The Sums – Better

Another band who found themselves caught up and severely losing out in the collapse of Pledge Music, The Sums persevered with the recording and release of their new album, Better, to bless the year with one of its finest and most irresistible collection of rock/pop songs.

It has been a tough time since their last album for the UK outfit, the death of lead guitarist Lee Watson hitting band mates, fans and indeed music hard but using his memory and enduring inspiration the Liverpool quartet forged ahead with long-time friend in guitarist Richy Northcote joining up with vocalist/guitarist Peter ‘Digsy’ Deary, bassist/vocalist Chris Mullin, and drummer Chris Campbell. As mentioned Better had its own trials and tribulations to face but has just been unveiled to light up ears and spirit with almost mischievous intent.

The album opens up with Kick Da Bucket, a rousing slice of rock ‘n’ roll with an edge to its voice and virulent groove to its character. With Digsy like a carny barker in the midst of its melodic carnival, hooks and melodies bring an enslaving swing to the song as rhythms dance and prey on a swiftly subservient appetite for its eager stomp. The track is superb but only a sign of things to come as Better unravels its web of enterprise, variety, and adventure.

Here To Stay is next up and immediately shares its own seductive melody to hook just as quick attention. Its gentle but assured swing is pure summer glee but as ever there is that shadow in word and tone which gives it an easily relatable grounding. Not for the last time across the release there is something akin to Hed PE meets Steely Dan to a song, a comparison which may only be heard in our ears but feels the best way to suggest the enthralling feel and presence of the infection escaping the speakers before All Messed Up brings its pop rock canter to bear on greedy ears. Already three songs in, the broad tapestry of sound and flavouring within the album is inescapable, the band providing their most diverse and fascinating release yet but it is still unmistakably The Sums in every aspect. With keys adding to its infectious weave the track joined its predecessor in hitting the spot in quick time.

The calmly thoughtful repose and serenade of Go is melancholic rapture urging people to reconnect with the world and each other, its orchestral breath and intimate touch captivating while I Run A Mile straight after provides a funk nurtured shuffle for body and voice to get eagerly involved in. Brass and keys smoulder across Mullin’s and Campbell’s rhythms, the rousing bass of the former almost sullen between the crisp swings of the latter as Digsy and Northcote spring their equally engaging prowess.

Though even after a wealth of plays, it has proven impossible to pick a favourite track but Give Me Something always figures to the fore in thoughts, the song viral in its rhythmic nagging and dirty rock ‘n’ roll breeding and simply beguiling in its pop catchy and melody rich croon. Nail us down and it would have to be the moment which brought the greatest lust but constantly challenged as shown by its immediate successor, Contraception Is Rife. With a country rock twang, the pop breathing balladry of the track is again full captivation which Nowhere Left But Home soon shares through its own distinct croon.

Better is brought to a close through firstly the glorious Cold One, it’s almost Lowry painted air enough to get the imagination weaving with the tones of Digsy and Mullin alone pleasure bound, and lastly Salt Of The Earth. The final track simply brings a smile to the face, its acoustic sway and vocal glee total captivation from which pure contagion erupts in a devilish chorus.

And that is Better, an album which brings a warm glow to the year’s cold closing weeks and confirmation that The Sums is one of Britain’s finest rock and pop bands which not enough people know about though that could and should all change now.

Better is out now through https://www.thesums.net/better-new-album-out-now/

https://www.thesums.net/   https://www.facebook.com/thesums/   https://twitter.com/thesumsmusic

Pete RingMaster 22/11/2019

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

SPQR – Low Sun Long Shadows

Liverpool has and always will produce some remarkable bands, its musical landscape and history perpetual inspiration for those to follow. Another with the real potential to become another leading light is SPQR, especially if their new EP is the clue and guide to things to come. Low Sun Long Shadows is a four track parade of the band’s bold art rock nurtured sound, a release uniting unpredictability with imagination in almost mischievous and certainly emotionally empowered adventure.

For the first time, SPQR worked with an outside creative force for their new offering, the trio inking up with producer Margo Broom (The Fat White Family, Calva Louise, Yassassin, Phobophobes). As often is the case, Low Sun Long Shadows sees some of its songs seeded in in the myriad of mental illnesses guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Peter Harrison struggles with; that depth of anxiety and emotion a powerful lining to the rich tapestry of just as dramatic sound.

The EP opens up with Slowly and straight away attention is led astray by the pulsating bassline cast by Jack Sanders. Quickly it is joined by the percussive zeal of Bex Denton and the ear clipping teases of Harrison’s guitar, the latter’s equally magnetic vocals adding to the swiftly gathering temptation which soon had these ears hooked. Hitting its boisterous stride, the song’s eager rock ‘n’ roll in full bounce, persuasion is complete but only intensified by the blossoming of every aspect making up its captivating character. As lively and spirited as it is, melancholy also sweeps across its landscape, unpredictability adding a further shapely lure to a thrilling start to the EP.

As superb as it is, the song is still eclipsed by the noise embracing clamour of Our Mother’s Sons. The track was liquor to our instinctive cravings; a fusion of raw melody and sonic dissonance driven by a just as entangled web of contrasting emotions, though each in the throat of Harrison soaked in their own particular tension and agitation. Keys add another dimension of intrigue and limbo, the track escalating in disquietude and magnetism by the twist before slipping away and letting the EP’s lead single Josephine bring its dance to bear on already enraptured ears. A touch grungy, a little funky, and teasingly indie rock in its animation, the song is an infestation of dextrous catchiness and melodic temptation spread over an array of flavours and elements.

This Gore completes the release, swiftly matching its companions in creative intoxication and individual imagination. Swinging and swerving with a cosmopolitan blend of styles and flavours as rhythms nag and lead song and listener alike, the EP closer simply captivated as Harrisons’ tones explored a Lydon-esque lining to their own personality. Increasingly volatile and inflamed, the track provided a striking end to a simply outstanding encounter.

It is not easy to become a favourite son in one of music’s most influential cities but with more gems like Low Sun Long Shadows and we would not bet against the possibility.

Low Sun Long Shadows is out now via Modern Sky UK.

 http://www.spqrmusic.com  https://www.facebook.com/spqrband/   https://twitter.com/spqrband

Pete RingMaster 30/04/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Chris Mullin – Sooner or Later

Last year Chris Mullin, the bassist/co-songwriter of Liverpool outfit The Sums, took time out to explore the solo side of his musical imagination, the result a debut EP which was as richly enjoyable as it was heartfelt. This year he has done the same. Momentarily taking time away from recording The Sum’s third album, Mullins has created and unveiled a new collection of tracks in the shape of the Sooner or Later EP, an encounter which simply puts its impressive predecessor in the shade.

Also former member of Hurricane #1, Mullin has been a potent part of his home city’s current musical fabric through The Sums, his other projects and writing and also producing. As shown by the previous Myself Fooling Me EP, his solo side music has the potential to be just as impacting; indeed the introduction to his own sounds easily drew acclaim and attention. As suggested, Sooner or Later builds on and eclipses the emotively woven and sensitively delivered sounds of its predecessor. It has a spring in its step contrasting the melancholic gait of the first release but still embraces its calm and intimacy with fresh adventure and imagination.

Released on his self-owned Nowhere Music, Sooner or Later opens up with the immediately infectious Lonely Fools. Its initial melodic clang easily tempted ears, the subsequent reflective stroll centred by bass, voice, and guitar captivating them as melodic shimmers and sonic caresses surround the Mullin’s lure. Though not exactly in sound, there is something of Pete Wylie to the outstanding track, a slice of indie pop intimation and infection which just lit our ears and appetite.

The following Just Want You to Know is equally as magnetic, its instinctive catchiness aligned to personal openness in tone and word. Rhythms again entice as keys suggest and guitars weave, vocals making their earnest declaration with equal allurement and sincerity. As the first, the song is nothing less than contagious pleasure, third song, Dissatisfied Mind, enticing from the same instinctive template. Its shadows come with hopeful light, its emotional insecurity with a vibrancy that wants to escape within a weave of sound which just seduced ears.

The track completes easily the three best songs from Mullin’s solo work yet, a trio alone making Sooner or Later one irresistible proposition with the icing on the cake being its title track. An acoustic croon with imagination embracing orchestration, bold adventure, and organic catchiness understated but lively as it infests the spirit, the track just enthrals as it pleasures; those few words pretty much summing up the Sooner or Later EP as a whole.

The rumour is that Mullin’s next offering might be a full-length adventure; we for one are not only up for that, after Sooner or Later, we are greedy for it.

Sooner or Later is out now on Nowhere Music, available as download only from most stores and https://chrismullin.bandcamp.com/album/sooner-or-later

https://chrismullin.net/   https://www.facebook.com/chrismully   https://twitter.com/chrismullin74

Pete RingMaster 24/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

KynchinLay – Dark Age

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It is fair to say that indie rockers KynchinLay made a potent impression on a great many with their Drink Me EP but now they return over a year later with its successor showing that as tasty and impressive though it was, the last encounter was only the appetiser to a mightier meal of invention and creative imagination. Dark Age is a compelling slice of shadowed drenched rock ‘n’ roll, five tracks which manage to roar, vent, and intimately seduce within their individual lengths and characters. If the last EP had you licking lips in enjoyment, the new offering from KynchinLay might just have you bellowing in delight.

Hailing from Liverpool, the core trio of vocalist/guitarist/songwriter K G Wilson, bassist Mal Williams, and drummer Damien Welsh has openly pushed on in songwriting, sound, and imagination with their new release. There is a fresh maturity and roundedness to all songs providing a consistent incitement of temptation across the release which arguably was lacking or certainly less imposing with Drink Me. The previous encounter also had a healthy and enjoyable essence of artists like Echo and the Bunnymen and even more so Pete Wylie to it but Dark Age is something hard to reference to anyone with its own unique personality of sound.

Again their music offers a mix of rock, punk, indie, and power pop but it is a much darker and aggressively gripping tonic of sound this time around, as instantly evidenced by the explosive start to first track I Be Hopin. Drums immediately descend with a lively swagger of beats, an anthemic lure swiftly embraced by a sonic wind and an almost rabid scourge of industrial bred riffs. Once a tangy hook emerges too persuasion is a done deal though the sudden relaxing into a mellow vocal and melody clad hug takes ears and thoughts by surprise. It is also initially disappointing see the passing of such an outstanding start but KynchinLay soon has new this intimacy of sound and expression strolling with contagion and alluring enterprise. The air of the song also openly moves along, intensifying with every passing chord and sonic flirtation to create a tempestuous landscape of sound and emotion employing the essence of that tremendous opening again. The result is a climax which is as menacingly fiery as it is feistily captivating.

The following Wide Awake opens on an acoustic guitar and vocal croon, a gentle tempting which has little difficulty courting satisfaction and intrigued attention to its evocative rock pop shuffle. It is another song which builds up a more volatile atmosphere and intensity as sultry flames colour the emotive walls of the song around the great mix of vocals from across the band. The track enthrals, holding ears and appetite easily before departing for Back To What She Knows. Entering on a deliciously throaty bassline scythed through by evocative sonic invention, the encounter twists into a mouth-watering dark rock ‘n’ roll enticement. Its touch is spicy and it’s bewitching climate a sweltering embrace of tangy melodic drama. Wilson‘s vocals bring a great tempering to the sizzling heat of the song though, his tones flirting with a monotone, deceptively expressionless delivery but he gets it spot on and only accentuates all the surf rock like theatre around him. The best track on the EP, it leaves a smile on the face and in the emotions with ease.

Another round of infectious rhythmic bait opens up BatJazz next, a proposition evolving from a psychobilly like lure of grooves and hooks into a lighter pop rock stroll with a funky reggae infused gait. There is still a shadow rich air and presence to the song though which only adds to the adventure, a toning which inspires the subsequent sinister climax which sees the return of that irresistible opening sound this time in hand with a great exotic and mystique wrapped ingenuity.

The EP ends with Shudder, a classic slab of rock ‘n’ roll in anyone’s book. It is fair to say it is not a track designing new templates but holds heavy satisfaction in its hands with rock music crafted and energised in passion and more essential flavours than found on a recipe card. It is old school and modern rock ‘n’ roll united and a thoroughly enjoyable climax to one thrilling encounter.

In many ways KynchinLay has come of age with Dark Age yet you still sense there is plenty more still to be discovered and explored within them. Good exciting times ahead we suspect.

The Dark Age EP is available now via http://kynchinlay.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/KynchinLay/242399799167716

RingMaster 02/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Loud – Harris Shutter


Music and Liverpool simply goes together as obviously as any renowned duo, whether salt and pepper or Jedward and the toilet bowl, some things just are instinctively linked. The city’s music scene has spawn more than its share of great bands and legends and constantly throws more out to the world year after year. The Loud is one of the latest and the best to emerge recently, the trio from the Wirral producing music that has the unique quality of inducing nostalgia whilst having one of the freshest sounds currently being heard. June 20th sees the release of the single Amy’s Gonna Get You on 7” on vinyl and download followed not too long after by their debut album Harris Shutter, both on Liverpool independent Payper Tiger Records.

A self released sampler in 2010 saw heads turning their way further from home but with the release of their six track burst of garage psychedelic fuzz beat there will be a concentrated wave of enthusiastic interest without doubt. Their sound is an amalgam of various influences and shared loves of long time friends, guitarist and vocalist Pennington Lee and bassist Matthew Freeman. From such flavours as T-Rex, Velvet Underground, and 13th Floor Elevators to Jesus and The Mary Chain and The Black Angels there are familiar touches but all interpreted and then completely enhanced by the band’s own unique perspective with sound. Joined by drummer Leroy Oxton, The Loud are lighting up the music world with some of the most intuitive and senses stirring sounds, fusing instinctive melodies to scuzzed up garage post punk attitude.

Amy’s Gonna Get You’ opens the album and instantly one knows this is the start of a special ride. It saunters along swinging its wares against a throbbing bassline and firm drum beat. Lee’s vocals are earnest in their warning but also giving a sense of excited anticipation over the lady in question. The track is a joy, its distorted stroll engagingly addictive. A strong start that is instantly taken higher by the awesome ‘Horrorscope’, from its recognisable guitar opening, though from where eludes, the song stomps all over most music currently doing the rounds. Freeman’s bass rumbles majestically with moody belligerence as the guitars grind and chatter to give the track a neat punk feel.

A Little Taste of Home steps forward next sounding like a meeting of Jesus and The Mary Chain and the Pixies. Attitude soaked it simply stares you in the face and delivers a sentiment that one can interpret to their own current state of mind and place in the world. The Bolanesque There’s A Bomb In The House with its warm and familiar fuzzy glam rock feel  equipped with T-Rex backup melodic vocal, sways into view next swiftly followed by the slow blues emotive Avida Dollars. This track and the psychedelic haunt of Magic that closes the release, bring a more soulful and effectively simple and slower pace to the album and if any criticism could be made of Harris Shutter it is that it ends on a marked downbeat that the replacing of one or both these tracks in the album’s song order will have avoided but as always it is down to a personal feel and not a fault.

Produced by Ross Halden (Wild Beasts, The lucid Dream), Harris Shutter is a wonderfully stunning release that on each play grows and elevates higher in opinion. Vocalist Lee quoted on the albumHarris shutter has been a labour of love. We had a great time making it and a better time doing all the things that it’s about. It’s worth all the shit gigs when you finally have the record in your hands. The way it’s all come together, the way it looks feels and sounds, I couldn’t have asked for any better, and couldn’t have asked for a better group of people than those who have been working on it. It’s pretty special man.That sums up the release perfectly; you would be a fool to not listen to the creator and the album itself.

www.theloud.co.uk

Pete RingMaster 14/06/2011

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