Sweet Gum Tree – Sustain The Illusion

With the single, The Gift, still ringing entrancingly in ears we thought we should catch up with the album it comes from and lures attention to. Sustain The Illusion is the second album from Sweet Gum Tree, the solo project of French singer songwriter/musician Arno Sojo and a release which simply captivates from start to finish with melodic beauty and emotively provocative exploration.

After the collaborative creation of its acclaimed predecessor three years ago, The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame, a release featuring among a few Isobel Campbell of Belle & Sebastian, Earl Harvin from the Tindersticks, and The Church’s Marty Willson-Piper, Sojo has created and recorded Sustain The Illusion pretty much on his own with producer David Odlum and musicians Romy and Lise Douylliez adding the only additional contributions. The result is a release which manages to feel even more intimate than its heart bred predecessor while embracing a richer texture and array of sound and enterprise.

Sustain The Illusion opens with the atmospheric Breaking The Bond, electronic beats leading in the inviting melodic coaxing of a lone guitar as colder winds whistle around them. Sojo’s tones soon join the blossoming reflection, the emotion of his voice and words stirring greater intensity in the suggestive sounds. It is energy though which sublimely ebbs and flows as the instinctive beauty of his music seduces the senses, at times with melancholic elegance.

The following Twinkle has a livelier gait, its electronic shimmer and melodic rock guitar stroll as transfixing as the rhythmic dance and vocal adventure within them. As the track gently explodes around ears and imagination certain essences remind of bands such as Slug Comparison and Sigur Rós before Someday hugs thoughts with its confidential emotions and sonic tension. As the song before, it is seriously mesmeric, deeply immersing the listener in its raw heart and emotional drama further expressed through the impressing tones of Sojo.

The infectious swing of Rollercoaster firmly entices next, its boisterous energies and enterprise pure magnetism infesting body and spirit. It is pop infused rock at its best and quite bewitching as too is successor Fairweather Faith, a folk spiced croon with the most delicious melody and a compelling XTC like air. It is an exquisitely layered seduction graced by worldly spices which absorbs attention and ardour like a sponge.

An earthy bass opens up Stars Align, its flirtatious nature matched in vocal and melody as the song evolves into a Nine Inch Nails meets The The like treat. Its eventful minimalistic air and Sojo’s vocal prowess alone stokes pure pleasure which angelic harmonies and an array of sounds and imaginative twists simply accentuates in the album’s best track.

The equally outstanding Guilt Trip similarly has something of Matt Johnson’s band to it, a touch of The Pineapple Thief too as its mix of eighties synth pop and post punk nurtured rock captivates with increasing dexterity. It is another beacon of songwriting and craft within the album taken to a greater plateau by Sojo’s passion and energy.

As the calmer but darker emotional waters of Clean Slate and Burn Your Icons, a track merging Cure-esque rhythms and shadows with jazzier progressive rock adventure, surround ears on the way to seducing the psyche Sustain The Illusion only strengthens its hold, squeezing tighter with recent single The Gift. The track caresses the senses with its golden melodic romance, its heart similarly graceful and reassuring to subdue the shadows which skirt but never threaten its hope fuelled beauty. It is fair to say that the song has been a powerful draw for a great many into Sustain The Illusion and for newcomers into the creative realm of Sweet Gum Tree, and even after a flood of plays seduces as powerfully as ever.

The album closes with the reassuring lullaby of Keeper, a safety clad hug which encapsulates everything masterfully charismatic and fascinating about not only the album but Sojo’s songwriting and talent. So we suggest you do yourself a big favour and check out Sustain The Illusion and Sweet Gum Tree now!

Sustain The Illusion is out now @ https://sweetgumtree.bandcamp.com/

http://sweetgumtree.tv    http://facebook.com/sweetgumtree    http://twitter.com/SweetGumTree

Pete RingMaster 03/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Seprona – Trap Door

Seprona_RingMaster Review

Emerging in 2014, British indie pop/rock band Seprona is proving to be one of the new breed of bands lighting up the Liverpool music scene. Certainly they are one of the eagerly talked about and recommended propositions thanks to songs like new single Trap Door. A lively melodic romancing of ears with a catchiness to take care of the physical side of persuasion, the track is a broader invitation focusing on national ears to back up the fine live reputation already earned.

Initially locking themselves away in an abandoned pub on the outskirts of Liverpool city centre where they practised and honed their sound in conjunction with a prolific writing of songs, Seprona soon made their first step and subsequently mark on the local live scene. Since then they have ignited numerous venues like Sound City last May where they played with the likes of The Flaming Lips, The Vaccines, and Belle & Sebastian and at festivals such as FestEVOL alongside Serpent Power and Dave McCabe & the Ramifications. Musically inspirations from the likes of Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, Interpol, and Radiohead into a sound, go into their sound, spices which, going by the new single alone, nurtures an individualism which is also instantly ear friendly.

artwork_RingMaster ReviewNow in a development deal with Rooftop Records, a label owned by Parr Street Recording Studio’s Chris Taylor, which gives Seprona access to recording time as well as valuable mentoring, the band is ready to whip up more attention with Trap Door. A crystalline melody erupts around a pulse of beats first to entice ears, a coaxing soon enhanced as a brief cinematic sample emerges alongside the throbbing groan of Tom Larkin’s bass. Within another breath, the potent tones of Daniel Badger lay invitingly upon the melodic veining spreading across the song, his and fellow guitarist Sammy Issa’s poetic enterprise a gentle but potent suggestiveness for the imagination and emotions to embrace.

As boisterously mellow as it is, the song also has an infectiousness which is impossible to ignore. It is perpetual bait which is only highlighted further by the great framing rhythms of drummer Joe Grove, and with everything combined, plays its part in a weave of sound which, even as brief as the song is at under three minutes, leaves a lingering imprint.

Enthralled by the tantalising touch of Trap Door it is fair to say that we, as many more, are very much looking forward to hearing more from Seprona, something you cannot say about every embrace of sound you meet.

Trap Door is out now via Rooftop Records from iTunes and other online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/seprona/   https://twitter.com/SepronaMusic

Pete RingMaster 26/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Onward Chariots: This is My Confession

on ch

    This is My Confession from Onward Chariots is one of those albums which though it does not quite light a raging fire in the belly or hold a firm grip on ones attention from start to finish, it is a release which is hard to tear away from. The band has a sound which is a delicious hybrid of indie pop and progressive rock with a continually changing wash of extra steamy additives.  Because of this their debut album is a consistently intriguing and engaging release which leaves a warmth and satisfaction that cannot be denied or dismissed.

Onward Chariots is the invention of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Ben Morss, an artist who has toured the world, played with Californian acid-jazz group 11:11, and arranged and played on albums for artists like Cake. He is also a music geek who has immersed himself in the sounds and creativity of Peter Bjorn & John, Belle & Sebastian, Yo La Tengo and The Beatles, a collection of artists amongst others which the album suggests have flavoured his own invention. Originally Morss recorded under the name Chariots of Tuna, which from accounts was a relatively short-lived project but in 2008 when Morss was playing in the Infinite Orchestra alongside Dan Davine (drums), Shawn Setaro (guitar), and Rus Wimbish (bass), the quartet came together to create melodic intricacies of pop which they mutually longed to make. This moment in time was the first official steps of Onward Chariots. The following year saw three songs posted online which led to strong responses and acclaim worldwide through blogs and fans with the band being compared to the likes of The Beach Boys, Beulah, The Shins and Belle and Sebastian. Festival appearances and radio play earned the band further recognition over the subsequent years leading to through Skipping Stones Records the unveiling of their first release.

The album is themed by the concept of boy meets girl, the tracks playing with premises and emotions from the varied teases of love.onward-chariots It begins with the golden showers of sonic elegance brought by the semi instrumental Opening. Twinkling melodies, warm harmonies, and brass borne kisses light the sky before a fiery energy intervenes to lead into This Is My Confession I. A wonderful throaty guitar sound introduces the track to remind of the first days of Killing Joke before opening into a pungent press of heavy rock sturdiness and the welcoming vocal lilt of Morss. Into its stride the song is an insistent and magnetic pleasure with an equal depth of sinewy allure and infectious melodic teasing.

The following Mel Gibson is a lighter pop rock romp with plays like a mix of Weezer and Union Starr. It is a peppy piece of energy which continues the impressive start. It is as catchy as a virus and takes the ear on a stroll of punchy rhythms and eager to please melodies which do not have to ask twice. There is also, to be not the only time on the album, a persuasive eighties breath to the song which adds to the engagingly textured musical poetry.

Following songs Sisters and Brothers with its heated Jan and Dean like harmonies and smoky trumpet persuasion and I Just Met a Girl with its jumpy swing recalling the classy tones of Town Called Malice, both without igniting the emotions as strongly as the earlier songs, leave the listener buoyant over their melodic and infectious rhythmic invitations. Though the album offers some instantaneously connecting songs it is generally more of a grower with the likes of When You’re Smiling and the harmonically glowing Mama along with the previous two songs, eventually earning their place in ones praise through the continual pleading of their tenderly crafted hearts across many plays.

The sixteen track release closes its first part with the heavier stomp of This Is My Confession II, a superior re-working of the first full song which then takes us into arguably the strongest part of album where songs like the mesmeric Forever Never Ends with its sultry melodic glaze shimmering across a seductive bassline, You Don’t Have To Be Unhappy, and I Want Everything reach stirring heights and hit the passions with the cleanest accuracy. The second of the trio has a great hook to start off its playtime of sixties pop and an addictive swagger complete with further impressive harmonies which feel Four Seasons inspired. It is a wonderful song equalled by the charging rock urgency of I Want Everything, a song which incites instinctive ardour for its outstanding rampancy.

Though it ebbs and flows in stature a little too much to be elevated to the highest echelons of acclaim, This is My Confession is a thoroughly enjoyable album. Certainly it takes its time to persuade but eventually does with style and deserves for all to take a stroll within its warm heart.

http://www.onwardchariots.com

7/10

RingMaster 14/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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