The Cellophane Flowers: Staring At The World

Ringmaster Review – “Staring at The World engages thoughts and imagination like the sun invites the day, with warm mesmeric charm veined with heated enterprise. The Cellophane Flowers is a unique melodic joy to soundtrack steamy days and sultry nights.”

Since the release of their acclaimed If I Was A Girl EP and the following impressive Freeze Me single, UK indie pop band The Cellophane Flowers has been the source of much anticipation for their debut album. Staring At The World gets unveiled upon the world on December 3rd and without any reservations can be said to satisfy all hopes and expectations laid upon the London quartet and more. It is an enterprising and thrilling release of what the band term ‘psychopop’, not that their sounds have that deranged quality really but it does carry a certain disturbed presence which is captivating and quite delicious, a description which can be firmly applied to the album.

The four members of the London based band hail from four different corners of the world joining together to add their own distinct spice to a sound which is unique and imaginative. The first notable thing about The Cellophane Flowers is the distinctive and entrancing voice of Italian songstress Francesca Corradini, her sensual and magnetic distinct tones lighting up the heart of every song. Her vocals have an emotive caress which is as mesmeric as it is charmingly spicy to offer every song on the album a seductive flavour upon the already compelling sounds brought by guitarist Ian Sumner who grew up in Brazil, Australian-Italian-Maltese bassist Luca Napolitano, and drummer Nick Guy who has one side of his heart in Egypt and the other in Suffolk. The album was recorded with producer Dave Allen (The Cure / Depeche Mode / Human League / The Charlatans) and finds the band at their most potent and alluring yet, the ten songs it has within its distinct artwork melodic kisses of warm and tender mischievous pleasure.

 Voices is the first song to coax the ear and beyond, its initial simmering whispers a gentle breeze behind the teasing tones of Corradini and a rich sonic guitar enticement. The song has a building presence which incites the pulse and heart into adding their excitement to the rising energies of the track. As it opens its arms to their fullest melodic expanse the feeling of an imminent crescendo is realised with the energetic chorus and fairly rampant stroll the track elevates into. The teasing is repeated as the infectious charm of the song tinged with a shadowed breath overwhelms the senses for a glorious and inventive start to the release.

The following song The Promise continues the impressive engagement, its sinewy basslines and acidic sonics of the guitars combining to create an eighties gait which reminds of China Crisis at times and Au Pairs in other moments. The riffs of Napolitano has a wonderful snarl to their invention offering dark corners to songs which playfully counter the surrounding crystalline and glowing shards of melodies and rainbow like harmonies. The song finds this union at its height, though each and every track in their varied guises are fuelled by their superbly crafted companionship within the framework of sturdy and compelling skilful beats of Guy.

A trio of tracks in the glistening shapes of Pendulum Eyes, Forever Lost, and Tears Of A Clown sway and beckon next, the first two with a definite sixties air to their lush evocative sound. The first is a simple yet sharply defined pop song with an air of five decades ago whilst the second has a fuller soak of the same time within its smouldering elegance. Throughout there is a Donovan feel to the song within the at times scorching almost epic like indie texture of the song. The last of the three is a gentle weave of tender vocals and equally soothing sounds though again there is that miniscule of feistiness which marks all their songs.

The excellent Rock ’n’ Roll with its thumping and hypnotic drums, which the band say were recorded in a massive disused NHS hospital kitchen, sends extra thrills through the body alongside long term favourite song from the band, Belinda. The boisterous first song of the pair is a sizzling blend of raw guitar strokes and those contagious rhythms framing the ever absorbing vocals of Corradini. It is the most infectious ‘riot’ on the album which just sends tingles through the emotions when it opens up its pulse racing climaxes. It is like Throwing Muses and Whale at a teen hangout with Spinnerette and quite irresistible. Belinda is just as addictive with its calypso groove veined fiery caustic grazing of rock guitars and group harmonies. The track is a ‘collision’ of shadows and warmth lyrically and musically and quite brilliant.

Completed by the tangy western simmering Time, the persuasive Lucky Day, and the closing melodic fondle of In A Hole, the album is a release to accompany any emotion and The Cellophane Flowers a band destined to find a place in many welcoming hearts.

RingMaster 26/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

BloodRedSky: A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness


A real treat lies in store for all stoner rock fans with the release of A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness, the thumping debut album from Finnish metallers BloodRedSky. The towering release is a record all fans of the genre and of storming rock n roll will devour with raging contentment, and though it arguably does not offer anything really new it is a riot they and stoner rock can be brazenly proud of.

A quintet from Pieksämäki in Eastern Finland founded in 2008, BloodRedSky have followed up their well-received self-titled promo release of 2009, with an album which leaves one breathless and exhilarated and probably shell shocked under its tumultuous energy and intent. A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness released through Inverse Records, offers up ten hurricanes of intensity and invention which as mentioned do not try to break into new pastures but ignite existing recipes into boiling and impacting, not to mention refreshing, incendiary storms. The band have brewed a sound which is as heavy and abrasive as Mastodon, as shadowed and malevolent as Danzig, and veined with grooves and insatiable riffs borne of a Red Fang or Mos Generator, On top of that you have the snarl and attitude of Motorhead with the Kyuss stoner might to its charge. It all conspires for songs which grab you by the throat, sucks the air from your lings, and sends shards of rapture through the passions.

The album declares the tempest open immediately with the outstanding opener Locked ‘n Loaded and as expected with a title like that the song is an adrenaline driven onslaught of aggression and primed energy. The drums of Pasi Moilanen take no prisoners from the start, his thunderous rhythms and cafe fighter intensity a rewarding encounter with drives the caustic riffs into the ear perfectly. The growling bass of Jesse Muranen is a bear prowling the scene and once the equally ursine delivery of vocalist Riku Tarvonen enters, the track is into a stride which fires up the senses to their fullest limitations. It is a dirty tank of a song which ticks all the right boxes and though again it will not exactly satisfy searches for something truly unique who really cares when it sounds this good.

It is an impressive start easily equally by firstly Colours and then surpassed by the staggering song Purifier. The first is an abrasive maelstrom of riffs and sonic enterprise from guitarists Ville Kosunen and Antti Minkkinen which sear flesh and rupture bones whilst again the stunning bass presence of Muranen is a raptorial treat. There is so many great things to say about the album but probably he steals the top honour with his gnarly sounds and intimidating tones. The second of the two songs is a maelstrom of dynamic energies and inventive manipulations of sound and the senses. It twists like a bestial siren throwing serpentine grooves and ravenous riffs at its victims whilst chewing on the ear with the ever agreeable raw growls of Tarvonen. There is a slight hardcore edge to his squalling rage which makes the perfect contrast and compliment to the backing chants and insatiable assault elsewhere whilst all aspects together produce not only the best song on the album but one of the best this year.

The band does mix it up on A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness with tracks like the slower classic toned A Hero to a Few with its smouldering keys, and the sludgier Goblin King, complete with a sensational and blistering solo, to name just two offering strong and pleasing variations to the otherwise unbridled bruising hunting down of the senses. For personal tastes when the band tries to rip out the heart of the listener they trigger the biggest ardour but every track is a mighty and eagerly welcomed companion and in the likes of The Dead, an adversary such the malevolent consumption spreading from the corrosive engagement. The track is a brilliant and glorious slab of aural black death, an intensive intrusion not to be denied or escaped from, its sonic doomed fingers permeating every cell and synapse for a thrillingly rewarding conclusion for the passions.

Further highlights come with the grizzly Stoneskin and the closing exhilarating instrumental Skulltower but as stated every track is an immense and formidable gem. If you are looking for true stoner metal with a full heart and the intentions of tearing your body asunder than look no further than the excellent A Cross To Bear & Hell To Harness from emerging giants  BloodRedSky.

RingMaster 26/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Maia: Pepper Stars

   Pepper Stars the second album from UK band Maia is one of those little treats you cannot help smiling over whilst in its company and long after its departure. As eclectic as the smells of summer and just as invitingly warm, the album takes the listener of travels which are celestial and inciting with a whisper of invigorating abrasive spice. Personal tastes dictates that the album is arguably a little undulating, but when it flicks on all the passions it is a mighty pleasure giving accomplice and when it misses some triggers it is still an enthralling and engaging companion.

Since forming the Huddersfield quartet of Tom Clegg (guitar/ ukulele/vocals), Joe Haig (piano/ trumpet/vocals, Simon Robinson (guitar/banjo/ mandolin /vocals), and Will Fletcher (drums/cajon/percussion), has released a well-received self-titled debut album and the equally successful  Alligator EP, as well as making a critically acclaimed appearance at the 2011 Cambridge Folk Festival, headlining The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre on New Year’s Eve the same year, and sharing stages with the likes of Anais Mitchell, The Hut People, and Jamie Smith’s Mabon, not forgetting a past year of impressive festival performances. The band is on a certain rise which the new album will surely accelerate as more people are elevated into a peaceful existence by their self tagged sci-fi Folk.

The album begins with distance disruptions of space and air at the beginning of Alien, the intrigue growing with the inviting guitar caresses and equally tender vocals and harmonies. The song builds to heated crescendos with eager beats and strolling melodies, swapping them often and fluidly with the slow wraps of beauty. The song is like looking up at the night sky, an expansive calm energised by striking movement and aural colour.

Leading to the album release the band has released a trio of acclaimed singles, all included on the album with the first following the great start. Zuma Aluma is simply glorious, an infectious soak of bewitching harmonies and refreshing melodies all delivered with a swing and loving swagger. It is a dessert of pop grandeur held in a precise and under indulgent weave of imagination. If you are not swaying and joining in with the chorus by the midway of the song than you just might be dead inside.

The diversity of the album is as impressive as the creativity, the collection of songs an ever evolving presence for thoughts and senses to devour with ease. Songs like Alright Adventures, a stunning rolling sea of unpredictable sounds and harmonic genius with a wonderful touch of thrilling discord to its climax whilst sounding like a striking mix of Talking Heads and XTC, and the slowly kissing title track with the falsetto group vocals which mark the band and delicate guitar touches siren like, both bringing new worlds and breaths to an already diverse trip for the heart.

As mentioned at the start not all songs quite ignite the same mighty flames inspired by others, but without debate tracks like Dear Lo, Where Else On Earth, and Sundown leave mesmeric warmth inside with their presence which moves through sultry and sensual to angelic and celebratory. As ever it is just personal taste but there is not a moment on Pepper Stars where you will be looking forward to the next song whilst in the arms of another.

Further pinnacles on the release come in current single The Grandfather Plan, a seductive mariachi coated dance for the senses, and the equally ‘wanton’ Living In The Alligator. Both hypnotise with melodic beauty fused to fiery horn teasing, the first a gentle walk of smouldering heat like a golden sunset and the other a folk dance which just cannot not sit still beneath the again sensational harmonies and electrified disturbances which line the sky of the song. It is the jazzy feistiness which steals the show though, adding another thrilling proposition from a mighty song. Arguable the loftiest plateau is found with More Strangely Than The Moon, the track another glorious confrontation for the passions, its southern twang and again mariachi/fiesta swing a contagion just impossible to resist.

Released via Vandal Records, Pepper Stars is a fourteen song delight which despite its size just flies by, its compelling and ravishing company seemingly a mere few minutes of your life offered up eagerly. It and Maia are treats to heat the coming winter months and spice the lives of all, an essential investigation for all at the very least.

RingMaster 26/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright