Chantal Claret – The One, The Only…

by Anna-Franziska Milanollo

by Anna-Franziska Milanollo

With big boned rhythmic seduction and even more tempting melodic suggestiveness, the debut album from Chantal Claret is one delicious romp of sixties pop and modern insatiable inventive hunger, a release which makes the term having a good time as a description seem rudely limiting. The former vocalist for the excellent Morningwood, Claret has crafted her own soulful and enchanting not forgetting vivacious sound, into a larger than life treat which brings femme-pop from five decades ago in a feisty and thrilling union with attitude drenched indie pop. Think Imelda May meets Brenda Lee with strong whispers of Wanda Jackson, Gwen Stefani, and at times essences of Brody Dalle’s Spinnerette, and you get the unique presence of Chantal Claret. The One, The Only… is an album which has feet and emotions pumping in time and passion with the forthright sounds it offers, a release which quite simply and persistently thrills with each and every enthralling note.

    The One, The Only… is something very different from anything Morningwood unveiled though there is still a visible thread The One, The Only. . . Chantal Claret by Nick Walker Photography 2between the two due to the stand alone vocals of Claret who arguably upon her first full length solo release has found an even richer and expansive depth to her tone and delivery. Following up the acclaimed Pleasure Seekers EP whose four tracks also grace this album, the new release dances with the passions and ear to send a rapture marauding through the body like a tide of raucous melodic energy which ebbs and flows yet never leaves anything less than captivated seduction roaming its presence.

The opening intro introduces the artist like you would have found at an authentic live performance or TV show of the sixties, or so my Dad told me… an audience excited and drooling as the artist takes her spot in their eager spotlight. It leads right into the muscular rhythms and initial crafty tease of Bite Your Tongue, a song which sways with devilment whilst coaxing the passions into its instantly infectious embrace. The rhythms continue to dominate from the drums and bass, even in its quietest lure, whilst the keys add smokey whispers to stand side by side with the blaze of horns. It is a terrific start with a female snarl and wile to its magnetic temptation.

The thrilling start continues with Pleasure Seekers, a track which has the fire of the band of the same name in the sixties and the gentle pop artfulness of Nancy Sinatra, through the contagious Pop Pop Bang Bang and on to This Time. The second of the trio is one of the highest pinnacles, its arrival on a nursery rhyme like coaxing opening moving into a riveting stroll of woman scorned devilry with accompanying violent intent. Not the most involved song in its construction but certainly the most dramatically mesmeric and energetic, the track enlists the listener into its revengeful mischief with enigmatic craft and arcane breath. The third of the trio leads the senses into a wealth of bulging rhythms and enchanted melodies coated in a sinister design which sparks an ardour as potent as the sacrificial seduction of a siren, both inescapable and unrelenting.

Arguably there is a constant surface shine and glow to the songs which shades the variety at work initially but with songs like the Crystals/Yeah Yeah Yeahs prompting No Love Lost and the Aretha Franklin/Gwen Stefani call to arms of Real Girls and their curves and swerves, any similarity in the coating is soon dispelled with their individual voices, the latter of these two a hip hop/pop fusion which makes it impossible not to hungrily enlist in its cause.

Further flames of pleasure come with the fifties gaited Black Widow, a song which is as tricky as it is insatiable, its aural tongue licking its lips as it seizes the heart with the appetite of its subject. The Mari Wilson sounding Honey Honey stands alongside the song as another real high point its sixties energetic kiss from keys and passionate vocals leaving thoughts and emotions into unbridled mischief before handing over to the excellent Song For The Sinners, the best song on the album. It stomps with guileful invitation and addictive charisma whilst the licking flames of the again irresistible horns incite further temptation into its cute yet dangerous heart.

The One, The Only… is an outstanding album which guarantees nothing but full and breath-taking pleasure, and who could want to share those moments with anyone other than the temptress Chantal Claret.

http://chantalclaret.com/

9/10

RingMaster 03/04/2013

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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Black – Wonderful Life Deluxe Edition

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    Ever since its release in 1987, the debut album Wonderful Life from Black has held a grip on our passions here to lure more than the occasional dip into its emotive and eventful charms over the years. It was a release which seemed to be hit or miss for each individual and probably never really found the depth of success it deserved, though it and its notable title track single, certainly was not lacking in strong popularity just not to the heights one expected at the time. The re-release of the album in this deluxe edition hopefully will open up a new hungry awareness for album and artist, and quite likely more use of that single.

Black was the persona of singer songwriter Colin Vearncombe who went on to record a further three albums as this project, two more along with Wonderful Life for A&M Records and another, Are We Having Fun Yet? on his own Nero Schwarz label in 1993. Arguably for personal tastes the subsequent albums never found the heights of his first but still confirmed the artist as one of the most compelling and emotively instinctive songwriters across the eighties and nineties, with the man still igniting the appetite with his work under his own name ever since. The re-release of Wonderful Life offers not only the full album but a second CD containing the original version of his most successful single, a selection of B-sides, and a quartet of songs recorded for a 1986 Janice Long session. The package also includes a specially commissioned interview with Vearncombe in the album liner notes and is a package which ignites strong nostalgia and still smouldering fires.

The album begins with what was to be its most potent voice, the title track. It is a song which originally was released in 1986 on independent label Ugly Man, that version appearing on the second CD. Re-worked for Wonderful Life it reached the top 10 following previous single Sweetest Smile from the album into the same success, and has since received multiple cover versions by numerous artists and appearances within adverts, TV programs and films. With seductive warmth and melancholic kisses enveloping the ear there is no surprise to its popularity and growth as a presence in UK pop, though arguably it is not the strongest track on the album. Its gentle moody persuasion and uncomplicated walk across the senses made the song instantly accessible and persuasive, its touch leaving a melodic residue on  body and emotions which still sparks up active feelings even now.

Songs like Everything’s Coming Up Roses with its feisty rhythmic temptation, golden ABC like melodic strikes and compelling emotive narrative, and Sometimes For The Asking with its steely guitar voice and electro resonance as well as additional sirenesque female harmonies, both bring a richer soak of emotive elegance and triumphant energy especially in the second of the pair, to entrap the passions with greater contagious craft and imagination. This was electro and heated pop at its best with the skill to temper all aspects into a perfectly inciting wash.

It is probably fair to say that some tracks like Finder, Paradise, and I Just Grew Tired did not stray far from the core of his invention at the time to lie in the shade of other songs on the release but it is also hard to deny that they also offered an impossible to resist melodic hand which was soon eagerly grasped by thoughts and heart. For each less dramatic moment though there was always a fire of enterprise in the likes of I’m Not Afraid with is shards of horn delight and anthemic call, and the sultry embrace of Blue, a song which leaves tingles and raging aural hormones at large in its wake.

The biggest triumphs come later in the album with the sensational Just Making Memories, a song with elements of The Cure to its hypnotic bass prowl, the deliciously tantalising Leave Yourself Alone, and the dramatically engaging rock fuelled It’s Not You Lady Jane, a song which has blood coursing through veins with greedy energy. They all trigger greater flames in a fire of ardour and pleasure which erupted with the opening whisper of the title track, and completed what is still a tremendously evocative and thrilling album.

The second disc begins with the previously mentioned original recording of Wonderful Life, a version easily on par with the recognisable track. Following songs all engage with unreserved enterprise even if some shine brighter than others. Songs such as Birthday Night and Dagger Reel have a Spandau Ballet whisper to their stances and across many of the songs thoughts of other bands ring out, something never apparent on the actual album, though it is not anything other than a spark to interest and intrigue admittedly. Everything’s Coming Up Roses (The Fairly Mental Mix) shouts Paul Haig as it bubbles and simmers upon the senses with flushes of molten passion in places whilst Have It Your Own Way has elements of Echo and the Bunnymen to it, and Life Calls a more than pleasing Teardrop Explodes swagger. Another highlight on the disc is the Scott Walker toned Had Enough making a quartet of tracks which especially leave a deep satisfaction.

The re-release is a great opportunity for those new to Black and Vearncombe to discover some essential and classically shaped pop music and for those in the know to discover some new treats and bask in the nostalgia of one special album.

www.colinvearncombe.com

9/10

RingMaster 03/04/2013

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Early Mammal – Horror at Pleasure

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     Devouter Records has developed this knack, insight, skill whatever you wish to call it, in finding and releasing music from bands which offer something different and imaginatively impacting within what can be loosely termed as a stoner/psychedelic brief for the label. Horror at Pleasure, the debut release from UK band Early Mammal is no exception. It is a record which takes the senses and thoughts on an intensive sonic journey which is not always easy or pain free but is continually intriguing and exhausting in the most enjoyable way. Brewing a collision of stoner, blues, doom, and progressive invention into a psyche-out storm of sonic intensity and blistering, Early Mammal rides roughshod over the senses whilst rewarding them with weighty sonic enterprise and acid soaked erosive breath.

Formed in 2012, the Camberwell, South London trio of guitarists and vocalist Rob Herian (ex-Elks), drummer Ben Davis (ex-85 Bears), and Turkish born Deniz Belendir on organ and synth take their inspiration from bands across the likes of Captain Beefheart, High Rise, Peter Green, White Hills, Edgar Broughton Band, and Hawkwind, adding these rich spices to their own psyche fire of progressively carved and fuzzed textured burning. As mentioned the album is not always comfortable upon the ear but no pain no gain right!

Opening on the brief instrumental and shimmering air of Right Hand, its ambience sweltering in the sonic heat but restrained in itsArtwork touch, the release soon evolves into the harsher climes of Final Witch. Immediately raw on the ear with caustically surfaced vocals to match, the track grazes and sears the synapses with a compelling melodic glaze which is sonically heated until it scalds and bubbles upon the senses and a guitar acidity which exhausts and compromises the enterprise at play for even greater satisfaction. With the keys transporting instigated visuals into a spacey kaleidoscope of aural colours and imagery it is a strong start to the album, an unrelenting and unkind embrace which evokes good satisfaction.

Horror at Pleasure is undoubtedly an album you need to undertake the journey of numerous times to fully reap what it offers, the many encounters slowly but forcibly showing the impressive strengths of tracks like Demon or Saint and Coming Back. Admittedly the first of the pair made a mighty persuasion on its first meeting with the ear, its bluesy gait and ravaging intensity ridden by the raw vocal tone and expression of Herian to capture the imagination but after further companionship the song expands into one of the strongest emotion exploiting pinnacles on the album. The second of the two is a fire in an atmospheric wasteland, the chilled solitude soaked ambience the home to an alluring emotive guitar narrative which sparks more vivid feelings in its short but inciting instrumental life.

The further into the release the more impressive and irresistibly tempting it is, the likes of To Find Me Gone with its Stones like fiery breath and Checking The Bullshitter’s Queen, a song which flames around the ear with an inventive sonic script to light up the air with cascades of intrusive but enthralling cunning invention, the pair conspiring with many others to enflames and push the limits of passion on to greater responses. The finest moment on the giant soundscape that is Horror At Pleasure comes with Resurrection Men. The track canters along with feisty intent and energetic urgency without fully unleashing all its intensity, keeping some back to frequent and stalk the shadows which wrap the track, something the band does across the whole album in truth. It has to be said that though each track is certainly distinct to each other, this song especially ripe in originality it is not always clear why as all songs employ a similar surface abrasion and hellacious near on spiteful scuzzy energy and presence which is borne from the same sonic seed. They do stand apart though and Resurrection Man with the fullest furnace of transfixing brain warping ingenuity and mesmeric colours above the rest.

Closed by a companion instrumental in Uncle Scary’s Left Hand to the opening piece, Horror at Pleasure is a strongly impressive release. Though the album overall did not exactly ignite the strongest furnace inside for its endeavours, poking the dormant embers into inconsistent eruptions, one senses it is just a matter of time before Early Mammal do achieve that, but for many others they will have made that break through with this wholly pleasing feast of sonic alchemy one suspects.

http://www.facebook.com/earlymammal

8/10

RingMaster 03/04/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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