Static Daydream – Self Titled

SD cover_RingMaster Review

Ever had that dream where you are submerged in a thick and ravenous atmosphere haunted by the darkest predatory and invasive shadows, a little like the climate in the Silent Hill games? Listening to the new album from Static Daydream is like being immersed in that except everything about it from its raw breath and melodic discord is seriously invigorating and welcome. Carrying tracks bred in the bracing winds of noise and psych rock and equally cultured in shoegaze and dream pop beauty, the debut album from the US duo of Paul Baker (founding member of Skywave and Ceremony) and girlfriend/musical partner Jamie Casey is a tempest of sound and emotion to simply bask in.

Taking inspirations from 60’s girl groups alongside 80’s and 90’s British noise-pop, the pair began recording The Only One EP, their first release, in 2012. Earning strong critical acclaim upon release in 2014 on Moon Sounds Records, it was a swiftly devoured proposition instantly laying down the seeds of major anticipation for the band’s debut full-length. Released through Saint Marie Records and Moon Sounds Records, that encounter is here, eleven tracks igniting ears from the very start with reverb infested melancholic sound matched in potency by vocal and lyrical prowess within senses disorientating, discord fuelled roars. Within that ‘storm’ too ravishing melodic beauty and creative elegance shines. It is a fusion which has a sense of familiarity yet defies any real pinning down as to why, despite any references to others which may be suggested, for a unique and virulently contagious offering which just grows and strengthens in persuasion with very single listen.

The album opens with the immediately rousing More Than Today, a song which starts with a raw flame of guitar hinting at the raw punk hues of Birdland before blossoming a warm and caustic breeze of noisy but mellow pop with shades of House Of love. The dual vocals of Baker and Casey just entwine perfectly within the fuzzy climate of keys and the continuing sonically punk guitars. It is a stirring start matched by the slightly harsher air of Nowhere To Hide, a song fusing My Bloody Valentine like charm with the coarser haunting sonic ambience of Ceremony. The song gets darker and more energetically rabid with every passing minute, its already tenaciously fiery body just bristling with intensity and turbulence by its exciting close.

Run Into The Night grumbles with rhythms and riffs as it harmonically serenades next, its touch a fierce simmer on the senses and urgent spark for the imagination. Continuing to show a new aspect to the character of the album and Static Daydream’s sound, the song becomes a fire of noise and persuasion though it is quickly over shadowed by the outstanding Blue Tambourine Girl. Ears and emotions were enslaved almost instantly as a glorious Simon Gallup/Cure like bassline colludes with just as magnetic hooks and melodies to set things in motion, resonance wrapped vocals and firmly delivered beats only adding to the again seemingly recognisable but distinct theatre. That bass seducing continues to grip attention and ardour yet never takes away from the other just as masterful and spellbinding sounds aligning with it. The track is aural slavery and the pinnacle of the album, though there are many subsequent close-runs coming to snatch its title.

Just Stay is one such rival, its rhythmic and melody honed shuffle Jam like whilst as a mesmeric shimmer of reverb fascination and splintered but captivating dark rock grooves evolve alongside. The track is brimming with compelling hues which just hang around to light up an irresistible incitement on ears and rich pleasure, even when it brews up its own individual bluster of noise and dark romantic energy.

There is a similar canvas to the following Until You’re Mine, though its landscape is far busier and comes rapaciously inflamed as harmonies and melodies smoulder in the face of a wall of reverberation and scuzz spewing resonance. Throughout the album, Static Daydream weave in enticing essences of post punk, but this is the first song alone which virtually wears the flavour as it continually slips through a soundscape of fresh scenery and emotive atmospheres for another major highlight to the release.

The pair of Another Rainy Night Without You and When I Turn Around You’re Gone keeps ears and appetite aroused, the first with its dirty Jesus and Mary Chain pungency over glowing psych rock melodies and ethereally coloured vocals. Its successor flirts with more seemingly Cure inspired hooks and revelry, smothering them in dramatic sonic clouds veined by acidic grooves and deeply biting hooks, and a bassline which again has nostalgia and salacious seduction in its armoury.

One thrilling and inspiring trespass is followed by another and the eighties spiced The Only One. At times it is a fiercer provocative than its predecessor but in other moments a gentler heatwave of sound, the extremes fluidly united and continually matching inescapable sirens on ears It is a success only continuing with the gloriously aching noise haze of When She Falls and indeed last song I’ve Destroyed Everything. The album’s closer is sweltering smog of sound and emotive intensity with again post punk flavours woven into an alluring cacophony of discordance and sonic spicery breeding impassioned vocals and bristly melodies.

The final triumph helps suggest that Static Daydream’s album is arguably stronger in its second half than first but the difference in invention and certainly enjoyment is marginal at any time. The feeling coming out of the band’s label Saint Marie Records, is that they are rather excited about this release and fair to say they have plenty of reasons to be. If the thought of fuzzy, indeed seductively scuzzy sounds with vibrant imagination excites, then Static Daydream, band and album, is one offering you need to be checking out.

Static Daydream is available from August 28th on Vinyl, CD, and digitally via Saint Marie Records and Moon Sounds Records.

Pete RingMaster 28/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent check out http://www.zykotika.com/

 

Grim Vision – War Agony

Grim Vision Pic_RingMaster Review

Living up to its title, War Agony is a battlefield, a savage blood spilling assault on the senses and emotions, but a ferociously compelling one. With three tracks of uncompromising hardcore/extreme metal rancor, the new EP from German band Grim Vision leaves scars, bruising, and a toxic taste in the psyche whilst providing a form of contagion that any band would offer blood for.

The Hamburg hailing and 2013 formed, Grim Vision consists of Bibo, Max, Claus, and Schmauke, a quarter releasing debut EP, With Those Who Favor Fire in 2014 to stir up plenty of attention. It was a brutal introduction to their black and death metal influenced hardcore roar but in many ways just a teaser to the creative and physical might of War Agony. Released through Bastardized Recordings, its songs unleash a fury themed through poem-based lyrics about the destruction, war and agony caused by humanity in the 19th and 20th centuries. To be honest, its narrative is primarily a mystery through the harsh and raw delivery of the words, vocals another hellacious texture amongst many others, but it does not defuse the overall impact of tracks, their raw emotion and merciless persuasion.

BE092 Grim Vision - War Agony Cover_RingMaster ReviewFallen Soldier is first up upon War Agony, its initial sonic searing just the spark to an even more vicious beating by rhythms and a wall of riffs. There is no escape, every angle is covered by the onslaught but within the tsunami of spite, the bass breeds a carnivorous and gripping groove and the song virulent infectiousness forcibly driven by the swinging scythes of drum sticks. It is punk rock at its nastiest, metal at its most cancerous yet together they breed something as catchy as it is punishing. With hooks and increasingly rousing grooves aligning with anthemically violent rhythms, locked in an animus of noise and intent, the track is a rigorously magnetic start to the encounter.

The following War Machine is just as uncompromising and addictive, every creative and body bred sinew loaded with ire and each individual riff drenched in hostility, whilst vocals blend a mix of both as the track again stirs up an infection of toxic air and furious incitement. Whereas its predecessor was an all-out tempest, the second song twists into more controlled and predatory adventure towards its close, an unpredictable and pleasing turn which lays the seeds for the most inventive and diverse song on the EP.

The closing Ten Minutes opens with skittish percussion and beats around seemingly distorted samples. As it embraces the slow, menacing gait of a bass prowl, echoes of war and damaged lives continue to share their voice to the ‘mellow’ passage before sonic smog of doom bred rapacity crawls over song and senses. It is a caustic cloak brewed by guitars which brews up and boils over into an animalistic ravishing with nostrils flared and unbridled antagonism. Again though when hell lets loose there is an inventive resourcefulness within a web of addictive bait which hooks ears and appetite as potently as the raging burns them.

War Agony is obviously not for all, but anyone with a taste for extreme metal and punk crossovers, especially those cultivating the angriest noise and malice, should get a huge pleasure out of Grim Vision’s new furore.

The War Agony EP is available from August 28th on limited edition 7″ vinyl and digital formats through Bastardized Recordings.

Pete RingMaster 28/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more independent exploration check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Best Years – Drop Out

BY1_RingMaster Review

There is no denying that UK pop punks Best Years wear their inspirations openly in their sound but also that they write a cracking good pop song as evidenced by new EP Drop Out. Romping with three songs arguably low on dramatic originality but high on accomplished and energetically tenacious enterprise, the Manchester quintet’s second offering is one feel good romp.

Barely a year into their emergence, Best Years quickly nudged eager attention with debut EP Footwork, and now its successor is ready to stir up even greater awareness and excitement. Musically, as suggested, Best Years are unafraid to draw on the best essences of influences such as Blink-182, Brand New, The Story So Far, and Lit amongst a few. This ensures an easy familiarity meets invention in their sound, and right now it works in their favour in a release which uncages, in the words of vocalist Joel Plews, “three songs that’ll show what we’re made of.

BY Artwork_RingMaster Review     Drop Out opens up with Built To Last, a song to be admitted which had these ears hooked just by its opening melody, its warm smile carrying suggestions of riper things to come, which indeed they do as the song reveals a feisty stroll with spiky beats and a web of hooks and fiery riffs. There is an instant and eager energy to the song which is matched by the strong vocals of Plews, backed very well across the band. The guitars of Ed Lawson and James Hunt continue to dance on the imagination from start to finish, continually hinting, as the song itself does, that they are about to explode into a more aggressive state but instead just remain flirting and teasing with lively enterprise.

It is a highly pleasing start to the EP but soon outshine by Overrated, a track which rhythmically is gentle but firmly imposing and melodically tangy. The bass of Josh Holland provides a slightly understated but captivating shadow to more vibrant resourcefulness from the guitars whilst the beats of drummer Josh Berzins skilfully frames all in the increasing contagion. Again it is fair to say vocals and guitars steal the limelight but are only enhanced and allowed the freedom by the darker hues of the rhythmic union. The track is the lead song from Drop Out and easy to see why with its infectious character and enterprise, though for personal tastes it’s successor just steals the show.

Back Then from an eventful and inviting start quickly blossoms into a roar of a song. All three tracks are anthems easy to get fully involved with but the third song is manna to rock ‘n’ roll instincts. Rhythmically it is a riveting agitation whilst hooks and harmonies just grip and explode in a warm shower of sound and energy. The chorus, well that is inescapable and completes one inventive bellow of fun and persuasion.

Without being truly distinct from the best of the crowd, Best Years show themselves to be a richly promising and thoroughly enjoyable proposition through Drop Out. It also suggests that certain uniqueness is brewing within so watch this space for possible bigger bolder things with matching success ahead.

The Drop Out EP is released on August 28th 2015 via Dream Atlantic Records.

Pete RingMaster 28/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent check out http://www.zykotika.com/

We’ll Go Machete – Smile Club

We'll Go Machete_RingMaster Review

Though knowing the name and reputation earned through their earlier releases, we had yet to get to grips with a We’ll Go Machete encounter. So it is with thanks to the band’s vocalist/guitarist Paul Warner, who introduced band and new album Smile Club to us just recently. All that can be said is boy have we been missing out, as the band’s second album is a glorious tempest of sound, striking imagination, and creative intensity. Smile Club simply infests ears and psyche with a hex of noise rock, post punk, and math rock plus any other caustic spicing you can think of, and certainly left us not hungry but desperate for more.

With a line-up completed by bassist Chris May and drummer Rachel Fuhrer, the Austin hailing We’ll Go Machete first sparked interest with their 2009 self-titled EP though it was debut album Strong Drunk Hands two years later which was the catalyst to richer attention and acclaim. Live too the band has garnered a healthy name and stature, shows alongside the likes of Future of the Left, Melvins, Hammerhead, and Fatal Flying Guillotines, as well as their own headlining events over time marking We’ll Go Machete out as one of the more exciting emerging propositions. Late to the party, as said Smile Club is our first real taster of the band and fair to say the, as its predecessors, Cedar Fever Records released album just whipped up a frenzy in sound and lustful reactions.

cover_RingMaster Review   Absence is the first welcome stirring of the senses, tangy grooves and thumping beats enriching an instant sonic swamp of noise swiftly loaded up further with the distinctive, angst hued tones of Warner. It is a striking and invigorating mix which has body and thoughts fully involved from the first trespass. Like something springing from a blend of Melvins, Quicksand, and Sofy Major, the track continues to growl and flex its confrontational muscles yet breeds an inescapable contagion. Adventure is already bold in the album, the song for example slipping through mellower evocative scenery across its potently unpredictable landscape for a mighty start to the inventive emprise of Smile Club.

The following and as outstanding Drawstring is just as quickly captivating, its entrance of tenaciously prowling rhythms and rapaciously alluring riffs gripping attention and appetite immediately. Spicy grooves and sharp hooks only add to the emerging theatre of sound and melodic drama with the again pungent voice of Warner only seeming to inflame the sounds around him into greater enthusiasm of craft and energy. Like a web, the track has fresh inescapable treats at every turn, the rhythms of May and Fuhrer cage like in their union around the acidic tapestry cast by the guitar.

A post punk tone and imagination comes with The Bardo though it is soon overwhelmed by a noise rock tsunami of emotional intensity veined by creeping sonic tendrils of guitar. The song does not have the same immediate impact as the pair before, but blossoms into a bordering on sinister persuasion of clanging dissonant chords amidst suggestive and volatile textures to only enslave over time.

Strasberg Air is a far swifter raw seducing with again hooks and rhythmic tenacity key bait in the evolving ingenuity of sound. Like a more restrained Fat Dukes of Fuck and mellower Shevils, the track bounces off the walls of ears and senses with Fuhrer alone creating an inescapable trap with his addictively imaginative beats. Carrying a grungier colour to vocals and melodies, the song leaves a lingering thrill before making way for the melancholic tempest of Scratch Built. The early solemn come doomy premise and air is eventually set ablaze by the corruptive quickstep of toxic riffs and earthy basslines splintered by viciously swung beats. With its own emotional ecoclimate, the track shifts from heavily dark through torrentially volatile to infectiously energetic before heading back into imposing shadows in a final exhilarating outburst.

The major pinnacle of the album is Positive People which comes next. It is another delving into post punk terrain, an eighties genre spicing lining choppy riffs and a wonderfully brooding bass tempting from May. Elements remind of bands such as Artery and The Fire Engines, whilst the cold air certainly has a Joy Division-esque feel to it, but again We’ll Go Machete only sculpt a startling and addictive exploration of their very own. Discord is always a friend of the musician and here perfectly woven into the torment soaked anatomy of one glorious incitement, its majesty continuing into Break the Kettles which evolves out of its predecessor’s tail wind. A slower corrosively elegant proposal, the track binds ears and imagination with sonic lacing whilst simultaneously sending splinters of guitar invention and rhythmic animosity into its angst thick drama.

Both Shot Giant and Cigarettes and Face Masks keep the compelling power and industry of Smile Club ablaze, the first an intensive shuffle pressuring ears with spiteful beat spilling agitation and ravaging riffery but unafraid to slip into something more melodically provocative and hauntingly intimidating. Its successor brews its own ridiculously addictive and threatening maze of fierce imagination and bitchy rhythms infested with swarms of toxic grooves and citric melodic endeavour. Each only ignites greedier pleasure but the second is especially virulently disorientating and thrilling.

The album is brought to an end by firstly the warped harmonious beauty of Molten Tiny Cell, a song nagging in sound and repetitious mastery until satisfaction is drooling and lastly Dust Storms May Exist. The final song is just superb, a hellacious storm of flavour and imagination which at times has a spicing reminiscent of KEN mode, in others moments a raw tone and feel which is similar to In Love Your Mother, and continually leads the listener on a spiral of exhaustive and perpetually resonating adventure in craft, energy, and again relentlessly twisting swirls of rabid sound and invention.

There is plenty more to say in praise of Smile Club but bottom-line is we simply adore it and feverishly recommend it to all fans of noise, psych, punk…well any lover of fierce rock ‘n’ roll.

Smile Club is available now via Cedar Fever Records.

RingMaster 26/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more independent exploration check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Scanner – Splat

scanner_RingMaster Review

Seeding their own devilish riots in old school punk bred both sides of the Atlantic, Pennsylvanian rockers Scanner unleash their third album to keep the aggressive roar of nostalgic and organic punk rock snarling. There is plenty more essences to the thirteen tracks making up Splat, variety as keen as the attitude fuelling the release, but ultimately album and band is raw rock ‘n’ roll in heart and temptation.

Scanner was formed in 1979 by vocalist/bassist Joe Brady and guitarist/vocalist Junnie Fortney, the band name inspired by the David Cronenberg film Scanners after Brady read about it in a monster magazine. Pretty soon the band was stirring up attention and a loyal following throughout the Central Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington D.C. areas. Their sound embraces inspirations from 50’s rock and roll, 60’s hard rock and surf, and 70’s glam and punk, honing it into the band’s own horror/ punk rock, surf and garage punk exploits. 2012 saw the current line-up come together with the addition of drummer/vocalist Troy Alwine, with a year later the trio releasing debut album One Foot In The Grave, And More Pissed Than Ever. It was an acclaimed introduction to the band for a great many and confirmation of the qualities Scanner fans had been enthusing about for the previous pair of decades. Last year was marked by the release of Exploding Heads in Harrisburg – Live Recordings From 1982, a live album of old material as well as the Monsters Axes & Choppers EP from Brady’s other project, horror rockers Losers After Midnight.

With the Brady conceived and produced 45 band strong critically acclaimed benefit compilation album Assault & BATtery, which raised funds for Bat World Sanctuary, also on the CV for 2014, Scanner now set sights on the broadest attention yet with Splat, and as soon as opener Fist in the Air has ears gripped and emotions elevated the thought is that punk fans of all ages and eras need this encounter in their lives. The track quickly ensures the listener is following its title, its opening throaty bassline the lure into familiar yet refreshing punk riffs and sonic spicery. Attitude is ablaze as the plain but inviting tones of Brady incite lyrically and in expression, his bait an easy involvement within the more calm but forceful blend of crisp rhythms and raw riffs.

_0_SPLAT_Cover_RingMaster Review   The strong start is soon overshadowed by Just Like Bela, the band’s horror punk invention lining the predatory gait and design of the song. There is a healthy whiff of Misfits/Wednesday 13 to the encounter but its own character shines through, especially with the inventive mix of vocals and hard rock enterprise which frees itself. As it eclipsed its predecessor, so the track is outdone by the outstanding Living Life to the Emptiest. The third track has the edge and air of Dead Kennedys to its belligerent and anthemic confrontation, entwining it with great slithers of melodic acidity from Fortney’s guitar and punching it through with the raunchy bass and whipping beats of Brady and Alwine respectively.

A rapaciously commanding cover of The Angels’ Straight Jacket comes next, the song given a no frills make-over and emerging with a feel of The Saints to its richly satisfying punk ‘n’ roll, before Biker provides its own seventies inspired enticement. The song takes ears and thoughts right back into the breaking storm of punk rock, its DIY feel a bracing two minutes of raw endeavour and tenacity.

   Letter to the Government spills seventies glam and southern dirt rock revelry in its political attack within a bluesy entanglement of sound and enterprise whilst Running Riot sees Scanner take on the Cock Sparrer’s street punk classic to captivating success before haunting the psyche with Ghost Song. All three tracks have ears and emotions fully enlisted but it is the last of the trio which seduces the imagination and passions most. Its surf/psychobilly climate has echoes of The Meteors and Tiger Army to it but, as with all songs, variety is a vocal part, here punk and seventies garage rock bring extra juicy hues.

The Turbonegro meets Jello Biafra smelling Queen of the Stage has the body bouncing around next whilst a broad smile and further burst of pleasure is sparked by the band’s reworking of Bowie’s Suffragette City. The song has everything which you will have enjoyed in the original but roughed up and twisted around a bit, resulting in a great version to rival any other you may have come across.

Mischief and humour is as much a healthy asset as the flavours and invention of the Scanner sound and all give a fun time in Yeah We Suck, a round-up of ‘advice’ they and most bands will have gained at one time or another. That urge to have a ball continues in the album’s title track, an infectious brawl of virulence which is for the most instrumental but does have a lyrical bounty consisting of just its title being repeated with increasing relish. It, as most before it, has a claim for best song within Splat but the favourite spot gets grasped at the last moment by closing song Kaw-Liga. A country music song written by Hank Williams and Fred Rose, and covered by the likes of Johnny and the Hurricanes, Del Shannon, Roy Orbison, and The Residents over the years, Scanner turn it into a dark rock ‘n’ roll predator. Riffs and rhythms almost stalk the senses as the outstanding blaze of vocals ebb and flow across its sinister surf spiced landscape. It is only half the adventure though, the band breaking out into cow punk devilry too, switching between both provocative contagions throughout for one riveting and thrilling romp.

The US hailing Scanner might be an unknown secret right now but they hopefully and should not be for much longer as Splat trespasses on increasing numbers of ears for an increasing awareness. Go get some is our suggestion.

Splat is out now.

RingMaster 26/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more independent exploration check out http://www.zykotika.com/

The Great Adventure – Pretty Lies

The Great Adventure_RingMaster Review

Pretty Lies is the new single from Russian gothic metallers The Great Adventure, a band which maybe is unknown to you right now but taking their new offering alone as a suggestion, has the real potential to become a much broadly known and devoured proposition.

Hailing from Omsk and formed in the January of 2014, The Great Adventure consists of vocalist/keyboardist Christina Engels, guitarist Kesha Larionov, and bassist Alexey Danilov. Their sound fuses gothic and symphonic metal in a captivating, if not yet majorly unique, tapestry of resourceful aggression and melodic imagination. Aligned to that is the feistily alluring voice of Engels, a siren-esque tempting which coaxes the theatre and emotion at the heart of lyrics and song into a tempestuous roar of sound equipped with harsher backing vocal incitement. It is a mix which has seen previous singles and the To Begin To See The Truth EP well received; a success sure to be eclipsed by Pretty Lies, the band’s finest offering to date.

Featuring Ilya Sinitski, the vocalist of post-hardcore band Island Of Skylines, Pretty Lies needs mere seconds to stir ears with its swift wall of thick riffs and muscularly swung beats. Keys are a just as early and potent coaxing as they lay a melodic haze upon the attention sparking entrance. With the mellow and rich tones of Engels’ voice matching the lure of her increasingly inventive and resourceful keys, the song poetically swarms over the senses embracing hues of inspirations of bands like Dream Theater and Within Temptation to its creative breast. It is a skilled and potent persuasion which gets bolder and more voracious as it blossoms, the raw tones of Sinitski spilling causticity across the engaging scenery and the guitar of Larionov spinning lattices of sonic craft and enterprise.

Pretty Lies is the maturest songwriting and weave of sound and textures from the band yet and even if major originality is still in the waiting, the thoroughly enjoyable song shows that The Great Adventure is heading in the right impressive direction.

Pretty Lies is available now.

RingMaster 26/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more independent exploration check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Richie Campbell – In The 876

Richie campbell_RingMaster Review

With the release of third album In the 876, Richie Campbell shows exactly why he is revered in his homeland of Portugal and becoming one of the most greedily devoured propositions in global reggae. Also infusing rich essences of soul and Latin flirtation into an array of individually distinctive songs, Campbell and album has the body bouncing and ears smiling.

Already drenched in acclaim and rabid attention which has seen the album hit the top of the Portuguese iTunes Charts within 2 hours of its European release in May, In The 876 now gets its UK unveiling with anticipated similar reactions going its way. Recorded between Kingston and Lisbon, and with a title referring to the telephone area code of Jamaica, In The 876 features numerous guests and is the next potent step in the seemingly unstoppable rise of Campbell and his creative stature. The Lisbon hailing singer/songwriter began concentrating on a solo career from 2010 having played in bands over the previous six years. Debut album My Path came out as a free download and subsequently amassed over 250,000 downloads which in turn led to Campbell playing a sold-out show at Lisbon’s Campo Pequeno Bullring. Second album Focused was just as well-received and successful, gaining a nomination in the Portuguese Golden Globes of 2013 and seeing its lead track, That’s How We Roll, awarded Song of the Year at the National Radio Awards.

Now is the turn of In The 876 to arouse thicker spotlights and awareness, in the UK and around the globe, and it gets off to a mighty bang, after its intro like title track, with I Feel Amazing. One of the singles from the album which has already earned potent radio play, the song is pure reggae flirtation. Its rhythms swagger with infectious beats aligned to bass spawned hips whilst guitars and vocals swing with virulent contagion and melodic seducing. From the off, the warmth of sunny skies around optimism rich emotions swim through ears and into the psyche, the whole song quickly an irresistible incitement to dance and smile. Though three and a half minutes long it is seemingly over in a flash, leaving exhausted but over flowing enjoyment behind to be whipped up again a by another single from the album in Best Friend.

cover_RingMaster ReviewThe second song has a mellower gait but is no less insistently catchy and melodically glowing, vocally and musically. Again keys and guitar incite a vibrant canter which has the body swaying incessantly whilst, as in its predecessor, a familiar but refreshing character only adds to its seriously persuasive climate. Vocally Campbell allows his naturally harmonic tones to entangle a more expected reggae seeded delivery resulting in something, as the music, instantly friendly and recognisable yet individual in character to most others.

The impressive start continues with Feels Like which features the wonderful gruff growl of Agent Sasco (also known as Assassin). The song is sublime temptation, its flow and melodies smooth over a canvas just rippling with character and diversity. There is a touch of New Town Kings and UB40 to the encounter and an instinctive romance between ska keys and ears. It is glorious and as it has body dancing and voice crooning, the lead thought is that this surely is a done deal as the next single.

The broader flavouring of the magnetic 25 to Life comes next, its emotive shuffle employing richer rock textures to a soul/reggae blending whilst Man Don’t Cry slips into a smouldering embrace graced with sultry backing vocals around another infectious rhythmic collusion of bass and beats. At times across the album Richie Campbell casts a sound which has familiar seeds in a musically hard to pin down landscape, and here that quality is at its most captivating best, with the song vocally and musically almost kaleidoscopic.

That’s Not Mine sees Jesse Royal guesting in its intimate yet wide social statement which has ears as absorbed by its lyrical jaunt as its aural jabbing and melodic tantalising. Thoughts of The Skints emerge as the song shows, like so many, glimpses and clearer twists of invention and imagination in all aspects before leaving full enjoyment in its wake which Get Over You uses to take ears and limbs into its own flirtatious dance. With the siren-esque beauty of Toian’s voice joining the scintillating escapade, the track boils like the surface of an aural heat wave, its relentless shimmer sizzling and pulsating surface unstoppable.

Both Give It All Away and Knock Me Out provide reasons for the imagination and body to rejoice, though neither can spark the same lusty responses as the tracks before them with personal tastes. The first is one of those songs which have the listener unconsciously lost in movement whilst its successor, which includes the guest appearance of Sara Tavares, is an embrace of soul and Latin elegance. Each fully engages but as suggested lack the same spark as the earlier adventures, something to a lesser extent which applies to the tenaciously lively and colourful Rise From We Fall and its reggae/rock pop samba.

In The 876 is concluded by firstly the excellent Standing Firm, a more formula reggae romp but given plenty of the Campbell Latin spice and vocal soul to fascinate and excite before Better than Today brings it all to a soulful close with provocative keys, emotive vocals and harmonies, and a melancholic jazz lined air. In many ways the song does not quite fit the rest of the album, or shouldn’t but it only provides a powerful end whilst revealing more of the impressive depth within Campbell’s writing and invention.

Exciting us most in its first half but only offering a thickly enjoyable time from start to finish, In The 876 shows exactly why the reggae world is excited over Richie Campbell. It is the UK’s time to explore and get involved with his riveting sound and songs now, and no doubt to get excited too.

In The 876 is released in the UK on August 28th via Chet Records.

RingMaster 27/08/2105

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more independent exploration check out http://www.zykotika.com/