Glass Caves – Alive

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There is a healthy buzz around UK alternative rockers Glass Caves, and the release of their debut album Alive provides plenty of reasons why. It holds a collection of catchy and vibrant songs which live up to the album’s title with ease. There is an energy and hunger to songwriting and tracks which provides the release and sound with a tenacious and invigorating presence. It makes for a potently captivating encounter though what there is not within Alive is unique character or presence to set the band truly out from the Arctic Monkeys inspired crowd. Taking songs individually it does not impact so openly but across what is a nevertheless fascinating and highly satisfying proposition, that essence prevents a great album being a classic striking debut.

Since forming the band has incessantly hit streets and venues with their presence and vivacious sounds. This has led to a constantly increasing and eager fan base as well as praising attention from the underground media and beyond. Successful slots at numerous festivals such as Leeds/Reading, Ynot Festival, and Shrewsbury Fields Forever has done them no harm neither, nor the release of their self-titled EP last year. Now the Rich Turvey (Darlia/The Mispers) produced and John Davis (Royal Blood/Catfish and the Bottlemen) mastered Alive is ready to awaken even broader attention and even with small reservations, expectations of success are inescapable.

Glass Caves’ new single Go sets things off and instantly lights up ears and imagination with a flame of tasty guitar and probing rhythms. It is a spicy start reinforced by strong vocals and melodic acidity which begins washing over the fiery song. The band would probably protest but there is no avoiding the resonance of Alex Turner and co which whispers loudly within the track, something many bands employ or are tailored by and certainly here adds an admittedly flavoursome hue. All the same, the song is a punchy and energetically persuasive stomp providing a strong lure into the album.

The following Driving Home is just as contagious and instantly intriguing, hooks and melodies toying with ears and emotions from the start whilst vocals, lead and backing, create a warm web of enticement. The throbbing groan of a 10665245_744010618970195_5022062840488303203_nbassline adds to the rich bait whilst guitars capture thoughts with their inventive. As gently infectious and lively as its predecessor, it swiftly shows the band has an arsenal of highly persuasive songs, a theory soon backed up by Why Stay? and Out Of Control. The first of the pair lays down a slightly more reserved but no less animated canvas for voice and guitar to colour whilst the second with a similarly restrained base, explores shadowed scenery embellished by seductive keys. Whilst there is that persistent feel of other bands, Funeral Suits coming to mind, there is real individuality and distinctive character to each song which only suggests that overall uniqueness will come with time and maturity, this track a bulging proposition of evidence with its melodies caresses and vocal drama.

Both the sonically sultry Tonight and the smouldering blaze that is Breaking Out keep the album compelling and attention gripped, the latter of the pair a track with a never realised volatile edge to its temptation bringing a dramatic edge to spark appetite and imagination. The two again show further variation in the character of songs within the album, just as the excellent Let Go. There is an extra whiff of familiarity to the song yet it only enhances its spellbinding and virulently fascinating waltz. The best track on the album with ease it is an anthem to the skills and invention of the band and for passions to enlist in.

The slow burn of Match with its rhythmic crescendos and wiry melodic coaxing is another track full of intrigue and adventure but does lacks the something which ignites earlier tracks. It still makes for a pleasing companion, one sounding bigger and better over time, before This Road brings its own tantalising scenery and melodic dance to tap another keen wave of appetite whilst Be Together in turn parades its powerful embrace of warm keys and jangly hooks. Their enterprising suasions are surpassed by the creative tension of How I Feel, a song with a melodic landscape walled by raw sonic colouring and rhythmic prowling.

The album comes to a close with Moongate, a final energetic croon of voice and sound leaving a lingering touch on ears and thoughts. It is an excellent end to a thoroughly enjoyable release. Yes there is that lack of something strikingly different to set Glass Caves apart from the many but to be fair that applies to a wealth of emerging bands of which most certainly do not make as strong and as pleasing an impression as found with Alive. Glass Caves is a band to keep a good eye on and their album one to have plenty of fun with.

Alive is available now via Tri-Tone @ www.buyalive.co.uk

http://www.glasscaves.co.uk

RingMaster 29/10/2014

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Funeral Suits – Hands Down

Hands Down is the stunning new single from Dublin quartet Funeral Suits, a song as mesmeric and captivating as it is bold and inciteful. Taken from the excellent Lily Of The Valley album, the song is a dramatic and atmospheric weave which leaves one lost in thought and imagination whilst igniting the fullest pleasure.

The quartet of Brian James, Mik McKeogh, Greg McCarthy and Dar Grant, lit up the year with their album within which Hands Down was a golden moment amongst a plethora of melodic fires. Arguably it was a little overwhelmed within the context of the heated inspiration the album brought but standing alone it truly unveils its impressive and beautiful heart and invention. Released via Model Citizen Records and produced by Stephen Street (The Smiths, Blur), the majestic track is aural gold, a melodic treasure to immerse within.

Funeral Suits begin the song with smouldering harmonies, solemn beats, and with the guitar leaving little sonic fires across the roof of the song.  The vocals shimmer with energy and restraint within equally gaited music for a sensual ambience. As the rhythms quicken their pace there is a sense of something still to be defined brewing within the pulsating heart of the song. Eventually the passion and insatiable breath of the song erupts in a burning crescendo of energy and emotion, the full rock stomp incendiary and compulsive.

Hands Down is three minutes of instinctive and glorious invention, a thoughtful and evocative song to spark imagery and ignite raging emotional fires. It is a real gem and an absorbing experience which all should pay attention to.

There is also a video to the release which carries on the theme from the video for previous single All Those Friendly People. It is not for the faint hearted and can be seen below.

http://funeralsuits.com/

RingMaster 12/10/2012

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Funeral Suits : Lily Of The Valley

Sometimes an album comes along to elevate anticipation and expectations nurtured through previous releases far beyond what was imagined. Such is the case with Lily Of The Valley from Irish indie band Funeral Suits. Based on a trio of singles there was a keen belief that an album would match and please as much but there was no real indication of the unsettling mesmeric aural swarm that was coming. Individually the songs contained within the album are not strikingly better or worse than the already unveiled songs which also find a place on Lily Of The Valley, but as a whole there is a much deeper and absorbing experience going on than from songs taken alone.

    Funeral Suits has created an album with on the surface an underwhelming diversity but with a deeply expressive breath, each track playing like a limb or organ within a vibrant emotive body. They have an intelligent and warming similarity across them but taken one away and there is a hole the others cannot fill, and given the fullest of focus one does find a beautifully crafted and imagined individuality to the songs.

From North Country Dublin the quartet of Brian James, Mik McKeogh, Greg McCarthy and Dar Grant has spent two years creating the album and that attention and time spent pours from each carefully and thoughtfully placed note, word, and passion. Released June 4th through Model Citizen Records and produced by Stephen Street (The Smiths, Blur), the album is a stunning enveloping heart borne piece of composing. It does not arguably ignite the fiercest of fires at any point but rather wraps itself around and within mind and senses for a further reaching and fuller impact. From their 2011 debut single Colour Fade the band has gained an ever growing mass of devotees and acclaim. The further singles as well as shared stages with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Passion Pit, The Maccabees, and Local Natives plus appearances at SXSW, Great Escape and Reading/Leeds Festival the same year have only reinforced their increasing stature, something the album will surely explode in dramatic style.

The album opens with Mary’s Revenge and takes no time in capturing the ear with vocals harmonies and electronic waves of sound. The deep Tubeway Army like electronic melody is an instant beckoning as guitars scramble the air with their discord and impressive voice. The track is an exceptional electro pop song but with a bite and intent which brings deeper intrigue and an unsettling energy to its pulsating mass. By its end the track has overwhelmed the ear with a heavy whisper to elevate it wonderfully from just mere pop.

   Colour Fade and Health, two of the previous singles come next, the first an immersive enchantment of simple heart and mesmeric beauty from vocals and music. The crystalline melodies sparkle against the thumping rhythms and niggling guitars for an undemanding but attention seeking piece of music. Health is very different, from its awakening atmosphere and flexing electro muscles the song stamps its authority across the senses with punchy rhythms and lingering acidic guitars. Both songs are the perfect entry point to the band alone but within the album gain an even fuller resonance and height.

Tracks like the newest single All Those Friendly People with its shadowed anthemic undertow, the emotive enchantment that is We Only Attack Ourselves with its wonderful dark stringed vein, and Stars and Spaceships are further highlights, though there is not a weakness or lull in the sweltering invention and consuming ingenuity anywhere. The third of these three is a mesmeric and equally disarming track which encapsulates the band and its impressive creativity alone.

Ending on the haunting and sinister I Still Love The High, a song of emotive grandeur seemingly disentangled from the sounds around it, the album is truly impressive and impossible to leave without at least one more swim within its warm beauty and darkened depths. Funeral Suits unveiled their promise with the singles, Lily of the Valley realises it and more for the most gratifying experience you could wish for.

Ringmaster 31/05/2012

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