Craig Scott’s Lobotomy – War is a Racket


Like the soundtrack to a deranged tale fed on Tim Burton’s vision of Alice in Wonderland and soaked in the lunacy of a Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, War is a Racket is one of those propositions which simply send ears and imagination into overload. Created by Craig Scott’s Lobotomy, the album is a kaleidoscope of sounds and textures uniting in a fascinating and warped adventure, whilst Craig Scott himself is the aural Willy Wonka, offering sonic and melodic candy created from the tang of discord and sweetness of insanity.

A bordering on psychotic tapestry of experimental jazz, alternative rock, and similarly unpredictable electronica, album and sound casts ears and thoughts adrift in a sea of instrumental incitement. Every track is a unique vehicle for the imagination to go on a creative rampage with yet they also all contribute to a perpetual flight through one fluid and invigoratingly bedlamic soundscape. War is a Racket has been three years in the making, drawing on influences, experiences, and the things Scott has learned during his life to date as a professional musician involved in numerous diverse projects. The result of everything combined is a debut album which dangles bait after bait of startling sound and seriously intriguing unconnected essences, all united in a creative toxicity which just gets deep under the skin to set off a lustful reaction in ears, thoughts, and ardour.

The previous years has seen Scott play regularly with the likes of ‘Shatner’s Bassoon’ , IKESTRA , CottonWoolf, The Bugalu Foundation, and The Hot Beef Three as well as perform with artists such as Tom Arthurs, Baba Adasose Wallace, Matthew Borne , John Potter (Hilliard Ensemble),Chris Sharkey (Trio VD/Shiver), Ball-Zee(UK Beatbox Champion) Jean Tousaint (Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers) , Les Smith (Cradle of Filth), and Ruby Wood (Submotion Orchestra , Bonobo). His music has grabbed the ears and support of fellow musicians like Gary Lucas (Captain Beefheart / Jeff Buckley) amongst a growing horde of fans which also includes cult horror classic House of 1000 Corpses’ Bill Moseley. Anticipation for War is a Racket has certainly been more than keen but it is now with its release that it is easy to expect major awareness embracing its creator.

a4033067006_2    The album, which sees Scott accompanied by a plethora of skilled and inventive talent, opens with Gibbles and a distant wistful melody. The ear is soon under the temptation of dark double bass slaps and bass clarinet seduction though; they in turn courted by a web of brass teasing. A jazzy air soon takes on an exotic flavour through guitar and sax, excited elements entwining for a sultry and mouth-watering dance through Arabian avenues and more Caribbean spiced festivity. All the time though there is a tempering shadow, an underlying turbulence which brews up a danger with fresh seeds for thoughts to twist and redesign its visual landscape with. The nearer its conclusion the more unravelled the track and its calm becomes as it takes the listener into the sonic distortion and percussive bubbling of Proud to be a Mirkin. The second song also brings a brass fuelled agitation aligned to a sinister electronic stalking of the psyche. It is the stuff of dark dreams, though as hindsight will eventually show, just the start of bigger nightmarish intrusions to come.

Peace returns with Tempest in a Teacup next, a nine minute stroll through summer gardens and reflective atmospheres. Of course already, even on the first listen of the album, expectations are soon expecting darker warped twists too and it does not disappoint, though equally the track sets senses and emotions ablaze with a deliciously manic melodic enterprise equipped with mischievous hooks and perverted imagination. Like something from Brian Brain in a drug induced stupor, the track ebbs and flows with bright revelry and noir clad infestations of ears and thoughts. Ultimately though, you come away with feet bouncing and emotions leaping to that devilish jazz pop lure and the emerging gypsy/world music spicing which has a distinct Les Négresses Vertes feel to it.

The following Technicolor Yawn is a brighter and relatively straight forward hug of the senses, initially at least as of course it too has contrasting and darker flirtations of sound and invention to its gentle cruise. Guitars and synths collude to colour the elegant canvas with shards of seemingly improvised jazz incitement, each nudge and jab of sound a tempting spark to new diversions or characters in the imagination’s interpretation. Almost a travelogue of unique lands and atmospheres on its own, the transfixing pieces makes way for the climactic and psychotic For those with a Short Attention Span. The track is a splatter of sounds and textures which somehow within the ears unite to create a coherent if still furiously unpredictable weave of sonic colour. As all the tracks it leaves a pantry load of food for thought before making way for the irresistible lures of Voodoo Friday. Rhythmically tribal and virulent, the track opens like a thumping ‘sketch’ from percussionists Stomp, but is soon embracing darker strains of sound and harmonies. Its persuasion is meditative and demonic simultaneously, the perpetual invitation from tablas, matched by grouchy bass sounds and a swarming cloud of brass and stringed fermentation which only add to the psychedelic Hammer Movie-esque visualisation inspired across the glorious encounter. Its closing romp reminds of deranged versions of eighties bands like Pigbag and Mouth, that alone leaving ears and emotions basking.

The album’s title track comes next and swiftly returns the listener physically and mentally to the dark clutches of haunted realms and sinister trespasses. Keys impact with a classic thirties/forties lilt to their narrative whilst rhythmically and harmonically, the track is a web of ravenous shadows and psyche grasping evocation. The bewitching nightmare prevails with increasing sideshow devilry as the song continues its descriptive presence, reaching a restrained yet ‘hellish’ climax taunted by crooner inspired keys. The drama and air of the song is traumatic and seriously compelling just as the lighter but no less drenched in espionage album finale of Ormchestron. Opening like the theme tune to a sixties spy/thriller TV show, keys dangling inescapable bait for the imagination, the piece becomes a much cloudier and thematically minatory adventure yet with a constant tempering of melodic and inventive whimsy. The brass escapades brings hints of Essential Logic to thoughts whilst strings and keys offer a Cardiacs like devilment, but ultimately, as War is a Racket itself, it is all wholly individual to Craig Scott’s Lobotomy.

It is fair and easy to say that War is a Racket is quite brilliant, maybe not something for everyone but for those with real adventure and love of life’s and music’s discordance woven into something truly unique, simply a must.

War is a Racket is available through Wasp Millionaire Records from 30/03/2015 on CD, 12” Blue vinyl (Ltd to 250 copies) and digitally.

RingMaster 30/03/2015

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The Top Twenty Noise/alternative releases which had The RingMaster Review lustful in 2014

2014 saw a torrent of creatively inspiring and dramatically thrilling encounters from the inventive realms of noise and alternative incitement, a host of triumphs from which The RingMaster Review picks out twenty releases covered by the site which ignited the greatest hunger in our ears and imagination.



01. The Mobbs – Garage Punks For Boys

02. Solar Halos – Self Titled

03. Slug Comparison – Self Titled

04. Heavy Hand – Nothwoods Knives

Juggling Wolves Album Cover

05. Juggling Wolves – Self Titled

06. Damn Vandals – Rocket Out Of London

07. Pink Tatami – Chapter and Verse

08. Denim Snakes - Self Titled


09. Snack Family – Pokie Eye EP

10. The Black Black – Boogie Nights

11. Norm & The Nightmarez – Psychobilly Infection

12. In Love Your Mother – The Great Ape Project


13. Wild Throne – Blood Maker

14. John Bassett – Unearth

15. Fossils – Flesh Hammer

16. In The Whale – Nate & Eric

Artwork by Katie Buckett

Artwork by Katie Buckett

17. Jingo – The Art Of loving

18. Body Futures – Brand New Silhouettes

19. Death and the Penguin – Accidents Happen

20. The Duel – Waging War

Fight Like Apes – Whigfield Sextape

Fight Like Apes

Returning with four new tracks on a new label, Irish alternative/indie rockers Fight Likes Apes show themselves to be a rigorously tantalising and seriously involving encounter. The Whigfield Sextape EP is a riveting slice of noise and melodic conjuration, a healthily thrilling proposition which sets the band further apart from the pack then they already were whilst expanding their creativity with a maturity which has bred even greater potency to their sound. It is fair to say that the Dublin band has already earned a depth of acclaim and support others can only dream of, their two albums being Choice-nominated releases alone, but ahead of their new full-length, Whigfield Sextape suggests that the best is still to come from Fight Like Apes, and soon.

Released via Alcopop! Records, the EP is the successor to the band’s album The Body of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner of 10288749_10151972843491353_2388499111256954152_n2011. Musically the release seems to be working towards a leaner but fuller concentrated melodic core whilst their ever ready to surprise sonic distortion shows new restraint to its still striking nature. Fight Like Apes absorb before masterfully seducing ears and imagination with the opening track of the EP, swiftly moving on to appetite and passions with the same appetite. Opener Crouching Bees slams firm beats through the ear to start off within a cloudy blaze of electronic melodies which hold an essence of Altered Images to their breath. Mesmeric from the first touch, and increasingly so once the sublime and fiery vocals of MayKay take their sultry grip on the senses, the song grows in strength and stature with every second. A great earthy bass tone adds shadows to the glorious encounter whilst the synths, shaped by Pockets, casts enthralling scenery to the smiling landscape of the track. As mentioned there is a less imposing discord sculpted surface to the sound of the song, melodies and warm climes soaking every note and syllable but that is not to say that musically the band does not challenge and engage with raw ingredients, just that as here they are honed into a new form of bewitching radiance.

The following bwah! Begins with slowly marching beats within a crystalline electronic weave carrying an essence of Siouxsie and the Banshees to it, a feel which was hinted at slightly in its predecessor but more open on the second song. The synths roam majestically around the senses whilst guitars and effects impose their intensive and captivating designs into the psyche. The mix of vocals from both Pockets and then MayKay paint a teasing lure which alone makes the track standout potently whilst musically, as the opener, there is a more than healthy sense of eighties synth/indie pop to the proposition which adds to the flavoursome fusion of melodic elegance and caustic rub.

The Hunk and The Funplace steps up next to steal the EP from the triumphs around it, metronomic beats and the dark faced bass around MayKay’s voice instantly hugging the imagination before the keys escape their cage to blossom a tantalising tapestry of temptation courted by the even grizzlier four string predator. It is the chorus though which sends song and passions into orbit, every aspect of the track unleashing a climactic roar before settling into an almost dainty and thoroughly captivating waltz of desire and charm. Entwining all natures of the song into its subsequent bluster and breezy intent, the song is a mouthwatering envelopment in which you can see where the suggestion that Fight Like Apes is the equivalent to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on this side of the pond is valid; though we would suggest the band has the potential to be even greater.

The EP closes with Tyson, a track which strolls through ears with bold keys alone before vocals colour their drama, MayKay again spawning harmonic hues which simply engage on every level whilst expressively painting the narrative of her words like an artist. Arguably the least striking of the four songs but still an enthralling and invigorating tempting which lingers to leave appetites voraciously hungry for more, it brings the sensational release to an explosive conclusion.

Fight Like Apes have returned stronger, brighter, and more strikingly inventive than ever and that can only be manna for us all.

The Whigfield Sextape EP is available via Alcopop! Records now!


RingMaster 12/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Cauls: EP2

If you are looking for a band to offer something different, music which is equally challenging and rewarding than look no further than British post hardcore band Cauls. They are a band which has ignited the North East of England and beyond with their inciteful and imaginative sounds, now with the release of their new collection of stunning sounds named EP2, the band is ready to intrude on and ignite the nation.

The bio sheet for the release from the Newcastle quartet states that their sound has evoked comparisons to the likes of At The Drive–In, mewithoutYou, Deftones, and Mars Volta. It really is hard to disagree though you can add essences from others such as Fall of Troy, Sunna, and to a lesser extent The Blood Brothers, such their expansive and impactful sound. The EP is stunning, a thrilling and chilling in the respect of tingles it ignites, release which inspires mental and physical reaction throughout and beyond its leaving of the ear.

Formed in 2009, the line-up of guitarist Graham Morris, bassist Andrew McCaffery, and Chris McManus on drums, impressed and fired up hearts with their impressive live shows and muscular progressive instrumental sounds. The trio though felt something was missing and after a lengthy searched for, found and recruited vocalist Michael Marwood and the rest is glorious if still young history. Their two twin track releases in If Bored, Pull Tab Marked Tab and Crave Divan of last year set ears burning with hungry satisfaction but with the new release the band has emerges as something even more immense and mightier, the music leaping from great songs on the previous releases to extreme quality on EP2.

Released on September 24th through Blank Records, the release is astonishing and thoroughly refreshing; the band creating sounds which leaves one breathless and glowing in its uniqueness and skilled soundscapes. The release opens with Whistler, its atmospheric start emerging from a resonating primal bass twang and plunging rhythms. As the guitars singe the air with their sonic caresses the bass finds a snarl to its watchful brief, holding back its intent as the melodic mini suns and expressive heated vocals light up the haunted ambience. All the time the track is slowly evolving into a storm of blistering energy and passion for a burning climax, and an excellent start.

No Motion is an At The Drive-In/Radiohead flavoured piece of joy equipped with acidic melodies and Joy Division like discord. Maybe less dramatic than the first track it still fires up the imagination and appetite which the following Iris Brickfield eagerly and very successfully feeds. With intimidating whispers and soaring vocals the track is a hypnotic and darkened ambient clasp on the passions, ethereal and raw, warm and shadowed, and quite majestic.

After the brief melancholic instrumental The Durande, the release ends on the towering Ahsonnutli, an eight minute triumph encapsulating the magnificent musicianship, inventive songwriting, and emotional impact of the music in one perpetually evolving slab of sonic grandeur. Its starts as a riot before settling into a reflective soul, though soon it is crusading through an array of seamlessly connected and fiery sounds, the band seeding elements of doom, stoner, ambient, and aggressive rock to their progressive weave. It is startling, glorious, testing and fully rewarding.

EP2 is a masterpiece, a release which marks the band as one of the most talented and inspirational emerging bands in the UK and beyond. Cauls will burn your ears whilst treating them to the best original and gratifying sounds heard in recent years.

RingMaster 18/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Native Roses: Out Of The Water

July 2nd sees the rather teasing and convincing invitation to their forthcoming new EP Colours from UK alternative band Native Roses in the shape of initial track Out Of The Water. Released as a free download the song is a delicious and hypnotic welcome into the distinct sound of the band, a quite outstanding and compulsive slice of haunting Americana brought with a disquieting yet mesmeric atmosphere.

Brighton based Native Roses was formed by members of Modern Fighting Vehicles, James Knaggs, Jacob Stevens, and Moses Bogarde. The band soon swelled its ranks with Jessica Illsley and for a short time also contained Jasmine who subsequently left when her solo career as Birdy accelerated. Their forthcoming second EP Colours is released on Creek Records and has been created alongside not only former Roxy Music member Guy Fletcher but also multi-platinum songwriter and Dire Straits founding member, John Illsley. If Out Of The Water is an indicator of what is ahead the EP will be at the very least a definite must do investigation.

The song is a heated hybrid of Chris Isaak, Dennis Hopper Choppers, Mariachi El Bronx, and Arcade Fire. It has a dusty western air to its irresistible sound and mesmeric breath. It opens with expressive male vocals and a discreet guitar strum before opening its weave of warm melodic embraces and eager stirring beats. It is with the addition of simply wonderful female vocals though that the song ignites the biggest flames of passion and impressiveness, the combination of dual vocals perfectly and inventively crafted. Out Of The Water is a sultry stroll across the senses which stirs up the passions and leads one by the hand into an emotive garden of irresistible and heart feeding sounds. It truly is a magnificent song which if the tracks on the EP are half as good will be a sure pleasure too.

Out of the Water will be available for free from the official Native Roses website from July 2nd @

RingMaster 27/06/2012

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Baddies: Build

After being completely infected and charmed by their debut album Do The Job, the review of the Baddies follow up Build was never going to be anything less than enthusiastic in their direction though there was still a part ready to chomp down on any deficiencies found.  The first single from the new album Bronto indicated at the beginning of the year that things had moved forward with their sound but now we have Build to prove if it was so. The answer is that the instigators of kinky hooks, beautifully erratic rhythms, and melodies that play hop scotch on the ear have not only returned with another stunning release but taken their sound into depths and risen to heights that exceed already enthused hopes and expectations.

After the deserved and almost crazed response to their 2009 debut form a great many, and the UK band embarking on a schedule that took in an arduous tour schedule of 180 shows in 365 days across the world which included taking in 32 major European festivals, the quartet not so much took a break but slowed things considerably as they went into thinking about and creating the successor to their successful debut. Using Pledge Music to help raise finances for the release whilst remaining strongly independent and reaching closer to their eager fans, Baddies release Build on March 5th and surely destined to ignite an even bigger response, acclaim and adoration.

Do The Job was marked for the direct and spiky hooks and addictive prickly melodies within its songs with the likes of Battleships, Open One Eye, and We Beat Our Chests uncompromising in their intent to infiltrate and control limbs and senses, turning them into thirsty marionettes. Build continues this incisive attack, bringing more additive voracious lures and instinctive harmonic essences but now with a more refined and rounded shape that  is as effective but even longer lingering and insatiable. Basically the Baddies creativity, songwriting and sound has grown, spread and dare one say matured into an even more vibrant and impressive creature.

Whereas their previous album was riotous, Build consumes in waves of gentler expressive sounds but to no less effect or impressive wonder. Do The Job threw  grating quirky crunchy guitar jabs and punchy rhythmic kicks to the ear but Build whilst taking the best of those elements fuses them into soaring electronics and graceful harmonies with a flair that is musically poetic and steamy. The album bursts into life with the slightly familiar sound and territory of the excellent Rewire. A sweeping synth cradles one in the songs arms before the guitars leap upon and bounce incessantly around the ear. Vocalist Michael Webster and fellow guitarist Simon Bellamy litter the senses with kinetic and contagious stabs whilst the futuristic inspired electronic sounds dazzle and sparkle around them.

The stunning start continues with the Frankenstein Man Made Man, another song that simply whips one into a frenetic ball of enthused hunger for more and more. The track weaves between excited agitation and a laid back melodic sensual symphony to create something glorious yet an unbridled aural solicitation. The first two songs bring older Baddies into a new expansive version that is irresistible, the man and science theme of these and the album intriguing and pleasing.

Every song within the album is without exception pure quality, from the sparkling yet provocative Mind Machines with a Thomas Dolby like flavour, to the big pulsating rhythm punch of The Lightmen. The latter of the two with its tingling electrified flow driven by the roaming throaty bass of Danny Rowton, who is imperious throughout Build, and the inspired mountainous rhythms of drummer Jim Webster, has a Colin Moulding written feel of XTC as well as of Young Knives. The swell of great vocal harmonies, expressive lyrics and their delivery an expansive gorgeous journey.

The XTC sound appears again in Excess Energy to great effect, but despite these references Baddies are undeniably and wonderfully unique. They also are distinct in the diversity within their music, something openly obvious in the likes of the album’s forthcoming single Talk To Me Germany, the stunning Centurion, and the stirring These Animals. The first is a stoked burst of punk pop joy whilst Centurion is a pulsating electronic mesmeric light brought with a slight John Foxx/ Bill Nelson touch in its scintillating sparkle.

Bronto like the opener is the perfect connection between the older sound and the new hypnotic direction the band has spread in to. The song is as virulent as any song you are likely to hear anywhere, its electronic punked venom impossible to deny as it firmly grips with its hot thirsty urgency. It has a chest beating defiance that can only inspire one to join its intent and chorus in emotion and voice. Do not be surprised that once having heard the song it reappears in your head at numerous and any time, it is an infection with no known cure.

Closing on the captivating Star Surfing and its celestial majesty, Build is simply magnificent. Baddies have once more revitalised and given a new rousing energy to not only alternative indie music but music in general. If craft, originality, and inventive music which inflames your every day with warmth and rampant fun is the juice for your thirst, than Baddies is your first and essential option.

RingMaster 26/02/2012 Registered & Protected


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