Still The Mind – Slow Dancing

Still the Mind - Band pic (2)

Going by their debut single Slow Dancing, UK rock band Still the Mind has a sound which entangles varied essences from grunge and blues rock to indie and metal based seeds. It is not a proposition which startles as it busily persuades ears yet there is striking freshness to it and a vitality which will ensure the band is not just going to be a passing interest. The song is rock ‘n’ roll in an honest and tenacious form from a band easy to assume we will be hearing a lot more of in the future.

The beginnings of the Newton Abbot, Devon quartet started with a friendship between vocalist/rhythm guitarist Matt Palfreman, who was writing and playing folk songs influenced by people like Bob Dylan and Elliott Smith, and bassist Joe Warriner who played in local reggae band Stokey at the time. Subsequently with ideas of a band lit, the pair enlisted local drum teacher and old friend Phil Hallwood and in turn guitarist Karl O’Neill into the line-up. With a band name inspired by a book on meditation by philosopher Alan Watts, Still The Mind was soon luring attention with a diversely hued sound to which their varied musical backgrounds and tastes has undoubtedly been a key factor. Recording an EP with producer Digby Smith (Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Bob Marley and Eric Clapton) towards the end of last year, the foursome now uncage their first single, a song which was recorded in a live setup and gives a big hint to the band’s live prowess as much as it pleases the senses.

The song swiftly entangles ears in a great bluesy vine of guitar enticement, rapier like beats quickly backing their potent lures. Settling down soon after, the song sees Palfreman open up his Layne Staley like vocals, his delivery an alluring texture within a spicy groove which relentlessly teases the appetite alongside the rolling beats of Hallwood. Everywhere you listen though the song is bubbling with craft and adventure, the bass of Warriner less forceful but a great throaty tempting whilst the guitars of Palfreman and O’Neill steer and inflame the song respectively with their strong craft.

Fair to say Slow Dancing does not catch fire as it might, despite numerous hints throughout, but nevertheless it is a captivating and infectious slice of rock ‘n’ roll providing a strong and enjoyable introduction to Still The Mind. It also suggests this is just the start to bigger things, a happy thought indeed.

Slow Dancing is released June 15th

https://www.facebook.com/StillTheMind

RingMaster 15/06/2015

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The Hunger Pact – Cold Woman EP

The Hunger Pact Online picture

Hailing from Reading, UK alternative rock band The Hunger Pact is continuing to emerge as one rather compelling and accomplished presence. Their self-titled EP released earlier this year triggered strong attention with its four track invitation to a new breath of inventive and richly promising multi-flavoured rock. Now the trio returns with its successor the Cold Woman EP to further the promise and reputation of a rather fine new band.

Consisting of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist (drums, bass…) Ed Rogers, his guitarist brother Ollie, and rhythm guitarist James Pierce, The Hunger Pact brings a parade of eclectic and potent inspirations into their distinctive sound, the likes of Eric Clapton, BB King, Flyleaf, Nirvana, Guns N Roses, Santana, Seether, and Daughtry amongst many spicing up their invention. Originally a solo project for Ed, with The Hunger Pact EP a strong first marker, the band expanded with Ollie providing the guitars for the release and beyond, and James linking up for subsequent live shows. Now with the release of Cold Woman you can sense another big step is about to be taken; their debut release the awareness nudging introduction and the new EP a potent reinforcement and you suspect sizeable trigger to a wider recognition.

The release opens with the title track, a slowly brewing song whose initial touch is that of raw brooding guitar and sonic coaxing as the The Hunger Pact Cover Artworkvocals of Ed opens up an emotive narrative with a strong expressive delivery. The song continues well into its body with the opening slow burn of a persuasion and energy, its presence a smouldering evocation with gently stirring sonic blazes from the guitar aligned to the melancholic laced bass prowling the scenery. As mentioned it is a simmering heat which simultaneously breeds a sonic temptation and intensity that without ever scalding the air spawns a fiery finale which flows seamlessly into its successor. The track is a mesmeric lure into the release and band making the perfect canvas for Alright to spawn its busier sinewed provocation from. The second track is a sturdier more classically rock bred encounter with an element of punk rock to its breath, and whilst not quite magnetising the imagination and emotions to the same potency as its predecessor makes for another deeply satisfying temptation. There is a simplicity which cores the track, and release, a straight forward lure which teases out stronger hunger but also a craft and invention to the guitar and the enterprise of everything on offer which screams out promise and adventure.

Cold Woman is completed by the predation coated and raw Alone Again, its sound coming with a causticity which suggests it was recorded as a live take and an unpolished attraction implying that on stage the band is as equally a formidable proposition. The track seems to finish too soon, well for the enjoyment and appetite anyway, it’s closing sonic dissipation expelled seemingly mid-chorus or certainly whilst the song is in full confrontation. To be honest whilst greed wishes it had held off, the moment works very well and indicates yet again that there is an invention and imagination to the band which will see them flourish with great adventures ahead.

The Cold Woman EP is a thoroughly captivating and exciting release, and though it is one spark short of a raging fire, it burns away with a creativity and charm that will surely only see The Hunger Pact excel and emerge as a potent force ahead.

http://www.thehungerpact.com/

7.5/10

RingMaster 25/10/2013

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Stephen Dale Petit – Cracking the Code

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Any album from the man who to so many is one of the major architects of the New Blues Revolution, is always going to create eager anticipation and intrigue for its unveiling, and Cracking The Code, the fifth album from guitarist, singer, songwriter Stephen Dale Petit is no exception.  Soaked in blues flames of various stirring hues and dramatic potency, as well as offering a mischievous wink which only engages the senses and emotions even more, the album is a thrilling and enterprising encounter with plenty to excite blues, rock, and rock ‘n’ roll fans alike.

Hailing from London and taking inspirations from the likes of Mississippi Fred McDowell, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Freddie King, Jeff Beck, Elmore James and many more into his own distinctive creativity, Petit did not take long to draw strong support and acclaim with equally rich success, through his live performances and early albums such as Guitararama and The Crave. Recorded in Nashville with Vance Powell (The Ranconteurs, Buddy Guy, Jars Of Clay), Cracking The Code has all the unique character and style to replicate previous successes and draw many more hearts into his enjoyable energetic sound. The album sees various guests joining up with Petit alongside bassist Sam Odiwe, keyboardist Jon Moody, and drummer Chris Williams. Rolling Stone Mick Taylor and The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney both lend their striking talents to certain songs on the album as do Hubert Sumlin, Dr. John, Chris Barber and more. The result is a refreshing and invigorating collection of tracks which offer adventure and revelry in varied descripts, all combining for what is rather appetising inspired fun.

The first single from the 333 Records released album, Holla starts things off in a vigorous manner, a lone guitar wakening up attention Cthe cbefore percussion, beats and smouldering riffs lay a welcoming glaze over the ear ready for the enjoyable vocals of Petit. With the backing vocals of Andy Caine and Angela Brooks dancing around flirtingly beside the frontman, and the guitars of Sumlin and Taylor adding extra fire to the already scintillating scorching of the passions, the track is a virulently contagious stomp of blues clad rock ‘n’ roll. A track which seems to find greater infection with every listen, it is the perfect addictive introduction to the album.

The following Wonder lays down a sultry wash from guitar and keys over the body before the vocals open up their presence with a snarl to their tones and urgency in their power. It is a gentler start than its predecessor though with a more intense and provocative presence as it leads into an equally enthralling encounter realised by striding rhythms and the rapacious intent of the track brewed into a burn of sonic excellence. Dramatic in its invention and seductive in its melodic imagination the song makes for an inspiring nudge upon thoughts and emotions.

Both Get You Off and Hard To Love You continue the heated presence of the album, if without quite matching the heights of their predecessors. The first with the piano of Dr. John bringing emotive hues to the piece late on, is a thrilling agitated rub on the senses with the guitars and bass especially antagonistic yet addictively compelling whilst its successor is an easy to embrace pop rock stroll with an excellent caustically sonic sky and again an almost unruly breath to ensure a magnetic intrigue lays its hands on the imagination.

After the more than decent jazz lit instrumental Approximately Perfect Heartbreak, a track which enters as if it is going to start a riot but evolves swiftly into a slow immersion into sonic lava and evocative aural reflection, the album unveils its highest pinnacle starting with Muzzle. A psychotic web of sounds, sonic entrapment, and discord kissing provocation opens up the track brilliantly; the lure irresistible if sinister as it embraces a dirty growl of swaggering rock ‘n’ roll. A delicious tempest of riveting invention the track is soon matched by Riot City and Shotgun Venus, the first another flaming grudge lilted ride of absorbing ingenuity and devilry with a hint of punk rock to its attitude, and the second a brief glam/hard rock like canter soaking the ears in outstanding and sizzling enterprise and craft.

The start of Slideway is another exceptional trigger for the passions though once into its admittedly enjoyable and impressive stride, the growling adventure is a slight anti-climax after such a great threatening entrance. Nevertheless the song only adds to the pleasure of the album, as do final pair My Friend Bob, a decent country folk saunter with surf rock guitar flames, and the closing Hubert’s Blues, another instrumental which takes the emotions into a shack of blues bred mastery. They conclude an album which has definite peaks but avoids any troughs such it’s accomplished and skilfully envisaged and explored adventure. Cracking the Code is simply a release for anyone who loves melodic rock ‘n’ roll with plenty of passion and inventive fire.

https://www.facebook.com/StephenDalePetit

8.5/10

RingMaster 15/09/2013

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