy. The song reminds of eighties post punk band Au Pairs and brings the realisation of who Holly reminded of in previous songs, Lesley Woods from the same band.  With a higher bounce than the other songs on the EP the track whips up the emotions into a near frenzy of swinging and frenetic energy.

    Panic Beats Panic closes the EP with the most emotive essence of all the songs, its personal melodic heartbeat an easy compelling wrap for feelings and thoughts. It finishes the release with the same irrepressible and siren like hold which enveloped from within the other songs whilst bringing a further diversity to the release.

Bedroom Bangers released on her own Hungry Bird Records, is wonderful, a real pleasure to walk the summer hand in hand with. Intelligent, witty, and completely infectious this is the one release you need to have this summer and Holly Walker the one artist to follow closely.


RingMaster 10/06/2012

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The TenFiveSixty: Do This For Me

Pulsating and thoroughly absorbing the debut single from electronic/indie trio The TenFiveSixty,  is a vibrant and mesmeric treat for the senses. Do This For Me is a song which lights up the air with an expansive enveloping breath of melodic warmth and magnetic harmonic energy.

Formed by Jen Bailey and Rik Hornby the band found its seeds sown when the pair met in a deserted music shop. Finding a mutual understanding and sharing thoughts and feelings about bands and songwriting they began working together and The TenFiveSixty was born. Drummer Seb Sternberg came in on drums to bring the band up to a three piece and soon they grabbed acclaim and attention with the track Killer’s Son which was released as a free download earlier this year. Released through Giant Haystacks/Fierce Panda the new single is sure to trigger the same reaction and invite a fuller and louder acclaim.

Opening with programmed beats reminding immediately of Fad Gadget and early Mute Records, the song soon brings in a beckoning guitar and the excellent voice of Bailey. With a littering of atmospheric touches and sounds the song moves into a stroll as it lifts the energy and pace to an insistent. The voice of Bailey is wonderfully emotive with the music surrounding her offering an equal passion and emotion. Once in its full stride the song finds a keener mesmeric caress as it wraps its melodic weaves around the senses, the warmth and radiance from voice and synths subtly infectious.

Accompanying the single there is a remix of the single by San Diego indie rock/noise pop band, Crocodiles. The band twists the song inside out with Bailey emerging from behind an electrified scuzz of haunting sounds and blistered melodic energy. The track is a great interpretation of the single, a distinct variant and certain equal to the original.

With an album in the works, Do This For Me is a great invitation and taster for The TenFiveSixty and the future release. With its warmly crafted soundscape and inciteful energy there is a great blend of drama and emotion wrapped within the hard to refuse invitation to move your body and heart. The single also makes the wait for more from the band impatient and the finger trigger happy as it hits replay persistently.


RingMaster 10/06/2012

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Eik: Undetected

In advance of their debut album Norwegian electronic band Eik described their sound as a combination of deep house, ambient textures and pop hooks, a description which did not exactly fire up great enthusiasm as one who is generally adverse to varied forms of dance music. Undetected soon proved to be much more than one imagined going in to it and though it will not retain a perpetual place in the ear here there is no escaping the album was thoroughly enjoyable and for fans of all forms of electronic music it is sure to be a deeply pleasurable treat.

Consisting of Per Kåre Limmesand (keyboards and effects) and Kristoffer Carlsen (drums), Eik have created a diverse and consistently elegant album whilst still making it a warm and welcoming infection for all melodic hearts. With a classical breath to much of Undetected alongside the eager pop veins and ambient heart, the release is a perpetually surprising and consistently fluttering warm kiss upon the ear. Using guest vocalists on many of the tracks, the duo create striking soundscapes and mesmeric weaves which sweep one up easily in to their expressive atmospheres.

All That You Said begins the pleasure with a female voice gently caressing the ear over electronic pulses and a brewing melodic synth mist. An intrusive hypnotic pulse throbs powerfully throughout the song whilst minimal yet expressive sounds and textures sway in and out and though it is a gentle start to the album, with the song soaring skies with impressive vocal harmonies and squeezing tight with that unavoidable pulse it is impossible not to be captivated.

The following duo of tracks Love Storm and Seems To Be Real bring an eighties electro infection which is delicious. The first reminds of early Human League with a blend of the sophistication of Depeche Mode and the pop of Blancmange. The male vocals are outstanding adding to the nostalgic feel and the track is not long in becoming a firm favourite even though the latter sky bound melodies take the song into areas reminding of Vangelis which is not as agreeable. The second of the two songs is a sea of sirenesque female vocals and addictive melodic pop caresses. It immediately excites with a Visage seeded pulsating start before the female vocals add their great energy and pop cream to the electronic dessert beneath. Her vocals actually remind of the pop stylings of Aqua but do not panic it all works perfectly and is a wonderful track.

The instrumental Background For Documentaries and the following techno/dance fuelled 74 did miss the mark quite easily but that is down to personal taste though the fact that the instrumental did not offer an experience and journey as impactful and imaginative as on other songs was disappointing. It failed to ignite imagery or emotions and was generally just underwhelming.

Things are soon on track again though with a pair of impressive songs. Thinking Of is a delightful piece of music with vocals dazzling the ear over minimal beats and restrained but glittering synth invention. The song is simple but fully effective and again mesmeric.  The best track on the album Utopia follows straight after and it is a real gem. With lively ripples of Middle Eastern Music teasing and weaving amongst again an eighties recalling electronic imagination the song is magnificent and destined to be the most revisited. Again the likes of Blancmange come to mind as well as Eik contemporaries Austerlitz, the combination especially with the rhythmic and voice only twist within the song glorious.

    Undetected is a great and very pleasing surprise for these ears and though maybe not an album we will be immersing within as often as others there are certainly tracks which demand and will receive a persistent invitation to entertain.  With the album Eik also suggest there are bigger and more imaginative things to come and we for one cannot wait. If electronic pop with a real essence and heart appeals Eik is a must, so go find and enjoy.

Ringmaster 10/06/2012

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