Seven Stories High – Take The Long Road Home

Seven Stories High Promo Shot_RingMasterReview

Take The Long Road Home is the new mini album from British quintet Seven Stories High, an encounter which finds the band’s already ear pleasing pop punk with even bolder infectiousness and melodic enterprise to tempt national awareness. Take The Long Road Home hits the ground running and continues to offer variety and creative tenacity throughout. Admittedly it might often avoid the uniqueness which certain moments within it suggests is there within the band’s imagination, but from start to finish the Swansea hailing band successfully ensure enjoyment is at the top of the agenda.

Formed at the beginning of 2014 with inspirations said to include the likes of Blink 182 and Sum 41, Seven Stories High soon made their mark on their local and increasingly the national live scene. Line-up changes and inner positional shuffles have been part of the band’s earlier times, as too and since, the sharing of stages with bands such as Moose Blood, Decade, Altered Sky, Light You Up, and Kids Can’t Fly. They released their self-titled debut EP on the January of 2015 to potent responses which now Take The Long Road Home threatens to turn into a stronger national recognition of their emerging presence.

The release opens proper with CTRL, a rousing slice of raucous pop punk with thumping beats and wiry riffs around the potent tones of vocalist Rhys Hyett-Ferrier. There is a great rawness to the song too, bringing a touch of Millencolin to it at times but equally a rousing energy which especially equips  the group roars and the irresistibly catchy enterprise shared by the guitars of Matt Davies and Charlie Porter.

The potent start continues with the similarly tenacious and lively That’s No Moon, another which takes no time in firing up ears and appetite with its raucous pop punk dexterity. Framed and driven by the throbbing bassline of Kallum Brain and the swinging beats of Dave Bevan, the song soon reveals a sonic and emotive fire in its belly. Admittedly, as its predecessor, there is something very familiar to the encounter but more than made up for by the adventurous hooks and a vocal strength which simply captures the imagination from Hyett-Ferrier with resourceful backing from Davies and Brain.

Seven Stories High Cover Artwork_RingMasterReviewIt is that aspect of the band which most consistently impresses across the release, with no negative reflection on the potent songwriting and skilfully woven sounds, the vocals making a constantly striking impression repeated on the feisty canter of Working For Wednesdays and following it, the excellent Wait For It. The first of the two also bears some great scything spicy grooves to keep ears and appetite busy, if without quite living up to the first pair while its successor, which features Charlotte Gilpin from Dream State, explores a more alternative rock canvas for its melodic seducing of ears. It still has a punk essence in its spirited flame, though it could be called more post hardcore scented; one of many textures in the emotively fuelled drama of sound led by the powerful vocal union of Hyett-Ferrier and Gilpin.

It is a track which becomes increasingly potent with every listen as too the acoustic stroll of Skin Me Alive. It is an immediately alluring proposal which further blossoms in ears the more time given to it. Its melodic serenade simply leaves a lingering impression before making way for album closer Fool’s Paradise, a boisterous tapestry of melodic suggestiveness around rapacious rhythms and expressively strong vocals. There is little surprising about the highly accomplished song, but it leaves enjoyment full so, as the release, warrants only recommending.

Seven Stories High have taken another potent step with Take The Long Road Home, and indeed their sound and its growing maturity. The band might not yet be in touch will major uniqueness but the signs and potential is there in some cracking tunes. A fan of bands such as Kids in Glass Houses, A Day to Remember, and All Time Low then Seven Stories High will be up your street.

Take The Long Road Home is released May 20th through all stores and at https://sevenstorieshigh.bandcamp.com/album/take-the-long-road-home

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Pete RingMaster 19/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

My Favourite Runner Up – Crossroads

My Favourite Runner Up Online Promo shot

     Everything about Crossroads, the debut album from Welsh rockers My Favourite Runner Up is big; massive choruses and hooks matching an equally hefty energy, but most of all it provides big satisfaction with its superbly crafted songs. The band’s previous EP Thoughts, Feelings, Actions impressed and thrilled upon its appearance in 2012 but it was just a taster of things to come as shown by this resourceful stomp. The new album takes all the striking elements found on its predecessor and twists them into even catchier irrepressible temptations but equally it shows a greater maturity in the songwriting of the band. It is fair to say there is a sense of familiarity to the blend of pop punk and rock which breeds their songs but the quintet delivers it with such resourcefulness and adventure that they leave most others in the shade.

    My Favourite Runner Up began in 2006 and taking influences from the likes of New Found Glory, Jimmy Eat World, and Mayday Parade into their emerging sound were soon drawing attention and positive responses. They built a potent fanbase and reputation through their live performances, shows with the likes of Madina Lake, Mallory Knox, Kids In Glass Houses, Cerys Matthews, The Blitz Kids, Kids Can’t Fly, Bury Tomorrow, The Hype Theory, I Spy Strangers, and many more marking the past years. The band recorded their debut EP in 2010 with producer Romesh Dodangoda who has recorded all subsequent releases with the band. It and the following Thoughts, Feelings, Actions brought eager acclaim upon their presences, the second especially stirring up impressive critical responses and airplay. Now building on a busy 2013 for the band of touring and playing shows, My Favourite Runner Up’s first full-length is poised to push the band into an intense spotlight, an easy assumption such its rousing qualities.

     Crossroads flies from the blocks with the excellent opener Light A Fire, guitar strokes and pulsating drum beats from CDBO06.pdfThomas Carr waking up the ears before the band uncages a contagion of sharp hooks and storming riffs with the lead vocals of Christian Evans laying down another strong lure within the web of enterprise provided by the guitars of Andrew Towell and Tom Hawkes. The song strides confidently throughout, at times showing restraint in its overall lively charge but constantly leaning persuasively on the senses with exciting dynamics and melodic potency. It is a tremendous start to the release immediately backed up by the new video single from the album, Poison. The second song swings into view with a swagger to the guitar and smile to the voice of Evans. Like a middle weight boxer dancing on its feet, the track bounces and leaps around the imagination with virulent infectiousness, the flames of guitars shadowed by again thumping rhythms and the dark tones of bass of Lee Walker.

   Both Never Again and Love Comes First march with large strides into the emotions, the first an emotively carved blaze of melodies and harmonies, the songs continuing to be blessed with great group combinations vocally. The song is more of a reflective stroll musically than its predecessors but still embraces excitable energy and keenness building to a huge anthemic chorus, a constant trait the band leaves most other similar bands sounding quite pale against. The second of the two raises the pace again, its ridiculously addictive chorus with equally epidemic vocal coaxing from Evans irresistible. Guitars and beats romp with skill and mischief in the ears but also with an invention and imagination which reveals the depths of the band’s thoughtful songwriting. It is one of the major pinnacles on the album standing boldly aside the opener and the following No More Fight within a wholly elevated range of triumphs. The next song has a stronger punk intensity to its body but does not lack any of the melodic endeavours and infectiousness of others whilst providing a scintillating groove to further ignite the imagination.

     Through the sublimely magnetic title track, a song with another chorus impossible to resist contributing to, the passion drenched Your Own Worst Enemy, and the compelling Storytelling the album continues to burn and entice brightly, the trio of songs individual in sound and character but united in uncaging hooks and melodies which simply seduce the strongest hunger in an already enraptured appetite for the album’s might. It is easy to wax lyrical about Crossroads when songs like this leave no ardour kissed reaction and pleasure unused.

     With an album of such high standards maybe slips in appeal if not quality are inevitable and with Scars and Better Without You, the band does miss the high mark set previously. To be honest there is little to dismiss the pair over, their craft and presentation undeniably impressive but both lack the same spark and adventure of their companions, thus failing to linger in thoughts and emotions. Home though ensures the album ends powerfully, almost combative rhythms and melody bred flames framing and flaring around the ever strong vocals whilst Walker saves his best bassline for this closing treat. It concludes a towering triumph of an album which suggests My Favourite Runner Up has the potential to be the next big thing UK rock proposition. Crossroads is one of the most enjoyable and impressive pop punk/power pop albums heard in quite a long time, if not the best.

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9.5/10

 RingMaster 13/02/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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MY FAVOURITE RUNNER UP unveil debut album,’Crossroads’ 17th February‏

My Favourite Runner Up Online Promo shot
ENERGETIC PUNK ROCKERS RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM!
 
Explosive Brit rocksters ‘My Favourite Runner Up’ drop their eagerly awaited debut album ‘Crossroads’ on 17th February through all digital outlets.
Born in Northern Wales in 2006, My Favourite Runner Up were brought together by their common affection for New Found Glory, Jimmy Eat World, and Mayday Parade. Taking cues from their influences, the band have fashioned their own take, bringing together alluring hooks crossed with cut throat riffery; and the result is sure to win over any modern day rock fan.
Their debut EP, ‘Thoughts, Feelings, Actions’, received coverage from BBC Radio One, Scuzz TV and airplay on Kerrang! Radio, as well as securing widespread acclaim including impressive reviews from Rocksound and Dead Press and a feature interview with Big Cheese Magazine. Singles lifted from the record also gained airplay on all major UK radio stations, and the video for the single ‘Let It Ride’ was play-listed by Kerrang! TV.
In addition to their steady recording output, My Favourite Runner Up have always had a healthy appetite for live shows. To date, they have shared stages with the likes of Madina Lake, Mallory Knox, Kids In Glass Houses, Blitz Kids, Save Your Breath, Bury Tomorrow, The Hype Theory and Neck Deep, and toured with ‘I Spy Strangers’ and ‘Kids Can’t Fly’. Last year was also no different for the band as they relentlessly toured throughout the UK and Europe, further cementing their place as one of the new bands to see live. After a hectic touring schedule, the quartet bedded down in the recording studio with well-regarded producer Romesh Dodangoda (Motorhead, Funeral For A Friend, Kids In Glass Houses, Twin Atlantic) at the controls once again. MFRU now release their full length debut album ‘Crossroads’ which features eleven tracks stacked with thoughtful arrangements and concise and twisted riffs that entwine perfectly with contagious vocal lines. Look out for the anthemic ‘Poison’, which is set to be released as their first video single, and keep your ears to the ground for extensive tour dates as the MFRU boys plan to further stamp their name on the UK scene.
= MY FAVOURITE RUNNER UP RELEASE ‘CROSSROADS’ ON MONDAY 17th FEBRUARY
AND NEW SINGLE ‘POISON’ ON FRIDAY 17th JANUARY=
CDBO06.pdf
 

Amberline – The Art Of Reinvention EP

Amberline no logo

Proving that the potency and success of their debut EP two years ago was not a flash in the pan, UK pop punks Amberline return with its appealing successor. The Art Of Reinvention carries on where its predecessor left off, with a fresh voice and vibrant enterprise. It does not exactly show a deep evolution, defying its title, but undeniably band and release skirt their boundaries as the band remains one of the most promising British power pop encounters.

Hailing from Guildford, the quintet formed in 2009 and was soon garnering a potent fan base and praise for their energetic thrilling live performances. Debut EP Soundtrack Of Your Life of 2011 sculpted a strong mark for the band within thoughts and British pop punk and laid out an impressive base from which the band went on to support the likes of Attack! Attack!, Kids Can’t Fly, Lost Boys, We Start Partys, and many more to further acclaim whilst their own shows saw them sell out Camden Barfly and light up festivals such as Defest, Step Up Festival and 100% Bitchfest. Now The Art Of Reinvention EP is unveiled and you can only suspect it will continue the rise of the band. It is not a confrontation which takes the genre on a new course or finds Amberline tearing down walls of uniqueness but there is undoubtedly a craft and presence to the release which sets them apart from most similarly spiced bands.

The thumping stride and heart of I’m A Grower, Not A Show-Er opens up the EP, rhythms rolling out their sinews and guitars bringing TAOR Front Coversonic caresses to ears and air. With the vocals of Mark Steggall, ably backed by those of bassist Jack Morris at times, unveiling their narrative the song relaxes into an eager and firm companion, riffs keen to make an impression on the passions with fine invention whilst the rhythmic potency of song and band cage in the senses with a predacious intensity and hunger. The closing group calls are too predictable to truly work but they do not take away from a strong and pleasing start to the encounter.

The following Years Gone By without reaching the same heights still continues the rich bait of the sounds and release, the drums of Rich Hemley commanding and veering the lip of brawling whilst Morris skirts their antagonism with his own rapacious energy and bass temptation. The stalking nature of the combination makes for a captivating call from the song overall which is soon matched by the more than decent The Lost And Hopeless. The guitars of Nick Blair and Rob Rees carve out a dramatic and enticing presence for the track, their mix of melodic and almost primal invention an enthralling and carnivorous provocation which seamlessly fuses musical extremes and intensities for another pleasing call upon the ears.

Things are truly ignited though as When All Else Fails stomps into view and the passions. The guitars conjure up an opening lure when is almost Generation X like in its hook and retains a strong voice as the rhythms again storm the barricades with a heavy towering impressive presence. Into its slightly bruising stride the track lurches and charges with craft and passion which leaves the previous couple of songs slightly pale in hindsight. A fiery pressing of thoughts and senses, the track is itself surpassed by the excellent Here Comes The Colonel, easily the best track on the EP. Once again the rhythmic skill of Hemley lead the way into the heart whilst the riffs show no restraint in making military strikes against the ear before the song expands into a melodic and sonic emotive battlefield. The vocals and harmonies flare up perfectly against the sturdy hungry stalking from the song to only deepen the enticement, so much so that when in league with the imaginative intent and sound of the song it emerges an anthemic triumph.

Closing song Fingers Crossed ensures that The Art Of Reinvention EP ends on a high, the track an appetising burst of adrenaline and melodic thought which without challenging for top honours on the release leaves a healthy appetite for the band and a return to the EP. Amberline still do not stand truly apart from the rest and occasionally there is a spark missing from songs to ignite the emotions into a fire of passion, but leaving a want and hunger for more of the same it does not do much wrong it has to be said, and for fans of the likes of New Found Glory, Blink 182, and Four Year Strong it will be a flavoursome morsel indeed.

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8/10

RingMaster 02/10/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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My Favourite Runner Up – Thoughts, Feelings, Actions EP

Easily backing up and building on their early promise Welsh pop punk band My Favourite Runner Up release their thrilling Thoughts, Feelings, Actions EP on August 6th. Well defined and impressively crafted the five track release is a stirring and vibrant release of fine songwriting and thrilling sounds loaded with even further promise.

Formed in 2006 the Aberystwyth quartet did not take long in grabbing attention with their Lostprophets, Mayday Parade Jimmy Eat World, and New Found Glory inspired sounds, the latter two bands still a strong reference when describing the sounds upon the new release. Recent years have seen the band sharing stages with a diverse wealth of artists including Cerys Matthews, The Blitz Kids, Kids Can’t Fly, I Spy Strangers, and Under The Influence. Their debut EP of 2010 recorded with Romesh Dodangoda, who returns to produced the new release, drew strong and highly positive response with the equally successful single taken from it receiving widespread national radio play. The band as evidenced by Thoughts, Feelings, Actions has reached a plateau of excellence and accomplished skill musically and in their songwriting but the release also indicates the band are still working towards their full potential to inspire thrilling anticipation for their future and UK pop punk.

Let It Ride opens up the release with a stylish and confident presence. Instantly contagious and openly melodic the song takes no time in stroking the ear with busy guitar play and powerful rhythms. Vocally Christian Evans is outstanding; his voice one of the most agreeable to emerge in recent times and is well backed by the supporting tones of bassist Lee Walker and guitarist Andrew Towell. The song has an energy and eagerness which is impossible to refuse whilst musically the track is concise and persuasive in every area.

The strong start is soon elevated by best song on the EP in Our Time Now. The pulsating at times almost groaning bass of Walker leads the infection which is rife within the song, its heart and breath heavier and more aggressive entities. The band still brings smart melodies though to underpin the combative riffs with the guitars of Towell and Evans combining and exploring both aspects. The song punches with jabbing accuracy especially from the riffs and excellent beats of Thomas Carr to bring a distinct growl missing from the first and following songs, great though they are. This extra Billy Talent like roughing of the edges is outstanding and personally one hopes they merge in more of this in the future.

Next Start Living Today is an absorbing feast of melodic invention and hooks brought with an expressive and impressive touch. The song chugs along with an extra gear in its locker but still lights up the energies and emotions fully. After the quality of Our Time Now it at first feels a little subdued and less potent but it soon emerges as a strong and pleasing track to put one in their place.

The closing pair of Drawing Board and Separate Myself From Me without reaching the heights before still leaves one drenched in pleasure and deeply satisfied from ear to heart. Both have a bounce and irrepressible melodic wink to increase the contagion across the release with every member of the band allowed to express their skill and passion through the excellent production of Dodangoda.

Thoughts, Feelings, Actions is an excellent example of how good pop punk can be. It is inventive, diverse, and passionate with strong and imaginative songwriting at its core and shows My Favourite Runner Up as a band who can take the genre to new dimensions if they continue in this impressive and thoroughly enjoyable way.

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Ringmaster 01/08/2012

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