Jess McAllister – Painted Faces

Jess McAllister pic

    Bringing yet further proof that reality TV does not and seemingly cannot discover the most essential talent and enterprising artists, the Painted Faces EP introduces us to an organic artist who needs no effects, falsehoods, and manipulations to ignite the emotions and imagination with true individual invention. The creator of the EP is Devon indie-folk singer songwriter Jess McAllister, a musician and writer who does everything instinctively and from the heart, like so many other underground aural inciters, and with a craft and imagination which only shows up the blandness which the controlling media and hierarchy would have us devour. The four track release is an enterprising and stirring slice of creative evocation lyrically and musically, the kind of thrilling temptation which can only help swing mass attention towards where all the unique talent rewards dwell.

     McAllister took her early steps playing the pub folk circuit in her home town of Plymouth before becoming part of and writing with a reggae band whilst at Exeter University. Pursuing her own ideas and musical direction from there it was the birth of her son which opened up her thoughts and artistry to bring further enrichment and emotional understanding to her music. Continuing to play intimate gigs around Devon, the lady has brewed a strong and potent following to her striking and all-embracing sounds, a bewitchment of audiences that you sense will be able to stretch its enchanting much further afield from the impressive entrance of Painted Faces, an expansion which has already started with her recent jaunt around the UK with Belfast based Alt-Folk band The Emerald Armada on their tour.

    Recorded with and produced by Dan Smith and featuring many impressive guest performances,  Painted Faces  and a2199294095_2McAllister take little time in engrossing attention and thoughts as opener Take A Walk slowly unveils its charms. Absorbing vocal harmonies astride dramatic keys coax the ears first, the rich temptation enthralling and deepening g as the cello of Dury Loveridge and violin of John Matthias lay their emotive caresses across the senses. The tones of McAllister are ripe with reflection and emotion but also come with an almost mischievous smile which radiates from within the melancholic yet vibrant croon. The song glides and sways over the ears, its aural seduction and lyrical narrative transfixing aligned to great cello groans and potent piano suasion.

    It is a magnetic and powerful start soon left a little in the shade by the following title track. A piano sculpted canvas again brings the song into view, its picturesque hues waiting little time before McAllister joins in with again her character laden melodic tones. Like its predecessor, the song adds weaves of drama  from the keys and cello to its crafty design, little explosions of busy and throaty adventure adding shade to the radiance being cast by voice and keys. Simply sirenesque in its distinctive way, the song craves and receives even deeper submission for its wonderful call, Damien Scarr’s double bass devilry adding increasing bait alongside the continually evolving inventive and imagination drenched enterprise. Like a mix of Holly Walker and Gabby Young playing with some of the irrepressible revelry of The BeauBowBelles, the track is nothing short of creative seduction.

     Shadows In The Night opens on a piano created melody and tease, a call coming with familiarity but escaping detection of the reason why.  It beckons in the imagination with ease as the reserved but certain revelry of the mandolin provided by Mat Norman dance with the ever appealing vocals and harmonies cast by McAllister to accentuate the song’s thrilling toxicity. With an essence of the Mediterranean to its swirling melodic skirt and reassuring understanding to the lyrical intimate drama being played out and addressed, the track is yet one more intricate and infectious gentle flight of suggestive elegance.

     Never Mind Buying Time closes up the EP and unsurprisingly, given the quality of its predecessors, expectations were poised for something just as lyrically lively and evocative within a captivating was of poetic sounds. The track does not leave them or the already greedy appetite wanting, it’s tender fascination an impossibly engaging breeze of dark and light infused melodic excellence honed by an intensive and undeniably blessed imagination. It impressively finishes off a quite wonderful entrance from Jess McAllister, an artist you can expect to hear a lot more of if luck and justice prevails alongside her talent and potent songwriting.

    With the Painted Faces EP available as a buy now name your piece release @ you really should not still be here…

Upcoming Live Dates:

13th February – B-Bar, Plymouth

17th February – Songsmiths Night @ Mr Wolfs, Bristol

18th February – The Abbey, Kentish Town

19th February – The Dublin Castle, Camden

28th February – The Barrel House, Totnes

1st March – Real Food Cafe, Exeter


RingMaster 03/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

Sweet Gum Tree – The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame

Arno Sojo

Arno Sojo

    As poetic musically as it is lyrically, The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame is an enchanting and sublimely enveloping taking of the imagination and emotions. Lush and magnetic the debut album from Sweet Gum Tree is a warm absorbing flight of vibrant and evocative ballads casting crystalline reflections. It is also a presence which evolves and seduces to greater extents with every listen, the songs expanding their embrace and thought summoning potency across numerous encounters to leave the listener lost and immersed in a spellbinding creative soak.

     Sweet Gum Tree is the solo project of French songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Arno Sojo, an artist who for ten years played in various rock and electro bands, most notably his own creation Sojo Glider. Deciding to explore his emerging ideas and sound with an influence of ‘the timeless beauty of refined vintage records’, his uniquely named poetic chamber pop emerged to start tantalising ears as Sojo brought Sweet Gum Tree to life. The band was soon sharing stages with artists such as Heather Nova and Gaëtan Roussel, whilst various singles and EPs have equally drawn strong acclaim and attention to match his live performances. The new album is the next step to awakening a wider audience, something you suspect The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame will do with relative ease. Recorded with David Odlum (Gemma Hayes) and Peter Deimel (Deus, Anna Calvi) as well as featuring a wash of guest musicians including Isobel Campbell, Tindersticks drummer Earl Harvin, and Marty Willson-Piper from The Church, the last pair also joining the band for its upcoming tour debut UK tour, the album is a masterful persuasion of everything from ears and senses to thoughts and emotions. Partly composed with classical arranger Eric Voegelin who also arranged all the orchestration on the release, the album is a tender and melancholic temptation but one with warmth and hope which always leaves the final kiss.

    Lyrically the album is a kaleidoscope of observations and reflective explorations, whether personal or as an outside perception, 1476685_444574455653024_2109686357_nand dreamy if shadowed relationships. As shown by opener Redhead, a track which from a seemingly singular subject embraces all never to be seemingly submissive prejudices, the music written and presented on the album coats and reflects the words with a rich and deep understanding to the lyrical missive. The first song makes a slow and reserved entrance before a piano coaxing welcomes in the fine expressive tones of Sojo, both soon wrapped in the arms of delicious emotive strings, an evocation which constantly seduces and succeeds across the whole of the album. There is a quiet but firm drama to the song too, a seemingly personal angst expelled through heated enterprise which only increases the immediate and lingering lure of the track.

    The wonderful New Rays follows and instantly raises the game, its opening thumping but respectful beats awakening an eager appetite which is soon fed by tempting guitar strokes and melodic enticement. It is a stomp of a song but one never brazen enough to lose its control and dispel mesmeric beauty, every aspect of the track energised yet confident in its restrained seduction. The best track on the album, well for today anyway as that choice has been known to change over various listens, it makes way for the excellent incitement of The Crimson Flush. A rosy blush lyrically and musically, the song is a resourceful smouldering of a glorious stringed narrative around the slightly Bowie-esque vocals. The track does walk the rim of show tunes in some ways but never to its detriment or loss of its irresistible coy suasion.

   Both Bird of Passage which features the earlier mentioned Campbell as one part of a riveting duet, and the bewitching Last Chance Train continue the impressive glide of the album. The second of the two holds a familiarity to it but one which evades recognition within a weave of acoustic craft and textures within a melodic fascination. With rising crescendos of energy and emotion thrilling throughout its body, the track is simply a mouthwatering merger of rock and pop.

     The following Astray with its sultry breath and elegantly inflamed walls and its successor the skittishly rhythmic Chew Up Spit Out provide two admittedly longer to convince but eventually succeeding propositions, their melodic charm and inventive radiance impossible to avoid and dismiss as their lyrical paintings provoke the imagination. Though neither match earlier heights, both leave an irresistible taste in the passions powerfully matched by the almost foxy delicacy and emerging feistiness of Grateful as Fire and the stringed grandeur aligned to an alluring intimacy presented by The Vulnerable Almighty.

     The final pair of songs November Daughter and Breathtaker brings subdued yet melodically ornate and attractively stylish breezes to bear on the senses respectively; the two again songs which maybe want longer to seduce but do not err in their success as they light up the imagination and emotions. Certainly some tracks are stronger and richer in their infectious tempting than others and as to which do will definitely vary from person to person, but every song on The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame is an emotional colour driven sail through melodic and vivid life bred hues, and the strongest evidence that Sweet Gum Tree is set to inflame a swarm of hearts.


RingMaster 03/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

Farewell, My Love – Gold Tattoos

fml new fixes

    Though it is hard to dismiss US rock band Farewell, My Love as just another teen fad, even when their emergence is drawing an eagerly attentive and rapidly growing fanbase from a seemingly young teen element you cannot help sensing that they will be just as hungrily derided. The band’s debut album Gold Tattoos equally gives evidence and support to that assumption in many ways but also suggests that they are much more than just a blaze of style. The Arizona quintet look set to have a love or hate relationship with media and music lovers, much like one of their biggest influences My Chemical Romance. Whether they override the animosity bred towards them like the band they definitely sound like and certainly rip the primes essences from on their debut, time will tell but it is fair to say that there is much more substance and depth to Farewell, My Love than you would suspect from their look alone. When the Phoenix band hits full stride and potency on the twelve-track romp they easily and infectiously steal attention and a keen appetite for their presence, though sadly it is not an appeal and strength which is sustained throughout the whole release. Honesty declares that we have to admit that early MCR found a soft spot to exploit in our passions here and just occasionally Gold Tattoos and band threaten to reap that same appreciative well too.

    Consisting of vocalist Ryan Howell, guitarists Röbby Creasey and Logan Thayer, bassist Charlee Conley, and drummer Chad Kowal, Farewell, My Love first sparked rich focus their way with the A Dance You Won’t Forget EP in 2011. With its bulging choruses and anthemic potency, the release was soon soaking up eagerness and praise from newly drawn fans. Comparisons to the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, AFI, 30 Seconds to Mars as well of course as MCR were latched upon the band’s sound something Gold Tattoos only accentuates. It is fair to say that the Don Debiase (Modern Day Escape, Beneath the Sky, For All Those Sleeping) produced album is not rippling with startling originality but again like the songs individually, the Standby Records released encounter has something about it which is hungrily refreshing and hard to turn away from.

     Afraid Of The Dark opens things up, a resonating heartbeat haunting the atmosphere before fiery guitar sonics burst out to FML_cover-officiallead rampaging grooves and rampant beats into a welcome seizure of the ears. That MCR influence is an open contagion from the first full stride of the song, even vocally Howell sounds like he is laying homage to Gerard Way in his tone and delivery. The song though is an intriguing and addiction inflicting stomp, sonic bursts and melodic endeavour keeping things unpredictable if still familiar across the thoroughly engaging track. There is a drama and theatrical vivacity to the song too, if at times laid on almost too thickly, which adds something richer to its invitation to remain in control of already magnetised emotions.

    The strong start is followed by the equally enticing My Perfect Thing, the song more reserved compared to the first but still lively and similarly littered with hooks and rich harmonies across an inventive body. That ‘ingenuity’ though comes with a rich dressing of recognisable adventure which defuses the undeniable craft and hunger of the band to excite and entertain. Nevertheless the track keeps attention enthused before firstly Faceless Frames toys with and then Mirror, Mirror inflames the passions. The first of the two pumps sinew built rhythms through the ear with rousing hooks as anthemic bait wantonly seduces the imagination whilst the second lights the touch paper to a pop punk voraciousness, the rapacious drive of the song irresistible as it leads the listener into a virulently contagious chorus. If MCR at their epidemic best was a lure for you than this song is the next best thing, a treat which suggests the band can possibly be something special if they find their distinct presence.

     From here on in the release ebbs and flows, or more deflates with fitful returns to earlier heights. Certainly the likes of Rewind The Play and Skip The Memories provide imaginative attempts to persuade but seem content to drift into a more formulaic design lacking incendiary grooves and the depth of riotous exploit which made the first third of the album as impressive as it was. The songs though do tease with swipes of sonic drama and nibbling hooks from time to time to keep you hanging on just in case, though ultimately they disappoint with Friends & Fiends another example, it an agreeable song with fine electronic colour but unable to lift the spirits and appetite for their attempts.

    The keys driven ballad Paper Forts is an elegant figure of a song with great vocals but again finds no purchase with thoughts and emotions, its boy band breath off-putting at times. Its failure though is soon forgotten once Angels unveils its eloquent pop fuelled suasion. It is not a song to challenge earlier triumphs but has that something special with stroking orchestral bred synths helping to make it a lingering impact. Neither the title track nor the closing The Queen Of Hearts stoke up the fires either but as with all songs there is quality and undeniable promise about them to keep you interested if uninspired.

    If someone like My Chemical Romance is a passion then Farewell, My Love is an investigation definitely needed to be made though of course if they are not then look elsewhere for your new adventure. As an EP and just made up of the first quartet of tracks, Gold Tattoos would certainly have had us enthusing much more about band and release but as a full length confrontation it relinquishes that early capture of the passions quite easily as it progresses to provide very decent but underwhelming company. It is hard not to have a mixed view about the album but easy to admit it does offer more than enough to suggest that if not now, ahead they could become one of those naughty secrets that we all have in our playlists.


RingMaster 03/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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