John Wean : M.A.P.

M.A.P. is the excellent new single from Scottish indie rockers John Wean, and a track to cement their status as ones to watch very closely. Since forming in 2009, the Uddingston spawn quartet has made steady progress up to the point right now where they seem ready to mesmerise the country. Writing songs about love, life and girls, the band themselves say the first couple of years were not as productive as they should have been in sound and arguably progress, though the band were never lacking enthusiasm just a direction for it maybe. After reassessing things the band ended 2010 with a successful support slot for Tom Hingley at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. Arguably this was the point where the rise in recognition and stature began for the quartet of Conor Cartwright [vocals / guitar], Stuart Anderson [guitar], Jude Smith [vocals / bass], and Simon Coakley [drums]. The past couple of years has seen by request from the promoter a return to the same venue to this time support Young Rebel Set, the band selling vastly more tickets compared to their first already impressive fan attendance, their own successful shows, as well as the release of debut single Desperate Dan (She Told Me She Was Single), all adding to the elevation of the band which the acclaimed New York Doesn’t Love You EP from earlier this year, only enhanced.

M.A.P. is taken from that release and continues the impressive presence of band and sound. Produced and mixed by Ewan Davies [producer of the debuts from Arctic Monkeys, Darkness and Editors], the single is an immediately pulsating proposition from the stirring bass tease and rapping drums beats. Its instantaneous engagement though is soon expanded by soon to join in sharp guitar melodic strokes which just sizzle with heated elegance. The song is perfectly chiselled offering a crystalline radiance to its warm caresses and sharp lyrical design which is openly infectious and wonderfully enterprising.

Standing for ‘Morning After Pill’, M.A.P. is in the words of the band “a tongue-in-cheek hymn to the conflicting thoughts that can swamp the brain in the moment of realization that all has not gone as planned!” It certainly holds a mischief whilst finding a place to incite thoughts, with the music as skilfully shaped as the words and also laced with a light almost whimsical whisper to its captivating persuasion.

If John Wean is yet to appear on your horizon then M.A.P. is the perfect introduction. With a flavoursome breath which combines  the likes of Letters, Prince Edward Island, and The View, John Wean are about to leave a very appetizing taste in the mouth of UK indie music.

RingMaster 26/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright


Dead Harts: Born Into Rags To Die No Richer

Listening to Born Into Rags To Die No Richer, the new album from UK corrupters Dead Harts, is like being lashed until your synapses bleed and shrivel up then being given a sonic salt enema to those same open wounds. It is painful, it is blistering, it is maybe for some a violation too far, but it is equally fulfilling. Not for the faint hearted and where anger and spite are as devastating as a raging fire, the release just throws one into a tempest of malice and aggression driven by pleasure and satisfaction, for them and the listener.

The Sheffield based quintet certainly takes no prisoners or deals in elements of mercy, their mix of hardcore/punk/metal vehemence permeating every syllable and note for the deepest abrasive intrusion.  Founded in late 2009 and influenced by the likes of The Chariot, Norma Jean, and Gwen Stacy, the band has continually left a lingering mark in its wake, whether from playing alongside bands such as The Rhino, Heights, and While She Sleeps, recently taking Red Bull Jam apart and being the first of three finalists voted through to the live final this year, or their just completed highly successful tour of Russia. This is a band which musically refuses to take no for an answer, their sounds demand and receive, whether that is in kind or adulation.

Released through Transcend Music, the album rips the jugular apart from the off with the excellent All Washed Up. It is a relatively gentle first 10 seconds, a piece of misdirection before a sonic hand tears the barriers down and violently ignites the passions with venomous intent and caustic endeavour. Guitarists Josh Ward and Matt Pask manipulate and finger the senses with twisted riffs and scorched melodic incursions whilst vocalist Matthew Baxendale smoulders in his own acidic bile to unleash destructive squalls upon the ear. It is harsh and it is nasty but it only leaves a glowing grateful victim. Musically the band, song, and album come over as a sort of cross between Architects, While She Sleeps, and Gacys Thread, not necessarily something to rip the same size of hole in invention like it does in the ear, but certainly it is one of the freshest and ultimately enjoyable devastations to come along this year.

Smoke Wagons, the already recipient of acclaim through its video, storms with rage and intensity next. The drums of John Timson disorientate with craft and malice whilst bassist Zach McAdam prowls with all the belligerence of a wounded bear behind the again hypnotic and incendiary guitar strikes. It makes for a welcome yet vicious combat, a confrontation as wholly gratifying as it is corrosive and dehabilitating. As the song proves, Dead Harts do not create songs just with the intent of punishing and bringing the world to its knees either sonically or lyrically, they are also conjurations of songwriting which twist and turn with invention and enterprise, something which again makes the band feel different and fresh compared to many others of the same intention.

CTRL ALT Defeat and Perm Back And Sides both impressively rampage with riffs to send one staggering backwards before their sonic winds buckle the knees, both arguably less intensive in their open aggression but as extreme in passion and its deliverance, whilst Crooks is outrage given a mighty aural form. The track is raw energy and just as unpolished emotion, a crushing indictment to leave deep scars.

After the instrumental Interlude, Headhunter bears down on the senses from a great sonic height, its oppressive tone and insatiable hunger a sonic rape upon the ear but again most welcome and fully rewarding. It is a furnace of malicious invention which leaves the body shaking, ears ringing, and thoughts splattered against the remains of a skull crushed by the intensity. It is a brilliant challenge which leaves the closing track Caesar some task to follow. It does with ease of course, its disruptive array of undulating riffs and waspish sonics an unpredictable and mesmeric erosion to fall before with pleasure.

Born Into Rags To Die No Richer is a testing and wearing release but also one which leaves an undeniably pleasing smarting behind, a feeding sore glow from a band in Dead Harts, who show no reserve in letting out all their pent up anger and creative spite for our pleasure.

RingMaster 26/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Depth: Waiting For Waves EP

The Waiting For Waves EP from UK post hardcore band Depth is a release which grew from an initial feeling of ‘yeah, it is good but’ into something with more substance to its well crafted body and to the appreciation towards its strong and promising sounds. The release did not exactly fire up any personal passions but easily stands as a pleasing creative offering from the genre.

The only negative as such with the release, is a lack of distinction against other quality yet similarly fuelled releases. This makes for a collection of songs which can more than hold their own alongside other offerings but are unable to find their own unique place to pull real focused attention from.  The tracks are well crafted with some great ideas and their delivery certainly impressive, but they lack their own distinguishable voice to truly place the band ahead of the rest. You have to think they will though, the evolution of their sound across the past few years and their skills more than enough evidence to inspire that expectation.

Formed in 2006 as a covers band bringing forth the music which fired their imagination, the Norwich quartet honed their skills and songwriting all the time as they moved into their own material and direction. The past four years has seen the band hitting the roads across the country and registering great performances with the likes of The Undertones, My Passion, Exit Ten, Don Broco, and Everything Burns, their live shows renowned for their pulsating energy. Their debut album Situations Fulfilled also found good positive responses from media and fans alike, something one suspects Waiting For Waves will easily repeat.

Released October 29th, the EP slides into the ear on a sonic breeze before the rapping rhythms of drummer Robb Collins heralds the scything riffs of Luke and Ryan Holliday. It is an instant lure to lead one into the heart of the song where the vocals of bassist Paul Hardy fill the air with strong expressive tones, ably backed by the voice of Luke Holliday. Hardy is an accomplished vocalist with a power maybe slightly lost within the great storm of sound around him which maybe is why some seem to see him as a lesser positive when he is one of many strengths within the band. The vocalist is also one mean bass player, his gnarly sound a great predatory joy across every song. The opener does everything right, takes the senses down a muscular and inventive road, it is just a relatively well trodden road, though Depth take its course with enterprise and skill to make it rewarding.

The following Hope In Mind is the best song on the release, a torrent of passion and senses stretching sonic imagination. Its mighty presence and fluid changes is one of the reasons there is plenty of assumption the band will become something quite special, its charged energy and evolving intimidating gait the most refreshing and invigorating track on the EP.

The title track is an adrenaline driven beast of a track, its opening attack a fire of bulging riffs and explosive sonics. It finds a more even pace without losing its might further into its passage, to allow fine melodic drifts and intrusive surges to light up the thoughtful direction shifts and changes. It is hard to say there is anything blatantly new going on but easy to declare how well structured and enjoyable eventful it all is.

Second Chances and Whispers close out the release, the first an emotive collision of heart and aggressive energies whilst the second is a feisty slice of rock with strong warm veins of melodic and vocals harmonies wrapped around artillery like riffs and jabbing rhythms. Both do a great job at holding total attention and giving equal satisfaction, even if they still do not open up any new dimensions.

That sums up Waiting For Waves EP perfectly, a pleasing EP which holds a full engagement but just fails to give something particularly different to many others. It is a satisfying confrontation all the same and to be fair that is all we primarily want from any release.

RingMaster 26/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright