Who Killed Nancy Johnson? – Flat Earth Theory

Having recently checked out their latest single, Dark Horse, and been definitely taken by it, it was a really welcomed treat to be sent over by the band itself the release the song came from. Its creators are UK outfit Who Killed Nancy Johnson?, a​ ​​​Reading-based quartet creating an eventful fusion of punk and rock with post punk imagination. It is a tenacious sound fuelling a new EP in the shape of Flat Earth Theory, four tracks of raw and devilish rock ‘n’ roll which just got under our skin.

Formed in 2015, Who Killed Nancy Johnson? has grown into one increasingly praised and devoured live presence across the south of England. Their debut EP, Cops and Robbers, released early last year only added to their rising reputation, one sure to be energised again by Flat Earth Theory. Musically the band embraces inspirations from the likes of The Stooges, The Ruts, Wire, Magazine, Black Flag, Buzzcocks, The Rezillos, Fugazi, Ash, Killing Joke, Lit, Rival Schools, The Drills, and 3 Colours Red; an array of flavours which if not openly echoed in the band’s individual enterprise certainly adds to its substance.

Flat Earth Theory is an eventful encounter, an affair coincidently echoed in its making with former bassist Paul Anthony leaving the band just before the EP’s mixing stage and preventing the basslines already laid down being used. A mystery bassist saved the day though, Who Killed Nancy Johnson? leaving the studio with four slices of ear grabbing rock ‘n’ roll.

The EP opens with Strip, a song which opens the band’s live show and to rousing success one imagines such its potent impact on Flat Earth Theory. From a dulled clang of guitar, spirit sparking beats launch their bait, Mark Wren whipping up song and appetite alike as Pete Moulton’s guitar continues to linger casting raw strokes. Quickly though the song surges through ears, its rapacious energy and disruptive intent manna to the imagination and capped by the distinctive tones of vocalist Stefan Ball. Old school punk meets post punk devilry, kind of like The Adicts in league with a Fugazi fuelled Gang Of Four, the track is irresistible and for us a must single. It is easy to see why their shows get off to a flyer with the song, its two minutes instinctive punk ‘n’ roll incitement.

The following Alien has a broader rock landscape, alternative and punk merging for a tenacious stroll which teases and lures the listener to one irresistible call of a chorus demanding eager participation. As in the first song, the band casts wicked hooks and anthemic persuasions which manipulate by the second, a great throbbing bassline accentuating their dexterity as the track matches its predecessor in hitting the spot dead centre.

Mouth and Trousers is next up, a more controlled song which almost prowls ears initially even as a rush of riffs crowd them. It calms down further as vocals join the shuffle, rhythms keeping their restraint in place too. There is a whiff of pub rock to the song, a Dr Feelgood breath to its punk ‘n’ roll which brings another potent shade to the EP’s sound and though the track did not ignite the passions as richly as its companions, it had the body bouncing and vocal chords indulging especially through another potent chorus.

The EP is completed by that latest single, Dark Horse. The song is a muscular affair of alternative rock which straight away springs a lure of firm beats and juicy hooks, building on their prowess with appetising grooves and a brooding bassline aligned to almost predacious beats. Recalling bands such as The Motors and Mind Museum, the track dances in the imagination whilst arousing the spirit.

With new recruit Julien Bruinaud completing their line-up on bass, Who Killed Nancy Johnson? are ready to build on their previous success with a real nudge on national attention, the thoroughly enjoyable Flat Earth Theory irrepressibly leading the persuasion so watch this space.

Flat Earth Theory is out now @ https://wknancyj.bandcamp.com/releases


https://www.wknancyj.com/     https://www.facebook.com/WhoKilledNancyJohnson/     https://twitter.com/WKNancyJ

Pete RingMaster 20/02/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Perfect Fault – Electric Mountain EP

perfect fault photo

What to do if you have some spare time from your day job. Well if you are guitarist/vocalist Hywel Griff (Howl Griff), guitarist/vocalist Dan Edwards (Sons of Merrick/ Pig Irön), bassist Rob Taylor (Profane and the Sacred), and drummer Mark Sharpless (Sons of Merrick), you get a band together called Perfect Fault, descend on a studio, and create some tenaciously rousing rock ‘n’ roll. The result of their exploits is the thoroughly enjoyable Electric Mountain EP, a release unafraid to weave a tapestry of recognisable flavours into songs which what they lack in originality they compensate with hook laden virulence.

Recorded at the Cariad Studios in South London as mentioned on a downtime from its creator’s main projects, Electric Mountain is a richly pleasing stomp and a four track appetiser for a proposed album later in the year. It is fair to say that the release stokes the fires of anticipation for that prospect as easily as it leaves ears wanting more. Sometimes you only want sounds to rock out with, something adventurous within its own confines that fills the gap like a favourite meal, and Electric Mountain fits the bill from start to finish.

The encounter opens with its lead single Headstrong and immediately takes ears in a hug of crisp beats, bruising riffs, and a lure of spicy grooving. Vocals are a quick protagonist too, bounding across the increasingly eventful landscape of the song with relish and an anthemic presence to match the sounds around them. There is an old school feel to the song, its punkish tempting having a ring of rockers like Eddie and the Hot Rods and Dr. Feelgood whilst equally there is a grungier essence reminiscent of nineties band Skyscraper to the roar of the terrific opener. The song maybe a little low on surprises but in offering rich enjoyment it is full to bursting, just as its successor.

Electric Mountain Artwork   The following Cup Runneth Over strolls in on a seventies rock like toning around inviting beats but is soon embracing a great agitated vocal presence which in turn stirs up the fluidity of the music, jerky beats and riffs colluding with jagged hooks before slipping into a Cheap trick like melodic crooning. The invention continues to catch expectations by surprise, and though we have suggested originality is the rarest commodity on the EP there is no doubting the band turns established textures and flavours into something fresh and spicy.

As fun and satisfying as the first two tracks are, the greater triumphs come in its second half starting with Flowers On The Lamppost. Prowling, almost predatory riffs and rhythms court ears first before vocals add their dark intent to the enticing mix. Once more a punk edge and attitude fuels the proposal whilst its chorus has a seventies glam rock vitality reminding of bands like The Tubes, though without going anywhere near the theatrical excesses of the Americans. Thumping rhythms steer the track with varying intimidation straight into the core of appetite and passions whilst the post punk like enterprise of the guitars works impressively on the imagination. The song is a mini kaleidoscope of flavours within a menacing stalking and easily the best thing on the release.

The closing Dodo is like a mix of its two predecessors, once more punk and melodic rock uniting in a tantalising concoction of mischievous sound and ideation. Into its gripping stride the track swaggers like a blend of Top Buzzer and Terrorvision, a creative treaty bound in a sonic lure of psyche and groove rock making a compelling end to an increasingly intoxicating release.

Electric Mountain definitely needs numerous plays to really appreciate what is going on as plenty of its unique endeavours are understated within the anthemic surface of familiarity, but from its first touch the EP is a highly satisfying escapade to get hungry over. Roll on an album we say.

The Electric Mountain EP is available now via Cariad Records @ https://cariadrecords.bandcamp.com/album/perfect-fault-electric-mountain-ep

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Perfect-Fault/772646976107941   https://twitter.com/perfectfault1

RingMaster 02/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Sisteray – She Likes The Drama


     Since forming in 2012, British rock band Sisteray has been building a rather potent fan base and appreciation through  their live performances and releases, an eagerly followed presence which their new EP She Likes The Drama gives plenty of evidence to the reason why. The four track release is an engaging proposition which from making an initially decent if unsure persuasion emerges as a magnetically appealing enjoyment. It is fair to say the EP does not quite reach in to ignite a flame in these particular passions but from the sure satisfaction definitely found you can easily see that it will be a different proposition for a great many others.

    Hailing from London and consisting of Niall Rowan (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), the Connolly brothers Daniel (lead guitar/vocals) and Ryan (drums), and Michael Hanrahan (bass), Sisteray take influences from the likes of The Kinks, The Beatles and The Who but equally from 70’s Mod Revival bands such as The Jam and Blues bands such as Dr. Feelgood, The Yardbirds, and The Rolling Stones. Those spices are open in the Sisteray sound as are also inspirations from more recent bands like The Stone Roses, The Arctic Monkeys, and Oasis. It is a striking mix which despite that rich soak of inciting flavours, does find a voice distinct to Sisteray as loudly evident on She Likes The Drama.

    The title track kicks things off, a single guitar tempting luring in attention and imagination before being joined by a nice dark 1536716_554607001299650_1249032493_nbassline and melodically sculpted riff strokes. It is a clean and precise persuasion of sixties blues kissed rock ‘n’ roll with a seventies garage rock breath and nineties indie endeavour. The song never explodes into the fire it hints at, especially around the chorus, but it is as infectious and compelling as you could wish for and undeniably makes a pleasing impact. The vocals of Rowan like the song are expressive with a strong buoyant tone whilst the prime hook of the song is irresistibly potent and with the other enticing elements of the song it all adds up to make the track an increasingly enticing offering over time.

      The following Rollin’ Over also offers a highly coaxing entrance into the song, a lone throaty and slowly parading bassline beckoning ears before the subsequent flame of melodic guitars and crisp rhythms joins the tempting. There is a stronger blues aroma to the song right away which the group vocals around the chorus accentuate into a quite inflammatory suasion. Again the band never erupts into the assumed and hoped to come unleashing of anthemic energy within the track, which does disappoint slightly, but there is plenty in the swagger and voice of the song to draw in appetite for and enjoyment in the encounter.

      I’m Free emerges on a fuzz ball of sonic intrigue increasing further the blues fire which smoulders and burns in each song, whilst a certain Oasis bred croon equally impacts on the ears. Not as tantalising and ultimately impressing as the other songs, it still captures the imagination especially with the constant almost brawling blaze of sonic scowling which cores the musical narrative. Providing the heaviest rock ‘n’ roll moment of She Likes The Drama, the track keeps momentum and strength of the release strong and engaging before making way for the closing Coming Up.

     The song ensures the release ends on the same high as it started, actually an even greater success with the track the best on the EP. It takes a mere second before the irresistible hook of the song steals the imagination, its call switching with a more sobering but inviting swipe of riffs. Into its stride the song is soon urging feet and emotions to partake in its revelry, its presence a mix of the mod power pop of Purple Hearts, the raw punk simplicity of The Fall, and the addictive nature of Arctic Monkeys. It is a masterful and wholly contagious thrill which alone confirms that Sisteray is definitely a choice emerging force in UK rock.

     As previously stated She Likes The Drama fails to spark up the strongest emotions in our personal reactions, well until the excellent final song anyway, but it is impossible not to hear the potential and already toxic strengths of the band which has captured so many hearts already, with plenty more to follow you can only suspect. A release if any of the previously mentioned comparisons take your fancy, to give a big slice of attention to.



RingMaster 15/02/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Pirate Sons – 233U EP


Photography by John Kane

How to describe the sound of Pirate Sons? Well take a certain dose of The White Stripes and add it to a flavoursome vat of some The Black Keys, Dr Feelgood, and The Black Crowes and you have the core of what makes up their sound and the exciting EP 233U. The four track release is a dirt clad stomp of untainted rock ‘n’ roll, an often bruising and incendiary confrontation which always lights the touch paper to insatiable garage rock bred revelry and unbridled satisfaction.

Originally a duo based in Wellington, New Zealand, the now Scottish based trio of a Kiwi, an Englishman and a Scot, are poised to burst out from their Edinburgh setting to a wider recognition with their debut release. Already the band has earned an imposing reputation for their incendiary live performances which has seen them alongside the likes of The Fire And I and The Minutes, the band continually giving everyone a run for their money. The EP has all the elements to place the threesome in the concentrated gaze of the UK rock scene, and the band itself the confidence and swagger to keep it burning.

Opening track Dirty, Dirty Rascals barely lays down its singular riff before unleashing a full stomp of aural wantonness, the song aa0581250999_2 tidy yet lawless slab of enterprise and insatiable hunger taking the senses on a ride of riotous adventure. With a strong contagious bassline and feisty flames of sonic taunting from the guitars, the track leads the passions on a charge of boisterous mischief with crafty rhythms framing and carving the exploits for greater persuasion.

The following Foolish wraps its riffs and melodic potency in an even stronger blues seeded blaze whilst the vocals snatch at some searing heavy metal tones but save themselves with a touch of belligerence to their coaxing. It is a sizzling mix which attached to the again teasing sonic scorching of the guitar only ignites further hunger for sound and release.

The Last Days Of Robert Johnson is a explosive romp which takes its time to get up to full energy but is deliberate in its brewing of a presence which makes every second of its impending climatic exploit one to savour and feed upon. Eventually the song unloads the pent up energy and greed through intensive and riveting white hot crescendos which spark equally impacting heat in the appetite of the listener.  As throughout the release the guitars have a raw and dishevelled sound which lights the ear further whilst the melodic strokes of keys enhance the invention and thrills further.

Final song Long Gone took and is still taking time to convince, though there is nothing openly disagreeable about its persuasion. With a slow saunter across the ear and vocals which equally do not rush to find a connection, the track does not spark any strong reaction or a sense of fire inside like the other three tracks. At its heart it is a pleasing and well-crafted piece but surrounded by less successful ideas and results, though the fact that the lead in to the chorus is a dead ringer to the core hook of the Eric Idle Python featured song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life raises a broad smile and an unintended contribution by this listener.  The song still makes a more than decent end to a great debut though and has plenty to continue the promise and now in place hunger for what follows from Pirate Sons in the future.

If you have fervour for blues tinged rock ‘n’ roll made with devilry by honest hands unconcerned with clean cut and ultimately passionless presentation, than the 233U EP is a piece of devil bred pleasure just ripe for consumption.




RingMaster 03/06/2013

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Mike Marlin – Grand Reveal

 Mike Marlin pic

     To be honest initially the new album Grand Reveal from Mike Marlin threw thoughts and expectations into mystified disarray, the artist instantly going against what was presumed for our first encounter with the man. It also did not take long to be deeply enamoured with his enterprise and inventive uniqueness. Marlin creates what can only be described as dark folk, though that also limits the impression of what is on offer across the striking album. The songs making up the release evoke and provoke thoughts and emotions but constantly within its startling and varied breath, there is an underlying virulent infectious lure. It is not always marked and at times no more than a whisper but at all times the barb hooked is available and potently contagious.

Born in London in the sixties, Marlin has had an eventful and dramatic life to simplify things. Losing an eye as a four year old while playing in the garden, the traumatic event and the subsequent cruelty of other children shaped he and his determined fire ahead. Something of an academic child prodigy he won a scholarship to Oxford to study Physics at seventeen. At this point he truly began his musical education constantly attending gigs and seeing the likes of Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Dr Feelgood, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Stranglers, and The Undertones to name just a small few. Playing bass in a band in Oxford came next before Marlin dropped out of education and started working in the small family broking business. The next twenty five years or so saw Marlin go through a family meltdown, start a series of technology based companies, and in 2008 decide to be a novelist Throughout he had also written songs with no intent to unveil them for public consumption but in 2009 he met musician and producer James Durrant and they recorded as a creative experiment the album Nearly Man, which Mike now describes as “the greatest hits of a man who never had any hits”. A recording by him of Staying Alive brought him to the awareness of agent Neil O’Brien and one year later from singing his first song to anyone Marlin found himself supporting The Stranglers at the Hammersmith Apollo on their 2011 UK tour. Later that year debut album Man On The Ground was recorded with producer Catherine Marks, as well as joining another Stranglers UK and European tour.

Entering the studio again last year with Marks for Grand Reveal, what has emerged is an album which reaps depths of emotions Mike Marlin - Grand Revealand striking ingenuity which one assumes have seeded from the journey Marlin needed to make in his life. The album starts with the first single taken from it, Skull Beneath The Skin. An ambient key shaped entrance evokes the imagination at first and though it does not light instant imagery there are shapeless ideas bred from its elegant presence. Soon a lone guitar is stroking the ear whilst Marlin brings his excellent part croon part growling vocals to bear on the lyrical narrative. Into its full stride there is certainly a Psychedelic Furs lilt to the eager stroll of the song and vocals, the refreshing sounds and passion offering a R&B swagger to the almost punkish attitude. It is an excellent start which entraps full focus before handing over to the title track, a song with a slow loping stance within an emerging sweltering air rich in emotive shadows and snarling ambience.

The impressive start continues with War To Begin and Amazing, the first a track with a repetitive persistence coring a fiery embrace which sizzles and burns upon the senses. Like many of the songs on the album its catchy temptation is irresistible with the vocals of Marlin are an appetizing graze within the melodic energy of the confrontation. The second of the pair is a dawdling tension of feeling and atmosphere with an agitated yet hypnotic pulse to add steel to the emotive charge. The beginning of the track is compelling enough but when it flares up with an electric abrasion from the guitar and heightened fire to the vocal attack, a major highlight is bred.

As it progresses The Grand Reveal increases its potent attraction with further pinnacles coming through the outstanding sinister dark folk triumph of The Murderer, the song easily the best on the album with its distorted innocence and sultry intrigue not to mention malevolence, the warm sixties tinged Forgive Me Yet with its vibrant brass shards of colourful sounds and Cajun banjo coaxing, and Doesn’t Care. The last of the three songs picks at the ear with glistening spots of sonic brilliance whilst the guitar picks its moment to precisely play the passions like a siren. It is a kaleidoscope of emotive craft and richly appetising enterprise, something which describes the whole album perfectly.

With every song offering a shadowed tale lyrically and musically to whip up imagination and pleasure with their diverse inventive aural fuels, Grand Reveal is a rare and rewarding feast which no one should pass upon.



RingMaster 08/04/2013

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