Phoxjaw – A Playground For Sad Adults

We are not sure what it is in the River Avon and water supply of Bristol but the city is one of our favourite and persistently fruitful sources of musical invention and ear grabbing artists. It has provided a lengthy list of striking propositions over recent years alone to which Phoxjaw has added their creative name. The band has just uncaged their second EP, A Playground For Sad Adults; a collection of tracks which are as dramatic and unpredictable as they are feverishly contagious.

Phoxjaw have a sound which rebelliously defies pinning down especially within A Playground For Sad Adults. It is alternative rock bred to give it a base which made for an appealing lure in the band’s last EP, Goodbye Dinosaur… released last November. Within its successor though, it has evolved into a whole fresh and bold proposition of flavour and imagination which firmly puts the band’s first EP as well as a great many releases this year in the shade.

Released through Hassle Records, A Playground For Sad Adults opens with the brief lure of its title track; the piece sepia toned coaxing which inspired intrigue alongside trepidation as to what lurked ahead. What was waiting was one of the best tracks heard, Melt, You’re A Face Of Wax emerging from the raw shadows of its predecessor with an immediately enticing melodic strand of guitar within calm but suggestively imposing beats. Quickly the web spun by guitarists Josh Gallop and Alexander Share wraps the imagination, the bass of vocalist Danny Garland prowling the already instinctively catchy and increasingly richer and bolder incitement. A momentary calm surrounds the opening moments of the latter’s magnetic voice, the beats of Kieran Gallop still a crisp encouragement as guitar wires share their temptation. Crescendos of drama and creative theatre only add to the rousing character and a soon eager appetite for the song’s animated adventure.

The track is superb and never matched but certainly rivalled by things to come starting with Monday Man. It too took barely a breath to grip appetite and attention, bass and drums united in delicious bait before guitars sprung their own virulent enticement. In no time a pop rock energy and catchiness floods the expanding encounter, Garland’s vocals leading the tempting with zeal as melodic and sonic invention collude in equally magnetic persuasion. By the second greater urgency and dissonance emerges, firing up the roar and intensity of the song but never lessening the pull of its contagion before Whale, Whale, Whale brings its own catchy wiring and ravenous appetite to the release. Instantly a ferocious intent accompanies the senses shaking surge of incitement, a nagging groove taunting and enslaving ears within the turbulence of sound and emotion. It is a tempest though which breaks for melodic intervention and emotional reassurance but ultimately stalks and harries pleasure into inescapable subservience.

Bodiesinthewall casts another slice of unique drama within the EP, its initial presence a shadow clad and portentous calm from which a poppy stroll and mischievously catchy seduction eagerly springs. Like a blend of Maximo Park and Fatima Mansions, the song was craftily under the skin in no time and manipulating participation with just as much relish right up to the nightmarish expulsion of all its fears and discord, though that too only leads to another contrasting climate, this time a carousel of melodic and vocal enchantment.

Bringing the release to a stirring close, The Curse Of The Button Man is a cinematic yet intimately stirring slice of creative imagination. As its predecessors, the song is a cauldron of flavours and hues which defy precise labelling whilst providing a drama and experience which eagerly lingers in thought and appetite. Dark and intimidating, predacious and relentlessly infectious it is a glorious nightmare bringing a stunning release to a mighty close.

Phoxjaw gave numerous reasons to keep a close ear upon them with that first EP but a suggestion which has now become a rabid demand through A Playground For Sad Adults, one of the year’s most compelling and thrilling moments.

A Playground For Sad Adults is out now via Hassle Records; available @ https://phoxjaw.bandcamp.com/album/a-playground-for-sad-adults

https://www.facebook.com/phoxjawofficial/   https://twitter.com/phoxjaw

Pete RingMaster 02/08/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Torchbearer – Against The Tide

The press release accompanying Against The Tide, suggested that creators Torchbearer “are ready to set the world alight their new EP.” Whether that proves the case time will tell but certainly the five track encounter is one ear gripping, appetite rousing protagonist which demands attention.

With ex-members of Blowgoat and Collapse in their ranks, the South Wales quartet unleash a hardcore/punk sound unafraid to embrace other similarly fierce and intrusive flavours yet as their new release proves, it is a fury equipped with the keenest of hooks and fuelled by ravening melodic fire. An early EP, Pass In the Night, hinted at the potential of the band, one partly realised and fully pushed to greater heights by its rousing successor.

The swiftly magnetic and seriously compelling Time Served opens up Against The Tide, sweeping guitars and robustly animated rhythms instantly descending on the senses to lay potent bait. There is no time to reflect though as within a couple of seconds the band is a raging torrent of vocal ferocity and sonic trespass within which a glorious hook teases and taunts. Andy Mansell’s vocal attack is throat raw and heart driven, the sound around matching his intensity even when pulling back to the moment when it is his ire and the prowling menace of bass uncaged by Mohannad Mamoun Abdul-Rahaman Bashir Ahmed Meckey Ghuleb predominantly alone. Courted by the psyche rapping beats of Scott Harris, that moment sparks another rousing moment as the great clean vocal tones of guitarist Ollie Gould with those of Ghuleb alongside fill the magnetic air which in turn leads to a web of metal nurtured temptation before inherent animosity unites in their thrilling endeavour.

The track is superb, a definite favourite moment within the EP but more than matched by Paralysed and its equally creative examination. A touch less venomous and intrusive but just as inventive in melodic, harmonic, and toxic adventure with Mansell again a gripping fury, the song seized ears and appetite with ease and only tightened its hold by the eventful second.

Ascender provides a calm coaxing through its body and heart, Gould’s ever magnetic chords and hooks luring ears to a waiting nest of viperish grooves and devious hooks within a reflective wrath. As its predecessor, the song is a resourceful proposition, its lures unpredictable and inviting as its breath sears and provokes; qualities just as rich within the following Drown where its caustic air and touch is intensive and animated tapestry of flavours and invention ensnaring; Torchbearer bringing another fresh and darker shade to their sound.

It is a darkness though fearsomely intensified within the EP’s closing track, also called Torchbearer. Its gentle melodic opening has an edge in sound and voice, a fateful tone quickly exposed by Mansell and the rapacious sounds around him. The song’s fractious instincts soak its riffs and temptation but each a strong lure within the increasingly intensive and toxic mood of the track. So unique and opposite to the EP’s opener and just as riveting it gives a fine end to a release which just thrilled and impressed with greater strength by the listen.

Whether Against The Tide will indeed set ablaze the music scene we will find out but it certainly gives it a mighty nudge as to the presence of the rousing force that is Torchbearer.

Against The Tide is out now as a name your price download @ https://torchbearerlondon.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/torchbearerlondon/   https://www.torchbearer.life/   https://twitter.com/torchbearerldn

Pete RingMaster 02/08/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright