Flowers – Everybody’s Dying To Meet You

Flowers_RingMaster Review

Though debut album Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do pleased, for personal tastes, it lacked a certain spark to fulfil its obvious potential. It was an encounter though, which certainly ensured its creators Flowers lured strong and lingering attention. Now the UK trio return with successor Everybody’s Dying To Meet You, a rousing slice of noise infused indie pop that enchants as it enthrals; a release rattling the cage of expectations and all overworked pop offerings around it.

Flowers began in 2012 after vocalist Rachel Kenedy met guitarist Sam Ayres through an advert wanting band mates to help create pop songs which were like “early Madonna through a broken tape machine”. From there a romantic and creative union ensued between them, with drummer Jordan Hockley coming in to complete the band’s line-up. With their first batch of tracks refined by Bernard Butler, debut album Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do emerged in 2013 to potent responses and support. It drew keen interest which is surely now set to ignite louder acclaim with Everybody’s Dying To Meet You. Everything about the release, from songwriting and sound to inventive tone has blossomed from its predecessor, emerging an eighties seeded but uniquely current kiss of tenacious indie pop.

Recorded with producer Brian O’Shaughnessey (The Clientele, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine), the album opens with Pull My Arm. A slim jangle of guitar with glimpses of ska revelry makes the first contact, strolling beefy rhythms soon joining it before the lively ethereal tone of Kenedy lays evocatively over the dynamically catchy sounds now in full flow. Thoughts are sparked of bands like Mo-dettes and Girls At Their Best by the track, ripe spices adding to its boisterous charm and rousing adventure.

art_RingMaster ReviewThe great start is followed by the mellower caress of Bitter Pill, though its body is all drama and the vocals awash with warm crystalline harmonies that seem to incite an infectious swing to grab the energy of the song. From lapping ears like gentle but eager waves to a fiery expulsion of sizzling sonic rowdiness and back again in a repeating cycle, ears are richly satisfied before Ego Loss takes over with its similarly low key but vibrant dance. The dark hues of bass make a healthy temper to the celestial strains of Kenedy and the imaginative jangle of Ayres’ guitar, the jabbing beats of Hockley bridging the two with their metronomic yet inventive canter. Like The Darling Buds meets The Raincoats, the track is a persistent captivation.

A Weekend like air drifts across next up All at Once; the song as those before it thick seduction, though all have to bow to the outstanding prowess of Intrusive Thoughts. Again a gentler entrance is the lead to richer and heavier deeds. The song never loses its gentile character though, moving with a Young Marble Giants scented saunter through noisy melodic scenery accompanied by hypnotic rhythms. Kenedy once more is as alluring as the sun in the sultry temptation as the album offers its undoubted pinnacle, though the song is challenged for that stature throughout.

How Do You Do smiles at and grumbles in ears next, its scuzzy proposal an irresistibly magnetic affair matched by the fiercer rock ‘n’ roll of Tammy. Ayres’ guitar is a scorching blaze of resourceful endeavour whilst Hockley again lays anthemic bait down around the, at times, slightly overwhelmed voice of Kenedy. Even with that slight issue, the track is a punk lined pop treat to get a healthy appetite for; a hunger quickly satisfied by another Young Marble Giants like seducing under the name Russian Doll. Its true rock ‘n’ roll colours are soon pushed to the fore of its initial minimalistic presence, the initial thick enjoyment only becoming most lusty as the entwining of both textures from thereon in creates another mighty triumph for the album.

The final pair of songs ensures Everybody’s Dying To Meet You ends on the high it started with and for the main maintained up to their appearance. The balmy yet sonically volatile My Only Friend is first with endearing melodic caresses evolving into bordering on cacophonous jangles for a hearty lure whilst closer Bathroom Sink is a provocative romance with a tempestuous air and intrusive flames to its harmonic elegance. Both tracks spellbind with their individual characters; a success brought to broader fruition by the album as a whole.

The Flowers has come of age with Everybody’s Dying to Meet You, though major uniqueness is still a little down the line. All the same with this thoroughly enjoyable and increasingly magnetic album their current bloom, the threesome has shown themselves to be one of Britain’s brightest and most stimulating indie/pop bands.

Everybody’s Dying To Meet You is released February 12th via Fortuna POP! on CD, vinyl and download.

https://www.facebook.com/flowersdomusic/

Pete RingMaster 12/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Colony House – When I Was Younger

Colony House new pic_RingMaster Review

Recently US indie rockers Colony House released their first UK single in the feisty and captivating shape of Silhouettes to coincide a host of live dates across Europe with Ohio quartet Walk The Moon. Fair to say a healthy buzz was bred and earned by both the shows and the single which was taken from the band’s debut album When I Was Younger; a fuss easy to expect leading to further potent success this side of the pond with the assumed release of the album here too.

Hailing from Nashville, Colony House was formed by Caleb and Will Chapman, the sons of Contemporary Christian pop superstar Steven Curtis Chapman, with Scott Mills who the pair met through a cousin. Initially called Caleb, the band switched to the name of Colony House in 2013, continuing to work on their first album which they began in 2012 and completed that following year. Its songs are a bold and openly intimate look at issues and experiences observed and felt by the band, the accidental death of the brother’s 5-year-old adoptive sister Maria Sue in 2008 one such tragedy. Their songs, as shown by the album, also explore a hope and understanding within the raw elements theming their bodies, their sounds similarly nurtured to accentuate and emphasize their themes with rich success.

artwork_RingMaster Review     The new single opens up the album and swiftly has ears enticed and gripped, Silhouettes swinging in with energetic rhythms and jangly guitar within a warm atmosphere led by the potent vocals. There is an instant familiarity to the sound of the song, nothing specific but recognisable hues welcoming an appetite for vibrant pop rock. It also comes with a thick drama and magnetic virulence, the song bridging melodic intimacy and rousing incitements with a stirring quality that soaks the album throughout as shown by the track’s successor Second Guessing Games. Again hearty and gentle caresses with a catchy intent lead into boisterous exploits with matching infectiousness, their persuasions alternating and entwining across the dynamic swing of the equally impressing track.

Variety is a constant across When I Was Younger too, the sultry and persistently revolving mix of electronic imagination and indie seduction colouring Caught Me By Surprise and the shadowed eighties toned theatre of Roll With the Punches quick evidence. Both of the excellent encounters steal attention with ease, the second especially compelling within its China Crisis meets Editors like weave of emotive melodies and immersive atmospherics around the ever impressing vocals and craft of the band.

There is a touch of UK band The Sea to the Colony House sound, an element hinting throughout but especially coming to mind within the tenaciously resourceful Keep On Keeping On, one of many tracks which just linger in the memory with its gentle but inescapable hooks and a wonderfully unpredictable imagination merging tender elements with fiery textures and emotional intensity. There is also a natural roar to the song and many of its companions which you can easily visualise being a potent force live, the album, we are assured by those in the know, a strong reflection of the band’s rich energy and power on stage.

Through the lively and heartfelt croon of Waiting for My Time to Come and the bluesy tonic of 2:20, band and album continue to enthral and offer spicy variations, the surf rock lined exploits of guitar in the second of the two especially invigorating before Learning How to Love lowers the intensity with its melodic romancing of the senses. It is a potent caressing which still has a rhythmic agitation to keep an eye on, one sparking increasing volatility as the song grows into its smouldering bellow of melodic temptation without breaking its controlling reins.

Through the acoustic serenade of Won’t Give Up and the evolving energy and creative landscape of Moving Forward, satisfaction and enjoyment is full even if neither quite lights the fires as forcibly and long term as earlier tracks or as constantly in the case of the latter. Glorious has a similar success, making a heavily pleasing and increasingly magnetic companion with every listen but not leaving the same seeds to entice an urgent return as say Silhouettes or Caught Me By Surprise.

The album closes out with Lose Control, another skilled theatre of sound and expression weaving in melancholic strings, dramatic rhythms, and the ever bracing mix of melodic and vocal heart. It is an anthemic end to an excellent introduction to the UK of Colony House, and easy to see why they are a healthily devoured proposal back home.

We have no details of the UK release of When I Was Younger but it seems it is on the cards with Silhouettes a more than exciting teaser worth big attention.

The UK and US releases of Silhouettes and When I Was Younger respectively can be found through most online stores.

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

Pete RingMaster 16/12/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Bells and Hunters – Modern Witch’s Songbook Vol I: Fairy Tales

Bells and Hunters - Modern Witch's Songbook Vol I- Fairy Tales - cover_RingMaster Review

Hailing out of Washington DC, Bells and Hunters recently recorded their debut album Modern Witch’s Songbook and has set about revealing it to us all via three instalments. The first part comes in the new and suitably titled EP, Modern Witch’s Songbook Vol I: Fairy Tales. Consisting of four tracks revelling in the diversity of sound and imagination which the band’s fans already heartily embrace, the EP is a captivating introduction for the rest of us to the Bells and Hunters temptation.

Bells and Hunters began in 2008, formed by vocalist Kelliann Beavers and vocalist/guitarist Keith Fischer who united through “a mutual love of creativity, song writing, and Jeff Buckley.” In no time their emerging eclectic sound enticed ears; its fusion of folk, blues, and varied decades of rock stirring up attention, as shown by debut EP The Static Sea in 2010. Three years later the band released their acclaimed first album Weddings and Funerals, though the next horizons of the band almost saw it all come to an end as members relocated to other cities across the US. Instead Beavers and Fischer called on long-time friends in drummer Guido Dehoratiis, guitarist Joe McMurray, and bassist Avi Walter, to be replaced later by Eric Putnam, to complete the new line-up.

It is fair to say that the Bells and Hunters sound has been in constant evolution across its releases but Vol I: Fairy Tales shows the biggest step through its quartet of offerings, a trait to be presumably continued across the remaining parts of the album ahead. Opening with Bruises, the EP quickly grips ears and appetite with the song’s fiery start veined by great spicy grooves with a touch of Rocket From the Crypt to them. Led along by thumping beats and eager riffs, those grooves and indeed song soon have hips swinging and attention quickly on board, even more so as the similarly tangy tones of Beavers show their magnetic lure. The track continues to stomp and invention romp with infectious enterprise and anthemic energy, those early hooks still perpetual bait within the controlled yet rousing character of the Morningwood meets Martha and The Muffins like persuasion of the song.

Warm and vibrant Keys bring the following Mexico into view next, the engaging entrance springing into a busier blues rock toned canter led by the vocals of Fischer this time around. Again rhythms are a pungent enticement, bold and firmly offered as the guitars spin a spicy sonic web courted by the rich addition of Beaver’s dark siren-esque vocal backing. Sultrily tantalising, the song makes a compelling proposal more than matched by that of Lady Luck. Again sticky blues air and melodic flames colour a flavoursome stroll, though a dark country spicing adding brings new ripe hues to the seductive shadows and evocative breath of the fiery croon.

The EP is brought to an end by the electronic tempting of Fairy Tails; a song merging eighties synth pop and nineties indie rock in an electro romance. It is a hug further enhanced by the primal bass resonance rumbling within the ethereal and increasingly muggy embrace of sound and vocal seducing from within the song. Reminding of Young Marble Giants in some ways, it is a mesmeric conclusion to a great first taste for us of Bells and Hunters.

The second part of their new album is released February 2016 and anticipation for that, thanks to the thoroughly enjoyable Vol I: Fairy Tales, is already impatient in us and a great many more.

Modern Witch’s Songbook Vol I: Fairy Tales is out now and available as a name your price download at the Bells and Hunters Bandcamp profile.

https://www.facebook.com/bellsandhunters   http://www.bellsandhunters.com/   https://twitter.com/bellsandhunters

Pete RingMaster 15/12/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Sugarmen – Plastic Ocean

cover_RingMaster Review

2015 will be marked by many things for different people in regard to music, and most likely amongst them will be not only the introduction to UK indie rockers Sugarmen through debut single Dirt in April but equally its successor, the rousing infection that is Plastic Ocean. The band’s new song is a tenacious dance of jangly guitars and eighties spiced melodies with captivating energy and joyful enterprise to match, it all making up confirmation of the promise and qualities shown in its predecessor.

The year has been a potent adventure for the Liverpool quartet. Between the singles, the foursome of songwriters/guitarists Luke Fenlon and Chay Heney, bassist Tom Sheilds, and drummer Sam McVann have played two Hyde Park shows with The Who and Blur, whilst amongst their own shows they have shared stages with the likes of Sleaford Mods, The Bohicas, Hooton Tennis Club, Deer Hunter, Metronomy, and British Sea Power. The release of the Mick Jones (The Clash) produced Dirt was a attention grabbing spark in the year too and now matched by the voracious adventure of Plastic Ocean.

The single instantly hugs ears with a spicy melody from within the jaws of a groaning bass and crisp rhythmic jabs. As quickly that eighties flavouring springs its welcoming lure, the song like a mix of King Trigger and through its spicy guitar flirtation, Haircut One Hundred. The voice of Fenlon is just as warmly inspiring as the sounds, feet and hips fully involved by rhythms and the catchy swing of the song as the listener’s vocal chords and a greedy appetite are recruited by the vocal and melodic prowess seducing ears.

Within it’s less than three minutes of length, further magnetic infusions of fresh flavouring emerge to line the excellent dips and leaps in energy, it all adding to the undiluted festivity of the song. Quite simply, the track is an adventurous pop rock party which has the listener in the palms of its boisterous hands.

If you missed Sugarmen the first time, be sure not to miss this second slice of their sound, indeed add it to your playlist for this festive period and spread the goodness.

Plastic Ocean is out now via Rooftop Records.

https://www.facebook.com/sugarmenuk    https://twitter.com/Sugarmenuk

RingMaster 08/12/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Ex Norwegian – Pure Gold

Pure-Gold-cover_RingMaster Review

There is always a sense of anticipation and indeed excitement when faced with a new release from US band Ex Norwegian, but in approaching their new album Pure Gold, there was a heavier sense of intrigue involved too. It was the first encounter since the serious illness which band founder Roger Houdaille suffered, the proceeds from the album going towards the emergency hospital bills incurred, and brings a collection of re-interpretations of tracks by other artists alongside original compositions from a new line-up to that which created the acclaimed and outstanding Wasted Lines album of 2014. So there was a wondering if the release was merely a filler in the future of the band but fair to say and straight away ears and imagination were alive whilst being immersed in the recognisable but ever unpredictable Ex Norwegian pop/indie rock sound, and the diversity of flavour that breeds to show it was anything but.

The creative union of Houdaille (vocals, guitars, keyboards, percussion), Giuseppe Rodriguez (vocals, bass, moog), Lucas Queiroz (vocals, guitars), Fernando Perdomo (drums, slide guitar), and Michelle Grand (vocals), with occasional guest organ prowess from Chris Price, tempt and grip ears straight away with album opener It’s A Game. A String Driven Thing song arguably made more famous by The Bay City Rollers, it quickly has feet in an eager shuffle and appetite licking lips with its catchy pop rock stroll. Ex Norwegian cast a vibrant energy to the song without losing its folkish charm whilst the great blend of vocals between Houdaille and Grand is almost flirtatious in its persuasion. There is also an Abba-esque hue to the great start to the release, though the fade-out is a touch annoying just to be picky.

Asking Too Much steps forward next and just as easily has attention enthralled with its melodic caresses and infectious persuasion as a healthy scent of Kirsty MacColl like folk pop flavours it. As the first, the song has a simplicity which is as inviting and enjoyable as the nuances and melodic enterprise the band inject into its design, the result another lively excuse to romp; a similar invitation given again by the feisty rock infused Beeside, a Tintern Abbey song. Sultry air and fuzzy breath soaks the song to great effect, whilst its psych rock character becomes increasingly compelling with each passing second and smouldering melody.

Already it is fair to say highlights are the order of the day so far, another provided straight away by the band’s impressive cover of the Melanie song Cyclone. Providing an inflamed melodic roar led by the superb tones of Grand, her harmonic expressive serenading ears as potently as the fiery side to her great voice, the track swiftly gets under the skin. It’s successor, the boisterous and show stealer On The Sidelines, is a match in such invasive potency, it playing like a feisty Martha and the Muffins but creating its own unique personality with every swinging rhythms, melodic temptation, and gripping hook. For us every Ex Norwegian album seems to have one song which especially hits the sweet spot, On The Sidelines that irresistible offering within Pure Gold.

A new wave essence fuels the following Other Half, a touch of Graham Parker to the song lighting up ears with a nostalgic bluesy air whilst the Paul McCartney track Keep Under Cover is given a virulent tonic of adventurous infectiousness and quite simply a tenacious fresh breath. Both tracks again leave body and emotions smiling and greedy for more, the album’s title track eager to satisfy with its mix of dark funky basslines, surf harmonies, and romancing melodic seduction. There is a less dramatic feel to the song compared to other tracks but with keys an emotive haze around the contagious lure of the bass and the lacing of spicy blues guitar, it is a robustly catchy proposal very easy to get fully involved with.

A fine take on the Jimmy Campbell song Close My Case And Move On comes next, Ex Norwegian accentuating its emotive heart and intimacy with a sturdier frame and tangy country rock colouring. A fascinating canter of a song with an element of pleasing discord to its nature too, it is maybe not as immediately impacting in comparison to the more boisterous approaches of other tracks within the album, but it matches all in persuasion before Shadow Ships and a version of Tell Me Your Plans by The Shirts brings things to an enjoyable close. The first of the pair merges Americana with sixties pop vibrancy, creating a richly satisfying if not fevered incitement; Tell Me Your Plans providing that with its again sixties hued interpretation of a great power pop offering.

From start to finish Pure Gold is a thoroughly engaging and highly enjoyable romp. It might not quite match the triumphant majesty of the band’s last album yet it is a different kind of proposition. For pleasure though, it is a rivalling success and reason enough to suggest Ex Norwegian is one of our brightest pop rock bands.

Pure Gold is released December 11th via Dippy Records @ http://shop.exnorwegian.com/album/pure-gold

http://www.exnorwegian.com     https://www.facebook.com/exnorwegian/     http://twitter.com/exnorwegian

Pete RingMaster 02/12/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Gazing into the fresh glow of The Cathode Ray with Jeremy Thoms

The Cathode Ray_RingMaster Review

Photo and copyright Peter Tainsh

2015 has provided many treats this year and definitely amongst them was the latest and second album Infinite Variety from Scottish indie band The Cathode Ray. It was an encounter embracing the nostalgia of the eighties through fresh and inventive escapades bred of the now. One of the band’s founders is Jeremy Thoms, he also the man behind the great indie label Stereogram Recordings, and someone who to describe as busy is a big understatement. Nevertheless, Jeremy kindly gave us a chunk of his time to talk about the album, The Cathode Ray itself from top to bottom and more, including an insight to his own musical loves…

Hi Jeremy and many thanks for giving us your time to talk with us.

Ever late to the party, we discovered The Cathode Ray through your new album Infinite Variety which came out a couple of months or so ago to, it is fair to say, swift acclaim. In a music world where it seems increasingly harder to actually get people to part with money or indeed offer full attention to things, did you have any particular expectations or hopes for its unveiling or is it more anything is a bonus for bands right now?

We didn’t have any expectations other than hoping that those who had liked the first album would stay with us for the second. We knew we’d made a good follow up album but, as you say, in an environment when it’s very hard to engage with people, nothing is guaranteed.

Photo by Hugh Womersley

Photo by Hugh Womersley

Originally the band was just you and Paul Haig, famed for Josef-K and his own solo career. The press release for the album suggests this was not originally intended to be a serious band project but a writing collaboration. Was that the case and what brought Paul’s involvement to an end?

Paul definitely just saw it as a writing collaboration – “a bit of fun” was one his quotes – with group recordings just being made to illustrate them. However, the reaction to them was so positive, one thing lead to another and I pushed for it to become a band and take it more seriously, which Paul wasn’t happy with so eventually he left. What confused matters in the press and public eye was that Neil, David and I were his backing band when he did a solo tour in 2008. However the emphasis then was completely on his solo work, and he had no intention of being a member of a band again after Josef K, which in the end we had to respect.

The double ‘A’ sided single What’s It All About? /Mind was released in 2006; I believe this was meant as a one off release?

Not initially but it ended up like that. Certainly with Paul participating. When we made the agreement with Pronoia Records in 2006, the album had been recorded with Paul’s full participation, but by the time we got around to discussing getting it released he had changed his mind. So he asked us to remove his lead vocals, which we did, although some of his guitar and backing vocals do remain on the first album.

At what point did that spark the appetite to push things further; as a full band and with more releases?

The point that changed everything was bumping into Steve Fraser at a TV21 album launch in 2009. I told him what had happened and he was keen to get involved. The minute we started talking music I knew he was the man. We didn’t even bother with an audition. I knew the songs were strong enough to survive without Paul’s involvement. That opened so many doors, being able to play live (which Paul would never have done as The Cathode Ray) and generally move things on after quite a difficult start.

Were some of you all already old friends and maybe previously worked together before uniting for The Cathode Ray we know today?

Neil Baldwin and I have known each other for 34 years (!) and have played in bands together intermittently since 1986. David Mack and I had been working together since 2000 so, yes, there was a certain chemistry. Steve was the “new boy” although we’d all known him on the Edinburgh scene previously.

I have to admit for once, and not intentionally, I read about the band and its background before hearing a note for a review, and to be honest once seeing a list of previous projects for members of The Cathode Ray2_RingMaster Reviewthe band which had been indelible pleasures in my personal soundtrack, subsequently luring a revisit to old favourites records after finishing the review too, there was an increased anticipation and eagerness to explore the band and album. Do you think having your musical histories has helped draw awareness to the band or not?

Well obviously there’s going to be a certain amount of that, but I do believe, hopefully without sounding conceited, that The Cathode Ray is more than the sum of its parts. But initially I guess it did help getting people interested through our various previous involvements.

There were whiffs of all some of your previous bands at times across the songs and often nostalgia blessed air of Infinite Variety, The Bluebells and Scars maybe most notably in our ears. You are a band unafraid to draw on previous adventures and spices to hone new and fresh exploits, as potently shown on the album?

The songs that I write aren’t consciously drawing on any of our past exploits, but I guess where you’ve come from does influence where you’re going. In any case, it’s probably coincidental, as Steve only toured with The Scars as a depping bassist so wasn’t involved in their creative process, while Neil only contributed to arrangements with The Bluebells. But inevitably, as we all come from that post-punk background, some of the sounds and styles of these bands are going to rub off.

How would you say The Cathode Ray has evolved over time and specifically between Infinite Variety and its predecessor, your self-titled debut album?

I would say the vague initial brief of merging post-punk Manchester with New York has simply broadened to the point where I regard ourselves now as a band that isn’t easy to pin down musically. Our original press release mentioned 60’s Garage, Soundtracks and Northern soul, to which one critic added Psychedelia, Glam-Rock, Euro-Disco, Krautrock and 90’s Alternative Pop when reviewing Infinite Variety. So it is definitely evolving. I’m currently demoing material for the next album and there’s even more interesting musical areas I’d like to explore. It’s good to surprise people.

TCR cover_RingMaster ReviewGive us some insight into the thoughts and intentions going into the writing and recording of Infinite Variety? Do you build a release on particular aims or ideas or predominantly let things organically evolve?

Things do tend to evolve organically. If you put too much pre-conceived thought into it, the music loses its spontaneity. Although I suppose one particular aim is not to repeat ourselves. Each album needs to be a significant progression from the previous one, so a certain degree of thought does go into that. Also, apart from melodies and lyrics, I’m always interested in rhythms and try to be as adventurous and varied as possible in that area too.

We described the album as a “kaleidoscope of fun, sound, and adventure”, a fair hint we think at the array of flavours and inventive spices fuelling and shaping the songs within Infinite Variety. In the hands of many bands it might be an incoherent mix, but you manage to seamlessly blend all spices and individual characters of songs perfectly. Where do you and the band start when composing songs?

Well I compose the songs and demo them first with the key riffs, chord progressions, lyrics etc. all in place. At that stage they often do sound fairly disparate. I then present them to the band in the rehearsal room and that’s when it starts to sound like The Cathode Ray. Steve, Neil and Dave all contribute parts and arrangements until we arrive at the finished article. Some songs like The Eyes Are The Window took a long time to come together and changed quite considerably from my original demo. Others end up fairly similar to the original template, but all manage to sound cohesive owing to the fact it’s the four of us playing them, I guess.

The album’s tracks manage to be rich and at times expansive in texture and flavour yet also ‘slim’, i.e. no excess baggage or indulgence. They manage to be an open evolution from your first album but also reveal a bolder leap in aural colour and character; how do you hear their relevance to older propositions as one of their creators?

Well obviously it’s difficult to be completely objective about something you’ve created yourself, but I see their place in relation to the first album as a natural progression. The leap in colour and texture which you describe is simply a way of moving the band forward, without cluttering things up unnecessarily. You use the word ‘slim’ and I suppose that comes in at the production stage – cutting off any excess fat!

How long in the making from first note to paper or thought through to last note laid down was the album?

The boundaries are always blurred as we always tend to have songs left over which were either written too late to make the cut or simply didn’t fit at the time. For example, This Force Of Nature had its origins as a completely different song dating way back to 2006. It had never sounded right so was left on the shelf. I went back to it in 2014 writing new lyrics and melodies and it quickly came together then. Eureka Moment and Buck the Trend were written in 2009 when Steve first joined. But the bulk of I.V. was written and recorded between 2012 and 2014 – around two and half years.

Our review stated spices of bands from around the eighties as rewarding aspects but over time sixties/seventies tones have emerged. I sense your own inspirations and musical loves go far back?

Oh yes – my musical tastes stretch way back! How long have you got? Songwriters have always been key to me. From Lennon & McCartney, Brian Wilson, Smokey Robinson, Jimmy Webb and Bacharach & David, through Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Scott Walker, Al Green, Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Robert Wyatt and Neil Young to Costello, Paddy MacAloon and Rufus Wainwright, the song is always key. Then there’s the bands I love – The Stones, The Velvets, The Doors, Faces, Roxy, Yes, Kraftwerk, Television, Talking Heads, Buzzcocks, Chic, Wire, Magazine, Pretenders, Joy Division, Dexys, Scritti Politti; Cocteaus, Talk Talk, Teenage Fanclub, High Llamas, Flaming Lips… the list goes on.

There is no mistaking that Scottish bands and rock ‘n’ roll of all styles and design bred there, has something unique to it, and we could go on a long list of examples. Can you define what it is in ‘the

Photo by Jez Curnow

Photo by Jez Curnow

water’ which helps breed such distinctive and so often inspirational bands from that part of the UK, as ones yourselves?

I think there’s an open-mindedness up here. Maybe Scottish bands tend to draw from a wider pool of influences than other parts of the UK. Or maybe it’s to do with being distanced from what’s happening down south – even in the age of the internet. It’s certainly true that scenes of their own do seem to crop up here around labels like Postcard, Fast, 53rd & 3rd, Creeping Bent and, possibly, our label Stereogram too, which has attracted similar kindred literate spirits. Either that or we all seem to be obsessed with the Velvet Underground!

What comes next for The Cathode Ray?

Firstly, we’ve got two more live shows coming up this year as part of The Stereogram Revue in Edinburgh and Glasgow, plus a new track called It Takes One To Know One on a compilation album. Then there’s a new video shot earlier this year at the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh by Jez Curnow to go with Saving Grace, our other featured track on the comp. After that we’ll be knuckling down to working on the follow up to Infinite Variety. I’ve got five or six new songs written and demoed, plus a couple of leftovers, so we’ll be getting on with them. Expect some new directions.

Your releases come out on Stereogram Recordings, your own label which seems to have out grown and blossomed far more than its original intent I believe. Can you tell us a little about it and what is ahead for the label too?

It has indeed outgrown its original intent which was simply to facilitate a release for the first Cathode Ray album, plus any other projects (The Fabulous Artisans) or archive material I had kicking about. But over the last couple of years it has been growing steadily with first Roy Moller signing up, followed by James King & The Lonewolves, Milton Star, St. Christopher Medal, Lola in Slacks and, Band Of Holy Joy. The critical and public response has been great which is hugely encouraging. As previously mentioned, we’re rounding off the year with two Revue shows which will feature the entire roster in some form or other (minus Milton Star who don’t have a live set up at present). These gigs will be accompanied by The Sound of Stereogram, a budget compilation in the spirit of New Wave in ‘77 or Pillows and Prayers in ’82, featuring both new and old tracks from all eight acts on the label. Next year promises some new signings plus new material from the existing acts.

My big thanks to you again for chatting with us; have you anything you would like to add?

Nothing to add except thanks very much for your support over the last year.

Lastly and looking at band’s influences on your Facebook profile, a list of bands littering my own record collection I have to say, can you indulge me and give us a few of the bands/records which inspired you to get into music and then as a musician push yourself further?

Well I’ve already mentioned a whole bunch of artists who’ve inspired me, so here’s some records that have been key: “With The Beatles”; “Motown Chartbusters Vol.3”; “Pet Sounds”; “Piper at The Gates of Dawn”; “Forever Changes”; “Loaded”; “Scott 4”; “What’s Going On”; “Exile On Main Street”; “Never A Dull Moment”; “Close To The Edge”; “Aladdin Sane”; ”Houses Of The Holy”; “Quadrophenia”; “Rock Bottom”; “Country Life”; “Zuma”; “Songs In The Key Of Life”; “Trans Europe Express”; “Marquee Moon”; “My Aim Is True”; “Never Mind The Bollocks”; “Risque”; “All Mod Cons”; “Love Bites”; “Fear Of Music”; “Closer”; “The Correct Use Of Soap”; “You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever”; “Rattlesnakes”; “Steve McQueen”; “Don’t Stand Me Down”. Again the list goes on…

Read our review of Infinite Variety @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/the-cathode-ray-infinite-variety/

https://www.facebook.com/thecathoderay   http://www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 23/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Pacific – What Are You Waiting For EP

Pacific_RingMaster Review

Already lighting up ears and a horde of eager appetites with two singles this year, UK alternative rock band Pacific finishes the year off in fine style with new EP What Are You Waiting For. With four tracks of the melody rich and adventurous infectiousness they are becoming renowned for, the release romances the senses and capture the imagination from its first lively caress. Equally there is a depth and invention to the Cheshire quartet’s sound and songwriting which invites numerous returns with new twists and layers being unveiled in return. It is maybe not a release to set the British indie rock scene ablaze but it is a proposition to give it a fresh and heavily flavoursome new proposition to enthuse over.

Pacific emerged in 2011 and quickly lured eyes and ears with early tracks like Dream of Mine and She Demands, with the first of the pair earning over 20,000 views on YouTube alone. The band soon found itself under the gaze and eager support of the likes of Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1, BBC 6’s Mark Radcliffe, and BBC Stoke Introducing’s Rob Adcock, attention only increasingly enticed by the two singles this year, Those Nights and before it Time to Forget, the track opening up What Are You Waiting.

Pacific - What Are You Waiting For_RingMaster ReviewA drama lined caress of piano from vocalist Anthony Orzel entices ears and appetite first, its quick persuasion soon joined by the melodic smile of Dave Bithell’s guitar and in turn the punchy beats of drummer Drew Burns. A thicker and darker texture courtesy of bassist Daniel Orzel brings depth and great shading to the song too, tempering in a good way the impressive and rich vocals of Anthony. Settling down into a feisty endeavour with rhythms an energetic shuffle of enterprise, the song is soon swinging with emotive and infectious zeal, the open invention and craft of individuals uniting in a feel good yet emotively intense canter of sound and expression.

It is a mighty start to the EP, quickly flowed by the similarly engaging if less imposing stroll of Catch Her If You Can. Swiftly an eighties air prompts thoughts, a China Crisis hue gliding over ears and thoughts as the song sways with poetic melodies and warm suggestiveness. Captivation is again the order of the moment, vocals and imaginative temptation leading the elegant proposal of the track before it makes way for Run Away Boy. A dramatic edge is never far from the surface of a Pacific song, the piano crafting such attraction in the third track’s vocal reflection in sound and Anthony’s expressive delivery.

Those Nights brings the release to a strong close, piano and vocals again the initial arm around shoulders. Their emotive union is a rich enticement, leading into the livelier air and an increasingly energetic endeavour spread by the band in sound and invention. Strolling alone with a smile on its melodic face, as all the band’s songs in their individual ways, it hints at and tempts with suggestions of explosive twists, but instead keeps it all under a creative rein which only leaves ears seduced and appetite involved, and agreed for more fair to say.

Pacific more than offered evidence through their singles, that they were a band to get very interested in and subsequently excited about. Now they have confirmed it with For What Are You Waiting For and it is hard not to go along with that train of thought.

The What Are You Waiting For EP is released November 13th @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/what-are-you-waiting-for-ep/id1045791569

http://www.pacificofficial.com   http://www.facebook.com/pacificofficial   http://www.twitter.com/pacificofficial

Pete RingMaster 13/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/