Dearly Beloved – Enduro

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Hazily immersive and virulently seductive, not forgetting mouth-wateringly compelling, Enduro the new album from Canadian rock band Dearly Beloved is another unexpected treat for the year. You sense the dramatic presence and striking sounds of the release is not something new as their existing fans can surely confirm but as our introduction to the Toronto protagonists, the release comes as a potent and thrilling new adventure. Merging sultry essences of stoner and progressive rock with the creative voracity and enterprise of garage punk, Enduro is a glorious ride of sweltering textures and magnetic imagination wrapped in a scuzz kissed melodic vivacity which flirts contagiously from start to finish. It is a magnificent encounter and the start of a torrid union between the band and our passions, and a horde of many others we predict upon its uncaging.

Dearly Beloved is centred round guitarist/lyricist/vocalist Rob Higgins (ex- Change of Heart, Doctor and nephew of Rush’s Geddy Lee), and vocalist Niva Chow and from the release of their critically acclaimed third album Hawk vs. Pigeon, has been on a non-stop charge of shows, including tours with the likes of Julie Doiron, Cancer Bats, Wrong Guys, and Grimskunk as well as venturing into the UK and Europe with their renowned stage performances. Now with the successor to their previous triumph, the band is set to reap even greater success and rewards, hindsight showing that as impressive as the last album was its successor takes things to a new inventive height.

Recorded at the infamous Californian Rancho De La Luna studios (Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss), Enduro saw Higgins and Chow recruit Eamon McGrath as guitarist and co-writer for the 15-day creating and recording of the album. Also involved were Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene), Dave Catching (Eagles Of Death Metal), Chris Goss (Sound City Players) and Dave Elitch with its mixing undertaken by Adam Kasper (Nirvana, Foo Fighters). Apparently there were not even skeletons of songs prepared before the recording of the album but that obviously was in no way an issue such the sonic ingenuity which has evolved from the process. As soon as feedback soaks ears and a dulled yet intrusive resonance brews at the opening of the title track, intrigue is pricked and swiftly fed along with the imagination as rhythms roll in on rugged sinews, flames of sonic coaxing erupts, and the bass grumbles impatiently. It is a captivating start and one pushed to greater strength by the breath-taking vocal union of Higgins and Chow. Theirs is a rigorously captivating union, whether sparring or uniting in their delicious persuasion. Guitars have a mesmeric yet simultaneously raw air to their enterprise around them whilst the heavily swiping rhythms simply enslave an eager appetite for song and release. Like a rugged union of Mars Volta and Jane’s Addiction, the song is a wanton fire of craft and invention, a psychedelic seducing which is scintillating.

The following Olympics Of No Regard rides boldly in on another rhythmic enticement courted by potent hooks and grazing rubs of db COVERguitar. Its confident stroll continues unabated but still relaxes along the way for evocative shimmering surf rock twists and expressive stoner abrasing which are as unpredictable as they are engaging; a union constantly repeated across the whole album in the startlingly new characters and designs of songs, as next up Astor DuPont Payne. The track is sensational, from its initial tingling of guitar a riveting incitement which grows in presence and potency as acidic melodies entwine the senses, vocals breathe seduction with each syllable, and captivating grooves dance around thoughts like the flames on the opening credits of Tales of the Unexpected. The bass also is a tempting impossible to resist, its dark wiles a persistent shadow in an incredibly imaginative and creatively fascinating triumph. Psychedelic pop rock at its finest and most unique, the song is a new pinnacle in nothing but so far across the release.

Both the more voracious Not My Pig with its punk bred attitude and the aggressive Seven Plagues get feet and passions involved further, the first a song which stalks and abuses with a caustic toxicity across all musical fronts which is as bewitching as the ever impressing embracing vocals. The following song revels again in the punk part of the band’s heart, raging and brawling with rhythms and grooves but only within an invigorating pop tenacity and enticement which tempers and inspires equally the thrust of the track. Neither matches the heights already set but both inflame and feed ears and thoughts with full satisfaction. A sufficing pushed into gluttony with the brilliant The Guile Of Pricks and its instinctive rock ‘n’ roll. Garage punk meets psychedelic pop, the track is another raw yet fluid enveloping holding a Pixies experimentation and QOTSA stomping before making way for the desert smothered sounds of Between Finger & Thumb, where Perry Farrell and co again spring to mind in tandem with at times Melvins. Though not as instant as other tracks it is an evolving web of sound and ingenuity which steals a mighty share of the plaudits.

The smouldering beauty and melodic glances of All Sins Are Forgiven come next and simply leave passions in a pool of ardour, a mellow tempting which leads into incendiary imposing and provocative crescendos across its enthralling suasion. The song tantalises and mesmerises with intimate yet expansive radiance and reflection to cast another slice of creative alchemy into the album before the voracious canter of Run For Your Life decides to make its claim for best song honours. Pop punk with antagonistic devilry, the track is rock music as it should be; fiery, inventive, and ridiculously contagious.

Closing with the brief psychedelic and slightly psychotic smothering of Ether Binge, a song which drifts with melodic venom and seducing shadows, Enduro is instinctive brilliance. There are times where like the final track you feel songs are incomplete in some way or as they were created in short time, their ideation suggesting and unfulfilled body but it does not bring any sense of negativity to the sensational sculpting. In fact it adds to the loose and primal feel of the album, one though conjured through precise thought and unleashed imagination from all involved. Enduro is our introduction to Dearly Beloved giving us a two directional investigation of the immense band from here on in, must be our birthdays.

Enduro is out now on Aporia Records in Europe and eOne Music in Canada now!

http://www.dearlybelovedmusic.com/

9/10

RingMaster 10/06/2014

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The Cult: Choice Of Weapon

Southern Death Cult the band which first brought Ian Astbury to the attention was an immediate connection with my heart which only deepened with tracks like Moya, Fatman, and Apache. Upon their demise and the new team of Astbury and Billy Duffy linking to create The Cult, the attraction continued into their excellent debut album Dreamtime which spawned one of my all time fav songs Bone Bag. From this point though the evolution of the band and that of my tastes went separate ways and as their sound became grander and more rock orientated the appeal and previous attraction diminished. There were still moments where we met on a mutual level but more often than not all that was inspired was an appreciative nod and only fleeting attention given.

That was until with thanks to my friend Raymond, there was an introduction to the new Cult album Choice Of Weapon.  With limited expectations but mild intrigue due to the warm words he had given it, time came to sit down with the release and see if it lived up to his acclaim. With full surprise and an overwhelmed heart the answer is yes and more. The album is wonderful a release the word impressive is almost inadequate for. Choice Of Weapon rekindles the passion and in many ways returns to the instinctive partly tribalistic sounds that first drew us together. The album is not a throwback but seemingly the result of a revitalised and creatively fresh revisit to The Cult one longed for but did not expect to return is back.

The album has a less complicated textured sound than in previous years but is still distinctively and inventively skilled a release as only The Cult can ever create. Astbury is still the enigmatic performer and presence as he ever was but with a maturity and control which makes him even more formidable a vocalist and frontman whilst musically Duffy with bassist Chris Wyse, and drummer John Tempesta, bring a harder and less flamboyant enterprise to contrast and compliment perfectly.

Released through Cooking Vinyl Records, the album captivates from the very first stroke of the guitars across the ear on Honey From A Knife. Picking up an urgency spliced with exciting riffs and the group chants behind Astbury, the song storms the senses with a punk essence and infectious creativity. The pomp and overblown soundscapes often littering their releases are nowhere in sight, the song simply a striking piece of irresistible rock n roll.

The excellent start is backed up by Elemental Light and The Wolf. The first track is a full emotive pleasure which searches out and spreads like a contagious fever of invigorating pleasure. Recalling the band at their birth and with the melodic grace of The Mission, the song touches the nerve and emotion that first pulled them to the heart in the eighties. The second of the two songs is a coarser eruption of imaginative and firm intent, its melodic craft and enflamed breath leaving deep scorch marks of pleasure. As each song plays it assumes favourite track status such the strength of all and the album though it is impossible to truly choose.

The Bowiesque Life > Death is an enveloping ballad of power and intensity whilst the rampant Amnesia lays a stomp upon the ear which is as contagious as it is intimidating, both showing the full diversity within the album and the unique Cult sound. Astbury and Duffy are immense throughout the album but that can equally be said about Tempesta and Wyse both adding a depth and addictive menace to songs. The keys especially bring a fire and enveloping atmosphere to the songs adding extra invention and craft.

As the album works though one impressive track after another all continuing to enrich and incite thoughts and senses superbly we discover the likes of the excellent hypnotic Wilderness Now prowling with an ominous air and the closing The Night In the City Forever, a shadowed song exposing the underbelly of dark lives and worlds, to great pleasure.

With lyrics dealing with things like drugs and soured relationships on the album, Astbury is as cutting and expressive as ever and though no longer able to grab those explosive higher notes of yesteryear he has found a strong and more impactful range to enhance every song. Produced and recorded alongside Chris Goss with long-time Cult collaborator and producer Bob Rock finishing off the album, Choice Of Weapon is an unexpected and welcomingly outstanding release and easily one of the best albums so far this year. The Cult I know and love has returned and arguably is even better.

RingMaster 07/06/2012

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