7 Day Weekend: Self Titled EP

Coming on the back of their excellent snarling single Endless Doses, UK alternative rock band 7 Day Weekend nationally release their reworked self titled EP. The five track reboot is the portrait of a young, fresh and promising band with big things on their horizon. Accomplished in creating and using explosive melodies and emotive grandeur, the band is well on course to become a recognised sound country wide.

One of the exciting things about the band is the well crafted and mature sounds they already create at their seemingly young age, watch the videos and see if you are not thinking their mums must be there telling them it is time to come in for tea and not to forget to wash their hands first. It is fair to say they are still evolving and with the aforementioned single one assumes being a newer song compared to those on the EP, they are well on the way to bringing bulk and definition to their sound.

In its original form the EP was released in the fall of 2011, bringing them comparisons to You Me At Six and Young Guns. Already with a strong reputation from their live shows the band then recorded a four track acoustic EP which they gave away for free. Its fine sounds and musicianship led the band to the attention of Gavin Butler (The Blackout) and Neil Starr (Attack! Attack!), who invited the band to open the Manchester show on the Ghosts & Echoes Tour. This was followed by being hand-picked by Feeder to be the sole support on their April Tour. As well as also playing two self funded tours of the UK, the Warrington quintet of Clayton Leah (rhythm guitar), Tom Hancox (lead guitar), Calan Nickle (vocals), John Handy (drums), and Dan Hancox (bass), has pushed themselves to the edge of national exposure which the revisited debut EP as well as the latest single can only ensure is a done deal.

    7 Day Weekend pull inspiration from the likes of Kids In Glass Houses, Young Guns, and You Me At Six which are clear to hear from the first song on the release alone and makes those earlier mentioned comparisons understandable. Ghosts Of Me swaggers in on an eager drum roll and feisty guitars before settling into an energised stroll of sonic riffs, thumping rhythms, and melodic enterprise. The vocals of Nickle are immediately impressive with strong expression to transport the heart of the lyrics to the ear. The track is catchy with keen hooks without being overly infectious but it does linger after its close which is always a good sign. It also has a muscular core which arguably is lacking on the other songs though not to their detriment, making it a strong introduction to the release and band if new to the ear.

As the following Mistakes expands over the senses with its rippling beginning one expects more of the same as the first song but it relaxes into a more emotive piece of songwriting though it is not lacking in passion or keenness. By this point too, the heavy bass sounds of Hancox are starting to mesmerise, his lines growling, often with seeming contempt, to add real depth to the songs. Sharp guitar play and melodic imagination makes the track another very satisfying companion and though not as memorable as its predecessor after it takes its leave, it shows strength and diversity to the songwriting of the band.

Kingdoms is another emotionally driven slice of pleasure and though it takes its time emerges as one of the highlights on the release. It is a mellow track to seduce the senses but still with grit to its breath to make it an impactful treat.

After the Lost Prophets like Hide and the infectious Seasons Like These, again songs which capture the imagination though not as dramatically as those before, the song closes with a trio of acoustic tracks which only go to confirm the quality of band and music.

If one was to be overly picky there is a lack of fire in the belly of the EP at times, that spark of instinctive feistiness but as the current single Endless Doses has that in abundance, one can take it the band have that sorted too. The single is immense and hits all the right targets and heights in one powerful blow.

7 Day Weekend is a band with promise and impressive ability dripping from every sound they share and whether through this EP or the single, preferably both, it would be amiss for all not to accept their musical offerings.

www.facebook.com/7dayweekenduk

RingMaster 15/09/2012

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Held By Horses: In History

Held By Horses is a quintet from Chelmsford in the UK which is starting to turn heads their way with strong and impressively delivered rock music. The Essex female fronted band now builds on their already rising stock with the release of their new EP In History. Consisting of five songs which grab attention and feed the desire for vibrant and well crafted songs, the EP without arguably bringing new startling detours in the direction of rock music, leaves one fully satisfied and looking forward to watching and hearing the future of this promising band.

Forming in the opening weeks of 2011, the band soon had their debut EP rampaging in ears and since have lit up stages alongside the likes of Mallory Knox, Mystery Jets, Johnny Get The Gun, and Our People Versus Yours. Produced by Dan Lancaster (Lower Than Atlantis, Mallory Knox), In History is their next impressive step in a steady rise as the band works their way to the fore of national recognition.

To swiftly get the obvious comment out of the way when listening to the EP, it has to be said the surface sound of the band though impressive is not groundbreaking. With other great emerging bands such as Leopards, Never The Last Breath, and Hitchcock Blonde to name just three treading the same field of sound, there is a familiar feel across them all. This makes initial impressions less dramatic then maybe is deserved and only with a closer inspection does the craft and skill of the individual come out as with Held By Horses. The trouble for bands is how many have that intent and patience? Saying that though, the band does have an emerging style which is maybe more suggested right now but it is there and destined to evolve ahead.

The release opens with You Win Some, You Lose Some. It is a song which initially under whelms with the main reason being that the vocals of Harriet Reynolds are lost within the mass of the music. It is like she is veiled but thankfully as the rest of the EP explodes in the ear her great voice and delivery is allowed the clarity to shine and hit home with vigour and passion. The song itself is a pleasing if not adventurous companion and certainly keeps one happy to check out the rest of the release.

The following Little Water is soon putting the opener in the shade. Immediately the vocal harmonies sweep one up in their charms and the incisive groove which follows has one eagerly ready to feast upon the song. The early sonic grip leads into energetic guitar play from Kyle Ginn and Will Smith which switches from a more expansive wash back to the tighter acidic groove and back throughout. Lively and persistent the song is sure to be an explosive live favourite and sets the release on track to ignite deeper pleasures.

As great as the previous track is the best song on the release steps up next in the fiery shape of The Last Word. Featuring the vocals of Renz Byrne from Never Means Maybe alongside Reynolds, the track is a feisty rampage of dusty melodics speared by thumping rhythms from drummer Scott Dillon. The muscular bass lines of Charlie O’Halloran under pin the smouldering guitar melodics and hooks perfectly to give a depth to the stirring breath of the song but it is midway when Byrne joins Reynold that glorious sparks fly, their union dazzling and impossible not to be enamoured by. The song is mighty in power and emotion, and of all the songs shows the depth of promise within the band and their writing.

     Down And Out has the envious job of following and does a fine job, the song a thumping treat of energies, air scorching melodics, and captivating vocals. It leads one keenly into the closing Virtues, another song which only has good thoughts going its way. Lively with a Paramore pop rock kiss to its attack, the song ticks all the boxes to leave one smiling. Inventive and impressively delivered it makes a strong end to a more than decent release.

In History is a strong and pleasing release showing a band finding impressive form and promise. Yes the release does not really standout on its own amongst many other similarly fuelled bands but one senses that will come. Held By Horses ensures the company of the EP is gratifying and enjoyable, really all that ever matters surely.

www.facebook.com/heldbyhorses

RingMaster 15/09/2012

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Rodney Branigan: Muddy Jesus

When first reading of the unique guitar style of Rodney Branigan, and especially his ability to play two guitars at the same time or guitar and piano simultaneously, one has to wonder how much is show and gimmick. Upon listening to his new single Muddy Jesus though you just know there is an abundance of imaginative substance to his songwriting and play, the song an absorbing and inviting piece of musical storytelling to dispel any of those rogue thoughts.

Raised in Texas and now based in London, Branigan since making his debut at Hampton Court Palace in 2007 has shared stages with the likes of Billy Bragg and Jethro Tull, toured with double award winning Show of Hands, and collaborating with Seth Lakeman and Steve Knightley at Glastonbury, to name a few of his highlights. Alongside his music Branigan also spends time and focus on encouraging young people through his part of the Access to Music ‘Band Factory’ team, a project encouraging children to learn directly from the professionals themselves and discover ‘how to be in a band’. His distinct musicianship and skill as well as impressively crafted songs though, has continually drawn growing attention and strong acclaim his way which the new single can only increase.

Muddy Jesus starts with a pulsating bass sound and simple inciteful beats, both aspects resonating within the senses immediately, waking them up fully for the following excellent voice of Branigan. Expressive and openly inviting, his tones bring a flavour and emotive edge to the strong lyrical content, the words easily evoking thoughts and imagery. His guitar play like his vocals, drifts through the ear with firmness and instant engagement, and all these stirring warm steely elements together just makes for a song as a whole a grooved treat to savour. It is a blues/folk delight which with its acoustic atmosphere and warm breath one can only invite deeply inside.

Taken from his forthcoming album, Muddy Jesus is a delicious piece of provocative and finely imagined rock n roll which perfectly shows why Rodney Branigan has become the growing whisper on the lips of so many.

https://www.facebook.com/dbroken1

RingMaster 15/09/2012

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BigDix: Joanna & the Devil

Joanna & the Devil from Italian rockers BigDix is an album which despite its inconsistency still offers a pleasing party for the ear. The band with a name it is impossible to ignore or keep school boy humour at bay from, takes the listener through a boisterous spree of blues and hard rock brought with some mischievous psychedelic tendencies upon their album, the release simple rock n roll to have fun with.

The band formed in 2010 with the intention of blending original rock and blues with a heavy dose of hard rock. The following year saw the release of their debut album Kiss My Ace, which like their latest release was recorded at Tanzan Music Studio. It was well received though the band was set back a little with the departure of vocalist Pietro Peroni. Now with the settled line-up of Matteo “Icio” Idini (lead vocals, guitar), Fabio “Colva” Corradi (guitar, lap steel, dobro, background vocals), Mattia “Boky” Mosconi (bass, background vocals), and Marco Idini (drum, percussion), the band has returned with cylinders firing with Joanna & the Devil to easily please their fans and garner plenty more one suspects.

The album starts with the teasing You Make Me Crazy, an easy going eager slab of rock n roll. The song alone suggests the band is one who has no delusions of being anything more than a feel good and accomplished rock band. The whole album confirms it and it is this honesty which makes the release a good fun companion. As with the album overall, the song is simple but crafted with skill, its presence a feast of keen energy and pulse racing rock sounds.

As mentioned the release is uneven across its length but with tracks like the following uncomplicated hard rock track Change the Way it is impossible not to fully engage with it more often than not. The excellent cover of the Dennis Linde written Elvis Presley hit Burning Love is another feisty treat of aural pleasure, the band not doing more than giving it extra steel and energy but making it sparkle. Featuring a great solo from guest guitarist Mario Percudani of the band Hungryheart, the song is one of the t highlights of the album.

Songs like Believe, the woozy Psychedelic Blues, and the fragile ballad Time for Love, do not light any fires mainly due to personal taste, but one can appreciate the composing and their presentation. They just do not fire up anything more than nodding respect though, something which cannot be applied to the trio of songs which mark the second half of the album.

Firstly there is the lustful So Hot, a song which is as lusty as the title suggests and takes great pleasure from it. A straight forward rock song with a tongue firmly in its cheek it is another slice of fun to light up the album. The following Devil’s Blues and The Black Man are the triumph of the album, both muscular tracks with plenty of rippling passion. The first is another blues driven song which from its early narrative like scene setting turns into a mix of scorched guitars and beckoning rhythms veined with sizzling grooves. Its successor is a robust brew of attitude driven riffs and air blistering melodic enterprise, its blues breath smouldering in the ear and sparking the air. It is the most complete song on the album and the best.

Joanna & the Devil is an enjoyable album which even with its broken levels of quality is still a release any rock and blues fan should take a look at, as when it is on fire it is very easy to spend lots of time with.

http://www.bigdixrock.com/

RingMaster 15/09/2012

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