Arc and Stones: Self Titled EP

Arc and Stones 4

Bursting with incendiary melodies, towering rhythms, and a passion which could heat oceans, the self-titled debut from alternative rock band Arc & Stones is a startling and compelling drama of imagination and craft. It is one of those releases which leave a lasting impression alongside a greedy hunger for much more. Fusing the richest elements of indie and rock with flames of blues and soul, the EP just fires up the imagination and captivates the heart from start to finish even though it equally suggests there is still much more to come from the Brooklyn quartet.

Driven by the twenty year energies and passion of Dan Pellarin (lead vocals/ rhythm guitar/keys) and Ben Cramer (lead guitar/vocals) alongside the equally dynamic energies of Eddy Bayes (bass/vocals) and Joe Doino (drums), the band has in its short time already lit up stages at major venues such as the Bowery Electric, Arlene’s Grocery, the Red Lion and the Bitter End. Their rise is in a rapid ascent which this release is sure to accelerate and build upon the great reception to their first video for the track Silence, directed by Eddy Bayes, the song which opens up the EP.

Silence initially drifts through the ear with a sultry breath and shimmering melodic caress whilst the vocals of Pellarin tease and album final frontcoax emotions into the open heart of the song. Soon thumping rhythms join the affair as energies and emotions hit climactic highs. Into its stride the song has a familiar stance, which you can apply to the whole release, but brings it with a fresh and invigorating style which marks Arc and Stones as something different. Unleashing big melodies and an epic atmosphere the track is a thrilling and enthralling invitation to the band and their compelling sound, its bluesy whispers and soulful kisses within its perpetually tall walls of passion and sound irresistible.

After the tremendous start the band show their diversity with two slower even more emotive gems in firstly Say Goodbye and then Let Me Down. The first again has a familiarity which is immediate and pleasing but remains outside the realisation of who it resembles. In many ways you could call it a power balled, its feverish emotive zeal wrapped in again large melodic washes and rhythmic rampancy, though at times it also gently persuades with elegance and finesse musically and vocally. Its urgent exciting rush into its melancholic final lines just sets the passions alight to set one up for the following stroll of soul and beauty within Let Me Down. With an acoustic kiss and brewing powerful atmospheres, the song is a passional fire for the senses and thoughts. For personal tastes neither track finds the triumphant elevation of their predecessor and the songs to follow but still engage with a force which stays long after their departure.  Arc and Stones when rocking it with every ounce of energy they can muster is quite breathless but also when they lay their whole musical heart out is as magnetic as anyone.

The best track on the EP is She’s Mine, a song which from its sizzling blues opening evolves into a sensational and insatiable riot of rock n roll with a ruthless feisty groove and powerful infectious barbed hooks side by side with flames of melodic contagion. Recently we reviewed the re-release of St Julian by Julian Cope, an album and songs which burst with massive contagious hooks and melodic blazes, this song has the same anthemic grandeur and unbridled passion and too can be labelled classic.

The release closes with another energetic and agitated rhythmic splendour in the alluring shape of Rise. Less thunderous in tempo than the previous song but no less addictive and catchy, especially in its charged chorus and inflamed guitar solo, the track leaves a real appetite for more.

If there is any ‘flaw’ on the release it is that every song has as mentioned that familiar stance or lush spices found elsewhere but it is so rich in quality and inventive interpretation that to be fair it just adds to the enjoyment rather than diminishing it. There is no doubt Arc and Stones will evolve their own uniqueness in time and give us even more deep rooted pleasure to that found on this excellent debut.

www.arcandstones.com

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8/10

RingMaster 14/02/2013

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Maudlin: A Sign of Time

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    Maudlin is band which since forming in 2004 has never taken a step back from investigating and attempting to stretch the realms of psychedelic rock with imagination and startling musical intrigue. The release of their second album shows the band has not lost their adventure or gasp of exploring with inciting intent. A Sign of Time captures the imagination from start to finish whilst inspiring it to interpret its own passage of events within the release. The band challenges and provokes the listener constantly whilst rewarding their attention with a consuming expanse of melodic flames, dramatic rhythms, and muscular intensity. It is a thoroughly compelling release leaving one exhausted but equally invigorated.

The new release finds its roots in debut album Ionesco of 2008 which was based on a tale of a patient in the 1940s who had a transorbital lobotomy performed upon him by Dr Freeman, a man with no formal surgical training who performed in excess of 3,400 procedures and charging only $25 for each. It was a theme as dramatic and powerful lyrically as the sounds which held them and A Sign Of Time is no different. Looking at the same patient, his near death experience, and the emotionally impact of memories which make people who they are, the album is a progressive psychedelic storm of passion and invention smothered by a hallucinogenic atmospheric sea.

The album opens on the mesmeric yet abstract caress of Hours, a track with gentle soothing vocals skirted by whispered Promo_Cover_CDuncertainty and a brewing chilled atmosphere. It is a brief breath leading into She Whispers Treason, a senses plundering doom laded spread of intensity and heavy ravenous sounds. Instantly the bass of Yannick Dumarey opens up the darkest hungriest shadows to prowl the glorious melodic flames of guitarists Jasper Bullynck and Kris Vannecke. They both offer exemplary vocal harmonies to coax the listener further into the shadowed depths framed by the words and vocals of Davy De Schrooder. It is a potent and excellently dramatic full opening to the album which immediately triggers visual thoughts and emotions from within the heated fiery skies of the song.

The impacting ambience and textures of Lilith initially lies with a tender rub against the ear before evolving into a rigorous encounter with, as in the first song, the hard and evocative rhythms from drummer Davy Vandenbroecke framing the sonic and melodic colouring painting the canvas of the song. The track leans heavily upon the senses for the fullest of satisfaction before passing them on to the less intense but equally aurally prismatic A Perfect Sky of Black. Once more the impressive bass of Dumarey snarls and intimidates within yet another diversely painted realm of vibrant imagination and rich musical colour. It is a stunning blend of light and dark, fear and reassurance brought with expertise and inspirational grandeur.

The album continues to impress and thrill across its impassioned length with tracks like the exceptional Ride The Second Wave with its smouldering Type O Negative like presence, the totally hypnotic Goddess Of The Flame clad in a persistent gravelly bass groove, melodic fire, and haunting near vocal bedlam, and the sonically and emotionally kaleidoscopic Chasing Shades, immersing the listener in intense and riveting inventive craft.

The album ends on Turn To Seconds, a thirty five second course of static with a slamming dramatic finality to close the equally enthralling tale, it is a powerful end to a towering album. Released on Consouling Sounds, A Sign of Time is destined to be one of the most important albums of the year and Maudlin a band on the lips of most rock fans but especially those who find bands such as Neurosis, Type O Negative, Mastodon, and Pink Floyd are constants in their hearts.

www.facebook.com/MAUDLINrocks

8.5/10

RingMaster 14/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyrightListen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Onward Chariots: This is My Confession

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    This is My Confession from Onward Chariots is one of those albums which though it does not quite light a raging fire in the belly or hold a firm grip on ones attention from start to finish, it is a release which is hard to tear away from. The band has a sound which is a delicious hybrid of indie pop and progressive rock with a continually changing wash of extra steamy additives.  Because of this their debut album is a consistently intriguing and engaging release which leaves a warmth and satisfaction that cannot be denied or dismissed.

Onward Chariots is the invention of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Ben Morss, an artist who has toured the world, played with Californian acid-jazz group 11:11, and arranged and played on albums for artists like Cake. He is also a music geek who has immersed himself in the sounds and creativity of Peter Bjorn & John, Belle & Sebastian, Yo La Tengo and The Beatles, a collection of artists amongst others which the album suggests have flavoured his own invention. Originally Morss recorded under the name Chariots of Tuna, which from accounts was a relatively short-lived project but in 2008 when Morss was playing in the Infinite Orchestra alongside Dan Davine (drums), Shawn Setaro (guitar), and Rus Wimbish (bass), the quartet came together to create melodic intricacies of pop which they mutually longed to make. This moment in time was the first official steps of Onward Chariots. The following year saw three songs posted online which led to strong responses and acclaim worldwide through blogs and fans with the band being compared to the likes of The Beach Boys, Beulah, The Shins and Belle and Sebastian. Festival appearances and radio play earned the band further recognition over the subsequent years leading to through Skipping Stones Records the unveiling of their first release.

The album is themed by the concept of boy meets girl, the tracks playing with premises and emotions from the varied teases of love.onward-chariots It begins with the golden showers of sonic elegance brought by the semi instrumental Opening. Twinkling melodies, warm harmonies, and brass borne kisses light the sky before a fiery energy intervenes to lead into This Is My Confession I. A wonderful throaty guitar sound introduces the track to remind of the first days of Killing Joke before opening into a pungent press of heavy rock sturdiness and the welcoming vocal lilt of Morss. Into its stride the song is an insistent and magnetic pleasure with an equal depth of sinewy allure and infectious melodic teasing.

The following Mel Gibson is a lighter pop rock romp with plays like a mix of Weezer and Union Starr. It is a peppy piece of energy which continues the impressive start. It is as catchy as a virus and takes the ear on a stroll of punchy rhythms and eager to please melodies which do not have to ask twice. There is also, to be not the only time on the album, a persuasive eighties breath to the song which adds to the engagingly textured musical poetry.

Following songs Sisters and Brothers with its heated Jan and Dean like harmonies and smoky trumpet persuasion and I Just Met a Girl with its jumpy swing recalling the classy tones of Town Called Malice, both without igniting the emotions as strongly as the earlier songs, leave the listener buoyant over their melodic and infectious rhythmic invitations. Though the album offers some instantaneously connecting songs it is generally more of a grower with the likes of When You’re Smiling and the harmonically glowing Mama along with the previous two songs, eventually earning their place in ones praise through the continual pleading of their tenderly crafted hearts across many plays.

The sixteen track release closes its first part with the heavier stomp of This Is My Confession II, a superior re-working of the first full song which then takes us into arguably the strongest part of album where songs like the mesmeric Forever Never Ends with its sultry melodic glaze shimmering across a seductive bassline, You Don’t Have To Be Unhappy, and I Want Everything reach stirring heights and hit the passions with the cleanest accuracy. The second of the trio has a great hook to start off its playtime of sixties pop and an addictive swagger complete with further impressive harmonies which feel Four Seasons inspired. It is a wonderful song equalled by the charging rock urgency of I Want Everything, a song which incites instinctive ardour for its outstanding rampancy.

Though it ebbs and flows in stature a little too much to be elevated to the highest echelons of acclaim, This is My Confession is a thoroughly enjoyable album. Certainly it takes its time to persuade but eventually does with style and deserves for all to take a stroll within its warm heart.

http://www.onwardchariots.com

7/10

RingMaster 14/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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These Reigning Days: Too Late

these reigning days

    UK band These Reigning Days have an album due out later in the year but until its release seem intent to tease and torment by releasing singles which leave the listener over excited and longing for much more. The songs Changes and Living It Up have already more than wetted the appetite with their infectious and melodic powers but now the band has really ignited the touch paper of anticipation with their best single yet, the anthemic giant Too Late.

Formed by former frontman/songwriter of The Quails, Dan Steer, the band has been on a strong charge through their releases to date and live performances which since making their debut alongside Metronomy has found them supporting Echo and The Bunnymen at a festival in Rome and an impressive series of festival appearances waiting for them in 2013, as well as recording a live session on BBC Introducing in Devon.  The trio of Steer, bassist/vocalist Jonny Finnis (Numb), and drummer Joe Samsone (Morph), continue to impress and garner acclaim as well as a bulging fan base to which the new single will only inspire further.

The single opens on a feisty dark bassline which wonderfully prowls with a swagger around seductive guitar strokes which smoulder and flame within the immediately heated atmosphere of the song. Once the fine vocals of Steer open up their lyrical narrative the song opens unveils an electronic ambience to complete a full persuasion before opening up  into a rampant, eager, and wholly contagious chorus where vocals and sounds unite to leave the senses breathless. With pungent rhythms which conspire to ignite even deeper passions in league with the bass and a delicious step into a sultry dance of Latin tempered invention and melodic seduction which leaves one drooling, Too Late is a masterful and completely absorbing treat.

These Reigning Days has once more unleashed a track which knows how to incite and engage the raptures with skill and mischievous imagination. It has also made the wait for their Yoad Nevo (Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran, Girls Aloud, Goldfrapp) produced album even more agitated and impatient but after a song this good we will forgive them.

Too Late is available as a free download for just one month from today so stop reading and find out how to grab

your own piece of irresistible fun now @ www.thesereigningdays.co.uk or www.facebook.com/thesereigningdays

8/10

RingMaster 14/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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