Ward XVI – The Art Of Manipulation

Grabbing attention, certainly for a moment or two is pretty much within the ability of most artists with an inkling of imagination in their sound and presentation; sustaining it across a parade of tracks and releases is not so easy but a prowess well within the capabilities of British outfit Ward XVI. They poked at ears and an initial awareness of their individual adventure with a self-titled debut EP in 2015 and now truly stoke the fires of both with their first album. The Art Of Manipulation is a 16-track escapade as diverse and bold in flavours as it is compelling in theatrical imagination and oh so enjoyable and fun.

Hailing from Preston, Ward XVI is a sextet of musicians bringing an array of widespread inspirations into their individual and united creativity. Since the release of that first EP, the band has shared stages with the likes of William Control and The Men that will not be Blamed for Nothing, played the main stage at O2 Academy Leeds in the final of the Soundwaves Music Competition, and increased their reputation and success across their native North West with a host of headlining shows. Recently signing with Germany’s Rock ’N’ Growl Records, the band is now teasing and tempting national recognition with The Art Of Manipulation, a release which has you rocking in body and imagination from start to finish with its multi-flavoured avant-garde rock.

A concept album telling the introspective story of a female psychopath locked away in a high security asylum, each track a delving into her past life and telling the story of how she manipulated a man into killing for her using her feminine charm, The Art Of Manipulation introduces itself with doctor and protagonist tempting and contemplating the story leading to the waiting embrace of Ward XVI. Take My Hand emerges from its lead, melancholic guitar and keys caressing the senses as vocalist Psychoberrie adds her potent lures to its entrance. Soon a gentle stroll, the song swiftly reveals an infectious swing, a low key flirtation which soon finds a hungrier intent as the song explodes with a fusion of metal/rock tenacity. Two minutes of rousing rock ‘n’ roll, the song sets up appetite and attention with ease and ready for the album’s following title track. Again a mellow start beckons ears, guitars weaving an elegant web before the darker shadows of Beardy McStumble’s bass and the senses clipping beats of Jake step in. There is an elegant but portentous air to the joining keys of Min, a threat which ignites as the song slips into a tempestuous canter of riffs and rhythms led by the increasingly enticing and impressive tones of Psychoberrie. Theremin lures add to the intrigue and appetising character of the track, punk and metal essences colluding with the rapacious rock ‘n’ roll steered by the guitars of Lex Whittingham and Dr. Von Stottenstein with the song ebbing and flowing in energy and aggression across its eventful body, every second a tease and temptation to devour.

A verbal interlude bridges one rich highlight to another as The Flight takes over, the track at first a heavy boned hard rock stomp but soon surrounding its heady march with electro revelry. It is a glorious rousing mix, a fusion of flavours which, though not exactly in a similar sound, ignites the imagination like a fusion of Kontrust and Russkaja, heavy metal flames extra spicing to the fiery mix. By now the diversity of the Ward XVI sound is inescapable, a magnetic trait among many which continues into the next up and brilliant Crystal Ball. Instantly capturing ears with its open Stolen Babies inspiration, the song quickly adds some gypsy dance revelry to the mix, Min’s accordion a flirtatious enticement as it aligns with Molotov Jukebox like antics and emerges as another unique track in the Ward XVI asylum.

The piano nurtured beauty of Hold Me calms things down a touch, the key’s suggestive writing courted by spicy guitar strains and the bewitching voice of Psychoberrie as the song irresistibly serenades the senses. Becoming more volatile with each passing minute, the track keenly captivates before another revealing interlude splits its draw and the equally potent call of Blackened Heart. A heavy rock roar, the song shares its own creative dance of varied spices and individual craft to keep the pleasure flowing even though it misses the bolder attributes of other tracks around it such as Run For Your Lives. The track is a boisterous mix of antagonism and flirtation, the keys mixing gypsy punk with the hard rock throes of riffs and rhythms and with vocals just as textually mixed and gripping, irritability increasingly brewing in them as the sounds until the carnival dance of its finale, it is another pinnacle of an already highly addictive proposition.

Adrenochromania seduces like a dark dream, its predacious shadows and spatial melodic caresses a weave of emotional disorder and euphoria; a union careering towards rock ‘n’ roll psychosis which breaks with zeal and enterprise as the guitars subsequently sizzle and keys progressively weave with equal relish. Psychoberrie gives the recipe to manipulation within it all, her tones a lingering essence as the song departs for the lively electro rock ‘n’ roll of Cry Of The Siren to step up and stir up body and energy.

Its potent temptation is instantly overshadowed by the psychotic nursery room smile of Toybox, the song recalling Stolen Babies again with a touch of Venus De Vilo to the vocal dance of Psychoberrie. Accordion and guitars wrap around rhythmic trespasses as the song hits its full weighty voice though it is that initial innocence spawned discordance which steals the passions most on its subsequent return into the track’s muscular tempest.

The outstanding Inner Demon has ears and thoughts flared up again with its rapacious punk ‘n’ roll, hooks and grooves as dangerous as the edge in the vocals and the song’s rhythmic infestation of the senses. Providing another major highlight, the song brings another hue to the landscape and adventure of the album, as all those before it, pushing and stretching the band’s sound and drama to another slightly different and deranged quarter without losing the inherent infectiousness of the release.

The album closes with the track Ward XVI, its own and its inmate’s final destination reached. An initial keys crafted gentle start deceives; its suggestion of contrition and realisation soon consumed by the raging blaze of sound and intensity which erupts as the release burns its final success into the senses and imagination. It is a fine end to an encounter which offers a little more with every listen; a striking affair from a band we for one are already hungrily waiting to hear more from. The Art Of Manipulation is a must for the bold, musically adventurous, and yes slightly deranged.

The Art Of Manipulation is out now on Rock ’N’ Growl Records @ https://wardxvi.bandcamp.com/album/the-art-of-manipulation

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Pete RingMaster 11/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Counting Coins – All That I Need

CC_RingMaster Review

It has been a hectic year so far for UK rockers Counting Coins; live shows and tours across the UK and Europe a source of great attention and praise for the band as well as recent single Don’t Look Down, and it continues with the unveiling of its successor. The second single taken from the Hull based quintet’s forthcoming album, All That I Need bobs along on ska bred riffs and devilish rhythms bound in spicy melodies that incite ears and imagination as potently as the equally effective vocal and lyrical incitement. It is one of those invitations impossible to refuse as it gives body and lust a rousing run out; simply one endearing and energetic romp of premeditated goodness.

artwork_RingMaster Review     Formed in 2009, Counting Coins has grown a seriously anthemic fusion of ska, gypsy punk, swing, and hip-hop over the years. From their first pair of EPs, Take the Ride and Reach for the Sky in 2010 and 2013 respectively, the band has shown a creative tenacity that wakes up the instinct to romp and stomp. Their live presence has only increased their reputation, the sharing of stages with bands such as Random Hand, Sonic Boom 6, The New Town Kings, The Talks, Jaya the Cat, Babar Luck (ex-King Prawn), The King Blues, The JB Conspiracy, and Neville Staple adding to an increasingly acclaimed reputation. A few weeks back Don’t Look Down had bodies of fans and media jumping around physically and in praise, a repeated success well within the creative grasp of All That I Need.

Opening on a lone and instantly enticing guitar, the bass soon adding its exploits, the track is quickly swinging along with a melodic smile and rhythmic temptation. The vocals of Harry Burnby just as swiftly bring another strain of infectious enterprise, his bouncy delivery matching that of strings plucked by Matty Dennison and Rob Green. In full stroll, like The Beat meets Reel Big Fish but with more variety to its hues, All That I Need swaggers with joyful tenacity as flames from trumpeter Will Chalk blaze over the throaty lure of bass and the keen swipes of drummer Sam Burnham.

It is an easy going proposal offered by the song but a virulently captivating one which has feet jumping, vocal chords exercised, and emotions flying with the outstanding encounter. The last Counting Coins single meant that interest of the band’s new album was thick and now with All That I Need doing the tempting, and with a great video in tow, anticipation is full and a touch impatient.

All That I Need is available from November 23rd across a global range of digital platforms including iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer.

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Pete RingMaster 23/11/2015

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Counting Coins – Don’t Look Down

CC_RingMaster Review

Here is another band we could kick ourselves for not discovering before now, well we will once we stop bouncing to their glorious new single. They are Counting Coins, a UK band which in one breath you might call ska, in another gypsy punk, in another…well you get the idea, and their new release is Don’t Look Down, a song destined to turn venues, festivals, and the world into a heaving mass of bodies.

cover_RingMaster Review   The Hull hailing Counting Coins formed in 2009 and it seems took little time in exciting crowds locally before drawing broader attention through debut EP Take the Ride in 2010. With its successor, the Reach for the Sky EP three years later even more successful, the band were soon and hungrily since, lighting up venues across the UK and into Europe, sharing stages with the likes of Random Hand, Sonic Boom 6, The New Town Kings, The Talks, Jaya the Cat, Babar Luck (ex-King Prawn), The King Blues, The JB Conspiracy, and Neville Staple along the way. Equally performances at festivals such as Boomtown, Rebellion, Tramlines, Galtres, and Freedom Festival have only drawn acclaim and seen the band’s reputation gain momentum. With new single Don’t Look Down constantly in our ears alongside a retrospective investigation of Counting Coins, it is easy to see and hear why the quintet of vocalist Harry Burnby, guitarist/bassist Matty Dennison, bassist/guitarist Rob Green, drummer Sam Burnham, and trumpeter Will Chalk are so lustfully supported.

As mentioned at the top, the band’s sound is a weave of styles; ska, punk, gypsy, and hip hop aligned and entangling in Don’t Look Down alone. A brief rally of beats introduces the magnetic flames of brass, they enticing choppy riffs, a pulsating bassline, and the resourceful and magnetic lures of Burnby, his voice just as eagerly backed across the band. The ska swagger of the song is pure temptation, feet and hips soon in tandem, vocal chords a swift addition too. Around them though, the song seamlessly slips in flames of reggae, ska gypsy, and more, it all managing to collude to breed a swing like dynamism. With elements of dub and folk, tango and waltz, and at one point we swear steam punk, the track just continues to roll and twist like a melodic acrobat as it takes the listener and passions on a heady and exhausting ride.

Single of the year contenders is a list longer than a queue on Black Friday and now it is one song richer, an incitement which has more or less jumped the line to stand to the fore of 2015 essential treats.

Don’t Look Down is out now as a digital download on All Our Own Records.

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Pete RingMaster 02/10/2015

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The BeauBowBelles – A Thing of Reality

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I will be honest, for the first time, other than rooting for Finland’s Lordi a few years back, there was a flicker of interest in this year’s Eurovision song contest once learning that the UK entry had a sound seeded in the ever infectious realm of swing. Any hopes and attention were defused of course once having heard the song and finding it had turned an instinctively contagious sound into something yawningly bland. It was poor old school with no adventure and modern imagination fuelling its proposal; once again the contest living up to its uninspiring reputation.

What does this have to do with the new proposition from The BeauBowBelles you are probably asking right now? Well the failure of seeing what is in and the choosing of what represents our voraciously inventive British music scene just leaves thoughts bewildered when, if we go down the swing road, the likes of the Electric Swing Circus, Molotov Jukebox, and especially The BeauBowBelles are creating irresistible and inventively magnificent propositions. Whether any of them would want to be involved in such an event is another question but each spins a web of virulently inventive escapades bred from diverse and colourful sounds, and this is where the seriously impressive A Thing of Reality, the debut album from The BeauBowBelles comes in.

The London quartet’s new melodic jaunt is a mouth-watering adventure of folk swing cast in unique sceneries of personal intimacy and expansive revelry with every track. It can stomp like a dance hall, seduce like a temptress, and reflect with emotive elegance, but whichever avenue a song escorts the imagination to it has body and attention enthralled. In many ways the delicious exploits of A Thing of Reality is no surprise having been spellbound by their first EP To The Moon in 2013 and a year later the single All Over That. They were sparkling appetisers for this first full-length dance but only a hint of its majesty too.

An album version of that last single opens up A Thing of Reality, and again as the first time around, All Over That easily captures the imagination with its opening embrace of melancholic yet smiling strings within seconds. No matter the number of times heard, the entrance of the song casts a spell, which the quartet of Bertie Anderson (vocals, violin), Emma Price (vocals, flutes, accordion, bells), Ros Wilks (vocals, violin, keytar), and Marcus Daborn (guitar, kickdrum), proceed to turn into a blaze of swirling devilry. That is a little down the line though, as guitar and a sultry kiss of brass light ears next, their coaxing the perfect company to the tantalising vocals. It is like an emotive waltz, a rising dance which is soon quick stepping with flirty riffs and mesmeric coverharmonies. Then the romp truly begins as thick basslines and vivacious energies descend on the senses, awakening an even more wanton appetite for its offerings. A gentle relaxation breaks the surge momentarily before the devilment swiftly returns for another whirl of rhythmic hips aligned to tenacious gypsy punk curves, all aligning for one infectious melodic shuffle.

The brilliant start is matched straight away by the following Lo Ho Down. Again a slow temptation brings the track into view, a reflective shanty of sound the initial invitation. It is also just an introduction to livelier things, a folk emprise with Celtic breath showing its light feet and keen moves soon after before drawing on even broader spices as a country and jazz persuasion adds their hues to the continually evolving canvas and gait of the contagion.

The summery charm of Blue Tree floats in next; it’s almost whimsical spots of melodic colour a smile on the ear within which voice and strings paint an increasingly colourful and vivid picture. There is a sixties pop air to the heart of the song and a classical elegance to the narrative of the violins and horns, both sparking up the imagination for the emerging anthemic stroll of the excellent encounter. Three tracks in and the album is as varied and creatively expansive as anyone could wish for and continuing to move into new pastures as the warm deceptive balladry of Sleep and the delicate flirtation of Fly Away seduce and serenade the senses. The first gentle strokes ears with its calm melodies and evocative textures yet has a mischief in its heart as it brews up a stirring chorus with invigorating rhythms and similarly gripping theatre. From a calm start the track turns into a chest beating, rattling romp of a croon and again has emotions and body lustfully involved. Its successor remains the serene host of bright melodies and magnetic adventure it initial portrays, though it too breeds a drama which adds an anthemic edge to it all.

A fifties rock ‘n’ roll revelry aligns to the insatiable energy of swing for Lotions, its rousing body and temptation a feisty waltz for feet and energies. The track makes for another mighty pinnacle on the album, from voices to percussion, strings to keys, and the rest, inescapable bait in a creative emprise stealing the passions. It is exhausting fun after which a breath can be taken with The Boy with a Boater on his Head, though it too is a transfixing sway. There is that particular English uniqueness to its music which no one else outside our shores can emulate but equally a country-esque whine and pop swagger makes rich spices in the fascinating mixture.

The graceful Sophie is a celestial kiss of harmonies and emotional intimacy, a resourceful ballad which as previous songs climbs from mere riveting hugs into almost riotously melodic dramas, keys especially poignant here. Its alluring smooch is subsequently followed by the vaudeville delights of Fools & Fairytales. The track ebbs and flows with cinematic essences and stage like performance from the sounds. It is like a soundtrack to a play wrapped in folk lore and personal exploration, and again aural theatre is the best way to describe the song and its spellbinding fantasy, that and ingenious majesty.

The smouldering seduction of Make Up brings the album to a close; its seventies psychedelic pop and classical grace an absorbing end to one irresistible and thrilling release. Certain songs overwhelm body and soul whilst the rest like an epidemic relentlessly seduce every pore; the result an irrepressible gest to light any and every day.

A Thing of Reality is available now digitally and on CD via Woodster Records @ http://thebeaubowbelles.bandcamp.com/album/a-thing-of-reality

http://www.thebeaubowbelles.com/

RingMaster 10/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The BeauBowBelles – All Over That

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Having been lustfully seduced by the To The Moon EP, the debut release from UK band The BeauBowBelles which uniquely merged the richest essences of gypsy punk, folk, country rock, swing, with a classical elegance, we had an instant lick of the lips when presented with their new single All Over That. It did not let anticipation and expectations down either, from a deceptively slow beginning evolving into another stylishly mischievous and imaginatively flirtatious stomp. The London quartet has a sound which makes the common cold look lightweight in contagiousness and their new single is the band’s most virulent dose of melodic infection yet.

The foursome of multi- instrumentalists, Bertie Anderson (vocals, violin), Emma Price (vocals, flutes, accordion, bells), Ros Wilks (vocals, violin, keytar), and Marcus Daborn (guitar, kickdrum), has continued to breed an impressive reputation and acclaimed proposition live since making their entrance. Along with their previous EP, it has been an exciting emergence by The BeauBowBelles, a potent ascent now receiving a sizeable change of gear through All Over That.

A melancholic embrace of violin wraps ears first, a caress accompanied in no time by a smouldering kiss of brass and an emotive breath of keys. It is an invitingly shadowed and emotionally dark wash which finds a sultry light as horns proceed to flirt with guitar crafted melodies and the first kiss of vocals. The lyrics state at one point a “tantalising tune” and it nicely sums up the opening of the song, an intrigue and unpredictability which truly erupts as guitars and voices add urgency to their croon. It is a momentary loss of restraint though which teases wonderfully before the track slips back into its darkened gypsy waltz to sculpt and cast the same magnetic build-up again.

Eventually rhythms and bass strums get heavy with a passionate relish, dancing with the sweltering melodies as the song develops a seriously irresistible swing to its melodically erotic romp. It is not long into the song that feet and imagination, not forgetting emotions, are wrapped up in the track’s adventure and by its climax all are swirling with the whirling fever of a dervish in breathless bliss.

All Over That is an unbridled joy and devilish epidemic of enterprise, as infectious as it is poetically melodic. The BeauBowBelles are the masters of the dance, for body and soul.

All Over That is available from September 29th @ http://thebeaubowbelles.bandcamp.com/

www.theBeauBowBelles.com

RingMaster 28/09/2014

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Johnny Kowalski and The Sexy Weirdos – Kill The Beast

JK cover

How best to describe the sound of Johnny Kowalski and The Sexy Weirdos which runs virulently threw the veins of new album Kill The Beast. Well if you take a fusion of Tankus The Henge and Gogol Bordello and spice it up with healthy doses of Les Négresses Vertes, The Pogues and Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, you get a fair flavouring of the fun found within the band’s second full-length. The ten track release is a magnetic energetic party of varied sounds and flavours brewed into the band’s own riveting “carnival punk” proposition, it one rigorously exciting and enjoyable encounter. Essences of gypsy punk, ska, swing, and straight forward punk also add to the irrepressibly captivating mix, the result a wonderful deranged waltz of unpredictable adventure.

Johnny Kowalski and the Sexy Weirdos spent their early years honing and shaping their sound on the live arena before unveiling debut album Victory for the Monsters in the October of 2012. Acclaimed the release was followed by the band striking out on tour across France, Belgium, Germany, and the Czech Republic, again to strong and eager responses. Returning to Europe again last year, the Birmingham based band courted the passion of countries such as Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg in the course of their next tour, whilst appearances at festival such as Boomtown, Y Not, Tramlines, Nozstock, Wychwood, and Swingamajig as well as a third European excursion has only strengthened their presence and reputation, breeding strong anticipation for their new album. Produced by Gavin Monaghan (Editors, The Destroyers, Robert Plant), Kill the Beast seizes attention from its first breath refusing to release its hold until the final note of the last song. It is a release which like all punk bred incitements, which it really is in so many ways, the album challenges and thrills with mischief and antagonistic wantonness, rewarding with a feel good factor other bands can only imagine.

Nailbiter starts things off and is instantly throwing its body through ears, revelling in its boisterous energy as brass inflames the air and rhythms march resourcefully over the senses. Eventually settling into a more controlled yet still rebellious stride with a sultry mystique to its evolving sound, the song seduces and incites the imagination with the violin of John-Joe Murray a potent lure within the strong rhythmic frame provided by drummer Matthew Osborne and bassist Chris Yates. A devious swagger breaks out from within the captivating stomp, the guitar of Kowalski stirring things up before his raw vocals add to the striking dance. There is a fairground barker drama to his delivery, expelling forcibly the narrative as strings and brass colour the scenery further, the trombone croon of Ellie Chambers and trumpeting pouts of Simon Noons rich hues to immerse within. Building up to an explosive crescendo which wickedly never materialises, the track is a glorious start to the album setting a high bar for the other songs to match.

The following When the Time Comes makes a worthy attempt, growing potently from its reserved opening stroll with flumes of brass warming a rhythmic scattering and the more reserved delivery of Kowalski. It is a spicy romp, which like a smouldering temptress sways and swerves with melodic curves and energetic tendencies over the senses, teasing with its seductive nature. It does not match its predecessor’s heights but still leaves emotions and ears enraptured as the Tequila Song stands poised to inflame their ardour once again. As you can probably imagine from the title the song is a festival in the ear; liquor kissed revelry which stomps with rhythmic knees high and infectious melodies bordering on salaciousness. The brass again almost taunts with their evocative blasts, adding to the mischief breeding every note and syllable uncaged by Kowalski and the backing shouts of Osbourne and Murray.

Next up Question the Answers strides with a rhythmic tantalising courted by a great throaty bass lure and punctuated by again fiery stabs of brass. There is a sense of unrest to the sound and feel of the song, a troubled sigh locking onto the rigid contagious press of rhythms. As vocals and subsequently violin bring their unique flavours to the developing evocative landscape, the track absorbs attention and appetite, twists of guitar and acidic stringed invention spearing the enveloping premise. The track is more restrained and arguably straight forward than the earlier tempests of adventure but no less gripping, much like Same Mistakes which swiftly adds its bold canter to the terrain of the release. Again it is a more reined in protagonist but with plenty to engage the ears if without sparking the same strength of fire in the passions as certainly the first and third song.

The excellent folk/gypsy vaunt of Raggle-Taggle Gypsy comes next to bring a traditional treat with a sense of the Pogues to its exhaustive imagination infesting polka before making way for the instrumental ‘shanty’ of What Shall We Do With a Blonde?, another track which lifts spirits and feet like a maniacal puppeteer for the fullest of pleasures. The album sees the additional dark charm of the tuba from David Yates across its body, and here he is at his exhilarating best perfectly matched by the mouthwatering skill of Murray.

     Another major treat comes with the carnival-esque sortie of That’s the One, brass and violin casting a picture of circus swing which the expressive vocals and gypsy punk spawned heart of rhythms and guitar paint in their own rich textures. In its full stride the song is an addictive tempting which as others steals control of feet and soul but it is not maintained throughout to the same potent effect leaving the listener feeling the song missed an indefinable trick somewhere. It is still a vivaciously pleasing track which the punkish The Good Shark builds from. Like The Clash meets Mano Negro in many ways, the song is a feverish provocateur which impresses and excites even more when from its fire flailing romp it hits a vein of dub/ska haunting sparking that Strummer and Co reference and thoughts of Ruts too. Finishing on the same brash and vigorous exploit it started with, the track is a wonderful slab of fun.

The title track brings the album to a strong hypnotic close with plucked violin strings around a resonating beat immediate bait and trap to devour greedily. That enticement is soon accentuated as Murray spreads the charm of his craft pushing deeper the core temptation of the song. The track as it explores its walls has a feel of Dizraeli and The Small Gods, not so much in sound but the way the song is constructed and blossomed, though the guest vocal skat of Call Me Unique itself holds some similarity to the other band’s Cate Ferris. It is a maelstrom of sound and imagination providing a final blast of fun and adventure to a tremendous album.

     Kill the Beast is a scintillating treat which even in its less lofty moments still leaves appetite and emotions raging. Johnny Kowalski and The Sexy Weirdos are the minstrels of ‘Body Snatching Carnival Punk’ and if coming to a graveside near you are well worth gripping tightly on to.

Kill The Beast is available now@ http://sexyweirdos.bandcamp.com/album/kill-the-beast-2

http://www.sexyweirdos.co.uk/

9/10

RingMaster 26/05/2014

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Tankus the Henge – Self Titled

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Such the potent riotous seduction and thrilling devilry of Cakewalk, the first single from the self-titled debut album of UK aural mischief conjurors Tankus the Henge, you wondered if it was the taster for something spectacular or the lead into an album which would be an anti-climax compared to the excitement and hunger the introductory track spawned. With a loud and dramatic confirmation it is undoubtedly the former of the two outcomes, the eleven track feast of what the band calls Carnival rock ‘n’ roll is a pulsating, riveting triumph of musical and lyrical eccentricity, exhausting imaginative adventures, and shadow wrapped dark revelry.

With the line-up breeding the scintillating album coming together in 2011, the sextet of ‘six sharped dressed and bedraggled gentlemen hailing from some of the more eccentric parts of London Town’ has ignited a major appetite for their insatiably inventive and explosive sounds across the UK, Europe and into the likes of America, Albania and the Isle of Wight through their live shows, this year alone seemingly a successful ride of festival after festival performances. The sound of Tankus the Henge is seeded in the eclectic beds of reggae, blues, and funk to ragtime and gypsy punk, the result something unique to the band though they have been described as ‘Like The Clash from New Orleans’. Imagine a creative and passionate meeting of Cardiacs and Gogol Bordello with The Kinks and Cockney Rebel and the inventive rascality you suspect is a strong but still hinting flavour of the fun the band provides.

The album immediately seizes the hand and leads the listener into the embrace of a jazz flamed, dirty floored New Orleans speakeasy Tankus_coverwith Who’s Gonna Catch Ya, the melodic call of the trumpet from Jake Stoddart and sax of Louis Schultz-Wiremu heating up the atmosphere and setting the scene. Guitars and rhythms are soon strolling into the mix with a glint in their eyes as the excellent vocals of Jaz Delorean accompanied by his evocative keys unveil the scenic narrative. It is an addiction causing entrance soon enslaving the heart when the virulently contagious chorus reaps the submission of an already awoken hunger. With great vocal harmonies and back-up from the band to the gravel laced tones of Delorean, and plenty of delicious discord teasing across every aspect of the ridiculously infectious stomp, the track is an irresistible lure and persuasion into the album and instantly confirmation that yes the single was just the teaser to equally magnificent things.

The following Smiling Makes The Day Go Quicker opens with emotive keys alongside the expressive restrained vocals of Delorean. It is a gentle intriguing beckon which deepens with the beats of Will Stanley, which you sense they are waiting to trigger something, the fuse to an impending release of energy. The brewing evocative caress of the brass warm the ear further whilst all the time the emerging passionate fire of the song works away on the senses and imagination. It never explodes into the pyre hinted at but still creates a thumping and resonating joy of elevated passion and inciting pleasure, every part of the band and song merging into an incendiary and triumphant declaration before the greedy appetite. Its successor Hat has a more energetic intent but again is soaked in absorbing melodies from keys and brass, whilst the bass of Dan Mason roams the track with a mischievous presence behind the dual vocals of a dusty flavoured delivery from Delorean and the equally cleaner tones of either Mason or guitarist Tim Fulker, both contributing across the album but unclear who is joint leading this magnetic song.

Orange Is The New Black steps up next to seize the passions, its sultry stroll with tempting sixties Hammond keys through  Mediterranean spiced air a dramatic flight across provocative and elegant impossibly alluring skies. It makes the perfect appetiser for Cakewalk, the song still stealing top honours within heart and imagination. Swaggering through the ear with a mix of Ian Dury and early Squeeze to give a sense of its sensational enterprise whilst a lick of Mano Negra and Les Négresses Vertes punk folkiness also plays within its stride, the track is the scene of a colour drenched circus, Delorean the ringmaster to the contagion.

There is an exciting mix of sounds and invention across the album, emphasised by the likes of Lying and Recurring Dream, the first a gentle glaze of smouldering melodic kisses within a slightly darker reflective embrace, again a folk venture bringing evocation to the trip, this time with shadowed hues. The keys and sax wrap a mesmeric arm around the senses whilst the vocals offer their own tenderness within the at times wonderfully dark emotive skies, an ambience and texture to the presence reminding of Dizraeli and the Small Gods in their equally poetically emotive moments. The second of the pair stomps into a gypsy punk like encounter, the drums a rolling entrapment enslaving before the eagerly roaming guitar and bass dance their own steps within the smiling waltz of the keys. There is a XTC breath to the song at times to elevate its already lofty heights, but it is the Eastern European circus enchantment and pace that ultimately steals the heart.

      Life Is A Grimm Tale (Sometimes) is another major pinnacle, its Creature Feature like darkness and Germanic wanton gait impossible to refuse and leave alone even after the song’s conclusion. Sinister and lusciously tempting with Delorean bringing a sideshow like barker descript for thoughts, the track is a unrelenting stalker of rapture, its epidemically catchy and forcefully rioting swagger the perfect bait. Its waggish romp is followed by the slow burning Riddles, a hazy blaze on evocative persuasion and noir washed mystery, and the brilliant tale of The Deviationist Society. The song from a pondering melancholic string and key suasion expands through Morricone like sculpted western hated climes and soulful brass and harmonica sighs. It brings strengths to its melodic and infection drenched sinews as its reaches further into its imaginative and fiery story, the guitars and keys finding that lure the best sixties TV show themes had and the strings providing greater passionate tonic to the sizzling heat of the song.

The album is concluded by The Last Days Are Coming, the track a scintillating final blues and emotion encrusted New Orleans funereal march through to the full ardour the album has evoked within. It is a mighty end to a sublimely gorgeous release. Tankus the Henge is a devil bred puppeteer for limbs, heart, and soul. A band which has fused light and dark, seduction and sinisterly honed persuasion into one of the most thrilling and sensationally addictive releases this year. Roll up and enter the welcoming to the dark carnival of Tankus the Henge, you will not regret one second of its fantastic touch.

http://tankusthehenge.com

10/10

RingMaster 22/09/2013

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