As familiar footsteps came closer so brewed intrigue and anticipation. For those steps belonged to our friend Shauna of Canadian band Ummagma and Shameless PR and with her was a new host of encounters which had lit her fires. Wondering if they would ignite the same within us we plucked out a handful to explore, starting off with…
Manchester post-punk stalwarts Inca Babies presenting their new single Walk In The Park, an event in its own right for fans but coming with the announcement of their first album in seven years something a great many of us are inevitably over excited over. Walk In The Park is the perfect invitation to Swamp Street Soul, one of those songs which teases and intrigues with every note and breath.
Now the trio of bassist Vince Hunt (A Witness, Blue Orchids), drummer Rob Haynes (The Membranes, Goldblade) and vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Harry Stafford who has already gripped our addiction this year with his collaboration with Marco Butcher, Inca Babies take the listener on a stroll through their swamp-goth cast realm with Walk In The Park, an encounter Immediately entwining ears and imagination with a steely groove.
Its lure is sinister yet pure invitation into the dark surf shimmer of the song where Stafford’s tones are soon as potently under the skin as his guitar craft, the rhythmic prowess of his cohorts just as manipulative in their intimation loaded stroll.
With drama and atmosphere as shadowy as the sounds they court, Walk In The Park proved pure temptation sparking an addictive hankering for the November 23rd released Swamp Street Soul, out through Black Lagoon Records, in no time.
Another track which swiftly proved addictive whilst providing rich tempting for a larger encounter is the new single from Irish songstress Cat Dowling. With her new album Animals out November 12th via FIFA Records (Forever In Financial Arrears Records), Cat has unveiled its title track and an inescapable reason to explore that forthcoming proposition.
Cat had already recruited our attention and appetite with previous single Freedom, a song alone which would entice anyone to explore its creator further but Animals is a whole different shape of temptation. As its title would suggest, there is an animalistic air to the song, its movement and guile feline like. From its initial acoustic grace, the song rises with persistent drama and rhythmic energy, both escalating with every movement as Cat’s seductive tones bring forth the heart of the beast.
It is a song which is constant movement, its initial awakening building to a rapacious stroll and ultimately a freedom driven gallop and as suggested at the start pure addiction for these ears and imagination. Quite simply, Animals is one of the most captivating tracks heard this year ensuring its larger source is already impatiently awaited.
As is the trend among our choices here, British synth-pop electro duo Spray also have a new album on the near horizon and have provided a potent teaser with their latest single, Hammered In An Airport.
Consisting of siblings Jenny McLaren (vocals, guitars) and Ricardo Autobahn (synths), Spray release their new album, Ambiguous Poems About Death on November 26th via Manchester’s Analogue Trash label. As previous encounters with the pair, it is sure to be a kaleidoscope of electronic craft and revelry, a hint already offered by its first single Félicette (Space Cat) earlier this year. Hammered In An Airport supports that expectation, its body a techno fuelled spark for the dance-floor brought with that mischievous fun they equally share.
It would be fair to say that techno/dance-floor electro is not the ripest temptation for us but equally we cannot lie and deny that Hammered In An Airport had us bouncing and swinging within seconds with its virulent groove. Its breath is cosmopolitan and sentiment inimitably playful, the freedom bearing lure of holiday fun seemingly springing its longing.
A bubbling landscape of electronic enterprise and energy, Hammered In An Airport had us hooked, so a great job very well done.
Also synth-pop nurtured but with a post punk chill to its breath and thoughts is the new single from Britain’s Rodney Cromwell. Released via Happy Robots Records, Memory Box merges sinistrous magnetism and electronic infectiousness in its exploration of “reality and the certainty of our memories” within a world and attitudes now seemingly built on dishonesty.
The nom de plume of Adam Cresswell, founding member of 1990s-2000s indie-folktronica band Saloon, London based Rodney Cromwell returns after a 2 1/2 year hiatus with Memory Box, a song which instrumentally is akin to the highly suggestive themes of sixties TV shows such as Callan, Danger Man and The Prisoner. Intimation and drama soaks every note, echoing the heart of the song and Cromwell’s similarly alluring tones with the guitar of Martin J Langthorne equally a rich source at its core.
As its catchiness recruits a response from the body, its air proved a spark for the imagination, building on the proposition cast by its lyrical exploration. It proved quickly and persistently compelling, a glimpse of another more poetic world in some ways and a reflection of a darker reality even more.
Lastly in this batch of highlighted encounters is The Gift from UK neo-folk duo Shrinari. Also London based, Shrinari consists of vocalist Lucidia Omamori and guitarist/producer Rafael Marchante Anguloa and they too present a new album this November, Hold On To The Hope self-released on the 24th.
A track looking at nature’s bounty to us and those which hold it all in blatant disregard, The Gift is a captivating tapestry of voice and music, its relatively calm and slim entrance soon an evolving layering of Omamori’s riveting tones and guests and the just as alluring melodic beauty of the viola and electronics.
Kaleidoscopic without losing the clarity of its central suggestive imagery and musical temptation, The Gift is a richly rapturous reminder for thoughts and pleasure for ears.
Pete RingMaster 28/10/2021
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