Sweet Gum Tree – Sustain The Illusion

With the single, The Gift, still ringing entrancingly in ears we thought we should catch up with the album it comes from and lures attention to. Sustain The Illusion is the second album from Sweet Gum Tree, the solo project of French singer songwriter/musician Arno Sojo and a release which simply captivates from start to finish with melodic beauty and emotively provocative exploration.

After the collaborative creation of its acclaimed predecessor three years ago, The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame, a release featuring among a few Isobel Campbell of Belle & Sebastian, Earl Harvin from the Tindersticks, and The Church’s Marty Willson-Piper, Sojo has created and recorded Sustain The Illusion pretty much on his own with producer David Odlum and musicians Romy and Lise Douylliez adding the only additional contributions. The result is a release which manages to feel even more intimate than its heart bred predecessor while embracing a richer texture and array of sound and enterprise.

Sustain The Illusion opens with the atmospheric Breaking The Bond, electronic beats leading in the inviting melodic coaxing of a lone guitar as colder winds whistle around them. Sojo’s tones soon join the blossoming reflection, the emotion of his voice and words stirring greater intensity in the suggestive sounds. It is energy though which sublimely ebbs and flows as the instinctive beauty of his music seduces the senses, at times with melancholic elegance.

The following Twinkle has a livelier gait, its electronic shimmer and melodic rock guitar stroll as transfixing as the rhythmic dance and vocal adventure within them. As the track gently explodes around ears and imagination certain essences remind of bands such as Slug Comparison and Sigur Rós before Someday hugs thoughts with its confidential emotions and sonic tension. As the song before, it is seriously mesmeric, deeply immersing the listener in its raw heart and emotional drama further expressed through the impressing tones of Sojo.

The infectious swing of Rollercoaster firmly entices next, its boisterous energies and enterprise pure magnetism infesting body and spirit. It is pop infused rock at its best and quite bewitching as too is successor Fairweather Faith, a folk spiced croon with the most delicious melody and a compelling XTC like air. It is an exquisitely layered seduction graced by worldly spices which absorbs attention and ardour like a sponge.

An earthy bass opens up Stars Align, its flirtatious nature matched in vocal and melody as the song evolves into a Nine Inch Nails meets The The like treat. Its eventful minimalistic air and Sojo’s vocal prowess alone stokes pure pleasure which angelic harmonies and an array of sounds and imaginative twists simply accentuates in the album’s best track.

The equally outstanding Guilt Trip similarly has something of Matt Johnson’s band to it, a touch of The Pineapple Thief too as its mix of eighties synth pop and post punk nurtured rock captivates with increasing dexterity. It is another beacon of songwriting and craft within the album taken to a greater plateau by Sojo’s passion and energy.

As the calmer but darker emotional waters of Clean Slate and Burn Your Icons, a track merging Cure-esque rhythms and shadows with jazzier progressive rock adventure, surround ears on the way to seducing the psyche Sustain The Illusion only strengthens its hold, squeezing tighter with recent single The Gift. The track caresses the senses with its golden melodic romance, its heart similarly graceful and reassuring to subdue the shadows which skirt but never threaten its hope fuelled beauty. It is fair to say that the song has been a powerful draw for a great many into Sustain The Illusion and for newcomers into the creative realm of Sweet Gum Tree, and even after a flood of plays seduces as powerfully as ever.

The album closes with the reassuring lullaby of Keeper, a safety clad hug which encapsulates everything masterfully charismatic and fascinating about not only the album but Sojo’s songwriting and talent. So we suggest you do yourself a big favour and check out Sustain The Illusion and Sweet Gum Tree now!

Sustain The Illusion is out now @ https://sweetgumtree.bandcamp.com/

http://sweetgumtree.tv    http://facebook.com/sweetgumtree    http://twitter.com/SweetGumTree

Pete RingMaster 03/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

a blue flame – when your whole world turns to dust

Last year ears and acclaim were seriously caught up in the swinging rock pop adventures of What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remains, now a blue flame follow up its success with when your whole world turns to dust, a release which may be takes a touch longer to spark the same kind of reactions but gets there all the same.

a blue flame is the solo project of Leicester based songwriter Richard Stone and when your whole world turns to dust his third album with the first, someone else’s dreams will fill our home released in 2013 as Woodman Stone.  For his new offering Stone has ventured down the gentler melodic side of his previous album but managed to find the same eclectic flavours which marked out its praise collecting presence.  Essences of folk, swing, and cabaret peak out within when your whole world turns to dust. There are moments when it rocks with full eagerness but generally it basks in a mellower climate yet the same instinctive infectiousness which drove its predecessor again infests the new album whether tempting with an emotive croon or a spirited roar.

With a host of skilled musicians such as Andy Robertson, Adam Ellis, Damon Claridge, and Tony Robinson alongside the vocals and guitar of Stone, the album opens with Back to the Stars and immediately has the body moving to its slow sway and smouldering jazzy hug. The dark inviting prowl of the bass is courted by the seductive flames of brass, both suggestively skirting the magnetic tones of Stone. It is pure captivation setting the release off in fine style.

The following We Feel Like We Feel brings a 60’s pop scent to its melodic surf twanged breeze, a touch of The Everlys flirting with its Bit pop suggestiveness. It is a mix of essences then emulated with different flavourings within the excellent Don’t Wait where it is hard not to be reminded of The Divine Comedy, its English heart and infectious canter a tapestry of imagination and creative zeal.

A Mariachi scented Latin lure graces the show tune-esque rapture of the outstanding 21st Century Blues, a song which almost creeps up on you with its addictive chorus and imagination sparking enterprise but sure to have you making vocal contributions in no time before The Future’s a Mystery lays reflectively upon  ears and thoughts. Its calmer air and tone is an emotive caress, a melancholic serenade given greater emotive depth and texture by the cello of David Dhonan.

The acoustic cored stroll of A Better Way wears a great fifties influence to its intimate saunter, Robinson’s brass lures, as the lyrical reflection , an easy tempting to get carried off by while The Words Wouldn’t Form dances with ears and appetite draped in folkish hues. At this point we are midway through the release and Stone’s songwriting and imagination increasingly shows itself to be as ripe and magnetic as it has ever been but stepping forward with fresh maturity and boldness track after track.

The summery All We Need to Know similarly leans on English folk bred inspirations for its engaging meander, textures given more urgency and mischief in the rousing stroll of Everything’s a Lie immediately after. The second of the two also has an indie pop catchiness and joviality which takes thoughts to bands such as Jim Jiminee and The Sundays, a flirtatious element quickly grabbing feet and appetite.

The song’s energetic intent is gathered up and given further tenacity in Empty Head, the first in a pair of tracks which launch the kind of rock pop antics which lit up the last album. There is a fire in its belly and devilment in its character which simply carries the listener eagerly away into the waiting rock ‘n’ roll jaws of See What Tomorrow Brings. It too has a sixties essence in its tone, the keys as much to credit for the inviting flavouring, but equally a meatier almost rapacious edge which only inflames song and the pleasure it brings.

Completed by the smoky jazziness of Love Will Set Us Free, the increasingly compelling when your whole world turns to dust leaves real anticipation of major things, if not now, ahead for Richard Stone and a blue flame. Whether the album outshines one of our favourite releases last year in its predecessor, we are still debating but certainly it rivals it and most other melodically teasing offerings out this year.

when your whole world turns to dust is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/when-your-whole-world-turns-to-dust/id1279472334

https://www.facebook.com/ablueflame

Pete RingMaster 02/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Echotape – This Could Be Anything

The successor to their well-received debut album, Wicked Way of 2016, UK quartet Echotape has just released the This Could Be Anything, an EP already sparking keen attention and success. It is a flavoursome dose of the band’s increasingly flourishing indie pop/alternative rock blended sound led by a single which in swift time was selected for Topman store UK coverage last month and featured by BBC Introducing.

Linking up with James Lewis (Clean Bandit/ Arctic Monkeys/ Rudimental) for the EP, Echotape have tapped into a fresh new breath in their music hand in hand with greater maturity in songwriting and sound. The EP has an air of confidence which in turn gives even greater energy and boldness to its body in relation to its impressing predecessor. It is an undisguised essence which fuels the striking presence and imagination of opener Forget It, that aforementioned lead single.

Straightaway jangling guitars and the rumbling tones of the bass coax attention; skittish beats dancing alongside as vocals provide their own potent lure within the track’s melodic breath. There is a touch of Skellums to the song as it continues to boldly stroll through ears with a creative swagger and vibrant air. The infectiousness which equally soaks the song seals what is pretty soon an already done deal, its instinctive catchiness gripping feet and spirit in no time for a party in the imagination.

The following Out Of Love similarly makes a fully enticing entrance, its harmonic start breeding another eagerly infectious canter with sultry sighs to its sonic winds and atmospheric suggestion to its melody rich and harmonically glowing skies. Keys and guitars again weave a captivating enticement exploited by the outstanding vocal unity within the band; it all kept relatively earthbound by the grounded but no less tenacious rhythms.

Don’t Want Anyone keeps up the anthemic might of the EP with its own rousing roar. It does not quite have the weight and virulence of the previous pair of songs but easily has feet shuffling and energies sparked with its animated craft and invention before leaving for 4AM to close up the release.

The final song is an emotively honed ballad accentuating the impressive vocal qualities and strengths within the band. It is another moment of captivation which only grows minute by minute into another highly enjoyable and memorable experience. Certainly, Forget It is the jewel in the EP’s crown but every song within its walls suggests that Echotape is ready to embrace far bigger attention.

This Could Be Anything is out now via Believe Digital and Gentlemen Recordings on iTunes and other stores.

https://www.facebook.com/Echotape/    http://twitter.com/echotapeuk

Pete RingMaster 02/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright