UK alternative rock band Stuntman Mike has brewed a potent rising reputation for their vibrant sound since forming around three years ago, a certain trigger coming with the release of debut song Triangles. Following on from the keen promise of the single Blackout Revolvers released at the tail of last year, the trio from Glasgow now unleash their debut album, also called Triangles, to make a strong and enjoyable statement about a band finding their creative and enterprising feet. The release offers a collection of accomplished and passionate songs which leaves an eager appetite for their persuasion in place. The album it is fair to say is not one stretching the boundaries of uniqueness for the genre but certainly adds a fresh and heart bred spice.
Taking inspiration from the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Black Sabbath, Kasabian, The Police, and Queen into their ideas and organic sound, the trio of vocalist Scott Hetherington, guitarist Billy Mulholland, and drummer/backing vocalist Affy Ahmad have earned an impressive reputation live which has included shows alongside the likes of Kassidy, The Dykeenies, The Damned Things, Gun, Barry Hyde (The Futureheads) and the Virgin Marys. Their previous self-released singles have also garnered great support and acclaim with the song Secret Forces winning Rock Recording of the Year at the Scottish New Music Awards. Continuing to be passionately DIY, the band is primed to brand a deeper mark with the album, an evocatively fuelled release recorded with famed Scottish producer Stuart McRedie (The Fratellis, Pete Doherty, The Dykeenies, Codeine Velvet Club).
Coming in new to the band, it has to be said their name is not the most inviting for some reason but that is soon forgotten as the album’s opening track Buffalo confidently strolls up to the ear. Crisp beats and fiery melodic guitar teases immediately draw in attention whilst the brewing intensity and excellent vocals add further potent persuasion. It is not long before a Manic Street Preachers feel emerges from within the song, a flavour which with the band’s own invention makes for a sizzling and impressive invitation. Hooks continue to scythe a deep lure in the imagination whilst sonic hues stand side by side with the delivery of Hetherington to incur greater temptation upon the passions. New ground is not being laid with the song but satisfaction is undoubtedly thick in its presence.
The following Great Exploitations with its fizzing electronic spices and vocal harmonics finds a Muse tint to its magnetic temptation. The stomping core of the song leads the emotions on a heady venture beneath the continually shifting and exploring melodic weave and anthemic breath to forge an encounter which like its predecessor just lifts and ignites the appetite and passions. It continues the impressive start which is not quite matched by next up Modern Glory and Promise, both songs lacking the spark which marked the first pair. Neither lack craft and imagination though, the first having a Mind Museum like emotive energy to its narrative and the second an infectious if not quite tightly griping call to its encroaching cloud of sonic intensity and provocative adventure. Taken alone the tracks leave a lingering impression but on the album pale against the surrounding opening twosome and next up We Say Fire. This song is a sinew sculpted confrontation with a feisty swagger to match. Not neglecting the melodic flames and skill the band already unveils on the album, the track is a storm of rapaciousness and restraint, the extremes brought in a seamless and compelling alignment.
Through the likes of Cartel with its broody guitar and bass probing and the tantalising Roses and Razors, the band continue to hold thoughts and attention in their direction but into its second half the album loses that fire which earlier songs seduced with. Again though these and tracks like Ashes and Champagne Wolves are never less than pleasing and enjoyable in their company, just not lingering once departed.
Closing with the enterprising romp of Kingdom to provide a strong finish to its enjoyable presentation, Triangles marks out Stuntman Mike as a band to keep an eye on. The album does not reach the peaks found by some of its tracks consistently enough across its length to fire up the passions intensely but with all songs soaked in promise and adventure it makes a healthy base for the band to spring from.
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