Spies – Distant Shorelines EP

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If you merged The Smiths and Echo and The Bunnymen with a dash of The Mighty Lemon Drops and The National you get Spies, certainly on the evidence of the Distant Shorelines EP alone, though admittedly it is still not the whole story. Consisting of two scintillating and ridiculously compelling expanses of sonic and melodic ingenuity, the release is a breath-taking, imagination firing seduction which provides the evidence of one fascinating emerging tour-de-force. As their recent single November Sun, the release out November 18th via Trout Records, is a dramatically absorbing and invigorating sculpting of sound using essences of post punk, eighties indie, and noise rock. It instantly seduces and tantalises the senses never relinquishing its grip until the final ounce of its atmospheric evocation has caressed the passions.

From Dublin the quintet of Michael Broderick, Neil Dexter, Conor Cusack, Hugh O’Dwyer, and Jeffrey Courtney soon had attention and acclaim coating their early releases, the Liars Call Me King EP of 2010 and the Barricade single the following year. With radio play and attention, media coverage, and successful festival appearances surrounding Spies they soon built a strong and growing fanbase which will only accelerate in size with Distant Shorelines.

Opening with a raw and scuzz kissed guitar stroking of the ear soon joined by an intensive surf rock like melodic hook; Distant SpiesShorelines has little difficulty in igniting a healthy appetite, one which has a hunger on its hands just as soon as the strolling anthemic drum temptation lays down its intent. The magnetic vocals of Broderick only increase the bait as his smouldering and expressive tones begin their emotive narrative within an increasingly enchanting and incendiary weave of aural fascination. The delicious pulsating throaty basslines and anthemically persistent rhythms hold an irresistible grip throughout but given a stage to drive the songs potency home with only the Morrissey like tones of Broderick for company, they enslave the passions for the song to exploit and treat further. The track is sheer sonic beauty; a haunted post punk unpredictability and emotionally intense melodic toxin permeating ears and thoughts virulently whilst the vocals weave their own expressive design to seal a spellbinding provocation.

Mint And Lime immediately offers a darker shadowed clad presence, the gnarled bass and drum webbing creating an addiction forging lure for the noise fuelled jagged guitars to conjure a psyche lit blaze. Like Joy D vision meets The Gaa Gaas with some Cabaret Voltaire for good measure, it is a hypnotic entrance which only piles on the persuasion with The Smiths like vocal lilt and melodic enticements. Chilled yet sultry, the song is incendiary manna for the passions, a presence which evolves a soundscape like no other and a sirenesque call which is epidemically efficient.

Together the two tracks provide all the imagination and incredibly potent evidence needed to culture a lustful hunger for Spies and their sound, something which the single November Sun just as powerfully endorses with its melodically flaming and atmospherically entrancing presence. Just receiving its video launch too, the song is another sensational urging upon the passions to embrace and succumb to Spies, one of the most exciting and aurally stunning bands to come along over the past couple of years.

https://www.facebook.com/spiesdublin

10/10

RingMaster 16/11/2013

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Spiritwo – Primitive Twinship EP

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Adventure, experimentation, and straight forward daring are always aspects of songwriting and performance which grab attention even if not always as successfully as intended. Spiritwo is one such band with these attributes in abundance within their debut EP Primitive Twinship, a release which not only steals a healthy focus in its direction but breeds an equally potent appetite for its creativity and the quartet itself. The release is a hectic venture of imagination and audacious enterprise, one which does raise a few questions but ultimately makes a compelling and promise soaked persuasion.

Spiritwo is the brainchild of visual artist Yael Claire Shahmoon who brought it to life in in the clubs of Tel Aviv. Described by Time Out as ‘The Queen of Tel Aviv Underground’, Shahmoon and band relocated to London where their experimental sounds seeded with Middle Eastern influences, electro, doom, and theatre were soon casting an eager following. Their reputation for powerful and riveting stage performances, which have included sharing stages alongside the likes of Martin Rev (Suicide), UK Decay, Punishment of Luxury, Savages, Knifeworld, and Naive New Beaters, has only garnered more acclaimed responses and attentiveness which it is easy to expect Primitive Twinship to push on with its creative ‘bedlam’.

Opening track Soul Mate lays down a tantalising eighties electro lure which leads right into the muscular yet inviting body of the song. Solid beats are soon joined by a great dark weighty bass tempting from Michael Otim Okot and the rock coaxing flames of Charlie Cawood’s guitar. It is immediate bait which takes little time in holding the listener tightly in its persuasive grip especially when the vocals of Shahmoon add their expressive and emotive strength. The weave of grooves within the track, every instrument seemingly providing their own distinct but uniting offering, forges an infectious magnetism to the song but every aspect is a temptation which is hard to deny from the inventive songwriting through to the little dramatic touches vocally and musically. Across its impressive presence the song enchants and snarls, seduces and bruises whilst perpetually awakening thoughts and emotions to a rather exciting debut and band.

Sometimes steps up next and with a chilled atmosphere the seed for its emergence, the song takes mere seconds to take the song’s adventure into a new unique place from its predecessor. Shahmoon spreads her velvety tones across the brewing ambience, the keys and her delivery sculpting a drama which teases and menacingly smooches with the imagination. Erupting with a fiery passion in her voice the track evolves and entwines around the senses and passions like a sonic grasping snake. The track is dark vaudeville at its finest, Shahmoon expelling a range of vocal endeavour which is spiteful and often stretching the theatre appeal of the smouldering fire but thoroughly compelling, like the sounds from start to finish. Comparisons to Bjork have been placed around the band and it is easy to see why as the song pushes eagerly down on the senses, and with elements which loosely could be described and Cardiacs meets Helldorado with a spice of Jess & The Ancients One, it is impossible not to be wrapped up and enjoying the striking experience.

The EP is completed by Dive Down and again emotions and thoughts are taken on a ride of intrigue and unpredictability which leads only to full pleasure. Another electro coaxing opens things up before the beckoning beats of drummer Matt Riley summon any straggling reactions with their firm touch aligned to the again pulsating bass call. Growling breaths and sultry calls merge seamlessly in the music whilst vocally Shahmoon commands attention, her Eastern instinctiveness a delicious spicing to her diverse delivery and entrapment. Combining electro pop with heavy rock and that dramatic wantonness, the track is fuel for the passions.

Debatably there is maybe a little too much going on in songs which will not lie easily with some but if the experimentation of a Mike Patton and Bjork, the passionate adventure of a Mojo Fury or Japanese Fighting Fish, and the dark drama of a Stolen Babies or The Dresden Dolls finds a well-nourished place in your tastes than Spiritwo and their Primitive Twinship EP is a must.

https://www.facebook.com/spirittwo

9/10

RingMaster 17/11/2013

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Check out the new Spiritwo video @ SPIRITWO ‘SOUL MATE’

Lifelines – In Presents Wake EP

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If there is one thing which In Presents Wake, the debut EP from Scottish metallers Lifelines suggests it is that this is a band you need to see live. The intensity and aggressive energy of the six track release is a formidable hint to what you imagine their stage attack is like, though you suspect it still only touches the edges of their intensive stage presentation. The release is a fiery slab of metalcore rife with strong melodic flames and a voracious blend of rhythmic antagonism and ferocious riffery. The EP does not present Lifelines as the finished article but certainly as a band on a rapid and intensive rise with a sound to match their hunger.

The Glasgow quintet was formed in 2011 by vocalist Paul Bone, guitarist Sean Young, and drummer Jonny Macintyre. After going through multiple guitarists the line-up was completed by guitarist Adam Cosgrove and bassist Murray Paton and by the end of last year had built a strong growing reputation for their live shows which has seen them alongside bands such as Bleed From Within and Palm Reader. With In Presents Wake, the band makes its widest and strongest declaration to date, one you can easily see leading to strong acclaim and a much larger fan base for the explosive unit.

Opener Skyscrapers is an immediate pressure of rigid rhythms and eager riffing ridden by the coarse vocal attack of Bone. A Lifelines Cover Artworktimid but open groove tempts within the intensive atmosphere, the guitars crafting inviting lures into the song’s muscular body. There is a sense of Architects to the track which gives extra texture to the evocative conflict if also showing a distinct presence is still evolving for the band. With an intrigue and invention which is happy to ignore expectations the starter is a riveting entrance into band and EP.

The following Limitless is equally as magnetic without completely waking up the passions, the guitars and bass casting a web of enticing imagination and craft whilst the rhythmic enterprise of Macintyre is a bruising treat driving the track and ultimately release forward. The vocal delivery is a caustic grazing on the senses, a strong and passionate one but with a lack of diversity to Bone’s delivery it does diminish the potency of the track a little, though the incendiary guitar play and group vocal harmonies brief though they are, keep attention and thoughts captivated.

The Protagonist is an uncompromising confrontation from the start, bulging rhythms and a predacious bass prowl increasing the already eager appetite for the release whilst the sinew clad guitar invention without breaking boundaries weaves a cage around the senses and emotions which is lasting and satisfying. The EP from its strong opening does get better and more impressive song by song with this a definite marker to note, though after the brief and accomplished torrent of passion Better Left Unsaid, it is surpassed as the EP unleashes its finest moments with firstly Undertow. It is a heavily intensive tempest of enjoyment and incitement, riffs and rhythms a rapacious courting of the senses whilst the melodic endeavour paints their canvas with creative hues which ignite the imagination. The employment of cleaner vocals alongside the harsh scowls adds the extra exciting finish to the track; the earlier slightly wanted variety here alive and proving how well it works to help make the song the best and most potent encounter.

The closing triumph Silver Screen Synthetic is equally as inventive and exploratory to leave the promise and strengths of the band a raging and wholly persuasive lasting impression. Adventurous without losing sight of its intent and eager to mix things up rhythmically, melodically, and vocally, it is a contagious addiction breeding slice of brutality to complete an impressive debut.

It is fair to say that In Presents Wake does not offer anything new and that Lifelines have yet to stand out from the other strong elements of the crowd but equally it is easy to suggest that it will come, especially on the evidence of the final two tracks of the release. Though even these songs cannot hook a lingering connection once departed, in their and the band’s company they make a convincing and attention grabbing persuasion to make Lifelines a band to keep an eager eye on and definitely to catch live.

www.facebook.com/wearelifelines

7.5/10

RingMaster 16/11/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Bleak Falls – The Grass Gets No Greener EP

Bleak Falls Promo Shot

If ever a name suited a band’s sound then Bleak Falls has it, one which sums them and their music up perfectly. The UK melodic hardcore band creates and passionately expels a stark and dramatically textured expanse of gloom soaked melancholic aggressiveness which permeates senses and thoughts with ease. It is a provocative and at times smothering encounter but one which continues the promise of the band set with their debut EP Another Rainy Day of last year. The Grass Gets No Greener EP is a strong successor, one to keep the band on track as they evolve and emerge further, if arguably without leaping major steps on from its predecessor.

Formed in 2011, The Worthing quintet has earned strong attention and praise for their first release and live performances which has seen them share stages with the likes of Landscapes, The Long Haul, Isolated, Honour Is Dead, If Heroes Should Fail, and Set Your Sails. With the inspiration of bands such as Cancer Bats, Deftones, and Nirvana adding thought to their invention, Bleak Falls offers a sound which brings potent flavours from other styles into their mix though still not enough to yet give them the separate pedestal of originality which you still feel is bubbling away awaiting realisation. Like the band’s first release the EP is not an instant persuasion though it makes a strong impressive straight off but with patient attention emerges as another richly promising and provocative confrontation from the band.

     Forever / Always starts things off, its emotive atmospheric embrace an angst fuelled consumption crafted by the imaginativeBleak Falls Cover Artwork and precise guitar play of Chris Shane and Luke Marshall. Punctuated by the intimidating beats of drummer Ben Vaughan aligned to the excellent dark snarling tone from the bass of Don Wainwright, it is a potent and imagination inspiring introduction. The raw caustic vocals of Rudi Ridgewell wrings out in fine style every ounce of emotion from every syllable to add extra drama and intensity to that already brewed within the song, though with limitations. On the earlier EP Ridgewell was a convincing ingredient to the sound but did distract from some of the inventiveness and subtle imagination around him with a singular form of attack, a one dimensional corrosive assault and it is predominantly no different upon The Grass Gets No Greener and with the same results. Nevertheless the track is a strong start soon matched by its successor.

The following ’95 has a more energetic stride to its narrative and a more intensive aggression as marked by the again excellent rapacious bass prowl and crisp rhythms. With richly appealing melodies and exacting riffs filling the menacing framework and the vocals scowling with rigorous intent, the song is another good if less than startling persuasion just as A Taste Of Change. The third song on the EP has the shifting drama and building intensity of the opener but also a want to explode into a charge of energy and excitement, which ultimately it does resist in the end. It sounds negative but actually the restraint brings an emotional exploration which only sparks senses and thoughts into a positive response.

A high point of the release comes with Deadlock, a dark shadow engulfed encounter which intrudes on ears right through to emotions with its intensive evocation. A slow exhausting intensive weave of sound invades for the majority of the track before ending on an elevated blaze of energy and intent which provides more evidence of the thought and imagination in the songwriting and its interpretation. The same applies to the closing Put Me To Sleep, it a heavily dark bordering depressive engagement but one which lifts the passions and satisfaction superbly to take best song honours on the EP. A stylish merger of an emotionally bleeding ballad and passion drenched, riotous defiance the track is an excellent inciting provocateur which pushes the promise and depth of the band further to reinforce the thought that Bleak Falls is a band destined to something majorly impressive ahead. The vocals debatably let the song down a little, that lack of diversity again defusing the heights it could have soared to but the final emotive fire is still a thoroughly compelling and enjoyable testing.

Bleak Falls is definitely moving in the right direction as The Grass Gets No Greener EP easily shows though expectations probably assumed the evolution would be greater or certainly swifter than it seems to be so far. The band though is one which has to be watched closely and their journey enjoyed which will not be a problem as the EP proves.

www.facebook.com/BleakFallsOFFICIAL

7/10

RingMaster 16/11/2013

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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