Capitals – A National Service


Listening to A National Service, the debut album from Scottish electronic pop duo Capitals, you cannot help but think we will be hearing a lot more of and about the band in the future, near and distant. The release is a melodically fiery and hypnotically elegant treat, an imaginatively smouldering fire of thrilling enterprise that consumes and ignites ears and thoughts.

Comprising of Angus Carbarns (ex-The Cinematics) and Keir MacCulloch (ex-Araya), the pair forming the project in 2009, Capitals has already forged an impressive name for themselves over the past eighteen months or so. Headlining shows within the UK, Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands have brought the band to the awareness and acclaim of a great many whilst performances across festivals such as T in The Park, Rockness, Underage, Summer Fest in the US, have only accelerated and elevated their stature and presence. Now A National Service brings their refreshing and thoughtful blend of electronic warmth, pop energy, and evocative atmospheres to another plateau of visibility. Such its strength and captivating breath expectations can only assume that it will be the trigger to a full and lively horizon for the Edinburgh band.

From the ruffled atmospheric intro Tall Tales, a piece of distressed ambience fused with smouldering melodic potency, the album a3943521274_2sets the senses alight with the outstanding drama of The Hollowing. With a seductive call from the vocals and the melodic teasing of guitar of Carbarns, the song teases and entrances the ear whilst a moody bass like croon and throaty electro energy conjured by the keys of MacCulloch rummage through the set in warmth and elegance. It is a magnetic persuasion which leaves no room for restraint in appetite for its creative sounds.

The following All These Years with an individual gait and temptation continues the dazzling and inviting start, its smouldering energy a stable yet eager brew behind the again smooth and enticing vocals, the harmonies mutually tempting alongside the melodic kindling offered by keys which erupt into a blaze of enveloping irresistibility. As if this was not persuasive enough the album does not rest on its mighty laurels instead unveiling the wonderful Jealousy and its gentle melodic caresses around emotive flaming provided by guitar and vocals. As with most songs on the album, there are slight shadows leaving their taste either lyrically or musically, their whispers falling and playing within the hazy warm weaves. It is often an understated element but each repeat dance with the album reveals a little more as well as more of the exhilarating craft to the songwriting and its realisation.

Both Global Marine Breaks and Sinking Ships explore further diverse and unique corners of the sound whilst laying out new levels of passion in return, the first with its psyched out ambience of cacophonous colour and light. Verging on disorientation the track is a discord flavoured warped waltz of energy and beauty, an instrumental which triggers a myriad of thoughts and emotions. Its successor carries on that same spice to tempt within its provocative background whilst the foreground of the song is a warm tide of vocal narrative and melodic conjuring coaxed into a sultry call.

Through another heated evocative stroll from Hello World and the intrigue veined Reliever, a track that is rife with visual and personal espionage, A National Service plays the passions and senses like a conjuror, though no slight-of-hand or illusion brings any deceit to the aural soul bearing, whilst via The Grace it bewitches with heart seducing beauty.

A Spectre Is Haunting Europe takes the listener on a final romp through electro temptation; its eighties spawned energy and mischief recalling the likes of Blancmange and Visage but filtered through a depth of shadow and intensity for an impossibly infectious and scintillating enchantment for body and soul. The final word from the album then comes from An Ode To An End, a low key track in comparison to what came before yet as full and captivating as any of the more layered and energetic songs. It is a delicious conclusion to a mightily impressive and enjoyable release.

A National Service will make a lingering mark upon the year and be the recalled as the moment we witnessed and enjoyed the full arrival of Capitals on UK music.


RingMaster 03/06/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Pirate Sons – 233U EP


Photography by John Kane

How to describe the sound of Pirate Sons? Well take a certain dose of The White Stripes and add it to a flavoursome vat of some The Black Keys, Dr Feelgood, and The Black Crowes and you have the core of what makes up their sound and the exciting EP 233U. The four track release is a dirt clad stomp of untainted rock ‘n’ roll, an often bruising and incendiary confrontation which always lights the touch paper to insatiable garage rock bred revelry and unbridled satisfaction.

Originally a duo based in Wellington, New Zealand, the now Scottish based trio of a Kiwi, an Englishman and a Scot, are poised to burst out from their Edinburgh setting to a wider recognition with their debut release. Already the band has earned an imposing reputation for their incendiary live performances which has seen them alongside the likes of The Fire And I and The Minutes, the band continually giving everyone a run for their money. The EP has all the elements to place the threesome in the concentrated gaze of the UK rock scene, and the band itself the confidence and swagger to keep it burning.

Opening track Dirty, Dirty Rascals barely lays down its singular riff before unleashing a full stomp of aural wantonness, the song aa0581250999_2 tidy yet lawless slab of enterprise and insatiable hunger taking the senses on a ride of riotous adventure. With a strong contagious bassline and feisty flames of sonic taunting from the guitars, the track leads the passions on a charge of boisterous mischief with crafty rhythms framing and carving the exploits for greater persuasion.

The following Foolish wraps its riffs and melodic potency in an even stronger blues seeded blaze whilst the vocals snatch at some searing heavy metal tones but save themselves with a touch of belligerence to their coaxing. It is a sizzling mix which attached to the again teasing sonic scorching of the guitar only ignites further hunger for sound and release.

The Last Days Of Robert Johnson is a explosive romp which takes its time to get up to full energy but is deliberate in its brewing of a presence which makes every second of its impending climatic exploit one to savour and feed upon. Eventually the song unloads the pent up energy and greed through intensive and riveting white hot crescendos which spark equally impacting heat in the appetite of the listener.  As throughout the release the guitars have a raw and dishevelled sound which lights the ear further whilst the melodic strokes of keys enhance the invention and thrills further.

Final song Long Gone took and is still taking time to convince, though there is nothing openly disagreeable about its persuasion. With a slow saunter across the ear and vocals which equally do not rush to find a connection, the track does not spark any strong reaction or a sense of fire inside like the other three tracks. At its heart it is a pleasing and well-crafted piece but surrounded by less successful ideas and results, though the fact that the lead in to the chorus is a dead ringer to the core hook of the Eric Idle Python featured song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life raises a broad smile and an unintended contribution by this listener.  The song still makes a more than decent end to a great debut though and has plenty to continue the promise and now in place hunger for what follows from Pirate Sons in the future.

If you have fervour for blues tinged rock ‘n’ roll made with devilry by honest hands unconcerned with clean cut and ultimately passionless presentation, than the 233U EP is a piece of devil bred pleasure just ripe for consumption.


RingMaster 03/06/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Fejd – Nagelfar

Fejd gruppbild nagelfar med logga

There is a charm about Nagelfar, the new and third album from Swedish folk metallers Fejd, which is impossible to ignore or not devour hungrily, an essence within release and band which is something a little different and more captivating than most equally gaited projects. Arguably the album does not offering anything jaw-droppingly different or new for the genre, and certainly for themselves, but has a heart and beauty which leaves the appetite for such sounds full and aroused passions eager.

Hailing from Lilla Edet/Trollhättan, Fejd was formed in 2001 from the union of folk music duo Rimmerfors and members of metal band Pathos. The band brings together the medieval folk music inspired side of the brothers Patrik (lead vocals, bouzouki, Swedish bagpipe, jew’s harp, hurdy-gurdie, cow antler, willow-pipe and recorder etc.) and Niklas Rimmerfors (vocals and moraharpa…an older version of the Hurdy-Gurdy) with the heavier breath and metallic rhythmic strengths of Lennart Specht (guitars and keyboard), Thomas Antonsson (bass), and Esko Salow (drums). It is a compelling fusion of authentic Nordic folk music, with its melodic language and sadness, with the muscular tones of heavy metal, a sound which has made an open mark through the previous releases of the band, Storm and Eifur, with its finest moment to date coming with Nagelfar.

The Napalm Records released album opens with a mesmeric vocal call alongside a gently resonating drone as Ulvsgäld emerges 481_Fejdfrom the intro with a strolling melodic and rhythmic dance. It is instantly captivating and has excited feet shuffling eagerly within the enthusiastic stomp whilst the excellent vocals with a slight rasp to their impressive and clean declaration, coax thoughts into creative play with their Swedish sung yet fully expressive lyrical persuasion. The sense of epic sceneries are evoked as the track continues to open its seductive arms, sinews rippling throughout its wholly engaging enterprise and invitation, adding to what is an impressive and invigorating start to the release.

The following Sigurd Ring continues in the same vein, the songs seemingly connected in the adventure of the intent and traditionally lit sounds. As the track plays, just as with its predecessor, the listener is taken into a busy vision of traditional and medieval times, lands and people vibrant in their lives with forceful energy enriching their experiences, much as the songs do for the senses. With the keys opening up progressive warmth mid-way through to move the track into another pasture of emotive incitement, there is again nothing less than full fascination as well as physical and emotional engagement with the excellent encounter.

The following title track starts with another melodic lure against a restrained but blistered wind before opening a confrontation of staring eye to eye vocals and striding sounds with more than a punk whisper to their intent. Into its full stride the evolving melodic air against strong metallic walls at times reminds of Finnish band Stam1na, its brewing folk grandeur wrapping around every aspect of the body as its rhythmic trigger stands as a constant commanding instigator to frame the again potent imagery seeded by the band.

The melodic romp of Den Skimrande leads the hand into another irresistible energetic polka of passion whilst Jordens Smycke, Fjärrskådaren, and Vindarnas Famn all offer their individual narratives to bring further imagination and invention to the album. Though both the first and the acoustically sculpted third of this trio of songs fail to ignite the same depth of thrills and passion as elsewhere on the album they are undeniably impressively crafted and make easy and pleasing companions. In between Fjärrskådaren is an intriguing slice of dramatic and inspiring creativity, its continually if gently evolving premise enriched with emotion and descriptive aural suggestion, a track bringing a metallic growl to a warm caress for a compelling constantly changing provocation of ideas and imagery.

The closing Häxfärd is an instrumental which leaves a lasting impression of the times and lands inspiring the release with charm lit energy. Though Nagelfar fails to find the heights and might of its first half in the closing stretch it is never less than compelling and pleasure spawning throughout with a fervour which is impossibly contagious. For folk metal with honest character and imaginative vibrancy, Fejd stands right to the fore.


RingMaster 03/06/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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