Morganway – Ain’t It Just

morganway-car-shot_RingMasterReview

A lingering caress of melodic and harmonic captivation is probably the best way to describe the alt-country of UK band Morganway, certainly on the evidence of their current EP and the single it is about to bear.

Hailing from “North Norfolk’s rural outback”, the Norwich quintet create a proposition which feels familiar, like an returning friend, yet still stands boldly apart from most other proposals. New single Ain’t It Just is the perfect example, a warm and engaging seduction which almost deceptively is also one rousing incitement for body and spirit.

Formed by twins Callum (acoustic guitar, lead vocals) and Kieran Morgan (lead guitar), Morganway is completed by Yve Mary B (lead vocals), Matt Brocklehurst (keyboard), and Simon Tinmouth (drums). With its raw smouldering Americana air and kaleidoscope of harmonic suggestiveness, debut EP No Tomorrows made an instant attention grabbing impact, drawing comparisons to the likes of Fleetwood Mac, The Strokes, ELO, and The Magic Numbers since its unveiling last year. Its success is poised to be backed and pushed by the release of opening track Ain’t It Just as the band’s new single, a song which stirs ears and heart with inevitable success.

morganway-artwork_RingMasterReviewAin’t It Just opens with an immediately emotive air and strum of guitar; a warm enticing swiftly bolstered by the transfixing tones of Yve Mary B and the poetic nature of the accompanying melody. With gentle rhythms alongside, the song wraps its tender thoughts and enterprise around the ears, still hiding the anthemic prowess in the depths of its already catchy character. Once freed, the rousing infectiousness bewitches hips and imagination alike, the song blossoming into a melodic roar which still embraces its opening elegance and reflective charm.

Its touch is a memorable temptation which for those new to the band is echoed across the No Tomorrows EP with the compelling Hearts Of Fire a matching energetic crescendo of invention. Backed by tracks like it’s title track and the Fleetwood Mac spiced Baby, Let’s Run, both similarly infectious affairs, all help reveal a broader character of the Morganway sound which can only blossom further ahead.

Ain’t It Just is released January 6th with the No Tomorrows EP out now and available @ https://morganway.bandcamp.com/releases

Upcoming Live Shows

Friday 13th January – The Troubadour, London

Saturday 14th January – Open, Norwich

25th February – The Islington, London

http://www.morganway.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/morganwayuk/   https://twitter.com/MorganwayUK

Pete RingMaster 04/01/2017
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Landed – Friends

The Landed_RingMaster Review

Following up the catchy adventure of previous single She, UK band The Landed release a mellower but no less persuasive proposal with its successor Friends. The song reveals more of the depth and variety in the Colchester quartet’s sound and though, compared to its predecessor, it is a calmer stroll it comes with its own lively and magnetic energy.

Hailing from Colchester, the quartet of Dan Currie, Paul Jannece, and brothers Paul and David Hale have been regularly stirring up keen and supportive attention, especially once releasing their well-received self-titled EP in 2014. Its set of six alternative and indie rock bred songs soon lured interest of fans and media, as well as strong radio play through the likes of Tom Robinson at 6 Music and Huw Stephens at Radio 1. Earlier this year, She showed a new and more mature body to the band’s sound, a suggestion more than confirmed by Friends.

artwork_RingMaster ReviewThe title track from the band’s new EP, the new single swiftly has ears enticed with its opening caress of guitar and a quickly following and fuller lure of chords, melodies, and a darkly enticing bassline. There is an instant swing to the song too, one emulated in the strong vocals and the overall rhythmic dance of the growing song. As mentioned, the track shows a more restrained gait and energy to the last single yet every hook, twist in invention, and melodic smile is designed to and successfully seduce feet and voice into eager involvement.

Many bands have been given as references to The Landed sound, Fleetwood Mac, ELO, Noah And The Whale, and The Police amongst them, and certainly the last pair are whispers you can hear in the warm canter of the song. Their vivacious last single She still edges the two for personal tastes, but Friends potently shows that The Landed is no one-trick pony in potent songwriting and enjoyable sound, and that their new EP should be closely paid attention to.

Friends is available now.

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

RingMaster 24/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Rousing carousels: an interview with Woody Woodgate

 

woody_RingMaster Review

This past week saw the highly anticipated debut solo album from Woody Woodgate released, a pop adventure lighting ears and imagination at every captivating turn. In Your Mind is an encounter which put a smile on our faces whilst often providing evocative hues to reflect and linger over. We had to delve a little deeper into the album and with the kindness of the man himself we explored one of this summer’s treats…

Hi Woody and many thanks for sparing time to chat with us.

Let us get straight to the main reason for taking a slice of your time, debut solo album In Your Mind. With your long creative career in music it feels a little surprising it has taken so long for a solo project to emerge from you. Has this been bubbling in thoughts for quite a while or something which suddenly erupted inside because of a break in other endeavours?

After releasing the Magic Brothers album The Magic Line with my brother Nick, I wanted to take our songs to another level. Quite simply I wanted to work with other musicians. My brother Nick and I have been writing songs together for years. Songs that are appropriate for Madness, go to Madness, songs that I love, but aren’t appropriate for Madness I’ll work on. It’s no good if they don’t see the light of day. Nothing’s been bubbling; it’s all been coming out for years in different guises.

The diverse tracks and sounds within the album is something distinctly different to Madness and indeed Magic Brothers for me. I think I read they were originally planned for the second Magic Brothers album, is that so and how much did you develop further once they were destined for In Your Mind?

They were destined for the Magic Brothers, but it wasn’t really a Magic Brothers project once I got Dan Shears (vocals) and Tim Maple (guitars, and Keyboards) on board. I also took over all the arranging and producing, so it became increasingly my project.

woodywoodgate_inyourmind-_RingMaster ReviewWere there any particular musical inspirations which might have sparked flavours woven into In Your Mind?

I’m a kid from the seventies so it’s packed with influences from the Beatles, ELO, Supertramp, 10cc, through to Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. Not forgetting my 37 years of Madness, which is my default setting when writing 3 minute pop songs?

Obviously writing and developing songs within a broad line-up like Madness must be very different to composing and creating in Magic Brothers and your solo release. Have you found there is a kind of freedom coming with writing your own music and songs without having to I guess compromise more?

It’s very rewarding being able to put in rock guitar riffs, solos, multi-layered vocals, and do soppy love songs, but it’s also quite hard in the sense that you don’t have anyone to tell you whether or not you’re going up your own jacksy. Self-indulgence can be a dangerous thing, if not checked.

As much as the songs and sounds captivated us here so did the wave of nostalgia it sparked, memories of being a small excited and innocent kid going on that big adventure on a holiday etc. I am assuming it was those kinds of experience and memory for you inspiring songs and album?

If I can put across my experience, I guarantee there’s someone out there who can relate. I also think that lyrics can mean different things to different people, and that’s the beauty of music. The simple fact that you were captivated, and conjured up visions of “a small exited and innocent kid on that big adventure on a holiday etc.” says it all. You (as a listener) were transported into another world though the music, drawing on your own imagination. Hence, “In Your Mind.”

How personal and intimate are the songs to your childhood and experiences?

It’s a mixture of one’s own experience, and imagination.

Was it easy to expose a real part of you as a person and your experiences in life into the album?

I didn’t know I had? So I suppose the answer is “Yes.”

Music was a big part of your upbringing and your brother Nick’s too?

Very much so…It was pivotal.

One of the reasons behind the album was the time allowed because the second Magic Brothers album had to be postponed because of Nick’s “on-going battle with mental health issues” to quote the press release for the album. May I ask what kind of impact his problems have brought to Magic Brothers and In Your Mind in regards to its tones, reflective depths, and lyrical themes?

To be honest, the only thing that was affected by Nick’s illness was his ability to perform live, and take the new album on the road. Nick thought it was only fair that we try out other singers, as the pressure was getting to him, and pressure can set off psychotic episodes. When I found Dan Shears, the pressure on Nick was lifted, and he was able to go back to what he’s best at, and that’s writing great songs. When it comes to writing songs Nick’s illness isn’t a problem, it doesn’t impair his ability to write, and his lyrics very rarely touch on his psychosis, they’re more about his relationships. In all respects he’s just a songwriter, like anyone else. It’s just he’s a very good one, who happens to have schizophrenia.

So though not to the fore Nick’s creative hand is more involved in the album than we might initially imagine?

The album would be nothing without Nick. He is the catalyst to all the songs. I simply reconstruct the dinosaur from the scraps of bones I’m given. Granted there is a lot of interpretation involved, but all in all we complete each other.

Tell us about the link up with Dan, how did you meet and what inspired you to get him involved?woody_RingMaster Review

I worked in a school ten years ago teaching Music Technology and Media Studies, and Dan was a student doing his A-levels. He stood out from the crowd, and was clearly a special talent, with a great voice, and musical sensibility. A part from that we really got on well, and he made me laugh. When I was trying out new singers for the album the one thing that became apparent was their lack of range. I hadn’t seen Dan for ten years, but he kept cropping up in my thoughts, as he was the one singer I knew could do the job, but I had no idea where he was, or what he was doing with his life. Ironically he contacted me on social media to say that he was releasing a solo album, and would I be interested in giving it a listen? I put it to him that I too was doing an album, and would he sing on it? The rest is history.

His voice reminded us of a mix between Ian Broudie and Ste McCabe, and really stoked and matched the feel of the music and their intimate revelry well.

Interesting? Queer Core Lightening Seeds. Not something I envisaged, but I can see where you’re coming from.

How involved was he, other than vocally of course?

Involved in as much as he was encouraged to be himself, and to put his own inflections into the vocal performance

Is there any particular moment within In Your Mind which gives you a certain tingle of satisfaction or pleasure etc.?

Only that it sounds great on radio…Which gives me a buzz from a technical point of view.

Now it is out luring acclaim and attention, is there a thought inside that you should have done this sooner?

I couldn’t have done it sooner, I wasn’t ready. I had too much to learn. Now is the perfect time. I’m ready.

Time allowing, will exploring further solo adventures possibly be on the cards?

Absolutely!

woody and dan from In Your Mind video_RingMaster ReviewI love the video for the song In Your Mind, a song relating to Nick’s issues I believe? Who is behind and created its captivating and evocative look?

Tom Johnson, another of my brilliant students back in the day created the video, but you’re wrong about the subject matter. It’s not about Nick, and in a way you have fallen into the trap of stigmatising him. Just because the video is surreal, and the title is ‘In Your Mind” you are presuming it’s about mental illness. It is in fact about getting lost in your imagination, the way children do when they play, and how we get carried away in a book, or story. We can be transported to another world in our minds. It’s as simple as that.

(In our defence it was the press release stating the song “was an ode to a younger brother battling his demons” which led our thoughts to that conclusion and only in regard to that one track)

Is there a chance any of the songs within In Your Mind might get a live airing at some point, somewhere?

I’m going to try and put in a gig or two, in between Madness commitments. We’ll see.

Once again big thanks for taking time out for us. Is there anything you would like to leave us with?

My advice to anyone listening to the album is to take out of the equation the fact that my brother is a schizophrenic, and judge it on its merits alone. You may hear the album in a new light, and it won’t cloud or prejudice your thinking.

Lastly, I know you are working with the charity Rethink Mental Illness. Would you like to give details/links people can go to learn more and offer their support?

Twitter: @rethink or www.rethink.org

http://www.woodywoodgate.co.uk/

Read the In Your Mind review@ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/woody-woodgate-in-your-mind/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 16/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Woody Woodgate – In Your Mind

Woody with Dan_RingMaster Review

It is a bit of a surprise that Madness drummer Woody Woodgate has only now unveiled a debut solo album, though given the busyness of the man over the years with various projects as well as of course with the Nutty Boys similarly it is not. Anyway the time has come and the enjoyably charming In Your Mind does not disappoint.

Taking the opportunity to hit the studio with fresh ideas whilst the Magic Brothers has been put on hold due to an on-going battle with mental health issues for his brother Nick, the other half of the acclaimed band, Woodgate has created a collection of melody rich pop songs which vivaciously dance on the senses and imagination. They also carry an openly personal and intimate aspect to them, playing like a kaleidoscope of reflections from the life of their creator whilst shimmering on and seducing the ears.

With vocalist Dan Shears aligning his unique and captivating tones to the sounds of Woodgate, contributions from guitarist/keyboardist Tim Maple, bassist Dan Drury, Madness’ brass section The Brass Monkeys, wife Siobhan Fitzpatrick, and brother Nick bringing their skills to the magnetic release also, In Your Mind swiftly has thoughts engaged as it opens with This Is It. The track is a brief scene setter, a glimpse of life breeding the spark to go on ‘romantic’ escapades, they starting with the following Magic Train. Instantly the song, through keys and a jazzy air, is an escape from the mundane into vibrant adventure, melodies and grooves flirting with the imagination whilst beats dance with ears and feet. The expressive tones of Shears bring their alluring colour to the ‘trip’ soon after, his voice courting songs like an enjoyable mix of Ian Broudie and Ste McCabe, and indeed here but more so across the album strong whispers to The Lightning Seeds kiss the music too. Becoming richer and thicker with every passing temptation, the song is an inescapable infection getting the album off to a strong and highly pleasing start.

woodywoodgate_inyourmind-_RingMaster Review     A spicy tang coats the following Something, guitar and keys bringing a smattering of country rock to their enterprise whilst vocals and harmonies swing with catchy revelry throughout. A bluesy tone also adds to the energetically creative waltz of the song whilst the brass seducing is simply the cream on the top of another captivating persuasion before the bewitching stroll of the album’s title track slips in. Bred in a sixties pop smile and melodies which quickly bring the sounds of Kirsty MacColl to mind, the song is a serenade for the summer, a warm kiss of pop which simply blossoms in strength and persuasion with every listen, in sound and the just as potent intimacy fuelling the lyrics.

Come To Me is just as irresistible straight after, though admittedly taking longer to find the same depth of reactions as other songs upon the album. There is a strong resemblance to UK indie pop band The Tonics in the song at times, but once the brass free their rich flames, the song soars into celestial climates. One of the numerously pleasing aspects of songs is the ‘simplicity’ of the lyrical side, a repetitious flare which just works, in choruses especially, but never defuses the thick emotive strength of words and intent as it graces the tenaciously spun web of catchy sounds.

The Beach marks our arrival at the seaside, its joyful lure the lead into the warm embrace and festivity of We’re All Going To Brighton. Everything about the track from the smouldering brass caresses and swaying vocals to the energetic but relaxed rhythms says escape, relief from the pressures and boredom of life’s normal days whether as a child or adult we have all felt, its charm and presence sublimely relating those emotions and excitements.

The ska seeded Friday Night To Sunday Morning saunters through ears with a dreamy glaze to its poetic pop hug. The song almost glistens as guitars, harmonies, and brass venture into their imaginative exploits, rhythms in turn bringing their own pulsating shadow, wrapped bait to the sultriness of the song. There is no escaping a feel of Madness to the rich atmosphere and happy-go-lucky sway of the song either, or another potent slice of distinct variety within the album as also on offer in Everything Is Sunshine and its tantalising croon awash with an eighties pop lure which occasionally whispers Squeeze and The Bluebells. The track quickly has the listener involved though it is soon outshine by the excellent Flower and its psyche pop beauty. ELO has reportedly been an inspiration to the songs within In Your Mind, and for sure the legendary Birmingham rock pop band is a delicious hue to the siren-esque majesty of the album’s best track, though that choice does vary from listen to listen if we are honest.

The funky psychedelic tango of Mother comes next, the song a sweltering breath of seventies inspired blues/pop rock which at times feistily simmers and in other moments enflames with tenacious ingenuity. Its success is followed by the electro rock exploration of Shaman where within its relatively gentle hug on the senses drama bubbles away, creative and emotive shadows colluding with emotive energies for a fascinating and invigorating theatre of sound.

The album is brought to a close through Thank You and its melancholic yet vibrant balladry of emotional textures and words. You can feel the heart of Woodgate fuelling its presence and sentiment, portrayed potently by Shears and only accentuated by the expanding and evocative sounds around him.

It is a fine end to an increasingly enthralling and enjoyable proposition. It is easy to assume something similar to Madness from the encounter but In Your Mind swiftly sets that thought straight and just grows with every listen. At its height it is majestic and throughout is one nonstop summer of nostalgic incitement and warm enjoyment, an encounter you firmly resolve to hurry back to time and time again even before it runs its first course.

In Your Mind is available now via DW Records

http://www.woodywoodgate.co.uk/

RingMaster 07/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

 

Liquid Meat – In Meat We Trust

LM

Want a slab of rock ‘n’ roll just to lose yourself in and let inhibitions slip away with, then try out In Meat We Trust the new album from German rockers Liquid Meat. The thirteen track riot is from start to finish an honest and mischievous fusion of heavy rock, metal, and punk rock with extras, which simply leads passions astray and body into an unbridled stomp of instinctive devilry.

The creation of German born Rocker Freddie Mack, Liquid Meat was formed in Los Angeles in 2004 and was soon playing a horde of gigs around Hollywood. Two albums followed before in 2011, Mack returned to his hometown of Munich which meant a new line-up was needed. This led to the recruiting of drummer Manu Holmer and bassist Max Horch, and unsurprisingly soon after the trio was back into the swing of playing shows, drawing attention, acclaim, and notoriety musically all over again. Earlier this year the band began recording the Indiegogo crowd funded In Meat We Trust with legendary producer Reinhold Mack (Queen, ELO, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, etc.), the result one mouth-watering rock ‘n’ roll party which enjoyably wears its warts and influences like a badge.

The album opens with Liquid Meat Anthem, an uncomplicated bruising of choice riffs and crisp rhythms aligned to a great bass sound which probably grabs attention most of all on the track. The growling vocals of Mack instantly reveal the grin in his delivery and the song, whilst the backing calls of the rest of the band lays swift anthemic bait. It is hard to ignore the Motorhead like causticity and charm of the track as it provides one strong and inviting entrance into the album.

The following song right away shows the unpredictable and diverse flavouring to come across the release. They Lied sways in front of the ears with a sultry blues haze to its sonic enticement before prowling around the imagination with a IMWT Cover_1funk bred swagger which has the markings of Infectious Grooves. Equally there is a punk air to the blend which only increases the persuasion, especially when provides urgency through the chorus which brings another tasty spice, this time a Rage Against The Machine colour. It is an infectiously flavoursome track with twists of drama and an increasingly addictive groove. Its triumph is immediately matched by the outstanding Punch The Clock. Its opening intimidation of bass and predatory rhythms makes for an intense affair though that is soon lost to a big smile as the track starts flirting with what can be best described as Macho Man does Pantera. Mack does his best wrestler vocal impression as a groove certainly related to the one in Walk binds attention and appetite. It is insatiable in its luring and delicious in its devilment with Holmer providing her most magnetic rhythms yet alongside the throaty bounce of Horch’s bass.

The best song on the album is followed by the smouldering blues revelry of Double Standard Blues and then the punk joy of Black Out. The first also has a swagger which grips imagination as well as ears, whilst as with most songs lyrically it brings a devilish tone to climb on board with. Though not at the same heights of the first songs, it still provides a pleasing proposition which its successor soon over runs. Teasing and exciting ears with a riff stolen from The Ramones songbook, so much so that you just are waiting for the “Hey Ho! Let’s Go!” chant, the song is punk ‘n’ roll at its most contagious; hooks and beats as potent and greedily devoured as the driving riffs and bursts of caustic intensity. The track is another which makes claims on that best track title.

Both There Is No God and Guilty As Charged keep things strolling along nicely, the first with a dark blues whisper to its almost psychobilly kissed blues breath, which reminds of Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre, whilst the second puts a lighter shade of the first to a raw and incendiary classic metal canvas. Each song leaves a dose of keen pleasure behind whilst the next up Rock N Roll Will Never Die from a reserved but alluring opening melodic flame, breaks into a virulently catchy stomp of old school rock toxicity with a fevered rhythmic energy. There are no surprises with the song but a flood of hooks and inescapable trappings which leaves ears and emotions on a high as lofty as that forged by the groupie salaciousness of Up Against The Wall, never has rock ‘n’ roll romance been so aurally addictive.

The decent enough fiery rock sounds of classic/blues rocker Road House comes next before another pinnacle of the album arrives in the shape of Fuck That. The track is a return to a more punk led rampage, its jabbing rhythms and scything riffs again offering a slight rockabilly flirtation whilst the bass roams around like an adulterous predator. Revealing a parade of impossible addictive hooks and grooves blessed with a Dead Kennedys temperament, it is another glorious encounter which leaves the remaining pair of songs a task to match and leave the album on a high. That they do with consummate ease though, Smoke ‘Em a grizzled protest and confrontation of bruising raw rock ‘n’ roll and final song, The Devils Music is a noir cloaked stroll with sinister intent and psychobilly/blues intrigue. As all songs the tongue in cheek honesty is as infectious as the great sounds and adventure it rides in upon.

It is fair to say that In Meat We Trust is not going to be the greatest album you are going to hear but it will be one of the most fun and irresistible.

In Meat We Trust is available now @ www.liquidmeatlocker.com

8.5/10

RingMaster 25/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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John Bassett – Unearth

John Bassett pic

Having discovered the progressive rock might of KingBathmat and its founder John Bassett, admittedly far later than we would have liked but joining the legion of fervour gripped fans nonetheless with the release of their last album Overcoming The Monster, there was a definite spring of excitement upon receiving Unearth the new solo endeavour from Bassett. As distinctly different to the previously mentioned release as it is just as imaginatively gripping, the new album is an enthralling embracing of ears and mind; man and record a melancholic troubadour parading evocative reflections of life and emotional experiences. Its canvas is a rich exploration of modern psyche across acoustically crafted progressive landscapes coloured with the richest hues of emotively sculpted melodic invention. It is a masterfully sculpted journey for creator and listener, one of the most rewarding and impressive this year so far.

The multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter, and producer from Hastings has self-released seven albums since 2003, the last few via his label Stereohead Records. Born in Walthamstow, London, Bassett first picked up an acoustic guitar as a child. He struggled at first with playing chords until when going to a guitar teacher it was realised that he was playing a right handed guitar, left handed. As soon as he picked up a left handed guitar songwriting began to flow easily and subsequently his talent. It was not long before Bassett was recording songs onto his computer; honing his skill, sound, and fluency whilst finding a good reception to his online albums, especially for the third, Fantastic Freak Show Carnival. At this point he was beginning to be offered gigs and in 2005 he put together a live band to perform his music. Arguably it has been the last two albums of the band, KingBathmat, which has brought the strongest spotlight and acclaim, both Truth Button and Overcoming The Monster critically acclaimed whilst garnering a new wave of enthused fans. His debut solo album, Unearth is a full one man creation with only additional drums from Nathan A Summers an added spice. Holding the same invigorating melodies and unpredictable intrigue which marks the band’s releases, the new album reveals new sides and aspects to Bassett’s songwriting and enveloping sound, easily rivalling his previous triumphs whilst forging new avenues.

From its first caress, a dark and instant incitement with a stringed croon and suggestive keys, Unearth sparks something instantly in the unearthsenses and imagination through opening track Stay Away. As Bassett’s vocals join the evocative melodies there is a Bowie-esque breeze cast which evolves into a warm narrative which reminds equally of ELO and Porcupine Tree whilst wrapping tenderly around the senses as a truly distinct proposition. It is a glorious enchantment which only enriches the appetite the more it crafts its seduction around the passions; guitar and keys cradling thoughts and emotions in their provocative arms as the equally mellow and persuasive tones of Bassett press forward the lyrical potency. It is arguable whether Unearth ever reaches the heights of the first song again though the album certainly gives it a stirring try starting with the following Survival Rate. Welcoming beats open up the gateway into folkish scenery of soothing melodies and similarly engaging vocals. As its predecessor, the track permeates the imagination with suggestive and more precise designs, musically and lyrically, all combining for another infectiously magnetic investigative adventure.

The outstanding start is easily continued by both Nothing is Sacred and the title track. The first has a sultriness to its colourful dance, elements of the start and body again urging thoughts of Bowie with a touch of Paul Simon this time around. Equally there are plenty of moments where the softer facets of KingBathmat come through, an obviously unavoidable spicing which only enhances the immersive mystery and enticement of the songs. Guitar and voice brings its successor into potent view, its melody driven seducing soaking every pore and thought as richly as the lyrical temptation, this and every song  proving a powerful lingering suasion in sound and word. As soothing as it is inciting, Unearth is one of those temptresses which never releases her lure and grip whether by the side of or from a distance rivalling the first as the pinnacle of the album.

The gentle jazzy smoulder of Pantomime acts outs its elegant narrative next, lighting another appealing diversion for the imagination whilst the scenic expanse of the instrumental Kylerhea provides a cinematic soundscape to explore individual and personal adventures within. Both captivate without restraint if not quite matching earlier conquests of the emotions, something TV is God soon succeeds doing with elevated success. With a delicious expressive almost acidic twang and whine to the song’s exotic climate over an indictment of technological reliance for escape and hiding from reality, the track is a riveting recruitment of senses and heart.

Both the summery realm of Keep Dear with its XTC like temptation and the equally spellbinding flight of Something that’s More Worthwhile consume ears and imagination like celestial sirens both instinctively washing receptive emotions with unrelenting seduction; melodies and harmonies invasive beauty alone and just as compelling and stimulating as the inventive musical skill and songwriting of Bassett. The pair are quite shadow free compared to other songs of the release but still kissed by a melancholic presence which makes its strongest persuasion with the closing track Comedian. Piano and guitar crafted with the ever impressive voice of Bassett shaping their evocative tales further, the song is an absorbing walk from emotional shadows and musical understanding.

Unearth is as creatively imaginative as maybe expected going by Bassett’s band releases but explores deeper emotionally imposing landscapes, involving and inspiring similarly intense aspects from the listener. It is a wonderfully intimate and evocatively expansive journey proving John Bassett as not only one of the finest British songwriters in rock music but music full stop.

http://www.johnbassettmusic.com/

https://kingbathmat.bandcamp.com/album/unearth

9/10

RingMaster 30/03/2014

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KingBathmat – Overcoming The Monster

KingBathmat Publicity Photo 3

The fact that Overcoming The Monster, the new album from UK progressive rockers KingBathmat, is their seventh full length release but the first time they have come to our attention really drives home the fact that we, and I suggest all of us are only scratching the surface of music and the depth of good bands, no matter how much we think we are in control and knowledgeable of what is out there. Better late than never certainly applies to this outstanding release as well as relief that they finally have ventured upon our radar, though again a mystery as to why a band this good has remained in the shadows for so long especially as going by those in the know, Overcoming The Monster is an album in a strong line of impressive releases from the Hastings quartet.

KingBathmat musically is a band wonderfully impossible to pin down. Hailed as a progressive rock band they equally employ all essences from psychedelic and alternative rock through to electronic, grunge, experimental metal and more into their unique creativity. Formed by songwriter /vocalist/guitarist John Bassett the band has unleashed a sextet of albums from debut Son of a Nun in 2003 through to the acclaimed Truth Button which came out at the start of the year. With David Georgiou (keyboards), Lee Sulsh (bass), and Bernie Smirnoff (drums) completing the line-up, KingBathmat creates a tempest of invention and imaginative adventure which is impossible to resist or escape once within its riveting clutches. Overcoming The Monster is a compelling flight of melodic fire, rhythmic provocation, and sonic beauty all wrapped in an ingenuity of craft and thought which leaves the listener quite breathless. With tracks which investigate the theme ‘of psychological obstacles (monsters of the mind) that are manufactured in our thoughts, both internally through our insecurities, externally by the outside influence of others and collectively through the mass media which uses fear as a tool to manipulate our perceptions’, the Stereohead Records album evokes and ventures into personal reflection igniting emotional dialogue with its potent premise and presence whilst all the time teasing and soaking the senses in music which is simply enthralling.

Opening track Sentinel makes a muscular entrance, riffs and rhythms claiming their piece of the senses whilst a brewing sonic Overcoming The Monster Album Covermist wraps deviously around their capture. It is an immediately gripping start which once in command from its dramatic stance, relaxes into an emotive plea of keys and the vocals which paint the thought cradling narrative. The tenderly toned weave continues to expand its call with growing keys and group harmonies whilst the bass adds shadows that menace as they lurk within and stalk the melodic blaze of sound and feeling. As the song ventures further from its strong start across an equally intense if slightly underwhelming course there is a brooding sense of something impending. This becomes a solid gripping breath as, and not for the only time on the album, the track evolves into a potent and aurally dexterous mesh of ingenuity and contagion. Just beyond midway of the near nine minute track it unleashes the bass to roam with a new raptorial hunger framed by the equally greedy rhythms of Smirnoff whilst the vocals of Bassett ride their refreshing caging with expressive might. As riffs add their ‘savagery’ for the next evolution of the song, it climbs all over the senses as sonic ropes of invention tether it securely to the passions.

Though it took a while to fully persuade the song makes an impressive start to the release which is soon surpassed by firstly Parasomnia. The haunting opening child’s toy box like charm is a breath of innocence against the disturbing ambience enveloping the senses behind it, the tones of Bassett shaping the narrative with a continuing magnetic pull. Into its full presence the shadows dissipate as melodic hues paint their caresses from guitar and keys onto the imagination. Combining flames of heavy rock, metallic angst, and melodic washes, the song captivates from start to finish with its unpredictable grandeur, thoughts of Mars Volta, ELO, King Crimson, and most definitely Horslips spawning from the shifting spicery within the scintillating song. For all its triumph it is soon eclipsed by the stunning title track, easily the best song on the towering album. The niggling sonic coaxing which introduces the song is a continual temptation throughout whilst around it the band ebb and flow in crystalline invention, infectious melodies, and multi-flavoured invention. There is a familiarity to the track which is deceiving but certainly as it unwinds its striking persuasion and mystique the likes of Muse, Comsat Angels, and Soundgarden as well as Porcupine Tree and Floyd spring to mind.

Both the layered Superfluous, with its tantalising wealth of textures and jazz bred soaring heat, and the smouldering Reality Mining lead the listener into new teasing excursions of epidemically alluring emotional and aural exploits whilst the closing Kubrick Moon reaches into absorbing space for another original baptism of progressive and psychedelic musical chemistry. The trio of songs make for a towering conclusion to one of the very best progressive releases this year, one though completely unique in voice we suggests stands easily by the side of the new releases from The Ocean and Between The Buried And Me…it is that good.

http://www.kingbathmat.com/

9.5/10

RingMaster 22/07/2013

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