Version 1.0.1, the new EP from UK electronic rock band Men In The Sky is a stylish web of sound, a fusion of recognisable styles and influences woven into an inescapable net of refreshing and captivating temptation. The release is a magnetic adventure casting mesmeric melodies and attention stirring riffs as easily as it entwines an intrigue of samples and throaty bass seduction. The EP is not the most original thing you are going to hear this year with its rich eighties inspirations but certainly it is going to be one of the most flavoursome and enjoyable.
Hailing from Liverpool, Men In The Sky emerged in 2012 wearing inspirations openly on their sound’s sleeve from day one. The accompanying press sheet declares that the band ‘draws as much from the jazz-blues of Jeff Beck and the funk of Chic as it does from classic British New Wave.’ This is something you can only agree with as their release flirts and dances with the imagination yet there is plenty more whispers, loud and quieter, of bands and essences which springs from an encounter which still manages to be something new. Co-produced with Factory Records’ Michael Johnson, Version 1.0.1 romps and entices with ears and emotions from its first vibrant second, providing something familiar yet surprising.
The release opens with a track called Men In The Sky. Eighties bred synths immediately grasp attention around the first sample of the release, their touch crystalline but soon sharing a varied embrace of melodies, acidic and elegant. A hint of Visage comes to the fore early on whilst an unavoidable reference to New Order, as across the EP, is swiftly offering its suasion. Soon into a pulsating stroll with melodic flourishes within an electro enticement, the song continues to swing contagiously with a funk lilted bassline and an electronic revelry leading the way. With thoughts of Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys in various degrees also offering their references, the overall body of the song actually reminds of early Ministry before Al found his muscular industrial aggression.
The track makes a great start to the proposition and is instantly backed up by latest single Doom. The track mixes an agitated enterprise of beats and riffs with another fluid stream of synth temptation, but this time around a stronger rock spine of sound and intent. As it persistently throbs on the senses with a healthy infectious smile, the song ripples with an essence of the songwriting of Vince Clarke but equally the funkier styling of Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh in their Heaven 17 era. It is an irresistible romp, just as unpredictable and enthralling as its predecessor but with an even catchier bait and mischievous side to its dance, especially shown in the Oingo Boingo like vocal twists.
The remaining pair of songs, Expect Anything and Stone has a task to match the previous songs and to be honest do not manage to reach the same heights yet easily leave ears happy and emotions keen. The first of the pair ventures further into the band’s rock creativity without neglecting the electronic tempting, infusing it with a more classically cultured grace and endeavour. With flames of guitar bringing a progressive texture to the mix the song reveals more of the depths and adventure to the band’s sound which is confirmed straight away by its successor. The final song was born to light up dance-floors with its flowing melodies and sparking electro enticement, though it is the reserved moment where the vocals are allowed to shine with their minimal presence that the song works best.
The track is a fine end to a masterfully charismatic and gripping encounter. One which is at its best in the first half but leaving a bulging satisfaction by its end through a quartet of absorbing songs. Version 1.0.1 has a potent effect on ears through to feet, thoughts on to emotions. It might not quite be your favourite release of the Summer but we suggest it will be the one you return to most often and not just for this passing season either.
The Version 1.0.1 EP is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/version-1.0.1-ep/id895145567
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