Browlin – To The Border!

Browlin_RingMasterReview

Luring ears and imagination into the sultry climate and shadows of the Wild West on a funk infused wave of melodic and lyrical adventure, To The Border! is a highly suggestive and seriously captivating encounter everyone deserves to treat themselves to. Released by Browlin, the album offers up the smouldering melodic artistry of Morricone, the dark honesty of Johnny Cash, and the lyrical conjuring and prowess of Helldorado with the vocal suggestiveness of Rooster Cole for extra spice. The result, something as unique and magnetic as you could wish for.

Browlin is the latest moniker of Oliver Brown who previously was engineer and studio manager at Skint, where he gained Top 40 credits, hit 2m views on YouTube and was part of the incredible success of artists such as Fatboy Slim. With his new project, Brown has moved away from his electronic past to immerse in heartfelt picturesque songwriting embracing indie and funk imagination upon Latin honed rhythms and emotions.  To the Border! is the result of his exploration, an encounter which infests ears and imagination like the dirt and hot atmospheres its song’s premise’s and climates suggest.

The album opens up with Border and an immediate cinematic strum of guitar, it’s coaxing quickly joined by darker tones of bass and those Latin inspired beats. Lone harmonies and the subsequent vocal touch of Brown soon add to the already evocative prowess of the song, its lively canter taking the appetite in tow with little trouble. With keys joining the Mexican hued saga the track makes for a compelling start though it is soon eclipsed by the following Pieces. Brown’s gravelly hum aligns to another single melodic lure to open up the song, his vocals and words swiftly seducing the imagination as the guitar soon after leads into a bass and keys driven slice of melancholic funk ‘n’ roll. Even without electronic essences, there is a touch of The The to the track, even as it induces hips to swing and feet to eagerly shuffle.

art_RingMasterReviewIts success is matched by the earthy majesty of All My Days and in turn the flaming revelling of There’s Always A Way. The first of the pair keenly walks and then bounds through ears, more flirtatious rhythms seizing body and spirit as vocals and melodies paint a brooding yet warmly alluring picture. Virulently catchy with keys and harmonies bordering salacious, the outstanding track is matched in majesty by its successor, a Cajun-esque dance with spicy harmonica and woozy melodies within a climate of moonshine fuelled, and inspired carnival.

The thrills and seduction continue at an already irresistible level as Big Deal romances the senses with its Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers meets Chris Isaak swing next. Once more the harmonica almost burns its way into the passions while a thickly appetising soak of discord invades guitar and tone. It is an off kilter pleasure transforming into the haunting and fiery beauty of All About Us without a breath being shared. The new song slips under the skin within seconds, its repetitive hooks and melodic bait as enslaving as Brown’s vocal craft and expression and in turn the orchestral weight of an increasingly epic encounter.

I Sit Alone allows the body to at least rest next, it’s smouldering entrance with female sighs the canvas for the reflective declaration of Brown. You can almost see him sitting on the front porch of a barren land sitting shack or under the moonlight against a hanging tree as he pours out his heart. It is a dark and maudlin moment which subsequently evolves into a funk nurtured shuffle, rhythms and guitar entangling in a brewing descriptive sound and hopeful suggestiveness taken to new heights by the gorgeous landscape of following instrumental Death In Mexico. The piece is glorious, cinematic melodic poetry Morricone himself would be proud of and a track as intimate as it is visually vast.

To The Border! concludes with firstly Well I Never, another superb swinging incitement for ears and imagination with a whiff of Talking Heads to it and lastly On The Bank, a final fascination of sound, voice, and word bringing the album to a mighty close.

Not really aware of Brown’s previous work as such, all we can say is thank goodness he has ventured into new adventures through Browlin because quite simply To The Border! is an album bringing a new creative emprise to the whole music scene.

To The Border! is out now via Rife Records across most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/browlinuk   http://www.browlin.com/  https://twitter.com/BrowlinUK

Pete RingMaster 25/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

A Blue Flame – What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remain

A Blue Flame_RingMasterReview

Three years after the release and success of a debut album, A Blue Flame has released successor What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remains, a collection of songs which musically tug at the imagination and lyrically at the emotions.

A Blue Flame is the solo project of British songwriter Richard Stone, a Leicester based artist who has been stirring attention these past months through a host of suggestively ripe and ear pleasing singles. What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remains follows his 2013 cast first album someone else’s dreams will fill our home; an offering released under the name of Woodman Stone. As suggested, it was a proposition which grabbed ears and plaudits alike, its lead song Does Madonna Dream of Ordinary People especially drawing strong support and airplay across the likes of BBC 6Music and BBC Leicester with Tom Robinson calling Stone’s music: “wonderful unashamed pop music that comes with an inbuilt English Pop sensibility running through to its very core“.

Featuring some of Leicester’s best musicians including co-producer Adam Ellis on guitar and Tony Robinson from The Beautiful South on keys and brass, What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remains is now whipping up even more loud attention. It needs little time to make a potent impression with When Time Slowed Down first up and readily caressing ears. Stone’s sound is a folk scented mix of British flavouring from pop and Brit Pop to a more rock hued proposal. The album’s opener is a gentle folk coloured slice of enterprise, a flavoursome coaxing gently drawing the listener into a release which just grows in strength and stature song by song. Keys and guitar cradle the dusty tones of Stone, a jazzy whisper coating every note and tone of the engaging start.

ablueflame_RingMasterReviewEveryday Yesterday similarly makes a low key entrance though there is a latent sturdiness from its start. With the firm beats of drummer Damon Claridge leading the way as guitar and keys amidst warm harmonies colour the track’s sky, a captivating catchiness descends on ears.  It is a quality ever present in Stone’s songs, making an increasingly vocal present here and in the following The Girl Inside of You. The new single, the track is a rousing slice of melody thick revelry embraced in Brit Pop meets folk rock flavouring. Increasingly addictive with every listen, the song has bodies bouncing and thoughts thickly involved as Stone’s lyrical and vocal prowess works on the imagination. A thumping proposition setting an early peak to the album it is also the spark to a new plateau within What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remain.

Next up is Our Memories Fade, a less energetic endeavour initially which grows in energy and emotion as sultry guitars glow across crisp beats. It too has an instinctive infectiousness, an organically appealing swing wrapped in Americana-esque charm while Stone grips attention with his words and inviting vocal style. Its highly pleasing endeavours make way for Be Kind To Yourself, a smouldering ballad which might not have the same spark as its predecessors but simply beguiles with its fifties hued cry.

Earthy punk infused rock ‘n’ roll treats ears next in the shape of the excellent I Don’t Know, another imposingly enjoyable sing-a-long canter with Skids like fuzzy guitar, while the equally compelling Out There Somewhere shares its own piece of rock where again a Stuart Adamson comparison arises as the song has a touch of Big Country to it. Both tracks increase an already eager appetite for the release, a satisfaction which From God on Down feeds with even greater strength. Flirting ears with a twist of reggae inspired devilry and slight dub effect within its formidable rock ‘n’ roll, the track takes top honours.

A Julian Cope feel shades the inescapable magnetism of Marlborough Park Avenue, a scent which only adds to its bewitching prowess and success whilst The Sun Refused To Shine dips into the fifties/early sixties again with its teasing melodies aligned to another potent Stone croon and alluring harmonies. The two songs alone reveal the diversity of sound and invention which frequents the album, a variety continued by the country twanged folk of Feeling The Same and finally Goodbye as What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remain goes out with the same poetic gentleness it began with, if with greater melancholy involved.

Enjoyable on the first couple of listens and near on essential thereon in, What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remain announces A Blue Flame and Richard Stone as one of Britain’s most compelling propositions and exciting songwriters.

What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remain is out now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/a-blue-flame/id1078425623 and http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ABlueFlame across most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/ablueflame/

Pete RingMaster 25/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Happy Diving – Electric Soul Unity

HappyDiving_RingMasterReview

Managing to scorch the senses while seducing them into matching submission, the new album from San Francisco born Happy Diving is a swamp of thick fuzz and melodic romancing; neither aspect dominant yet both overwhelming and across twelve sweltering songs, instinctively magnetic.

Formed in 2013, Happy Diving has gone through various member and location changes while breeding a rich reputation for their fiery and sonically blistering live presence. It is a quality and strength of sound now found within Electric Soul Unity, a raw and intrusive proposition which just as potently entices with emotion and evocatively smouldering melodies. The likes of Dinosaur Jr., Drive Like Jehu, and Swervedriver are offered by the press release as an indication to what lies within the album; suggestions easy to endorse though similarly someone like My Bloody Valentine infested by Birdland or Hot Snakes suits too.

It opens up with Bigger World and an incendiary wail of guitar and sonic forcefulness as inviting as it is abrasive. Throbbing bass and repetitious riffs soon join the initial squall of sound; shaping and driving the song in its expanding adventure before the warmer tone of vocals become engaged in the persuasion too. It is a wholly magnetic affair as increasingly infectious as it is bracing and without a moment to contemplate matched by Don’t Be Afraid of Love. Raw sonic trespass and melodic enterprise collude as the track engulfs ears, its rhythmic coaxing equally as catchy and rousing as the band shares all elements with individual clarity while combining every texture masterfully.

art_RingMasterReviewDrifting away, the song makes way for lead song Holy Ground, a raw and emotionally inflamed proposal searing the senses as vocals and hooks tempt the imagination and an already keen appetite for the intrusive Happy Diving sound. With anthemic rhythms whipping up further enjoyment, the song steps aside for the album’s punk fuelled title track and in turn the melodic charm of Head Spell. Both tracks hit the spot, the first with its Nirvana-esque seeded essences and its successor through gentle melodies and warm vocals in a calm reflection though its climate is volatile and erupts to fine effect throughout.

Through the fervid sonic enticing of the Pixies toned Fantasy and the sweltering smog of Shed Light, band and release simply increase their hold on a now greedy appetite, each springing a net of melodic contagion as powerful as the sonic wash around them. Their thrilling invasion is emulated again by the poppier and highly stimulating assault of Lost My Way and indeed the swinging causticity of The Call, It Thunders. There are times across the album where a similarity between songs is apparent, the second of the two an example yet throughout it whips out a hook or twist which gives individual character to its presence.

More open diversity emerges in the latter stages of Electric Soul Unity; the calm reflective beauty of Pain Country and its suggestive melodies an irresistible seduction holding court even when the song ignites while Unknown Feeling is a beguiling vocal and melody shaped serenade to drift away with.

Final track River Will Flow ensures the album leaves on a tempest of sonic agitation and temptation, but of course with its own weave of rich melodic and harmonic enticing. All three songs provide a fine end to an album which grows and impresses more with every outing. They say noise annoys, not in this case.

Electric Soul Unity is released August 26th via Topshelf Records @ http://www.topshelfrecords.com/products/573831-happy-diving-electric-soul-unity and available now @ https://happydiving.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/happydivingca/   https://twitter.com/happydiving

Pete RingMaster 25/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Possessor – Dead By Dawn

Possessor_RingMasterReview

Still drawing new attention with their previous offerings, British metallers Possessor unleash new album Dead By Dawn, a mouth-watering threat of their rawest, most voracious sound yet. Continuing to conjure their individual fusion of old school fuelled metal embracing everything from heavy and blackened death metal through to doom/occult and stoner infused thrash the London trio cast a viciously malevolent and addictively compelling infestation of ears and instinctive pleasure with their latest offering.

Formed in 2013, Possessor teased and tempted with the Wings of Fire demo in 2014 before making a far greater impression with their self-titled debut album later that year. Hellacious and demonic in equal enterprise, the band’s reputation and acclaim garnering stature was given another injection of energy with last year’s Stay Dead EP. Its four tracks breached a new level in sound and adventure by the threesome of vocalist/guitarist Graham Bywater, bassist Marc Brereton, and drummer Matthew Radford; one now pushed again by Dead By Dawn.

The album opens with Afterburner and its sinister, cinematic intro. As shadows collude with aural drama, it fades into the ravenous jaws of the opener, a mesh of riffs and rhythms which go straight for the jugular. The meatiest groove aligns to a primal energy and intensity, they soon entwined in a sonic twine of guitar and the effect cloaked tones of Bywater. Previous releases hinted at a Nurse/Troublegum era Therapy? essence in the band’s sound; the first song shows it has become an even more intense flavouring but still without diluting the distinctive tone and invention of the Possessor sound.

Predatory and inescapably infectious with Sabbath meets Electric Wizard overtones also to its body; the excellent start makes way for the similarly immense and thrilling Scorpion Swamp. Straight away the grievous growl of Brereton’s bass has ears gripped and lips licked, the appetite enflamed further by the sorcerous grooves and rabid hooks joining the mix. Again echoes of the Northern Ireland trio are a vibrant spicing as Possessor and track rumble and grumble upon the senses and imagination, the song an ever twisting web of thrash driven, multi-flavoured metal.

art_RingMasterReviewBeneath the Chapel takes over next, an encounter growing in ears with a less forceful character compared to its predecessors but one soon sharing its own captivating net of flesh whipping beats and rapacious grooves to seriously please. Again within an ever tempestuous nature irresistible hooks taunt and tempt, providing rich bait within the rawest roar of sound to come from the band in any offering yet and the same template seeds the following Without Warning, a design breeding another individual treat within the album. A tempest of grooves and antagonistic ferocity it simply blossoms into a psyche infesting avalanche of predacious animosity to leave a hunger for more.

Things take a breath just a touch as Slaughter High enters next upon another evocative bassline from Brereton, its suggestive twang absorbing bait deviously leading the listener into another waiting beast of sound. Arguably the most old school sounding song on the release, it gnaws at the senses as riffs venomously prowl and the swinging beats of Radford flail flesh with rapier like effect. More destructive and gripping with every passing minute the brute of a proposition departs in a cold storm to let Terror Tripping step forward with its own cantankerous and primal rock ‘n’ roll. Taking a touch more time to thickly persuade compared to the other songs before it, the track is soon seeing swinging bodies and eager satisfaction in its rip tide, especially when it shares another ear exciting hook.

A pair of instrumentals comes next, The Creeps another cinematic scene setting piece parading a glorious and voodoo-esque rhythmic enticement before Midnight devours the body and imagination with its blackened heavy metal and feverishly stomping aural necromancy. Both tracks has ears enslaved and thoughts conjuring before the closing drama of The Curse of the Hearse revels in the individual skills and craft of all three Possessor members, aspects uniting in an incendiary provocation bringing Dead By Dawn to an almighty end.

Possessor get bigger, better, and more creatively barbarous with every release and indeed more irresistible. A treat for fans and a thrilling introduction to Possessor for newcomers, Dead By Dawn and its creators are the kind of propositions metal probably does not appreciate or notice enough but would be a much blander place without.

Dead By Dawn is out now @ http://possessor.bandcamp.com/album/dead-by-dawn

https://www.facebook.com/possessorband

Pete RingMaster 21/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Raging Speedhorn – Lost Ritual

Lost Ritual Artwork_RingMasterReview

Eagerly awaited, the fifth album from British metallers Raging Speedhorn, and the first since their return around two years ago, rips into ears and senses looking to make up for lost time. Lost Ritual has all the venom, spite, and intensity that the Corby in Northamptonshire hailing sextet is renowned for, and the quality, but all honed into their most potent and savagely stylish proposition yet. As expected Raging Speedhorn is a beast on the album, their sound an uncompromising trespass, and Lost Ritual simply the most invigorating tempest.

The past couple of years have seen the band prove themselves a live encounter no metaller should miss, continuing where they left off eight years earlier whether destroying smaller intimate venue audiences or mass crowds at festivals such as Sonisphere, Bloodstock, and Damnation. The successor to 2007 album Before The Sea Was Built, the crowd funded Lost Ritual is the first album to feature guitarist Jim Palmer and also sees vocalist Frank Regan returning nine years after his last appearance on 2005 album How the Great Have Fallen.

An anticipation feeding teaser to the Russ Russell recorded album was offered earlier this year as part of a DesertFest split with Monster Magnet via H42 Records. Fair to say, Halfway To Hell grabbed the throat and ravaged the senses to get the juices flowing for Lost Ritual and the album swiftly shows it is not a lone highlight with opener Bring Out Your Dead. Instantly a plaintive groove winds around ears, its lure quickly joined by the meaty grizzle of Dave Thompson’s bass and the mighty swipe of Gordon Morison’s sticks on skin. Right there too are nagging riffs, their tempting courting the ever gripping grooves; guitarists Jamie Thompson and Palmer casting an inescapable web. Completed by the contrasting spite loaded growls of John Loughlin and Regan, song and band devours the senses and spirit, sparking each to new heights of pleasure simultaneously. The track is a debilitating anthem, a rousing roar as contagious as it is violent and Raging Speedhorn at their very best.

Halfway To Hell takes over and now a familiar companion to ears because of its previous release again only ignites body and appetite with ease. Again riffs and rhythms unite and collide as grooves wind and vocals blaze. The band has never been low key in creating the most essential hooks in their encounters and the second song is one has some of their ripest yet, addictive twists and turns inescapable even in the passage of slow predatory enterprise stalked by bestial throat grazing snarls which emerges.

There is no let-up in force, temptation, and virulence as Motorhead erupts in ears next, the track living up to its namesake in tone and sonic dirt while as ever reaping the unique Raging Speedhorn character to big success. A brutal treat, the track makes way for the rapacious prowl of Evil Or Mental. Again the listener is quickly entangled in intrusive grooves and bruising rhythms as vocals crawl over the senses with open ill-will. They are just part of its skilfully woven net of sonic malignancy and enterprise, the encounter rocking like an antagonistic bear before its closing sonic lancing leads into the imposing and thrilling seduction of Ten Of Swords. This is no sweet talking temptress though, the song a lumbering concentrated invasion of tenebrific sound and provocative craft fuelled by a rancorous heart and appetite feeding ingenuity.

It glorious scorn gives may to the raw punk ‘n’ roll of Dogshit Blues, the track an exhausting and exhilarating stirring of body and spirit, and in turn the thick aural incitement of The Hangman. In tone alone, the song is a dark and murderous affair, voice and emotion only adding to its cancerous impact and though musically, it maybe lacks the cache of hooks and twists found in many of its companions, the track cannot help offering another lofty peak within Lost Ritual.

The next up Shit Outta Luck is pure belligerent and inflammatory rock ‘n’ roll, a chest beating incitement for body and soul that will leave all out of breath in energy and bliss. With swinging grooves, lethal beats, and fiery intent, the track is magnificent and swiftly equalled in success by the compelling toxicity and invasive invention of Comin’ Home.

Completed by the enthralling Unleash The Serpent, the darkest and most imaginative track on the album, Lost Ritual shows Raging Speedhorn bigger, bolder, and more creatively belligerent than ever. It is also one of the year’s mightiest rewards from a band world metal needs more than ever.

Lost Ritual is out now digitally and on CD and vinyl @ https://ragingspeedhorn.bandcamp.com/album/lost-ritual and other stores.

https://www.facebook.com/ragingspeedhorn

Pete RingMaster 12/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Hostiles – Last Call

The Hostiles Promo Shot_RingMasterReview

Giving the most glorious workout to swinging hips and inexhaustible feet, as well as instinctive pleasure, Scottish Ska-punks The Hostiles recently released new album Last Call. It offers thirteen tracks of melody thick, brass clad, and feverishly delivered punk ‘n’ roll as raw and snarling as they are inescapably irresistible.

Formed in 2001, The Hostiles began with brothers Josh (guitar/vocals), and Chris Barron (bass/vocals). Growing up in the US, the pair was seduced by the sounds of west coast ska and the likes of Reel Big Fish, NOFX, and No Doubt. In their teens, the pair moved to Scotland, soon discovering the rawer energy and sounds of bands such as Capdown, Lightyear, and King Prawn. Linking up with Callum Douglas (drums) and Steve Bruce (trombone), The Hostiles was soon rousing the local live scene with in time Joe Stainke (trombone) completing the current line-up. Quickly renowned for their energetic live performances, the band’s reputation swiftly grew and spread, helped in turn by the release of debut album Always Looking Forward in 2009. Proceeding to share stages with bands such as Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, Zebrahead, The Mad Caddies, Strike Anywhere, and many more, The Hostiles followed up their attention luring first album with the Late Nights… And Early Hours EP in 2012 and the single/video For A Good Time Call 07946058526 two years later.

Now it is Last Call drawing attention and from its first minute arousing body and spirit. From the opening intro, the album leaps upon the listener with opener Ed Knows. An attitude laden bassline stalks the initial vocal draw, both leading into a fiery lure of guitar and rapier like swings from Douglas. Quickly as the trombones share their melodic flames, the track is a contagious blaze of infectious sound with a funk infused swing and punk ingrained fuel to its roar. There is little time before the listener is adding their full contribution in voice and movement, a success matched in the following Inconsiderate. A lighter stomp of a song with Hammond flavoured keys courting its instantly open catchiness, it carries a familiar air which only adds to its thrilling appeal.

The Hostiles Cover Artwork_RingMasterReviewThe band’s inspirations are never far from the surface at times, the second song evidence but spices used to shape songs which undoubtedly have The Hostiles character, as shown again in the prowling You Liar. Swaggering alone with mischief in its creative glands, the song is confrontational but an epidemic  of big hooks and intimidating attitude, and quite superb. It reveals the great mix of pop honed and punk rock driven sounds which have sparked the band’s passions over time, all woven into another distinctive proposition before things calm a touch with I’ll Assume. It is just a touch too as the song soon shows its teeth and melodic prowess in a King Prawn like canter with exotic melodies and moody basslines entangling the ever potent vocals and swathes of mariachi hued trombone.

Both Night Out with its dirty tone and ridiculously infectious enterprise and its successor Wish You All The Best has body and soul leaping. The first is ska punk at its most creatively virulent and indeed addictive while the second is a boisterous romp shaped with smart hooks and persuasive melodies as well cast in imaginative drama coloured by rock guitar and theatrical brass.

The album continues to keep the listener on their toes with a broad grin on their face as the punk brawl of Spend My Life, the gentler sway of So, I Wonder, and the blazing exploits of Late Nights come, go, and leave ears and appetite aroused. The third of the trio especially adds another pinnacle to Last Call, all offering undeniable reasons to embrace The Hostiles adventure, with To Err Is Human providing another major highlight. The band’s latest single, it also has a hint of Mariachi El Bronx to its melodic and trombone nurtured side, a great flavour mixing with heavier punk rock attitude.

Released From Captivity uncages another addictive tempting, guitars and bass alone creating a web of hooks which snare body and heart with ease. Familiar essences come to the surface of the song but flavours simply used to shade its own individual devilment before the closing pair of encounters starting with Nobody Else. The song does not make the same impact as others within Last Call, yet has mutual participation with ease so does little wrong before the album’s title track brings it all to a cantankerous close. It is a ska infested hardcore brawl of a proposal, vocals a throated scraping challenge as brass bring a tonic to the imposingly grouchy touch of guitar and rhythms.

It makes for an unexpected and pleasing end to a release which sees ears and fingers itching to go again within seconds of its close. There are a few rather special ska flavoured punksters around right now and as proven by Last Call, The Hostiles stand by their side.

Last Call is out now on Bubble Tea Records @ http://thehostiles.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/thehostiles/   http://www.thehostiles.co.uk/

Pete RingMaster 05/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Astral Cloud Ashes – Too Close to the Noise Floor

Album Art_RingMasterReview

With three attention grabbing and imagination sparking singles under the belt, Astral Cloud Ashes unveil debut album Too Close to the Noise Floor. It is a collection of songs which arouse and serenade the senses, often simultaneously as the project’s mesmeric songwriting and emotive melodic elegance seduces.

Astral Cloud Ashes is the new project of Jersey bred songwriter/musician Antony Walker, previously better known as one half of the Channel Islands hailing Select All Delete Save As. Having already created music under the name ALPA, amongst other monikers, Walker quickly sparked attention to his latest project last year with first single Too Close To The Noise Floor, the now title track to the new album. Primarily a solo project but with backing vocalist Jason Neil a permanent fixture in the band, Astral Cloud Ashes draws on inspirations ranging from The Cure, Bloc Party, Interpol, At the Drive In, Mars Volta, and Say Anything as well as flavours bred in indie and alternative rock/pop. Equally though, the album shows bold ventures into more progressive and post rock pastures without losing the instinctive catchiness and melodic romancing found in those earlier propositions.

Mixed across its tracks by Gareth [The Fold], Edd HartwellPaul Miles, Daniel Szanto,  and Walker himself, with the mastering undertaken by Tim Turan, Too Close to the Noise Floor opens with The Man I Had To Become. Instantly a temptation of bubbling guitar captures ears, the coaxing quickly joined by a wave of rhythmic jabbing and a thicker weave of melodic guitar and harmonious vocals. It is a gentle yet boisterous affair easily whipping up the imagination and spirit with Walker’s distinctive tones the mellow flame within a more combustible web of enterprise. It is a great mix which marked those early singles but already seems to have blossomed within the album into a more adventurous and confident entangling of the listener.

The great start is followed by the album’s title track, Too Close to the Noise Floor showing a rawer, more imposing energy as it takes the imagination into the intimacy and adventure of cosmonautics but equally involves “family values and unwanted first-world paranoia” in its energetically hugged theme. Punching its rhythmic and contagious essences home, it also carries a hazy climate to its atmosphere with the bass a deliciously throaty lure amongst nothing but virulent temptation. Embracing a XTC feel and Melvins like revelry, the track has body and appetite eagerly involved in swift time.

Grateful for the Ghost In Our House steps forward next and as the last track showed a more formidable presence to its predecessor, this song reveals a fiercer predation to its opening and subsequent invention within another wash of suggestive melodies and smouldering dynamics. Though not in the actual sound, it is easy to see where an influence of The Cure comes into play, Walker creating an emotional and musical drama which has the senses riding a roller coaster.

Recent single Get Real follows, strolling along with the ever present catchiness which Walker conjures with seeming ease across every track. Guitars pop and bubble throughout the song as rhythmic tenacity creating an anthemic frame to the vocal and melodic ingenuity before Flashback takes over. A calmer and mellower engagement but even more emotively forceful, the song caresses ears with a lone guitar melody before being joined by a heavily shadowed bassline aligned to a broader floating melodic enterprise. Vocally, Walker provides an introspective narrative as provocative as the poetic almost volcanic fuzziness of his guitar. Adding another individual shade and hue to the album, the track shows the broader landscape of Walker’s songwriting and an intimacy, whether personal or observational, which fuels his words.

With drummer Max Saidi guesting, Avant Blah! strolls boldly in next, its lo-fi pop ‘n’ roll blending Weezer infection with Pavement-esque invention while its successor Lites almost lumbers into view in comparison with the brooding bass and irritable riffs to the fore. In all songs there is a great repetitious quality brewed by Walker, here almost coming over drone like to great effect around the solemn melody and the similarly melancholic vocals. As it expands though, a wave of rich textures and rousing energies flood the song, returning throughout the low-key yet thickly enjoyable, almost imposing encounter.

The excellent This Once Great Place has an air of The Cure again with its atmospheric landscape, reminding of the A Forest/Pornography era of the trio across its own captivating journey before the equally impressive Housing in a Bubble makes a grab for best track with its more punkish/grungy roar of sound. Everything about it has a snarl not heard on the album previously; revealing more of the diversity the release carries whilst stirring up a fresh greed in ears and pleasure.

Our Holiday brings Too Close to the Noise Floor to a sombre and enthralling close, the track initially a dark sigh but soon building its own catchy canter loaded with spiky hooks and spicy melodies around another slightly foreboding and compelling bassline. Once more thoughts of Robert Smith and co are sparked but again as a flavour in something individual to Astral Cloud Ashes. It is a riveting end to a striking and increasingly impressive first album from Walker.

The clues to the project’s potential were there in its first trio of singles, and now confirmed and partly realised by Too Close to the Noise Floor. The feeling is that there is plenty more to come and to be explored within that promise, and going by the strength of this thoroughly enjoyable offering, we are all in for many treats ahead.

Too Close to the Noise Floor is released July 11th @ http://apple.co/1RFvoL8

https://www.facebook.com/astralcloudashes   https://astralcloudashes.bandcamp.com/   https://twitter.com/AstralCloudAsh

Pete RingMaster 08/07/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright