Hellbound Hearts – Film Noir

Like all music fans we breed real anticipation for certain and numerous releases each year but few as eagerly as that for the first album from British rockers Hellbound Hearts. Because of a pair of rousing and acclaimed EPs, the Yorkshire hailing trio has stirred a real appetite for their fervour driven rock ‘n’ roll. Now we can say that those early successes were just appetisers because without doubt Film Noir is the main meal from the band.

One of the things which could have been said about both the EP’s, Outside and The Proximity Effect and also their self-titled debut before that, was that the Hellbound Hearts sound was whilst individual not always truly unique in the crowded landscape of alternative rock, though certainly evolving with every release towards that aim. It is something the trio of vocalist/guitarist Danny Lambert, bassist Craig McLaren, and drummer Lee Brook took note of as explained by Lambert when talking about their first album and how it turned out not as originally intended. “It wasn’t working“, he recently admitted, “we’d had some changes and time to reflect, and whilst the songs were good, we strongly wanted to be our own band and not be like a 1000 others flooding the market. So we canned the album, went back to the drawing board and re-grouped, re-composed and wrote a bunch of new songs, much more fitting with our sound.”  The result of that bold move and concentrated effort is an album which comes alive from its first breath, never relaxes its energies and arousal of ears until the final note, and unmistakably provides a singular body and character of adventure.

Produced by Matt Ellis (Black Spiders, Terrorvision), Film Noir gets right down to business with its opener and recent single Suffering The Radio. Dark brooding keys hug ears initially, the melancholic air of a piano just as swift in its suggestion before from within their shadowed caress a strike of guitars sparks a rumble of riffs and rhythms. Stirring and arousing, the deluge of temptation shows restraint as it welcomes the potent tones of Lambert backed by McLaren and Brook, a union aligning with swinging hooks and a great grumbling bass groove. Inescapably infectious and boisterous, the track hooks ears and listener involvement, inhibitions dismissed for a peach of a persuasive chorus as the heart of real rock ‘n’ roll descending on the mundane and mediocrity of the modern music world above the underground.

The superb start is matched by the virulent exploits of Broken Hearted where again aggressive textures and warm melodies entangle in a contagious roar. Riffs and rhythms prowl with rapacious relish whilst hooks and vocals come littered with infectious enterprise. There is a touch of Jimmy Eat World meets The Wildhearts to the song but already the album is deep in unveiling a Hellbound Hearts only owned proposal, revealing more with every passing minute and songs like next up Poor Disguises. Taking its time to rise up, almost stalking the listener with its predacious beats and subsequent bass groan, the song stands tall with hungry riffs which in turn spark a punk fuelled charge of attitude and energy which continues to infest the song’s tenacious and grouchy rock ‘n’ roll. Lambert’s warm tones bring a fine temper as too melodies though they have a touch scorching senses like licking flames; everything adding to a stomping slice of punk ‘n’ roll.

New single The Light We Cannot See follows with its own galvanic nature and air, again rhythms and riffs carrying a heavy and heady thump as grooves entangle their menace with flirtatious and catchy endeavour. Calmer twists and suggestive textures add to the track’s lively drama and wistful emotion before the reflective Still We Wait ebbs and flows with initial emotive grace. It is a coaxing though into a far darker and tempestuous realm, surges of almost Rob Zombie like riffs and intensity bursting free whilst surf rock kissed melodies shine radiantly upon the turbulence, both contrasts merging for passages of pure ravenous rock ‘n’ roll. With the growling breath of McLaren’s bass and Brook’s dynamic rhythms, the anthemically fuelled track is quite glorious.

There is a great whiff of Therapy? to next up Blood, at times of Pitchshifter too, yet the song entangles ears and pleasure in wiry creative tendrils openly peculiar to Hellbound Hearts while Wake Up flirts with a mixture of pop punk and hard rock for its easy going and firmly captivating enticement before We Are All Alone shares its own moment of reflective honesty against an increasing gnarly bassline, rapier like beats, and metal urged sonic dexterity. The track does not quite light personal tastes as powerfully as many of those around it even with its Terrorvision spiced hues but easily leaves satisfaction greedily content.

The album is closed off by firstly the insatiable heavy rock growl of Fortunes and finally the hellacious incitement of Silent Horror Movie, both tracks in their individual ways webs of stylish temptation and instinctive infection with the former a more pop rock soaked contagion and the latter a ferociously hungry roar uncaging the primal rock ‘n’ roll.

Hellbound Hearts have been no strangers to praise and success but Film Noir leaves all before it dead in the water. It is an exhilarating slab of rock ‘n’ roll which truly only gets better and more irresistible with every listen.

Film Noir is released April 7th through https://www.hellboundhearts.com/   and digitally across most online stores.

Upcoming Hellbound Hearts Dates

8th April – LEEDS, Key Club (album launch show)

16th April – BOLTON, B-Festival (Alma Inn)

3rd June – KEIGHLEY, The Exchange

23rd June – DUNDEE, Firefly

24th June – EDINBURGH, Bannermans

8th July – WESTCLIFFE ON SEA, The Venue

11th August – LEEDS, Yorkshire Rock And Bike Show

https://www.facebook.com/wearehellboundhearts    https://twitter.com/hbhuk

Pete RingMaster 06/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Karel Fialka – Peace v War (featuring Racecar)

Photo by Mike Ross

Photo by Mike Ross

A name from the past returning to stir up ears again with a new album is Karel Fialka, a man who became a potent part of electro pop in the eighties. In reality, Fialka has never truly been away, continuing to write and record with other bands and artists as well as being a well-respected and sought after artist on the production side of things. Mention his name though and certainly our thoughts, as a great many it seems, refer to eighties tracks such as The Eyes Have It and Hey Matthew as our last major memories. That is set to change though with the release of Peace v War, a set of songs created in collaboration with Racecar which simply and increasingly captivate.

Emerging around 1978, Fialka first drew attention with 7” single Armband, a song destined to become a cult classic. The Eyes Have It saw strong radio attention and further acclaim a year later, with the album it came from, Still Life an equally well-received offering spawning further eagerly received singles. Continuing to be an active songwriter with many of his tracks covered by numerous artists, it was not until 1987 with the release of the single Hey Matthew on Miles Copeland’s I.R.S. Records that Fialka hit the charts for his biggest success. Second album Human Animal grabbed attention the following year though fans had to wait almost a decade for its 2009 successor, Film Noir. It has been though, a host of years in regard to Fialka which has slipped us, again as others, personally by, which is why the pleasant surprise when being sent over the promo for Peace v War.

art_RingMaster ReviewWritten and recorded with the Racecar, which is Kevin McGowan and Richard Rogers, Peace v War is set to be a release casting Fialka back into the ears and radar of that great many. It is a lyrically sharp and emotionally irritable collection of songs looking at themes which are impacting on the modern world such as war, hunger, inequality, political chicanery and media manipulation. Musically though, it is a flavoursome maze of tracks which are as catchy and bright as their narratives are biting and dark.

Released only digitally and on 12″ vinyl which comes wrapped in a cover designed by Grammy Design Award nominee Mike Ross, you will excuse us if we look at Peace v War in the track order of the promo sent to us rather than what seems to be the different placing of songs on certainly the vinyl version, though both start with the excellent Political Animal. It is a song which saunters in with a mellow air and a smiling melodic coaxing though more inflamed grooves soon add to the still restrained but simultaneously catchy and sombre encounter. Led by the dark accusing tones of Fialka, there is a Fad Gadget air and texturing to the guitar shaped song which only adds to its urgent appeal, that and the easy to join chorus with its crowd of female led vocal infectiousness.

Variety is a soon show as another open hue to the album, Scratch The Surface for example nudging up to ears and appetite with its reggae seeded riffs and swagger which brings a scent not too removed from The Clash, even as keys lay their evocative ambience around the magnetic lure of rhythms and guitar which shows a great line in discord at times. That diversity continues as the likes of White Gold In The Aral Sea, with its even darker tone laced with Ruts spiced predation and emotive piano expression, and the exotically woven Synthetic Sin share their unique characters and fascinating landscapes. The first of the two is soaked in a brooding that infests the imagination but is swiftly eclipsed by the second and best track on the album. With a potent blend of vocals from the band and mystique hued melodies which hauntingly wind around the addictive sway and virulence of the song, it simply has ears and appetite eating out of its creative hands.

A bluesy air colludes with electronic resourcefulness in Calvary, a song which from a strong start just seems to blossom in weight and colour with each of its alluring four plus minutes whilst Listen To The World explores a vocal and melodic intimacy which nicely contrasts the broader themes and bodies of the songs around it, though its seeds lead to its own expansive look at the world. Vibrant rhythms make a smart temper to the slower tonal exploration of the track, but uniting to be part of another deceptively catchy encounter. That infectious energy is keen a part and parcel of most of Peace v War as shown again by the pop funk saunter of What Are You Gonna Do?, where a whisper of Heaven 17 emerges in its livelier chorus to again contrast and blend with a more solemn breath.

Our version of the album closes with two evocative instrumentals in the piano bred I Rode That Tide With The Starry-Eyed and the melodic dissonance of Obsession which in the vinyl’s line-up of songs provides a potent interlude mid-way.

Whichever order of the songs, there is no lack of thorough enjoyment found within Peace v War, all three musicians and songwriters creating songs which stimulate and pleasure the senses in equal measure. It is not quite right to say that Karel Fialka is back, he has never really been away, but certainly he with Racecar is set to be the focus of good attention again.

Peace v War is released digitally and on 12” vinyl via PVW Records on February 26th through most stores or directly through Cadiz Music Ltd @ http://www.cadizmusic.com/2007/index.php?location=/web/Search/karel%20fialka

https://www.facebook.com/fialkakarel   http://karelfialka.com/

Pete RingMaster 25/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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