Doll Skin – Manic Pixie Dream Girl

As they grab a breath after successfully being part of the 2017 Vans Warped Tour, Arizona pop punk rockers Doll Skin continue to grab attention with their recently released sophomore album, Manic Pixie Dream Girl. The successor to their acclaimed 2016 debut, In Your Face (Again), the new album uncages more of the Phoenix hailing quartet’s aggressive punk fuelled infection and hard rock tenacity to continue the ear grabbing potency of its predecessor.

Meeting at the Phoenix School of Rock in 2013, Doll Skin have only flourished from the attention of Megadeth bassist David Ellefson who subsequently produced In Your Face (Again), and its acclaim garnering success which escalated the initial well received release of the outfits first EP, In Your Face on Ellefson’s own imprint Emp Label Group. Last year not only saw Doll Skin’s first album greedily received but the band hit the road and shows alongside the likes of Otep, Lacey Sturm, Fire From The Gods, Hellyeah, Dead Kennedys, Escape The Fate, September Mourning, Through Fire, and numerous more. It was a busy time continuing through this year and sure to intensify with the release of Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

Produced and Mixed by Evan Rodaniche from Cage9, the album opens up with Shut Up (You Miss Me) and instantly has ears bound in a hip stealing hook; that potent lure continuing through Nicole Rich’s bass as things calm and the alluring tones of vocalist Sydney Dolezal jump in. Soon the busy and energetic heart of the track rises again, jabbing beats and catchy vocal delivery lining its swinging infection loaded melodic punk gait. There are no major surprises within the song but everything about it has body and spirit involved before Daughter up the ante with its hard rock inspired declaration. Defiant in soul and adventurous in character, the song flows from calm reflection to anthemic ferocity with sublime ease; the guitar of Alex Snowden suggestive and inventive as Meghan Herring’s rhythms pure rock ‘n’ roll behind more irresistible vocal boisterousness, singular and across the band.

Its impressive incitement is matched by that of Road Killa, a track which straight away is prowling the senses with a predatory edge. With Dolezal equally as imposing yet richly endearing in tone and presence, things only escalate in quality and rapacity as spiky hooks and wiry melodies collude with emotionally aroused vocals and the rhythmic tenacity of Herring and Rich. A rock/punk trespass, the track hits the sweet spot before Boy Band exposes its instinctive rock ‘n roll heart with relish and energy. Familiarity and fresh traits unite within the contagion of the track, its recognisable presence bolstered by its ear gripping resourcefulness as the album continues to richly tempt.

The sultry hues of Rubi entice and please next, its rhythmic grumble adding extra intrigue to a warm often fiery nature while Sunflower has an equally agitated underbelly to its more irritable and lively stomp. Though neither track quite matches up to those before them, each confirms that Doll Skin know how to sculpt the most flavoursome of hooks and twists in their songs as well as brew some seriously infectious strains within their music.

Both songs have a hint of Australian band Valentiine to them as too the beguiling Sweet Pea which follows though its melodic shimmer and elegant smoulder quickly shows originality all of its own as it lays a best track hand on attention. It is a treat of an encounter swiftly rivalled by the punk moulded stroll of Baby’s Breath but a song embracing an array of flavours within its harmonic temptation and volatile undercurrent. Again imagination and body are taken on an eventful and highly enjoyable ride but then turned on even more by the outstanding roar of Persephone. Carrying an eighties pop punk feel reminding of bands like The Photos and a modern rock ‘n’ roll ferocity akin to the likes of Courtesans, the song stalks and seduces with equal invention and boldness.

From one major highlight to another as the pure punk grouchiness of Puncha Nazi consumes ears and attention; the track a spirit stirring, rebel rousing surge of sound and intensity which actually misses out on delivering the donkey punch killer blow it hints at but still makes for another pinnacle within Manic Pixie Dream Girl before the emotionally haunted and melodically bewitching Uninvited brings things to a magnetic close. Adding just one more new turn to the imagination of the album’s body and Doll Skin songwriting as it boils to an inferno of a climax, the song provides a momentous finale to another seriously compelling outing with the band.

Over the first couple of listens, it was hard to say that Manic Pixie Dream Girl majorly built upon that first triumphant album but it was a deception as from there the release only blossoms with time to reveal a new depth to the Doll Skin sound and pretty much match the former’s impressive presence and by giving that time another 2017 highlight is the reward.

Manic Pixie Dream Girl is out now via EMP Label Group through most online stores.

http://www.facebook.com/dollskinband    http://www.dollskinband.com

Pete RingMaster 28/06/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Courtesans – Better Safe Than Sober

Every release comes with a host of persuasive words in press releases etc. telling you that their focus is something essential to your pleasure and personal soundtracks. Sometimes the build-up lives up to the proposition in question, sometimes not and of course the only true representation comes with the actual listen. Occasionally though, they hit the target dead centre and such is the case with the Better Safe Than Sober EP from UK outfit Courtesans. Words around it claim the release to be “one of the first unique sonic amalgamations to be heard in 2017”; a suggestion spot on except it forgot to say ‘first and best’ as well as ‘heard this, last, and plenty of time before that’.

Coming three years after their acclaimed debut album 1917, a release like the EP emerging from highly successful crowd funded support, Better Safe Than Sober is a mesmeric dark blossom of the London band’s dark pop, a tag which barely covers their fascinating sound. Haunting and seductive, unapologetically insightful and melancholically hypnotic, the band’s music challenges and incites. All aspects have simply flourished between releases and now come to a mutually evocative and provocative head within the outstanding Better Safe Than Sober.

Intimate and socially reflective across its shadow draped body, the EP opens with new single Mesmerise, a song about losing one’s identity in and outwardly. The song is glorious, instantly caressing the imagination with its shimmering caress of keys and the brooding bassline of Agnes D. Jones as Sinead La Bella’s voice adds its own transfixing presence. Like a dark serenade, the track soothes and provokes from its first breath, the drama of its melodic and atmospheric touch compelling. Like a siren it lures body and mind into its creative lair, invading the senses with charm and elegance like a blend of Throwing Muses and early Cure.  The bewitchment is completed by the web of drama spun by Saffire Sanchez’s guitar, given trespassing strength by the heady beats of Vikki Frances with the smouldering emotion of it all building to a fiery crescendo of defiance and intensity.

Feel The Same is just as captivating, a single strand of guitar skirting the spoken delivery of La Bella as harmonies float around them. As it spreads its infectious sounds around introspective reflection and realisation of the deceit of others, there is a touch of 4 Non blondes to the track but as in the first song, a reference which only hints at the uniqueness on offer in a second irresistible incitement within the EP.

Next up John Doe similarly centres around the recognition of the ills in one’s life, a broader social outlook surveyed. From its opening Midnight Oil like rhythmic throb and lilt, vocals lay melancholic hands upon ears. Beats and bass are soon increasing their respective punch and moodiness as angelic harmonies glisten around La Bella. Bewitchment again is the only suitable word, the song almost shamanic in its rhythmic dance and haunting beauty.

An imposing edginess comes with Knowhere; a steely tone and rapacious attitude lining the tempestuous slice of raw indie punk hued confrontation. Its air is sinister, deceptive as lures and hooks tempt and entice the listener and hope into the snarling heart of the demon battling the song’s melodic light and catchy enterprise.

The released is finished by The Tide, a song straight away gripping ears and attention with an opening melody resembling the John Carpenter scored Halloween soundtrack as La Bella’s words again paint a picture of emotional honesty. Bursting into a melodic rock fire with senses licking flames, the track commands body and imagination, its perpetually alternating and evolving landscape an arousing revelation reminiscent of Danish band Forever Still when its blaze is at its richest.

There is simply no arguing that Better Safe Than Sober is one of the year’s biggest moments so far, an essential investigation which only increases its hold and stature with every involvement in its open conflict of light and dark.

Better Safe Than Sober is out March 31st through most online stores with physical copies available @ http://thecourtesans.bigcartel.com/product/pre-order-better-safe-than-sober-ep

Upcoming live Dates:

1st April – MANCHESTER – Ruby Lounge

5th May – BRIGHTON – Green Door Store

23rd July – GLOUCESTER, Amplified Festival

https://www.thecourtesans.org/    https://www.facebook.com/thecourtesans    https://twitter.com/the_courtesans

Pete RingMaster 31/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright