Nature of Wires – Modus

photo by Russ Dalen

Some releases shine like a beacon attracting ears like moths to a flame. One such lure for us is the new album from UK synth pop outfit Nature of Wires. Almost straddling every decade of its prime genre whilst teasing of future exploration but most openly seeded in eighties influence, the album proved a swift magnet of sound and temptation firmly commanding current attention.

Formed in 1986 by vocalist Andrew Stirling-Brown and synthist/programmer Gary Watts, the Herefordshire band followed the 1993 release of their debut album, Modus Operandi, by going on hiatus the following year until reforming in 2015.  A year later the band unveiled their second album, Cyber Rendezvous, with CountessM on lead vocals and now the band has Modus to tempt the imagination, a collection of songs which harken back to those early years having been written between 1986 and 1993 but carrying a modern edge though being “recreated using 21st century technology.” It is also a dual album in one package, with a second CD featuring re-imaginings of the release’s tracks from an array of inspiring artists.

Straight away Modus embraces ears like an old friend yet just as quickly establishes a presence and character which is solely Nature of Wires. As soon as opener Feel the Hunger spreads its electronic arms, there is no escaping teases to the likes of Erasure, Heaven 17, and Blancmange but the song quickly breeds its own individuality in sound and enterprise led by the alluring tones of Stirling-Brown. Striking melodies are fuelled by infectiousness whilst rhythms as good as nag with their eager canter. Fair to say we were caught up in the song’s contagion in short time, vocal chords and body swings adding to its own eager endeavours.

Time is Come steps up next, again its initial coaxing shadow lined before bursting out with radiant melodies and vocal encouragement. Equally keen pulses core the lively croon with the song’s gait and energy as bold as it is spirited, a whiff of A Flock Of Seagulls only adding to the song’s infectious captivation before Negative Resolutions emerges with a darkwave breath, bubbles of pop soon joining the tempting before synths weave a tapestry of melodic intimation over an electro grumble. When its poppiness catches the song infested the body while its darker melancholic calmer moments are alone pure fascination.

Through the crystalline design and dark throb of Seagull and the reflective heatwave of Every Single Sun, captivation with Modus only escalated, the first a spirited seduction and its successor a weave of melodic flames and balmy caresses while Harry’s House eclipsed both with its creative drama and dance-floor animation.

It in turn was slightly outshine by Madame Serena, a song with electro rock essences which reminded of bands such as Original Mirrors and Modern English whilst hinting at the pop instincts of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. With emotive shadows and a great lining of dark threat, the track soon rises as another unique Nature of Wires temptation very easy to greedily devour.

The first CD closes with the immediately enthralling First Light, a song bringing yet another shade of flavour and enterprise to the album with its rich entangle of electronic and electro rock hues. Bringing the release to a potent close if not quite igniting the passions as those before it, though ears and imagination were firmly in its charge all the same, it potently  concludes the first adventure of the release before Modus turns to the second.

CD 2 embraces that collection of remixes and re-imaginings of its songs starting with the Atomzero Nightlife Remix of Feel the Hunger. Given a darker almost tenebrific air, the track takes on a whole new persona as it does with the NoW AT4 version which takes it to the opposite light with equally enjoyable effect.

Among the host of truthfully ear pleasing encounters, the untamed rock ‘n’ roll brought to Time is Come by The Cowls, the dramatic theatre sparked within the Klammer Remix of Harry’s House, and Leaether Strip’s voraciously virulent trespass of Madame Serena especially caught the imagination. Fair to say though that Cyferdyne’s Glass Half Full Remix of Negative Resolutions, Workings of a Madman Remix of Seagull, the St Lucifer reworking of Every Single Sun as well as the Mesh Remix of First Light and Room 1985’s progressive rock interpretation of Time is Come all left pleasure rich.

And that is a declaration which tenaciously applies to Modus as a whole, a release to hungrily spend time with as we eagerly await the next chapter and exploration in the adventure of Nature of Wires.

Modus is released August 16th through Analogue Trash across most stores and @ https://natureofwires.bandcamp.com/album/modus

Upcoming Live Dates

Sep 20 BERLIN – The Mazen (with The Pink Diamond Revue, LegPuppy & e-bit)

Sep 21 LEIPZIG – Noch Besser Leben (with The Pink Diamond Revue & LegPuppy)

Oct 12 COLOGNE, Germany – Wachsfabrik (with Bandmachine)

Oct 18  BIRMINGHAM – The Mill, Digbeth (with Among the Echoes & Toyah)

Nov 8   BIRMINGHAM – Scruffy Murphy’s (with Vieon, Among the Echoes & Vain Machine)

Nov 9   LONDON – Beat:Cancer Festival 2.0, Electrowerkz

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

Pete RingMaster 16/08/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Men In The Sky – If I Go

Men In the Sky_RingMaster Review

Dipping deeper into the pop rock infectiousness that lurked within the highly enjoyable walls of 2014 released EP, Version 1.0.1, UK electronic rockers Men In The Sky now unveil their new single If I Go. Still hugging ears with the electronic and synth sculpted prowess which marked that first encounter, the new track also shares open inspirations from eighties guitar pop to brew a virulence that has feet and hips as eagerly engaged as ears.

Men In the Sky cover_RingMaster Review   Men In The Sky is a Liverpool based British-Canadian collaboration consisting of band founder Gary Roberts (guitar and synths), Simon Mawson (vocals), Gavin Thomas (vocals), and Chad Montgomery (guitar). Last year saw the quartet joining Factory Records’ Michael Johnson in the studio to record and co-produce the Version 1.0.1 EP, a link-up repeated for If I Go with a freshly different but equally captivating result.

Whereas the EP sparked, across its diverse mix of songs, thoughts of bands like Depeche Mode, Visage, and Pet Shop Boys in varying degrees, If I Go invites thoughts of a Howard Jones, Scritti Politti, and Erasure with its melodic virulence and catchiness, though the potent whispers of Depeche Mode in the keys and New Order in the rich ambience seducing throughout the song are just as open.

An initial caress of guitar has ears quickly enticed, its invitation soon joined by a broader vision of its melody and a swift expressive weave of vocals and synths. The engaging swing of the song is a just as rapid temptation, its sway never relinquishing its alluring bait as melodies and sonic imagination flow effortlessly from guitars and keys. There is maybe an understandable familiarity to the track but that too only adds to the attraction and rosy colour of the song and its mesmeric persuasion. An electro pop tempting which you can imagine being as at home in the midst of its eighties inspirations as it is as a new flirty protagonist in the modern electro pop landscape, the single leaves ears and energies hungry for more.

If I Go is the best song to date from Men In The Sky, a venture into poppier climes it is easy to suggest could lead to rich success, if not now at some point ahead if its direction is continued to be explored more.

If I Go is released November 2015.

https://www.facebook.com/Men-In-The-Sky-291917267514298 http://men-in-the-sky.com/ https://twitter.com/SkyMen_offic

Pete RingMaster 02/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Jona Overground – On The Outside

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A persistent caress on the ears, the soulful acoustic pop of Jona Overground as vibrantly presented on their debut album On The Outside, is a proposition to warm up any thought, emotion, or day. Presenting ten easy going yet elegantly crafted and persuasive songs, the release makes no demands yet provides a tender persuasion of memorable and lingering propositions which melt the senses.

Formed in 2011, Jona Overground is the creation of vocalist Ann-Marie Gilkes, who has worked with the likes of Erasure, Kylie Minogue, Lionel Richie, and Tricky, and guitarist/keyboardist Jon Griffin. Meeting whilst studying music at Goldsmiths College, the pair began writing together after discovering a mutual love of classic pop, with the creation of the band coming soon after. Establishing a potent reputation on the live scene around London and the South East, the duo linked up with producer Alexander Mayor to work on their debut release, the impressive IRL Records released On the Outside.

Opener If You Were Free sets the tone of the album right away, warmly coaxing chords of guitar courted by firm if unadventurous beats styling a canvas to which Gilkes paints intimate narratives with her potent tones and delightful 0003691228_350expression. There is much more to this and the other songs of course but it is a magnetic undercoat which leads to brighter enchantment. With the leaner backing vocals of Griffin skirting his tantalising guitar prowess whilst seducing harmonies break free throughout, the song swings and sway with a gentle but forceful enticement, making for an attention awakening and ear pleasing start to the release.

The following Spin Cycle sidles up to the senses with a sultry climate and dark seduction next; its majestic melodic curves from the start reminding of Burt Bacharach composed musical shadows, and more specifically at times the song Walk On By. With a glowing shimmer of keys leading to evocative flames of melodies around the emotive lyrical expression, the song continues the impressive beginnings of the album before moving on to be replaced by the intimacy of Last Time I Saw You. Though the song does not grip as its predecessors, ears and thoughts are still captivated by the enticing melody seeping from the guitar and the glorious heat of classically bred stringed suasion which immerses the imagination. A track which impresses further with time, it adds another potent hue to the body of the release, as does the next up title track. A song which from a powerful first meeting also increases its lure which each involvement, it parades a joyful stride and vibrant energy in creating an increasing infectiousness whilst keys add their individual colour to meet the ever agreeable vocals and harmonies of Gilkes. It marks the pinnacle of the album, a plateau which embraces its successor too. Caught In A Line is a ballad which lies close to ears and emotions, its repetitive harmonies and evocative incitement of keys mesmeric whilst Gilkes smothers the senses in her intimate vocal beauty. That alone is enough to delight an already contented appetite but it is the rub of strings and keyboard additives which add unpredictable intrigue to the tale to turn a great song into something which sticks in thoughts long term.

Both the smiling gait of Let’s Pretend and the darker throatier breath of When Sorrows End keep the highs coming, the first a slice of reined in pop revelry which is still allowed to swish its melodic skirt in seductive fashion and the second a glorious embrace of deeper toned sounds and encroaching shadows which flirt with and kiss the senses from start to finish. The best track on the release, the song is an imposing beauty and quite irresistible.

My Word, Your World is a provocative call for feet and emotions next, its again heavier emotive premise still an easy bait to dance floors before the similarly flavoursome revelry of Time For Games parades its summery festivity. Employing a duet between the melodious temptation of Gilkes and the down to earth tones of Griffin, it is a song which takes a little time to acclimatise to but soon has body and soul locked into its flirty waltz of sound.

The album is brought to a close by the more than decent Fallout, though its balladry lacks the spark of certainly the previous track. It still makes for a satisfying close to a thoroughly enjoyable romance of melodic pop in its most relaxed and refreshing state. On The Outside leaves contentment and a hunger for more in its wake, and that is more than enough to light up dark days and uncertain nights.

On The Outside is available now via IRL Records through all digital stores

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jona-Overground/134394776704542

8/10

RingMaster 19/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Shades of Jade – Her Soul

Packed with well crafted soulful songs and soaring emotive vocals that swell and immerse the ear in beauty, Her Soul the debut EP from UK rock band Shades of Jade leaves one in no doubt that the London based quintet are walking the precipice of big things. With the re-release of their five track gem it is surely only a few steps before they fall into the deserved well of further acclaim and feverish attention.

     Shades of Jade found its seeds in the meeting at University of Westminster of vocalist Jade Barnett and guitarist and composer Mat Jones. Finding a mutual musical understanding and working ease, the pair worked together whilst doing their courses and after a break as they went off to do different things at the end of their University time together, met again in 2010 from whence the band’s evolution began fully. They defined their and the band’s direction and sound, bringing Barnetts soul and jazz background into a fusion with Jones skilled and eager guitar leaning, the result their own soul rock sound, an enthusiastic and lively energy fused melodic based kaleidoscope of emotive songs and invention.

Completed by the obvious abilities of bassist Chris Ormiston, keyboardist Andrey Novikov, and drummer Harpal Mudhar, Shades of Jade set to work on their debut, its eventual recording coming in November 2011 at Artspace Studios in Brixton. You can easily hear the attention and deliberation that went into the songs and the band’s music as a whole, its vibrancy and intelligent composition a torch of aural melodic flames. Though some songs within the release captivate more than others the consistency of songwriting and sound is undeniable. Barnetts voice is and always will be the obvious centre point to the band, her voice and command a glorious feast for the heart but the band understands how to successful unite it with music that demands nothing but gives plenty. The sounds are distinct alongside her voice rather than behind it, with neither element riding over the other at any point.

The most impressive track on the EP is Her Soul (Why Do You?), a song that weaves and sways around the ear with a grace and a certain edge. It actually has a wonderful 80s feel to it reminding of the likes of Erasure, not in sound as such though the synth has a definite influence from back then, but in tone and balanced harmonies. The music envelopes the ear as Barnett brings her wonderful tone, emotion and the songs intent through to great effect.

Of the other songs the excellent Female Intuition starting with a simple strummed guitar and caressing voice and the jazz veined Keep On Moving also stand out. The first comes with a familiar presence, its easily consumable chorus and sparkling melodies like old friends from a forgotten memory. The second of the two has a slightly rockabilly lined start with frosty scuzzy guitar stabs and attitude tinged vocals before expanding into a excitable jazz pop parade upon the ear. The brass bursts are enthralling and once more the vocals are equally punchy and soulfully immersive.

The remaining tracks No Choice’ and What If are strong and again well crafted but do not reach the level of the other three. They still show the quality of the band and are more than an enjoyable duo of songs to complete a very appetising EP.

Her Soul is an excellent release and introduction to the band and without doubt will mark them as ones to watch very closely. It also shows there is much more to come from the band which raises great anticipation with the level of quality on show here. Any criticism if it is one as such is that there is not a track that really kills it, a song that is so irresistible it pains to leave its arms but Shades of Jade with the EP more than suggest that given time, there will be an abundance of addiction making tunes coming our way.

RingMaster 13/02/2012

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