It may have taken a few plays to fully persuade but one thing which was soon apparent as the Ruin EP from UK alternative rock band Stars and Flights laid its cultured riot of rock ‘n’ roll upon the ear, was that there is something instinctively appealing about the band. The three track release shows a certain craft and passion to its songs which makes a string impression and though the EP does not quite light the energy and fire inside towards it that maybe it suggests it was capable of doing a confidence in saying that this is a band with a rich future is easily sparked.
Hailing from Neath in South Wales and formed in 2010, Stars and Flights first made a noticeable mark with their Ghoulish Records released debut album Dropping Anchors in March of last year. Recorded with producer Romesh Dodangoda it turned heads in the band’s direction whilst offering promise of greater things to come. Whether the Ruin EP comes close to realising that promise is debatable but it undoubtedly leaves the feeling that something formidable from the trio of James Davies (vocals/guitar), Kierran Tomkins (bass), and Brad Ratcliffe (drums) is on the horizon.
The Pete Dowsett produced release immediately clutches the ear in a tirade of guitar confrontation as the opening title track makes its bold and feisty presence known. With firm crisp beats and a great roving bassline instigating undiluted focus with their lures the guitar sabre sweeps with acidic and appealing flashes of sonic temptation across their intriguing design. It is not long before the expressive vocals offer an evocative plea to add to the emotive wash in place and as the music sweeps into imaginative corners and inventive ideas the further the song expands, there is a solid springboard for satisfaction to launch from. Admittedly the track never truly ignites and seizes the senses but the enjoyable adventure given is impossible to dismiss.
The following The Lights Went Out as its predecessor makes the strongest opening persuasion, the bass tempting the richest reaction with its throaty and vibrant stroll through the ear as percussive accompaniment frames its call. Soon vocals and guitar add their voices to the mix and as energy and emotive intensity rises at the same time the track evolves into a rather compelling encounter. Again the spark to inspire a full blaze of passion to give in return for the magnetic and thoughtful endeavour is not found but throughout the song there is the sense of something desperate to break out and make the strongest demand on the heart which makes for an intensive bait. As in evidence on the first song musically, the band tease and invite a rich depth of acclaim for their offerings though at times they do seem reluctant to push the limits of their dynamic and inventive ideas to secure the most potent returns, but vocally is where things fall short. It is not a major issue as such but the tracks on the EP alone request more work needs to be made on the less successful aspects of Davies’ delivery to match the elements the vocalist does hit the spot with.
Final song Inhale/Exile thumps at the ear first before barging through with eager energy framed by impressive flexing rhythmic sinews. Bass and guitar rampage with skill and thoughtful invention as the track stomps along with contagious diversity and fiery intensity to secure the biggest mental applause and satisfaction of the release, and though still the vocals fluctuate too much they add to the rawer and more raucous flight of the riotously enjoyably song.
Released June 17th as a Name Your Price download on the band’s bandcamp page , Ruin is a release deserving of as much attention as possible. It may not itself set the band into the limelight of UK rock but provides plenty of appealing ammunition to believe Stars and Flights will be in that glare at some point in the not so distant future.
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