Antigone Project – Stellar Machine

Last year French outfit Antigone Project not only took their sound to a more accomplished plateau with the From Its Room EP but hinted it was just the beginning of a whole new soundscape to their already easily engaging sound. It was a clue now realised by the band’s debut album, Stellar Machine a journey through spatial clouds of invention and diversity but as universes lead into new universes, equally feels like an adventure leading to many more bold journeys.

The creation of Frédéric Benmussa, a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer and no doubt much more, Antigone Project has grown from a solo project in 2002 to be one of France’s most engaging electronic rock/metal proposals. With the talented prowess of bassist Manu Ventre and drummer Fred Monaco alongside Benmussa, the band had its hands on attention with the release of a self-titled first EP in 2015. It was the debut clue to the expansive and expanding sound growing within the outfit, a suggestion taken further by From Its Room a year later and now truly unfurled within Stellar Machine.

Inspirations to the band’s sound and certainly new album range from Soundgarden to Deftones and Nine Inch Nails on to the likes of Depeche Mode, Jean Michelle Jarre, and Devin Townsend. That is enough to suggest the kaleidoscope of flavours making up the band’s album; they all involved with an even richer vein of Muse meets Radiohead like drama. Do not think you have a handle on Stellar Machine just yet though as ears will soon find a far thicker and greater carousel of the band’s own individual invention across its unpredictable body, one placing the listener into “the skin and shoes of a futuristic cosmonaut following the adventures of outer space travellers on a “stellar machine”.”

Climbing on board, ears are fastened into their seats by the powerful creative straps of opener Poison, its electronic/industrial lift off instantly swarming around the imagination. In turn, it leads to the virulent rock ‘n’ roll heart of the starter where riffs and rhythms are swiftly harrying and enslaving body and instincts, the calmer almost floating tones of Benmussa glazing the infectious exploits with a plaintive Matt Bellamy scented delivery. A compelling groove reinforces the song’s hold, the lively beats of Monaco dancing tenacious across the senses as keys bring cosmic scenery to bear on the imagination. Even in its calmer drifts, the song is forcibly infectious, the trio painting their creative canvas with an array of textures within skilfully woven enterprise.

The following Schizopolis needs mere seconds to have the body moving with its heated funk lures and enveloping synth pop enticement. A few seconds more brings a steelier tone and intensive edge to things, Ventre’s bass a darker brooding incitement which continues to lure and court the twisting infectious exploits of the song. Imagine The The meets Nine Inch Nails and the second track feeds expectations before taking them into deeper richer realms, leaving ears and appetite on a high ready for the moodier, crepuscular skies of III. The song’s air is as enticing as its predecessors, but within its emotional and atmospheric twilight a smouldering seduction matched in energy by the similarly calm vocals and keys.

Another fresh climate is brought by Mantra Nebulae, a dirtier rugged rock/metal contemplation over which vocals and melodies glide while Raphe Nuclei surrounds ears with an almost glacially reflective electronic embrace. Neither track quite lit up ears here as those before them but with the snarling dexterity of the first and the emotionally intensive vocals of Benmussa crawling the second, both tracks enthral and increasingly ignite the imagination over time.

In contrast The Black Widow instantly ensnared instincts and the passions, its intrigue ridden, noir coated web of dramatic coaxing as threatening as alluring. Hooks and grooves collude in seduction, vocals prowling with infectious devilry as bass and beats just flirt; a mix addiction was intended for. There is a touch of Fad Gadget to the song, eighties electronic/new wave essences as readily embraced as other more rapacious textures by the band and the increasingly volatile moments of the outstanding proposition.  The song is superb, a major highlight of Stellar Machine which Pretty Pain straight after easily backs up with its Mike Oldfield/ Devin Townsend nurtured symphony. As all tracks, every passing minute is unique to the last yet a continuation of their revealing cosmic travelogue and emotional revelation.

Cardio Machine is simply raw temptation, a fusion of predatory rock ‘n’ roll and synth pop virulence which has a firm restraint on both yet employs their attributes along another highly addictive body of enterprise. There is something enjoyably familiar about the song but nothing which can be pinned down, just simply and greedily enjoyed with every listen.

The album’s title track is eleven minutes of sample built introduction within senses stroking atmospherics, moving into electronic painting and progressive weaving where every minute adds to a flight feeling far shorter than its actual length such the beauty and captivation on offer. The song alone captures the mood and adventure of the theme; playing like a recap but of another past or future heroic planetary flight.

The album concludes with the atmospheric grace and beauty of Sun’n’rain; a rhythmically bold, melodically heated serenade beneath earthly pleasures. Drawing on the strongest Muse like flavours yet, the track with its almost Bond like theatrical lining brings the album to a powerful and more importantly thrilling close.

Stellar Machine confirms that Antigone Project just go from strength to strength, from bolder adventure to adventure yet still you get the feeling we have not come close to their most monumental exploit yet. Another must investigation for you all.

 Stellar Machine is out now through Lazy Freddy Records via most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/antigoneproject    https://twitter.com/projectantigone

Pete RingMaster 18/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Snuttock: An introduction of Rituals

Photograph by Laurie A Smith

Allow us to introduce you to Snuttock, a band from Baltimore in Maryland consisting of Bryan Lee, a classically trained musician, and Christopher Lee Simmonds, the latter also a founding member of Michigan progressive metallers Thought Industry. There the background to the pair and Snuttock ends though the fun and real discovery of the electro outfit is through their music. Some might pin it down as synth pop and certainly that is its breeding but with sonic and emotion cast shadows, a kaleidoscope of flavours and textures, and more twists and curves than a descending slinky, it makes for a proposition which never leaves ears and imagination lost for adventure.

Formed in 2003, Snuttock released debut album Straight Jacket Life two years later. It was the first insight to the pair’s blossoming fusion of industrial rapacity with the instinctive allure of synth pop; a blend shaping Carved and Sutured in 2008 and its collection of new tracks and dance-floor friendly remixes. Where we come in and cast a glimpse into, thanks to Lee and Simmonds themselves, is with the band’s last two releases, Endless Rituals and Rituals Redux. The first is in a way the duo’s proper second album, though it seems to be classed as the third, and was released in 2013. Its successor came out last year and sees a host of artists presenting remixes of its predecessor’s tracks, the album acting like a companion piece to the originals bringing new sides and personas to their already captivating characters.

What Endless Rituals quickly establishes is the diversity across the sound and creative enterprise of Lee and Simmonds; songs ranging from simply synth pop to industrial, dark electro, ambient and much more.  As expectations and assumptions of what comes next arise they are quickly shot down and left floundering as song by song the release persistently presents a new facet to its swiftly captivating presence. For all its twists and new sides though, there is a coherency to it all which links it all as something truly individual to Snuttock.

From opener Attention, intrigue is an eager response, the opening shadows of the track rich in suggestion and invitation before the track breaks into a vibrant stroll. That vibrancy is soon a flood across hungrily catchy endeavour, grabbing body and ears with zeal and infectious energy. There is a feel of early Mute Records bands to the song, The Normal coming to mind most and the laying down of the first compelling moment in the album’s landscape.

The dark wave scented, robotically natured Single Cell Antenna is the first twist in the emprise of sound within the album, its dance dexterity and pop glow managing to also cast a dystopian shadow over the affair. New turns flow through ears from thereon in, the emotional reflection and melancholic sharing of the Depeche Mode like People Too, the reserved but open funk of We Learn with its BEF air, and the dark ambience of Nameless straight away expanding the broad terrains honed by Snuttock. The last of the three is like a flight across cosmopolitan lands, its instrumental blossoming in adventure and suggestion with something akin to a merger of Kraftwerk, Thomas Dolby, and pre-split Human League.

It is fair to say that every track within Endless Rituals stirs the senses; the outstanding and dark, almost predacious presence of Crawl invading the psyche with a prowess reminding of UK band Defeat giving one particular favourite moment though with its thought romancing, dark atmospherics One Day and Spitting Into The Wind with its Blancmange meets Artery like emotive theatre leave their magnetic mark. Even throwing a handful plus of references to give a hint of the songs on offer, the uniqueness of Snuttock is the driving force and continues to captivate across remaining tracks like the haunting post rock/electro ambience of Ghost and the irresistible electro punk popper Advice.

Endless Rituals is a treat, even more so if you can get the deluxe edition with an additional four tracks, which newcomers to Snuttock should make their entry point though Rituals Redux certainly makes for a potent invitation too. Even after years of taking them on board, we have yet to get our personal heads around the appeal and maybe even purpose of remixes especially when the originals are so impressive and dominate. We can equally understand their popularity and in turn demand for others though, even more so after listening to Rituals Redux. Whether it was because we heard it first and numerous times before Endless Rituals, the album like a film or TV show hinting at the majesty of a source book, or simply the quality of the tracks on offer, the mix of all maybe, it certainly awoke an appetite for the Snuttock enterprise and a fun in imagining their originals.

First the only ‘negative’ with the album and that is its radio show skits and bumpers. Whether they are taken from a real show or are simply cast to suggest that surrounding they do niggle personal tastes, especially when coming back to back. It is a minor thing of course and certainly once the music descends and remixes from the likes of Psy’Aviah, Marsheaux, [:SITD:], TweakerRay, and Sebastian Komor, is forgotten as feet quickly leap and the spirit jumps opening track and a sparkling take on Advice by Leæther Strip. Each track takes the core essence and heart of the original songs and casts them in a fresh landscape of imagination or shadow of dark suggestiveness. Major highlights for personal tastes include Sebastian Komor’s fizzy take on We Learn and indeed Marsheaux’s warmly seductive version, The Metroland Protocol’s hypnotic twist on Single Cell Antennae, the noir lit take of the same song by The Rorschach Garden, and Psy’Aviah’s haunting at times senses stalking remix of Spitting Into The Wind.

As we said though, and maybe surprisingly, considering its 2 CD, eighteen track length, Rituals Redux hits the perfect  spot with artists such as [:SITD:], Amarta Project, Statik SeKt, Retrogramme, Red This Ever, TweakerRay, Guilt Trip, L’Avenir, Diskodiktator, and Deutsche Bank Machine equally lighting ears and enjoyment with provocative interpretation and craft.

So that is Snuttock, a band which if synth pop and broad electronic adventure is your appetite should make for a highly pleasing new exploration.

Check them out more @ http://www.snuttock.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/Snuttock/  and their music @ http://www.snuttock.com/store.html

Pete RingMaster 31/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Waiting For Titor – Halo Pt 1

In a year of many striking, potential loaded debuts already, we suggest another especially potent and exciting introduction in the shape of the EP, Halo Pt 1. The six track offering comes from Anglo-Italian alternative rock quartet Waiting For Titor, a band founded in 2012 which has honed their sound into one fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable proposition; its imagination bred within a maturity of songwriting which just commands attention.

Waiting For Titor rose from the ashes of Italian crossover outfit Convergence, drawing their moniker from a fictional name used by a blogger claiming to be a time traveller from the year 2036. Embracing inspirations found in the specific likes of Nine Inch Nails, New Order, Depeche Mode, Foo Fighters, Sigur Ros and Massive Attack, the band has risen through the focus of the underground and having recently linked up with Belgian label Diva Records, the Manchester based foursome are poised to tempt national attention and quite possibly more such the potency of their first EP.

Recorded with Belgian producer Geert D’Haene and mastered by highly acclaimed Italian engineer Giovanni Versari (Muse), Halo Pt 1 coaxes intrigue with its brief breath of an opener, Proemio an atmospheric piece of suggestion which does not really give a clue to things to come but makes a thought involving lead into the EP’s waiting title track. The vocals of Alex Palladini instantly hold ears, his distinct expression cradled by vines of wiry melody from Mike Tomasini’s guitar. Prowled by the dark tone of the Max Andrini’s bass which sounds almost irritable against the post rock/ progressively woven tapestry of guitars and keys, the song absorbs ears and thoughts. Its bursts into more boisterous life driven by the skilled swings of drummer Vince Picciolo makes for a rousing finale with an intensity further explored within its successor.

Bitter End similarly has some restraint in its gait also but welcomes thicker shadows in its climate as synths with a Nine Inch Nails like air wrap the senses. Again there is a great drama and energy in the vocals whether they emotively croon or passionately roar, a blend matched in the sound as the track blossoms turn by turn. Built on emotional and physical crescendos, the song is a magnet for the imagination, only increasing its potency with every listen, as indeed does the EP, as fresh layers are discovered.

The dark rock essence within the song is escalated within the final trio of tracks; Diving Into The Black coming first with its rock pop/gothic rock fusion. There was a whisper of Dommin to the previous track, a spicing far richer here as the track infectiously strolls and emotionally flames. Synths are an evocative incitement, rhythms a forceful enticing, whilst the guitars almost flirt with their sonic mix of light and dark enterprise.

The melancholic caress of Twilight Fall is even more awash with the hues of the previously mentioned US band though its shadowed seduction is soon baring its own unique soul as Palladini shares heart and word within a siren of emotionally bare sound. Its outstanding temptation is soon matched in lure and might by closing track Leaving Again, a slice of virulent contagious rock repeating Waiting For Titor’s craft at entangling dark and light in an emotional rousing and provocative proposal. It is a song which declares itself the lead into the creative heart of the band though sharing best track honours with its predecessor.

The Halo EP is a truly potent first listen to Waiting For Titor which only increasingly impresses and entices with every subsequent outing into its dark exploration. Its individuality in sound and invention might not be for all, though it is hard to imagine many turning away, but for a great many others a budding affair will be on the cards.

Halo Pt 1 is released through Diva Records on June 2nd and will be available @ https://waitingfortitor.bandcamp.com/album/halo-part-1

http://waitingfortitor.com/wp/    https://www.facebook.com/waitingfortitor/    https://twitter.com/waitingfortitor

Pete RingMaster 01/06/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Defeat – Rise

A handful of weeks short of two years since the eagerly welcomed release of their EP, You Know What You Are, British electro industrial/synth pop duo Defeat return with new album, Rise. This too, such the highly enjoyable offerings from the band before, has been a keenly anticipated encounter since news of its coming; enthusiasm rewarded with the pair’s most accessible yet creatively imaginative and skilfully accomplished proposal yet.

The successor to debut album [Seek Help] of 2013, Rise is a collection of anthems to dark thoughts, corrupted emotions, and invasive shadows. They are tracks which unleash the most virulent hooks and infectious escapades laced with menace and creative threat like a twisted twenty first century Fad Gadget; indeed there are times where you just feel that if Defeat were emerging in the eighties, Mute Records would have had them snapped up.

With inspirations from the likes of Nitzer Ebb, Depeche Mode, NIN, Front 242, Front Line Assembly, and Skinny Puppy teasing their own ever potent and individual sound, the twosome of vocalist/lyricist Anthony Matthews and keyboardist/programmer Gary Walker have taken the evolution and promise of You Know What You Are and pulled it into another realm of craft and maturity, challenging their songwriting and imaginations along the way.

Rise opens up with The Phoenix; its sound elevating from the breath and ashes of an emotional wasteland. Melancholy honed melodies soon surround a rhythmic throb; the menacing and almost frustrated air becoming a hypnotic stroll jut as swiftly with a swagger and character as much a threat as a defiant realisation and action to its initial corrosive state. With catchy electronic flirtation and salaciously dancing shadows, the song is an easy to succumb to trap, Matthews’s words and tone a compelling mix of challenge and resurging hope.

The following Rage starts as an irritated emotional and physical ember which flickers and flames into an EBM nurtured blaze and again washed with defiance. It never becomes a furnace but instead wonderfully nags at the senses and imagination, stroking and provoking both with its relentless catchiness before The Hurt grows in ears. Its opening lure is almost predatory, laying dark electro seeds which swiftly bloom into another niggling refusing to be ignored temptation. Matthews echoes its shadows with his inimitable vocal prowess and presence; the drama within all aspects blossoming and immersing song and thoughts in contagious theatre.

Dirty/Sick crawls and trespasses the listener next, Matthews’s introspective guise a festering depravity surrounded by the deceitfully tempting sounds and invention of Walker, his melodies licking at ears with a relish almost matching the lustful threat of each trespassing syllable. The track is a grievous seduction and just irresistible while its successor and the album’s title track shares a toxic serenade invading and suffocating the senses with its envenomed mist; an ambush which should not be welcomed and embraced such its sinister intent but surely is.

Following track, The Fatalists sees Walker take lead vocals for the only time within the album. With pulsating electronics and shimmering harmonies, the song shuffles and glides through ears, vocals shaping its honest heart and melodies colouring its electro pop scented landscape. As with all tracks, shadows and light embrace and collude; often challenging each other or as here uniting in solemn and rousing beauty.

Even more galvanic and masterful is Nothing You, a lead single if ever we heard one. As its creative kindling smoulders, there is an air of excited intrigue and magnetic compulsion awoken; anticipation swiftly fed with a kinetic canter of creative virulence. With voracious hooks and grooves woven into one deliciously persuasion, the outstanding song is one virulence driven adventure unafraid to change gait and energy on a twist of a note as it pounds, pulses, and provokes the passions with irrepressible majesty.

The album closes with the melodic croon of Live Your Life, a gentle and darkly tender but still shadow wrapped incitement and reminder to find the strength and believe in being yourself. It is a fine smouldering and seductive end to Defeat’s most impressive and enjoyable encounter yet. All of the potential of their previous releases has been realised within Rise creating something deserving of the richest attention.

Rise will be released April 14th digitally and Ltd Ed CD with pre-ordering available now @ https://defeatmusic.bandcamp.com/album/rise

https://www.facebook.com/Defeatmusic     https://twitter.com/defeatmusic   https://defeatmusic.blogspot.co.uk/

Pete RingMaster 06/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Suzerain – Identity

Suzerain_RingMasterReview

Certainly long awaited and definitely highly anticipated, the second album from British alternative/electro rockers Suzerain confirms the London quintet as one of the country’s brightest and most compelling propositions. Twelve tracks which are as eclectic as they are imaginative but firmly set in the distinct Suzerain sound, Identity is aural magnetism sure to eclipse the success, as it does the impressive qualities, of debut album Midnight In The Drawn City of 2011 and the A Mirror Now EP released a year later.

Recorded over the best parts of 2014 and 2015 producer Steve Lyon (Depeche Mode, The Cure, Siouxsie Sioux), Identity is a brooding bundle of songs built on social and emotive drama and wrapped in cinematic atmospherics and adventure. It is also the provider of some of the most virulently catchy encounters likely to be heard this year among other captivating proposals which simply devout the imagination for matching success.

Identity opens up with its title track, a brief and gentle yet dystopian hued instrumental which has thoughts provoked before ears and appetite become enthralled by the following Anytime. The fact the song carries, from its first evocative breath, a creative nature and drama very reminiscent of brilliant eighties band Comsat Angels does it no harm at all; rampant rhythms and the melancholic lure of vocalist Thomas Pether adding to the irresistible temptation on offer. With the bass of Mike Smith as dramatically vocal as the rolling beats of Ben Howe, the song grips attention, tempting and enslaving within its first minute of dramatically emotive seduction.

Dark Dark has the unenviable task of following the outstanding track, taking the challenge successfully in its creative hands as fizzing keys from Matt Constantine hug the distinct and expressive tones of Pether. Melodies proceed to blossom in the dark shadows lining the track, rhythms again a pungent scent in the heady and enjoyably imposing rock ‘n’ roll of the song. Increasingly more off-kilter, bordering on deranged with each passing minute as keys bring fresh discord, the band uncages already another major pinnacle in Identity, backing it up with equal invention through I Know You So Well. Swiftly shaped by the suggestive chords and melodies of guitarist Rich Summers as rhythmic drama again provides a riveting skeleton to the sonic theatre of Summers and Constantine, the song even with its unique character again reminds of the earlier mentioned Sheffield hailing post punk band, only beguiling with its sombre yet vibrant croon.

ART_RingMasterReviewThe brilliant Good Day steps up next; a track which lit up the band’s last EP and still dominates ears and lusty pleasure with its imaginative confrontation. Jabbing beats are a relentless lure, their attitude matched by the snarl of Pether’s vocals and the volatile simmer and melodic trespass of the keys. A cauldron of enterprise bubbling with volcanic energy, the song alone puts Suzerain at the top table of British rock bands, and as those before it do, is soon backed up by the likes of Frenzy and Edging Out. The first of the pair is a mellower caress on the ear but just as rich in emotive shadows and melodic drama while the second has an industrial air around its similar heart sharing lyrical and aural tenderness. Both songs but especially the latter, has a hint of Nine Inch Nails to their emotive atmospheres as the album shows further variety in its broadening adventure.

The excellent pop infected Always strolls in next, bubbling keys and firm beats skirting the warm tones of Pether as a contagious enterprise simmers and bursts within ears. As always, there is an underlying shadow to emotion and invention which adds darker colour to contrast the lighter shades revelling in the song’s bold catchiness and floating harmonies. There is no resisting its charm and tempting before it makes way for the gorgeous theatre of Palm Of Her Hand. Bass and drums are in full noir fuelled flow as vocals and keys almost punch their respective words and melodies into the imagination. Taking best track honours, it is anthemic alchemy with a hint of Muse to it, though it is hard to remember that band making as big an impact as this with any song in recent years.

The sombre slightly baroque balladry of 200 slows the energy of the album but not its raw lure, especially with the melancholic strains of Constantine’s cello sighing in ears as a stark landscape, emotionally and suggestively, is laid. From its low key but potent proposition, Black & White brews its own brooding landscape of voice, emotion, and aural endeavour next with rhythms again providing striking bait.

Closing with the arresting might of Hide Yourself, rhythms once more a magnetic seizing of ears and appetite matched in creative and persuasive kind by the sonic fascination cast by guitars and keys as Pether transfixes, Identity never misses a beat in thrilling and disarming the senses. Easily the Suzerain’s finest hour to date, the album is also one of the most impressive moments for UK rock ‘n’ roll this year so far with few encounters destined to rival it ahead we suspect.

Identity is out now via BrainZone/Republic of Music.

http://www.suzerainmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/suzerainmusic   https://twitter.com/suzerainmusic

Pete Ringmaster 16/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ooberfuse – Secret Tattoo

Ooberfuse_RingMasterReview

Having recently returned from a prestigious Nashville songwriting camp sponsored by the UK government (UK Trade and Industry), the band part of a small number handpicked UK artists working with Nashville’s songwriting royalty, electronic pop duo Ooberfuse unveil their new single in the shape of the magnetically alluring Secret Tattoo. It is a vibrant smile on the senses; a song which bubbles and simmers like a pot of warmed honey as sweet as it is compelling.

Ooberfuse artwork_RingMasterReviewThe Woolwich based Ooberfuse is the creative union of Hal St John and Cherrie Anderson, and a project which has seduced much of the world across hundreds of gigs including performing to an audience of 2 million in Madrid and playing for hundreds in one of Rio de Janeiro’s notorious favelas. They have toured across the UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Canada, the Philippines, and Iraq whilst stirring up support from the likes of Paul Oakenfold, Sister Bliss (Faithless), Ministry of Sound, BBC Introducing’s Tom Robinson, and Amazing Radio’s Jim Gellatly. Following the successful trip mentioned at the start, Ooberfuse has UK spotlights in their sight again with Secret Tattoo, the successor to their praised 2015 single Fall and a song inspired by the thought, “Although love hides its face away from the gaze of a loveless world it nevertheless sprays, like urban graffiti, colourful designs on the flesh of the human ear.”

Secret tattoo opens with a Yazoo like electro invitation quickly joined by the highly persuasive tones of Anderson. Backed by similarly alluring hues from St John, her voice dances on the senses; offering a warm siren-esque kiss on the ear as elegant and tempting as the weave of melodic synth cast suggestiveness around her. There is also a touch of Depeche Mode to the song as its meanders with purpose and resourceful enterprise across the imagination. Its body is slim, textures uncomplicated on the ear but together they create a pop song which lures the listener into a sultry embrace of emotive and electronic flirtation.

No demands are made by Secret Tattoo, just an invitation from Ooberfuse to immerse in its infectious charm; one easy to accept request.

Secret Tattoo is released April 29th

Upcoming Tour Dates:

9 May – London, Soho, Spice of Life

25 June – London, Hayes, Hayes Community Centre

6 July – Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Stonyhurst College

http://www.ooberfuse.com/   https://www.facebook.com/ooberfuse   https://twitter.com/ooberfuse/

Pete RingMaster 27/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com

Victoria+Jean – Divine Love

V-J-_RingMasterReview

From the gorgeous artwork by Russian artist Oleg Dou through to the cinematic seducing which escapes each and every song, Divine Love is creative beauty involved with an imagination which simple leaves the listener lost in fascination. The imagination comes from Victoria+Jean, the episodes of aural drama from their debut album, and the brooding romance between listener and artist from instincts that just know when something transcends just ear food.

The band is the artistic and romantic union of Swedish born vocalist Victoria and Belgian guitarist Jean. Brought up in London and moving to Paris where she began her first career as a model, Victoria was a musician at heart and was signed as a solo artist aged 16 by a French major label, though she broke her four-album deal before releasing her debut, unable to make the compromises demanded upon her by the label. Moving to Belgium she met Jean and the couple began a career “motivated by encounters, travels and sound.” We have simplified the background for and leading to the project and union of the pair, with not for the first or indeed last time, Divine Love demanding to be the focus of attention.

art_RingMasterReviewIn creating the album, the duo sent their 12 tracks to their favourite producers with the request of collaboration for the release. The list included the likes of John Parish (PJ Harvey, Goldfrapp), Rob Kirwan (The Horrors, Depeche Mode), Christopher Berg (The Knife), Ian Caple (Tricky, Kate Bush), Joe Hirst (Stone Roses), Alistair Chant (PJ Harvey & John Parish), and Lucas Chauvière (De La Soul). As evidence of things being meant to be, each freely chose the same track Victoria+Jean had intended and hoped for them; a move and success which only adds to the album’s vastly diverse and eclectic character.

Divine Love opens with its title track and the duo’s new single. Within seconds the electronic mystique and ambience of the track has ears and imagination enthralled, the sixties cinematic drama in tone and air providing a great sense of mystery reinforced by the celestial caresses of Victoria’s mesmeric vocals. The gentle and elegant jangle of guitar equally brings rich suggestiveness to the enveloping theatre of dark charm and atmospheric tempting. There is no escaping a Portishead like essence to the bewitching encounter though equally artists like Propaganda and in a small way The Sugarcubes also offer their scent to its evocation.

It is a glorious start followed by the ridiculously irresistible Holly. From an initial lure of fuzzy guitar and mischievous beats, the song soon swings along with a virulent infectiousness which barely needs a handful of seconds to have hips swaying and spirit smiling. Victoria’s voice dances upon the compelling strands of sound, mixing composed moments with soaring harmonics as rhythms dance with addictive tenacity. As provocative in word as it is in sound, the track is sensational; growing with each twist of its musical theatre and lust inspiring alchemy.

Big Billie comes next, coaxing ears with raw blues guitar before thumping rhythms surround the tangy expressive tones of Victoria. Jean’s imagination continues to weave a sultry web of sound and enterprise to surround the tribal beats and descriptive vocals; a provocative blend playing like a mix of The Creatures and My Baby. Enthralling and igniting the senses it makes way for Until It Breaks and its brooding climate of sinister shadows and electronic espionage. As all songs, it has the imagination casting its own adventures to align with that of the song itself, sparking closer involvement between ears and song which is echoed again by Why Won’t You and its delta blues laced tango.

Across the fiery sonic and rhythmic trespass of Your Baby Don’t Know Me and Firecracker, things only get more boldly flirtatious and grouchily confrontational. The first is a prowling beast of a track with a touch of De Staat to its predacious noise rock infested waltz whilst its successor, while employing a similar dark rhythmic throb, courts techno fuelled ingenuity. It is a collusion which just gets more dynamic, agitated, and schizophrenic across its three body involving minutes, like its predecessor inciting a greedier appetite for Divine Love before a haunting beauty cast with a vibrant calm hugs ears through Härligt Sverige. Tantalising harmonies float around the poetic tones of Victoria, they skirted by resonating beats and the low key repetitive niggle of guitars. Winy tendrils vein the piece too; Jean creating an increasingly climactic drama matched by the vocal emotion equally gripping attention.

Ears and pleasure become engrossed in more blues bred invention through Takes You Like A Rose and Where We Belong next, the latter tempering the flavour with a bewitching folk seeded hug of melody and harmony before creating a tempestuous showdown of sound and emotive theatre. It is a glorious slice of aural cinema, again visual interpretation quickly inspired by the song and indeed Pull The Trigger which follows. Rhythms and percussive enterprise tease and play with ears before hitting an imposing stride entangled in sonic and vocal imagination. Anthemic and intimate within every writhing twist and turn of its excellent proposal, the track is like a hex on body and thought.

Closing with the epic spatial and atmospheric romancing of Define Love, an immersion into electronic and vocally harmonic reflection, Divine Love is one of the most enthralling and in turn invigorating releases heard in a long time. Every song provides an individual and compelling exploration still revealing fresh rewards after numerous listens. The album has plenty for fans of blues and rock ‘n’ roll, ambience and electronica, pop and dance and with a host of videos also accompanying each song, Divine Love is nothing less than essential listening and viewing.

Divine Love is released April 29th via FY Records at https://itunes.apple.com/be/album/divine-love/id1089239770?app=itune and across most online stores.

http://www.victoriaplusjean.com   https://www.facebook.com/victoriaplusjean

Pete RingMaster 26/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com