The Toniks – Rise And Shine

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Listening to Rise And Shine the debut album from UK popsters The Toniks you cannot help at times thinking this is a band which has the misfortune to have missed their time slot in music history. Certainly they have a potent place in the now as their album shows but with songs ripe with sixties melodic and pop sensibility which sits easily within the pop mischief of Herman’s Hermits and the Englishness of The Kinks, and a new wave soaked infectiousness which is a close cousin to bands such as The Farmers Boys and Jim Jiminee, you can only imagine the Guildford quintet would have found a potent place those eras. In a never ending torrent of new and existing bands all fighting for attention, real and online, any band is in for a greater struggle than ever to just cross the gaze of fans though with Rise And Shine, The Toniks have given themselves a definite fighting chance.

The brainchild of vocalist/bassist Mark Taylor and guitarist Jez Parish, The Toniks has been making a solid ascent for quite a while now; their infection loaded pop songs gripping ears and emotions. With the current line-up of guitarist Tom Yates, drummer Colin Marshall, and Jessica English on keys alongside Taylor and Parish in place since last year, the band has continued to draw acclaim for their strong live performances, which recently has seen the band playing across Europe and in Canada. Since forming they have also gained support from the likes of Graham Dominy (Eurythmics, Razorlight, Imelda May) who provided them with free studio time after hearing their music. It has all added to a slow but potent rise which the album can only increase as it sweeps across greater numbers.

The band is no stranger to this site, The Toniks a constant on the playlist of shows from our associates Audioburger.com for the 1235338_10151581120132610_2076276580_npast few years. This meant that the album faced expectations but it is fair to say it pushed them aside to emerge an even more vibrant and irrepressible encounter than imagined. Produced by Dominy alongside Taylor and Parish and released on Smile Records, Rise And Shine goes straight for the feet and passions with its title track. The song is total contagion, from the moment the opening soar of harmonies and keys behind the mellow tones of Taylor stroke the ear it teases with a seducing wantonness which explodes into one of the catchiest tunes heard this year. Bred from the seeds of sixties pop, the song romps and strolls with a massive smile in its melodies kissed by brass spawned sunspots. The eighties reference is most apt and virulent right away as the starter has voice in league with its stomp and like the best pop songs, becomes an old friend within moments.

The following Won’t Let You Down is much the same in its individual character, guitars and keys coaxing the imagination as they craft hooks and melodies which sparkle as they tempt. The backing vocals of English along with Parish make a great compliment to the delivery of Taylor, her voices especially soothing and one hopefully the band employ more ahead. More restrained than its predecessor but still a catchy saunter to capture the imagination it easily continues the pleasing start as does next up You and I and Simple Things. Like the first pair they are songs very familiar to us but each finding a new freshness and energy to their suasion and presence through the new recordings and re-workings brought by the band for the album. You and I is a bouncy incitement of respectfully jabbing beats and cheery guitar swipes tempered by darker bass tones. It has a harder rock core to its bewitchment but one which submits to the inventive and sultry flumes of brass as well as the continually persuasive melodic weaves which lie around the addiction causing hooks. Its successor comes with a slower croon to its presence as well as a gentle caress vocally and musically. The bass stands potently to the fore of the song, its steady heavy presence seemingly given preference upon the song and actually works well adding variety to the simple but wholly effective melodic colour which engages the imagination and lures another belt of hard to resist involvement from the body.

After passing the charms of Weather quickly the album settles into a steady enticing with Figure It Out and Never Real, both songs a spark to fill the appetite further though a shade below the standards set. Going back to the first of these three, Weather is another ridiculously ear catching invitation to participate with and enjoy slice of pop which most will drool over but it has never found a place here, it one of those irritants which niggles though it is simply down to personal taste alone. Of the other two, the first builds from emotive keys and expressive vocals into a more than decent ballad which grows and expands as it plays out its narrative and the second a satisfying rock pop breeze, both providing healthy appetising treats to mull over and return to before making way for another highlight.

Secret’s Safe also hits the rockier depths of the band, a blues whisper to the guitars equally egging on the thumping rhythms and hard hitting vocals, though Taylor has a voice where snarls never rear their head to be honest. There is an essence of The Jam and The Motors to the energetic and rampant charge of the song, a pop punk quality which sets it to the top of the release, well until, after the thoroughly enjoyable and infectious There You Go, the outstanding Scapegoat steps forward. The scuzziest track on the album with a punk breeding to its creativity, the track is a riveting blaze of rock ‘n’ roll with all the contagiousness the band can conjure reaping the heat of the blues kissed guitar flames on top of barbed melodic hooks.  It is a magnificent track, The Tonik’s finest moment yet.

The closing Wonderful Then concludes the album with a classic pop song graced by mesmeric strings, the cello caresses especially delicious, and resourceful evocative keys behind stirring harmonies. It is a final reminder of the depths of the songwriting of Taylor and Parish and though you cannot talk of them in the same breath yet as Difford and Tilbrook there are some familiarities at times to the construct and melodic structures of songs.

Rise And Shine exceeded expectations to stand as one of the better real pop albums out this year. If The Toniks have yet to touch your ears their debut album is the perfect way to put that right.

http://www.thetoniks.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 05/12/2013

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Venus DeVilo – Edgar Allan Ho EP

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Let us introduce you to the dark seductiveness of Venus DeVilo, an artist which preys on the passions like a sultry vampiric temptress bred from artistic alchemy raised from the fire of Imelda May, the snarl of Wanda Jackson, the energy of Fay Fife, and the devilry of Dick Venom, not forgetting a pinch of the infected essences of Horrorpops. Her creative world is one of shadowed carnivals, blood drenched burlesques, and dead borne vaudeville; her music pure sexual fascination and the Edgar Allan Ho EP the perfect introduction to the temptress before the arrival of her debut album Til Death Do Us Party, which we hope will see daylight in the near future, such the hunger now raging.

Hailing from the cemeteries of Dublin, Ireland, well probably a very nice comfortable abode but that hardly goes with the theme does it, Venus since 2011 has frequented and lit up rock/metal bars, Burlesque and Cabaret nights, open mic nights, and other numerous venues around her home city and much further across the country with her Goth-Shock anthems. The host of a series of popular horror themed gigs at the Twisted Pepper, Dublin which have become an almost monthly event, the sonic siren has captured the imagination of the internet media with her dramatic sounds, becoming the favourite sister of the likes of Elegant Savages webzine and the Bone Orchard podcast. Since its release the Edgar Allan Ho EP has drawn lustful attention and it is hard not to understand why as it stalks the minds darkest imagination and cinematic desires.

    Heartless Horseman steps up to tempt the passions first, its initial acoustic guitar stabs and instantly potent vocals the 602969_406666232785880_346571255_nentrance into lyrical and musical stalking of night terrors and their romantic suasion. There is a rockabilly feel to the song which reminds of The Creepshow whilst the excellent soaring vocal imagination and drama of its delivery brings thoughts of Agnete Kjølsrud and the band Djerv as well as Dominique Lenore Persi and Stolen Babies. Unafraid to twist and turn the gait and intent of the track, Venus also sends it into angular and less accessible turns which make suggestions of Lene Lovich. For all the references we offer though, do not make the mistake of assuming the sound of Venus DeVilo is not something quite unique to the graveyard walking beguiler.

The following Apocalips equally enthrals with predominantly acoustic guitar and vocals, though rhythms and bass prowl with devilment in their hearts and wide mischief on their grinning lips too. The song sways and swaggers with the wantonness of a fifties siren and the intimidating composure of instinctive rockabilly, but like the band references these pointers to the sound are only whispers of the full hue of flavours making up the wholly contagious shards of mesmeric aural delight.

Penny Dreadful Love is a song you know should play in the bowels of any mausoleum, its funeral caress punctured and kissed by the again outstanding voice and delivery of its creator. As the lady and song lace the senses and thoughts with their visceral evocation, Venus provokes another comparison, this time to Lesley Woods of Au Pairs in the way she at times slaps words and syllables into the ear. It is a style that is impossible to resist and one which makes the forthcoming album so exciting and this song a dark hearted romantic serenade.

The best song on the release comes with Ringmaster, and no we were not biased in our decision. The vibrant waltz of the colourful enchantment goes hand in hand with the dark carnivale touch, guitar and vocals swinging across the high tented air of the hypnotic mystique and elegant poise. It makes for a glorious soaring flight of theatrical imagination honed into a glorious sirenesque aural spectacular which leads the listener on a tightrope walk of tension and astounding adventure, and note for extra spice its core call around the chorus is a dead ringer for one of the greatest songs ever, Killer Klowns From Outer Space by The Dickies.

The release is completed by firstly Carmilla’s Return, a song which initially has the shadow clouded  ambience reminiscence of Bauhaus song Bela Lugosi’s Dead  and goes on to atmospherically swarm around the ear with the chants of the ‘dead’ harmonising behind the continually powerful and virulently enticing tones of Venus. Once more it is a song which transports you within the sweeping sinister mists of a cinematic painting whilst its successor Miss Frankenstein is simply an epidemically catchy romp with big bold rhythms shaping the cage you are enslaved within. It has a delicious toxicity which leaves you no option but to throw voice and feet into the twisted majesty.

Venus DeVilo is an artist who will scare as many as she seduces but one who will only ever leave a lingering mark in her shadow and if it is anything like the Edgar Allan Ho EP, this dank earth will be a better place.

https://www.facebook.com/VenusDeViloSongsFromTheStalkersPointOfView

10/10

RingMaster 24/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

Kelly Paige – Hurt Like Me

All us men folk know to fear a woman scorned something Kelly Paige and her debut single Hurt Like Me reminds with sweetly innocent venom. The song is a vengeful anthem delivered with an infectious smile and the knowing glint in the eye that there is payback coming. A few steps short of ‘bunny boiler’ menace and wicked intent oozes from the song, even more so if listening and watching the video. The emotive but steely tone that delivers the song makes one wonder if a certain lady is coming with her first distinct and impressive recording from personal experience.

Kelly Paige began playing guitar and writing songs at 13, her songwriting influenced and shaped from a childhood spent in an almost nomadic way. Her early years were spent in South African before moving to various parts of the USA, music being her companion and the flavours from each new experience absorbed into her music’s evolution. Though just her first release, the track alone reveals an eclectic blend and glittering strands of pop-punk, rock and soulful pop within. Away from the theme of the song there is a sense of personal interest and passion to her music that many never manage to get across and a quote from Kelly reveals “When I was a kid, I used to sit in my room listening to my CDs for hours just reading along with the lyrics in the CD insert. Partially because I was grounded all of the time and there was nothing else I could do, but mostly because I was just obsessed with it. It was my escape. I want my music to be that for other people”.

Her time in Nashville was especially fruitful winning a songwriting competition judged by the publishing company Big Yellow Dog Music whilst attending Belmont University as well as grabbing the attention of and getting a fan in Willie Nelson’s bass player, Bee Spears who later played in Kelly’s band in Nashville. Kelly is currently experiencing and playing in the UK pleasuring the ears of London with her band “The Players”, stirring up even more acclaim and attention, something Hurt Like Me will surely escalate upon its release October 31st through Playgun Music. 

Taken from her forthcoming album and produced by Ben Mason (Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, Razorlight) and Glen Nicholls (Snow Patrol, I Blame Coco, Everything Everything), Hurt Like Me is a darkly tinged engaging and welcoming pop song. With an unassuming and almost low key opening it sneakily keeps secret the tour-de-force of impassioned bitterness and wicked revenge within. With beckoning keys, pulsing bass probing and the glorious vocals of Paige the track resonates on many levels sending tingles down every male spine as it expands to unveil its ‘poison’. The lyrics come with a great dark humour, the wicked glint always twinkling and epitomised by a quote from the singer about the rumour the song is spawned from a relationship with her band’s guitarist. “If it were about my guitarist, wouldn’t making him play the song at our gigs just be the ultimate act of revenge?”

The song brings hints of the likes of Amy Winehouse, Asa, and Imelda May at times but there is a different freshness to Paige that is invigorating. The song brings smiles, thoughts and tingles as it plays, and no doubt knowing nods from the woman of the world and fearful shivers in the men. Maybe Kelly Paige has set in motion a wave of avenging angels with her stunning single, only time will tell but for sure she has given the year one of the best debuts and songs.

RingMaster 02/10/2011

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