Spark The Sail – Sapphire Deep

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There has generally always been a strong underground scene spreading out in Bristol but right now the British city seems to be at a new high in excitement and potency. There is a vast horde of artists catching ears and attention with, for us, bands like The St. Pierre Snake Invasion, who just released their exceptional debut album, Jesuits, Left Side Brain, and the currently quiet Mind Museum leading the way. To that list we can now add rock popsters Spark The Sail, a quintet releasing a debut EP that simply leaves ears and pleasure aflame.

The Sapphire Deep EP is a rousing romp of pop ‘n’ roll, a feel good contagion built on open craft and fresh imagination. Every one of its five songs has the body and emotions leaping, the appetite for its boisterous beauty greedier by the second, with the psyche lost in its web of virulent catchiness. To local fans this is no surprise and now the UK and further afield can wake up to magnetic rock music as virulent as it comes.

Spark The Sail initially began as the duo of vocalist Jodie Davies and vocalist/acoustic guitarist Ryan Moore. Then as 2013 called it a day, the band had grown to a quintet with the addition of electric guitarist Robbie Rowe, bassist James Killackey, and drummer Mitchel Lucas. Honing their unity and sound, the band subsequently hit the live scene and were soon adding the sharing of stages with the likes of The Hoosiers, Dub Pistols, and Tinie Tempah to their quickly expanding CV. Successful appearances at The Isle Of Wight Festival this year and a host of other shows across the south of England has only added to their reputation and fan base; both now set to explode as Sapphire Deep unveils its rich revelry.

Spark The Sail Cover Artwork_RingMaster Review     The band’s inspirations include bands such as Panic! At The Disco, The Skints, and Paramore; fair to say open influences in varying degrees from the first track onwards though equally there is an energy in the songwriting and melodies which has a feel of Irish bands The Radioactive Grandma/ K.N.O.T.S. As opener Sapphire reveals, it is potent flavouring to something, if not unique to Spark The Sail quite yet, easily allowing them to standout as something highly promising and special. The song opens on a melancholic piano cast melody, around it the atmosphere hazy and slightly distorted. Energy brews simultaneously, erupting in a stroll of punchy rhythms and coaxing riffs led by the excellent dual vocal persuasion of Davies and Moore. Alone their voices entice but together enthral and ignite ears as easily as the weave of acoustic and electrified enterprise aligning to their creative theatre. Like a gem, the song has a host of faces to its adventure, each having a moment to shine and tempt before the song concludes on another boisterous roar of pop devilry.

The following Never The Moment keeps ears and enjoyment flying, the opening bait of rhythms from Lucas setting the template of the song with its anthemic shuffle soon joined by smiling melodies and hooks. Again the vocals transfix and bewitch, side by side or hand in hand a thrilling colour to a track again twisting and turning with perpetual imagination. The glorious encounter leaves rich hooks in ears and memory, its character a lingering friend but as Outlook shows next, that also applies to each song. Like its predecessor, the swinging slice of fun has meaty rock ‘n’ roll at its core and spicy pop melody in its heart, both wrapped in a swirling folk pop scent for a riveting and lively drama with a good whiff of Fall out Boy to it.

   Trust Me is next and with elegant melodies as its first caress, swiftly has the imagination floating away with its atmospheric and emotive air. A relatively more restrained and intensive affair than the first trio of tracks, it still weaves a rosy hug of vocals, harmonies, and expressive melodies around a firmer lure of rhythmic bait.

The release is brought to an energetic and tenacious end by Pieces, another easy to get physically and mentally involved in proposal bouncing round with creative enthusiasm and melodic flirtation. The track sums up the whole of the EP in its closing dance of passion and sound to light up any day and shadow.

Spark The Sail is now firmly installed as not only one or our favourite Bristol exports but of our pop /rock joys. Mark our words; this band is going places if Sapphire Deep is the sign of things to come.

The Sapphire Deep EP is released November 6th through all stores.

Pete RingMaster 06/11/2015

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The Riptide Movement – All Works Out


It is an understatement to say that last year was a big year for Irish rock band The Riptide Movement in their homeland. It was a massive attention grabbing time which saw the release of debut album Getting Through, a gold-selling release which provided a tremendous cap to a series of top 10 singles and sold-out headline tours. 2014 basically thrust the Lucan, Dublin quartet, on the back of their previous increasingly potent presence, into a major spotlight in Ireland, one the band is now looking to emulate in the UK and further afield with their first British single All Works Out. Taken from Getting Through, which will also be getting its own British unveiling later in the year, the new single grips ears and imagination with a rousing three and a half minutes of undemanding but infectiously captivating rock ‘n’ roll. A mix of melodic rock with folkish essences and just a hint of Irish Americana, the song is a highly enjoyable introduction to The Riptide Movement.

As suggested it has been an increasingly potent time for the band since forming in 2006 and especially heady over the past couple of years. Recent successes has seen the band play across numerous cities from Dublin through to Delhi, support The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park in 2013, and lure hordes of new appetites at Glastonbury 2014 with their acclaimed performance. Getting Through was not slow in luring success with its Irish release, the album being included on the Meteor Choice Music Prize Shortlist for Irish Album of the Year. The Riptide Movement is certainly 7e05df8f-175d-436c-9766-2324249034bca band on the march with Britain next in line as they reinforce their successful festival appearances with All Works Out and subsequently the album, which was recorded with Ted Hutt, one of the founder members of Flogging Molly, this summer.

     All Works Out makes a low key entrance, a simple countrified twang of guitar making the first beckoning. It is swiftly joined by the punchy beats of drummer Gar Byrne and a resourceful bassline from Ger McGarry though, creative flames constantly lit as the guitars of J.P.R Dalton and Mal Tuohy expand their initial lure. It is still a minimalistic and appetising coaxing, the song never exploring anything beyond a feisty liveliness, yet all the time building an anthemic climate to further captivate ears and attention. Vocals across the band unite in a seriously infectious lure for the chorus whilst the bass slips into heaver and darker tones after time to contrast the fiery melodies which similarly emerge in the growing roar of a song. A little like Doves meets fellow Dubliners K.N.O.T.S., the track bounds through ears with a contagious revelry, a vibrant enterprise which maybe is not testing originality but definitely employs familiar spices in an invigorating and a thickly appealing way to incite the imagination and appetite.

All Works Out gives us a healthy hint at the reasons for Ireland taking The Riptide Movement to their hearts, something The UK will be copying if not now indeed come the summer we suspect. With this release, it is hard to imagine that anticipation for Getting Through will anything but hungrily eager.

All Works Out is available from March 9th via Caroline International/Universal

RingMaster 09/03/2015

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k.N.O.T.S. – Feel The Change EP

Barely six months old as a band, Dublin trio k.N.O.T.S. made their full introduction to the world with what is easily one of the more refreshing releases this year in their Feel The Change EP. The five track release offers the accomplishment and skill of veterans with the vibrant passion of youth and though the members of the band have evolved and honed their abilities in previous bands and projects, the brief length k.N.O.T.S. has been together makes for a remarkable entrance. One can only imagine the hours toiled to bring their sound and songwriting to the levels impressively unveiled on the EP.

Consisting of vocalist and guitarist Botham, bassist Ciaran, and Rob on drums, the band came together in January. With inspirations coming from the likes of Pearl Jam, U2 and Jeff Buckley, the threesome evolved their own startling sound through constant songwriting, gigging, and recording. What emerged was a sound which employs the stirring attributes of stadium and melodic rock into a heart borne emotive breath which wraps around the senses. It is an addictive, compulsive, and evocative force which leaves one shaking under its expansive and intimate power.

The release opens with the title track, a song which from the first time it came to attention through a video captured the imagination and eager enthusiasm.  Feel the Change is a glorious song, a track to make the heart pump faster and elevate pulse rates. A constant ride of building intensity and melodic crescendos, the song leaves one breathless and desperate for much more. From a slow burning start with the excellent emotional vocals of Botham accompanying his guitar, the track slowly opens its arms with the twitching restrained rhythms of Rob flicking at the ear. Unable to hold back any longer everything explodes in a vent of melodic beauty to capture the last of any undecided focus. From now on in until the final teasing note, it is a ride of quality infectious hooks, excellent shadowed bass articulation from Ciaran, and the linked enterprise of vocals and guitar. From the song alone one could only enthuse over the EP but the treats keep coming.

The following Falling opens with eighties jangling guitar and vocals which actually reminded of ABC initially. It soon explores the air with thumping rhythms, inciteful riffs, and the dangling of melodic imagination which has one hooked immediately. As much as avoidance of the comparison was tried it has to be said that as the song ignites the atmosphere thoughts of early U2 were at large, k.N.O.T.S. creating their own but similarly robust and stirring rock contagion.

Variety is also very evident on the EP with the piano led Shy and the thoughtful Waiting Still firing up the passions in their own distinct ways. The first is a thumping slowly brewing stomp across the heart, its intention and emotion bringing the fullest responses and passions in exchange for its magnificent sounds. The track is inventive adding mesmeric asides to dazzle the ear but the pumping core of the song reigns and leads one by the hand into a riveting and heated weave of melodic and passionate intensity. The second of the pair exchanges incendiary climatic choruses with heart driven caresses from the continually impressing vocals for a seamless and inciteful journey. It is another stunning track to join the others on a release which the word classic is never too far from the lips.

The closing Home finally allows one to take a breath, though its positioning might have been better earlier. It is again fully impressive with striking power and passion, but there is a slight anticlimax after the grandeur and heights before. The song is excellent though, once more showing the strength of the songwriting and craft the band have within them.

The Feel The Change EP is stunning, a release which ignites only the fullest fires within, whilst k.N.O.T.S. announce themselves a band which is surely going to take indie music to new glorious heights. As if the pleasure could not get any better the band has released the EP as a free download @ but hurry it is limited and no one should miss out on such magnificence.

RingMaster 14/08/2012

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