We are back again drawing out the tracks from the host of singles discovered this month by our friend Shauna from SHAMELESS PROMOTION PR and offerings which evoked the greatest spark in our imaginations. Being one half of sound and atmosphere weavers UMMAGMA she has an explorer’s ear and our selection across the October releases prove a choice reflection…
Having captivated a wealth of ears with their debut single Ascension Heights a couple of months back, British indie pop duo KARAMELIEN have repeated the pleasure with second track, Lionhearts. It is another soulful proposal wrapped in a hug of positivity, and another song which revealed the natural captivation cast by the band.
Uniting the craft and imagination of singer-songwriter Léanie Kaleido and guitarist Mark Foster, the pair long-time friends, East Grinstead based KARAMELIEN further reveal the melodic and emotive expression which fuels their music. Produced by RIDE frontman Mark Gardener at OX4 Sound, Lionhearts is a song inspired by the pandemic and the war and life impacting varied times of the past couple of years or so but one which recognises the good things and love still so potent in the world. It offers an uplifting contemplation with a matching breath, both cast with melodic beauty and an emotive smile.
It’s calm yet lively personality is echoed in its mellow but energetic sound and Kaleido’s ever heartfelt words and tones with Foster’s sonic and enterprising tempting just as magnetic within the quickly mesmeric track. Like a hug for thoughts and a kiss upon the heart Lionhearts is a tantalising spark and reminder of what we may right now not recognise or remember, an echo of sunny days and warm hearts.
Just as evocative within its own firm individuality is the two-track 12” from UK indie rock outfit THE SPEED OF SOUND. The double A-sided adventure brings new depths and provocative shades to tracks originally found within the band’s widely acclaimed 2021 album Museum of Tomorrow, the new record a celebration of the full-length’s anniversary but equally a venture into deeper and alternative realms within their proposals.
Manchester hailing, THE SPEED OF SOUND consists of father and son John Armstrong (guitars and vocals) and Henry Armstrong (keyboards), Ann-Marie Crowley (vocals and guitar), Kevin Roache (bass guitar) and John Broadhurst (drums). The band was formed in 1989 and forged a sound which is keenly varied in its character, voice and imagination as proven impressively within Museum Of Tomorrow. It is music and a creative prowess which cannot be firmly or truly tagged, their Big Stir Records released Double-A Extended 12″ Single showing why.
Virtual Reality 123 is a contemplation of piano, guitar and voice, and immediately stroking thought and attention as it weaves a query loaded instrumental and vocally harmonic introduction. By the second, dilemma and shadows emerge yet there is a joyous intimation which soon wraps the melodic and vocal musing soon evoking thought. Intimately and worldly questioning our lives and preoccupations within an alternately immersive actuality, the song is a fusion of indie pop, psych rock and progressive enterprise with just as pleasure pulling post punk and dark pop essences in its creative canvas.
Charlotte 12″ Version is equally fascinating with its post punk drawn, dark pop and rock cast incitement. It too brings a fresh aspect to the original, a sense of an alternative and emotively darker menacing at the heart of its haunting and transiently shadowed being.
It is a superb track matched by the similarly ear grabbing proposal of Virtual Reality 123 and together the making of one seriously compelling 12”.
Next, we urge a listen to the new single from THE PULL OF AUTUMN. It, as the project, is another which hungrily draws on a wealth of styles and flavours, the song courting thought and attention in a glitch spun weave of dub, jazz, spoken word and electronic enterprise.
The song comes from the fourth album from THE PULL OF AUTUMN, Beautiful Broken World set for release on November 18th. Masterminded by Daniel Darrow (synths), the project also sees vocalist Mark Stewart, founding member of the legendary UK band THE POP GROUP, guesting alongside bassist Doug Wimbish and Darrow with the renowned Adrian Sherwood providing a remix.
From its first breath, the track fascinated and lured ears deeper into its atypical landscape and depths. Indeed, from its contagion virulent bass swing and electronic sway to its jazz nurtured wiring and ethereally cast veils, the song courted and sparked the imagination and its own contemplation.
Intrigue and off-kilter imagination courts every second of the track and in turn each and every keenly attentive moment we have shared with it.
MMXXII is an album which has gathered rich praise, including ours, with its release a few weeks back. It is the creation of Oakland-based art-rock collective SEAL PARTY who now release one of the reasons for its rich lure of acclaim in the shape of new single, You’ll Be Fine.
SEAL PARTY is the creation of songwriting-production duo Chris McGrew (drums/production) and Kevin Seal (keyboards/vocals), a project formed by the pair for themselves after numerous years helping other artists realize their visions. As MMXXII proved, the duo also cast a multi-flavoured imagination and sound which you can sense not only relishes the pair’s past experiences and ventures but a fresh and adventurous exploration of, in the band’s words, “improvisation, fury, and lyrical beauty”.
You’ll Be Fine is an echo of that palette, the ballad a warmly mellow yet spirit rousing incitement which for two minutes laid a hope thick hand on the shoulder and a smile in the heart, not forgetting an instinctive sway in the body.
With horns and strings providing magnetic flames to Kevin Seal’s rumination, trumpeter Rich Armstrong and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra cellist Evan Kahn adding drama and evocative lures to the piece, You’ll Be Fine simply bewitched as it uplifted the spirit. As we say it offers a hope strengthened hand to failing hope and disillusioned breaths but most of all it is a thing of beauty and easily one of our favourite songs this year.
Pete RingMaster 13/10/2022
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