Hardball – Dirty

We are not sure if the North East is Britain’s capital of rock ‘n’ roll trespass but there has been a definite vein of rousing rock bands escaping its depths over the decades. The latest is Darlington quartet Hardball who have just uncaged their debut single/EP in the shape of Dirty. Offering three tracks as individual to each other as they are united in stirring up eager attention, the release is a bruising yet inescapably inviting slice of hard and punk rock embroiled in aggressive enterprise. It is also a potential stocked introduction from a band already sparking a real appetite to hear much more of.

Months maybe mere weeks old, Hardball consists of vocalist/guitarist Tim Smith, guitarist Phil Bailes, bassist Neil MacGillivray, and drummer Denz (Gareth Westgarth). There is little more we can tell you about the band though there is probably little more to share with the band so early in its emergence though you might recognise Denz’ uncompromising dextrous swings from bands such as Hung Like Jack, ill fated riot, and Supercharger.

Recorded live at White Wolf Studio, the band’s debut encounter swiftly had ears on board with opener Dirty. A lure of guitar dangles potent bait first, its classic rock feel a tease into the waiting rapacious embrace of the track. Riffs and rhythms instantly impose once unleashed but with incitement rather than threat while the harmonious tone of the vocals only adds to the rousing temptation already raised, as too the grooves which need seconds to get under the skin. Though surprises were few, everything about the track was fresh and distinctly individual ensuring that the first contact with Hardball was strong, highly enjoyable, and firmly memorable.

The invention within the song was soon escalating as Ballad Of John Fox stepped up next, the song a calm but bold saunter with shimmering melodies and intimation fuelled enterprise to its instrumental and a spirited raucousness to its vocal expulsions. It has an anthemic feel which grows by the minute and a great weave of guitar enterprise as bluesy as it is hard rock inspired.

Our favourite track though is Closed For Inventory, a real gem of a proposal from its initial groove draw to its punk ‘n’ roll roar and scheming rhythms. Carrying a predatory intent at times, especially when those delicious grooves steer the rack’s inescapable manipulation, the final track stole the passions with ease here even against the definite prowess and quality of its companions.

With a first release, any band can only hope for attention and an awakening of their presence as its main success and Hardball will surely achieve that and much more with Dirty. You want some honest, spirit sparking rock ‘n’ roll? Then look to the North East for some Hardball.

https://www.facebook.com/Hardballrock/

Pete RingMaster 28/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hung Like Jack – She’s Not Dead

HLJart_RingMasterReview

A band sows its seeds with their introduction and debut songs from whence you hope to see their qualities grow into bigger and bolder blossoms. That is exactly what has happened with British rock ‘n’ roll bruisers Hung Like Jack. Last year the Darlington quartet tempted attention with the AA-sided single Fire beneath me/ Life’s first sign of rage, a pair of songs which, though actually not their first offerings by a long way, grabbed a fresh horde of eager ears with a new spark in their sound and invention. The two tracks were raw and intrusively confrontational slices of punk ‘n’ roll carrying the suggestion of bolder things to come. That promise has now blossomed and more in new single She’s Not Dead, a seriously rousing and stirring slab of incitement hard to tear ears away from.

HLJ2_RingMasterReviewLast year’s offering seem to mark a turning point in the adventure and stature of the band who had already uncaged a trio of EPs and in 2014 the seven-track White Powder mini-album. Formed in 2007, Hung Like Jack quickly put their mark on the local live scene under the drive of John, Tim, and Hakim. Their current line-up was completed by the recruitment of drummer Denz, a union in place before the release of last year’s potent pair of tracks.

As suggested, as good and highly enjoyable as that last single was, She’s Not Dead is in another league and quickly gets a grip on ears and appetite with its opening shuffle of beats and the great lure of the growling bass. That early tempting only increases as raw swipes of riffs show their face within a few more seconds; it all colluding and creating a boisterous almost cantankerous stroll of sound as Johns vocals add further infectious confrontation. Without a lull, riffs and that glorious bass hook continue to entice and enslave as lead and backing vocals emphasise the anthemic pull of a track still taking bites at the senses with Denz’s uncompromising swings.

A great old school punk/new waver essence escapes moments of relative calm which inventively show themselves whilst fiery grooves reveal the heavy rock ‘n’ roll aspect of the band’s sound and invention; hues joined by a definite early Therapy? like roar. It is striking and invigorating stuff from a band which, even if using just one song as evidence, seems to have creatively come of age. The hints were there last year and now makes a hearty roar within She’s Not Dead, the kind of song that incites mass celebration.

She’s Not Dead is out now. Check it out @ https://soundcloud.com/hung-like-jack

https://www.facebook.com/hunglikejack

Pete RingMaster 22/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Hung Like Jack – Fire beneath me/ Life’s first sign of rage

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If you thought the summer was going to be one of peace and warm calm then think again as this is when UK rockers Hung Like Jack release their next roar of voracious rock ‘n’ roll in the uncompromising shapes of Fire beneath me and Life’s first sign of rage. Equipped with the brawling tenacity and flavoursome enterprise the band has become renowned for, the new songs also reveals a fresh virulence to their sound’s aggressiveness and uncompromising ferocity. They are raw, intrusive, and confrontational but in the same strength the songs are a blaze of punk ‘n’ roll contagion.

Hung Like Jack began in 2007 finding its richest line-up and sound once vocalist John, guitarist Tim, and bassist Hakim linked up with beast of a drummer Denz. The band has been a greedily devoured proposition on the North of England live scene for quite a while whilst their trio of EPs have increasingly drawn acclaim and attention, the third, White Powder, especially so with its release in the January of 2014. Now they are geared up with squalling riffs, barbarous rhythms, and anthemic fury to unleash their new single.

11066515_889393494458755_821227949457285194_n   With just its first breath Fire beneath me is a wall of imposing yet compelling sound, guitars and drums an immediate provocation backed by throaty bass lures. Once vocals take their run at ears, the song has appetite and emotions centred on its exploits and increasingly enamoured as hooks and beats collide in a busy and rugged brawl. As mentioned though, contagiousness ignites just as potently within the song whilst the melodic enterprise of Tim adds a vibrant colouring to the stormy canvas of the song. Punk and varied heavy rock textures rage and unite across the excellent provocation, blasting out a rock ‘n’ roll incitement very hard to turn down and certainly ignore.

The single’s other track is similarly imposing, though the bellow of group vocals opening up Life’s first sign of rage are not as stable as they could be. They are soon a distant thought though as riffs and rhythms align for a bracing torrent of intensity and infectious persuasion inflamed further by the roaring tones of John. It is fair to say that the song is far more predatory and hostile than Fire beneath me but still expels a wind of anthemic might which leaves limbs and voice enlisted. The senses though just wilt under the rest of the uncaged onslaught, basking in every minute of it.

There is no hiding place with The Darlington based quartet’s sound or indeed their creative attitude, and in the Dave Hills recorded, mixed, and mastered release, no chance of a relaxing time, just a fiercely enjoyable one.

Fire beneath me/ Life’s first sign of rage will be released on May 22nd with a Launch party being held at the Railway Tavern in Darlington the same night.

https://www.facebook.com/hunglikejack

RingMaster 26/04/2015

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