Popes Of Chillitown – Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard

Releases which have us throwing feet, hips, and bodies around in an uninhibited frenzy are just as boisterously devoured here as those provoking thoughts and imagination into the same eager exploits. Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard, the new album from UK outfit Popes Of Chillitown is one such example, an encounter which stirs up every aspect of the human spirit across thirteen slices of what for the moment we will simply call ska punk but is so much more. The band and release swiftly had the body bouncing, energies uncaged, and mind feeding off its insightful social and personal lyrical intimation. It is one of those unforgettable, deviously manipulative propositions which will surely set Popes Of Chillitown on the way to being a household name far beyond the ska and punk scene.

From London, Popes Of Chillitown has already bred and nurtured a fine reputation across two albums and a live presence which has had venues and bodies bouncing, as the album now, with lustful participation. 2013 saw the release of their pledge-funded debut album A Word To The Wise, a keenly embraced encounter eclipsed by its even more eagerly received successor To The Moon two years later. Since that first offering, the sextet has further lit up the live scene, from the Capital bursting across the UK and into Europe sharing stages with the likes of Reel Big Fish, The Selecter, The Skints, Imperial Leisure, [Spunge], Mouthwash, The Snare and many more along the way.

As Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard swiftly reveals, the band’s sound has an irresistibility which borders on the viral. It is a fusion of upbeat ska, punk, 2-tone, dub, drum & bass, reggae, indie with plenty more flavoursome spices working away in the mix; a rousing incitement which never flirts with the predictable and across the new album, easily the band’s finest moment yet, persistently has body, imagination, and spirit bounding.

Straight away as intrigue coaxes ears there is a sense of drama and mischief at play which swiftly sparks opener Prang into life, the track springing along with wilful exuberance. The guitar of Tom Penn winds around ears from an already persuasive hook spraying stroll while the rhythmic prowess of bassist Arvin Bancil and drummer Jack Ashley gets under the skin in no time. Matt Conner’s rousing vocals are just as effective, listener participation we found inevitable and can keen testify to. The track is superb, its twist into discord and off kilter imagination icing on the stomp.

The flames of trombonist Ieuan Williams and saxophonist Jon Pryce open up the following Get Off/Get On, lighting the way to another persuasive saunter ridden by the increasingly captivating vocals of Conner. There is a touch of [Spunge] meets King Prawn to the track, a tasty flavouring quickly ignited by the band’s own raucously individual enterprise.

Fair to say Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard already had its temptation racing through our veins in two songs but raised the temperature of its persuasion even more with next up Vexed. Cored by a hook which had ears and appetite dangling like a fish on a rod as well as a glorious teasing yet taunting grumble of a bassline, the track instantly took the album’s seductive clamour to another level. Brewing an addictive roar something akin to The Mighty Mighty Bosstones meets Capdown with the rawer edge of The Hostiles, the track simply and quickly had us enslaved and adding our less able attributes.

The equally outstanding No Manners In Ireland is next, the song a web of twists and turns littered with creative hooks and melodic lures which seduce like sonic sirens. Guitars and vocals dance on the swagger of the rhythms, their dark lined joy seared with the soulful flames of brass as the song evolves in form and imagination across four minutes plus of pure magnetism. Its glory is matched by that of the far briefer but just as riveting Graveyard. A dub infested mix of Skindred and again King Prawn, the slither of a track just ignited the senses before Upside Down got the body rocking and rolling with its almost salacious bounce and antics.

Across the fiery ska fuelled punk ‘n’ roll of The Last Elephant and the swinging holler of Mr. Piotr, physical reaction is inescapable as thoughts invest in more of the band’s lyrical inference, both tracks cauldrons of drama and physical manipulation so easy to devour while the likes of What A Guy and Inner Peace add yet more variety and adventure to the album’s beauty. The first erupts from a haunting melancholic sigh into another inescapable to resist canter, voice and hips soon embroiled in its creative romp before its companion smoulders seductively on the senses with its less boisterous but just as tenacious reflection. From guitars to rhythms, brass to voice, the song serenades and seduces; volatility in its heart adding greater depth to its inventive cry and increasingly rising temperature and intensity.

Take Control is punk rock blessed with the ear clipping tenacity of ska; a rousing trespass of an incitement under a sweltering climate of suggestion cast by sax and trombone. Unsurprisingly again indulgence in its swing is unavoidable, a lack of discipline thankfully the whole of Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard exploits.

The album closes up with firstly the melodically shimmering Lego Prisoners, a track resembling what you might imagine emerging from the essences of Ruts DC, The Skints, and a calm Random Hand being locked in together, and lastly Culpa and its reggae brewed saunter where grooves and beats overwhelm restraints even before voice and hooks sink their temptation into ears.

It all makes for one deliciously riveting and rousing adventure going by the name of Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard. Popes Of Chillitown has been firing up the ska and punk scene pretty much from their first days but are now ready to be spoken in the same breath as those bands which immediately come to mind as inspirations to the across the array of styles the Londoners skilfully embrace and employ in their own adventure. After Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard they might just be the first name to lips.

Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard is out now on 12inch vinyl, CD and Digital Download @ https://popesofchillitown.bandcamp.com/album/work-hard-play-hard-see-you-in-the-graveyard

 

Upcoming Popes Of Chillitown tour dates:

MAY 27 – BOURNEMOUTH Cursus Festival

JUN 02 – NOTTINGHAM The Maze

JUN 09 – CHEPSTOW Balter Festival

AUG 04 – BLACKPOOL Rebellion Festival

AUG 09 – NEWCASTLE Trillians*

AUG 10 – GLASGOW Audio*

AUG 11 – LONDON Underworld*

AUG 12 – WINCHESTER Boomtown Fair

*w/ Fishbone

http://www.popesofchillitown.com/   https://www.facebook.com/PopesOfChillitown    https://twitter.com/popesofctown

Pete RingMaster 18/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Mid Reflection – Outcast

Reaping the rich essences of punk, rap, ska, and heavy rock for a sound which echoes the heart felt honest words it surrounds, UK quartet Mid Reflection have just released their debut EP. Outcast is a four-track incitement of creative intent and open emotion with plenty to please fans of those genres just mentioned and equally those looking for something fresh and hard to truly pigeonhole.

Drawing on inspirations ranging from Linkin Park and Sublime to Gorillaz and House of Pain, London based Mid Reflection emerged in 2016. In no time they were making a strong impression on the London and South East live scene, their reputation constantly increasing as they shared stages with the likes of Imperial Leisure, New Town Kings, and Karl Phillips. The Outcast EP is their introduction to broader attention and quickly incites that inescapable success with its opening title track.

An initial guitar melody wraps ears first, rhythms soon adding their inviting yet dark hues as frontman Matthew Bishop, aka 2T’z, raps his open reflection on some of the battles in life he has overcome. Just as quickly is an instinctive catchiness in sound and vocal delivery to which guitarist Martin Velicky spins a captivating web of melody as bassist Nathan Neumann provides a suggestively brooding shadowing. The beats of drummer David Bean add to the dark edge surrounding Bishop’s recollections of being bullied whilst Velicky’s guitar also carries a certain melancholy in its melody and defiance in its enterprise as the song makes an impressive start to the release.

Nevertheless it is soon eclipsed by the bouncing [Spunge]-esque ska pop stroll of Illusions. The track had ears and appetite hooked within seconds, its familiar yet individually fresh infectiousness and invention surrounding another lyrical probing inspiring fiery bursts of rock ‘n’ roll trespass. The old school punkiness which escapes some of its moments just adds to its strength and imagination, and the pleasure before Legalise It springs its own raw edged rock ‘n’ roll speared headed by the machine gun rap delivery of Bishop. With repetitive riffs and hooks, the song is not the most boldest on the release yet every thrust of its rhythmic incitement, blaze of sonic electricity, and roar of vocal carousing hits the spot.

Foes brings things to a close, offering up a thicker dose of The Kennedy Soundtrack spicing hinted at in the EP opener. Centred on betrayed friendships, the song is a melodic tapestry of emotion and intensity which seems to only further blossom listen by listen.

It is a great end to a release which may not forcibly put Mid Reflection on the ska/punk/rock map but will surely awaken a great many more to their presence and a rich potential which rather excites.

Outcast is out now through iTunes and Amazon.

http://www.midreflection.com/    https://www.facebook.com/MidReflection/   https://twitter.com/midreflection

Pete RingMaster 29/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Imperial Leisure – Animal

It might not be the summer quite yet but giving its playlist an irresistible first addition is the new single from UK ska punks Imperial Leisure. To be fair, Animal is an incitement for any time of the year, any random two and a half minutes of any day. It is a circus of sound and fun, a carnival of 2-tone inspired ska, pop punk, and hip hop nurtured rock ‘n’ roll; together a distinctive mix creating the individual sound at joyful play within the band’s new gem.

Born out of school friendships, Imperial Leisure has blossomed in sound and reputation across three well-received albums; the last, Lifestyle Brand in 2015 drawing potent acclaim its way. Their live presence has equally honed the band’s music and craft, the band sharing stages with the likes of Ugly Duckling, Roots Manuva, UB40, Less Than Jake, Young Blood Brass Band, The King Blues, Sonic Boom Six and a great many more along the way as well as going down a storm at numerous festivals such as Glastonbury (twice!), The Secret Garden Party and Boomtown Fair. Each year has seen the sextet and its additional brass section rise higher on the British musical landscape; 2017 sure to be another mighty nudge on the biggest spotlights if Animal is anything to go by.

As guitars clip ears, brass flames flicker with flirtatious intent, their combined tempting soon colluding with the passion stoking pulse of the bass as well as the lick of ska seeded riffs and the intoxicating smooch of Hammond-esque keys. With the infectiously captivating vocals of Denis Smith stirring things up even more, the song bounds along with an irresistible swing and mischievous swagger. It is a wonderfully busy affair but every element and seductive flame a clean spice for a swiftly greedy appetite to devour in the whole insightful and instinctively catchy encounter.

It seems like ska and ska punk has the potential of having another heyday such the number of great bands around and emerging with Imperial Leisure leading the way, though all will have to go some to rival the sheer pleasure of Animal.

Animal is out now for downloading and streaming on all platforms with a vinyl release on April 1st.

https://www.facebook.com/imperialleisure

Pete RingMaster 17/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright