Ummagma – Compass

Though any Ummagma release is welcomed with eager intrigue and anticipation by us among a great many the recent Caravan single raised the ante for the band’s new album with its captivation soaked release. The fact, though we have had numerous singles and EPs between, that Compass comes a lengthy seven years after its same day released two predecessors only added to the excitement coated suspense. What the duo’s third full-length offers is their most eclectic and rousing collection of tracks and quite simply their finest most exhilarating moment to date.

The pair of Canadian Shauna McLarnon and Ukraine hailing Alexander Kretov embraces everything from shoegaze, dream and synth pop to electronic and rock driven imagination with plenty more in the abundant enterprise of their new encounter. it is a release and collection of songs though which still revel in the atmospheric and ambient dreamscapes the Ontario based pair has earned thick acclaim and a potent reputation for. The album’s first single suggested that the Ummagma sound had evolved to a whole new tapestry of adventure and diversity, a bold aural kaleidoscope now confirmed and taken across a compelling array of individually and uniquely fresh landscapes by Compass.

The album opens up with Rolling and instantly infests the senses with its animated funk incited rhythms. Hitting its joyous stride soon after, the track bounces along dragging the listener to their feet, Kretov’s vocals a ringleader to the boisterous escapade. With its Talking Heads meets Dalek I Love You like shuffle, the track gets the release off to a thrilling start, one more than accentuated by successor Caravan.

The second track similarly had attention and instincts alive with its rhythmic introduction alone, bold tenacious beats a tribal intimation within the suggestive sonic vegetation that surround them. With body and imagination swiftly enslaved, McLarnon’s ever siren tones warmly caress as the song expands its scenically melodic emprise while the alternating blend of the duo’s voices only adds to the cinematic lure and enticing climate of the exceptional encounter.

Otherwise is next up, the song sharing another individual clime of sound and flavour as Caribbean-esque hues gently but firmly trot within an evolving dream pop serenade. More than ever it proved so easy to sink into the soundscapes of Ummagma as within just three songs Compass had unveiled a new plateau of craft, imagination, and temptation; an enticement nagging at the senses as eagerly within the electronic ambience coloured LCD. With voices as much a lively texture as the sounds courting the same evocative space, the track swept across the senses to, if not quite to the same heights as its predecessors, strongly captivate.

Equally the dream nurtured pop of Elizabeth 44 proved a beacon of persuasion and manipulation, guiding hips and attention with a knowing smile as McLarnon again beguiled, while Blown straight after was swiftly under the skin through its opening indie strokes of guitar alone. As its atmosphere grew and thickened with crystalline synth tempting and a hazy breath the track only enhanced its hold especially as cosmopolitan shapes and melodic silhouettes came forth to dance with keen rhythms and conjuring imagination.

The following predominantly instrumental F-Talking is one of those Ummagma tracks which sparks a fresh inference upon the imagination with every listen, its ambient search and discovery enthralling and interpretation never concluded with successor Galicticon, a spatial float across an expansive melodic sky of equal intimation, just as potent on ears and thoughts.

The diverse character of Compass continues at pace with Lotus strolling in on a shoegaze swing as Kretov walks its wiry threads. There is a touch of Paul Haig to the excellent song which only adds to its rich presence as too a Cocteau Twins like seducing which makes for a similarly alluring essence within the pastoral summer of High Day that follows with matching fascination.

The pair of Colors II and Cretu ensures a fair share of the imagination is cast on their adventures too, the first a slice of indie rock with a folk meets post punk shading and the second an ambient glide across mercurial and unpredictable scenery, every instrumental second a dawning of new suggestive sights to captivate thoughts and senses.

The radiant Bouquet brings Compass to a mesmeric conclusion, its hug shadow clad yet brightly seductive and breath foreboding but rousing. It is an eagerly magnetic end to an album which charmed, tantalised and absorbed from start to finish with moments of creative rapture set in between. Ummagma just go from strength to strength, from bold adventure to striking imagination releases by release; Compass the indisputable proof.

Compass is out now via Leonard Skully Records; available @ http://ummagma.bandcamp.com/album/compass

https://www.facebook.com/ummagma   https://twitter.com/ummagma

Pete RingMaster 31/07/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ummagma – Caravan

This June sees the release of the first album in seven years from Ummagma and to herald its arrival whilst offering a rather delicious teaser the indie pop duo has just released the two track single Caravan. As ever the pair’s sound is as eclectic as it is evocative and as is the trend with atmospheric senses involving mastery the new single evokes and inspires the imagination to individual adventures alongside its own.

Emerging in 2003, Ummagma is the creative union of Canadian Shauna McLarnon and Ukraine hailing Alexander Kretov. Ontario based, the pair’s sound is an imaginative fusion of everything from dream pop and shoegaze to post-punk, indie, space rock and much more, it all immersed in a tapestry of ambient and electronic enterprise. The duo has regularly been compared to bands such as Cocteau Twins, Curve, and Daughter but as Caravan alone insists, references which only hint at rather than reveal the richness of the band’s music and imagination.

It is fair to say that our personal appetite to Ummagma’s music is constant but has flourished in varying strengths across their releases and ahead of that new album in Compass, has reached lustful greed courtesy of Caravan. The song instantly had ears gripped as drums set out their ridiculously hypnotic and rousing stroll. Atmospheric suggestion is just as swiftly at play with the imagination, its soundscape of warm wide plains blossoming with suggestive vegetation. McLarnon’s warm magnetic tones are also soon caressing ears as the song sweeps into a synth pop-esque canter, Kretov’s subsequent vocals just as tempting within the pair’s web of musical insistence.

The song is pure adventure, an intimate travelogue of intrigue, intimation, and craft which had the body bouncing and ears enthralled from start to finish.

Ty i Ya accompanies Caravan offering up its own individual temptation; one funk lined and eighties synth pop bred. There is something of Dalek I Love You to the song which only added to its quick appeal and it too brings an atmospheric cascade of enterprise and suggestion which mesmerised throughout even if with varying degrees of strength across its evocative landscape.  Ummagma is a band which is unafraid to push their boundaries and the imagination of others in unexpected ways, Ty i Ya proof it so often works a treat.

It is probably fair to say that any album, indeed release, from Ummagma is eagerly anticipated in numerous corners, Caravan ensures Compass will definitely be truly keenly awaited.

Caravan is out now through Leonard Skully Records; available @ https://ummagma.bandcamp.com/album/caravan with Compass released on June 21th also via Leonard Skully Records digitally, on black vinyl and on CD with artwork by Alexander Kretov.

https://www.facebook.com/ummagma   https://twitter.com/ummagma

Pete RingMaster 17/05/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bait – DLP

Going into the review of the new single from UK outfit Bait it took us by surprise just how long ago we drooled over the band’s self-titled debut album. It feels like yesterday but was at the beginning of 2017 so the fact that it still features on our just for pleasure ‘turntables’ shows how pleasurable we found it. DLP is destined to join that compelling full-length, the track a wonderfully nagging and rousing slice of the band’s unpredictable and riveting sonic imagination.

Southend based Bait first tempted almost taunted us with a track upon the Alternative Occupations EP from Cool Thing Records which featured four of its striking bands. The intrigue and appetite the song bred was richly fed by the debut Bait album, addictively satisfied by the unique fusion of punk, post punk, and industrial espionage which thrilled within. So you can imagine the tingle when the band’s vocalist/songwriter Michael Webster got in touch with their latest track. Of course there are never guarantees, expectations and assumptions always there to be shot down but not this time. DLP was another addiction in the waiting and a big excuse for us to again push you all towards the creative exploits of Mike, Luke Branch, Jim Webster, and M R E.

Synths instantly mark their territory as DLP takes a mere breath to calmly entice, its second exhalation springing a rapacious but inviting stroll impossible to prevent hips and neck muscles responding too. There is an inherent darkness and threat to it all though, that delicious niggle which has marked previous tracks from the band and simply accentuates all the hues and manipulative agility of the song.

At times it calls on ears and imagination like a tenebrific blend of Malicious Damage era Killing Joke, Dalek I/Dalek I Love You, and Nine Inch Nails, but with bleakness as radiant as it is dissonant. Even with those clues to their characters, song and sound are fiercely unique to Bait and barely come close to any true comparisons.

DLP is another invigorating and galvanic outing with Bait, an experience which challenges and rewards, questions and supports with unapologetic eagerness. If you have not checked out this band shame on you, the perfect moment though is now.

DLP is out now via Cool Thing Records.

https://www.facebook.com/hatebait   https://twitter.com/hate_bait

Pete RingMaster 01/05/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Flesh Tetris – Wrong Kind of Adults

Photo by Julia Do Om

Self-described as “Retro SciFi Eurotrash armed to the teeth with barbed pop hooks and weaponised synths” or “Pop music for unpopular people”, the Flesh Tetris sound is to pin it down, simply one of a kind. Like an off-kilter dance-floor glitter ball it revolves through bold pop light and flirtatious electronic shadows, drawing the shades and hues of numerous more styles in its virulent adventure. It has already provided a riveting romp within the UK band’s first EP, Insert Coin, and is now in full exhilarating bloom and devilry within their forthcoming debut album, Wrong Kind of Adults.

Flesh Tetris sees the coming together of five unique talents already renowned for their exploits with other bands. It is fronted by duel vocalists in Eva Menon and Andy Heintz who had already seriously had us hooked through the bands Cauldronated and The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing respectively. Alongside the pair we find bassist/octaguitarist Andy Duke of Top Buzzer/The Duel/Cauldronated fame, drummer Jez Miller who also plays in The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing and keyboardist/vocalist Karen Bell who has a rather fine touch on the theremin too. Together they have created a sound and release which we cannot exactly describe no matter how we have tried but then again given the chance it does all the talking and persuading with ease.

As album opener For Fun swiftly reveals, it is a sound which is poppy yet rebellious, electronically mischievous but equally alternative rock sharp and all flirtatious temptation to body and imagination. The first track springs from law and order sirens, swinging in on the rhythmic strands of Duke and Miller as synths dance devilishly around them. Hips were swiftly infected, feet a rapid shuffle soon after as ears gripped the vocal uniqueness of Heintz and Menon. The track is untamed rock ‘n’ roll at heart, electro dance in its revelry and a riveting rousing way to kick things off.

Panic Buy follows swiftly revealing its own punk lined rock identity as beats and vocals steer the organic magnetism of the song. Bell’s backing vocals, though she is a must larger part to the band’s vocal prowess throughout the release then mere backing, simply seduced within the track’s own spirited allure; again a five prong creative attack gripping and manipulating. In some ways the song is something akin to a union between The Revillos and Dalek I Love You but distinctly all Flesh Tetris rascality.

Wrong Kind of Adults includes the tracks making up the band’s previous EP, all four being fully re-recorded, and first up is Hardest Part. Swinging in on a dub nurtured electronic saunter the track teases with skittish rhythmic scratching and electronic pulses as Heintz and Menon once more tantalise almost taunt with their combined vocal theatre. Theremin and an enslaving bass meander only escalate the hypnotic call, the song a perpetual simmer with moments of escalation which just enslaves from first breath to the final throbbing lure of Duke’s bass.

A sniff of Mindless Self Indulgence adds even more thrilling flavour to the outstanding Incoming, the outstanding track a schizoid slice of new wave/synth pop fuelled punk ‘n’ roll which easily lured away inhibitions with its predacious swagger and boosted throat borne eagerness with its own web of boisterous vocal variety before Jailbait Sex Pest Infestation offered up its own individual excellence. Apparently a song with an accompanying video which “was sparked by a misheard conversation between a toddler and his mother on the 29 bus” and is literally about a gang of flirty underage cockroaches trying to crash a party cockroaches, the track is an electro funk bred frolic which continues the album’s agility at getting into the bones and leading the body like a puppeteer. Like a musical equivalent to the little known but brilliant cartoon Oggy and The Cockroaches, the track just hit the spot.

Then again so do all as soon proven by Partners in Crime and its Bonnie and Clyde caper against an adult electro bred Scooby Doo musical landscape. Narrated by Heintz’s infectious growl and Menon’s Italian teases as much provocation as seduction, the track goes on the run with a web of imagination and sonic pleasure, Bell’s serenades in between pure delicious fondant on the richly flavoursome treat.

As mentioned the songs already introduced via Insert Coin come completely re-recorded to their benefit, next up Glass Bottom Boat especially flourishing in its keener swing and intrepid twists and turns. The summer of keys exuberantly sparkle against the rocky saunter of Duke’s basslines, their waves and earthy Brighton shore crisply swiped by miller’s catchy swings.

Both Landfill Cindy and Cat Box Journey kept ears and imagination aflame with matching ease, the first sheltering its misdemeanours within an electro punk confrontation as much threat and intimidation as infectious incitement. Its successor spins around a core hook which just had us at its first spiral, another instinctive lure of sonic flirtation matched by the fizzy embrace of synths and an espionage loaded bassline; the last of the two tracks another major best track contender.

The album finishes with the equally irresistible Rabbits, a track which from its opening warm synth coaxing had the body as its plaything with its electro dance and anthemic carousing. In many ways the track epitomises the Flesh Tetris sound though no two songs are really alike and despite are attempts are so much more fascinating and flavoursome let alone unique than our words have suggested.

Getting involved with Wrong Kind of Adults is the only way to truly find out; the album a tonic for the musically curious, a rousing reward for the bold.

Wrong Kind Of Adults is released on CD across all the usual digital platforms on 10th May 2019.

 https://www.facebook.com/fleshtetris/

Pete RingMaster 16/04/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Glorybots – Nomad

What can we reveal to you about Glorybots? Well background wise, very little except that it is a solo project, seemingly, of a musician hailing from Seattle creating a post punk/gothic pop sound which had very little trouble captivating our ears.

Our introduction to the “ Dark Alien Pop” of Glorybots comes through new single Nomad, a brand new track very quickly released after the unveiling of a debut album last November called Dark Alien Pop. A hindsight listen to the latter reveals that Nomad is a rich echo of the goodness to be found within the full-length but also it brings its own new adventure and prowess in sound and imagination.

Keys immediately entice and intrigue as the track’s realm and climate is soon an open intimation. The other-worldly landscape in turn swiftly welcomes equally alluring vocals and it is their arrival which soon sparks of the song into full bloom. Enjoyably proving hard to pin down, the song is something akin to a blend of Muse, early Human League, and Dalek I Love You with just a tint of Bowie at times.  That in itself is just a tease to the individuality of song and sound while hinting at why it’s swift captivation.

Nomad is a treat of a song and gateway into the music of Glorybots, a tantalising adventure band and listener can only prosper together from with its deserved attention.

Nomads is available now @ https://glorybots.bandcamp.com/track/nomad-radio-edit

https://glorybots.com/   https://www.facebook.com/DarkAlienPop/   https://twitter.com/gloryBots

Pete RingMaster 30/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Introducing Reverse Family

RF_RingMasterReview

Ever had that dream where an insect invades the ear and sets up home to mercilessly tease and torment thereon in? If so, a form of similar reality is about to be unleashed as the Reverse Family step forward to announce themselves with a sound which trespasses and festers in the psyche. The difference is that this is set to be the most welcome invasion of ears as it crawls with relish into the imagination.

Reverse Family is the solo project of Walmington-on-Sea resident Dermot Illogical, better known as Andreas Vanderbraindrain, the frontman of British band The Tuesday Club. Aided by a fluid band of collaborators from time to time, the new offering from Dermot is a lo-fi exploration into an experimental DIY web of sounds and flavours which is hard to pin down but certainly embraces everything from post punk and noise pop to indie and old school punk.

The RingMaster Review had the honour and pleasure to be the first to hear the tracks set to make up My Songs About Life Mid Crisis, the debut album from Reverse Family which is not due until next year through Perfect Pop Co-op but makes the ideal introduction to the new proposition so we thought we would share our findings within its dementedly addictive lures.

The first song we came up against was Alchopoppers on Fast Food, a brief and gentle yet deviously engaging song which instantly entices thoughts of seventies bands like Swell Maps and The Shapes but with the melodic natures of The Freshies. It is captivating stuff even with a drop into calmer waters which does not quite connect with personal tastes. We are not sure of the album’s track order but if this is to be the opener it provides a potent start though the brilliant Way It Goes is an even bigger pull. Carrying an early Adam and The Ants feel to its magnetic stroll, the song is pure addiction with a funk revelry bubbling under its pop punk surface, Dermot as vocally mischievous as the guitar led sounds around him.

art_RingMasterReviewThere is great variety to the songs too; Bit Slits for example flirting with the senses through keys which manage to sound like the brass flames of Essential Logic while guitar and vocals veer towards the Nikki Sudden school of discord blessed minimalistic seduction while Electronic 6 entangles portentous keys and winy guitars with fuzzy vocals for a Dalek I Love You/Artery scented melancholy. It is fair to say that Dermot wears influences openly yet each song develops its own distinct character under often familiar hues.

Hand of God has a darker and meatier nature to its predacious swing, contagious hooks and a great grumbling bassline aligning with melodic enterprise for a proposal which swiftly grips ears and appetite; a success just as easily won by the lively pop bounce of One Eyed, a seemingly early Television Personalities seeded encounter and the hypnotic I Can Sense Their Watching Eyes. This too has a flavour of Dirk Wears White Sox to it but with funky beats and another irresistible post punk guitar jangle in its off kilter dub teased shuffle, the track blossoming into another unique proposition within My Songs About Life Mid Crisis.

Other tracks in the mix are Business or Pleasure, a delicious song which sounds like Weezer soaping The Piranhas while recording it all in the bath, The Legend of Pierre with its haunting keys wrapped sultry croon, and Odd Mix Newgates, a seductive magnetic monotone tone spawned track surely inspired by Mark E. Smith.

The collection of tracks are completed by Higher Power with plaintive melodies and dour yet emotionally suggestive vocals and the outstanding May Number 10 Dream which again hints at bands like The Fall, Marc Riley and The Creepers, and The Mekons, as well as the criminally catchy Sods Law. Hips and feet beware as even in its low key nature it will have you swinging in an instant.

There are so many highlights offered by the Reverse Family songs; each track connecting with an ever eager hunger for punk fuelled, post punk spiced imagination. Plastic Punks epitomises this perfectly, its Fire Engines toned melodic jangle and Spizzenergi devilry sheer temptation again emerging as something specific to Reverse Family.

With a tongue in cheek lining to the lyrical reflection shaping songs which spreads into the music itself, Reverse Family is a beguiling adventure with a nod to the past and a grip on an imagination as fresh as it is, well quite simply a touch loco.

As mentioned My Songs About Life Mid Crisis is due for release next April but it is never too soon to get into something this craftily tasty.

http://reversefamily.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/reversefamily/

Pete RingMaster 07/11/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

LaBrassBanda – Europa

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To support and celebrate the band’s recent UK tour, German nine-piece LaBrassBanda have re-released their acclaimed 14-track album Europa, and if like us you missed it first time around, now is the time to join their compelling festival of sound. Uniting the richest contagious elements of everything from techno to funk, reggae to ska, and punk to alternative rock pop, the Bavarian outfit take ears and imagination on a euro stomp of irresistible creative revelry.

LaBrassBanda was formed in 2007, one of its founders, vocalist/trumpeter Stefan Dettl inspired by the Youngblood Brass Band. With a few line-up changes and an expansion of personnel, the band has persistently ventured across Europe with their sound, becoming renowned for their high energy live performances. As mentioned the band’s sound is bred on styles and flavours as diverse as the different musical backgrounds and tastes of its members. Originally released in 2013, Europa gets a fresh UK concentrated unleashing to accompany their just completed and highly successful tour and before the full complement of trumpeters Jörg Hartl and Korbinian Weber, trombonist Manuel Winbeck, bassist Mario Schönhofer, drummer Manuel Da Coll, percussionist Tobias Weber, tuba player Stefan Huber, and guitarist Fabian Jungreithmayr alongside Dettl hit the festivals of Europe.

The album fires up ears and thoughts straight away with opener Tecno, its sound as you would expect from its title a vibrant enticement for feet and dance-floors aligned to a great throaty shadowing of bass and tuba. The expressive vocals of Dettl are equally low in tone but as magnetic as the flames of brass which flirt with the senses across the relatively restrained but tenacious encounter. Thoughts of eighties bands like Pigbag and Mouth spring up as the song dances with ears before passing the baton of infectiousness over to the following Jacqueline. Immediately more feisty and energetic than its predecessor, the song swings and grooves with a funk bred air and gypsy folk devilry, again body swerves and lively feet the target.

0888837022521     The album hits its pinnacle early with the exceptional Holland, the track a slightly deranged waltz of hip hop tinged vocals and an accompanying mashing of syllables courted by a soundtrack of busy and psyche seducing brass. It is just the start of the fun and lustful persuasion though, a fluid step into a reggae spiced, punk hued romp reminding of bands like Asian Dub Foundation causing pure addiction. A track to bring graveyards alive and lungs exhaustion, the track is pure manna for body and soul. What it is about who knows, being Bavarian illiterate we fail you on that aspect as there is not an English word spoken across the whole album but we are led to believe plenty of songs are about beer, girls and partying.

Schweden next nudges and entices the listener with an electro beat based offering equipped with a potent seduction of bass which blossoms into a sultry croon of brass and melodic persuasion. It also has a whiff of nostalgia, parts of it reminding of Dalek I Love You whilst it’s more feisty and lively exotic catchiness has a sense of Mano Negra to its enterprise. The freely flowing encounter never erupts into a blaze but relentlessly seduces before allowing the agitated adventure of Z’spat Dro to tease and bounce with ears and appetite. A punk tenacity and energy surges through the infectious anthemic romp, think Biting Elbows meets Les Négresses Vertes and you have another treat of a track.

The punchy Nackert with is rock pop croon keeps the energies and thorough enjoyment in top gear whilst Sarajevo takes a gentler but no less enthralling flight across a boldly simmering but reserved scenery of melodic craft. The elegant instrumental has the imagination casting its own travelogue of adventure, brass and guitar providing the colour and rhythms the drama for thought sculpted exploits.

Entering into the second half of the album, Europa evolves into a more evocative and suggestive persuasion than the more forceful devilry of its opening half, though first of all the cosmopolitan soundscape of Frankreich reveals itself as another instrumental with bold rousing hints for ears and thoughts to play with. The colder climate of the melancholically charmed Russland comes next, its slow haunting an immersive caress whilst Western straight after saunters along with a jazz funk smile and brassy mysticism as vocals unite in harmonic, almost shamanic prowess.

Though admittedly there was pining for the outright devilment of a Jacqueline of Holland at this point, the album still has the listener firmly departed from the real world attention wise with each proposal, a success continued with the warm and dark theatre of Griechenland and following that, the folk lined shuffle of Vogerl where that gypsy folk/punk tempting returns to take feet and emotions on another flirtatious dance.

Europa ends with firstly the highly persuasive Opa and lastly the melancholic, funereal like sigh of Hymne, arguably the one time not understanding the spoken narrative is missed, though the wake like reverence of the music explains plenty.

It is fair to say that Europa is easily one of our favourite encounters this year and at times offers songs sparking a lust which borders on illegal. To bring your summer and year to life, if you have not already, time to join the LaBrassBanda festivities we suggest.

Europa is available now via Sony Music/RCA @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/europa/id651995604

http://www.labrassbanda.com   https://www.facebook.com/LaBrassBanda

RingMaster 12/05/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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