The Hidden Cameras – Age

AGE album cover

    Providing the sumptuous musical bounty The Hidden Cameras are already recognised for whilst stretching the boundaries further with a spicy array of sounds and styles, Age the new album from the Canadian indie pop band irresistibly seduces and incites the imagination and emotions. It is an expansive and welcomingly invasive evocation which thrillingly drowns the listener in feverish temptation and enthralling colour drenched invention. Every corner, twist, and adventure explored emotionally and aurally, leaves a lingering persuasion and mark whilst Age as a whole shapes itself up as an early melodically sculpted pinnacle of the year.

      The brainchild of the perpetual creative driving force behind the ever enticing project, songwriter/frontman Joel Gibb, The Hidden Cameras has continued to challenge and impress musically and emotionally since being founded in 2001. From debut album Ecce Homo that first year, the Toronto hailing Gibb has pushed boundaries and thoughts through five acclaimed full-lengths with this the sixth being no exception. Igniting a dormant even non-existent music scene in his home city, Gibb became the first Canadian artist to sign with Rough Trade. Now Berlin based, the unique imagination and craft of the man has forged another questioning and spotting of sexual prejudices and social inadequacies in the Evil Evil released Age, a record which is a kind of coming of age investigation with undoubted personal incites and in the words of Gibb an album which “deconstructs my musical roots”.

     That deconstruction gives the expansive flavouring and diversity which openly calls out from Age, and is soon absorbing attention and appetite with opener Skin & Leather. Immediately vocals croon as a brewing electronic shadow looms up from behind their invitation, a potent lure soon aided by guitar stroking and the lyrical voice of Gibbs. It is a gentle and mesmeric start; a warm magnetic bait seizing the imagination easily getting it ready for the impending explosion of bulging rhythms and climactic melodic fire. Instantly contagious and sublimely tempting with the orchestral aspects the band is renowned for weaving an evocative beauty to immerse within without restraint, the song engulfs the listener in a wind of poetic beauty and feisty energy. Not for the last time there is an eighties indie pop essence, the melodic endeavour and almost raging anthemic gloriousness of the song sparking thoughts of bands like The Wild Swans and Bourgie Bourgie.

    Bread for Brat matches the impressive start with its own riveting imagination and incendiary tempting. Its brilliant start of acidic violin swipes alongside a deliciously moody cello coaxing which almost snarls at the ears is irresistible and only strengthens its potency as the smooth and expressive vocals of Gibbs opens up a provocative charm. Thick in drama delivered in a reserved gait though admittedly with a bold attitude, the track is an enthralling and luxurious baroque like encounter which bewitches an already strongly bred hunger before the following pair of Doom and first single from the album Gay Goth Scene add their vital stimulus.

     The first of the pair emerges from a dark brooding affair, synths and orchestral inducements flirting closely with melancholic intensity. Once the melodic electro grace and vocal harmonies spread their warm embraces, the song still cloaked in emotional shadows unveils a heated dance of lively adventure with folk undertones. Not as immediate as other tracks but equally as impacting and thrilling its presence it makes way for its outstanding successor. A song which apparently was written ten years previously and you assume addresses the times in Toronto for Gibbs when he staged what became legendary nights in Churches of the city, the single like its predecessor smoulders as it first comes into view, like a breaking dawn slowly filling the senses and imagination with strong vocals within tender orchestral bait. It is another strong breath of magnetic power which digs deeper with its lure once energy and intent raise their urgency through rapacious beats and vivacious electronic seduction. Add the increasing exertions physically and inventively from the strings and the wonderful wailing witchery of guest artist Mary Margaret O’Hara and Gay Goth Scene makes the most compelling and dramatic incentive for the album.

    The diversity of the release is already in full swing and takes another striking turn with the reggae lilted Afterparty, a track which saunters and breezes through the ears like a combination of the dub craft of Ruts DC meets the reggae seduction of By The Rivers. It is a mesmeric entrapment for thoughts and emotions revealing more of the inspirations which have impacted on Gibbs, more assumedly coming with the next up Carpe Jugular. An eighties seeded alchemy of synth pop and new wave exploration, the song resonates with a toxically infectious electro enticing. It plays like a cross between Heaven 17 and later Dalek I Love You providing a tantalising brightly glowing slice of melodic suasion. Bringing the kind of incandescent and virulently captivating melody driven weaves which marked the songwriting of Martyn Ware and Ian Marsh (Human League/Heaven 17), the song simply romances and invigorates the senses.

     The folkish element returns in Ordinary Over You, a song which also adds drama to rich flames of evocative enterprise in its short presentation, before final track and recently released new single Year of the Spawn brings the release to a stunning conclusion. As with all of the songs there is something engagingly familiar to the sound and heart of the track but this only adds to the fullness of pleasure and satisfaction. With strings and vocals painting an ensnaring allurement alone, a fascination which only increases through the blaze of strings and brass around a heady and sturdy piano scripted emotional narrative, the song is a mouthwatering evocation.

     Age is a magnificent confrontation, an album which makes love to the senses whilst awakening thoughts and emotions to wider issues and drama clad textures. Whether it is the best The Hidden Cameras album to date can be debated but certainly it is at the fore and a real treat to get the year really rolling.

http://thehiddencameras.com/

9/10

RingMaster 23/04/2014

 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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Black Space Riders – D:REI

 

 Black Space Riders official 2014

   A spatial exploration of progressively sculpted metal and psychedelically forged rock merged with varied additives into thirteen rugged landscapes, D:REI is a compelling incitement for the imagination and fuel for the passions. Consisting of strikingly varied and ravenously adventurous tracks, the third album from German heavy rockers Black Space Riders is one of those treats you just cannot exhaust your hunger for. Our first encounter with the band, D:REI is an exceptional triumph sure to also invite an intensive retrospective investigation of the band.

     Formed in 2008, the Münster hailing band immediately triggered acclaim and attention with their self-titled album two years later. A quartet consisting of JE (lead vocals, guitars), SLI (guitars), SAQ (bass), and CRIP (drums, vocals), Black Space Riders hit European stages to reinforce their presence and rising stature in support of their feverishly received record. 2012 saw second album Light Is The New Black unleashed, again with strong support and praise soaking the even more adventurous and sound diverse release. As the year merged into the next, a second lead vocalist, SEB who had already provided additional background-vocals on the album was recruited into the band. Now Black Space Riders look poised to thrust themselves further into the devouring passions of the wider metal and heavy rock world with D:REI. It is an encounter which is impressive with either predatory aggressiveness or wanton seduction, merging both more often than not; the ignition to a greedy appetite for the invigorating and scintillatingly unique provocation.

     The album is a concept styled encounter: a journey from impending doom through devastation on to a voyage to a new 13_10_17 lp_sleeve.inddunknown adventure though that is simplifying it. The tracks are split into chapters within the exploration starting with D – Defiance moving on to R – Ruins and E – Escape through to I – Beyond. It is an encounter which sparks the imagination and the inventiveness of thoughts as well as providing a musical soundscape which evokes the passions. From the opening track Stare at the Water the album simply captivates with an unrelenting but continually riveting tempest of sound and sonic design. A slowly unveiling landscape is revealed by the start of the first song initially, an entrancing ambience aided by a singular guitar. Two minutes in it is dispersed by a stormy cloud of rigorous riffs and muscle clad rhythms soon joined by vocals and flames of inventive guitar. A mix of heavy metal and stoner dressed endeavour, the track stomps with intensity and formidable craft to lure and intimidate in equal measure. It is a potent opening to the album though not quite lighting the fuse to the passions.

    That match is lit by the following sizeable triumphs starting with Bang Boom War (Outside my Head). A sonic hostility opens up the gateway to a carnivorously toned bassline and rapacious rhythms within a whining acidic grazing of guitar. It is tremendous bait enhanced by the excellent dual vocal attack and an industrial seeded yawn of guitars and predatory stalking, a presence which merges essences of Fear Factory and Marilyn Mansion with a Sabbathesque doom bred intensity. As the album shows across its length, the song is an evolving and unpredictable beast of an incitement, a spine of rhythms the only constant to which ravenous yet seducing weaves of imagination and sound avail their temptation.

    Rising from the Ashes of our World comes next and compared to other songs takes longer to fully persuade though as soon as its stalking rhythms and heavily laden riffs seize the ears, attention and appetite are certainly heading in only one direction. Thoughts of Prong enter the mind initially but the track is soon going deeper and into darker places with its intensive weight and abrasively toned riff rabidity. The slower dare one say mellower moments of the song surprise and intrigue if without raising the same appetite as the voraciousness around them but it just accentuates the power of the sinews driving the song and the irresistible climax, a pestilential finale which savages and thrills insatiably.

    Both Give Gravitation to the People and Way to Me take the album to another level, the first a festering scourge of caustic metal with an agitated rhythmic teasing. Primarily invasive heavy unrelenting metal with a touch of early Therapy? seemingly thrown in, it is a hypnotic scourge on the senses with a melodic mystique whispering in its atmosphere whilst its successor is a dance of groove metal and grunge sculpted by again contagious rhythms and that continually irresistible snarling bass. The track swings its muscular hips and heavy handed rhythmic infectiousness with a swagger which only recruits the fullest allegiance to its call. With a progressive flair and imagination to the guitars and their melodic weaves, the song is pure magnetism.

     Through the insistent fire bred stoner heat of Temper is Rising, the classically cast heavy metal suasion of The GOD-survivor, and the smouldering I see the album continues to draw the emotions in deeper even though the last two of the trio simply please rather than fire up any intense reactions. That is left to the exceptional Leave to produce, its opening Middle Eastern kissed flavouring the coaxing leading into an ever expanding flight through incendiary climes and melodic ingenuity. It is a masterful evocation of sound and emotional narrative not forgetting pungent adventure.

    From here on in the album provides more taxing moments, infection wise if still ones making the strongest persuasion. Space Angel (Memitim) is a ten minute musical painting which is excellently crafted and imaginatively coloured but arguably over long whilst Major Tom Waits, with its great gravel clad vocals strikes a union with thoughts but misses out on sparking up the passions. The final pair of offerings though from the almost punk swung rocker Letter to a Young One and the doom flavoured furnace of stoner tempting and heavy riffery, The Everlasting Circle of Infinity provide an addictively exciting conclusion to the release.

    With just a couple of lulls come sparkless moments, D:REI is a richly rewarding, ear feasting slab of metallically framed space/melodic rock with plenty more besides, and Black Space Riders a new pleasure, certainly for us, to greedily indulge in.

http://www.blackspaceriders.com

9/10

RingMaster 23/01/2014

 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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