Larusso – Life in Static

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Immersed in a mixture of creative alternative rock and contagious pop punk, Life in Static the new album from US band Larusso is one healthily appetising proposition. Not a release to set crowds screaming from rooftops maybe but one to bring energetic life to any solitude drenched night or raging festivity, the album is a thoroughly engaging proposition with some quite tasty encounters within its vibrant walls.

Hailing from Salt Lake City, the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Aaron Condrat, drummer/backing vocalist Justin Trombetti, guitarist Nick Sasich, and bassist Tyler Grundstrom have earned and built up a potent fan base and attention through a series of self-released EPs and albums, as well as their live performances which has seen the band play with bands such as The Almost, Go Radio, Transit, The Ataris, Finch, Dance Gavin Dance, and Cartel. Also regulars at local festivals and having played the Ernie Ball stage at Warped Tour, Larusso finds itself with a lively buzz around them to which their new album will certainly do no harm.

Chase the Sun starts the album off in vivacious style, hooks and melodies an instant coating to keen riffs and jabbing rhythms. Vocally too the song shines immediately, the tones of Condrat backed by Trombetti, smooth and harmonious. It is not a startling encounter but one showing the musical strength and songwriting craft of the band as more than accomplished and seriously catchy. The track strides with ripe enterprise before making way for The Voice. As its predecessor, it too carries no real urgency in its gait and attack but makes for a catchy and captivating slice of rock pop with excellent vocal prowess and tidy hooks within a melodic breath.

Things suddenly spark more thrillingly with Drifter, a track offering irresistible hooks from its first touch and unpredictable endeavour throughout. Like a mix of Jimmy Eat World and Brand New, the song flows and strides with a Life in Static Cover Artdelicious creative appetite to the vocals and swinging grooves to the sound. The bass of Grundstrom brings a snarl too which adds to the appetite awakening potency of one of the album’s most impressive propositions. Its triumph is not quite matched by the next up Daniel with an L, but with its emotive melodies and almost melancholic air the track still captures the imagination with ease. As evidenced by it alone, there is nothing flamboyantly excessive about the band and its songs but they push do push an eager invention across increasingly persuasive and riveting exploits.

The evocative caress of Living Proof comes next with guitars casting a weave of expressive chords and melodic colour as Condrat adds an emotionally intimate lyrical narrative. The track is more a lead/intro to the current single The Recovery than a standalone prospect, its successor a crooning incitement which makes for a warm and skilful if not a passion stirring companion. Again it shows the impressive craft of the band in composing, playing, and imagination though but lacks a spark to make it more than a pleasing encounter, certainly when up against the more impacting tracks on Life In Static. Nevertheless ears are satisfied before turning to Places and Set Phasers to Fun for more adventure. The first of the two has an underlying swagger to its pop lit composure and intent, but tempers it with an evocative smoulder of emotion and sonic intrigue whilst the second shows another fun side to its sound and band with its acoustically led playful romp. In the hands of other bands, the song might feel like a filler but Larusso give it a smile and grace which makes a very worthy and enjoyable inclusion to the release.

Collision Course is another big highlight with its feisty riffs, mightily swinging rhythms, and agitated yet contagiously coaxing grooves. As across the album it is fair to say there are few real surprises, the song no exception but the band does dig out and explore essences of sound and familiar ideation which is fresh and invigorating. The superb offering is followed by the emotive balladry of Take Me Away where keys, orchestral strings, and vocals impress even if overall the track simmers rather than flames, something Dear Pandora manages to achieve with addictive tenacity. Thoughts of Amberlin edge forward as the song stomps with acidic grooves and biting hooks whilst melodies and harmonies make another inescapable lure. It is an enthralling success setting up the finale of Chemical. Also acoustically sculpted, the closer is a mesmeric piece of design and expression, and a much more potent and gripping encounter than Take Me Away which lingers and shows another corner and depth to the band which would be good to see explored more in the future.

Life In Static is a richly enjoyable and magnetic release which shows why the buzz around Larusso in their homeland; a spotlight easy to imagine broadening dramatically with the album. It is not setting new templates but for melodic rock with a pop ingenuity, band and album is well worth a long look.

The self-released Life in Static is available now @ http://larussorock.com/product-category/all/albums/

larussorock.com

8/10

RingMaster 15/08/2014

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Actions! : South Of The Water single

Since receiving the promo for the debut single from UK power pop band Actions! the band has announced its demise due to personal commitments of its members. Despite this South Of The Water is easily worth checking out as the band bid their hello/farewell on a bit of a bang rather with two songs that displays much promise for what one suspects could have been a rather notable pop punk styled band.

The band started in the opening weeks of 2011 though bassist Mat Wilson and guitarist Ryan Stuart had played together from Year 9 in school and alongside drummer Laurence Mosley since 2008 when he jammed with their previous band. With the addition of vocalist Emily Cracknell last year Actions! became a complete and focused entity.  Taking open pop punk influences from the likes of Blink182 and Amberlin as well as the pop styling of a Jessie J and Pink the quartet has developed a sound which is tight, energetic, and eagerly accessible,  the single suggests the band were still yet to find their completely distinct sound but with rhythms that pump up the blood, guitar melodies which easily draw attention, and the excellent rich vocals of Cracknell  the band was easily one of the more interesting and promising pop driven rock bands to emerge in the UK, as successful supports slots with bands such as Inme, Skindred, Paige, and Not Advised proved.

Released May 21st, the two songs making up the single were recorded  at the beginning of the year and more than deserve firm attention  even if the band are no longer a breathing creature. The song South Of The Water opens with a slow enchantment from the appealing and impressive vocals of Cracknell with a subtle melodic guitar in company. As the emotive bass of Wilson steps into view with the firm and punchy beats of Mosley alongside, the song spreads its wings and pulls one into a vibrant blend of impassioned guitars and flavoursome guitar driven rock. It is Cracknell that lights up the song most, her delivery and great voice well formed and captivating. The song does not explode within the ear but swarms around and warms up the senses with a fine all round display of craft and intent.

The second track on the release is a more direct pop punk energised pleasure. One Minute Smile dances and beckons with simple riffs that spark and again excellent vocals which lead every aspect of the great song with an assured belief and confidence. As with the first the song does not stand atop a hill of originality but satisfies and entertains with an accomplished ease and ability which is just as full and pleasing.

With essences of Paramore as apparent as previously mentioned references the band fit alongside the likes of Me & The Mountain and Hitchcock Blonde in promise, sound, and creativity. That promise is strong and unmistakable from this their debut and departure so it is a shame we will not get to watch and hear a great band evolve into one suspects would have been something even more special.

     South Of The Water is a fine single that deserves plenty of attention and will leave many upon hearing it with disappointment that this is all we have from Actions! to enjoy.

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RingMaster 08/05/2012

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