Phil Lewis – Patchwork Heart

Phil Lewis_RingMaster Review

Being introduced to Phil Lewis through his highly enjoyable Age of Nothing EP, it is fair to say that we have bred an increasingly eager appetite for the pop rock prowess of the Welsh singer songwriter. Though he had already reaped a potent reputation and a healthy level of acclaim for a trio of earlier albums, the EP was the biggest nudge yet on widespread recognition. Now that potent hint has become a mighty roar thanks to the release of Patchwork Heart, a contagion of inspiring hooks and essential melodies united in some of the best pop tracks you are likely to heard this year.

Hailing from Penarth, Lewis had his musical passion seeded in “frighteningly dressed people on Top of the Pops”, and then in turn “the various genre charts in NME and Melody Maker”. It sparked the dream to have one of his own songs in the charts and in 2008 the release of his first single Just One Kiss became a very close miss on realising that dream. The first spark in an evolving and increasingly successful career came just before it though, with the unveiling of debut album Ancient Light the year before. Since then Lewis has released another pair of well-received and acclaimed full-lengths in Movements In Space (2009) and Ripples From a Small Pond (2011), with the aforementioned Age of Nothing hooking a great many more of us at the beginning of 2014.

artwork_RingMaster Review    Patchwork Heart is the next proposition from the man and in many ways the coming of age of his songwriting and pop invention. Its nine tracks provide a torrent of enslaving pop ingredients but composed and delivered with an imagination and almost mischievous energy and passion. Lyrically the album sees Lewis look with intimate honesty at the tough times he faced over past years, including the death of his father from Alzheimer’s Disease and the end of a long-term relationship as well as himself being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Musically it all comes with a hope fuelled, emotionally uplifting hug though, Lewis easy to suspect a ‘glass half full’ character with sings always seeming to veer towards the long term light.

Created again in collaboration with Ben Haynes, who produced the record and plays all the instruments, Patchwork Heart opens with Tumbling Down. Within a few breaths, the song is coaxing ears with blues spiced guitar and tenacious beats, the voice of Lewis as potent and strong as ever as things bounce and revolve around him. The track’s prime hook has an air of familiarity to it which only adds to the temptation whilst the fiery guitar endeavour of Haynes is extra tang in a rousing opener.

Things only become more infectious and gripping though as the tantalising Japan-esque Up On This Shelf swings up to the imagination. An exotic melody starts things off, a pulsating bass throb with crystalline shards of guitar quickly taking over as the tones of Lewis entice. The track is mesmeric, a sublime slice of elegant seduction with an underlying sonic eroticism. Not for the last time within Patchwork Heart, an open eighties flavouring and inspiration colour song and ears, Right on Time immediately after also providing a similar lusty hue of nostalgia kissed and undoubtedly fresh revelry. Virulent in all aspects, the song romps along on another bait of anthemic rhythms wrapped in the dramatic enterprise cast by guitar, keys, and bass. Like a blend of China Crisis, Pete Wylie, and The Killers, the track is glorious; Lewis at his pop conjuring best.

Healing Hands slips in next with a far more subdued energy to that of its predecessor as shadow toned guitar and vocals are gripped by a warm but melancholic expression. Lewis’ voice embrace ears in a reflectively intimate croon as that bright, crystal like quality to the melodies of earlier songs emerges again to resonate in the spatial climate above the intimate canvas. Over time the song’s air becomes more tempestuous leading to one highly provocative and stirring climax. The track is a powerful incitement on body and emotions, as too the following Smile in its very different way. From a synth pop start, the song is a vibrant shuffle manipulating ears and feet from the get go. The bubbly electronics continue to lure and tempt as guitars and vocals brew up an irresistible feast of pop infection backed by the great vocals of Sarah Haynes. The song takes thoughts again back to the eighties, its pop tonic hinting at the likes of Thomas Dolby and Thompson Twins, and to be honest quite impossible not to get physically involved with.

Next up is Sunshine in the Night, a song just as much a puppeteer on body and appetite which from its initial smothering of emotive beauty breeds a mouth-watering mix of repetitious teasing, contagion spewing vocal tempting, and immersive atmospherics. Rhythmically too, the track is a nonstop invitation which simply gets under the skin and leaves a big grin on the psyche.

The country spiced, fiery shimmer of Fantasy Reality bewitches next, its voice and body an alluring evocation of the heart whilst I Believe is a sixties hued offering with a good whisper of the Walker Brothers to its strolling enticement. The track’s chorus is another rousing hard to resist proposal, though that applies to most of them across the release to be honest, as proven one last time by the brilliant Be A Hero. The closer epitomises a Phil Lewis song, bold rhythms aligned to drama soaked imagination and the rich enterprise gripping ears as Lewis provides the strength of his voice. With more enthralling backing vocals, this time from Lizzie Dean, the track is a jungle of intrigue and emotive theatre, and the perfect way to end a thoroughly thrilling and impressive release.

A Phil Lewis song lies somewhere between those of the previously mentioned Pete Wylie and Colin Vearncombe (Black), and now after Patchwork Heart deserve to be contemplated in the same breath. Also out now is Digging for Earworms, a free to download best of album covering previous releases and including the riveting likes of Let’s Play, Age of Nothing, and Imprisoned. Both are albums all rock/pop fans should treat themselves to, as Lewis confirms himself as one of Britain’s brightest artists.

Patchwork Heart is out now @

Pete RingMaster 24/11/2015

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Jimmy & The Revolvers – The Morning Paper

jatr_RingMaster Review

They do not come along as often as liked but this month sees another single from UK rockers Jimmy & The Revolvers, and just one more track which has the body swinging and pleasure flowing with consummate ease. The Morning Paper is a potently alluring mix of blues and jazz rock with indie and Brit pop which grips ears and feet from its first breath. Previous releases suggested that the Liverpool hailing band was one emerging proposition worth getting excited about, The Morning Paper is a confirmation.

Formed in 2013, Jimmy & the Revolvers quickly stirred attention with debut double A-sided single Aimee’s Song/Frosty. The end of that year saw the release of the Sunday Morning EP, another encounter earning open and increasing praise, and setting up 2014 for even stronger focus the way of the band. Radio play ensued whilst live the band went on to support Ian Skelly (former The Coral) amongst their own flood of successful gigs which included playing Liverpool Sound City. The unveiling of Whistle For My Love only stirred up more keen appetites and awareness that year, the single subsequently picked up for radio airing around the globe. This year has seen the quartet of vocalist/acoustic guitarist Jay Rehm, vocalist/bassist Kurt Riley, electric guitarist Jimmy Moon, and drummer Ash Michael continue to play shows up and down the UK as well as host a monthly club night in their home city. Now it is The Morning Paper poised to push the band into more ears and no doubt in turn, new welcoming hearts.

The song opens on the coaxing strum of Rehm’s guitar, a lure soon joined by the spicier tone of Moon’s strings and the crispy percussive bait laid by Michael. Within a few more breaths, the song is alight with the flames of brass and vibrant energy, a dynamic mix not too far from The Jam. A more relaxed stroll breaks out next but it too is just a moment in the fluid passage of the song; bluesy endeavour and that perpetual fire of brass subsequently entwining with country scented melodies and indie pop enterprise.

The track continues to saunter and leap as its persuasion gets stronger and more irresistible; building a feel good proposal sure to spark feet and hips into action and set a warm glow in emotions. Captivation is inescapable, from the song and the single package which also includes an acoustic live cut of Drink & The Devil Blues, a blues/folk hug as much seeded in nostalgic hues as it is a modern passion.

Produced by Carlo Variola of Ocean Waves Productions, The Morning Paper is one of those sparks that lights up any day, much as most of their songs to date.

The Morning Paper is out now via Ugly Man Records.

Upcoming live date:

29/11 Manchester Gullivers

04/12 Birmingham Actress and Bishop

05/12 Stockport The Blossoms

19/12 Doncaster awaiting venue name

Pete RingMaster 24/11/2015

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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 @

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 23/11/2015

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Victories at Sea – Everything Forever

VAS_RingMaster Review

Everything about Everything Forever is noir hued; even its melodic glows and emotive beauty is wrapped in some form of portentous shadowing resulting in something highly mesmeric and provocative. The encounter is the debut album from UK band Victories at Sea, a Birmingham trio already no strangers to an excited buzz and attention around them and their sound, with plenty more sure to surface as Everything Forever seduces over time.

Musically Victories at Sea draw on inspirations ranging from the likes of Mogwai and Factory Floor to Slowdive and The Chameleons, and it is the latter in a fusion with Editors, Felt, and The Slow Readers Club which emerged in personal thoughts as a hint to the flame and suggestiveness of the band’s new release. Written over two years within an abandoned steel works in Digbeth and recorded in the damp basement of an old whistle factory, Everything Forever builds on the character of the bands’ previous EP In Memory Of. That was a release leading to keen support by the likes of NME, The Guardian, Clash Magazine, and XFM’s John Kennedy, something already being echoed in the wake of the new album’s varied and fascinating persuasion.

Artwork_RingMaster Review   Released via Static Caravan Recordings, Everything Forever opens up with Bloom, an apt title as release and sound does openly grow and blossom within the song. Synths offer the initial hug of coaxing, their mix of intense and emotive colours melancholic yet lively and increasingly inviting as they lead ears and appetite into a catchy stroll bound in sonic guitar lures. The mellow vocals only add to the warmth within a more oppressive climate as an eighties hue reminding of bands like Felt and also The Wild Swans adds to the fascinating and swiftly gripping success of the impressive opener.

The rich start continues with Florentine and there is barely a slither of difference to the sheer majesty of the first two tracks; the second, with more of that familiar nostalgic air, flirting from within another flavoursome shuffle of floating keys, harmonic vocals, and spicily melodic enterprise courted by the darker swing of the rhythms. Inescapably infectious, the track shares its attributes with the following Up, it too bridging eras of synth rock and post punk whilst bringing a big smile of infectiousness aired in a whisper of Duran Duran meets Tones On Tail. Keys and guitar entangle throughout, spinning a kaleidoscopic web of sound with minimalistic strands thick in temptation and resourceful imagination. Already the first three songs are rivalling for best track honours and to be honest they continue to chain the choice amongst themselves though many songs attempt to rival them.

The smooth celestial swing of On Your Own is one, its charming canter of sound and vocals a pulsating and contagious radiance on ears and imagination whilst DMC finds the band slip into something far more dystopian in air and suggestion. Its dark heavy climate embraces a blend of cool and warm keys, whilst its industrial spawned instrumental heart alone echoes as much the dark animus the world is in and which inspires some of the band’s lyrical exploration, as any vocalised tracks within Everything Forever.

Poles Apart is initially a low key but still boisterous affair compared to earlier tracks, vocals against skittish percussive tenacity creating a lively canvas from where keys and especially the spicy tonic of the guitars breed emotive imagination and subsequently a growing intensity which soon roars like a fire. It is compelling stuff which continues in the slightly starker but no less riveting seduction of Swim, a slice of again eighties inspired post punk that ignites the imagination as swiftly as hips and emotions. As suggested already, the Victories at Sea sound delves into the deepest shadows and darkest corners of worldly reflections and emotional intimacy yet boy is it easy to dance to, band and music built to get bodies fully involved and heading to the dance-floor.

Future Gold just epitomises that intent and success, its golden sunspot of melodic and harmonic prowess a sultry glow on another landscape crafted to tempt hips and an instinctive motion of the body. Emotionally driven by hope matched by an alluring radiance of sound, the song as so many quickly gets under the skin, leaving a welcome imprint that draws attention back again and again.

The thumping bait and virulence of Into the Fire provides one more rousing waltz of imagination and addictiveness next before album closer Sirens uncages its haunting atmospheric soundscape. The breath and design of the final song lives up to its title with ease, intimidating air and emotionally desolate scenery colluding in a post rock tinged exploration of physical dissonance; it all playing like a reflection of the same invasive discordance now gripping socially and globally. The track is darkly captivating, revealing even richer aspects of the Victories at Sea invention whilst taking the listener to yet another new place within Everything Forever.

It is easy to see why Victories at Sea are a favourite proposition for a great many right now and will be for many, many more now their album, a release not to miss out on, is working its temptation.

Everything Forever is out now via Static Caravan Recordings digitally and on vinyl/CD @

Pete RingMaster 16/11/2015

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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 @

Pete RingMaster 13/11/2015

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The Sherlocks – Heart of Gold

The Sherlocks _RingMaster Review

Still looking barely old enough to take driving lessons, UK rockers The Sherlocks follow up their previous acclaimed single of earlier this year, Escapade, with another sure-fire attention grabber in the virulent shape of Heart of Gold. The band’s new single is a romp which continues spinning around ears and thoughts long after departure, a contagion reinforcing the growing notion that the Sheffield band is one of Britain’s most exciting emerging indie bands.

Consisting of two sets of brothers; Josh (guitar) and Andy Davidson (bass) uniting with Kiaran (vocals/guitar) and Brandon Crook (drums) late 2010, The Sherlocks have played shows at over 500 national venues these past three or so years, supporting the likes of Simple Minds, Scouting For Girls, Reverend & The Makers, The Buzzcocks, Starsailor, and The Enemy along the way, and earned great plaudits at festivals such as this year’s Isle of Wight event. Recent singles it is fair to say has pushed attention on the band to new levels, a success sure to be emulated again by Heart of Gold.

It opens on a smoky twang of sound and crisp beats, their brief jab the spark to a canter of jangly guitar and sultry guitar enterprise driven by the inescapably infectious lure and swing of bass and drums beats. Vocally Kiaran, backed strongly by the band, leads the dynamic croon adding further catchiness to proceedings in a seriously ear pleasing chorus and the great lead into it.

Band inspirations range from Arctic Monkeys and The Beatles to artists such as Libertines, Oasis, and The Jam, and fair to say there is a good scent of a couple of those in a familiar air across the mightily engaging Heart of Gold, but once again it is a spicing adding to a recipe ultimately distinct to and rousing from The Sherlocks.

To be honest there is the feeling the band has still to find its totally unique sound and voice, but with songs like this the wait can only be pleasurable.

Heart of Gold is out now @

Pete RingMaster 11/11/2015

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The Abstracts – Smells Like Summer

The Abstracts pic 2_RingMaster Review

Smells Like Summer is the new single from UK indie rockers The Abstracts, an emerging band no strangers to local and even stronger attention and acclaim since forming in 2013. It is a reminder as to why the Cambridge hailing band has become a potent and eagerly followed proposition on the city’s music scene, a slice of husky rock ‘n’ roll which is as accomplished as it is easy going.

The past couple of years have seen The Abstracts establish themselves as a potent live proposition with the band playing regular gigs in popular London and Cambridge venues. Equally the quartet of Felix Morgan (lead vocals/guitar), Ben Taylor (guitar/backing vocals), Ben Nunn (bass/backing vocals), and Mark Thomson (drums) has whipped up strong support from, alongside their music, being nominated for best local Indie band 2 years in a row, playing a BBC Introducing session, and 2 sold-out shows on the main stage of The Cam as well as supporting artists such as Nik Kershaw, Scouting for Girls, Dodgy, and Mark Morris from The Bluetones.

2010 saw the release of debut EP Calling Out for Strangers, inspirations from bands such as The Libertines, Green Day, and Led Zeppelin spicing their own enterprise within it, a mix again catching ears within Smells Like Summer. The single quickly coaxes ears with a melodic jangle and hazy atmosphere cast by the guitars whilst rhythms bring a darker but no less enticing shadow to the emerging body of the song. A sandy grain to the vocals of Morgan adds more potent texture to the engagement whilst the beats of Thomson swing with a smiling energy to match the track’s title.

Undemanding but firmly commanding, Smells Like Summer makes a lively and flavoursome impression on the first listen but increasingly more so with each stroll of its R.E.M. meets Libertines like shuffle. Fair to say it is not a track to whip the passions into a frenzy but one to certainly warm them up, ensuring subsequent encounters with the band will be more than likely taken under the wing of attention, The Abstracts again asking questions of national awareness.

Smells Like Summer is out now @

Pete RingMaster 02/11/2015

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