Keys – Ring The Changes

KEYS-Ring-The-Changes-Cover-WEB

Not to be confused with the Bury St Edmunds unit holding the same name and who we covered previously on the site for their Innocuous Beats EP, the Wales hailing Keys is a psychedelic pop/garage rock band who have just released their tantalising new album Ring The Changes. Exploring and crafting unique songs from American influences such as Stooges, Violent Femmes, Velvets, Sly Stone, and Jonathan Richman, the album is a captivating encounter which either ignites a fire in the passions or has them simmering eagerly from the first of its twelve endeavours through to the last.

The successor to their acclaimed album Bitten by Wolves of 2011, which itself followed the well-received debut Fire Inside two years earlier, Ring the Changes sees the Cardiff band equipped with a new approach and drummer to expand and flourish again in the lo-fi exploration which marked their previous releases. Recorded over one weekend on 8 track tape with Pixy Jones from El Goodo, the new album is a swarm of melodic and seductive songs fuelled with unfussy enterprise and transfixing infectious beauty.

Handclaps make the first invitation to the album as opener Shake It Up starts things off. The minimalistic coaxing is swiftly joined by the potent voice of Matthew Evans, his delivery expressive and holding smouldering warmth to match the emerging sounds around him. The firm beats of Dave Newington and the dark enticing lure of James Bell’s bass add to the growing lure and drama of the song, a creative narrative coated in a feverish blues spice from the guitars of Gwion Rowlands and Evans. They also instigate a mischievous teasing across the song, it twisting through numerous styles and inspirations whilst sneaking in the fully British spice of David Essex’s Rock On.

It is a fun and pleasing beginning to the album swiftly surpassed by Hard Habit to Crack. A mesmeric and lively slice of heated pop which plays with ears and imagination like a union between Beach Boys meets House Of Love, the song is a surf kissed breeze suitable for beach and home with its radiant melodic sunshine. As the first song, it is also happy to stir up a shade of intensity and tenacity that never erupts but brings a great raw but understated breath to the tempered blaze. Its success is supported by the similarly flavoured sixties pop of Bad Girls. Melodies croon as potently as the mellow vocals throughout the breezy and catchy evocation, Jan and Dean meets Jonathan Richman a clue to the engaging presence of the track.

Both the bluesy pop romp of See My Baby and the fire glazed lo-fi lure of Wade in the Water keep attention and appetite rigorously keen, even though neither quite matches the previous trio of songs. The soulful sultriness of the second of the two provides an especially provocative intrigue and enticement before The Beautiful Sound of a Heartbreak unveils its humid climate and emotive caress. It is an enthralling melodically scenic flight of Walker Brothers-esque passionate harmonies and My Bloody Valentine sonic sedation, and quite bewitching.

Machine Elves is a slow burner compared to other tracks upon the release, its seventies soulful shuffle inviting and pleasing yet lacking something indefinable which the previous songs basked in. Nevertheless it is a superbly accomplished and skilled proposition for feet and thoughts to embrace before the outstanding shimmering grace and elegance of Slightly Ahead of the Curve seduces the emotions. Again it is a slower persuasion but emerges as another pinnacle of the thrilling encounter. It is also another where we suggest there is as much a British inspiration as from the other side of the pond, this time elements of Kinks flirting with thoughts as the song explores and expands its sweltering landscape and emotional atmosphere.

The album comes to a close through the mighty inventive persuasion of Ghost, a song as minimal and poetically enticing as they come with vocals and guitar offering a tender coaxing around a pulsating firm rhythmic spine. Prone to expulsions of feisty energy and deeply hooking invention, it is another stunner before lastly Go to Get My She To get Her with its blues funk shuffle brings it all to a fine end, its mischievous title earning a new persona in the course of the song.

Ring The Changes is a gem of a release which from making an impressive initial declaration evolves and breeds firmer lustful ardour for its inflamed imagination and potent sounds. Keys have grown to another plateau through their release, one which surely deserves and will find a matching spotlight.

Ring The Changes is available now via See Monkey Do Monkey Recordings digitally and on 12″ Double Vinyl @ http://seemonkeydomonkey.com/products/keys-ring-the-changes

http://keysofficial.com/

RingMaster 07/10/2014

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Mike Tyler – Money Grows on Your Knees

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    Money Grows On Your Knees the new single from poet and musician Mike Tyler is a deceptive little tease, a song which left indecision during certainly its first and even second excursion through the ear  but all the while was working away and laying a hook which emerged again and again well away from its source. It is an addictive little creature which though still coated in a less than stable opinion is like a tic which is almost impossible to remove from thoughts and imagination.

Taken from his well-received album Erection of last year, the first thing to note and praise about the release is its packaging. Coming in a 7” green vinyl/CD bundle with a sleeve design complete with jigsaw front and lyric sheet back, the single takes one right back to the late seventies/early eighties when sleeve design and imagination was as rife and vibrant as the sounds they enclosed. It is an instant clutch of strong points on the board for The Art Can Not Be Damaged released single. It is also very apt for the artist from New York. Mentored in a bar by the poet Delmore Schwartz, Patti Smith, and Tom Verlaine of Television, Tyler has sculpted interest, respect, and inspiration with his words within others. World famous graffiti-smith Banksy stencilled his words “only the ridiculous survive” outside Paddington Station in London whilst Beck also was inspired by his charismatic pull when honing his song writing craft. Tyler became known as The Most Dangerous Poet in America after breaking his arm during a reading, and his poem The Most Beautiful Word in the American Language has found its place on the blogs, MySpace pages, and Facebook walls of a great many, not to mention fridge doors. He is a puzzle in many ways, an intricate confusion which the packaging of the single perfectly hints to and to further give relevance of the artwork the artist talks about his single by saying “My new single is such a lopsided seductive beast. Deep deep bass with a pop frosting and a growling lead yawp. It can be kind of sweet in places and then a dungeon-door-slamming-echoed-thud takes over; a contradiction in tones. It’s the boiled pot of the gumbo stew of black and white that is America; greed and innocence, joy and exhausted hustle. Might explain why we decided the packaging of the single would include an actual puzzle.

Money Grows on Your Knees instantly punches the air with heavy pressing beats soon joined by great expressive keys and the straight face vocals of Tyler. He is not a natural vocalist, his spoken word delivery a dulled edge to the vibrancy of the music but it soon persuades the longer the track plays with the ear. The persistence of the rhythmic seduction and equally tempting bass is near irresistible whilst the keys craft a warm engagement which holds the hand as the songs opens up its summer framed by additional vocals from a sirenesque female voice and singing from Tyler both standing behind his core gait of delivery. As one would expect the lyrics make you think without needing to spend over time evaluating their coaxing narrative whilst the brassy bellows of the synths are like small fanfares in the sultriness of the song’s skies. An encounter easily described as Jonathan Richman meets Jona Lewie whilst John Otway and Mike Doughty add their support, it has proved its dangerous contagiousness as whilst writing the review up to this point and listening to its throughout,  Money Grows on Your Knees has provided  a conclusive argument and won its case…or maybe just worn down the defences, whichever it is a devious little treat.

Accompanying the song on the single is Corny Song, a new track from Tyler. Energetic and mischievous the song was inspired by a show in the UK where he was promoting the Erection album. It like the first is not an instant draw and has yet to convince but again it lingers and teases long past its expiry time.

For quirky, unpolished, and honest indie/pop devilment the single is well worth a fun filled amble with, but be warned it will not be leaving you alone from that point on.

http://www.cutepoet.com/

7/10

RingMaster 23/04/2013

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