Japanese Fighting Fish – Swimming with Piranhas

Photo by Scott M Salt Photography

Photo by Scott M Salt Photography

The highly anticipated third album from British aural dramatists  Japanese Fighting Fish is uncaged this week, a release which not only confirms that there is no other proposal like the London based quartet but shows the band hitting another plateau in their breath-taking sound and invention. There are few with the musical craft and adventure to match an imagination as daring as it is inimitable but Japanese Fighting Fish have it all in abundance and in full enthralling flow within Swimming with Piranhas.

Formed in Leeds in 2009, Japanese Fighting Fish had a great many hooked, including us, by the release of debut album Just Before We Go MAD two years later. A release experimenting with South American rhythms as raw vocals and dirty guitars played, its compelling success was eclipsed by its successor, the punk infused Day Bombs of 2011. Releases and years have seen the band draw comparisons to the likes of Faith No More, System of a Down, QOTSA, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Primus, and Frank Zappa, but as evidenced once more by their latest triumph,  Japanese Fighting Fish really do stand alone in character and sound. Mastered by Tim Young (Massive Attack, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Elbow, and The Beatles ‘Love’ Album), Swimming with Piranhas is the band at its most eclectic yet and offering a collection of funk infested, theatrical exploits; quite simply rock and roll with the devilry and boldness of creative insanity.

Inspired in title by the real life wild experiences of vocalist Karlost Thompson and drummer Al Sweetman whilst staying in Ecuador with a Quechan tribe where they took a dip in the Amazon River, Swimming with Piranhas has ears and imagination swiftly gripped with its opening title track. A lone spicy groove teases first, it soon joined by broader sonic sighs and boisterous rhythms as the song increasingly expands into a hip swinging, rhythmically riveting magnet. Once the familiar, ever expressive and captivating tones of Karlost complete the line-up of creative cast, the imagination is taken on a beguiling off kilter ride. With kinetic beats and baroque scented organ shaped theatre adding to the ever shifting gait and mood of the encounter, the opener is sheer captivating as fiery and infectious as it is thought provoking and a great sign of things to come.

art_RingMasterReviewThe excellent start continues and hits another level with Egyptian Sunrise, the song a sultry tango of exotic mystique upon the driving throaty bassline of Matt McGuinness and the swinging bait of Sweetman. Impossible to resist getting physically involved, the song leads the body a merry dance with the imagination caught up in the creative tones and lyrical incitement of Karlost. Also swathed in the equally suggestive invention of Gareth Frederik Ellmer’s guitar, the song is a mouth-watering exploit soon matched in creative theatre by Provocative Cat. Funky with Parisian hues, the song flirts and dances with ears as the bass masterfully groans and Karlost paints the imagination like a vaudevillian showman.

New single For Queen Marilyn comes next, sauntering in on a raw riff and rumbling beats as vocals spread their instinctive drama and ascending energy. Soon its rapacious rock ‘n’ roll is ablaze with intensity amidst a hearty roar, switching between calm and volatile waters before making way for Close The Gate. An encounter which seems to mellow as it reaches climactic moments and erupts when you expect it to slip into alluring calms, the unpredictable song is a twisted treat but one soon outshone by previous single U Ain’t Gonna Win This. An exploration of split personalities also making a “homage to boxing greats like Ali, and Rocky “, the song is a fleet footed shuffle with another deeply contagious gurning  bassline from McGuinness courting the vocal waltz of Karlost and band. Taking addiction to a fresh level, the track mixes sweltering melodies and grungy textures with sonic guitar splatters and a virulent carnival-esque bounce.

Hard To Resist is a matching enslavement of body and appetite, its lazy yet snarling bass swing and gripping croon just two of the irresistible elements in what must be the next single. The track is glorious, reminding of little know eighties band, Zanti Misfitz as it throws its creative temptation around. A slip into a deranged XTC like pasture only adds to the fun and increasing seduction too.

Another funk sculpted adventure follows in the shape of I Got Time; its Red Hot Chili Peppers like romp infused with a Talking Heads like prowess, while On A Fall sonically shimmers as the eager beats of Sweetman fuel the pulsating balladry of voice and Ellmer’s resonating guitar enterprise. Increasingly more provocative and gripping with every listen, the track is yet another thrilling twist in the varying style and sound within Swimming with Piranhas.

The album is brought to an equally exciting and inventive close by firstly Dr. No-Sense and its noir spiced and increasingly bedlamic intensity. It is followed by the similarly deranged but skilfully reined imagination and creative resourcefulness of I Caught You Wandering for a bewitching end to another superb offering from Japanese Fighting Fish. Swimming with Piranhas takes the band and their one of a kind proposition to a whole new plateau, not just for them but for the British rock scene. Why Japanese Fighting Fish is not a name on so many more eager lips already is a bit of a mystery, now they might just be with this beast of a proposal doing the persuading.

Swimming with Piranhas is released 17th June across most online stores.

http://www.japanesefightingfish.co.uk/    https://www.facebook.com/Japanesefightingfishuk   https://twitter.com/jffuk

Pete RingMaster 17/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Lazlo Device – Looking Glass

lazlo device art_RingMaster ReviewIt is fair to say that UK quartet The Lazlo Device, have laid down an inescapably immersive adventure with new single Looking Glass to offer a fascinating invitation and teaser to their upcoming debut album. A majestic serenade of sultry melodies and elegant charm bound in an evocative ambience, the song glides through ears and into the imagination. It is in a way aurally erotic such its suggestiveness yet equally has a rousing prowess of energy and subtle crescendos to seduce the body’s instincts and leave a quickly keen appetite lustfully greedy by its close.

The band is a quartet from London which formed towards the rear of 2010. Drawing on inspirations from the likes of Mogwai, Wild Beasts, Grizzly Bear, Stateless, Four Tet, The Beta Band, and Elbow, the foursome of bassist/vocalist Dan Murdoch, guitarists/keyboardists Mark Litobarski and Ross Saunders, and drummer Leo Fenn soon began earning a growing reputation for “their unique blend of delicate soundscapes, thumping riffs and epic climaxes.” It is a quality openly evident in their latest single, it impressively building upon the invention and success which fuelled the band’s 2014 released trio of EPs, Unlucky 13, Gunslinger, and Lazlodia (Tokyo High St EP).

Taken from impending full-length Duelism, the swiftly seductive Looking Glass first caresses ears with a sombre yet welcoming bass. Within a few breaths more keys and guitar strings within floating harmonies lay poetic fingers upon the senses and imagination, they orchestrated by the engaging vocal charm of Murdoch. The song’s atmosphere is warm whilst its scenery is a mellow yet flirtatious festivity involving jazzy textures and evocative melodies amongst many more spices which simply romances ears.

There is an underlying catchiness to the proposition too, one lurking in the magnetic rhythms and the swing of the vocals. It is an infectiousness which builds to controlled but anthemic expulsions that only reinforce the track’s grip on the listener before allowing them to fall back into the seductive arms of the Muse scented encounter. A smooch on the senses, Looking Glass is further enhanced by the irresistible flames of guest and alto saxophonist Dennis McDonagh, they another hue to a lingering treat which by its end has incited the beginning of impatience for the album ahead.

There is/was a Japanese band called Tokyo Chaos City which created a similar alchemy of emotion flooded ambiences around fiercely provocative textures and sonic experiences, they the only real references we can offer to the uniqueness of The Lazlo Device sound. Expectations are that Duelism will follow-up and push on the beauty and invention of Looking Glass whilst The Lazlo Device will go on to be a potent part of the rock landscape at home and most likely further afield.

Looking Glass is out now @ https://thelazlodevice.bandcamp.com/ with Duelism to be released 11th March with its launch show on March 12th at the Camden Barfly.

https://www.facebook.com/thelazlodevice  http://www.thelazlodevice.com   https://twitter.com/THELAZLODEVICE

Pete RingMaster 17/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Sittin’ Pretty – Twenty Four Seven / Hopeless Annie

Sittin Pretty_RingMaster Review

Sittin’ Pretty is an alternative/blues rock band from the North West of England and a proposition, if their new single is a sign of things to come, we are all going to hear a lot more about in coming months and years. There is booziness to the band’s sound, an intoxicating essence which entices and seduces certainly on the evidence of their double A-sided single Twenty Four Seven / Hopeless Annie. The release enthrals from the start, worming it way into the psyche to linger long after its songs have departed. Admittedly its first touch is potent without seemingly lighting a blaze in the passions, yet once it is not there tantalising ears it still haunts the imagination to pleasing effect.

Sittin Pretty artwork_RingMaster ReviewHailing from Manchester and Bolton, Sittin’ Pretty consists of vocalist Conor Wilde, guitarists Lewis Grounds and Cameron Gavin, bassist George Brown, and drummer Sayon Beaufort-Harwood. It is a young quintet blessed with the ability to fuse classic and modern hues into their own adventurously provocative sound. Produced by Steven Wilson Jnr and engineered by Gary Hadfield (The Courteeners, Elbow, The Stereophonics, The Twang, Justin Timberlake), the band’s introduction to the world is a compelling persuasion needing little time to make an impact.

Twenty Four Seven embraces ears with voice and a low key caress of keys initially, the croon of Wilde imposing and inviting bait leading the listener into the quickly broadening landscape and heart of the song. Subsequently ears are entangled in spicy guitar grooves and prowling bass tempting, each a flirty mix of blues/ jazz tenacity around the increasingly potent vocals of Wilde and band. The whole temperature of the song continues to increase with every sweep of guitar and swinging groove, their sonic fire aligned to the emotive flames breaking out as the track heads to a sizzling climax as pungent and individual as its melancholically suggestive start.

Hopeless Annie opens with strokes of fuzz lined guitar, a raw coaxing soon joined by another pulsating bass lure from Brown amidst potent sonic mistiness. The strength of the vocals again demand focus upon entering the sultry yet volatile smooch of bluesy tempting, but quickly sharing the limelight with the craft escaping all members of the band. Though the track is a spark or two less stirring than the roar made by Twenty Four Seven, it equally leaves ears and pleasure full, and an appetite for more, hungrier.

It might be only two songs but already anticipation of bigger and bolder things has been awakened by the single; just up to Sittin’ Pretty to deliver now.

Twenty Four Seven / Hopeless Annie is out now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/24-7-single/id1048301732

https://twitter.com/sittinprettyhq   https://www.facebook.com/SittinPrettyMusic

Pete RingMaster 10/12/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

The Barnum Meserve – Self Titled

The Barnum Meserve - Promo Shot

Let us introduce you to the next big thing in British rock music, The Barnum Meserve. It is a big claim but such the immense power, potency, and potential in their self-titled debut album, it is not as wild a suggestion as newcomers to the band might imagine. Consisting of thirteen epic and cinematic creative emprises, the release is a seriously fascinating and glorious proposition which bewitches and excites with every melodic embrace, vocal roar, and orchestral temptation.

The seeds to the Nottingham band were sown at the start of the millennium when bassist Dylan Griffiths met pianist/vocalist Leon Wiley while studying music in college. Swiftly finding a mutual passion for certain ‘musical exploits’ the pair began writing and playing together. One of their earlier shows brought drummer Paul Moss-Pearce on to their radar, their meeting subsequently leading to him completing the band’s line-up. A few years of writing and reinventing their sound in respective ways followed before the trio finally united and emerged as The Barnum Meserve, in 2007. Again the three took their time creating, evolving, and honing their sound with the next eighteen months seeing the band studio bound before hitting the live scene in late 2008. First EP Stories From The Paper House sparked keen interest with its release in 2011, attention especially potent in the underground scene once backed up and pushed on again by its successor, the Broken Window EP in the following year. Now national awareness is poised to be inflamed with the threesome’s first album; an attention grabbing wake-up call to The Barnum Meserve.

_CardWallet     The album opens with War Games and a serenade of orchestral expression and piano elegance wrapped in haunting beauty. The immersive hug of sound warmly swirls around the senses, gaining more potency and depth with the joining of the instantly impressive gravelly vocals of Wiley. An epic air is crafted at the same time, a drama which sublimely sets ears, imagination, and appetite up for the rest of the album, and whilst the song itself feels more like a dawning to what is to come than an individual song it inescapably has imagination and anticipation licking lips ready for what is to come.

It is an intrigue and adventure immediately filled by Open Up Your Eyes. Keys alone tempt initially before being aligned to the dramatic and epically swung beats of Moss-Pearce aligned to the more predatory tones of Griffiths’ bass. With its first rhythmic breath an addictive temptation is luring ears and emotions whilst Wiley’s continually sculpting fingers and adventurous throat bellows craft potent narratives over and within the driving range of beats. The song is pure magnetism, a virulent persuasion of sound and creative theatre enthralling body and emotions continued with current single Colours. Again here is a song instantly smothering the senses in melody rich colours and emotional energy on waves of keys bred adventure and reflective intimacy. Listening to the song is like diving from the edge of a mountain peak soaked in intensive light and soaring through varying shades of immersive shadows and invigorating radiance from thereon in.

There is no let up with the contagious temptation as Don’t Be Afraid comes forward next with a simply irresistible rhythmic bait; the minimalistic and wholly anthemic shuffle conjured by Moss-Pearce is a gripping incitement which continues to spring its traps across the broadening and melodically expansive landscape of the track. Strings and brass swamp the senses, again taking them on a dramatic flight before the song relaxes into a calmer pasture of just as passionate and fiery emotion. It is spellbinding, a collusion of contrasts building to an epic and breath-taking escapade before making way for the more slender weight of Last Forever and the darker tones of Half Mast. Both tracks reveal new enterprise and invention in the songwriting and sound of the band, the first a minimalistic dance but a persistent lure to another climactic call of orchestral and vocal majesty. Its successor is just as an enthralling a proposition, its heart and body seemingly bred from the darkest shadows with an underlying nature to match but exploring almost conflicting realms of emotional voracity and inflamed exotic beauty.

Wonderfully it is already impossible to pin down The Barnum Meserve sound; you can suggest essences of Nine Inch Nails and Arcade Fire, which many have, but listening to the album for us and often for no obvious reasons, thoughts of bands like Doves, Fatima Mansions, and Elbow come to mind, yet it is creative alchemy distinct to The Barnum Meserve ultimately. A fact proven by the band’s latest single Underneath The Grey which comes next. A sultry and transfixing pop rock song, it is arguably the gentlest surrounding of the senses on the album and one of the most captivating with its sonic breezes and melodic elegance bound in orchestral grandeur.

Without Numbers is a similarly bred offering next, pop and stadium rock infused into another intimate and intoxicating anthem of emotive and melodic fire. If it was me, this would be the next single, its impact simply overwhelming and invigorating whilst revealing everything you need to know about the band to breed real excitement. You could suggest many of the tracks would make the ideal gateway into band and album to be fair though, the imposing balladry and haunted emotional atmosphere of After The Fire next another easy to devour candidate as is the sentimental embrace and orchestral authority of the sensational Losing Sleep.

Dust provides another intensive ballad of sound and emotion, and though it is a slow burner for personal reactions it simply engrosses and heavily pleases with its company whilst Take Shelter entwines its own emotive reflections with a pungent lure of rhythms. In a single breath though, it explodes into a tempest of mouth-watering enterprise and imposing musical drama, swinging between contrasts linked by rampantly addictive rhythms. The song is a blaze of horns, strings, and impacting vocals bound by piano charm, and quite sensational.

Ending now the album could not go out on a loftier high but the melancholic haunting that is Tides provides one final immersive exploration for listener and band to bond over, not as instant a persuasion as its predecessor but certainly a lingering and absorbing finale to leave the listener wanting, needing more.

As mentioned at the start, we predict that The Barnum Meserve is going to take the British rock scene by storm, if not now definitely in the future, though now almost looks inevitable such the brilliance of their first album.

The Barnum Meserve is available via 34D Records from 6th April through all stores.

https://www.facebook.com/TheBarnumMeserve   https://twitter.com/BarnumMeserve

RingMaster 06/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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