Charlie Lankester and The Mojo Killers: Song In A Minor Key

When released a few weeks back the single The Spinning of the Wheel from Charlie Lankester & The Mojo Killers, not only lit up the passions with its energetic and infectious sounds but fired up expectations and anticipation for the following album, Song In A Minor Key. The song suggested it could be something rather good but the reality is it just might be a modern blues/rock n roll classic.

The career of Australian singer / songwriter / pianist Charlie Lankester to date has been a full and impressive one. From dropping out of medical in the late seventies, he spent four years in The Last Chance Café who in their time supported the likes of Fats Domino, BB King, JJ Cale, AC / DC, Billy Joel and Status Quo. Upon the demise of the band he moved to Europe where as well as training and working as an osteopath he spent twenty years playing keyboards for the likes of Linda Gail Lewis, Osibisa, Otis Grand, The Boogie Band and the John Warwick All Stars. His yearning to fulfil a lifelong ambition to write and record his own solo album grew over time too and eventually he took time out to create his own collection of blues/rock songs which became Song In A Minor Key.

Things took a setback when on the eve of mixing the final track for the album in December of last year; Lankester was diagnosed with incurable liver cancer and told he had just months to live. His response was in his own words, “I was feeling so good about the album that when the doctor told me I had only months to live I just laughed and said ‘No mate, that’s not gonna happen. I’ve got an album to release.”  Since then things have through determination and the exploration of the very best alternative medical advice, seen his tumour having been reduced by fifty per cent thanks to dedicated diets and supplements for cancer as well as several courses of intravenous doses of high intensity vitamin C. Alongside all of that he continued to finish one of the best rock albums of the year in Song In A Minor Key, a release which hits all the right notes outside and within.

Pulling together the talents of guitarists Derek ‘Del’ Mandel  and Mark Hawkins, bassist (stand up and electric) Dave Cuthbert, and drummer Daniel Howard, as well as a brass section of Paul Silver, Gain Broom and Rich Mills to become the Mojo Killers, Lankester found the strongest way to bring great songs into glorious realisation. Immediately the album opens with the striking Greed, the ear, senses, and imagination are hooked. Like a sonic bullfighter, the song steps into the light with drama and confidence through piano, keys, and a crescendo of horns. With a slightly raw edge to the vocals of Lankester to add to the intense air, the track romps with attitude and grandeur whilst the Latin essences seeping through the heart of the song only adds to the depth of the passion.

The smoky blues barroom heat of Drinking My Blues Away follows next to offer a mesmeric and smouldering piece of shadowed melodrama. With a darker growl to the vocals and guitar play which leaves traces on the air like sparklers in the night sky, the song is an emotively soaked stroll to thrill in every aspect.

The album is wonderfully varied, from the sizzling blues driven Brixton Road and the sultry jazz breathing Out There to the electrified southern rock toned In My Time and the soulful title track, the release is a diverse and absorbing wealth of inventive songwriting and play. It is an album where everything is impressive in stature and instinctive passion though there are loftier highlights which grab the glory

The aforementioned single The Spinning Of The Wheel is an irresistible well crafted piece of rock swagger and brass delight which is merciless with its mesmeric charms. The song is a heart stealer but even its majestic might is rivalled and surpassed. The garage siphoned rock n roller The Real, Real Gone is a shadowed equal with its darkened corners and fiery blues veins but the pure excellence of Rio Grande and Closed Door steal top honours. The first is an insatiable rockabilly hearted stomp with a blues piano lighting its corners and a teasing energy igniting primal urges within limbs and senses of its recipient. It is easily the best song on the album though seriously challenged by the final track on the album, Closed Door. Written by drummer Howard, it is a prog noir exploration of inciteful bass and melodic conjuring. Sounding like a mix of Hugh Cornwall, Miles Davis, and King Crimson, or not, the track that distinctive yet unique, it is a stunning and unexpected but wholly agreeable finish to a great album.

We started with saying Song In A Minor Key might be a classic, but there is no might about it, Charlie Lankester & The Mojo Killers have created an album which will be acclaimed for decades.

http://charlielankester.co.uk

RingMaster 31/08/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The best and easiest way to get your music on iTunes, Amazon and lots more. Click below for details.

To The Lions: Self Titled EP

If you want your musical balls given a real beating whilst being caressed with melodic enterprise to sooth the damage, then time to meet UK metal band To The Lions and their tremendous new self titled EP. Four tracks of raging brutality and impressive melodic invention, it is a fresh and imaginative addition to what has been a year of promising and strong emerging extreme and metalcore fuelled UK bands. The Cambridge quartet do not quite fit in any exact category which is the first good thing about them but certainly they can be as aggressive and angry as any and just as inspired with their inventive ideas and smoother passions too.

Formed in the last weeks of 2008, the foursome of vocalist and guitarist Tony Stead, guitarist James Croft, bassist Nigel Ferguson, and drummer Mark Richards, have spent the last year and a half on a blur of gigs as they promoted and shared their well received debut EP Spent Shells. Shows with the likes of Forever Never, Orestea, RSJ, Sworn Amongst, and Kobra and the Lotus, have gone to help spread their presence and sounds across the South of England and with the new EP it would be surprising if the next time they appear on the radar we are not noting them as being at the fore of emerging British metal.

From the moment There’s A Reason winds its scorched notes around the ear and bursts into stiff muscular assaults of riffs and barbed rhythms, there is a feel that something mighty is about to let loose on the senses. The band does not disappoint as the venomous tones of Stead rage over what has become slightly subdued yet intrusive sounds. It then shifts into an unexpected but skilfully brought melodic breath before merging the extremes of intensity, entwining them with invention and passion. This makes for a shifting varied track which arguably without lighting undiscovered beacons is fully intriguing and in its latter progressive air, wholly beguiling.

From a strong start the ride gains greater heights of excellence and addiction. The following Oceans Away bawls like a storm from the off, its surging riffs and challenging intensity a crush on the senses. Beneath it all though there is a melodic presence waiting and soon it explores the track in unison with the abrasive drive of the song. With great harmonies and group shouts tempering the vocal menace and impressive fiery guitar play keeping the tempest of shuffling barbaric rhythms honest, it is a tempest to devour eagerly and deeply. As the guitars burns with an acidic groove and the anthemic chorus returns for its climax, the track leaves one breathless and grinning.

The other pair of tracks carry no intentions of easing up on the intense rampage, to only further pleasure. Wolves And Lions is a metallic scream, an inferno of bruising riffs and bitter soaked vocals upon serpentine grooves and thrash tinted expulsions of noise and sonic vindictiveness. It twists and blisters the senses whilst taking pot shots at the ear with an armoury of destructive malice from the violent creativity of the band.

The closing Fourth like the opener does not stand right out from the crowd like the second and third track do, but still open up a maelstrom of satisfaction, pleasure, and anticipation for more from the band. It is a powerful and thunderous track which again show To The Lions as a band with a flair and skill at melding light, dark, anger, intricacy, violence and composure, into one boiling onslaught of quality.

Remember the name To The Lions, if they continue to progress as they are they will be a big force and name in future years.

http://www.tothelions.co.uk

Ringmaster 31/08/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The best and easiest way to get your music on iTunes, Amazon and lots more. Click below for details.