Union Jack – Violence

Two years and a handful of months on from igniting the senses and passions with their previous album, Supersonic, French punks Union Jack have unleashed a just as voracious and compelling assault in the shape of Violence. With ten tracks which sonically live up to its title, the band’s new full-length ravages as it snarls, bounces as it unleashes ravening contagion. After the release of its predecessor we suggested that the Paris hailing trio could infringe on the world beyond their homeland, the UK and parts of Europe; with its successor we expect it.

In many ways Violence is a somewhat harsher and fractious trespass than that offered by Supersonic but still ripe with the instinctive catchiness and contagious character which marked out that previous outing. From vocals to sound, textures to aggression, it is an openly feral affair but one swiftly proving addictively contagious to ears and an ever hungry punk appetite.

Since emerging in 1997, Union Jacks’ fusion of punk, ska, hardcore and raw rock ‘n’ roll has bred its own individuality, one which has grown and evolved as a host of other flavours has been embraced and Violence only stretches that adventure. With its untamed air and trespass, the album in some ways looks back on the band’s early releases but with its noise fuelled twists, lyrical world attacking irritability, and rapacious almost cacophonous breath it is a whole fresh incitement for Union Jack and punk itself.

The album opens up with So Cold, the beat bouncing invitation of drummer Antoine Sirven Gabiache leading the way before the guitar of Tom Marchal and bass of Rude Ben spin their equally ear summoning threads of sound around the song’s initial lure. Quickly it is a volatile stroll of sound and infection, mouth-watering discord uniting with punk belligerence in music and voice, the mesh of vocal voracity from all three band members as tenacious as it is mischievously dissonant. With an At The Drive In-esque sonic tension and unpredictability, the track makes for a striking start to Violence with devilish keys adding to the temptation.

Venom ensures it continues as its swinging gait and savagery is immediately infectious, guitar and bass driving a boisterously truculent and catchy attack with the latter laying down a wicked groove as again vocals collude in a magnetic squall. Three minutes of noisy punk manipulation leads to two minutes of noise twisting ferity as Dance In The Fire springs its own cauldron of vocal and sonic dispute around manipulative hooks and grooves which invade and incite body and instinctive pleasure. The track is pure rock ‘n’ roll at its most wild yet deviously sculpted.

Poison Me instantly infests ears with a dancing melody if one with a certain acerbic edge which is inflamed across the instantly following hooks and an enterprise exposed by craft and imagination. Nimble keys flirt and tease from within the web of contagion unleashed by guitar and bass, the song a rousing and refreshing slice of animated ingenuity proving a definite favourite though matched throughout the album as proven by the calmer but as hungrily catchy Legacy. Like Joe Jackson meets Stiff Little Fingers, the song is pure temptation, if far too short at barely a minute length, and only more irresistible through the addition of Philippe Cattafesta’s piano organ.

Through the primal raging of Vasectomy, the song a fury of contagiousness and Frustration with its fertile noise bred roar, Violence only tightened its grip on attention and appetite; the lively hooks and spirited antics of both an inevitable and inescapable persuasion and each challenging that favourite moment choice, while Sugar is a collision of old school punk and rabid hardcore which ears and body had no defence to.

The final pair of Thieves & Liars and Nocturne take the album out as impressively as it came in, the first a multi-flavoured lure of punk and rock. It’s less intensive and ferocious presence compared to predecessors unveils a landscape of melodic and sonic dexterity but with an inherent cynicism and severity of word and emotion which makes you take stock while the final track is another inferno of the bands highly flavoursome and inventive sound with hooks and melodies that take hold of the senses like the strings of a puppeteer.

There is a definite uncompromising breath to the Union Jack sound which aligns a challenge with the temptation sprung but one which punk and noise fans will only relish along with the devilish enterprise which effortlessly escapes the band.

Violence is out now; available @ https://unionjack.bandcamp.com/album/violence

https://www.facebook.com/badska/   http://unionjack.free.fr

Pete RingMaster 27/09/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dead Kaczynski – Mr. Scratch

Poised to uncage their debut EP his October, British noise punks Dead Kaczynski have laid down one irresistible teaser in the shape of first single Mr. Scratch. The track is a slice of cacophonous temptation which ripples with dissonance and shrugs with indifference to the sanity of your psyche but most of all has the body bouncing to its rapacious antics and contagion.

Kent-based, Dead Kaczynski (pronounced Ka-Zin-Ski) have a sound bred from post-hardcore and driven by noise punk ferocity. The trio is another proposition emerging from the Medway scene demanding attention and on the evidence of their latest single another which rewards with body and imagination rousing incitement.

Formed from the ashes of Kent punks Wiremother, the threesome of vocalist/guitarist Shareef Dahroug, bassist/vocalist Oliver Nissen, and drummer/vocalist Liam McCann has taken little time earning a rich reputation for their live shows, one surely about to be fully escalated by their first releases, Mr. Scratch and the Yakuza Attack Dog EP, released 4th October on Skingasm Records.

There is a touch of Punching Swans to Mr. Scratch but quickly the song lays out its own breath and character as swinging rhythms and the fervid vocals grip air and ears. All the while bass and guitar grumble, intermittently adding their grouchiness before wires of guitar entangle the instinctive disharmony of the song’s heart and voice and subsequently spark a fevered roar of voracious and infectious causticity.

Brief and rabidly hungry, the track is pure noise virulence, almost carnal in its breath and ravenous in its fierce energy. Roll on the Yakuza Attack Dog.

Mr. Scratch is available@ https://deadkaczynski.bandcamp.com/track/mr-scratch-4 with the Yakuza Attack Dog EP released October 4th.

https://www.facebook.com/deadkaczynski/   https://twitter.com/dead_kaczynski

Pete RingMaster 03/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

River Drivers – Big Oak Road

photo by Ron Donocoff

It is fair to say that at The RR our knowledge, awareness, and subsequently appetite for folk music is on the side of limited compared to other flavours of temptation. Even so a regular courting of folk punk offerings leads to moments more established in the traditional breeding of the genre which have from time to time sparked our pleasure and attention, the debut album from River Drivers now one such occasion.

Big Oak Road offers up ten songs which grab ears and imagination alike with their stories; tracks bearing tales of people and suffering so often borne from the affluence and powerful which prosper from and cause their struggles and hardship. They are accounts wrapped in sounds which proved just as captivating, Celtic, Americana, and Appalachian influences sparking the Philadelphia band’s own individual ideation and passion within a record which works and tempts on many levels and one which only nurtured the want to know more about band, folk music, and the background to the chronicles of life and history within it.

River Drivers is the creation of Kevin McCloskey (vocals, guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass) and Mindy Murray (vocals, guitar, banjo, bass) with Marian Moran (tin whistle, low whistle, concertina, melodica) and Meagan Ratini (fiddle, Irish flute, tin whistle) completing the quartet. We mentioned the flavours embraced in the band’s sound but equally there is a rawness in sound and emotion which has a punk breeding, no doubt a hue feeding on the years McCloskey was part of hardcore punk band Wrong Answer. It all adds up to a richly alluring persuasion within Big Oak Road and its mix of original and more obscure folk songs, and immediately within opener Children’s March (Mother Jones). It is a track which carries an infectious swing from its first breath, melodies coaxing swift engagement as McCloskey’s earthier tones draw the drama of the true U.S. Irish history plucked story inciting the imagination of song and listener alike.

It is a great rousing start to the release quickly matched in strength and captivation by the similarly lively and catchy Going Once. It too is a song inspired by a true story, that of a mother‘s plight finding a new home for her nine kids after their Torresdale farm is sold at auction for back taxes. The woman was Murray’s grandmother and brought to life magnetically by the vocalist’s emotive tones before a just as thick emotional intensity lines the voice of McCloskey within Crooked Jack, a cover of a song written by Irish singer songwriter/novelist/playwright Dominic Behan. As in its predecessors, the strings of the band’s instruments cradle and cast tempting shadows thick with warmth and melancholy; a craft heavy combination almost as romantic as it is dramatic and provocative and just as potent within the following Sí, Se Puede, another song drawing a picture of the hardship and exploitation of hard working men.

Isn’t It Grand Boys (Look at the Coffin) revels in its Irish breeding next, a Pogue-esque croon shaping its take on The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem classic. It is one of those songs which instinctively gets under the skin, a temptation relishing the enterprise of Moran’s whistle embracing breath, as too proves the album’s title track which is next up. This time the fiddle of Ratini primarily flirts with ears as it dances with the spirit and the other equally enthused textures making up the highly enjoyable song.

Through the great thick drama in sound and word of Cumann na mBan, the track proving another major favourite within the album, and the poetic rendition of traditional song, Moonshiner, greater attention was easily sparked by the band while the Tim Stafford written Union Man simply epitomised the strength of the release to pleasure, spark participation, and inspire an appetite to explore the origins of its story.

Big Oak Road concludes with Farewell Johnny Miner, just one more captivating slice of historically and intimately inspired folk written by Ed Pickford and invigorated by River Drivers, the band embracing its British heart.

The music world is so vast and rich that it is impossible to explore every plateau within its glorious landscape but we have definitely missed out not venturing into folk deeper and more often but grateful for having the rather excellent River Drivers and their similarly thrilling Big Oak Road as a new incitement.

Big Oak Road is released October 18th with pre-ordering available @

https://theriverdrivers.com/   https://www.facebook.com/theriverdrivers   https://twitter.com/theriverdrivers

Pete RingMaster 03/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright