Victories at Sea – Everything Forever

VAS_RingMaster Review

Everything about Everything Forever is noir hued; even its melodic glows and emotive beauty is wrapped in some form of portentous shadowing resulting in something highly mesmeric and provocative. The encounter is the debut album from UK band Victories at Sea, a Birmingham trio already no strangers to an excited buzz and attention around them and their sound, with plenty more sure to surface as Everything Forever seduces over time.

Musically Victories at Sea draw on inspirations ranging from the likes of Mogwai and Factory Floor to Slowdive and The Chameleons, and it is the latter in a fusion with Editors, Felt, and The Slow Readers Club which emerged in personal thoughts as a hint to the flame and suggestiveness of the band’s new release. Written over two years within an abandoned steel works in Digbeth and recorded in the damp basement of an old whistle factory, Everything Forever builds on the character of the bands’ previous EP In Memory Of. That was a release leading to keen support by the likes of NME, The Guardian, Clash Magazine, and XFM’s John Kennedy, something already being echoed in the wake of the new album’s varied and fascinating persuasion.

Artwork_RingMaster Review   Released via Static Caravan Recordings, Everything Forever opens up with Bloom, an apt title as release and sound does openly grow and blossom within the song. Synths offer the initial hug of coaxing, their mix of intense and emotive colours melancholic yet lively and increasingly inviting as they lead ears and appetite into a catchy stroll bound in sonic guitar lures. The mellow vocals only add to the warmth within a more oppressive climate as an eighties hue reminding of bands like Felt and also The Wild Swans adds to the fascinating and swiftly gripping success of the impressive opener.

The rich start continues with Florentine and there is barely a slither of difference to the sheer majesty of the first two tracks; the second, with more of that familiar nostalgic air, flirting from within another flavoursome shuffle of floating keys, harmonic vocals, and spicily melodic enterprise courted by the darker swing of the rhythms. Inescapably infectious, the track shares its attributes with the following Up, it too bridging eras of synth rock and post punk whilst bringing a big smile of infectiousness aired in a whisper of Duran Duran meets Tones On Tail. Keys and guitar entangle throughout, spinning a kaleidoscopic web of sound with minimalistic strands thick in temptation and resourceful imagination. Already the first three songs are rivalling for best track honours and to be honest they continue to chain the choice amongst themselves though many songs attempt to rival them.

The smooth celestial swing of On Your Own is one, its charming canter of sound and vocals a pulsating and contagious radiance on ears and imagination whilst DMC finds the band slip into something far more dystopian in air and suggestion. Its dark heavy climate embraces a blend of cool and warm keys, whilst its industrial spawned instrumental heart alone echoes as much the dark animus the world is in and which inspires some of the band’s lyrical exploration, as any vocalised tracks within Everything Forever.

Poles Apart is initially a low key but still boisterous affair compared to earlier tracks, vocals against skittish percussive tenacity creating a lively canvas from where keys and especially the spicy tonic of the guitars breed emotive imagination and subsequently a growing intensity which soon roars like a fire. It is compelling stuff which continues in the slightly starker but no less riveting seduction of Swim, a slice of again eighties inspired post punk that ignites the imagination as swiftly as hips and emotions. As suggested already, the Victories at Sea sound delves into the deepest shadows and darkest corners of worldly reflections and emotional intimacy yet boy is it easy to dance to, band and music built to get bodies fully involved and heading to the dance-floor.

Future Gold just epitomises that intent and success, its golden sunspot of melodic and harmonic prowess a sultry glow on another landscape crafted to tempt hips and an instinctive motion of the body. Emotionally driven by hope matched by an alluring radiance of sound, the song as so many quickly gets under the skin, leaving a welcome imprint that draws attention back again and again.

The thumping bait and virulence of Into the Fire provides one more rousing waltz of imagination and addictiveness next before album closer Sirens uncages its haunting atmospheric soundscape. The breath and design of the final song lives up to its title with ease, intimidating air and emotionally desolate scenery colluding in a post rock tinged exploration of physical dissonance; it all playing like a reflection of the same invasive discordance now gripping socially and globally. The track is darkly captivating, revealing even richer aspects of the Victories at Sea invention whilst taking the listener to yet another new place within Everything Forever.

It is easy to see why Victories at Sea are a favourite proposition for a great many right now and will be for many, many more now their album, a release not to miss out on, is working its temptation.

Everything Forever is out now via Static Caravan Recordings digitally and on vinyl/CD @ http://victoriesatsea.bigcartel.com/product/everything-forever

http://www.victoriesatsea.co.uk  https://twitter.com/victoriesatsea  https://www.facebook.com/Victories-at-Sea-272819659418258/

Pete RingMaster 16/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Pillar Point – Self Titled

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    Creating an immersive melancholic waltz for feet, thoughts, and emotions, the debut self-titled album from US electronica project Pillar Point is a fascinating captivation with a persistent almost niggling seduction which encloses the imagination in an evocative and reflective embrace whilst sparking the urge to shuffle and lift limbs. It is not a release to ignite a major fire in the belly but instead it simmers and smoulders earning a lingering respect and appetite towards its open invention.

    Pillar Point is the solo project of Seattle musician Scott Reitherman, an artist already known for his involvement with indie-pop outfit Throw Me the Statue. Exploring similar electronic textures and sounds to that band, Reitherman ventures into darker shadows and deeper emotive corners, tempering it with a melodic dance of imagination upon his solo release. Uniting with long-time collaborator and producer Charlie Smith for the Polyvinyl Record Company released album, Reitherman takes Pillar Point and the listener on a fascinating soar through crystalline atmospheres and sirenesque electro embraces, an adventure equally unafraid to step into personal reflective shadows.

     The album opens with the masterful Diamond Mine, the song a weave of electronic alchemy honed into an enthralling flame of melodic enticement. From its first caress of vintage sounding synthesizer the song is seducing the imagination, the mellow falsetto leaning vocals of Reitherman adding to the warm suasion. Dark bass tones politely groan from within the flames, beats adding potent jabs to cast a little further darkness to the sunspot of a song. It is an absorbing entrance and stroll but one which shows its true toxicity with the exceptional chorus. As it hits, discord invites itself to the mesmeric party and immediately cast a dark irresistible glaze to proceedings vocally and musically. It attaches its claws like a mix of very early Ultravox and Thomas Dolby filtered through the dark intimidation of Joy Division. It is a scintillating moment in a terrific start to the album, one it never manages to emulate again.

     The following infection soaked Eyeballs and the celestial Cherry give it a strong go though, the first an eager energetic bound of guitar teasing and mischievous rhythms within an electro cloud with as much tendency to haunt and shadow emotions as it has to seduce them. Its successor washes over ears with an ethereal breath and temptation which again mixes melancholy and warmth into an emotive sailing of the imagination. Like its predecessor the song is awash with an infectious bewitchment which lingers and inspires long after its departure.

     Black Hole steps up next with its rhythmic bait poised and ready to hypnotise from its first second, the ear clipping beats a constant provocation within a tantalising electronic entrapment. Smothering and inspiring thoughts into a personal adventure, the song is a vibrant tempting which has toes and heels itching to join the mix, something which Strangers In Paradise in its noir kissed romance also achieves with a slow steady saunter. As with the opener, there is an eighties synth pop essence to the song especially in its darkest climate, bands like Felt and Comsat Angels brought to mind by the sultry elegance and rhythmic intimidation respectively of the encounter. Its unpredictability and fusion of discord spawned ingenuity with warm melodic blushes is a compelling treat and across the whole album this type of union continually provides the strongest pinnacles of the landscape.

    Both Dreamin’ and Touch expressively glow in the passions, if at times with sluggish lures that stir rather than stoke the fires, whilst the delicious tease of Curious Of You with its electro devilry and contagious harmonies incites the coals to another feverish hunger. It is a track which holds the hands and whirls you around its hazy scenery in one fluid escapade for the duration of the refreshing dance. It is a magnetic incitement matched by the closing slice of mesmerism, Echoes. As its title the song resonates and pulsates relentlessly in the psyche and imagination, another weave of electronic and melodic beauty coaxed further by the impressive tones of Reitherman.

    The song concludes in fine style a magnetic release, an encounter from Pillar Point which maybe does not cause the passions to erupt but instead invites and persuades them to linger for vast swathes of time long past its farewell…a reward which arguably is the greater and very appealing.

http://pillarpointmusic.com/

8/10

RingMaster 04/03/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Title Sequence: Straight To Video EP

Fresh yet borne of vintage techniques and feel, the Straight To Video EP from UK electronica band The Title Sequence is an enterprising and mesmeric treat. Available right now as a free download, the release is a slice of lo-fi magnetism which lays its breezy caresses upon the ear with craft and tenderness.

The North London band is the project of songwriter David Bailey and producer Nick Crofts. Formerly known as The Sound of Bailey, the duo are childhood friends who as The Title Sequence have already drawn interest from the likes of Steve Lamacq, Huw Stephens and Chris Coco with their music, including previous single Dinosaurs in February of this year. Taking influences from the likes of Camera Obscura, Boards Of Canada and Solar Bears, the pair open up more of their musical heart and passion with the five track Straight To Video EP.

Ahead of new single Pay Day and presented as a companion to their forthcoming album Stills, the release opens up with the bubbly and hypnotic Out Of This. Nostalgia brewed electronic pulses, bontempi whispers, and excellent guitar teases lead one by the hand within the warm and reflective walls of the song, its core a delight of gentle vocals caresses and golden melodic rays. Offering an elegance of eighties bands like Felt and China Crisis with a Thomas Dolby like electronic attraction and Owl City pop beckoning, the EP is a soft creamy aural dessert from which there is not quite enough to satisfy the appetite but delicious enough to make one keep coming back for more. That applies to the whole release, its individual tracks varied flavours never less than a full enticement if again they do not all always quench the thirst. Nevertheless the opener is an enchanting piece of indie electro pop, its mazy melodies and imaginative sonic drizzling quite impossible to pull away from.

The following My Light Was On is a reflective and emotive tale of lost romance, its slowly dawning strength wonderfully crafted within the haze of a fine guitar painting and passionate mists which place their brief but perpetual kisses upon thoughts and senses. Next up, Hide And Seek is a similar song in intent and effect but brought through a different warm wind of dual vocals and evocative sounds. The guitar again paints the picture whilst the male and wonderful female vocals provide the colour and emotive texture. It is simple but quite lovely and easy to immerse within.

Before the excellent final track, VHSEX is a very brief instrumental which blends steel drums with the white noise of the vintage tape deck reel the band used to record the release. It is ok, just an interlude but does suggest the band in the future have some ambient ideas they could well be ready to explore. The closing Desert Song is a homage to Ennio Morricone, the Mexican mariachi suggesting opening playing in visions of swirling whispers of dust and heat. Into its stride the track is a magnificent weave of cinematic and textures brought through dramatic trumpet and strings alongside soaring female vocal washes and the expressive tones of Bailey. There is a touch of The Monochrome Set to the track, the same imaginative and unique take on sound and story within.

It is an outstanding end to what is a very pleasing and exciting release. It also suggests the horizon will offer more and greater pleasures from The Title Sequence which ensures eyes and ears will be closely paying attention in their direction.

Get the your free download of The Straight To Video EP @

http://thetitlesequence.bandcamp.com/album/straight-to-video-ep

RingMaster 06/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

A Sky Jet Black: Japanese Moon

If the electronic/post punk sounds of the eighties still whisper in your ear or are a recent discovery for you younger retro investigators, then the excellent debut album from US band A Sky Jet Black will easily light some burning fires with their shaded glowing sounds. Japanese Moon like the band, is heavily influenced by new wave/post punk/gothic pop as well as according, to their bio, Berlin era Bowie/Eno/Pop, Phil Spector wall of sound girl bands and 8-bit. It is the post punk dark electro pop elements which firmly cores it all though as the songs weave their impressive charms, their breaths igniting thoughts and memories of numerous iconic British artists.

Formed in 2010 by Hope Iris and Karasene (both keys and vocals) alongside Tim-O (bassist, vocals, production), the band spent its first months honing and creating its sound before making their live debut at the infamous Monstrosity House at SXSW. The following years has seen the band in a hectic flurry of recording and touring, including supporting David J (Bauhaus, Love and Rockets). The Austin, Texas trio recorded the album alongside producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead) and have created one vibrant and mesmeric feast of warm and crystalline soundscapes posing as songs.

The album opens with the eager pulsating Be My, a song bringing the melodic charms of The Cure and Felt through the shimmering vocals of Siouxsie Sioux. It energetically wraps itself around the ear with a firm grasp whilst inspiring memories and dazzled passions, the sounds alongside the vocals of Hope a graceful impactful pleasure. Wholly infectious and fully enchanting it is a hypnotic start to the album, its nostalgic presence a perfect union with the heart of today.

The following Honey has a harder presence, a steely post punk surface to the again instantly absorbing melodic touch. The vocals have a slight Ian Curtis air bringing a Joy Division/The Passage essence across the icy yet heated emotive sounds. Its successor Sunday holds a similar gait but from a glowing New Order aspect, its brisk emotion teasing the electro pop of The Pet Shop Boys, though as throughout the album, shadows add the strongest voice to the romantic noir heart of the song.

Already the varied structure and sounds of the songs impress and ensure the release is never predictable even with the re-energising of well preserved sounds. The band also shows a wonderful ability to evolve things into their own distinct world as with the cover of The Stone Roses song, I Wanna Be Adored. Admittedly not a fan of its creators anyway, the song emerges as easily the better version from A Sky Jet Black, its sensuality and throaty bass veining the astounding contagion to leave one breathless.

As the seductive title track with its oriental kiss and cold beauty of Siouxsie & The Banshees/The Creatures, the kinetic Heart On Your Sleeve, and the brooding Out To Sea captivate thought and imagination, there is nothing but deep pleasure within. The second of the three songs especially hits the sweet spot with its early Human League like beginning and evolution into another New Order spiced piece of addiction, though the third with its Cocteau Twins/Chameleons teasing is equally powerful and deeply reaching.

The final piece of post punk sonic glory So Far Away, closes up what is a wonderful and enthralling album in Japanese Moon. With an album of beauty and darkness brought with provocative and exciting passion, A Sky Jet Black has taken us back in time but indie electro forward. It is majestic and an essential experience all should spare their hearts and time for.

https://www.facebook.com/askyjetblack

RingMaster 14/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Goodbye, Labrador – A Thousand Times Before

If you are looking for a stirring and heated soundtrack for your summer days than A Thousand Times Before from Goodbye, Labrador is easily one of the best candidates. The six track EP is a stunning voice for hazy days and heated emotions with its dreamy and infectious immersive sounds the perfect backdrop to emotive and passionate endeavours.

     Goodbye, Labrador formed in 2008 and finds its members based in Barcelona, Brooklyn, and Prague. 2010 saw their self titled debut EP pull in enthused attention as the members came together for shows in Portugal supporting Ölga and its recording. Now the quartet of Martin Pípal (guitar, vocals), Phil Gold (guitar, percussion, vocals), Gonçalo Hipolito Martins (bass, vocals), and J. M. Silverman (drums, percussion), return with their second release through Dead Fisherman Records to once more place their masterful touch upon the senses. As with their first EP the band upon A Thousand Times Before create dream state borne sounds steeped in eighties post punk invention and nineties art rock imagination. Recorded with Eduardo Ricciardi at Golden Pony Studio in Lisbon, the release is a delicious palette of melodic imagination and emotional caresses brought with stirring energies and sleepy calm.

     Goodbye, Labrador open up the EP with the golden toned Intrepid. The first notable thing is the striking bass sounds of Martins and their captivating presence as they explore and expand the shadowed corners of the light bursting from each and every song. Alongside the beguiling guitar play they create a balance which steers the majestic flow of the songs deeper and with stronger contagion aided by the wonderful duality of the vocal attack. The male and females voices sweep the lyrics through the ear on whispers and rays of warmth for the fullest pleasure and it is hard to think of another band recently able to find the consistent heights in this vocal craft as Goodbye, Labrador do. As mentioned the band find influences in the heights of the eighties and as the EP plays the likes of House Of Love and Felt easily slip in to view as comparisons.

Sirens takes over next and easily emerges as the best song on the release. It immediately lures full attention as the bass paves the way with its heart exciting tones whilst the song is soon lighting up the atmosphere with imagination and spiralling melodic enterprise. There is a great discordant feel to the track too especially through the explosive guitar manipulations and energy which reminds again of Felt but also others like The Passage and Birdland with its rawer surface. With a fiery climax to crumble before, the song is simply outstanding and alone ensures the band is one to always keep an eager eye on.

The likes of Falling Away and Embrace The Stranger continue the growing affection inside with their well crafted sounds and shapes. The first of the pair is an easy to consume continuation with dwells on the plateau built from the starter whilst the second with a slight Pixies air to its bewitching presence ventures into further cascades of sonic beauty and incendiary discord lined aural explosions. All of this drama and stirring wonder comes within that dreamy magnetism, the expertise of the band to merge both so fluidly and contagiously deeply impressive.

The excellent Silence Of Me and the emotive Memoir complete the line-up of excellence just as enjoyably as what came before. As the former of the two weaves its startling melodic prowess one realises the band is finding the levels of melodic infection in their emotive hooks as those which made the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen and Wah! so essential.

If there is one slight criticism for the release it is the similarity across the surface of songs which makes it easy without retaining an element of focus to find the songs merging. Of course given firmer attention the songs without fail unveil a wealth of diversity and invention which is undeniable. A Thousand Times Before is a gem of a release which makes one hope Goodbye, Labrador get together often and bring much more of their outstanding creativity and sounds to our ears.

RingMaster 05/08/2012

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