Horse Party – Paydirt EP

photo by Kate Wood  White-Robot Photography

photo by Kate Wood White-Robot Photography

Often there comes an underlying fear with something that is so good it makes you drool but still seems to go unrecognised by the masses, that success always managing to evade the deserved. So it is with the music of Horse Party which continue to release fiercely exhilarating songs bred on a sound which is furiously fresh but with an old friend like invitation. The British alternative rock ‘n’ rollers have done so yet again with new EP Paydirt, a captivation of three fiery tracks breathing open diversity within the band’s superb fusion of emotive aggression and bewitching charm. It is an incitement which manages to be raw, mellow, and incendiary simultaneously, basically manna for ears and imagination. There is a line in the EP’s second song which declares “We are the eye of the storm”, and that sums up Horse Party and their gripping sound as a whole perfectly.

Since emerging in 2012, Bury St Edmunds based trio of guitarist/ vocalist Ellie Langley, guitarist/vocalist Seymour Quigley, and drummer/vocalist Shannon Hope have explored and developed their music through a host of songs, starting with the track Clarion Call which was even more impressively followed by their first official single Back To Mono in 2013. Grabbing ears and appetites of an increasing fan base and the underground media, the band pooled that early success, in turn sparking greater spotlight on them and acclaim, with their debut album Cover Your Eyes a year later. Equally the band’s live and hungry presence has also lured only praise and a potent reputation, Horse Party sharing stages with bands such as Tunng, Pinkunoizu, Shonen Knife, Heartless Bastards, Ghostpoet, Slaves, Levellers, Basement Jaxx, The Nightingales, Dingus Khan, We Are The Physics, and Vuvuvultures over the past years.

cover_RingMaster Review     This year has already seen a pair of striking propositions from the band with a new chapter in the movement and evolution of their sound. The double A-side single Out Of Sight/Receiver was first, its two songs revealing new growth and smoother textures to their still raunchily organic sound, an exciting turn taken forward again by What I’d Do just a few weeks back. The single was a rousing mix of bracing roars and intimate caresses, of light and dark emotions with again that now keener surface to an instinctively unpredictable and riveting enterprise. Paydirt continues the captivating adventure in sound but also as most of its predecessors comes with its own stock of individual surprises and addictive invention.

The EP’s title track is first, pumped beats and spicy riffs the first bait offered with the former just managing to hold a rein on urgency and the latter sizzling on flesh with their inviting tang. Within a few more breaths additional slithers of groove and nags of magnetism join in through the second guitar as Langley just as potently entices with her recognisable, melancholy lined tones. Alone the song has the appetite chained, lips only more ravenously licked as the track burst into scuzzy roars within an ever addictive stroll. Dark emotions and predatory shadows equally lurk throughout, as too a hint of bedlam in the song’s exciting tempestuous moments; it all uniting for another breath-taking Horse Party incitement.

Second track Animal similarly makes a rousingly compelling start with choppy rhythms and riffs which almost stalk the rich voice of Langley. It swiftly forges its own identity though as teasing melodies and caustic tempting spring from Quigley’s fingers on string, licking the senses like flames whilst Hope badgers with her flirtatious beats. A sublime breeze of psych rock brews within the track too, finding its moment to croon in an oasis of mellowness within the stormy textures of the song. A whiff of post punk only adds to the alchemy, with Au Pairs coming to mind as the track leads the listener on a merry escapade of drama and imagination.

The closing acoustic based seduction of October has ears enchanted as the EP completes its rich temptation. In every second of the song, melancholy smoulders through word and emotion whilst melodies and the vocal union of Langley and Quigley simply mesmerises. As in every release to date, increasing depths to the songwriting and invention of the band are revealed, sublimely in this third song and though it does at first take a touch longer to whip up the lustful reactions as earned by its companions within Paydirt, it has emotions and thoughts chained with increasing potency over every eager listen.

Paydirt is another irresistible gem from Horse Party, a band which it is impossible to tire of saying ‘ just gets better and better’. It is time for the UK to wake up, indeed Europe and the world, to the Horse Party; if you do not you are truly missing out.

The Paydirt EP is available via R*E*P*E*A*T Records/Pure Deadly digitally and on 7” vinyl from 4th September.

Pete RingMaster 31/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent check out http://www.zykotika.com/

The Meow Meows – Friends On Benefits EP

meow meows_RingMaster Review

Starting with one of the most flirtatious embraces likely to be heard this summer and proceeding to cast another two slices of pure aural suggestiveness, the Friends On Benefits EP from UK ska rockers The Meow Meows, puts the irresistible into virulent temptation. Three songs of the Brighton nine-piece’s increasingly renown fusion of eighties ska and even older garage rock with a more than healthy punk bred diversity, the EP is one inescapable incitement for body and imagination.

The Meow Meows emerged on the Brighton live scene around 2005, the collective rising from the ashes of several bands from the south-coast ska-punk scene. It was not long before their reputation and fan-base flourished through their energetic live presence and a sound which bewitched feet and ears with infectious ease. The years since forming have seen the band share stages with the likes of The Temptations, The Skatalites, Reel Big Fish, The Beat, The Selecter, King Blues, The Skints, and Hollie Cook amongst many, and the release of a couple of well-received albums. Debut full-length Songs From The Fridge stirred up plenty of attention but it is probably fair to say that its 2013 successor Somehow We Met, helped push the band into new spotlights. Friends On Benefits, like that album, was recorded with producer and reggae legend Prince Fatty and quickly confirms The Meow Meows as one of the UK’s truly instinctive creators of contagion.

cover_RingMaster Review     The seeds to the Friends On Benefits EP arose from the band being one of ten artists commissioned by Fuel Theatre for their Music to Move to project, its aim to create works from bands in union with choreographers which would inspire the general public to dance. Equipped with another pair of toe inciting swingers, also loaded with humour laced and snarling social /political themed lyrics, band and release swiftly set hips to work with the EP’s title track. Brass and rhythms instantly collude in a gentle but forceful sway as guitars within another breath add their sultry hues to the melodic smile of the keys. Alternating their individual vocals over the verses, both Danny and Hanna spark further hunger, the two ladies temptress like within the rousing swagger and shuffle of the song. With a whiff of The Bodysnatchers to it, as well as The Beaubowbelles and The Jellycats, the track is a spellbinding and lingering bounce of a persuasion swiftly matched by its successor.

London Road has an even chirpier gait to its stroll, brass and beats quick-footed protagonists within the key’s smouldering caress. As in the first, the music embraces the vocals with a more restrained energy yet it never loses the infectious lure ripe in its presence and enterprise, in fact springing new melodic flames with every twist of its irresistible tempting. As it proceeds with a distinctive and magnetically quaint Hammond organ tone seducing, the song gently and seamlessly evolves to subsequently emerge with a Martha and the Muffins like new wave colouring which seems to feed and accelerate the excellent ska fuelled and increasingly agitated climax of the outstanding song.

The EP is completed by Tits & Hatred, a more old school punk endeavour which echoes with essences of bands like Au Pairs and The Raincoats within its severely tantalising and eagerly varied character. The track is again primarily brewed from the band’s seventies inspired 2-tone/ska punk inspirations which of course are in turn dosed up with the band’s compelling touch and imagination; the result being one mouth-watering end to one thrilling proposition.

The Meow Meows create ska punk ’n’ roll to lose your inhibitions and body to, with Friends On Benefits the spark to lustful endeavour.

The Friends On Benefits EP is available on vinyl from July 13th via Jump Up! Records and digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/friends-on-benefits-single/id997669416 or http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00Y6EIGXO?keywords=Friends%20On%20Benefits%20EP&qid=1436784848&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

http://www.themeowmeows.com/     https://www.facebook.com/themeowmeows

RingMaster 13/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Feral Kizzy – Slick Little Girl

Phote by Luke Fisher

Phote by Luke Fisher

The debut album from Californian dark poppers Feral Kizzy is simply an aural playground, a landscape of musical roundabouts spinning through modern tenacity and invention and creative swings whooshing across eighties new wave and jangle pop. Slick Little Girl is soaked in originality and nostalgia, a mix providing a riveting and thrilling treat ultimately cast as something unique to the Long Beach quintet; and something very easy to get addicted to.

Formed in 2010, Feral Kizzy consists of five musicians uniting a rich variety of inspirations in the band’s sound. References have been made to Patti Smith, Concrete Blonde, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Cure, though the one band which comes to the fore more than most, whether an influence or not, is eighties US band Pylon, especially their first album Gyrate. As suggested all spices and essences are evolved into something new but there is certainly a potent and enjoyable similarity in textures, sound, and unpredictable invention. With some guest contributions from bassist Hannah Smith Keller and Hannah Blumenfeld (Jail Weddings, White Murder) on violin and cello, the five piece of vocalist Kizzy Kirk, keyboardist/vocalist Brenda Carsey, guitarist Johnny Lim, drummer Mike Meza, and bassist Kevin Gonzalez perpetually explore their and the listener’s imaginations within Slick Little Girl, and fair to say they leave major pleasure in their wake.

Opener Lapdog Apparition needs little time to lure ears and appetite with its potent charms, a thumping initial beat casting the first hook swiftly assisted by a jangle of guitar and the saucy shimmer of keys. Quickly into a magnetic stride the song swings along with sharp twists, subsequently slipping into a more fluid and mellower enticement then just as easily coming out of it and starting the cycle again. A tinge of the Au Pairs flirts with thoughts as it continues to dangle bait and enterprise through ears, though it is the delicious B-52s like detour which seals a lustful deal with emotions through its Rock Lobster like tease.

Feral-Kizzy-Slick-Little-Girl-Cover__RingMasterReview   The track is creatively irresistible, a major flirtation matched by the band’s new video/single Community Service. A throbbing Cure like bassline sets things in motions, whispers of guitar lining the entrance of vocals with Kirk alone an enthralling invitation and in union with Carsey, inescapable tempting. The song proceeds to spin a web of tantalising vocals and hooks as its rhythms offer a shadowed prowl against the more celestial flight of the keys. It is captivating stuff, an inventive weave of textures and melodic infection, with the description of Xmal Deutschland meets Throwing Muses and indeed Pylon a canny hint.

The Way We Are has a fine line in guitar jangle and spicy melodic imagination backed by another addictive dark rhythmic baiting from Meza and Gonzalez, whilst vocally a Debbie Harry like whisper clings to the expressive roar of Kirk. Matching the invention and lures, Carsey breeds a pungent waltz of persuasion with fingers on keys too, it all colluding in a busy and thick dance of jangle pop before making way for the melodic caress of Sally and the Emcee. A gentle saunter equipped with rawer, incisive edges, the song is a provocative croon which thickens with every passing chord and beat until filling air and ear like dense melodic smoke. It persistently smothers the senses and seeps into the psyche, seducing with increasing effect over every play.

With a similarly sculpted canvas Lament comes next quickly breeding its own distinct character with a bluesy tang and citric adventure of spatial keys. The track is mesmeric but with a fire in its belly leading to a feisty rock tenacity driven by masterful riffs and hooks from Lim. Again sounds from earlier decades entwine with a modern invention and freshness, culturing something as much psyche pop as it is punk rock. From one album pinnacle to another with the scuzzier Life Associates which straight away is a more forceful and rugged proposition through the snarl of bass and guitar alone. Again there is a punkish element to the song’s roar and a sultry kiss to the melodic endeavour on offer, something like Siouxsie and the Banshees merged with Martha and The Muffins a strong reference, though as across the release, songs come with Feral Kizzy originality which argues against any comparisons as much as it sparks them.

More blues bred twangs grip the guitar enterprise in Not My Mind, the spicy coaxing quickly engulfed in the melodic poetry of keys and attention grabbing vocals. Though it does not quite light the same rich fire in ears and thoughts as its predecessors, the track reveals yet another side and depth to the songwriting and invention of the band, its body a volcanic fusion of sounds and textures which never erupts but is a constantly imposing and gripping incitement unafraid to unleash the heat of its heart.

The Dinosaur flirts and sways with sixties garage pop captivation and indie rock mischief next, flirting with body and thoughts from start to finish and never relinquishing its tight vivacious hold until passing the listener over to the just as ingeniously compelling tempting of The Skin Is Thick. A darker but no less boldly imaginative encounter, the song winds around ears like a lithe temptress, constantly stirring up shadows and deep rooted instincts through heavy seductive tones of bass and enchanted keys spilled drama. With vocals also on a resourceful intent to enthral and enslave, the song makes an impressive and exciting warm-up act for the closing show stopper What Are You Doing? All the lures and creative theatre of its predecessor is taken to a new level, every second of the song a controlled but rich blaze of skilled and impassioned endeavour. It is an epic bellow from the imagination and creative depths of the band only enhanced further by the sensational presence of Kirk and the intense incitement of the orchestral coloured strings, their spicy lure bringing echoes of Sex Gang Children back in the day.

Feral Kizzy is superb at uniting slim and often repetitive textures with thick tapestries of ingeniously woven enterprise, the last song epitomising that craft and success which flows across the whole of Slick Little Girl. The album is a thrilling adventure; one bred across the years in many ways but solely of the now, and Feral Kizzy a band surely looking at big things ahead.

Slick Little Girl is available from June 26th on LP/CD/Tape/Digital via eliterecords @ http://www.eliterecords.de/#!webshop/cst1

http://www.facebook.com/feralkizzy   http://www.feralkizzy.com

RingMaster 25/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Plastique – Quake

By Loïc Martenot

By Loïc Martenot

Bringing fresh aggressive incitement to the dance-floor along with the virulent contagion of sound they are renowned for, alternative-electro trio Plastique unveil new single Quake. It comes after a quiet period for the band, a time which saw them take time away to reassess their direction and next step. Vocalist Anelise Kunz spoke about that period and the new single recently, saying “After two albums we kind of wanted to add something new to our sound, but we started pressuring ourselves for new song ideas…and because of that nothing was really happening, the new single [‘Quake’] came out as a sign of hope…there was no pressure, the vocal jam just happened, and soon we were all involved in getting this one ready to go!

11035313_812517938830346_8230624647920208335_n     It is fair to say if only with one song to assess it by so far, that it was a reflection and exploration spawning potent results. Kunz, guitarist Fabio Couto, and DJ/producer Gabriel Ralls have returned with a feistier and more voracious attitude in sound and intent. Coming together as Plastique, Brazilians Kunz and Fabio Couto with British bred Ralls quickly gripped keen attention with their self-titled debut album late 2011. It was a release backing up their growing stature on London’s alternative scene, a presence pushed and ignited further by its successor #SocialScar two years later. Now after that time away, the threesome are back with a more industrial rock fuelled incitement, one sure to spark frantic activity on the dance-floor again but this time with darker predatory inclinations.

From its first creative mechanism of sonic and rhythmic provocation, Quake displays a psyche challenging imagination and turbulence to it. Beats thump with resonating toxicity whilst guitars blaze with their own raw aggravation, yet there is that expected virulent catchiness and techno energy which sends addiction spawning urges through ears and body. The vocals of Kunz bring their own challenging posture to the song, her tones and delivery reminding a lot of Lesley Woods of eighties post punks Au Pairs, and indeed there are elements of that genre within the increasingly magnetic encounter. Equally essences of PJ Harvey and Cauldronated come to mind as the song continues to cantankerously ripple and contagiously seduce the senses.

If Quake is the sign of things to come, the wait since the last album was well worth the frustration for fans and band alike. It also suggests that Plastique’s next full-length will be their finest most intoxicating offering yet, something you can apply right now to their single.

Quake is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/quake-single/id980105266

http://www.plastiqueband.com/   https://www.facebook.com/PlastiqueBand

RingMaster 05/05/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Horse Party – Out Of Sight/Receiver

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The exciting thing about UK band Horse Party is as much as they have openly grown in songwriting and sound, they have lost none of the instinctively raw and organic essences which made them strikingly leap out with debut single Back To Mono almost two years ago. Their new single is bound in majestic raunchy charms as both Out Of Sight and Receiver show new striking steps in craft, sound, and sheer creative adventure, but each still seduces with that primal spice which brought the trio to life.

Hailing from Bury St Edmunds, the threesome of vocalist/guitarists Ellie Langley and Seymour Quigley, alongside drummer Shannon Hope, have persistently garnered acclaim and an increasingly growing and devoted fan base with their gripping and at times sinisterly devilish sounds. From the Scarlet & Blue EP to last year’s debut album Cover Your Eyes, released through Integrity Records, Horse Party has gripped attention and increasingly greedier appetites, including those of 6music’s Lauren Laverne and Steve Lamacq, Shell Zenner at Absolute Radio and XFM’s John Kennedy. Live too the band is no stranger to eager responses, last year seeing the band successfully playing Latitude Festival’s Lake Stage at the invitation of Radio One’s Huw Stephens and BBC Suffolk Introducing. Now Out Of Sight/Receiver is poised to push the band on again, and as it is without doubt their finest hour to date, it is hard to see it failing to tempt the broadest spotlights upon the band.

Out Of Sight starts things off and is instantly prowling ears with thoughtful yet predatory riffs from the guitars matched by crisp beats. The darkly seducing tones of Langley queens over the 10847766_768484469911623_4136520996259037093_nentrance, her delivery sure and intense yet wholly seductive from the first breath. Widening its expression without leaving its shadowed scenery, the track proceeds to tease with small burst of melodic light and anthemic vocal unity whilst steely hooks only add to the addictive bait of the song. Fizzing up further into its presence with psychedelic lit sultriness and smouldering emotion, the adventure continues to be unpredictable and inescapably addictive with a chorus which similarly becomes more virulent and entrancing over the length of the outstanding song.

It is a glorious temptation but even with its might cannot help being surpassed by the delicious alchemy of Receiver. More energetic from the first second, the track is also an even darker and more sinister provocation, riding in on an irresistible post punk rhythmic baiting of ears and imagination. It is wonderfully repetitive from hereon in, riffs and hooks recycled with compelling effect as the dual tones of Langley and Quigley croon with sobering yet magnetic persuasion. That post punk essence is a constant treat within the song too, essences of bands like Au Pairs and Joy Division merging with the darker side of a Morningwood or Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but coming out as something ingeniously unique to Horse Party.

The song as the single is outstanding, both songs easily the best things to emerge from the imagination of the trio and they have some treats already under their creative belts. Horse Party is a band ready to join the frontline of the UK garage rock/rock scene and with releases like this drive it to new heights.

Out Of Sight/Receiver is available from February 23rd on limited edition 7” black vinyl as a co-release by R*E*P*E*A*T Records and the band’s own Pure Deadly imprint @ https://horsepartyparty.bandcamp.com/album/out-of-sight-receiver-7-single

Horse Party are also on tour right now with upcoming dates at…

Friday 27th February – Ipswich Steamboat Tavern

Friday 27th March – London The Garage

Saturday 2nd May – Bury St Edmunds Fringe Festival

Friday 15th May – Cambridge Junction

Saturday 13th June – Norwich Open

https://www.facebook.com/horsepartyparty

RingMaster 22/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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H. Grimace – I Am Material EP

H. Grimace Promo Photo 2.

Having a rather greedy appetite for discord in our musical preferences ensured that the I Am Material EP from UK band H. Grimace made an immediate good impression with its healthy dosage of that flavoursome ingredient. The added bonus of psyche bred melodies, vocals delivered with a low key energy, and a mosaic of sonic colour and spices only increased the impressive lure of the six-track thrill. It is not without lulls, rather than flaws, in its striking persuasion but ultimately the Londoners newest proposition is one seriously exciting and refreshing proposition.

A band strongly on the lips of the capital’s emergent punk/ DIY since forming in 2011, H. Grimace is the brainchild of Hannah Gledhill and Asher Preston who met whilst working at an East end bakery. Taking a mutual love for 70’s surf / post punk and 90’s dissonant guitar bands into their own ideas, the pair brought the band to life, subsequently increasing its line-up last year with the addition of Syed Shan Pasha and Marcus P. Browne. May 2014 saw the acclaimed release of the band’s self-titled vinyl EP which followed a split release with Joey Fourr the previous year on Bad Paintings. Now the band increase their presence and reputation with I Am Material, a release refusing to be pinned down with tags and revelling in offering something new.

Ears are pricked and lips licked as soon as the opening Caped Crusader like bassline in Imogen nestles provocatively in the imagination. The first track swiftly backs its initial tempting with a reserved jangle of guitar and similarly fuelled vocals. It is a vibrantly dour start which simply captivates body and emotions with sublime ease. Small crescendos of energy and passion erupt throughout the otherwise single minded gait of the song, raising the temperature and adventure of the mouth-watering encounter as potently as the flames of surf rock enterprise which spices up a3483519742_2the infectious incitement. As mentioned earlier, H. Grimace’s sound is hard to pin down but certainly a seventies/eighties post punk/ melodic punk feel is a loud whisper as the track reminds of The Passions and at times The Mo-Dettes.

The outstanding start is surpassed straight away by the following Royal Hush. As its predecessor, the riveting song puts down the groundwork to seducing the passions instantly, this time with rolling almost tribal rhythms courting a melodic coaxing of guitar. The laid back bass mumble adds to the drama whilst the bewitching vocals of Gledhill bring only greater bait for ears and appetite to devour greedily. The Au-Pairs is a comparison the song brings yet as the first, it is spinning a web of ingenious originality and sonic persuasion which flirts with various decades of indie/punk exploration. There is also a melancholic restraint to its energy and emotion but the outstanding song still revels in a tempest of expression and intensity, going through the gears as it brings its brooding rock ‘n’ roll to a fiery climax.

To The Shaggerston cannot quite match its predecessor but still sends a stomp of raw energy and punk seeded devilry through ears. That ever present scent of discord is brighter and louder in the third song, teasing and spicing up the sultry surf rock melodies which whisper and eventually croon evocatively over the senses. More a smoulder than a blaze in comparison to the first two tracks, it immerses the listener in an intoxicating climate of sound and enterprise which is emulated again by the more pop spawned shuffle of Immaterial Girl. A Gang of Four like bass coaxing and post punk guitar endeavour embrace the again gripping vocals, the song breezing along with an inescapable magnetism which simply lights up body and emotions.

I Am Material is brought to a close by firstly the sobering charm of Great Divide and lastly by the thick humidity of Wasted Sun. The first of the two, as the previous track, is a slower persuasion but with a volatile atmosphere and nature which perpetually intrigues and has the imagination bound from its first sonic flame. Like a desert sun, the song is slightly oppressive in its heady climate but simultaneously is a contagious seduction which like earlier tracks makes a lingering conquest. The closing encounter is a boldly simmering slice of discord sculpted balladry with great raw harmonies and melodic jangles. The least successful of the six but still a mesmeric persuasion it beings the EP to a potent conclusion.

There are not many bands emerging these days which truly have bred a new and unique proposal for ears and thoughts to contemplate let alone bask in, but H. Grimace is to the fore of those successful applicants. I Am Material EP is a must for discord embraced sounds and something really rather fresh.

The I Am Material EP is available now via Soft Power Records as a Ltd Ed Cassette (100 Standard Pale Grey / 50 Yellow—tour exclusive) @ http://softpowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/i-am-material and digitally on iTunes etc.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/HGrimace/247309995353932

RingMaster 27/01/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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DRAG – Neurotica: A Compendium of Tales Regarding Body and Mind

Drag Online Promo Shot

With greater potential in its body than maybe actually exposed in its fiery riot, Neurotica: A Compendium of Tales Regarding Body and Mind the new album from UK punks DRAG, is nevertheless a rather compelling and increasingly enjoyable provocation to get teeth and thoughts into. Nine tracks of old school seeded punk with as much of a nineties twist to its predation as modern inventions, the release is an attention grabbing and imagination stirring entrance by the Midlands quartet.

Since forming, the Birmingham four-piece has earned a strong reputation through their live presence which has seen them play alongside the likes of Toyah Wilcox, SPiT LiKE THiS, Eureka Machines, Fuzzbox, Mister Joe Black, The Sex Pistols Experience, The Ramonas, and Amanda Palmer, as well as a couple of earlier EPs. Their sound as evidenced on the crowd funded Neurotica, is like a raw and antagonistic merger of Au-Pairs and L7 with just as healthy essences of In Evil Hour and Penetration. It is a mix which you expect to be explosive and for the main is within the potent album, though it does miss that key spark to set the promise openly surging through its creativity and sound truly ablaze.

With songs which look at uncompromising themes ranging from self-harm, mental health, to sexuality, Neurotica takes little time in awakening attention and appetite with the opening title track. From the initial scrub of acidic guitar punctuated by thumping beats, the song takes a swift hold and even more so when the band expel a raw and flame of attitude and sonic causticity led by vocalist Heather. The track snarls and rumbles enticingly with the bass of Matt and abrasing guitar craft of Velma crafting an infectious web framed by the punchy rhythms of drummer Andy. Littered with resourcefully catchy hooks around the appealing vocals, it is a formidable and convincing start to entwine thoughts and emotions easily.

The following Fine with its opening moody bass tempting also needs little effort to engage ears and imagination, its strong initial lure expanding into a more reserved but no less potent expanse of rapacious enterprise and contagious DRAG - Neurotica Cover Artworkprovocation. It is not a song to startle but certainly keeps the initial impact of the album high before the mighty Axewound preys on the senses. Lyrically and musically it takes no prisoners, with that earlier Au Pairs reference at its most open on both aspects, the raw and honest approach very similar to that offered a few decades ago by those fellow Brummie protagonists. The track is alive with agitated rhythms, intrigue spiced hooks, and a ferocious breath which all combines for one of the major highlights of the album pushing forward the exciting potential of the band.

Next up The Ugly romps with rhythmic bait which inspires another wash of greed to an already hungry appetite whilst the grizzled bass tone found by Matt grumbles potently within the weave of sonic and defiant endeavour. The song keeps things roaring nicely but does lack the stature and persuasion of its predecessors as does in some ways Dandy Boy, though in other aspects it stands out pleasingly. A union of acoustic guitar and the melodic tones of Heather, her voice revealing more of its strength here than at any other point of the release, the song gently caresses and provokes, keeping its poise and lure as the rest of the band bring their evocative touches to the increasingly intensive track. Keys add good expression to the song too though it also feels like there is a spark missing to really exploit its creative strength, something which applies to Neurotica as a whole.

Shock & Bad Taste with its more defined L7 lures comes next to set feet and reactions on eager edge, its riling riffs and jabbing rolling beats as inviting as the vocal belligerence and sonic entrapment colouring the richly satisfying track. It is soon left sounding a little pale though by Hell 7 (American Mary), the track a ferocious scorching of corrosive riffs and merciless rhythms from the first second which settles into a less threatening gait for a few breaths before unleashing a chorus which gnaws at the senses with anthemic mastery. Again it is fair to say that there is not much to challenge the boundaries of punk rock but plenty to give it an invigorating incitement.

The album is brought to a close by firstly the pleasing Wet with its scowling sound and challenging premise, and lastly through the predatory stalking of Dead Zebra. Both tracks ignite another wave of satisfaction if again failing to match previous heights upon the album; the forced vocal growls offered by Heather in the last of the two an element which defuses the potency of the song and leaves thoughts feeling unconvinced for the only time. Each song still leaves Neurotica: A Compendium of Tales Regarding Body and Mind on a high with that rich promise flooding both, as it does the album, to leave pleasure high and excited anticipation over DRAG ahead.

Neurotica: A Compendium of Tales Regarding Body and Mind is available now on the band’s own Sleazy Punk Records @ http://dragbirmingham.bandcamp.com/album/neurotica-a-compendium-of-tales-regarding-body-mind-2

http://www.sleazypunk.com/

8/10

RingMaster 28/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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