Mayflower Madame – Premonition EP

photo by Sven Santelmann

Though formed in 2011, it was the release of their debut album Observed in a Dream two years ago which awoke real attention upon Mayflower Madame, introducing them to a whole wealth of new fans, us included. It offered a compelling and increasingly gripping full taste of the band’s psych rock infested post punk. Ahead of a new album later this year the Norwegian outfit have unveiled the Premonition EP, a release which simply leaves that previous encounter in the shade and is already making anticipation for the band’s second album impatient.

Fresh from a US tour, the latest the Oslo quartet has undertaken beyond their homeland since the release of that first full-length, the band now no strangers to venturing across the UK, Europe, and N America, Mayflower Madame lures the listener into a new soundscape of their imagination fuelled sound with Premonition. Consisting of four tantalising propositions which can be, as the EP’s promo sheet suggests, “best described as apocalyptic love songs”, Premonition has a captivating calmness across its body which the previous release maybe evaded but equally a more virulent almost predacious craft and indeed seduction for a romance of impending darkness to embrace and fear.

The EP opens with its title track, a siren warning its arrival. From the midst of the threat an instantly compelling groove emerges, its calm but inescapable swing courted by additional melodic tendrils from the guitars of Håvard Haga and vocalist Trond Fagernes. It was pure temptation to our ears, the swarthy blend of their lures irresistible and swiftly complemented by the dark enticement of Kenneth Eknes’ atmosphere weaving synth and Fagernes’ potent voice. The rhythmic captivation of Petter Gudim Marberg’s bass and the crisp swings of drummer Ola J. Kyrkjeeide reinforced the grip the song quickly held, it only tightening its hold as the layers of psychedelically lit post punk infested body and psyche.

The following Before I Fall makes a similarly magnetic entrance, the bass of this time Fagernes walking magnetically through ears with the melodic intimation of the guitars for company.  Like a psych washed fusion of Dead Can Dance, My Bloody Valentine, and Fields Of The Nephilim, the song fascinated and tantalised in equal measure. Its heavy emotion and senses wrapping shadows unavoidably infested the imagination but equally the song tempted the body into calm but definite involvement even as its darkness consumed. The fact that the song did not bring the same lust as for its predecessor or successor is simply down to their might, the song only magnetism.

The best track to our ears is Alma’s Sermon, its swing and melodic dance manna to our musical instincts and passions. Flirting with both through something akin to The Orson Family assimilated by The Doors, the track ensnares ears with a hook which teases and pleasures as an insatiable creative appetite supports it from within a web of melodic suggestion from the guitars. All the while, rhythms manipulate attention and hips like a puppeteer with the tones of Fagernes as alluring as they shimmer and echo the song’s dark magnetism.

Spiders Seek with the opener is a close contender to that favourite track choice as it completes the release, the intrigue soaked encounter cinematic in its atmosphere, intimate in its breath. The keys simply seduced our ears, their seemingly familiar yet unique enterprise a spark for the imagination on their own, the suggested drama thoughts conjured only accentuated by the dark catchiness of the bass with Marberg back plucking the strings, the hypnotic stroll of the beats, and the guitar’s sonic wiring.

It is a superb end to a magnificent release. Observed in a Dream only pleasured and excited but the Premonition EP has left it in its wake with ease. Goodness knows what the band’s forthcoming full-length will do…We cannot wait.

The Premonition EP is out now digitally and on CD via the band’s own label Night Cult Records @ https://mayflowermadame.bandcamp.com  as well as being available on cassette via Black Verb Records (Germany), SpiderChild Records (US) and Custom Made Music (US).

https://www.facebook.com/mayflowermadame

Pete RingMaster 26/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

Astral Cloud Ashes – Dear Absentee Creator

Eighteen months or so in the making, Dear Absentee Creator is the keenly awaited successor to the critically well-received debut album marking Astral Cloud Ashes out as one inescapably magnetic encounter.  Released in 2016, Too Close to the Noise Floor was a collection of songs which intrigued as they pleasured, fascinated as they almost forcibly introduced an ear grabbing new artist to the British music scene. Now Dear Absentee Creator takes all the prowess and potential of its predecessor to the next level with eleven tracks which seduce the imagination and stir ears with their infectious adventures.

Astral Cloud Ashes is the solo project of Jersey hailing multi-instrumentalist Antony Walker who had already caught our ears and appetite as one half of also Channel Islands bred outfit Select All Delete Save As . Formed in 2016, the band swiftly sparked keen interest with the title track of that subsequent first album. The full bodied Too Close to the Noise Floor really stirred attention and praise with its release later that first year and a sound which lies somewhere between the embraces of indie rock, alt-pop, and math rock being self-tagged as Future-core. To be fair, enjoyably it is a proposition very difficult to pin down, familiar in some ways, boldly individual in a great many others, and as proven by the new encounter, always at ease captivating the senses.

Whereas Too Close to the Noise Floor saw backing vocalist Jason Neil a thick presence alongside, Dear Absentee Creator is all Walker with just a few guests in pianist/vocalist James Elliott Field (Tubelord, Tall Ships) on the album’s closing song and drummer Max Saidi on three others as well as Melle Brower (vocalist for Dutch metallers Illusionless) providing cymbals on Clockhand Reversal. Mastered as that earlier album by Tim Turan, Dear Absentee Creator references Satoshi Nakamoto in its title, the creator of the world’s first ever cryptocurrency in Bitcoin, whose true identity has never been known to anyone and has not been heard of since the final weeks of 2010.

It opens up with the melodic enticement of News Anchor Breaks Rank, a short mellow invitation with drama in its heart and touch as Walker’s ever resourceful vocal mix rises within a guitar nurtured weave. It is the opening breath to next up Moonphase Bloom, and outstanding track which helped spark anticipation for the album with its release as a single last year. A virulently infectious and lively slice of pop rock as tempting when it is a melodic smoulder or a rousing rocker, the track just draws ears into the sound and imagination of Walker like a magnet; its success as a single pure evidence.

Old Moods follows, it too a bouncy proposal with emotion lining every melody and word, adventure each twist and turn. Almost fiery in its eruptions and firmly mesmeric in its melancholic calms, the song is a skilfully woven clamour drawing on a host of pop and indie flavours with subtlety and open hunger before A Reformatted Heart goes off on its own catchy stroll wrapped in melodic intimation.

Already four tracks in and Dear Absentee Creator showed a feistier character and contagion of sound compared to its predecessor with the same calm elegance and lively imagination which helped the first album stand out. It has a roar to it which just incites attention even as in next up Ryukyu Kingdom Declares Independence, a song which ebbs and flows in intensity almost reflecting from a standstill at times as Walker croons throughout with a gentle touch.

Similarly Ironed Shirts bounces along with a mercurial gait, every move inviting a willing body to match its changeable energy, the imagination bound in its expectations escaping invention, while Dallas Knows the Reason just enthrals from its emotive harmonic gaze to its voracious rock explosions. The grumble of the bass is irresistible, the flames of guitar compelling as the track seduces, lulls into false safety, and preys on ears and thoughts with its tenacious sound around a tale of a gun-wielding girl from Texas.

The piano led, metronomic tease of the following Clock Hand Reversal is just as richly enticing, that clever bait opening up a tenacious shimmer of melody and harmony with a volatile underbelly which springs up again and again to add to the track’s captivation.

The fuzzy pop ‘n’ roll of Satoshi Nakamoto vs Unyielding Desire for BAU is a quick match in wrapping up ears and appetite in its creative tapestry, the melodic senses entangling of Gush just as charismatic and increasingly gripping before Kimobetsu Love brings the album to a fine conclusion. A song which blossomed over plays rather than making the immediate impact of some of its companions, it epitomises the imaginative and arresting not forgetting perpetually enticing sound of Astral Cloud Ashes.

It is increasingly impossible to compare the band’s sound to others such its growing uniqueness but imagine a pinch of House Of Love intimacy, a slither of Weezer infectiousness, and an infusion of XTC melodic imagination all blended together in a Tubelord fired mortar and you get an idea of the creative breath and pop rock fun of Astral Cloud Ashes.

Dear Absentee Creator is out now across major online stores and

https://astralcloudashes.bandcamp.com/album/dear-absentee-creator

https://www.facebook.com/astralcloudashes/   https://twitter.com/AstralCloudAsh

Pete RingMaster 26/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Dark Red Seed – Becomes Awake

Providing a kaleidoscope of intrigue, suggestion, and captivation, the debut album from The Dark Red Seed is a journey and experience which almost stains the imagination in its creative breath. It provokes thoughts and incites emotions as it lures ears into its shadowy yet seductive soundscape; Becomes Awake evolving into one of the most enthralling encounters so far this year.

The Dark Red Seed is the personal project of Tosten Larson, guitarist for Seattle dark folk musician King Dude. It is an adventure shared with King Dude engineer Shawn Flemming, the pair creating individual realms and intimation within a fusion of dark folk and heavy psychedelic rock with plenty more hues involved. Becomes Awake follows last year’s Stands with Death EP; a well-received introduction to the project hinting at the rich and immersive adventure to come. To use their words, the new album is “a dark, dusty discourse on the departure and ultimate dissolution of life, “Becomes Awake” symbolizes a movement from darkness into light; finding balance through acceptance of one’s own qualities of both the light and the dark; the good and the bad.”

Featuring the guest contributions of Kelly Pratt (LCD Soundsystem, War on Drugs, St Vincent) and Steve Nistor (Sparks, Marissa Nadler, Daniel Lanois), and wrapped in the superb art of Paul Romano (Mastodon, Dälek), Becomes Awake draws on inspirations from Indian, Persian, and Roma music. There is a nomadic feel to the exploration at times, an aural travelogue of the ancient, old, and modern within its harmonically and rhythmically shaped, melody fuelled exploration. From opener Dukkha, the album just sucked ears and attention into its awaiting and awakening milieu, flame licked psychedelic atmospheres soaring over the infectious rhythmic rockery of its land. Drama lines every note and syllable, a web of sound shaping its suggestion, all through imagination and craft.

Lured in by the first, its successor, Darker Days, just ensnared with its inviting rhythmic stroll and dark rock/country/folk swing. Like a psych kissed Helldorado, the song is a warm infection of body and imagination scorched by brass, caressed my Eastern temptation, and ignited by the underlying tempestuousness of its climate and heart. It is a recipe of pure magnetism taken and then evolved again within next up Alap, an instrumental web of threat and discord, intrigue and trespass, light and dark. The piece did convert its prowess into persuasion as swiftly as its predecessors with fascination a quick return for its mystery.

Through the melodic calm and blossoming rapture of Ancient Sunrise and the animated slightly portentous grandeur of The Mouth of God which emerges from it, ears and imagination were simply roused before The Destroyer deceptively saunters into view with a mellow if sonically volatile air. The melancholic scythes and beauty of the strings are a resignation to an impending result, enticing melodies and harmonies a holding of the hand as the track’s protagonist looms. A well of contrasts and emotions, the track simply enthralled as it made its way towards the jazz smoky atmosphere and darkly lit depths of The Void.

Personal interpretation is as easy as absorbing the inference of the tracks, another enticing element as the outstanding Awakening followed infesting and manipulating body and thought and Sukha mesmerised with its melodic heart and transfixing drone; again contrasting textures so sublimely aligned by The Dark Red Seed. The first of the two is easily our favourite moment within Becomes Awake, a stirring and rousing yet hypnotic canter on a compelling dark bassline through crystalline scenery steamed up by post punk breath.

Diana And Ouroboros Dance completes the release, another track which took its time to grow in ears and appetite yet was laying enticing seeds from its first breath to increasingly grow over time. With its heavy atmosphere and Doors-esque roar, the track is nothing less than enjoyable from the off and thick captivation down the line.

That pretty much applies to Becomes Awake as a whole though straight away we found ourselves gripped by certain moments, enslaved by just as many others. The Dark Red Seed is one heart which will not make for a fleeting attraction.

Becomes Awake is out now through Prophecy Productions and available @ https://thedarkredseed.bandcamp.com/album/becomes-awake

https://www.facebook.com/TheDarkRedSeed/

Pete RingMaster 24/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright