We have a new unexpected treat to share with you, a band and release from the modern seaport of Dalian in China. They are Mala Ruckus and they have introduced themselves to us with debut EP Make the Monkey Watch. The band is a quintet which formed in 2013 with members hailing from Canada, America, Ireland, and a pair from Britain; expatriates creating their own unique captivation of alternative and indie rock with healthy essences of folk and pop. It is a sound which flirts with ears, sparks the imagination, and in the form of Make the Monkey Watch, has triggered a keen appetite and anticipation for the band’s first album which they are currently finishing up.
Since emerging the band has played in a host of Chinese cities earning a reputation and following for their energetic live shows and irresistibly engaging sound, now rife on their EP. Times are a changing though with the band now not allowed to play live in the country but if their upcoming album sounds as full and flavoursome as Make the Monkey Watch, new spotlights and openings might and should begin stirring elsewhere.
The EP opens with Run, a song quickly engaging ears in a lively melodic coaxing courtesy of the guitars of Alex Montyro and Caolon O’Neill Forde. The song quickly slips into vibrant stroll with Francis Carlisle’s smiling keys alongside intricate guitar flirtation cupping the distinctive voice of Montyro as darker rhythmic hues spun by bassist Ian James and drummer Sean Rollins provide the shuffle to entice feet and hips. It is a ridiculously catchy proposal, like Jim Jiminee meets Arctic Monkeys but with its own original voice and mischievous air, which as the music, just gets more infectious with each passing chorus and tenacious swing.
A great start is backed and eclipsed by Hoverboards, its medieval spiced mandolin entrance already a wink on the appetite and imagination before things get hectic. A rousingly anthemic slice of folk /rock pop, the track leaps and bounds on rhythmic revelry and vocal enterprise, a success matched in prowess and adventure by eager riffs, teasing hooks, and another great pulsating bassline. The band continues to tenaciously canter through ears until taking a side step into a harmonic daze, drifting with a smile on their faces before taking the listener back to the irresistible ride it came in on.
Words is the third of the songs making up Make the Monkey Watch, another captivating encounter though with more reserve and urgency to its nature than its predecessors. What it lacks in physical dynamism it more than makes up in adventurous vocals and melodic enterprise, saving outbursts solely for a loudly vivacious magnetic chorus.
It is a fine end to an excellent first look/listen with Mala Ruckus; the first of many we are already eagerly hoping. They might be living in a restrictive musical place and time right now but given the chance the band, and we suspect album, could be inciting wider spotlights very soon.
The Make the Monkey Watch EP is out now @ http://malaruckus.bandcamp.com/releases
Pete RingMaster 06/10/2015
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