Tom The Lion – Sleep

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Just who is Tom The Lion? Well he is a British singer songwriter who has cast one seriously mesmeric embrace with his new album Sleep. Other than that, the Leamington Spa bred, London based artist is pretty much a mystery yet to show itself but musically everything you need to know is in the magnetic adventure which makes his latest release one captivating proposition.

2011 saw the acclaimed release of The Adventures of Tom the Lion, the collecting of two previously limited vinyl-only 10″ double EPs. Without seeking out media and critical attention the release was devoured by fans, selling out with ease and now Tom returns with his debut album, building on the impressive base of the earlier encounters and giving more fuel to those classing the artist alongside the likes of Nick Drake, Mark Hollis, and Thom Yorke. It is a release which smoulders from start to finish with an emotive resonance and melodic beauty, each track an intimate yet sonically epic and expressive spark for the imagination. The album does not ignite as many fires in the passions as maybe wished, though when it does ardour is the only outcome, but Sleep is certainly a persistently and thoroughly absorbing journey for thoughts and emotions inspiring a definite hunger.

The album’s title track opens up the release and soon has the ears and imagination eating out of its hand. As guitar coaxing entwines with a shimmering sonic twang whilst distinctive vocal harmonies seep from the throat of Tom, it is like tom-the-lionlying on an aural sea bed watching crystalline light glancing off of and over elegant and expressive melodic colours. Floating with enchanting somnolence over the senses, eclectic hues whispering across the slowly expanding landscape, the song reminds of Lune Palmer and when it explodes into a roar of evocative enterprise of David Byrne. It is a glorious song and an irresistible start to Sleep.

The following Motorcade lays a shadowed beauty on the shoulder of the senses to make a companion but openly different engagement to its predecessor. As with all the songs, it nudges and lures in the listener and their thoughts, though it is also unafraid to expel a more voracious breath at times to crinkle the air and fire up the suasion of the track. Keys and guitar shine brightly as they shimmer, merging reserved caresses with more agitated flames of magnetic invention whilst vocally Tom again draws a potent narrative upon the similarly impacting canvas.

Both Silent Partner and Oil Man keep the striking start to the album in masterful control, even though neither can quite match the previous tracks. The first of the two entices with raw chords and sultry melodies, uniting both in evocative atmospheres over emotion sculpted scenery whilst the second is a haunted and insular soundscape wrapped in warm intrigue. There is a cryptic essence to the song which seduces the imagination whilst once more the vocals manage to sooth and stir up the senses for an appealing incitement. The success of the pair is emulated by Beholden with its classical honed grace and imposing drama, and then the rhythmically enticing November’s Beach. The latter is a gentle yet blazingly warm sunset on the senses with an instinctively gripping dance of adventurous rhythms. Its bait is irresistible, enslaving an already keen appetite with a flavoursome climate of humid sonic enticing and melodic delirium.

Neither Every Single Moment or Winter’s Wool can live up to those before it but each still offers a compelling and lingering presence through smiling guitar enterprise leading to a fiery crescendo and immersive textures of siren-esque and celestial temptation respectively. Lofty heights are soon found again with Our Beloved Past, a stunning slice of folk pop which bounces resourcefully like the offspring of Raglans and The Divine Comedy. From keys to guitar, rhythms to vocals, the song is a poetic fire of passion and contagious invention.

Through the darkly shadowed sky of Ragdoll, the album finds another unexpected pinnacle. Its cloudy emotion and slightly twisted breath is a hypnotic slow walk of angst kissed resonance and melodic exploration which is as compelling as it is startling, though its flow into a more mellow passage loses a little of its early impact.

The album is brought to a close by the catchy bounce and energy of Heal and lastly the intimate emotion of Come To Life, two enjoyable songs which make a fine end to a great release without making a lingering impact individually. Sleep as a whole does though and shows why Tom The Lion is so keenly thought of by so many. The album does not as mentioned stir up a major fire inside and in thoughts but it does trigger a need to know and hear more.

Sleep is available now digitally, vinyl, and CD on Wrasse Records @ http://www.wrasserecords.com and @ http://roughtrade.com/albums/78835

http://www.tomthelion.com/

8/10

RingMaster 15/08/2014

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Megan Wyler – Through The Noise

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Following on from her first two successful and acclaimed singles, London based indie folk artist Megan Wyler unveils the massive enchantment of Through The Noise, her debut album. Consisting of ten elegant and evocative caresses, the release is a musically absorbing and lyrically captivating kiss upon the senses and imagination. One which leaves feelings and thoughts alive and contemplating the suggestive and reflective power of the songs and their passionate presentation.

The Nowever Records released Through the Noise comes closely behind the singles The Fraying, which also received an eagerly consumed dark dance floor remix courtesy of electronic legend Matthew Herbert, and the album title track before it. Devoured keenly by fans and media, Wyler gained the prestigious ‘Artist of the Month’ slot on the world’s largest folk music website, Folk Radio as well as intense media coverage, which the album can only increase upon. Through The Noise like the singles was recorded with multi-instrumentalist producer Adem Ilhan. Contributing also to the playing and also the writer of The Fraying from the release, Ilhan brings a subtle and understanding production to the songs on the album which ignites their raw beauty and breath into an enthralling and magnetic presence upon the senses. It is an organic touch to heart bred instinctive music and lyrical embraces which only deepens their textures and success.

Opening song The Fool immediately enslaves the ear and thoughts, the golden tones of Wyler a fresh gentle breeze upon the emerging artworks-000053681367-cqatlp-t500x500guitar bred ambience with acoustic strokes to the fore. The atmosphere of the song tingles to the touch, spreading its seductive and rising intensity through the sirenesque harmonies which Wyler soars the sky of the song with. The track is a delicious introduction to the album, the sounds of a busy world and mind adding whispers within the ever growing transfixing cloud of sound and warmth which makes an eager invitation.

The immense start is instantly repeated through the title track, slow dramatic keys stirring the air with evocative prods before Wyler once again brings rays of vocal heat to the banjo and key designed sunset. The sultry climate of the song and an undefined familiarity to the track only adds to its allure and stunning effect. The smouldering persuasion of the single is elevated and intensified in Can’t Sleep, a lullaby of melodic and emotive seduction which again holds a recognisable yet impossible to pin down tonic for the passions. A slow wrap around the listener, the song is the fuse to another elevation of rapture and potency of the album.

Both Everyman and Know You Know take emotions and imagination on a fruitful stroll through provocative scenery, the first with a shadow toned lilt to the guitars and tantalising tangy enterprise to vocals and melodies whilst its successor is a sandy floored wander through an inspired personal narrative of reflection brought with melancholic grandeur by the strings of Vincent Sipprell and Emma Smith. Both are magnets to the senses if without finding the riches of ardour earlier songs reaped, though those depths are soon explored again by the stunning I’m Sorry. Double bass drama adds further emotional shadows to the melodic consumption of the ear, the song another with moments of clear familiarity whilst creating a scintillating web and wind of stimulating beauty; guitar and vocals the lead to a flame of creative magnificence and an emotional musical tempest.

From this point the album seems to lose some of its potency, though each subsequent track starting with The Fraying are certainly impressively crafted and impeccably presented before the continuing to be happily satisfied appetite. A duet between Wyler and Ilhan with an acoustic wrap, the track is an appealing incitement but lacks the spark of previous songs, which considering its acclaim and success as a single shows the heights of the album.

Drown and Kelebek also fall short of finding that trigger, the ignition for the passions to emulate what emerges as the stronger first half of the album. It is all down to the individual though, every listener undoubtedly going to discover personal favourites and preferences whilst agreeing that from start to finish each and every song is a tonic for the ear. Zither brings the album to a close, the song a final intense whisper for the heart cementing everything about the songwriting and Wyler which is poetically spellbinding and impressive. Through The Noise is quite simply a beautiful album, a smouldering sun to enhance and explore every day with charm and evocative vision.

http://www.meganwyler.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 23/09/2013

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Sound Of The Suburb: Self-Titled

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Formed in late 2005, North London band Sound of the Suburb has earned a good reputation around their local area of East Finchley for their enjoyable live shows of cover songs. A ‘pub band’ of the finer persuasion, their energetic performances has brought strong responses and an equally firm fan base their way not only to their versions of classic songs but also their self-penned compositions which they brought into their shows since 2008. Now with a collection of only original songs the band is releasing their debut album, a release packed with variety and fun.

Based in Hampstead Garden Suburb (The Suburb), the quintet of vocalist Rafael Landicho, guitarists Chris Berlingieri and Martin Ross, bassist Steve Phillips, and drummer Mike Solomon, wear their influences and tastes on their sleeve and openly within the songs on their album. The release rather than mixing up essences of rock, pop, rockabilly, and folk rock into a distinct and unique sound prefers to devote individual songs to one flavour which works as well as it fails. The result is a release which feels like one of those old Top of the Pops record compilations where some songs persuade the passions and just as many do not. The album is like one assumes their live shows, a record catering for numerous tastes with at least one song but lacking a real identity of its own. Despite that it is a lot of fun and raises numerous smiles along the way.

Opening track Take A Chance immediately woke up the ear and passions with its rockabilly stroll within a classic rock n roll presence. The guitars jangle and tease with accomplished mischief whilst the bass romps with a heavy lilt and with the smouldering guitar solo mid song it is a pleasing and satisfying start. With the flavour it is steeped in a favoured treat here hopes were high for the album but instantly dashed by the following ‘70s Girl. The first single from the release, the track is a classic rock soaked companion with a punk edged chorus ripped from the late seventies though the exact source escapes as this is written. With dulled cow bells and blues drizzled guitar the song is an accomplished and catchy encounter if lacking a spark to really lift it to greater heights especially alongside its strong predecessor.

One of the biggest flaws upon the album is the vocals sad to say. Though the first two songs suited the style and voice of Landicho others such as Run Against The Wind and Missunderstood suffered from his flattened and at times weak delivery. With reflection and a different approach it is not a defeating problem but does on the album defuse the promising strength of some songs. It has to be said though on the opener and the endearing folk tinged The Ballad Of East Finchley he equally adds to the stronger engagement as the sounds.

Further tracks like Power Of Attorney and Salvation fall short of hitting the mark whilst still being decent enough songs to please a pub or party audience who want to have fun and entertainment, something to be fair the album as a whole easily succeeds in. Splitting the pair is the best song on the release, I Gotta Know (Twangy), another rock n roll treat with rockabilly urgency. With a potent Eddie Cochran tease to its exhilarating presence it, along with the first song, suggests this is the area where the band should explore as it is no coincidence that the really exciting and successful moments on the album, where it truly comes to life, are rockabilly stemmed.

      Sound Of The Suburb is an album which may flounder for many but equally could find a greedy appetite in others especially if they are looking for, like the band provides live, a great backing soundtrack to a party of some sort where attention is divided in many directions but the body wants to feel accomplished eager sounds to dance to.

Website: www.soundofthesuburb.com

6/10

RingMaster 23/03/2013

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Ordinaryson: Sorted Out

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    Sorted Out the title track from the 2012 album of Scottish band Ordinaryson is their new absorbing single, a release well equipped to continue and enhance their respected presence within UK indie music. The brainchild of singer and lead guitarist Ian S. Thompson, the Berwick-upon-Tweed based quartet has over the years drawn strong responses and acclaim with their indie folk sounds, the album and now single continuing to raise their potency and profile higher with charm and craft.

Over the years the band has seen many changes in personnel but with the current line-up recruited in 2007, Ordinaryson has found a stature and depth which is continually evolving and engaging. Alongside Thompson the band consists of lead guitarist Nick Holmes, bass player Steve Walker, and drummer Callum Knox, a four piece which coaxes mellow and melodic caresses out of hiding into imaginative and persuasive pieces of creative pleasure.

The single instantly cups the ear with inviting guitar strokes and a vibrant bass stepping between melodic kisses. It easily welcomes the listener into its vibrant yet gentle emotive heart with the vocals of Hunter a beckoning expressive lure to compliment and make the perfect vehicle for the lyrical hug. Merging folk with pop for a short breath barely over two minutes, the song is a brief glow of enticing sounds and tempting elegance which do not offer any intention of inventing the next wheel but just use an existing patent with thoughtful craft and embracing warmth for a pleasing flavoursome slice of joy.

It also declares it is time to investigate their album.

http://ordinaryson.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/ordinaryson

7/10

RingMaster 04/03/2013

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Charlie Winston: Running Still

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    The opportunity to review the new single from British singer-songwriter Charlie Winston came up recently, a track which is easily one of the freshest dazzles of elevated pop to come along recently, but such its impressive heart and sound the urge to check out instead the recent album it came from burned brighter and what a rewarding decision it was. Running Still is exceptional, an eclectic feast of sounds and passion which ignites the heart.

France based Winston took to music at an early age, learning the drums at age eight, moving to the piano at ten, and within two years was writing his own songs. Growing up in a Suffolk hotel, which had a constant tide of itinerant artists, orchestras, actors, and thespians, added to his love and understanding of the performing arts so really it is no surprise his heart fuelled accomplished and imaginative creativity can openly be seen on his album. At seventeen he relocated to London to join brother, Tom Baxter, whilst studying music at Brunel. The next three years saw the pair playing in their band Baxter, with Winston on bass, and finding him writing and playing music for short films, dance productions, and TV adverts as well as producing and recording records with various artists. He continued to sing or play with many different bands on either bass, piano or percussion, whilst for the first time exploring the guitar.

In 2003 whilst recording bass on his brother’s album at Real World Studios, Winston was introduced to Peter Gabriel. Friends with his daughter, Winston eventfully decided to introduce his new EP to her father which led him to being signed to Real World Records, the label of Gabriel, for debut album Make Way, as well as supporting the man on his 2007 European tour. Moving to France next, Winston caught the attention of record label Atmosphériques, and through them linked up with to Mark Plati (David Bowie, The Cure, Louise Attaque) who produced his acclaimed second album Hobo. Released in 2009, the album topped the French charts and drew intense attention and responses in France and adjacent European areas though still back home he was and arguably still is an unknown, well until Running Free, via Real World Records, touches on the nation one suspects.

The album coaxes the listener in with opening guitar strokes and expressive vocals from Winston as first track Hello Alone gently AlbumArt_{8ECE16C4-E3E6-4B3E-81E4-2EB0AEA1118E}_Largesaunters into view. With shimmering sonics and a folk swagger, the song leads the ear and emotions into a mesmeric dance of heated brass, tingling keys, and excitable melodic sultriness. It is a compelling and glorious beginning which instantly raises the anticipation of what is to follow.

Immediately the flirty Speak to Me takes over, a mesh of big pulsating rhythmic seduction and semi-rapped vocals skirt the senses before engaging them in an enthralling unexpected big boned stomp. The track instantly reminds of Gabriel to be honest with additional elements of Talking Heads and though arguably it is an easy unchallenging composition for the listener it is nothing less than incitingly absorbing.

The previously mentioned single, Where Can I Buy Happiness?, ignites a furnace of pleasure and passion, its smouldering heat and sexiness a lure of the richest potency and fired elegance. It has a familiarity about it which is hard to pin point and certainly only adds to its triumph whilst its soulful plea connects with an inner understanding all can relate to. The quizzical bassline is exceptional and strolling within the glaze of emotive keys and again fine vocals adds to the compelling breath of a quite stunning song.

Already the diversity of the album is loud and continues throughout each subsequent track. The Great Conversation is a wonderful encounter of the dramatic, its weave of nostalgia and modern sensational. The song is a quirky English stroll through European classical intrigue complete with whispers of steampunk and totally delicious. The piano driven ballad She Went Quietly without sparking the passions of previous songs is a thoughtful evocative caress whilst Unlike Me is another tender amble across thoughts with its padding of rhythmic feet and mournful yet smiling strings, guitars, and harmonies.

The balmy soul of Until You’re Satisfied lifts the passions again to previous elevations, though they never ever dip into anything less than excitable at any point, before the southern blues soaked steamy encounter Wild Ones trips the light fantastic over the senses with steamy melodics and insatiable mischief. It is another major highlight which makes the perfect invitation and companion to another piano ballad in Making Yourself so Lonely, a song with a big breath and grander emotion.

Rockin’ in the Suburbs with its breathless excitement ,which transfers to and erupts within the listener, begins the closing straight for the album, the infectious and agitated rock n roll within its walls undemanding and generous with its rewards. Completed by the pop romp of Summertime Here All Year, a song with a touch of Julian Cope/Black about it, and a final emotive hug from Lift Me Gently, the magnificent Running Still is a lingering and continually returning treat which swirls around thoughts and memories long after its final kiss. If after its release Charlie Winston is still a mystery to the UK even the world at large, than something is seriously wrong.

http://www.charliewinston.com/

9/10

RingMaster 27/02/2013

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Common Tongues: Solitary Thinker

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    Bewitched and enchanted by their 2011 debut single Jumping Ships, UK indie folksters Common Tongues has kept a candle in the passions vibrantly burning as they unveiled more delicious pop folk majesty through songs which continually smoulder and ignite the passions. Their new single is no exception, the song an emotive caress upon thoughts and emotions which first seduces before leading the listener into a sizzling yet tender melodic romp of contagious energy.

The Brighton band was formed in 2010 by childhood friends Tom Anderson and Oli Hinkins, who grew up together in Cambridge. With a line-up completed by Andrew Stuart-Buttle, Dan Somers, and James Drohan, the band released first two track single Jumping Ships via Something Nothing Records to a strong eager response following it up over the past couple of years with impressive appearances at numerous festivals including Bestival, and the Secret Garden Party, as well as support performances alongside the likes of Beth Jeans Houghton, Michelle Stodart, Juan Zelada, The Miserable Rich, and Alice Gold. Citing influences from the artists such as Yann Tiersen, Villagers, Radiohead and Brian Wilson as inspirations, the band creates sounds which tempt and persuade like sunshine whilst evoking and inspiring like her alluring touch.

Taken from their new April released EP, Solitary Thinker is the perfect teaser, a song which triggers a rich appetite for more ctwhilst igniting flames of pleasure to make the short wait for much more bearable. The song emerges from a brewing breath with acoustic guitar and melancholic violin weaving gently across the senses, their stroke tender yet powerfully suggestive. The feeling of loneliness is accentuated as the vocals add their weight and expression though the music equally offers a little dance of light and hope throughout the emotive heart. Mid-way through the track entertains rhythmic teases which raise and incite the temperature and intent of the song into a feisty launch of energy which sparks further rapture as the building crescendo of expertly crafted sounds and anthemic vocals explodes within the heart.

The song walks the perfect line between emotionally intense and light and whimsical, achieving both without unbalancing the passion or fun of the track. Musically too the track merges more forceful sounds which maybe are a rarity in folk pop with traditional majestic beauty in harmonies, melodies, and expression. It is a glorious song which will ensure an even more focused and maybe impatient anticipation for the upcoming EP.

www.commontongues.co.uk

www.facebook.com/commontongues

8.5/10

RingMaster 23/02/2013

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Storm & The Dales: Delusions Of Grandeur EP

Bringing a lively slice of melodic indie folk with a breath borne from the sixties, Delusions Of Grandeur, the new EP from UK band Storm & The Dales, makes for a release which fires up the imagination whilst unlocking a well of future promise. The five tracks which make up the release bring a strong variety to their imaginative presences and though some moments elevate to greater heights than others, the EP triggers good emotions and thoughts with accomplished ease.

Storm & The Dales is the solo project of Dublin based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Dean Smyth, a musician who has reaped years of live music experience to bring a full and emotive depth to his songs. His experiences from a wealth of collaborations with other artists around the world has also added to and shaped his songwriting for a distinctive body to his music and lyrical creativity. The Delusions Of Grandeur EP is the perfect evidence, a collection of tracks which approach relationships lyrically and ideas musically with a shapely design to their essences.

The release opens with It’s Not Me It’s You and takes no time in holding the attention of ear and mind. The song has a distinct sixties swagger to its strong heart, the pop lightness a warm caress over the ear. The vocals of Smyth unveil the passionate tale with a delivery as emotive as the guitar play and easily outweigh the less than appealing harmonies which poke their noses in once or twice. It is a minor quibble in the context of the song their inadequacies lost in the shadow of the lean yet heated elegance of the track brought with a keen and expressive breath.

The good start is surpassed by the excellent Heart And Soul, a song which captures the imagination from its very first sweep of cymbal and contagious beats. Accompanied by a smouldering ambience to match the tender guitar, all the elements within the song combine to lay a shimmering haze of melodic seduction behind the again open vocals of Smyth, whilst the hypnotic teasing of the track breaks into moments of fiery imagination to leave extra  psychedelic trails across its skies and deepen the enthralling engagement. It is a rewarding encounter rarely matched in the rest of the release.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf is a song which feels very familiar without arguably offering anything recognisable, though again the sixties whispers leads all thoughts. It is a more than decent song which leaves plenty of incentive to check out more of the melodic enterprise from the band whilst itself offering a pleasing engagement within the ear.  The sharp guitar play is the highlight of the track whilst parts of the vocals harmonies again fall short of personal preferences but with no real damage to the appeal of the song.

The same cannot be said of Bad Little Girl, the one time the EP failed to ignite any real positivity. The song is an uncomplicated acoustic based slice of pop which recalls the likes of Herman’s Hermits to name one sixties band, but with its shallow production and depth as well as substance lacking vocals it just does not inspire any real reaction, something the impressive No Love does with skill and sure captivation. The closing track is a mesmeric slice of emotive grandeur big on atmosphere and passion. The dramatic piano expression evokes numerous thoughts and feelings whilst the unexpected sonic tinkering unbalances those mental assumptions and emotions wonderfully. It is a heavyweight song encapsulating the craft and distinct thought of the songwriting from Smyth and with Heart And Soul, surely is the direction the artist should pursue to greater acclaim and recognition such their power and craft.

Delusions Of Grandeur though not without a few flaws, is a release which engages the senses and future expectations with strength and imaginative style. The production could have been better to beef up the less powerful parts and further spark passion for those that work very well, but for the main the songs elevate themselves beyond their limitations to declare Storm & The Dales as a project to follow keenly and closely.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Storm-The-Dales/255002084546214

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/delusions-of-grandeur-ep/id573344864

RingMaster 19/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright