The Migrant – Flood

Pic by Arne Marius Skogås

Pic by Arne Marius Skogås

We all like to be romanced and seduced and that is exactly what The Migrant does with new album Flood. It is a warm melodic smile with melancholy at its corners; a collection of songs which wander through vibrant folk and pop rock landscapes with psychedelia aired exploration and magnetic intimacy. The album is gorgeous, a fascination which becomes even more irresistible with every gaze upon its aural beauty.

Hailing from Denmark, The Migrant is the creation of Copenhagen songwriter Bjarke Bendtsen, a project hugging a fine group of musicians when seducing live audiences around the globe. Critically acclaimed albums in 2011’s Amerika and Beads two years later have caught international attention already, both building on the potent start made by debut album Travels in Lowland in 2010. Recorded in a Danish summer cottage with the musicians that accompany Bendtsen on European stages, Flood simply envelops the listener in evocative and invigorating portraits of sound and vocal expression. Released earlier in 2015 in Denmark and Germany via DevilDuck Records, the album swiftly ignited the plaudits of media and fans alike and with its UK release at the tail end of last year through Cardiff imprint Rockpie, it is now finding matching success here too.

First track Climbers sets the tone and first inescapable lure, a reserved but energetic shuffle of a proposal which skips and flirts across ears with its flighty rhythms, acoustic caresses, and vocal temptation. In no time feet are bouncing and emotions dancing with the blend of poetic melodies, reflective vocals, and a dose of Sicilian laced guitar enterprise. The song is pure contagion, a gentle but bold enslavement quickly matched by the similarly tenacious charm and revelry of The Fixer. Harmonies play like the call of a steam train initially before Bendtsen serenades the imagination from within another acoustic hug. With a touch of Billy Momo to it, the track has body and energies leaping with ease and an already sparked appetite for the release greedier.

Flood-cover_RingMaster Review   The album’s title track slips in next, Flood providing a low key magnetic croon with drama waiting and building in its wings as flirtatious rhythms and a suggestive atmosphere infuse its walls. Things never reach the level of exploding but persistently shadow and add endearing shade to the mesmeric call of the song before it makes way for the outstanding Belly of a Man. Straight away it has a more boisterous air and energy to its temptation, rocking and rolling with certain restraint whilst wearing a broad harmonic grin coloured with seventies psychedelic hues. Before you know it, voice and heart are wrapped up in its rapture, eager involvement a given before half way and only increasing as its seriously catchy momentum builds to a thrilling climax.

Recent single Silence follows, it one of those songs you feel you already know without reason. With sultry sways of guitar and the ever radiant vocals and harmonies around throbbing rhythms, the track runs persuasive fingers down the spine to seduce and thrill. A shoegaze scent only adds to the sonic splendour and thick success made, the variety of creative flavouring again open within Flood and individually showing within Water as fizzy blues spices are filtered by guitars into enticing melodies across an exuberant character.

From its feisty adventure a calmer climate appears next with Give Up, the song an evocative charm of sound and provocative voice with a touch of Paul McCartney and Andy Partridge to it in songwriting and rural suggestiveness. As many tracks, within its oasis of tranquillity an eager energy brews and subsequently drives an increasingly catchy stroll.

The delicious smouldering swing of Haunted Takes over next, the song a majestic slow stepping intoxication with melancholic radiance carrying more drama and impact in its first minute than many albums can find in their whole body. The track really does haunt ears and thoughts, becoming a wonderfully lingering contemplation still working away long past taking its leave.

The duo of Tiger and Row Row bring the sublime release to a close, the first a balmy and again reserved proposition which prowls ears in its unique way whilst building up to almost overpowering and exhilarating crescendos with more than a whiff of Liverpool artists like Pete Wylie and Echo and The Bunnymen to them. Its successor simply kisses ears with slim acoustic elegance leading to psych pop sultriness, and though it arguably remains overshadowed by its stirring predecessor, the song has ears transfixed and pleasure ripe to end Flood with another fine moment to heartily devour.

Flood is simply sensational, in its subtle way as Homeric and monumental as it is intimately spellbinding, and one of last year’s real triumphs.

Flood is out now in the UK via Rockpie and available @ https://themigrant.bandcamp.com/album/flood

http://themigrant.net/   https://www.facebook.com/themigrant   https://twitter.com/themigrantmusic

Pete RingMaster 08/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Permanent Smilers – One Real Big Identity Crisis

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One Real Big Identity Crisis, the new album from UK band The Permanent Smilers, is a release with no apparent direction or framework to its intent and enterprise; a release which basically lives up to its title but boy is it a slab of irresistible fun. Through thirteen songs, band and album take on a torrent of different styles and nostalgic flavours which really should not work alongside each other as coherently as they do, and all come with a humour and mischief which adds to rather than overrides the adventure of the individual characters. It is slightly deranged but not chaotic and thoroughly unpredictable yet not messy considering the vast sounds employed from song to song. Most of all though it is simply a compelling proposition which comes from left-field, keeps its heart there, and leaves the most enjoyable experience in its wake.

There is little we can tell you about the band itself, though The Permanent Smilers is fronted by Richard Lemongrower who was the songwriter behind Norwich band The Lemongrowers, a band releasing two albums on Noisebox at some point in time. Produced with Jonny Cole and mixed by David Pye, One Real Big Identity Crisis takes little time in lighting ears and imagination, though it opens with maybe its weakest song. That is a little misleading as it takes a song to get a handle, or try to, on the release anyway but certainly Identity Crisis did not really grip attention as much as elsewhere and left thoughts with a slight wondering of what have we got ourselves into. Strongly swung rhythms and similarly intensive riffs clasp ears within the first breath of the song, their bait a jabbing lure against the unpolished yet engaging tones of Richard. It is an easily flowing and energetic slice of rock ‘n’ roll with the bass of Jonny Cole pungent bait at the centre of the stomp. Truthfully there is little wrong with the song but it lacks a spark in its presence which evades the reaction it probably deserves and is easy to imagine being found with others.

The good if unsure start is soon a thing of the past as Uh-Oh takes over with its festive folk swagger and emerging carnival like devilment. Sporting a splash of Tankus The Henge to its relaxed but vibrant stroll, the song is a constant swing of melodic hips as it moves towards an unexpected and mouth-watering slip into a Dukes of Stratosphear like ethereal psychedelic charm and climate, returning back into festive mood soon after as if it had just emerged from a dip in the sea. The song is fascinating and bewitching, and just the first of numerous adventures into different landscapes, as shown next by the punk pop devilry of You Know Where To Go. Bred from seventies power pop and carrying a mix of The Flys and The Lurkers to its hookery, the song just hits the sweet spot with its insatiable energy and mischief, before making way for the more relaxed melodic embrace of Elastic. The keys and guitars of Richard weave another enthralling web of sound here, this time with a sniff of sixties pop to it which is punctuated by the crisp beats of drummer Pete Fraser and dark bass lures of Cole. By its close, the song somehow becomes a thumping anthem without losing any of its melodic and gentle elegance, a potent feat for any song to offer.

Both Just No Good and It Doesn’t Work Anymore keep album and ears bouncing with energy and pleasure, the first using a garage rock spicing again teased by a sixties almost Doors like toxicity, whilst the second again spawning from the same kind of seeding brings a rawer punk grouchiness with its presence. Each has feet and emotions joining their rigorous coaxing before Ghosts allows a breather for the body if not the imagination with its Simon and Garfunkel meets Burt Bacharach like embrace. The brass persuasion of Dave Land seductively flames over similarly captivating keys and vocal caresses through the song but as always there is a scent of devilment to the song with thoughts wondering at times if they should be enjoying this as much as they are. There is no escaping its thick charm though.

The next pair of songs brings a rich sense of XTC to their enterprise and persuasion, Rebel broadening that over time with a seventies kissed soar of progressive fuelled psyche rock whilst its successor, Voodoo has the stamp of Andy Partridge to its flirtatious pop and virulent enterprise. The pair leaves nostalgia glazed lips licked and, through the latter especially, ears basking in psyche pop of the most delicious kind complete with jazzy brass and funk spirited unpredictability.

You Know When To Go dives straight back into punk infused rock ‘n’ roll for its brief but sparkling instrumental before Unforseen manages to conjure an encounter which recalls the quirky indie pop of The Monochrome Set and the plainer but no less tasty essence of Tom Robinson. The song alternatively stomps and swirls around ears, every passing hook and melody it conjures an intriguing and quaint yet voracious tease before it moves off into the distance allowing the outstanding See Through You to make its lingering mark. Acoustically shaped with an avalanche of panzer gun delivered rhythms, the song initially is a smouldering and majestic sway of sound. It subsequently explodes though into a tempest of energy and revelry which only lifts a great song to a heady plateau. Imagine the volatile energy of De Staat at their most devilish with the epidemic hunger of eighties punk/power pop and you get a sense of the glorious treat.

One Real Big Identity Crisis closes with the acoustic lullaby of Sleepyhead, the album ending as it started with a track which does not catch the ardour triggered elsewhere but certainly graces ears with tantalising propositions. This album is one unexpected and seriously enjoyable adventure; not breaking down boundaries or venturing into the unknown but never providing a moment when you are not surprised or wrapped up in its refreshing simplicity woven by skill and invention. There is only time left to lick lips all over again as we close off and dive straight back into The Permanent Smilers’ irresistible arms, something we suggest you do too upon release.

One Real Big Identity Crisis is released in April via IRL Records with new single Identity Crisis out in March.

http://www.thepermanentsmilers.com/   https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Permanent-Smilers/1539697962929725

RingMaster 23/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Tom Brosseau – Grass Punks

 

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    Tom Brosseau is a folksinger and songwriter from North Dakota who has forged his own distinct place in the genre, a presence which, maybe still an unknown for a fair few, is one of those once bitten lingeringly enticed propositions. With a distinctive voice matched by his acoustic guitar invention earning him waves of acclaim and recognition through records and live performances, the now LA based artist releases new album Grass Punks. It is a release which crafts an appealing and at times irresistible encounter and though it does not quite light personal fires throughout, the album lures attendance and attention across its appealing endeavour.

    From learning the acoustic guitar through his grandmother whilst he was in grade school, Brosseau has gone on to perform across the US and UK, into Europe and on to the likes of Japan, Australia, and Taiwan. He has played and shared stages with the likes of John C. Reilly, Becky Stark, John Doe, Juliana Hatfield, PJ Harvey, as well as John Reilly & Friends whilst his previous releases has led to his songs being covered by artists such as Chris Thile, Silje Nes, Emily & Christy, and Mice Parade. Collaborations with Gregory Page in a duo called American Folksingers and with Angela Correa in the duo Les Shelleys which led to a Fat Cat Records released album in 2010 has also marked his career to date. All has added to the acclaim and stature of Brosseau earned by his own creativity which the new album again enhances.

      Released via Crossbill Records USA /Tin Angel Records and produced by Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek), Grass Punks takes tom-brosseaulittle time in gripping attention and a swiftly growing appetite with opener Cradle Your Device. From the dark heavy bass strum and melodic caresses around the mellow voice of Brosseau which opens up the track, an addictive potency frees its enticement to wrap around the senses and imagination. There is an eagerness and almost punk simplicity to the track which is impossible to ignore or resist, and admittedly generally move on from without a couple of replay hits before entering into the rest of the album. It is a dramatically virulent and emotive delve into a technology hampered relationship and the pinnacle of the album which instantly puts pressure on the rest of the release.

   It is a challenge most prove to be up for as after the relaxed temptation of Stuck On The Roof Again makes an enjoyable persuasion the combined lures of Tami and Today Is A Bright New Day brings reactions back up to another eager level. The first of this pair is a softly spoken increasingly infectious melodic breeze upon the ears; vocal harmonies and the poetic elegance of the guitars blending for a delightful enterprising and contagious caress. Its successor is more of a slow burner in its persuasion. Certainly it makes an appealing entrance and initial allurement but it is as passion and melodic intensity increases just a few degrees in warmth and energy that the song comes alive and strolls to almost anthemic choruses which simply invigorate the emotions.

    Both Love High John the Conqueror Root with its XTC/Andy Partridge like guitar and melodic enterprise laced with an intriguing amount of discord and Running from Zombies which simultaneously seduces and smothers to make you feel trapped and liberated such its close quarters melodic persuasion and brewing intensity, next give the imagination a blaze of impressive stimulus to devour and enjoy. They make light of the plateau set by the first song to rival it in strength and invention if not in contagion. From here on in though, the album for personal tastes does not lead the emotions to the same depths as bred by earlier tracks. Songs like Gregory Page of San Diego and I Love to Play Guitar are more than decent and skilfully sculpted pieces of songwriting and presented beautifully but fail to trigger anything more than satisfaction beyond the ears. The same applies to closing song We Were Meant to Be Together which ensures the album comes to a strong and passionate conclusion yet escapes sparking any lingering hunger for itself.

     Grass Punks is a release of two halves in many ways but one pleasing and creative adventure which entertains and impresses overall. When it is at its full potency the album is a captivating gem whilst the moments which do not spark up, what are again just personal tastes and needs, still only show a class and imaginative craft which reveals Tom Brosseau as a folk artist certain to continue to stretch and invigorate the genre.

http://www.tombrosseau.com/

https://www.facebook.com/tom.brosseau.7

7/10

RingMaster 20/01/2014

  Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Rob Marr – Anatomy

Anatomy is the second album from English singer songwriter Rob Marr, a release which offers musical kitchen sink drama within equally emotive and dramatic sounds. It is not a release which demands attention but is an unassuming collection of songs which connect and grow into charming companions to lose oneself within. For the album Marr collaborated with ex-Sly and the Family Stone drummer Andy Newmark who upon first listen to his music admitted it was ‘not his cup of tea’ before discovering, to both of their delights, that it was an acquired taste. That is exactly how Anatomy evolved here too with its initial presence just an engaging but underwhelming introduction though some songs did spark up the imagination. Returning to it many times and finding elements making unannounced appearances in the head away from its body the album grew into a delicious slice of well crafted and inspired songs led by the lyrical prowess of Marr.

From London, Marr first grabbed attention with his debut album Domestic Dramas of 2007 and even more so when an EP featuring ‘the cream’ of the album was released the following year to ignite the attention of the likes of Tom Robinson and an increasing fan base. Around this point Marr also impressed with headlining shows at places such as The Roundhouse and Ronnie Scotts where he was supported by Jamie Morrison (The Noisettes) on drums and bass player Al Mobbs (Gorillaz). It was whilst rehearsing for a 6 Music Festival in 2009 that he met Newmark, with the latter getting in touch a few months after to suggest working together for the next Marr album.  Two years in the making the album was created in the Kent apple barn conversion of Newmark and the loft of album producer Ronnie Moore.

The first single from the album Fencebuilding appeared at the end of 2011 to a strong response which was built upon even more so by the following single Fat And Happy leading to strong anticipation for Anatomy itself. Fencebuilding opens up the album and is the most instantly infectious song on the release. Immediately it wraps the ear in suspense and dramatic breath to pull a full focus upon its piano led charms. It is an aural glimpse into the heart of a relationship, its air and emotive texture. It is a show tune, a track which one can visualise in a film or on stage, though it avoids the over blown melodrama and fat excesses one finds in many of those type of songs to be an easily lying piece of imagination within thoughts and heart. The piano and rhythms are contagious and the vocals of Marr in bringing the great lyrical premise outstanding but it is the wonderful harmonies provided by guests the Smoke Fairies and Nikki Blackham which ensure the emerging adoration for the song is long lasting.

Summer In The City and Dirt Beneath Your Toes, the latter again featuring Smoke Fairies, continue the magnetic start to the album. The first has a great guitar tease behind the keys to offer a smouldering groove to the gait of the track whilst the second is a sultry and idyllic piece of melodic swagger, a warm breeze which just lights up the senses and heart. Within the first trio of songs there is a freshness of flavours and warm energies which meld classical, indie, soul, and jazzy essences into an eclectic breeze.

As Fat and Happy strokes thoughts with its fine classical caresses, it swings into a teasing little stroll with a funk heart and mischievous intent to its satisfied presence. Comparison to the songwriting of Andy Partridge comes to mind as it paints its picture, both able with precise yet uncomplicated structures able to evoke sharp feelings to familiar scenes.

Just because of personal tastes the album does not quite have the same hold from the following song onwards, the first four songs glorious in their craft and presence. To be fair though songs such as Anatomy Of A Lover and That Was Then, This is Now do nothing less than leave one fully captured and satisfied.

Anatomy is a fine album which finds a place in the day like the rays of the sun, overall both warming and reassuring in their touch. If unique and eccentrically visualised pieces of melodic honesty fires your imagination than Rob Marr is the man for you.

http://www.robmarr.net/

RingMaster 13/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Savage Nomads: Tension In The Middle EP

After the acclaim that soaked their debut album Coloured Clutter, UK rock band The Savage Nomads return with the Tension In The Middle EP to justify previous opinions and inspire even more fervour and attention. Before the release the London quintet had set themselves up as one of the most exciting and promising emerging UK bands, the new EP takes that promise and turns it into a full reality. The sounds are unique, staggeringly imaginative, and wholly exhilarating, The Savage Nomads a band to fire up the heart.

With the likes of Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Matt Johnson (The The), and Robyn Hitchcock adding their support and praise to the ever growing wealth of fans and media attention, the band has not looked back since their debut single The Magic Eye of last year. Consisting of vocalist and guitarist Cole Salewicz, guitarist Joe Gillick, bassist Josh Miles, drummer Billy Boone, and Aviram Barath on trumpet and synths, with all adding backing vocals, The Savage Nomads made a big impression when supporting Big Audio Dynamite, the band added to their Justice Tonight tour by the request of Jones.

Tension In The Middle brings the punk infused originality which ignited their album but with a more restrained and mellower intent, well if a subtler and more smoothly intrusive manipulation can be called mellow.  The energy within the EP may not be as boisterous and excitable as on Coloured Clutter but it is just as eager and deeply infectious, the band bringing an evolution which is thoughtful and openly adventurous whilst retaining the core and irrepressible heart of their sound.

The title track opens up the release with a shadowed atmospheric grace and emotive wash. The spoken vocals of Salewicz reflect and unveil their thoughts over the fine piano pulses of Barath. The song littered with the excellent beats of Boone floats with a riled smoothness over the ear, bringing group harmonies and incisive guitar charms alongside the throatier basslines of Miles. The song equally caresses and scrapes the ear like a mix of The Three Johns and Babyshambles with Salewicz adding a Mark E Smith lilt to his vocals.

The excellent Four Personalities steps up next to bring a variation and slightly livelier breath to that of the opener. Tall velvety bass notes at the start announce the arrival of the guitars, their slicing of the air accompanied by blistered trumpet melodies and artillery driven rhythms. After a riled crescendo it drops into a hypnotic vein of bass riffs and sonic guitar manipulations. The track offers to explode at various times but never quite does take that final step and the result is compulsive. With the distinctness of Jazz Butcher and the manic energy of The Higsons the track is a growing infection which leaves one breathless. It is not an instant engagement but give a deserved attention it emerges as a magnificent piece of songwriting and inventiveness.

An Empty Seat from Coloured Clutter is included on the album and again is pure magic. Full of feisty energy and eager attention seeking guitars it riles emotions and thoughts up into a bedlam of excitement and rattled nerve ends. The song is part Baddies, and part Wire with Andy Partridge seemingly at the helm, a track bringing a post punk intensity with modern unbridled creativity. It was a true highlight of the album and is so again though its companions more than match it in adventure and imagination.

Completed by the radio edit of Tension In The Middle and a clean radio version of An Empty Seat, the EP is as impressive as one hoped and truthfully expected from the band. It offers up an even greater promise with its stylish change in presence and a reassurance that UK post punk and ingenuity are in safe and instinctive hands with The Savage Nomads.

https://www.facebook.com/thesavagenomads

RingMaster 22/05/2012

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