DRAG – Neurotica: A Compendium of Tales Regarding Body and Mind

Drag Online Promo Shot

With greater potential in its body than maybe actually exposed in its fiery riot, Neurotica: A Compendium of Tales Regarding Body and Mind the new album from UK punks DRAG, is nevertheless a rather compelling and increasingly enjoyable provocation to get teeth and thoughts into. Nine tracks of old school seeded punk with as much of a nineties twist to its predation as modern inventions, the release is an attention grabbing and imagination stirring entrance by the Midlands quartet.

Since forming, the Birmingham four-piece has earned a strong reputation through their live presence which has seen them play alongside the likes of Toyah Wilcox, SPiT LiKE THiS, Eureka Machines, Fuzzbox, Mister Joe Black, The Sex Pistols Experience, The Ramonas, and Amanda Palmer, as well as a couple of earlier EPs. Their sound as evidenced on the crowd funded Neurotica, is like a raw and antagonistic merger of Au-Pairs and L7 with just as healthy essences of In Evil Hour and Penetration. It is a mix which you expect to be explosive and for the main is within the potent album, though it does miss that key spark to set the promise openly surging through its creativity and sound truly ablaze.

With songs which look at uncompromising themes ranging from self-harm, mental health, to sexuality, Neurotica takes little time in awakening attention and appetite with the opening title track. From the initial scrub of acidic guitar punctuated by thumping beats, the song takes a swift hold and even more so when the band expel a raw and flame of attitude and sonic causticity led by vocalist Heather. The track snarls and rumbles enticingly with the bass of Matt and abrasing guitar craft of Velma crafting an infectious web framed by the punchy rhythms of drummer Andy. Littered with resourcefully catchy hooks around the appealing vocals, it is a formidable and convincing start to entwine thoughts and emotions easily.

The following Fine with its opening moody bass tempting also needs little effort to engage ears and imagination, its strong initial lure expanding into a more reserved but no less potent expanse of rapacious enterprise and contagious DRAG - Neurotica Cover Artworkprovocation. It is not a song to startle but certainly keeps the initial impact of the album high before the mighty Axewound preys on the senses. Lyrically and musically it takes no prisoners, with that earlier Au Pairs reference at its most open on both aspects, the raw and honest approach very similar to that offered a few decades ago by those fellow Brummie protagonists. The track is alive with agitated rhythms, intrigue spiced hooks, and a ferocious breath which all combines for one of the major highlights of the album pushing forward the exciting potential of the band.

Next up The Ugly romps with rhythmic bait which inspires another wash of greed to an already hungry appetite whilst the grizzled bass tone found by Matt grumbles potently within the weave of sonic and defiant endeavour. The song keeps things roaring nicely but does lack the stature and persuasion of its predecessors as does in some ways Dandy Boy, though in other aspects it stands out pleasingly. A union of acoustic guitar and the melodic tones of Heather, her voice revealing more of its strength here than at any other point of the release, the song gently caresses and provokes, keeping its poise and lure as the rest of the band bring their evocative touches to the increasingly intensive track. Keys add good expression to the song too though it also feels like there is a spark missing to really exploit its creative strength, something which applies to Neurotica as a whole.

Shock & Bad Taste with its more defined L7 lures comes next to set feet and reactions on eager edge, its riling riffs and jabbing rolling beats as inviting as the vocal belligerence and sonic entrapment colouring the richly satisfying track. It is soon left sounding a little pale though by Hell 7 (American Mary), the track a ferocious scorching of corrosive riffs and merciless rhythms from the first second which settles into a less threatening gait for a few breaths before unleashing a chorus which gnaws at the senses with anthemic mastery. Again it is fair to say that there is not much to challenge the boundaries of punk rock but plenty to give it an invigorating incitement.

The album is brought to a close by firstly the pleasing Wet with its scowling sound and challenging premise, and lastly through the predatory stalking of Dead Zebra. Both tracks ignite another wave of satisfaction if again failing to match previous heights upon the album; the forced vocal growls offered by Heather in the last of the two an element which defuses the potency of the song and leaves thoughts feeling unconvinced for the only time. Each song still leaves Neurotica: A Compendium of Tales Regarding Body and Mind on a high with that rich promise flooding both, as it does the album, to leave pleasure high and excited anticipation over DRAG ahead.

Neurotica: A Compendium of Tales Regarding Body and Mind is available now on the band’s own Sleazy Punk Records @ http://dragbirmingham.bandcamp.com/album/neurotica-a-compendium-of-tales-regarding-body-mind-2

http://www.sleazypunk.com/

8/10

RingMaster 28/07/2014

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This Burning Age – Supplication and Devotion EPs

Band Pic 4

This month sees the release of the Devotion EP from UK rock band This Burning Age, the second of a quartet of EPs to be released over the year every three months which will culminate in a full 12 track album with extras. Following the Supplication EP which came out in April, the new encounter continues the impressive incitement bred by its predecessor. Bringing things up to date in this already impressive series of releases we look at both EPs as the Birmingham quartet continues to craft a potent presence with their alternative electro rock endeavour.

This Burning Age was initially a solo project created by vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Friday around five years ago. Debut album A Muzzle for the Masses subsequently appeared before the musician in wanting to take the project into the live arena expanded its line-up with the addition of guitarist Jon Farrington-Smith, bassist Dave Bennett, and drummer Christian Jerromes. Still driven in all aspects from songwriting to artwork by Friday, the band infuses a wide expanse of styles and flavours into its electronic/industrial bred canvas which makes certainly each track on the EPs an imaginative and attention gripping proposition. Each release is an exploration of sound and enterprise musically and lyrically where the themes of broken and twisted love are investigated and embraced.

The Supplication EP opens with Disappeared, a song lyrically inspired by the Dylan Thomas poem Do not go gentle into that good night. An initial flirtation of electronic enticing is soon reinforced by a teasing guitar and EP01 - Supplication - 7016x7016pxdarker bass coaxing, the web immediately awakening the imagination and keen anticipation for what the song is to offer. It is not long it is gripping ears with fiery grooves and atmospheric intrigue whilst its electronic bait continues to embrace and tempt the senses. There is an instant Nine Inch Nails air to the track and as its potent chorus expels its fiery breath, of Gravity Kills. Equally there is a heavier rock and metal infusion to the invasive and compelling intensity which fuels the strenuous atmosphere, even in the track’s more restrained moments. It is a powerful and potently captivating start soon back by Your Will Is MY Kill, whose entrance with its industrial stalking also fires up an eager appetite within seconds. A track about “sado-masochistic and destructive love from the perspective of a disturbed dominant male character”, it strengthens its first wave of coaxing with a post punk-esque predation and antagonistic urgency which rages and seduces in equal measure as the song reveals its heart and inventive rabidity. Though not a brutal encounter, there is a bruising weight and exhaustive fury to the track in presence and invention which steals the breath and lights the imagination even more voraciously than the previous track.

The Tom Gittins produced release is completed by Want, a song slowly caressing ears from its start with piano and vocals, both offering a Bowie like whisper. The track is all the time brewing up a vivacious climate though which brings courteous synth rock suasion to its evocative narrative. That gentle tempting eventually expels a fiery and raucous sigh for a climatic finale to the song and though it is the least gripping of the trio of songs it leaves the EP engaging senses and thoughts with a lingering strength.

EP02 - Devotion - 7016x7016px - 300dpi - 11-06-14     The tracks on second EP Devotion continue from the first in premise with “eulogies to hope and redemption, from despair and disconnection, to mutually destructive passion. “ It makes its first move with the explosive There Is No Hope Except For That Which You Give Me. From a vocal enticement the track ebbs and flows in its intensity but sears ears and imagination with a blaze of ingenious temptation and feverish passion. Vocally it is the best track of the two releases yet, a resonance to their expression working intently with the sonic endeavour and melodic seducing within the volatile rhythmic and energetic rapacity of the track. There is a Pitchshifter like edge to the track too which prowls riffs and syllables throughout the riveting tempest.

The following Hollow suggests a mellower experience with its first wash of melancholic piano and though the song builds a crescendo of energy and melodic drama it does not veer away from that reserved elegance for the main of its evocative narrative. Though the song is another to miss the benchmark of for example its successor, it offers intrigue and a spatial elegance which is undoubtedly captivating, drawing thoughts and emotions to immerse in its emotive prowess with an unerringly successful creativity and adventure.

The EP is concluded by Nothing, the best track of the sextet released in the series so far. Its incendiary bait of riffs and hooks from virtually its first move is insatiably contagious, guitars and bass showing they are in no mood to let ears and imagination slip from their grip at any point in the track as beats frame and cage their exploit just as infectiously. Society 1 comes to mind whilst as Friday vocally prowls ears a returning essence of Bowie comes to his expression. The track itself is a feisty almost hostile taunting which enslaves and provokes body through to thoughts relentlessly for the most thrilling engagement across the two encounters.

Though not every track lights a fire in the belly as the opener for Supplication and the brilliant closer of Devotion, both EPs leave the craft and invention, not forgetting enthralling sound of This Burning Age a gripping proposition to devour greedily. Roll on EP three…

The Supplication and Devotion EPs are available now on CD via 5th Day Records @ http://thisburningage.bigcartel.com/ and digitally at most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/thisburningage

 

Supplication EP 8.5

Devotion EP 9

RingMaster 28/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

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Tigers Of Junction Street – Self Titled

tigers3

The self-titled debut EP from UK band Tigers Of Junction Street is a release which does not realise its potential as successfully as it should but still leaves an impressive and lingering presence in the imagination and appetite. Consisting of five tracks which blend and at times merely flirt with essences from technical, melodic, and alternative rock, the band’s EP is a striking entrance by the London Town quintet. It has flaws and sometimes is unconvincing yet breeds an enjoyment and anticipation for the band ahead which cannot be dismissed as coincidence.

Formed in 2010, Tigers Of Junction Street saw the union of five friends with the want to challenge themselves musically, which their debut more than hints at as it equally tests the listener, in the right way. Drawing on inspirations from the likes of Coheed And Cambria, Protest The Hero, TesseracT, Yes, and King Crimson, the band set about recording their first release last year with George Lever at G1 Productions, Somerset. What emerged is an encounter which makes an intriguing introduction to the band and sets thoughts in motion that UK rock might have a rather potent prospect on its hands.

The High Wycombe five-piece sets EP and senses off in fine style with Incarnation, the strong and enticing vocals of Josh Elliott beckoning instant attention before being surrounded by heavily striding rhythms and fiery riffs. It is a Ep coverdramatic and gripping mix which is soon veined by a rich and skilled enterprise as guitarists James Wrigley and Ash Whitelock set to work raging over and seducing the imagination. Their craft is openly potent yet unimposing within the drive of the song, though their invention certainly breaks up its urgency whilst enriching its evocative hues. The driving beats of drummer James Burton flow between intimidating and coaxing as the song evolves its narrative. At times things do not always smoothly fit, the vocals left stranded by a sudden twist within the sounds but it only adds to the unpredictability and intrigue which endears the song to thoughts.

In full flow the song is a treat matched by The Deception, though its opening Nintendo-esque tease feels wrong. The track is soon alight with the melody seeping from that intro and vocals uniting around the thick stride of rhythms as the throaty tones of Tom Newey’s bass providing enthralling shadows. That first electro sound appears occasionally and now to great effect within the tempestuous body of the song whilst the unexpected detours and switches in the track which at times even seems to catch the band out, only add to the compelling nature of its lure and adventure.

There is a darker texture and expression to third track Cold Winter, its heavier lyrical presence matched by the more intensive if still melodically fuelled sounds. As its predecessors, band and song is unafraid to turn on its heels and venture into contrasting and melodramatic scenes, most flowing purposefully and easily yet a few moments provide a stumble in the flight of the song. Vocally there are a few issues, suggesting Elliott is more at home giving full rein to his fiery attack than slowing down his expression whilst arguably at times the band pushes things in their bold imagination too far on the song which does not help the vocals either. Nevertheless the track still hits the right note with emotions for the main, those issues something you can only see being ironed out with experience and maturity.

Next comes a short instrumental, called simply Interlude which is more an extended intro into closing track Closed Doors which reminds of the band Dead Til Friday initially. This is a track which seems to have got more criticism than most on the EP yet it is the most captivating slice of invention upon it too. Certainly at times the twists are over drawn and its striking textures clash against each other but in the case of the latter it only adds to the great turbulent enticement as the track offers the most promising and potentially loaded moment on the encounter.

The EP from Tigers Of Junction Street is undeniably flawed but even more so brings an engrossing creative emprise which courts the imagination whilst suggesting this band has a very healthily and for us exciting future ahead.

The Tigers Of Junction Street EP is available in CD and Digital formats through Hoffen Records and @ http://tigersofjunctionstreet.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/tigersofjunctionstreet

7.5/10

RingMaster 28/07/2014

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The Slow Readers Club – Start Again

Slow Readers Club

Ahead of their new single this coming September, UK band The Slow Readers Club have re-released their track Start Again, a colourful and potent little number to seductively tease ears and emotions ready for the impending encounter. The song is one of those propositions which refuse to leave even after its last note is a distant haze in the ear; a persistent temptress who lays down insatiable infectious bait to which submission is full and anticipation for another slice of aural suggestiveness impatient.

Hailing from Manchester and featuring three former members of Omerta, The Slow Readers Club has been garnering rich support from fans and media alike since forming. Comparisons to the likes of Interpol, The Killers, and Arcade Fire have fallen upon them whilst their self-titled debut album of 2012 drew critical acclaim with certain tracks finding a potent stretch of airplay across radio and TV. 2014 alone has seen the quartet continue to excite and inspire, Peter Hook describing them as his new favourite band in a recent NME New Music Special. Start Again is the perfect song to thrill and induce new ears alongside those already enamoured with the band, its second thrust the perfect reason to check out that upcoming release alone.

The song’s first breath soaks ears in a heavy electronic suggestiveness, the keys of Aaron Starkie suggesting an eighties synth pop essence which is reinforced by the involvement of the great heavily toned bass of James Ryan alongside the Picture 47crisply enticing beats of drummer David Whitworth. The guitar of Kurtis Starkie holds its tongue for the moment, expelling shafts of sonic enticing once in a while as the song establishes its premise. Soon jagged riffs and hooks are also bringing their distinctive bait to the party whilst the vocals from one of the Starkie pair, hard to know which of the two vocalists leads the song, gloriously glides over the whole riveting adventure. As it croons and blossoms with evocative beauty and melodic richness, the song brings thoughts of seventies/eighties bands like B-Movie and A Flock Of Seagulls as well as the modern flavours of Interpol and Silhouettes, yet still sculpts its own openly unique presence with those spices.

Grown up pop music also does not come any more maturely infectious than Start Again, every aspect and tempting as poised and resourcefully layers as they are ridiculously contagious. The single is our introduction to The Slow Readers Club as we are sure it will be for many others, and the first seed to a long term lust for a band set to ignite the British indie pop scene.

Start Again is available now

For info where to get it and more http://www.theslowreadersclub.co.uk

9/10

RingMaster 28/07/2014

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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