Medusa – In Bed with Medusa

 

Having found ourselves taken with sound and invention of UK trio Medusa with their 2011 released second album, Can’t Fucking Win, it quickly became apparent that there was nothing predictable about the band’s music but as confirmed by its successor Headcase’s Handbook three years later it has persistently proved a thickly compelling affair. Both albums were rich in the band’s punk fired rock sound and bold in their intrigue loaded magnetism, traits again just as fertile within the band’s new album, In Bed with Medusa.

The new release though is a whole new beast to be tempted by, one which still bears the inimitable breath and touch of the London based outfit but as its title suggests has an unwrapped intimacy which challenges as much as it fascinates. It is a far darker and rawer involvement with Medusa, one which startled from the off and has persistently caught us off guard with its almost feral emotions and untamed enterprise but fair to say with every listen has left us thickly hooked.

Emerging in 2006, Medusa is the creation of vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Julian Molinero, the band’s line-up on the new release completed by bassist Kotaro Suzuki and Towers of London drummer Snell, the latter recruited barely eight weeks before recording which took place with Steve Albini at his studio, Electrical Audio, in Chicago across the first four days of  December 2019. You can only imagine this intense recording time has added to the raw energy and heart of a release though equally such its resourceful drama and touch you can only feel it was always meant and going to be such a soul bearing proposition.

Oblivion opens up the album, a song which instantly unravels an instinctive infectiousness in voice and sound even before hitting its more aggressive and energetic punk ‘n’ roll stride. Molinero’s tones are as bare breathed and provocative as the melodic wiring escaping his guitar between punk bred chords, rhythms a potent anthemic incitement beneath it all.

*love not included seamlessly springs up from the closing straits of its predecessor, the track another with a persistent, indeed voracious catchiness to its punk ‘n’ roll incitement. Hooks and sonic wiring lured and gripped ears as boldly as rhythms and vocals, the track provoking and inviting keen involvement in its naked heart and touch before River Phoenix, inspired by a biography on the actor, lays a calm hand on ears before erupting in a tempestuous rock ‘n’ roll squall again embroiled in emotional turbulence.

There is an open richness to Medusa sound which is entangled in a host of rock flavours, alternative and hard rock textures among them involved within the melodically woven, deviously contagious reflection of The Girlfriend Experience while Lost in Dystopia shares more classic hues in its virulent canter; a grunge lining to both tracks as well as others within the album accentuating the wonderfully unvarnished feel of its presence and heart. Indeed Ride the Styx bears Nirvana-esque shading to its greedy nagging of the senses, the first of our favourite moment considerations within the album swiftly set.

The pair of No Such Thing and Inverse Paradise offer up quick challenges to that choice though, the first with something of an Everclear air around a classic metal wired holler another pinnacle of the release with the second eclipsing both through its almost XTC like setting bound in blues nurtured wiring as Molinero muses proving irresistible. The latter is also one of a pair of acoustic tracks which were recorded in a hotel room overlooking Bran Castle, known as Dracula’s Castle, in Transylvania.

Lenore provides a fiery enticement for ears, maybe one which lacks the sparks of its predecessors for us but still held eager attention before that final slice of acoustic enterprise in the shape of Distress Signal brought In Bed with Medusa to a fine close. Whether bred on intimate experiences of its creator or through observation, it is a potent engagement with ears and thoughts alike; one epitomising the stripped and exposed fertility of the album.

A release which grew in presence and enjoyment by the listen, In Bed with Medusa simply backs up its predecessors in suggesting Medusa is one of Britain’s brightest and unique propositions and with its own openly individual endeavour a band all should at least consider checking out.

In Bed with Medusa is out now and available @ https://medusaworld.bandcamp.com/

http://www.medusaworld.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/medusauk   https://twitter.com/medusaworld

Pete RingMaster 26/03/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Dirt Box Disco – TV Sex Show

As a certain virus continues to overwhelm lives, society and the world, moments of feel good interjection can only be hungrily seized upon or in the case of the new Dirt Box Disco album, greedily devoured. The release gripped from its first breath and swiftly had the body bouncing with rapacious energy, all the while simply confirming DBD as UK’s maybe even the world’s finest rock ‘n’ roll band.

Step into TV Sex Show and unsurprisingly, if already a fan, you find a horde of tracks which arouse and incite with mischievous intent. The album is a raucously anthemic assault on apathy and despondency, a ‘go get ‘em’ insistence fuelled by the band’s inimitable punk rock bred sound which even in this moment of global self-isolation will get you at the very least hollering at the world from within any confines. As proven by previous releases like its predecessor, Immortals, the band’s sound even with its familiar individualism continues to grow and embrace; TV Sex Show uncaging Dirt Box Disco’s fullest, broadest and richest skilled cacophony of devilment and flavouring yet.

It is also the first encounter with the band since the departure of singer WEAB.I.AM, a change which raised intrigue but not panic as guitarist/songwriter Spunk Volcano has embraced the frontman role now something he has already proven magnetically accomplished in with his own solo project, Spunk Volcano and The Eruptions. With drummer Maff Fazzo, lead guitarist Danny Fingers, and bassist Deadbeatz Chris again unleashing their own esurient craft and revelry too, all three as motivating in their backing vocal roars, Dirt Box Disco grabbed ears and rock ‘n’ roll instincts from the first surge of TV Sex Show and not for the first time left us breathless and ridiculously grinning by the album’s final breath.

The release opens up with Unstoppable, Dirt Box Disco announcing and declaring their intent and defiance with the band’s combined vocal lure an immediate spark for personal vocal chords to unite in, the first round of solidarity quickly followed by a contagion of riffs and hooks aligned to just as virulent rhythms. With the same creative and catchy swing in Spunk’s vocals, the song had the body and spirit flinging energetic shapes and emotions like a master puppeteer.

Further ignited by Danny’s melodic wiring, the track is an exceptional start to the album which the following Insomniac ensures never drops with its heavier, more predacious punk ‘n’ roll. Relentless in its rhythmic harrying, incessant in cantankerous riffery and primal grooving, the song had us shouting with knowing unity while Barebones from its initial sonic nagging and rhythmic jabbing soon insisted and received similar participation in its punk nurtured call out.

A moment of intimate reflection or personal observation, I want out in many ways echoes the situations we find ourselves in right now as well as experiences all have felt at some point in time. Its calmer gait and energy still has a tempestuousness which equips the infectious chorus which DBD for years have proven so crafty at igniting listeners with.

Dickhead and the hype is next up, its punk rock meets hard rock swell pure anthemic encouragement refusing defiance, though great and addictive as it swiftly proves is still outshone by The Count of Monte Cristo lives in San Francisco. It’s initially reserved but still highly catchy saunter through ears is almost a tease of things to come, a hint to the voracious virulence which soaks another chorus only the deaf may be able to resist. That opening stroll returns and continues to light up attention between the surges, its melodic luring sparking the imagination before those eruptions grip throat and body.

The old school seeding of Reminisce got under the skin within seconds, the track brewing another potent fixation with something of a Vibrators meets UK Subs meets Mud lining to its still DBD individuality, the same agility easily said of 3 bottles down which again from a calm reflective opening brews an incitement which nags as much as it inspires full and eager involvement.

As often with relish, DBD turn the spotlight on a certain type of character we have all come across through Bitch full of stitches, a track which had us rocking with the kind of zeal its protagonist frequently shares in their own way with Vdtv for a minute and a half bitch slapping the senses while equally inflaming them with primal punk rock predation. It is a relentless assault built on the individual prowess of the band and their united contagion, a unity just as impressive and manipulative within successor Simple but effective. A middle finger parading response to ‘the haters’, again body  and vocal chords as well as spirit were keenly slung into the song’s vociferous yell and once more TV Sex Show proved itself irresistible.

The truly magnetic Ain’t life grand completes the line-up of pleasure, its intimacy as open as its gentle but persistent infectiousness. Grab the CD version of the album though and find the added pleasure of two bonus tracks in Tizwatitiz and Wake up. The first of the pair is another pure punk rock nurtured surge of temptation wired by many other flavours, its voracious instigation of eager complicity prime DBD while the second is a slab of rock ‘n’ roll contagion owing as much to the likes of Showaddywaddy as the seventies punk instigators it also hints at in its feral punk ‘n’ roll clamour.

So that is TV Sex Show, another glorious riot with Dirt Box Disco which leaves spirit and body ready to take on any challenge and pleasure boiling over. I am sure we have said this before with a DBD album and probably a few times but this might just be their finest moment yet.

TV Sex Show is released April 18th via Avenue Recordz; available digitally, on CD and on Ltd Edition “Mystery” coloured Vinyl.

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

Pete RingMaster 26/03/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Syteria – Reflection

With a touch of annoyance that we missed their debut album three years back we can only urge you to check out Syteria through its successor, Reflection. That irritation stems from the fact that the band’s new full-length is rock ‘n’ roll at its virulent best; a spirit rousing, feel good release fertile in energy, fun, and creative agility.

Formed in 2015, Syteria is the brainchild of Girlschool lead guitarist Jackie ‘Jax’ Chambers. With Argentina born vocalist Julia Vocal and bassist Keira Kenworthy alongside, the band released the Wake Up EP in 2016 its permanent line-up completed later that year with drummer Pablo Calvo, the younger brother of Julia. A successful Pledge campaign in 2017 saw their broadly acclaimed debut album Rantobot born, its success leading to numerous festival and show opportunities. Last year saw Steph Dawson (Scream Of Sirens) replace the departing Keira on bass and the Yorkshire based band work on Reflections whose release now leaves an indelible mark on 2020.

Album opener, Make Some Noise, pretty much sums up the character of Reflection in its title though the album’s moniker echoes the lyrical prowess emulating in its look at the world and more intimate explorations. The song initially entices with a potent strand from Jackie’s guitar before rhythms and melodic hooks entangle ears in their own bait. Julia’s instantly captivating tones come potently backed by the 4 part harmonies which make up the first of the album’s irresistible choruses. A mix of pop rock, metal and punk, the track swiftly and instantly got under the skin to swiftly be joined by so many of its following companions.

Goodbye World follows and quickly shares eighties new wave like infectiousness, an insistent catchiness which never dilutes its temptation even as hard rock instincts bring the track further alive before another viral chorus is uncaged while the album’s title track bounds in with an insatiable rock ‘n’ roll appetite and rhythmic swing which alone had spirit and body bouncing. Again melodies and hooks almost deviously tempt and arouse, the band’s harmonies just as manipulative and galvanic as Julia’s words share knowing support.

The spidery touch of the melodic wires escaping Jackie’s guitar ensures next up Asylum has a grip on ears and appetite within its first breath, Pablo’s firm beats cementing that capture though it is the vocal dexterity across song and band which creates one of the album’s major pinnacles before latest single, Gossips, shares its pop infused rock on already eager ears. As within those around it, instinctive catchiness lines every note and syllable, aligning with the band’s creative imagination to again get under the skin.

Both Sorry with its gentle yet zestful and seriously stirring dynamics and the punk lined hard rock of As If left no room for attention to wander while the classic rock spiced Back Off and in turn Moving Forward (Angels & Demons) only accentuated the album’s grip and Syteria’s magnetic enterprise, the last of the four staking a claim on best track with its animated moves and rhythms beneath another vocal tempting from Julia and band impossible not to eagerly add to.

The dexterity of the bands flavour rich sound around fertile craft and imagination only continued to impress and animate the passions through the outstanding I Want It All and the equally inspiring Plastic Fantastic with the tenacious rock ‘n’ roll of Guilty backing up every anthemic aspect and electrifying quality with matching appetite as it brought the album to a rousing close.

Reflection is quite simply pure unapologetic rock ‘n’ roll with an adventure which alone will turn heads and Syteria a band surely heading to the loftier heights of the global rock scene.

Reflection is out now.

https://syteria.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/syteriaband/   https://twitter.com/syteriaband

Pete RingMaster 24/03/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

No Kings No Slaves – New Lease of Life

Providing a striking full introduction to themselves with debut album New Lease of Life, Switzerland hailing No Kings No Slaves have swiftly proved themselves a compelling proposition. The release is a cauldron of melodic hardcore but an encounter which dares to seek out bold and fresh pastures if maybe not always quite fulfilling the potential that imagination brings. Even so it is an album that scorched ears and ignited the senses as well as raised a hungry appetite for the band’s emotion loaded, tenaciously sculpted roar.

Lucerne hailing, the quintet of Pädi Reichmuth, Julian Thalmann, Philip Heini, Mario Rosso, and Dave Aletz embrace the inspiration of bands such as Architects, While She Sleeps, Bring me the Horizon, Gallows, The Ghost Inside, and Pure Love to their melodic hardcore bred sound though one as suggested relishing the additional flavouring of a varied mix of metal and rock. It has already shaped a well-received EP though New Lease of Life will be the first contact for a great many with No Kings No Slaves and one which will surely draw rich attention their way.

Dealing with issues ranging from transience and social ills to toxic relationships, New Lease of Life is fuelled by a furnace of passion and emotion, worldly and intimate; a fire matched in the intensity and enterprise of its sounds. Album opener, Judgment, swiftly shares that multi-faceted blaze, the song rising from portentous rhythmic intimation with a wave of heavy metal riffs quickly followed by Thalmann’s raw throated, senses abrasing tones. Just as urgently imaginative melodic threads wrap ears, the brief track an intro of sorts but providing a full incitement before the album’s title track erupts. Nagging almost bullying rhythms are surrounded by blazing guitars as again vocals coarsely assault the air but an attack from all quarters which equally captivates, especially the more post hardcore textures and harmonic vocal backing that brings greater potency to the track.

Though a form of familiarity is bred from its hardcore instincts a persistent unpredictability also shapes the alluring character of the album and the likes of the following Ticket To Far Away and Modern Life Slaves. Both tracks sear the senses as much as they melodically stir the imagination, each a tapestry of passion and intensity relishing the recipe of flavours making up their adventurous natures. The second of the two especially hit the spot with its groove metal tinted dexterity, being rivalled by the just as dynamic and multi-flavoured inferno of Humanity’s Curse.

Across the likes of Hell with its intense heart and sonic firestorm, the heavy metal hued A Quiet Place, and Medication with its more classic metal instincts, No Kings No Slaves reveal more of their creative adventure and boundary breaking imagination, the latter pair of the three the best moments within New Lease Of Life for us while after the haunting radiance of a short Interlude, the explosive Our Name Is Greed provides another fiercely memorable moment and pleasure. It is a rousing proposal that singes the senses as it cauterizes ill-will and emotion, rhythms and melodic flames relishing the individual and united prowess of the band.

The final pair of songs, Electric Sky and Losses, similarly flourish through the quintet’s eager embrace of flavours, the first emerging our favourite track as it casts a web of styles and agile dynamics upon the band’s melodic hardcore pyre with its successor similarly explosive and bold in its nature and creative character.

New Lease Of Life is a release which just gets better song by song, its second half majorly arousing the passions and personal plaudits but from start to finish the album only impressed and declared No Kings No Slaves a band attention was made for.

New Lease Of Life is out now.

https://www.facebook.com/NKNSband/   https://www.instagram.com/nokingsnoslaves/   https://nokingsnoslaves.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 14/03/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Andreas and the Wolf – Fountain Of Truth

As DJ’s for the past two years or so, through their radio show Andreas and the Wolf has fed ears a rich diet of the very best DIY escapades within and outside of the Perfect Pop Co-Op family. Before and during that time they have also teased and excited with a collection of their own tracks; alternative electronica bred songs which have caught and inflamed the imagination into its own shenanigans. Now a highly anticipated debut album is poised to present the band’s full body of enterprise and an apologetically compelling piece of mischievous magnetism it is too.

Andreas and the Wolf is the creation and coming together of Andreas Vanderbraindrain (A.K.A Dermot Illogical of Reverse Family but maybe better known as frontman of The Tuesday Club) and Johnny V (The Scratch/The Tuesday Club). As mentioned their long time partnership has been more concentrated on their fine Andreas and the Wolf podcast and the Perfect Pop Co-Op label in recent times but as Fountain Of Truth proves that time has also seen their musical adventure together equally flourish.

From its first breath there is a healthy mix of nostalgia and bold uniqueness about the album’s sound. It is an enticement which is teasingly difficult to pin down but let us give a possible hint by saying the imagining of a fusion of Television Personalities, Subway Sect, and Fad Gadget with maybe the garage instincts of The Clean for further spicing gives a taste of what delights Fountain Of Truth shares.

All I Want is You sets the album off in beguiling style, its uncomplicated yet richly woven electro pop serenade swift captivation. Guitar and synth embrace their melodic hearts around the inimitable tones of Andreas, sleight but fertile hooks adding to the lure of sentiment part romantic yet just a bit patronising.

It is a potent start to the release which is quickly backed and eclipsed by The Public Domain. As rhythms offer their invitation a masterful bassline strides forward and fair to say from thereon in we were hooked. Its flirtatious swing is quickly straddled by Andreas’ just as tempting vocals, the fuzzy breath of guitar wrapped in the similarly teasing arms of keys. Everything about the song proved virulent, hips and appetite dancing to its punk lined devilry before Morbid Fascination unveiled its British Electric Foundation meets early Human League like shuffle. As suggested earlier though, it is one of a set of infection loaded songs which rises with individual character and a true uniqueness of sound.

Similarly each track offers up something different to that before within their echoes of shadows which crowd our lives, a lyrical theme and creative trait continuing with the synth pop contagion that is Spiral. With a musical grin carried by every note, the song lit up ears and spirit, its eighties inspired instincts a vocal temptation upon electronic nagging and off-kilter imagination. Familiarity and true freshness unite in its viral exploits and aberrant imagination, instincts which mark the album as a whole in varying but always present richness as Fashion Wheel proves with its Paul Haig-esque saunter. It is a song teasing glamour and grandness but always holds its reserve and control to only increase its allure and tension before eager attention.

Through the anomalous pop of the irresistible Friction Free Zone and the haunting tenebrous seduction of its title track, Fountain Of Truth only escalated its grip on ears and pleasure, both songs rivetingly adding further momentous peaks to its landscape with the latter built around another bassline which had the juices lustily flowing, while immediately after Dead Pan Delivery Man had limbs and hips swinging with its indie jangle meets electro pop punk contagion to leave another indelible mark on the imagination.

Limited Ambition brings the album to a close, the track an electro dub loaded stroll with its own atypical disposition though one which may have its seeds sown in a Swell Maps meets The Members bedding. It is a fascinating indeed hypnotic end to an album which has only festered in the passions and imagination for greater pleasure and personal indulgence by the play.

Whether through their radio shows or the rather wonderful Fountain of Truth, Andreas and The Wolf are here to light up our lives and with their first album they do that and more.

Fountain of Truth is released October 9th via Perfect Pop Co-Op.

Check out the Andreas and the Wolf radio shows @ https://www.mixcloud.com/perfectpopcoop/

https://andreasandthewolf.co.uk/   https://twitter.com/andreasandtwolf

Pete RingMaster 13/03/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Vovkulaka – Self Titled

Having recently devoured an EP featuring four of their fan’s favourite tracks, there could only be one next port of call and that was the self-titled debut album from Ukrainian metallers Vovkulaka. If that introduction to the band impressed and excited then we can only say that this twelve track release had us lusting for the striking sounds and rousing songs it held.

Emerging in 20914, Vovkulaka (Ukrainian for werewolf) is primarily the solo project of Odessa based vocalist/drummer/songwriter VolK but an adventure also featuring members from Bulgaria and the United States with Stone of metallers Contortion providing guitar and its stage line-up up completed by dancers and percussionists Naya G and JuleZ, and guitarist Ivan Manoloff. Vovkulaka creates a voracious sound bred in the heart of industrial and nu metal but one embracing a host of other flavours such as gothic metal and dubstep. Like a fusion of Fear Factory, Korn, Slipknot, Society 1, Type O Negative and Rob Zombie it grips attention but with an individuality which ensures it boldly stands out from anything else. Lyrically VolK’s inspiration and invention finds its seeds in his passion for ghost hunting and the paranormal experiences found as well as more personal issues; shadows and darkness sought and embraced to immerse the listener in the most compelling encounters.

Produced by Darian Rundall (Pennywise, Suicidal Tendencies, Yellowcard), the album immediately had the senses and psyche hooked with its opener, Summon The Demon. The brief track is a rhythmic calling, VolK revealing his percussive skill and manipulation as carnivorously haunting beats conjure an atmosphere from darker realms. It may barely be a bidding escaping a minute but proves an irresistible invitation leading to the equally ravening haunting of Cemetery Voices. Crawling over ears and senses, the track is a heavy but compelling trespass but one already a lively threat through the skittish percussion of VolK around his rapaciously slow vocal drawl. The similarly sinister lures of guitar and electronics only add to the captivation quickly bred, the track a sign if mere hint of things to come.

Darkness Calling follows with again a rhythmic tempting which burrowed under the skin. Electronic fingering and the sonic courting of guitar brings shadows and ears together, the Korn-esque flames of the latter lighting up the earthier but no less infectious declaration from VolK’s voice. The track is superb, its senses grinding grooves and dubstep throbbing swift addiction and quickly matched in potency by the even more esurient intent and drama of My Devil. Keys gently entice with a crepuscular sheen before the track erupts in another ravenous incitement, again psyche burrowing grooves leading the way as raptorial rhythms pounce. The contrast of crystalline electronics and musical predation simply gripped attention, all the while rhythms jabbing and stalking with manipulative animation as gut bred vocals magnetically nagged; a dubstep solo from DJ Gigantor from the band Evol Intent extra creative flesh to feast upon.

Emerging from a calm if again minatory caress Defy enslaved ears in its tenebrous realm; defiance and decay embroiled at the heart of its visceral grumble as it wormed deeper and deeper under the skin through raw-boned but rich grooves and provocatively niggling rhythms. With Volk’s cadaverous vocals ever enthralling, the track easily gripped and inspired the imagination before Priest Hole unleashed its own addictive fall from grace. VolK’s rhythms alone ruptured attention, their deeply probing bait aligned to scurrilous but rousing grooves and the illuminated eeriness of keys. The track quickly made a stake for best track acclaim though quickly challenged by the decayed and vicious malevolence of Death Ground. Nefarious grooves wind around ears as corrupt rhythms surround sinful vocals, the result one glorious ungodly delight.

The band’s acclaimed first single is next, Glory To The Heroes a track breaching ears and keen support across the globe with its release in 2018. Featuring Keith Lynch (Bill Ward Band, Ozzy Osbourne) on guitar and dedicated to Ukrainian soldier Nadiya Savchenko who was jailed in Russia but released in May 2016, the track quickly revealed why it made such a strong impact before, savage riffs and punishing rhythms perfectly set against light shimmering keys and melodic seduction as Fear Factory meets Pitchshifter like industrial discontent corrupts the air.

As the contagious venom and dexterity of Whispered Lies seduced as it invaded and Purple Door writhed and crawled into body and psyche with flesh-eating grooves across bone resonating percussion, the album shared further aspects to the Vovkulaka darkness and sound. The latter is something akin to Korn being violated by Godflesh as angels caress the carcass while The Dark Empty chews on the listener’s emotional flesh with rabid jaws coaxed by feral grooves and maniacal rhythms as VolK’s vocals again direct the rich pleasure.

The album closes with a metal version of the Ukrainian National Anthem though the CD also offers a couple of bonus tracks in a drum solo enhanced Darkness Calling and an instrumental version of Defy.

Vovkulaka is a band which should, if any of the references we suggested to their unique presence appeals, no must, be checked out but be warned such their debut album’s dark triumph there will be no turning back.

The Vovkulaka album is available now across most online stores.

https://vovkulaka.com/   https://www.facebook.com/VovkulakaFanPage   https://twitter.com/VovkulakaMusic

Pete RingMaster 15/03/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Pia Fraus – Empty Parks

Photo by Joosep Volk

There are numerous traits which enthral attention within the new album from Estonian band Pia Fraus with with fascination leading the way. In its contrast lit body it offers an embrace of ears and imagination thick in melancholy yet is as life affirming and rich in hope and optimism as any heart could desire.  From its first to last shoegaze nurtured breath Empty Parks eagerly beguiled whilst presenting tracks just as keenly buoyant with contagious dreampop instincts.

Formed in 1998, Pia Fraus has crafted a potent sound and reputation across five studio albums and a host of similarly well and enthusiastically received EPs and singles not forgetting a wealth of shows and tours across Europe and further afield. Their new album, which the band declare their poppiest yet, sees the sextet of vocalist/synthist Eve Komp, vocalist/guitarist/synthist Rein Fuks, bassist Reijo Tagapere, synthist Kärt Ojavee, drummer Joosep Volk and backing vocalist Kristel Eplik linking up with producer John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, Stereolab, Broken Social Scene, Teenage Fanclub), himself a true musical inspiration to songwriter Fuks.

Empty Parks has emerged as one spellbinding encounter, a dreamy soulful whisper of pop magnetism sure to provide a warm knowing hug around any dark day whilst recognising the shadows such times bring. From the moment album opener Hidden Parks spread its pensive seduction Empty Parks was charming ears and senses. A soothing touch of keys is swiftly entangled in intoxicating strands spun by the guitar, rhythms a darker hue in the contemplation but just as encouraging with their catchy stroll. With the familiar and always beguiling mix of Komp and Fuk’s vocals, the song effortlessly slipped under the skin, the band’s expected but never dulled blend of female and male vocals rapture in its own right.

 An even paced enticement, the track makes for a transfixing start though the following Love Sports had body and attention quickly bouncing with greater urgency straight after; its pop virulence and melody thick mesmerism pure captivation. As with all tracks there is a delicious claustrophobic effect to the song’s temptation, an easy and whole immersion in its creative enchantment which never warrants a wish to escape in this song or the album as a whole.

Slow Boat Fades Out is next up, a track which shares the radiance and bearing of nineties bred shoegaze with the band’s distinctive character of touch and sound which is further lit up by that sublime vocal union while successor Mr. Land Freezer bounds in on a spirited canter drenched in a thick electronic mist. Both tracks share imagination stirring hooks and melodies which caress like lustful lovers and each with increasing dexterity had the body swinging as they slithered under the skin.

Across the wonderful Young Marble Giants meets The Pastels like graceful beauty of Sweet Sunday Snow and the similar tantalising of The New Water with something of an XTC air to its riveting pop enterprise, the album only tightened their hold on ears and pleasure with Paper Flower Projects adding its own substantial enticement. In comparison to its predecessors, it is almost rowdy in its energy and muggy in its breath but another provider of melodic and harmonic radiance around a rhythmic inducement which makes you want to dance within a web of guitar and bass fertility which grips ears and accentuates the pleasure.

If not quite inciting the passions as those before it, You’re Not in Love held attention firmly in its dextrous hands before Nice and Clever and Late Summer Night soon after shared their respective melancholy bound and increasingly tempestuous serenade and balmy yet similarly suggestively mercurial and intense proposal on ears, the latter with a captivating drone like quality.

Australian Boots brings Empty Parks to a close, the song a final absorbing caress which harbours its own emotive disturbance, one which openly and eagerly simmers but never quite erupts. The track is a joy of intrigue and intimation within an equally thrilling embrace and a fine end to a release which simply kept the real world at bay for forty five odd minutes.

Empty Parks is out now via Seksound / Vinyl Junkie; available @ https://piafraus.bandcamp.com/album/empty-parks

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

Pete RingMaster 05/03/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright