Union Jack – Supersonic

uxj_RingMasterReview

It has been twenty years since Paris hailing Union Jack first stomped around with their anger fuelled, ska infested punk ‘n’ roll, a celebration marked by the release of a brand new slab of infectious aggression. Supersonic is the trio’s seventh full-length, a stonking riot driven by the band’s familiar yet individual sound which simply hits the spot dead centre.

Across six albums and a host of EPs, Union Jack have honed their sound into one intrusively virulent proposal, a strain of punk rock with catchiness as potent as its irritability at the world. Live it has ignited hordes of fans, earning the band a big reputation across their homeland, into Europe, and Canada while sharing stages with the likes of The Damned, DOA, UK Subs, Leftöver Crack, Swingin Utters, Subhumans, The Aggrolites, The Movement, Inner Terrestrials and many more. Even so, they still may be an unknown quality to a great many, something that Supersonic should amend.

Recorded at Sofa Studio with RomTomCat, mixed and mastered by Mike Major ( At the Drive-in, Sparta, Coheed And Cambria, Gone is Gone), and with additional contributions on certain songs by Thomas Birnbacher (upright bass/organ), Phillipe Cattafesta (piano/organ), and Joe Robinne (organ), Supersonic grabs ears from its first breath. Cynical Sound Club starts things stomping, a brief introduction urgently loaded with wicked hooks and punchy rhythms as the band gathers all its wiles ready for next up Oh Boogie. The second track bounces around with attitude and aggressive energy tempered by the warm touch of an organ. The mischievous bassline is irresistible, riffs spice for the ears while the twin vocal attack of guitarist Tom Marchal and bassist/pianist Rude Ben are intrusive ringleaders in the magnificent raw and wild melody hooked romp.

Wordaholic has an even rawer air to its character and presence, Antoine Sirven Gabiache’s swinging beats leading the way as vocals and grooves leave lingering imprints on the senses and psyche. Like a mix of  Swingin’ Utters and Faintest Idea, the song brawls and flirts with the listener, showing recognisable essences while uncaging its own antagonistic delights before Blackout unveils choppy riffs and slapping beats as again the excellent unity between the band’s contrasting vocals bring their own magnetic clamour to the catchy ire pumped mix. Both tracks use the body like a puppeteer, resistance to their swinging rhythms and wicked hooks pointless though each is over shadowed a touch by the punk rock roar of Boomerang. Stalking ears with a predacious bassline, enslaving them with the tangiest hooks as vocals entangle participation in their physical and emotional affray, the track is glorious; a Billy Talent like spicing added pleasure.

art_RingMasterReviewNext up Purple Pride offers a melodic core not too far removed from its predecessor’s and indeed the track lacks the same incendiary spark but still has pleasure and appetite greedy with its raw punk ‘n’ roll belligerence while the bubbly but sonically raw assault of Human Zoo straight, also just missing out on the heights of earlier songs, is still nothing less than fiercely enjoyable with its unpredictable nuances and twists.

Bitter Taste shows a calmer nature as keys and melodies swing with a summery energy though still Union Jack drive it with an instinctive aggression which commands attention. Another song which easily has feet and hips in tandem and the spirit railing against the world; it is one fun and impressive warm up for the album’s best track. Don’t Look Back swiftly steals favourite spot, laying the seeds with its psychobilly nurtured bass slaps and sealing the deal with its Tiger Army like groove. From there the band’s punk heart drives the thrills; ska licks and senses rapping beats as well as elements reminding of bands like The Vox Dolomites and The Peacocks treats in the track’s heady swing.

Through the raucously catchy skirmish of Summer Waves, a song with a Buzzcocks like hook to lick lips over, and the ska infested rock ‘n’ roll of The Globe, the captivating aural roughhousing only sparks new waves of pleasure. The underlying variety in the album’s sound is also further highlighted though You and I returns to the more expected Union Jack musical ruckus with no complaints offered. It still springs a smart web of melodies and hooks though to stand apart with a Biting Elbows like rock/punk invention adding extra spice to its scrap.

It is an essence which also infests the excellent Bones, a coincidental similarity to the just mentioned Russian band no bad thing as the song twists and turns with quarrelsome anthemic chest beating before slipping away for Hate To Say Goodbye to close things off, the slither of music a reprise to that first welcome by Supersonic.

The album is a real joy deserving the attention of all those with an appetite for ska punk and punk rock in any guise.

Supersonic is released February 1st on Beer Records in collaboration with Guerilla Asso, Old Town Bicyclette, and Riot Ska Records for the UK, and through https://unionjack.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/badska/

Pete RingMaster 01/02/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

In Evil Hour – Built On Our Backs

Photo Helen Templeton Photography.

Photo Helen Templeton Photography.

How do you back up debut album which a great many, us included, called a modern punk classic. Well with another equally blistering triumph of course. Easy on paper and in thought but not so simple in deed but that is exactly what UK punksters In Evil Hour have done with new EP Built On Our Backs. The follow-up to the exhilarating roar that is The World Bleeds Out, their new six-track new fury is a furnace of attitude and defiance loaded with lethal hooks and virulent contagion, all honed to incite and inflame ears and thoughts. To put it simply, it is hardcore punk rock at its ferocious best.

Darlington bred, In Evil Hour formed in the summer of 2011 drawing on inspirations from bands such as AFI, Black Flag, Sick of it All, and the Nerve Agents. Very early on the quartet was becoming a potent presence and draw on the live scene, shows with the likes of Leftover Crack, The Misfits, H20, and The Creepshow earning a quick reputation as one exciting onslaught which was further confirmed by their first EP, the Antipop Records released Tell Your God To Ready For Blood of that first year for the band. The World Bleeds Out really awoke attention and fevered appetites with its unleashing in 2013 on STP Records, its release at that year’s Rebellion one of the highlights of the weekend for band and fans.

With a tour alongside the $wingin’ Utters and their own jaunt into Europe and around the UK this August under their 2015 belts, In Evil Hour have provided another rousing and irresistible storm with Built On Our Backs. As you might suspect it is a collection of socially and politically challenging furies immersed in songs which spit fire and boil infection ripe seduction. The EP opens with Progress, which spins immediate bait of alluring guitar before broadening into a full enticement of spicy riffs, sharp hooks, and pungent rhythms. The persuasion is complete with the recognisable snarl of Alice’s voice, attitude and defiance dripping from every syllable as the track whips up an even keener and catchy aggressive stomp. Fair to say the song does not offer something to majorly blow ears and thoughts away, whilst undeniably heavily pleasing body and appetite, but rather provides the perfect base and launch pad for greater adventure to erupt from, which it certainly does with Blood and Majesty.

cover_RingMaster Review     To be honest the difference to the individual characters of the two tracks is nothing big or particularly definable yet the second song just pushes the right buttons to a more lusty reaction. Its first rumble of riffs and scythe of beats carries a spark suggesting a mighty tempest to come, an explosion of voice, riffs, and barbarous rhythmic enterprise confirming it swiftly after. Melodies and vocals have a toxic edge to them whilst Gareth’s guitar and Gib’s bass just grumble and growl with their particular torrents of caustic endeavour and nature. Throw in scarring swings from drummer Mike and you have one glorious addiction at work.

There is no way anyone could resist getting fully involved with the song, physically and vocally, and the same applies to Ascension. Its first touch is a ‘mellower’ vocal alluring from Alice against a raw riff, though there is that ever present snarl just adding its edge to her tones and being fully exposed across the track as it brews up an intensive and energetic blaze which once fully aflame, provides another surge of irresistibility and senses igniting provocation. That early melodic calmness is never driven away though, seizing the moment in a mouth-watering detour which is just not long enough before the creative raging is back igniting the air.

The bass of Gib leaves a tasty morsel of bait in the third song and again lays down an early bestial lure within the following EP’s title track, an anthem with vocal hooks and temptations galore and antagonistic ingenuity a plenty. It defies the listener not to physically leap on board as it brawls lyrically and musically, a challenge almost as potently thrown out by Bright Lights. At one minute and a large nudge, the track in some ways does not have long enough to establish its own uniquely corruptive web of tempting but still offers a storming slice of creative aggravation and enjoyment to get teeth fully into before Predators brings Built On Our Backs to a might close.

The track is prime In Evil Hour, every existing and newly discovered quality and skill in songwriting and sound within the band uncaged in its melody ripe hardcore and angst driven combat. A battle cry for the twenty first century and daily living, it is superb and the perfect end to an EP emulating its success in a themed journey across the elevation of hope, hard work, and rewards but resulting in exploitation and worse. As ever In Evil Hour play hard, hit hard, and have set free another standard setting fury for modern punk.

Built On Our Backs is available now via most online stores and digitally as well as on CD at the band’s Bandcamp and Bigcartel store respectively.

Pete RingMaster 03/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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