Dark Stares – The Lightning Echo

Darkly haunting and persistently mesmeric, The Lightning Echo is the new album from UK rockers Dark Stares. The successor to their acclaimed debut, Darker Days Are Here to Stay, the new release provides twelve tracks which lure the listener and imagination into the realm between warm and portentous dreams; each a siren of intimation and reflection which enjoyably proved rather hard to escape.

St Albans hailing, Dark Stares has been a persistent captivation from their early tracks and EPs such as Octopon and Soul Contract through to that creatively potent first full-length of last year. Looking back to Darker Days Are Here to Stay, there is no doubt that The Lightning Echo is the natural progression to its predecessor but equally it has evolved its own fascination and unique character of sound; a nagging seduction which wraps the senses like a crepuscular animal.

The album immediately strides through ears with You Know Me, the track’s high kneed beats stamping authority on attention as the fuzz bred grooves of Harry Collins wind around them and the equally magnetic tones of vocalist Miles Kristian Howell. From the single song alone it is easy to hear why Queens Of The Stone Age is often used as a comparison though there is no escaping the singular identity of the Dark Stares sound either.

The highly rousing start is prolonged by the similarly anthemic Dance, a tenacious command on the body bound in the dark climes of surf/desert rock. Again the imposing yet contagious lure of Brett Harland Howell’s bass and Taylor Howell’s spirited beats manipulate song and listener, the Middle Eastern lures cast by Collin’s guitar quite irresistible in one of the album’s major peaks.

Next up Spell You’ve Cast is a similarly beguiling temptress if a slightly sinistrous one, its body a writhing tease of grooves and enticing vocals across almost predatory rhythms while the following Crusader brings a dustier desert rock landscaped croon with volatility in its rich fertile earth. Each made for a riveting proposition if the first with fiercer temptation as too Mr Midnight with its rapacious crawl and tantalising menace. As those around it, the magnificent encounter spins a web of flavour and suggestion sparking imagination and appetite for its tenebrific charm and bait.

There is something of a Doors meets Muse shimmer to The Shadows and Faceless Man, the first with its mercurial climate and compelling sonic grumble breeding sheer dark captivation and through the second wrapping an emotive melodic shroud around ears before breaking out into its pensive musing. Sandwiched between them is Today, a song edging more firmly to the sixties psychedelia of Morison and co. and though it does not quite match up to those alongside one that only grips attention and enjoyment.

After them, In My Pocket initially shimmers before catching flame, repeating its persuasive melodic cycle with greater intensity as Zedi Forder-esque hues bring earnest breath to the increasingly compelling encounter while in turn intrigue soaked and with disquieting glamour Misty Lanes makes its potent play for best track honours.

The album concludes with the radiantly rapacious saunter of Dead and Gone and lastly the hearty rock ‘n’ roll of Rebel Angel. Both tracks hit the spot with the first another simply adding to the numerous reasons as to why The Lightning Echo should not be ignored.

Easily The Lightning Echo is the finest moment with Dark Stares to date, one which for us only gets more thrilling and addictive by the listen.

The Lightning Echo is out across most stores May 31st.

https://www.darkstares.com/   https://www.facebook.com/DarkStares/   https://twitter.com/dark_stares

Pete RingMaster 30/05/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dark Stares – Darker Days Are Here To Stay

With a clutch of praise wearing EP’s already under their belt UK outfit Dark Stares have now raised the ante with their debut album. Continuing the open evolution of their sound across those previous encounters, Darker Days Are Here To Stay is a release which maybe smoulders more than roars but like the band’s previous releases, just captivates but with an even greater depth of adventure and seduction.

The St Albans band’s individual alternative rock tempts like a fusion of Muse and Queens Of The Stone Age but equally has drawn references to the likes of Wolfmother, Royal Blood, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles. Formed in 2011, the quartet released their first EP, Tell Your Friends, the following year. Its well-received introduction to the band has been built upon in sound and success across the likes of Octopon and Soul Contract as well as a host an eagerly supported singles. Self-produced, Darker Days Are Here To Stay continues the band’s DIY intent with a raw magnetism and organic radiance which just commands attention.

The album opens up with Liquid Reign and a sonic limbo from which a swagger gaited groove, firm beats, and the tantalising voice of Miles Kristian Howell emerge. The track settles into an infectious swing entwined in heated sonic vines as that initial groove continues to wind around ears and appetite. Crystaline in its melody, crisp in its rhythms, the song is a warm yet invasive seduction as catchy as it is hauntingly provocative.

The following Sweet Rider 5 is also the band’s new single, a track similarly woven to the first but with a fiery lining to its golden glaze and a whiff of latter day Depeche Mode to its air. The guitar of Harry Collins casts another alluring web of sound and heat; tendrils of enterprise which tease rather than entangle the imagination but have it alive all the same as the dark tone of Brett Harland Howell’s bass and the urge of Taylor Howell’s beats tempt the body.  So absorbing it feels much shorter than it really is, the track still ends too quickly but Pedal Pusher soon has all focus on its fuzzy, enticing saunter. An electronic grumble adds inventive shadow to the mesmeric charms of guitar and harmonies and equally a raw edge courting intrigue and dark melancholy to contrast the radiance on offer.

Darker Days is next, its electronic scuzz even deeper and dirtier than in its predecessor to accentuate the candescent sounds wrapping broad and intimate shadows. Richly captivating with its own individually bold sway, the song wears the scent of post punk and neo-psychedelia in its creative sigh; a The Jesus and Mary Chain meets The House of Love kind of wash adding to its rich pull before Animal floats in on a sonic breeze. Its climate is soon a sweltering embrace easily luring ears and imagination to its exotic heart and bluesy drama. It is a track which epitomises the album, making a strong and potent first impression but only glowing brighter with every listen.

Across the likes of the more volatile rock ‘n’ roll of Ordinary Way with its scuzzy touch and unpredictable air and the irresistible Hips Don’t Shake the album just drew us deeper into its grasp. The first of the two did not connect as thickly as other tracks but its successor more than compensated with its addictive twists and infectious almost mischievous character. There is a constant Josh Homme like hue to songs if mostly a mere dash of colour but makes for a compelling ingredient in the album’s best moment.

Cruise Control equally dips into that spicing for its raw harmonic roar, Muse-esque spatial hues fusing with the song’s sonic fuzziness while So Good serenades from within its cavernous heart. The second is a tapestry of imagination, every move unexpected yet instantly embraceable as the lucent croon of the song envelops ears and a by now greedy appetite.

The pair of Their Game and Feels (So Sad) bring the album to a beguiling close with their respective indie rock and hypnotic glow of melancholic yet lustrous beauty. They complete a release which just captivates but with moments that had us drooling. Even so we still have the feeling that Dark Stares has not come close to finding the boundaries of their sound and that makes the anticipation for their next release as strong as the enjoyment found with Darker Days Are Here To Stay.

Darker Days Are Here To Stay is out now through iTunes and other stores.

https://www.darkstares.com/   https://www.facebook.com/DarkStares/   https://twitter.com/dark_stares

Pete RingMaster 22/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright