Mr. Strange – Contact

Even with the familiar uniqueness that comes with the Mr. Strange sound each album from the Isle Of Wight band has sought to explore new flavours and a fresh creative character and successfully so to date. That eclectic adventure and imagination was shown in its glory in the band’s 2019 best of album, WTF. Now the UK outfit has their sixth full-length poised to provoke the imagination, evoke the body, and interrupt complacent thoughts; an intent which Contact succeeds in with almost effortless ease.

The brainchild of vocalist/songwriter/keyboardist Mr. (Saul) Strange, the band has not only released some of the most striking and contagious releases over the past decade or two but become one insatiably devoured live proposition.  Completed by bassist/guitarist Ant Strange, and drummer Damian Strange, it is this live side which is at the heart of Contact, Mr. Strange wanting to bring its spirit to the album as, in their own words, they wanted to “make a record that actually sounded like a band, rather than a producer with a laptop.” Listening to the album it is clear across its multi-flavoured adventure that the intent found success though organically or instinctively the trademark electronic prowess and theatrical production touch of their fertile imagination still found an eager place. The combination works a treat as from maybe the expected industrial/electro rock which fuelled their previous acclaimed releases the band has launched its uniqueness across a fresh and rich tapestry of new eclectic styles.

The album opens with Alien and the introduction to the arrival of a visitor to this complicated planet but as across the album it is a premise which can be just as firmly translated to any misfit, freak, emotional extra-terrestrial feeling out of place in this world. It is a secretive emergence, a calm glide into view which breaks into a rhythmic stroll before an inimitable Mr. Strange like carousel lit saunter takes over. The narrative of the vocals is soon as magnetic as the sounds lighting its observation, the unsurprising catchiness of the band’s swinging electro meets psych rock incitement infesting ears and body alike.

It is an irresistible start to the release which the album’s following title track taps into just as eagerly. A cinematic sample triggers a sizzling groove across a manipulative surge of rhythms, the song proceeding to grow its web of tempting laced with funk, surf, and glam rock spiced threads, the track a quickly and increasingly contagious affair with keys dancing on the electric wiring and around rousing vocals to escalate the addiction.

Jungle intimating rhythms open up Animals next, tribal and primal instincts escorting our infestation of the natural world as a fusion of King Trigger, Thompson Twins, and Talking Heads essences unite to glorious, enthralling effect though the song is soon eclipsed by the feral rock ‘n’ roll of Piggy. Punk, electro, noise rock all collide in its attitude exhorting roar, the track as predatory as it is seductive within a galvanic roar of sound and voice.

The enthralling Play the Game is next up, another track which almost stalks ears and attention. Its twisted psyche and fuzzy breath is lit up by Mr. Strange’s vocal prowess and a surrounding harmonic elegance, dark and light colluding in the embrace of shadow wrapped self-reflection while Rumours steps in with an Oingo Boingo crossed with Marilyn Manson swing which breeds an only richer and broader tapestry of flavours and enterprise. Both tracks were under the skin in no time, their unpredictability as potent as their eclectic weave of sounds though again two great tracks found themselves outdone by a third as Paralysed stomped in with bold tenacious beats and rapacious riffs while a ragtime nurtured piano teases. It proved intoxication as thick as the call at the heart of its lyrical declaration, the album continuing to hit pinnacle after pinnacle.

The Pursuit of Something Better emerges next as sinister as it is irresistible; guitar and synth joining together in pure temptation as vocals add their similarly potent coaxing. With a breath akin to something like Wall Of Voodoo meeting Gary Numan in the shadow of Skinny Puppy, it is haunting arousal which also applies to its successor Southbound for different reasons. A slice of classic meets desert rock with a Queens of the Stone Age instinct, the track is a heavily stepping, creative limb swinging incitement again impossible not to boisterously participate in.

Both To The Center and Finale make for captivating proposals, the first a melancholy scented dark psychedelia lit croon which becomes more robust and fiery by the minute; its subsequent gripping declaration imposing and dramatic while its successor offers a tantalising and sublimely alluring ballad as crystalline as it is again melancholy coloured, and unapologetically infectious.

Contact concludes with Hello! (Epilogue), a grinning piece of creative kindling with a great ICP meets 12 Stone Toddler mischievousness to it that as, its predecessors, had the body swaying and appetite licking greedy lips.

As most of their albums, Mr. Strange had us hooked from the off with Contact only seeing us more hungrily dancing to its tune thereon in but it is a whole new beast from the band and even with those references to give you a clue is as unique as anything you are going to find out there, as contagious, and quite likely as irresistible.

Contact is released February 14th with pre-ordering available now @ https://mrstrange.bandcamp.com/album/contact

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Pete RingMaster 06/02/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

The Unbroken – Human Crown

It may have been unleashed last year but Human Crown is one encounter you really do not want to have missed. The release comes from Brooklyn metallers The Unbroken and offers five rousing tempests that had us grinning from ear to ear.

The quartet brews a ferocious cauldron from a feral fusion of punk, thrash and groove metal and it proves a potently incendiary mix in this their debut EP. Influences to the band include the likes of Metallica, Pantera, and Slipknot and in some ways there is plenty that is familiar to the release yet from first to last breath Human Crown stands as something aggressively individual and fresh in ears and indeed the metal scene.

Co-produced by the band with John Bender (Breaking Benjamin), mixed by Johan Meyer (Gojira) and mastered by Alan Douches (High On Fire, Mastodon), Human Crown erupts upon the senses with Stuck In The Way, an initial spiral of guitar sparking a thicker volution of groove wiring, the pugnaciously swung beats of Tamas Vajda in the middle. That grooving continues to wind around ears as lead Mark Johnson skilfully entangles the lead vocals of fellow guitarist Chester Oszustowicz, the song forcefully jabbing and inciting as it leads to a chorus which is just as galvanic. There is something akin to American Head Charge meets Mudvayne to the encounter but swiftly it stamps down its own compelling character as the EP gets off to a voracious flyer.

Suffering In Silence follows and quickly lays down its own formidable proposal, rhythms tenaciously marching through a weave of riffs, from which Johnson casts another rich melodic web. Hitting its meaty stroll, contagion soaking sound and vocal attack, the track swings with more of the virulent grooves the band is already proving so fertile with as the bass of Jeff Hinz magnetically growls in the midst of it all, ears and attention eagerly immersed in the thick enterprise making up the welcomed trespass.

Though the track did not quite get under the skin as its predecessor it only had us greedy for more which the EP’s outstanding and spiky title track delivered. Its calm melodic opening made for an evocative contrast to the storms before though a volatile heart is soon exposed as Oszustowicz’s belligerent vocals erupt in the background. As things brew a delicious nagging groove breaks, the vocalist’s snarl riding its rapacious incitement while it all leads to a brief but dynamic chorus, the cycle repeating to further enthral.

Just as addictive is next up I Never Forget, its agile entrance soon the seeding for more of The Unbroken’s unapologetically ravenous grooves and barbarous but welcomingly manipulative rhythms. From start to finish the song savages as it seduces; it’s snarled tone and truculent nature proving as irresistible as the quarrelsome sounds making up its untamed character and inescapable persuasion.

Nothing Left To Sell brings the release to a close, it immediately coaxing ears with a melodic caress full of intimation and elegance and again from the equally warm and intrigue hug of vocals which blossoms a charged and irritable eruption breaks driven by thrash nurtured riffs. The song though is a tapestry of contrasts, the reflective and serene uniting with a disturbed and volatile divergence as the band’s imagination and craft shape another fresh aspect in writing and sound.

The Unbroken is a band easy to see making great strides up the metal ladder especially if Human Crown is a sign of things to come and they exploit its very open potential and prowess.

Human Crown is available now @ https://theunbroken.bandcamp.com/releases

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Pete RingMaster 07/02/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Pictures in the mind, a singles round-up

With our feet now firmly into 2020 we welcome another collection of new singles via Shauna at Shameless PR and a truly eclectic mix of sounds and flavours they offered our imaginations to play with.

The first sees British electronic duo Broads come together with fellow Norfolk based artist and songstress Milly Hirst. Theirs has been an on-going collaboration over the years and sees a new album, Ollust, unveiled in March. Ahead of its release they have just revealed Happisburgh (Single Edit), an atmospheric and provocative ambient crafted instrumental which as it hugged ears swiftly had the imagination composing its own interpretations.

Pronounced ‘haze-bruh’, Happisburghis built around ideas of a town disappearing into the sea – history being rendered in front of us, and future folk tales falling into place.”  It is a piece of music which even in its relatively minimalistic shape is rich in intimation and emotion with field recordings aligning with suggestive melodies and at times the almost drone like touch of pianos.

The tale it suggests is open for the listener to further weave with, every listen opening new avenues and vistas to imagine and explore much as the accompanying B-side Red Pits incites with its own individual sonic theatre. It is a darker and tenser piece but it too has a light within its shadows which inspires thoughts as they paint their exposition.

Happisburgh is a beguiling and haunting departure from the incessant trespass of the day and with eyes closed a moment in time which involves much more than just ears.

In rich contrast Vultures is a track which has all its creative statement in its rich web of sound but equally provided an experience which haunted the senses and imagination. The single is the new offering from Norwegian psych post-punk outfit Mayflower Madame and it too comes from a larger proposition due for release in March, the band’s new album titled Prepared For A Nightmare.

The Oslo band was formed in 2011 and soon established themselves on the national underground scene though it was through debut album, Observed in a Dream in 2016, and more so the Premonition EP two years later that they really stirred attention and acclaim much further afield. The sound of Trond Fagernes (vocals, guitars, bass), Håvard Haga (guitars), and Ola J. Kyrkjeeide (drums) has proved a captivation of psychedelic rock, shoegaze and post punk and it has to be said has been no more potent than within the delicious dark haunt of Vultures.

A track centred around “feelings of excess, lust and greed, always wanting and needing more,” Vultures is almost ravenous in its contagious breath and insistence. Nagging post punk rhythms and steely grooves provide the riveting  core to which spiralling psych guitars and harmonic vocals cast their spellbinding enterprise yet there is much more to its atmospherically evocative character which brings the single further alive.

It is a stunning track and quickly inflamed an impatient anticipation in us for that impending album.

This March also sees the release of Kingdom of Sleep, the new album from American singer-songwriter, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jonny Polonsky. New single The Weeping Souls is the first teaser for the release, a song which it has to be said swept us up in its infectious embrace and proceeded to share a certain light on the day.

A solo artist for over 23 years, Polonsky has worked with the likes of Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, Tom Morello, Pete Yorn, Dixie Chicks, Maynard James Keenan, Minnie Driver, and Donovan along the way as well as collaborated and played with a host of artists. Kingdom of Sleep is his sixth album and if The Weeping Souls is a clue to what it holds, the full-length is going to have ears eagerly waiting.

Guitar and voice immediately hug ears, rhythms holding back but still a pungent texture before steering the contagious stroll the song breaks into. It is a gait which twists from swing to canter and back across the track but as the music, one which is as unpredictable as it is mesmeric. Listening to the song thoughts of XTC and Love and Rockets came to mind, a delicious spicing which only elevated the temptation of the encounter even further again resulting in a certain intrigue for the bigger proposal it comes from.

Lastly we hope to spark your curiosity the way of Strangest Thing from Swedish-Australian indie pop outfit Tiny Fighter and no surprise it too is a taster for something larger to come, and a rather flavoursome appetiser it is too.

Based in Stockholm, apparently Tiny Fighter came about from a chance meeting between Therese Karlsson (a truck driver from Kalmar, Sweden) and Tim Spelman (a doctor from Melbourne, Australia) in 2017 in that great Swedish city. Since then the band has released a host of successful praise gathering singles alongside an EP and live album. Strangest Thing is our introduction to the band and we eagerly wait to hear much more starting with their forthcoming debut studio album, Going Home.

Strangest Thing is an eagerly infectious affair, its gentle but eager start soon breeding a strong catchiness, one definitely encouraged by the rousing character of the bass and Karlsson’s magnetic vocals. Keys and guitar weave further melodic enticement across this already captivating stroll, everything carrying a virulent breath which only escalates once aligning together.

With a touch of The Primitives and The Cranberries to the song, Strangest Thing lured keen attention with greater lust by the listen, so again roll on the album.

Happisburgh and the album Ollust from Broads and Milly Hirst are out now via Humm Recordings; available @ https://broadsofnorfolk.bandcamp.com/album/happisburgh-1

Upcoming Broads and Milly Hirst Shows

02 April 2020 – Octagon Chapel, Norwich

03 April 2020 – Thetford Guildhall

04 April 2020 – Oulton Chapel

05 April 2020 – Strangers’ Hall, Norwich

10 April 2020 – Happisburgh St. Mary’s Church Rooms

11 April 2020 – Dereham Memorial Hall

https://www.facebook.com/Broadsofnorfolk   https://www.facebook.com/millyhirstmusic

Mayflower Madame’s Vultures is out now with Prepared For A Nightmare released March 27, both through Only Lovers Records and to be available @ https://mayflowermadame.bandcamp.com/album/prepared-for-a-nightmare.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

March 27th – Desert Stars Festival – Joshua Tree

March 28th – Bar Sinister – Los Angeles

March 29th – Whistle Stop – San Diego

March 30th – Lunchbox – Phoenix

April 2nd – Lo-Fi – Seattle

April 3rd – Out From The Shadows Festival – Portland

April 4th – Elbo Room – Oakland

https://www.facebook.com/mayflowermadame

The Jonny Polonsky single, The Weeping Souls, is out now with the album, Kingdom of Sleep due for release digitally, on CD and clear vinyl with gatefold sleeve on March 6th, both via Ghostworks Recordings with pre-ordering of the latter available now @ https://www.jonnypolonsky.com/music and https://jonnypolonsky.bandcamp.com/

February Europe Tour Dates:

2/14 BRUGGE-De Kelk

2/15 MAASEIK-Jazzclub Sjuur

2/16 ANTWERPEN-Tram 3

2/19 GENT-Kinky Star

2/20 SINT NIKLAAS-Casino

2/21 BRUSSEL-to be determined

2/22 LEUVEN-Depot

https://www.jonnypolonsky.com/   https://www.facebook.com/JonnyPolonskyMusicPage   https://twitter.com/jonnypolonsky

Strangest Thing is available from Tiny Fighter via Bay Terrace Records February 7th with Going Home released March 27th @ https://tinyfighterz.bandcamp.com

https://www.tinyfighter.org   https://www.facebook.com/tinyfighterz   https://twitter.com/TinyFighterz

Pete RingMaster 07/02/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright