The Jackals – People

band_RingMaster Review

Warm hearted and tenaciously welcoming, the sound of Scottish band The Jackals just leaves you with a smile on the face and across the emotions. Its potency is richly apparent in the band’s new album People, eleven tracks of melodic and soulful sunshine which may not ignite a riot in the passions but lingers with captivating tempting for the same kind of success. At times it serenades with smouldering radiance and in other moments has feet and hips in festive mood; in the words of the band, it is cosmic rock ‘n’ roll.

Edinburgh bred, The Jackals quickly earned a reputation for blistering live performances and songs combining “cryptic lyrics with expansive guitars, underpinned with the solid grooves of the bass and drums.” Their double A-sided single Holding All The Roses/L.E.A.R.N of last year was the spark which really began luring greater and broader attention the way of the band. Recorded with legendary producer Owen Morris (Oasis, The Verve), who returns for the new album too, the release was a highly appetising forerunner to People, which in turn provides a full meal of pleasure.

cover_RingMaster Review     From opening track Eyes Awaken, the album is awash with a fusion of psych and surf rock soaked in sixties pop essences. That is of course simplifying their sound as at times it is as much folk toned as it is indie rock as it is all the flavours mentioned combined. It is an engaging mix which can catch fire in a boisterous revelry or just caress the senses with warm temptation and as the first song shows is highly persuasive. Eyes Awaken gently strokes ears initially, crystalline melodies from keys aligning with a similarly glowing kiss of guitar as they await the mellow vocal tones of Scott Watson. His and Gary Quilietti’s guitars continue to entice as darker rhythms begin flirting with thoughts and strings cast slithers of melancholy. Eventually a livelier energy escapes as the catchy chorus looms from where, like waves lapping on ears, all the ingredients of sound and invention entwine to fascinate and seduce. As a few songs on the album, it was not a swift persuasion but grows with every listen into a rich tonic of feel good enterprise within a sweltering psych rock ambience.

The following Raspberry Moon similarly makes its entrance with a slow kiss on ears, those emotive strings returning to compelling effect as skittish beats from Paddy McMaster begin to find their and the listener’s feet. In no time the song is cantering along with a country twang and folkish air reminiscent of Irish band Raglans. We cannot say the inspirations sparking The Jackals’ musical endeavours but it is easy to suspect from the second track alone that possibly The Beatles are amongst them and maybe Scottish bands like Orange Juice and Aztec Camera too.

United band vocals open up Call Out Mellobird next as ears are entangled in melodic enticement from the guitars and flirted with by the darker tones cast by bassist David Panton. It is a magnetic affair equipped with a soulful smile and web of alluring melodies that along with boisterous beats set up ears for the outstanding Ghost Soul Traffic. Straight away the tangy sixties groove escaping the guitar has lips licked, its surf rock breeding and early sixties tone reminding of bands like The Ventures is bewitching and just as alluringly backed by a matching nostalgic climate of harmonies and acoustic riffs. Hips and feet are quickly under the song’s spell whilst an early contented appetite gets hungrier for more which it gets in the equally seducing Can’t Leave the City and its gentle sway within another instinctively melancholic but refreshing atmosphere. Once more a vintage melodic wine runs through the host o spicy grooves and hooks slipping easily from the guitar and again ears and imagination are engrossed.

Just To Pass The Pleasant Time strolls along with a mix of folk and sixties psych pop after whilst Dancin’ Round The Nails explores a thick emotionally textured landscape, its croon reflective and a touch sombre but with a liveliness which gives it an edge and potency. Both songs satisfy without matching those before them, each joining the list of tracks which just grow and become more tempting over time, something definitely not applying to Two Heads. The track instantly has ears alive with its opening bait of hooks and harmonic vocals, they leading to an alluring jangle and rhythmic shuffle which just lights the passions. Bass and guitars continue to weave their infectious and almost teasing enterprise as beats and voice dance with feet and imagination respectively as the emotions are taken on a feistily feel-good ride from start to finish by almost four minutes of joy.

The more humid air and emotive croon of Where the Face of Angels Lay takes over from the best track on the album next, its smooth balladry emulated but then taken into more intimate and cosmopolitan scenery by Gold Gift from Paris straight after, it’s Hammond seeded kisses additionally pleasing hues in its exotically toned flight of sound. Both songs join those taking time to reveal their full character and persuasion but only impressing with every listen and always setting up the rousing merger of country rock, folk, and indie pop that is Waiting On The Man With the Sun perfectly. The track brings those rich essences into a spicy and addictively boisterous dance with the masterful rhythms of McMaster stealing the show in a glorious anthemic tirade of incitement midway.

Closing song Dust is drenched in psychedelic mystique and low key but open funk grooving for a pulsating smog like rhapsody of sonic and melodic imagination laying on the senses as its title might suggests. It is a fine end to a thoroughly enjoyable release, an encounter which seems to get more absorbing and headier with every passing listen. It is easy to see why there is a fuss brewing around The Jackals, a band which will be surely only creating bigger and bolder things ahead.

People is available from September 14th digitally and on vinyl with an additional cassette release through Burger Records.

Pete RingMaster 14/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Ilana J – Free Falling From The Ground Up

Ilana J_RingMaster Review

Make a note of the name Ilana J as you could be hearing and enjoying plenty more of the British singer songwriter if her promise driven debut EP is anything to go by. Consisting of six tracks which embrace a sense of adventure and at times even bolder uniqueness, Free Falling From The Ground Up is a highly pleasing introduction to a new highly engaging talent.

Though turning down the opportunity to enter the prestigious London College of Music at thirteen in favour of a more traditional academic education and pursuing a successful healthcare career, it is fair to say that music remained the potent tempting in a craving for a more creative outlet for Birmingham hailing Ilana. It was with an extended visit to the US in 2008 that she decided to devote her life to songwriting and recording, quickly embarking on an intensive musical training on both the guitar and the piano whilst exploring her lyrical side. A chance meeting with Mark Alexander, ex-keyboard player with Meat Loaf led to him becoming her producer and in turn the recording and now release of Ilana’s first collection of songs.

cover_RingMaster Review     With a title inspired by how she feels now that music is back in her life, Ilana when talking about her music saying ” I am letting the music and the lyrics ‘free fall’ out of me and am growing every day from the ‘ground up’ which is intensely fulfilling on a whole new level“, Free Falling From The Ground Up offers a lively embrace of energy and intimacy, the latter no more evident and powerful than in its opening song. Also the new single, Paper Planes was inspired by the tragic death of Ilana’s younger brother when she was a teenager and is in dedicated to his memory with a message of hope and peace. A chilled breeze cups ears firstly but is swiftly dispersed by the melodic coaxing of keys and the immediate allure of Ilana’s potent voice. There is a feel of Holly Walker to her delivery and indeed the melodic enticing which flows through the growing air and body of the magnetically captivating song, and indeed its equally vibrant successor

Smoke has a swing to its stroll which is irresistibly catchy whilst darker hues provided by bass and the slight melancholic whisper to melodies in its quieter moment , bring a richer breath to the immediately engaging enticement on offer. It is another track which would make a captivating single to rival its predecessor and the outstanding England which comes after. Definitely emerging as the favourite song within the EP, the third song is a jungle of rhythmic festivity and melodic infection with a chorus surely inspired by Bow Wow Wow, Ilana even managing to get a scent of Annabella Lwin in her tenacious tones. Contagiousness flows through the rousing encounter, creating pop in its most boisterous and anthemic form.

There is a small but noticeable shift to a more regular pop based template over the next song, I Believe in Love stepping forward with an emotive sway of keys and glowing harmonies. Something is missing in relation to its predecessors, a distinct element needed to push the track away from a crowded landscape of pop songs yet it easily involves ears and imagination with its flirtatious air as also does the more folkish Sing. An opening union of voice and acoustic guitar which blossoms further as provocative textures and transfixing harmonies emerge, the track drifts over and warms ears and thoughts for a gentle romance of the senses.

Free Falling From The Ground Up is aptly concluded by In the End, another kiss of voice and acoustic enterprise which serenades with its intimate lyrical and melodic croon. It is an alluring end to a fine first meeting with Ilana J and another indication to the variety she has in songwriting and its creative portrayal. The live feel to its performance, which is just as apparent in the other songs especially vocally, gives honesty to the air and charm of the proposals and definitely enhances the whole enjoyment.

Listening to Free Falling From The Ground Up you just know there is plenty more to be discovered within Ilana J and that only adds to the thick promise and pleasure of her debut.

The Free Falling From The Ground Up EP is available from September 14th.

Pete RingMaster 14/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Hannah in the Wars – Only Wanna Be

Picture 28_RingMaster Review

Earlier this year Hannah in the Wars awoke acclaiming appetites with a self-titled debut album and now back up that wave of attention with new single Only Wanna Be. Taken from a collection of songs described as having “beautifully written melodies and emotionally engaging narratives, taking inspiration from life’s trials and triumphs and perfectly showcasing Curwood’s distinctive and powerful vocals”, the new two track release is a full engagement for ears and emotions easily backing up those words.

Picture 27_RingMaster Review     Hannah in the Wars is the creation of Hannah Curwood, a singer songwriter hailing from Central Otago in New Zealand; an area stark and remote but obviously sparking a creative prowess in the now London based Curwood. The project and album emerged from the result of Curwood working alongside Roger O’Donnell of The Cure, and the subsequent enlisting a handpicked group of talented musicians made up of Eloise Healy, Claire Wackrow, Rosemary Toll, Lachlan Radford, and Fiona McMartin. The two tracks making up the new single were written in the wake of a broken relationship and Curwood’s move half way across the globe. They are songs with an emotive intimacy and inventive tension which further enlivens their rich persuasion on the imagination.

Only Wanna Be opens on a melancholic caress of keys quickly hugging the just as emotive tones of Curwood. Instantly there is drama to the song, not an imposing tempting but one gently coaxing thoughts into the heart of song and writer. Vibrant percussion adds a slightly livelier underbelly to the song and in turn seems to inspire a bolder melodic adventure throughout without unbalancing or diluting the sombre yet sublimely elegant texture of the song. Continuing to enthral as new elements like a soulful mandolin and floating vocal harmonies embrace the senses, it is a mesmeric encounter leaving warmth, even if bred from sadness, inside.

Accompanying the song is Sweet Release, the B-side also from the debut full-length. Gloriously compelling dark strings open up the song with just as emotively shaped keys soon aligning themselves to their potent narrative. Things simmer down a touch as vocals and melodies slip in with their charming colour, the song then proceeding to entangle all aspects in a deceptively infectious and inventive tapestry. It is a bewitching mix that only gets stronger and bolder with every passing minute and each individual listen.

As enjoyable as Only Wanna Be is, Sweet Release steals the show and alone makes the strongest reason to check out the band’s album for newcomers. Really this single is a double A-sided encounter such the quality of both tracks and the assumed matching attention each will garner once its release. The songs might have been bred in heartbreak but they leave a rosy glow in the same place within the listener.

Only Wanna Be is available from September 14th via 99X/10 Records.

Pete RingMaster 14/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Gold Jacks – Take It Back

gold jacks_RingMaster Review

Though we are a bit late to the party, we have a single we feel all rock fans should go check out. The song is Take It Back and comes from UK alternative rockers Gold Jacks. They are a Manchester quartet quietly but potently brewing up a strong reputation around their home city and further afield through their live presence and the release of two spicy singles. Take it Back is the second of those temptations and a song which sizzles in the ears and smoulders to lingering effect in the psyche.

The track follows attention grabbing debut single One Kinda Women, a song which is melodically inflamed and pungently infectious. Its release backed up the band’s growing reputation as a must see live proposal but as impressive as it is, Take It Back outshines its raw seduction with ease. Whereas its predecessor was a lively affair, the new single prowls and courts the senses with its seductive gait led by the sultrily dark bassline of Tom Smith and the impressively alluring tones of vocalist/guitarist Stu Burns. Theirs is a riveting fusion which is only elevated to greater climes by the gripping sonic craft of lead guitarist Liam Dunning where grooves spring from his fingers on strings like shards of light from a burning sun.

Skilfully tempered and held in check by the skilled rhythmic prowess of James Gaskell, the track is a furnace of dark rock ‘n’ roll and bluesy vapours, every twist explored unveiling new depths and addictive bait to greedily devour. At times there is a whisper of Queens Of the Stone Age to the song, in others moments of bands like Morass of Molasses, and from start to finish Take It Back just bewitches.

It is the third song we have heard from Gold Jacks and without doubt their best to date, which if the trend continues means we are in for something extremely special next time.

Take It Back is out now via Scruff of the Neck Records.

Pete RingMaster 14/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Paul Menel & The Essentials – They Call Her Leaf

Paul Menel pic 1_RingMaster Review

It is always a great move to tempt intrigue for your album with a slice of irresistibility, whether in single form, a video, or whatever and that is certainly what Paul Menel & The Essentials have down with new song They Call Her Leaf. Taking from their forthcoming album Spare Parts for Broken Hearts, the new single is a mighty lure of melodic, progressive, and classic rock that just captures ears and imagination.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Paul Menel is no newcomer to the rock scene. He was the frontman of prog rock band IQ from 1985 to 1990, and for two of their albums in the shape of Nomzamo and Are You Sitting Comfortably? in 1987 and ’89 respectively. After leaving the band he ‘rested’ for a few years, concentrating on a growing family and writing new songs. These subsequently became his debut album Carpenter From Nazareth Seeks Joiners, an encounter earning great plaudits amongst many. Its release and success in reviews led to producer Gav Monaghan (Robert Plant/Jack White/Peter Gabriel) getting in touch and persuading Menel to record at his Magic Garden Studio from where the acclaimed Into Insignificance I Will Pale emerged in 2012. Now with a new band also consisting of bassist Steve Swift and drummer Tim Churchman, Menel is poised to releaser their first album, Spare Parts For Broken Hearts, and before it this new rousing single.

The forthcoming album also features a host of guests including Monaghan, Julianne Bourne, and on They Call Her Leaf, Menel’s long-time friend Vix Vox of Fuzzbox. Inspired by the sense of hope when all seems hopeless and portrayed through Leaf, an “ethereal spirit who drives us on, unseen but ever present”, the song opens on a melodic coaxing which swiftly builds into a rich and pungent blend of crisp beats, dark bass tones, and elegant melodic endeavour. Already though there is enthralling thickness to the textures and flavours combining to fascinate ears and grip the imagination, an enthralling blend vivaciously embracing the vocals of Menel which bring a Peter Gabriel like hue to the colourful affair just to add a little more captivation to it all..

With folkish dew dripping off certain moments and the siren-esque tones of Vox a perpetual seducing throughout as her warm tones perfectly mix with the restrained but open roar of Menel, They Call Her Leaf just ignites body and thoughts. As suggested, there is a depth and extensive weave of sound and instrumentation to the song which ensures it proceeds to grow in strength and persuasion with every listen, musically and vocally.

They Call Her Leaf is pure temptation and if Spare Parts For Broken Hearts has more songs to match its beauty and anthemic roar, then we might potentially have a modern classic on our hands.

They Call Her Leaf is out now via most online stores.

Pete Ringmaster 14/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Underground Ocean – I See Through You

Underground Ocean_RingMaster Review

Following a highly promising debut single, UK rockers Underground Ocean raise the ante with their second encounter, the explosively enticing I See Through You. In hindsight its enjoyable predecessor, Get Me Out, almost feels like the band was testing the water, building up to a bigger splash with its successor, and fair to say the new single is just that, a big nudge to greater attention.

Worcester bred Underground Ocean consists of vocalist/rhythm guitarist Stuart McDonnell, lead guitarist Matt Beddoes, bassist George Parker, and drummer Lee Evans and spices its music with inspirations ranging from Foo Fighters, The Police, and Manic Street Preachers to the Stereophonics and Fleetwood Mac. Formed early 2014, the quartet quickly set down a marker for their live presence, selling out home town gigs immediately with their debut staged in a 250 capacity venue. Since then they have played various shows across England to increasing success and acclaim with 2015 a rather busy year on that front. Now they look set and ready to stoke up more attention with I See Through You and its accompanying video.

The single instantly erupts in ears with force and energy, the swinging beats of Evans slicing through the just as rousing riffs cast by McDonnell and Beddoes. Things settle down a touch as the strong tones of McDonnell join the affair though there is still a raucous jangle from the guitars and the bass of Parker continues its eager dark stroll. The chorus is a rapid temptation too, its emotive and sonic roar coated with magnetic drama and anthemic urgency and with ease quickly involving the listener. The song continues to creatively bellow as new twists and scythes of fresh sound mingle in its angst lit heart right through to its final striking second.

Again the word rousing has to be used to describe the character and effect of the song, and its incendiary impact on satisfaction and appetite. Get Me Out was a potent introduction to Underground Ocean but I See Through You easily leaves it in its wake, and ahead of an EP the band is currently working towards, both songs ensure it is going to be one impatiently anticipated proposition.

I See Through You is available now

Pete RingMaster 14/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Theia – Ride On

Theia collage pic_RingMaster Review

Just ahead of their debut album, UK hard rockers Theia have stoked the fires of anticipation with new single Ride On. It is a blaze of anthemic power and voracity merged with bluesy melodies and an enterprise which plays like a familiar friend whilst leaving you guessing as to its next magnetic move. The release is muscle swinging rock ‘n’ roll and the juiciest taster to the band’s impending new full-length Take the Pill.

Formed in 2012, the Burton Upon Trent band draws on inspirations from bands such as Buckcherry, Winterville, Alter Bridge, Black Label Society and many more to colour their robust sound and in turn invigorating single. A couple of well-received EPs in 2013 awoke ears to the potential and rebellious nature of the band’s sound, a proposition which has just kept developing and blossoming to back their increasing reputation as one stage shaking incitement earned across gigs and festivals. Now the trio of vocalist/guitarist Kyle Lamley, bassist Paul Edwards, and drummer John Tolley are poised to make a big impact with their first album on the UK rock scene, one possibly to emulate the success of their celestial namesake, certainly if Ride On is an indication of what is to come.

A fuzzy lure of guitar starts things off, its bait soon joined by the gloriously carnivorous of bass which is instantly given a welcoming clarity from which to growl from. Thick beats add to the building drama which is fully realised with the richly spiced grooves cast by Lamley. Never quite exploding into the riot it continually hints at, the song instead places infectious layer upon infectious layer, bluesy endeavour an intoxicating hue to air and the guitar spawned enticement lighting it as rhythms craft a compelling frame to one virulent anthem.

Ride On gets the job done without unnecessary excesses and delusions of grandeur; it is hard rock with a recognisable smile and mischief but lit by a freshness which just hits the spot. As mentioned earlier it is muscular rock ‘n’ roll, a flavour to feed most appetites.

Ride On is out now.

Pete RingMaster 14/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent check out http://www.zykotika.com/