Stephen Dale Petit – Cracking the Code

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Any album from the man who to so many is one of the major architects of the New Blues Revolution, is always going to create eager anticipation and intrigue for its unveiling, and Cracking The Code, the fifth album from guitarist, singer, songwriter Stephen Dale Petit is no exception.  Soaked in blues flames of various stirring hues and dramatic potency, as well as offering a mischievous wink which only engages the senses and emotions even more, the album is a thrilling and enterprising encounter with plenty to excite blues, rock, and rock ‘n’ roll fans alike.

Hailing from London and taking inspirations from the likes of Mississippi Fred McDowell, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Freddie King, Jeff Beck, Elmore James and many more into his own distinctive creativity, Petit did not take long to draw strong support and acclaim with equally rich success, through his live performances and early albums such as Guitararama and The Crave. Recorded in Nashville with Vance Powell (The Ranconteurs, Buddy Guy, Jars Of Clay), Cracking The Code has all the unique character and style to replicate previous successes and draw many more hearts into his enjoyable energetic sound. The album sees various guests joining up with Petit alongside bassist Sam Odiwe, keyboardist Jon Moody, and drummer Chris Williams. Rolling Stone Mick Taylor and The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney both lend their striking talents to certain songs on the album as do Hubert Sumlin, Dr. John, Chris Barber and more. The result is a refreshing and invigorating collection of tracks which offer adventure and revelry in varied descripts, all combining for what is rather appetising inspired fun.

The first single from the 333 Records released album, Holla starts things off in a vigorous manner, a lone guitar wakening up attention Cthe cbefore percussion, beats and smouldering riffs lay a welcoming glaze over the ear ready for the enjoyable vocals of Petit. With the backing vocals of Andy Caine and Angela Brooks dancing around flirtingly beside the frontman, and the guitars of Sumlin and Taylor adding extra fire to the already scintillating scorching of the passions, the track is a virulently contagious stomp of blues clad rock ‘n’ roll. A track which seems to find greater infection with every listen, it is the perfect addictive introduction to the album.

The following Wonder lays down a sultry wash from guitar and keys over the body before the vocals open up their presence with a snarl to their tones and urgency in their power. It is a gentler start than its predecessor though with a more intense and provocative presence as it leads into an equally enthralling encounter realised by striding rhythms and the rapacious intent of the track brewed into a burn of sonic excellence. Dramatic in its invention and seductive in its melodic imagination the song makes for an inspiring nudge upon thoughts and emotions.

Both Get You Off and Hard To Love You continue the heated presence of the album, if without quite matching the heights of their predecessors. The first with the piano of Dr. John bringing emotive hues to the piece late on, is a thrilling agitated rub on the senses with the guitars and bass especially antagonistic yet addictively compelling whilst its successor is an easy to embrace pop rock stroll with an excellent caustically sonic sky and again an almost unruly breath to ensure a magnetic intrigue lays its hands on the imagination.

After the more than decent jazz lit instrumental Approximately Perfect Heartbreak, a track which enters as if it is going to start a riot but evolves swiftly into a slow immersion into sonic lava and evocative aural reflection, the album unveils its highest pinnacle starting with Muzzle. A psychotic web of sounds, sonic entrapment, and discord kissing provocation opens up the track brilliantly; the lure irresistible if sinister as it embraces a dirty growl of swaggering rock ‘n’ roll. A delicious tempest of riveting invention the track is soon matched by Riot City and Shotgun Venus, the first another flaming grudge lilted ride of absorbing ingenuity and devilry with a hint of punk rock to its attitude, and the second a brief glam/hard rock like canter soaking the ears in outstanding and sizzling enterprise and craft.

The start of Slideway is another exceptional trigger for the passions though once into its admittedly enjoyable and impressive stride, the growling adventure is a slight anti-climax after such a great threatening entrance. Nevertheless the song only adds to the pleasure of the album, as do final pair My Friend Bob, a decent country folk saunter with surf rock guitar flames, and the closing Hubert’s Blues, another instrumental which takes the emotions into a shack of blues bred mastery. They conclude an album which has definite peaks but avoids any troughs such it’s accomplished and skilfully envisaged and explored adventure. Cracking the Code is simply a release for anyone who loves melodic rock ‘n’ roll with plenty of passion and inventive fire.

https://www.facebook.com/StephenDalePetit

8.5/10

RingMaster 15/09/2013

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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Burning House – Walking Into A Burning House

 

Photo by Tim Deussen

Photo by Tim Deussen

Burning House is the coming together of beat-maker and one of the founding members of Bay Area Hip-hop collective Quannum Projects (Blackalicious, DJ Shadow, Latyrx), Chief Xcel and keyboardist/vocalist Hervé Salters (aka General Elektriks). It is a project that has been on the cards awaiting the time to be born since the pair met in San Francisco a few years ago where they realised a shared passion for funk infested things and irreverence when it comes to music. The union now offers an encounter in debut album Walking Into A Burning House, which takes the listener on a heady dance and ride through numerous exotic, exciting, and almost psychotic adventures.

The pair since their meeting has played on certain songs and releases of each other, whilst the French wizard of the keys Salters joined Blackalicious on their 2005 tour for The Craft album. Uniting again in Paris, the duo set about working on composing and creating music for the album, coming together a few months later in Berlin to finish the release and then later joining up in San Francisco again for its mixing. A fusion of dance, jazz, funk, pop, and plenty of more melodically enthused and varied temptations.

Released via French imprint Naïve Records, the album is an intriguing and riveting release if with niggling issues at times which rub BurningHouseagainst the grain slightly of the pleasure installed by the fourteen slices of warm and refreshing encounters. The main moan is that many of the tracks do not have an apparent ending, the tracks either drifting from view whilst seemingly in full flow or even worse at times they as good as just stop without warning or build up. Despite that irritant once in the arms of each enchantment it has to be said that persuasion is full and virulently infectious as shown by opener 28 Steps To…, the riveting track a stroll through a sinister noir clad scenario with floating glances of light within welcoming shadows. It is only brief but the perfect intro to a cinematic or TV fifties sci-fi/crime thriller, and to the album.

It is followed by the recently released single Turn Off The Robot, a track which did not exactly light our fires when making its debut but one easy to warm to; though under its balmy funk bred skies the urge to shout “Shaft” here and there is hard to resist. With appealing electro kisses to the flowing breeze of summery yet chilled jazzy sounds it is a more than decent stroll soon left in the shade of the likes of Post Party Stress Disorder and Tokyo Airport. The first of the pair immediately has a presence and vibrancy which reminds of Heaven 17, vocals and electro flames seducing the ear with harmonic finery whilst further tempting from the keys and the anthemic beats lure in thoughts of the Tom Tom Club. From its sizzling and drifting away climax the song passes the album over to its successor which instantly wraps excellent vocals and elegant mystique around thoughts to stir up another eager waltz of fiery melodies and feet hustling beats. With a definite sixties gait and seventies disco heart, the track is a welcome tease though with one of those messy endings.

Through tracks like The Nightbird and the bustling jam of Emergency Exit imagination is toyed with within the artists and the listener, even if the tracks fail to whip up the excitement of earlier songs. The good reactions they do breed though are soon lit up for greater results through songs like the sultry and mesmeric Copy That with its workman efficiency and eager seductive flourishes within a vibrant productive dance. It is matched in contagion by the agitated hive of hypnotic beats and bewitching pulses wrapped in jazz spawned eccentricity that is Scatterbrain and the absorbing Whispers In Your Headphones. The last of the trio is a song which merges shadows and light into an outstanding blaze of invention which is as equally menacing and sinister as it is poetically animated and lingeringly beautiful, coming with a loud whisper of Yello to its flourishes for extra tantalising.

Closing with the kinetically crafted romp Rhythm In The Machine and the electro rock based Boomerang, two more tracks which reinforce a heavy hunger for release and project which are brewed across the whole album and much against expectations to be honest going by personal preferences going into the encounter. Walking Into A Burning House is basically a scintillating collection of mini soundscapes and dance-floor provocateurs which leaves a long lasting and richly satisfying experience; just wish they had taken as much care on the ends of tracks as they did everywhere else, though maybe that was the intention all along to rile things up.

https://www.facebook.com/burninghouseofficial

8/10

RingMaster 15/09/2013

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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Ron McElroy – Japanese Song

Ron McElroy pic

Earlier this year London based singer/songwriter/guitarist Ron McElroy impressed with his debut single World At War, so much so that a definite anticipation for his first full-length album All Her Kisses which is to be released soon, was sparked. Now he releases the second single from the impending album in the intriguing form of the Japanese Song. It is a track which raises questions as well as confirming the promise previously triggered, but overall it still adds to the appetite for his debut album.

With the experience of working and playing with the likes of Juliette Lewis, Isabella Summers (Florence & the Machine), Sian Evans (DJ Fresh, Kosheen), Trouble Over Tokyo and Amber Bella Muse, the artist has come a long way from receiving a simple hand-me-down guitar given to him by a friend, and striving to master its charms and develop his own unique style with inspirations from the likes of Jimmy Hendrix and Miles Davis.

From the more eager anthemic rock intent of his first single, Japanese Song is an arguably less accessible and certainly more of a slowly persuasive piece of invention. The lone acoustic guitar declaration is an instantly lure whilst the soon joining oriental percussive suggestion adds a joint mystique and question in thoughts. The distinctive vocals of McElroy soon add another texture to the narrative and at this point senses and imagination are consumed with whether the combination works or not for them, and debatably the song does not quite engage as may be  it should at this point. As great vocal harmonies and the simple but evocative guitar tempting wrap their further suggestion around the ear you soon discover a smouldering persuasion working and soon providing a compelling answer to any questions being raised. The song by its end has left a nicely composed rock/folk ballad which does not light fires but still offers enough to tempt a check out of the forthcoming album.

Definitely a song which makes a stronger suasion with each listen though it does not feel like the natural temptation for newcomers to investigate the album ahead, Japanese Song is another wind of intrigue to the talent of McElroy and certainly well worth a listen or two.

http://www.ron-mcelroy.com/

7/10

RingMaster 15/09/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://www.audioburger.com