Rugby Road – III

There is nothing lively about its title but the new EP from US rock band Rugby Road, simply called III, more than makes up for that with its heartily tenacious sound. An encounter which like us you may have missed upon its release as 2016 closed its eyes; the four track encounter is an ear pleasing, skilfully offered slice of multi-flavoured rock ‘n’ roll as bluesy and passionate as it is melodically captivating and instinctively boisterous.

Consisting of Kenny Kearns (vocals, keyboards, bass, guitar), Rich Pruett (drums, percussion, vocals), and Derek Smith (guitars, vocals), Philadelphia based Rugby Road began in 1990 drawing on inspirations found in the likes of Allman Brothers Band, Maceo Parker, Rusted Root, Bill Kreutzmann, Phish, Peter Frampton, and Dirty Dozen Brass Band. A regular in the late 90’s New York City Wetlands scene, the band has released a pair of albums, the 1998 unveiled Times Already Happened and three years later Different Degrees. More recently Kearns and the band have founded The Wayne Music Festival (now officially WXPN Welcomes The Wayne Music Festival) which since starting in 2015 has attracted more than 10,000 people each year to enjoy everything from country, bluegrass, jazz, pop, and rock from artists coming together from all over the country.

Recorded with producer Derek Chafin, III offers songs which according to Kearns “reflect what we’ve been working towards for years from a writing perspective.” It opens up with Back To You, a track which unmistakably has a rich feel of Bruce Springsteen to its rock ‘n’ roll but soon shows its own imaginative enterprise as suggestive melodies unite with the darker and denser rhythmic shadows of bass and Pruett’s crisp beats. Swiftly its magnetism is inescapable, the track a flame of craft and instinctive employment of influences and new endeavour, and just as quickly powerfully catchy. With a collection of vocals at times surrounding Kearns and the additional irresistible tones of a lady whose name has yet to be discovered, the song only escalates an attraction already sparked by the hazy weave cast by guitars.

The following Nobody (Needs To Know) is just as magnetic, it’s mellower but no less tenacious balladry carrying a soulful air and heart as blues kissed guitars spin a web of enticement around Kearns’ continually strong vocals. As with its predecessor, there is something quickly familiar to the song but only spicing adding to its appeal as its classic rock breeding grabs eager ears.

Spoken For unveils an even calmer canvas for its own emotive ballad next, though again it is a song with a blaze in its belly which from time to time urges more intensive expulsions of sound and energy. With the earthy tones of the bass almost growling alongside the contemplation of melody and voice, the song smoulders and slowly grows to rival those before it; eclipsing its immediate predecessor over time.

Bringing things to an enjoyable close is Give It Away, a country rock lined slice of rock which again has something of Springsteen about it as well as a Tom Petty-esque essence which does it no harm at all. For personal tastes, the song fails to match its companions but there is no denying its infectious ability to please as keenly tapping feet here can testify and it is fair to say that with every listen thoughts about the song only gain a more enamoured lilt.

Though it is annoying to say, we are new to Rugby Road but after having III sparking definite pleasure with its accomplished and refreshing presence, we can join the mass of others calling themselves fans of the band.

III is out now across most online stores.

http://rugbyroadband.com/    https://www.facebook.com/rugbyroadband

Pete RingMaster 10/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Arcade Messiah – III

john-bassett-promo_RingMasterReview

This past week saw Arcade Messiah unveil its third album in as many years, each a November treat instantly challenging thoughts on best of year nominations.  III is a mighty continuation of that trend, a release where imagination might not be rampant in its title but in its kaleidoscope of suggestive sound and inventive flavours, it simply ignites ears and thoughts.

Arcade Messiah is the solo project of Sligo based songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer John Bassett, the founder and driving force of the outstanding UK band KingBathmat. It is a true solo effort with every detail the imagination, creation, and work of Bassett, all apart from the art of III which sprung from the craft of Michael Kerbow. Arcade Messiah has persistently taken ears through a myriad of sonic and powerfully evocative landscapes, pushing the union of creator and listener’s imaginations to new heights. III unsurprisingly is no different to its predecessor, exploring a new depth in textures and invention which just lights up mind and spirit.

To simplify things, Bassett weaves his music from the merger of everything from post and stoner rock to doom, sludge, and metal doom. It is still a narrow description of his sound which defies labels yet openly embraces inspirations whilst turning them into something inescapably unique to Arcade Messiah. Like a melodic siren with the growl and intensity of a bear, his instrumental endeavours to date have fascinated and consumed ears and mind alike; III as mentioned does not deviate from that success. It is though, the heaviest, most compelling and exhilarating offering from the man yet. Across six tracks, the album is creatively ravenous, melodically seductive, and often emotionally irritable and quite bewitching.

It opens up with Revolver, a prowling slice of heavy metal with an air of Sabbath to it which is soon entangling ears in a net of melodic and sonic intrigue. Rhythms barge through the maze of sound, imposing on the senses with poise and aggression as guitars weave their web. The first surprise is the sudden expulsion of vocals from Bassett, they more a texture than an attention stealer but carrying a clarity as ripe and potent as the cauldron of sounds around them. Simultaneously confrontational and welcoming, the track continues to disturb and beguile like a dramatic carousel.

It is a glorious start swiftly backed by the bestial presence of Citadel, a lumbering slab of crawling doom which looms up over the senses, submerging them in its sludgy tar before veins of melodic enterprise and emotive grace wrap around body and imagination. Dark and dangerous, alluring and captivating, the song gets under the skin and into the psyche; its aural scenery an irresistible adventure to navigate and explore.

arcade-messiah-iii-album-cover_RingMasterReviewAt over ten minutes, Deliverance is an epic proposal which devours time with its craft and magnetism. From a gentle opening as warm as it is melancholic with guitars and keys entwining with earthbound celestial beauty, the piece brews a darker side. Striding rhythms are the first deceptive shadow, again a sure invitation with a portentous edge though their threat merely simmers for its first third. Eventually though there is no holding back the energy and intensity of the skirting shadows, their fiery eruption the spark to a lava flow of melody and carnivorous energy. It is impossible not to get lost in the depths and suggestiveness of the track, the imagination casting its pictures and tales as the track continues to ebb and flow in touch and creative fire, perpetually burning its presence into appetite and spirit while captivating with its variety of attack.

It is impossible to pick a best track, all providing unique aspects and characters to immerse in, but the song certainly makes a highly persuasive argument as too its successor Life Clock. Washing over the senses with its space rock like atmosphere and fertile layers courted by the dark lures of bass and beats, the track is another femme fatale resembling encounter luring ears onto its ravenous rhythmic rocks and predacious intensity which lay in wait as the track builds its apocalyptic climax.

Once consumed, the song makes way for the Hades like realm of Black Tree; another predatory piece which stalks and infests with a seductive prowess as powerful as its acrimonious side, both having their moments to make their case across the outstanding trespass. Of course this and every track will inspire a scenario and emotion unique to the individual, one of the many glorious aspects of the Arcade Messiah tapestries.

III closes with the relative calm and peace of Sanctuary, though it too has tempestuousness to its heart and touch which only fires up the senses and imagination as Bassett casts another canvas of melodic suggestion, sonic rabidity, and all that lies between.

III is glorious, a riveting slice of aural alchemy which should not surprise considering the strength and prowess of its creator and predecessors but does at every twist and turn. Time to take another look at those End Of Year lists folks.

III is out now on Stereohead Records @ https://arcademessiah.bandcamp.com

http://www.arcademessiah.com   http://www.kingbathmat.com   http://www.johnbassettmusic.com   https://www.facebook.com/arcademessiah/

Pete RingMaster 30/11/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright