Slug Comparison – When You Were Living Here

Definitely more a wave than a tingle of anticipation exploded when Dutch label, Rock Company, sent a bundle of their latest and forthcoming releases over to us for consideration. Pretty much the sole reason with respect to all artists put forward being the fact it included the new album from Slug Comparison, a proposition which had seduced ears and ardour so totally through a debut full-length and subsequent EP. There was also a tinge of disappointment at the realisation that we had missed a trio of subsequent EPs; investigation showing a combination of technology fail and not being sent them. It was a niggle swiftly dissolved as When You Were Living Here brings all four previous EPs together with new tracks to offer a festival of sound and beauty from one of the world’s most magnetic and rousing songwriters.

Slug Comparison is the solo project of vocalist/guitarist Doug Harrison of Canadian progressive rockers Fen. The release of his first album, the eagerly acclaimed Trails Out Of Gloom in 2014, brought an enthralling collection of tracks which seemed to knowingly tap into personal thoughts, experiences, and desires. That fusion of intimacy and an instinct for contagious imagination and enterprise was even more intense and seductive within the IIa EP of 2017. The new release reveals that the following EPs were just as rich and potent as too are the brand new tracks gracing the first truly majestic and irresistible treat of 2019.

The Slug Comparison sound is similarly nurtured within the progressive rock heart which Fen embraces but Harrison draws on a seemingly leaner but soon proving itself broader palette of sound. Acoustic and electric dexterity entangle with a craft and infectiousness which easily beguiles and invigorates. There is an energy and snappiness to his melody thick ballads and affectionate intimate warmth to tracks with eager boisterousness. As album opener, exactly what to do, epitomises, all songs with their instinctive catchiness share a confidentiality and affinity to creator and listener. The track swings in on a tenacious but controlled stride wrapped in instantly magnetic strands of guitar. The song’s lures only intensify as its rock ‘n’ roll welcomes the ever captivating tones of Harrison and his web of melodiously thick grooves and hooks. A grungy rapacity brings even greater flavour to the contagious theatre gripping ears and imagination, the track always a big favourite at The RR since its appearance upon the IIa EP blossoming further as the introduction to When You Were Living Here.

The following hyperslump arrives with its own individual swing, a trait all tracks carry in their particular gaits and guises. Again a melody just slips from the guitar like fine wine as vocals alluringly unveil the heart of song and writer. There is no escaping the virulent bounce infesting feet and hips, nor locking into its conflict of desire and obstacle as hook and melody ensnare with almost predatory prowess before let some light nestles in ears with acoustic tempting aligned to dark rhythmic intimation. Emotion clad reflection escapes Harrison’s throat just as suggestively, it all uniting in a masterful flame burning into a heated roar as the song’s chorus flourishes in perpetually infectious temptation.

Alone all three tracks make When You Were Living Here a fascinatingly essential proposal with the added guest contributions from the likes of guitarist Sam Levin (Fen), bassist Mike Young (The Devin Townsend Band), Randall Stoll (Congenital Fixation, KD Lang), Jeff Caron (Fen), Nando Polesel (Fen), Dave Young (Devin Townsend) and others add craft and spicing to these and other songs.

Drama lines every note and syllable of next up fine with it, but a theatre of the heart which smoulders within the track’s calm yet fiery rock breath while thoughts offers a relaxed stroll but with an edge to its tone and thought which comes from Harrison’s inner angst. There is an anxiety to each track which easily aligns to their contagiousness as epitomised in the second of the two, the track maybe relatively reserved but as virally catchy as a cold and with its predecessor alone showing that Harrison is as compelling a vocalist and musician as he is a songwriter.

Two tracks within When You Were Living Here are dedicated to the memory of Eric Rose, “Harrison’s former roommate, friend, and creative accomplice”, the first in the album’s title track coming next with the second, beings far away, coming a few tracks later. Both are pure beauty soaked in enchanting melancholy; when you were living here a haunting almost dream like embrace which just touches thoughts and heart, essences even more intense within beings far away, it too a ballad of pensive sadness bound in love and joyful respect  which incited a lump in the throat even before knowing its inspiration.

In between, the folkish canter of becoming seduced, its smouldering persuasion inescapable manipulation, and the raw edge rock ‘n’ roll of so ya got a great guitar aroused; both tracks a galvanic persuasion in their unique ways impossible not to lend one’s own exploits too. The latter has something of a Fen snarl to it but only a hue to Harrison’s own design and irritable release.

Bringing further fresh shades and temptation to album and ears, hold of you gently smooches with the senses next, its acoustic contemplation and musing Simon and Garfunkel tinged, whilst the closing pair of purple monkey and one more step respectively beset the imagination and appetite with unfeigned evocative beauty and stirringly animated enterprise amidst almost untamed rock adventure.

They conclude an album that simply aroused body, spirit and soul. The music got under the skin as the lyrical explorations sparked thoughts and heart as if Harrison was tapping into one’s own psyche. When You Were Living Here is simply intimate splendour with melodic nobility sure to be deserving of every ounce of attention and acclaim it will inevitably garner.

When You Were Living Here is out now through Rock Company and also available @ https://slugcomparison.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 20/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Jupiter in Velvet – Beautiful New Day

Six albums down and Jupiter in Velvet continues to nurture fresh ingredients in a sound which just seems to grow and evolve by the release. The US bred, UK residing singer songwriter has persistently refused to make it easy to pigeonhole his sound and Beautiful New Day, his seventh full-length, has mischievously not made it any easier. It is a rocking stomping slab of rock ‘n’ roll bred on all the rich essences of previous decades whilst casting more than a few new ones of its very own.

Jupiter in Velvet adds everything from pop and psych rock to indie and electro rock to a classic/hard rock hearted sound, one also just as adept at grabbing metal hues as it is at being a punk. The latest album certainly bears classic rock inclinations maybe more so than previous encounters but with a hunger for any flavour and style which allows the contagion within tracks to truly roar.

Beautiful New Day opens up with Heavy Like A Brick and immediately gripped ears with insurgent strikes of guitar; their guerrilla scythes nothing other than pure temptation. That nagging lure swiftly breaks into a prowling swagger loaded stroll as the richly individual tones of Jupiter add their own swinging persuasion. A track which just tempts more and more by the listen, it is a web of seventies and eighties rock and pop lined with strands of current day devilry; a proposition unapologetically infectious though that instinctive contagion reveals itself to be even more viral like numerous times more across the release.

Next up, Can’t Get It Right is one such instigator; the song a mix of Bowie-esque, INXS infected catchiness with a roar in its breath and angst in its heart. Its controlled swing simply manipulated hips whilst the guitar sparked the appetite with senses stabbing riffs and sonic flames. A feral edge to its tone and catchiness added further magnetism before Monsters took over and uncaged its predacious pop ‘n’ roll. As with most tracks there is a mix of familiarity and individual enterprise which grabs ears and attention and like each, the song springs hooks and melodic tempting with the hand of the Devil.

From one outstanding track to another as latest single Metanoia grips the imagination next. An irresistible blend of indie pop and melodic rock, the track bounces in with a bold and catchy gait but one which only builds greater manipulation of body and appetite when it unleashed a blazing romp of a chorus that is something akin to T-Rex meets The Wildhearts. Again hooks and grooves entangle to tempt and enslave as vocals add their own thick persuasion to another of the album’s finest moments.

The diversity within the Jupiter in Velvet sound is no better epitomised than within The Day I Fell From The Stars and its electro rock bred, celestially shimmering serenade. It is a thrilling Bowie scented courting though which boils as its simmers become tenacious flames of guitar and emotive intimation, a tempestuousness rising up and relaxing throughout without losing the song’s intensity and invention before fading away for the attitude lined punk ‘n’ roll of U Can’t Beat Me. There are flickers of bands such as The Motors, The Stones, and Iggy Pop to a rhythmically compelling, sonically tempting romp which as all tracks there is no option of ignoring.

Across the blues kissed, hard rock bopping Spare Me and the swarthy, humid melody woven balladry of With A Whole Lotta Heart, variety and magnetism only further blossoms. Neither song quite fired up the passions as their predecessors yet both enjoyably lingered in the memory after providing a body sparking, voice recruiting companion; a double tempting even more inescapable with the rapaciously strolling Take Control though it’s surf coloured psych rock ‘n’ roll is in turn eclipsed by teasing lures of Kiss The Flame. It is a coaxing though which almost becomes carnivorous as the track expels its untamed and hungrily magnetic clamour with eager imagination.

The album concludes with out and out rocker Fight 4 Your Life, a track which embodies the inspirations and kaleidoscope of flavours not forgetting craft and fun which makes up the Jupiter in Velvet sound.

Relentlessly rousing, Beautiful New Day is old school, new day rock ‘n’ roll which simply and eagerly feeds what we all want; something to boisterously rock out to.

Beautiful New Day is available now as a name your own price download @ https://jupiterinvelvet.bandcamp.com/album/beautiful-new-day

  

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 Pete RingMaster 20/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright