Only Shadows – Be Still

 

oS _RingMasterReview

Hoping to build on and replicate a highly successful 2015, UK alternative rock band Only Shadows attempt to kick its successor into similar life with new single Be Still. A teaser to the West Midlands band’s impending debut EP, the new offering suggests they can expect another lively time especially if that upcoming encounter can match the single’s rousing proposal.

Formed in 2014, the foursome of Nick Ashby, Ben Riley, Paul Wechter, and Alex Moffitt pull on the inspirations of artists such as Manchester Orchestra, Frightened Rabbit, Editors, and Queens of the Stone Age for their own creative imagination. As mentioned, last year was a potent time for the band with Only Shadows supporting numerous artists including the likes of Coasts, Young Kato, and Saint Raymond whilst also headlining their own sold-out shows in Birmingham and London.

art _RingMasterReviewRecorded as the EP with Jamie Evans and Shane Shannahan (Jake Bugg, London Grammar, The Killers) at Westpoint Studios, Be Still quickly shows why people like BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio have been vocal in their praise of the band. A resonating guitar string and emotive vocal coaxing opens things up with both swiftly backed by punchy beats and warm harmonies. As the song rises in sound and energy, anthemic textures spring from bass and drums with drama fuelling the rich enterprise of guitars and voice around them. That Editors influence is a readily noticeable hue to the song too but a spicing only colouring a bolder Only Shadows theatre of sound and emotion. The track continues to rise and fall in its intensity and sonic fire across its body, never undulating in its persuasive roar and almost feverishly successful tempting of ears.

It is a gripping offering from the band which you might argue is not overly unique in sound, yet there is plenty about the single which takes Only Shadows away from the crowd and into an appetite to hear much more. Indeed 2016 is looking like another potentially triumphant year for the band.

Be Still is released April 8th on CD and Download via Nu Breed Records.

http://www.onlyshadows.co.uk   https://www.facebook.com/onlyshadowsuk   https://www.twitter.com/onlyshadowsuk

Pete RingMaster 06/04/2016

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Sperø – Pride EP

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Crafting a sultry weave of blues and folk rock which is as intriguing as it is openly magnetic, US rock band Sperø makes a richly flavoursome proposition which is just as potent for the imagination as ears. The quartet has just released the Pride EP, a spicy collection of songs which sparks everything from feet through to emotions with sublime ease. Its initial touch admittedly was strong if not striking but by half way through the first track there was the realisation that it had wormed under the skin and seduced the psyche with inescapable majesty, and from there submission was inevitable.

The beginnings of Sperø come with self-taught guitarist Jesse Hofstee and classically trained pianist Hillary Laughery rehearsing together daily in Southern California in 2013. Exploring and crafting a sound which infuses classic and modern influences from the likes of Neil Young and Manchester Orchestra, the band subsequently expanded with the addition of bassist Nick Hankins and drummer Ryan Malette. They were soon taking their unique rock ‘n’ roll around the San Diego area to an increasingly growing and inflamed fan base. That first year saw the release of the well-received debut album Rational Paths, a potent entrance backed by the band’s live expansion touring up and down the West Coast and appearing at RedGorilla Music Festival. Now they unveil the Pride EP, a release “written as a testament to the great benefits of believing in yourself and working hard to get what you want”, and a proposition to seduce a new wealth of hearts and appetites it is easy to suspect.

Recent single Can’t Get More opens up the release and soon has ears grasped by vocal harmonies and fiery riffs. It is an attention sparking start which as swiftly relaxes into a smouldering Spero_Pride_Coverstroll of inflamed grooves cored by a tangy bassline ridden by the vocals of Hofstee. It’s a potent coaxing but still does not ignite a lot more than intrigue initially. That changes once Laughery opens up her rich and seductive tones as the chorus suddenly comes alive and feistily tempts, which in turn seems to incite the rest of the song. As mentioned earlier it is around halfway that feet and voice find themselves involved and that enslavement is realised and binding. The track is a glorious slice of emotively hued expression under a sultry climate, but even with its rich persuasion soon surpassed by the outstanding Friend.

From the first stroke of its acidic and irresistibly captivating groove the second song is in command of thoughts and passions, it’s aggressively shimmering air, a gripping wrap to the two vocalists and the dramatic elegance of Laughery’s keys. Growing with every chord and syllable, the track is soon rocking speakers and ears with a mix of blues and old school rock ‘n’ roll, a stomp sounding like The Black Keys meets Jerry Lee Lewis under the persuasion of The Lumineers. It is a blaze of a treat, a song as comfortable and commanding whether gently coaxing or rigorously stoking the fires of it and the listener’s passion.

The EPs title track idles in next, a lone acoustic guitar beckoning before welcoming the mischievous drama of beats and keys. As with the first two songs, there is a swagger to the encounter which even in its initial slow steps is unmistakable and inviting. There are also outbursts of creative urgency and intensity, again as in the previous song, which only ignites air and imagination as a tenacious blues tempting binds the whole climactic web. Everything aligns for another irresistible highlight of the release before the full on seduction of Better Man. With a shimmering crawl of a slim evocative melody courting the delicious vocals of Laughery, the song simply glows as it sublimely and tenderly enthrals the senses. Unbridled temptation from its first breath and atmospherically cinematic throughout, the song is pure magnetism of voice and electrified strings, with only the restrained ambience of keys for company.

The pungent presence of Talking Up makes the perfect contrast next, its bulbous bassline and electro baiting a thick shadow to the again sultrily laying sonic endeavour of guitar and keys around compelling vocals. Its psychedelic blues tinged air over another slowly strolling gait makes the brilliant track as gripping in drama and sound as anything before it, whilst the expulsions of sonic flame courted by just as inflamed vocals is pure mesmerism.

The release closes with the acoustic led revelry of They Say, a track part folk quick step and part funk induced devilry which with its layers of blues tempting and classical hued keys, ensures the EP leaves on richly lingering persuasion. The diverse two prong enticing of vocals is just as unpredictable and thrilling as the sounds around them and leave their and the band’s infection deep rooted and burning in appetite and emotions.

The Pride EP is a gem of an encounter from a band which manages to turn recognisable essences and spices into something unique and impossibly addictive. Quite simply Sperø and their sound is a hex on the ears and quite irresistible.

The Pride EP is available now https://speroband.bandcamp.com/

http://www.speroband.com/

RingMaster 13/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Embracer – My Father’s Will

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Three months ago Imminence Records announced the signing of US indie rock/post-hardcore band Embracer and this week sees the unveiling of their label debut, the rather flavoursome and captivating My Father’s Will EP. Consisting of five imaginative and passionately presented tracks, the release is a rigorously enticing proposition from a band with the potential to make big strides ahead.

The West Virginian band initially began in 2010 as a hardcore fuelled encounter and with the name World Famous, but a name change with the release of the Dreamers EP came in 2011 revealed an emerging shifting and growth in the band and sound. Line-up changes and evolution in ideas and invention, before and from that time, saw the band begin its development into the fiery melodic rock proposal before us with My Father’s Will. Inspired by the likes of Johnny Cash, Miles Davis, Circa Survive, Polyneso, Balance and Composure, and This Will Destroy You, Embracer has been a determined force, battling the less than supportive Charleston music scene. They have continued though to brew up attention and a potent fan base which the Matt Malpass (Dance Gavin Dance, Hey Monday, Relient K, Manchester Orchestra) recorded My Father’s Will can only reinforce and accelerate.

It is always important to make a good first impression in any aspect of life, and it is fair to say that Embracer makes a striking one with opener A Man Without Country. A sultry twang of melodic guitar coaxes ears at first to be swiftly joined by the impressive tones of vocalist Jordan Bradley, his voice expressive and potent ensuring lyrics and emotions get a clear airing from within songs. Guitarists Karl Shaver and Ryan Pullin cast enticing chords and melodies around him whilst drummer Zakk Garcia and bassist Dylan Costinteen build an unimposing but sinew lined frame across and through it all. Essences of melodic and alternative rock also colour the post hardcore fuelled track, every moment a fascinating and unpredictable portrait of sound and emotion.

It is an outstanding start swiftly matched by the following Downtrodden. There is a similarity in the cavernous production of the vocals at certain times and the ebbing and flowing of the intensity across the powerful encounter, but polaroid 1500 suqare 300 dpisimilarly there is an individual presence and drama to the gripping adventure. The song reminds of now demised Dead Til Friday across its inventive temptation, never a bad comparison, and also in its smouldering infectiousness of Able Archer, the track even in is restrained gait discovering a persistent bounce.

My Sons My Brothers sidles gracefully up to ears next, again a single guitar stroking senses and thoughts with its evocative melodies before the track expands its expressive and creative breath. By the third song it is easy to see that there is a familiarity between songs if not quite a firm similarity, structures and textures never straying from a seemingly shared template. Despite that though, there is little to defuse the lure and potency of songs, this track a melancholic but vibrant and thickly emotive offering of predominantly instrumental skill and enterprise.

Band and release continue to impress with the emotionally full-blooded Anastasia and finally its punchy title track. The first of the two is a thrilling and pungent wash of raging melodies and vocal emotion. The most inventively colourful and flirtatious track on the release, it steals the passions like no other, almost alone making Embracer a prospect to nail to the radar. It’s mouth-watering quality and provocative beauty makes way for the rich passion and inflamed emotive hues of the last song, My Father’s Will a tender but rugged blaze of melodic fire and stirring expression across an equally intense skeleton of rhythms and bracing shadows. It is a fine end to an excellent first look for us at Embracer, an encounter which already has bred keen anticipation for their next endeavour.

There are no major negatives to conjure up about the release though certainly tracks are closely related in many ways to require closer focus to stop a few merging. There is also for personal tastes an overuse of the hollow effect on Bradley’s vocals across the album which niggles rather than lures, and he certainly does not need any assistance from technology to impress it should be noted, but these are small things which will iron out as the band grows. Right now Embracer is a highly promising and definitely enjoyable proposition, the evidence is all there in My Father’s Will.

The My Father’s Will EP is available now via Imminence Records @ http://imminencerecords.bandcamp.com/album/my-fathers-will

https://www.facebook.com/EMBRACER

RingMaster 05/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Of Us Giants – Nova Scotia

Of Us Giants Photo by Kitten Cabada Photography

Of Us Giants Photo by Kitten Cabada Photography

    You know when you get so excited you drool a little well Nova Scotia is one of those albums which figuratively achieves the same result. The prize offering from California alternative rock band Of Us Giants, the eleven track release is an energy driven vivacious stroll of melodic and expressive rock brought by a band you can only expect to hear much more of in the future. Impressive and infectiously enjoyable from song to potent song, the album strikingly builds on the band’s acclaimed debut release the Stitch EP, a record which has drawn comparisons to the likes of Balance and Composure, Manchester Orchestra, and Brand New to the Of Us Giants sound.

   Formed in 2012, the Turlock hailing trio of vocalist/guitarist Dustin Andrews, bassist/vocalist Jonathan Jennings, and drummer Sam Battista has found a healthy buzz around themselves, in no small part because of the aforementioned EP. Anticipation for their debut full-length has been eager to say the least and now with its digital and vinyl release via numerous labels and exclusively here in the UK by Close To Home Records, feeds and transcends all expectations.

     Opener Liar takes a mere second to entrap attention and an instantly brewed appetite, its rhythmic enticement a potent ofusgiants_novascotiabeckoning soon enhanced by rich guitar bred hooks and bass spawned throaty temptation. Once the excellent expressive tones of Andrews add their presence the song makes a strong suasion which only increases its power and heights with an anthemic spiral of dual vocals and fiery melodics at its heart. It is a song which you just do not realise how much it has infected the imagination and memory until it has passed by, it an irresistible weave of sinews, rhythmic and emotionally, with evocative melodies and soaring sonics.

     The immense start is not quite equalled by the next up Sycamore Tomb, certainly initially but again it is a devious little treat which just grips and lingers longer in the psyche the more you initially embrace it. Whereas its predecessor had a touch of Placebo to it, the second song with choppy scythes of guitar and intensive bass prompting shows where those Brand New references emerge from. Agreeably anthemic in all the right places, no note of breath wasted without a full dose of temptation, it is succeeded by Iron Boat. The first of two songs featuring the vocals of Lindsey Pavao, a semi-finalist in the US version of The Voice apparently, the song saunters with a swing to its rhythmic hips and fire to its sonic invention. It is a relatively straight forward slice of melodic rock without any startling element or dramatic hook to its gait to be honest but still offers a vocally varied and pleasing piece of refreshment before the album raises its game again with Take It Home. Sultry melodic guitar coaxing first leads thoughts into its emotive hug with the dual vocals of Andrews and Jennings impressing. Soon though passionate arms lyrically and musically open up to release flames of resourceful melodic rock with a rawer muscular trait which makes the band a potential attraction across all of the general genre’s sub sections.

     The smouldering persuasion of Dying and the mesmeric enchantment of All of My Daughters brings another absorbing variation to Nova Scotia, the first a passion fuelled slowly building tower of intensity which plays like a blend of Three Days Grace and Sick Puppies whilst its successor with a ridiculously addictive hook to its first few seconds against another dark bassline, casts a spellbinding shadow wrapped irresistible beauty over ears and heart. There is a familiarity to the song which equally niggles and excites, as it is hard to exactly define its source, but it cannot derail the potency and quality of the encounter, it and the previous song virulently infectious pleasures.

  Around the Furline is sculpted with the same kind of irrepressible incitement and bait without losing any individuality against the other songs around it, a Skids like riffing and sonic bait a major toxicity within that trap, whilst the following A Beam Offshore whilst stalking a similar groove to its foregoer flirts further with the passions through strong vocals and eloquent melodic endeavour.

     The more restrained and arguably richer in emotional intrigue presence of Stone Hands is the first moment where the album struggles to raise the same strength in hunger and attention, though it is impossible to deny it is a superbly crafted and musically exposed presence. Its successor Machine Heart also takes time to convince; that is until it expels a punk infused rampancy and bruising to its pop laden adventure where it moves into being another strong proposition.

    The title track completes Nova Scotia and invites Lindsey Pavao for the second time into its midst. An acoustically honed country touched stretch explodes into a fire borne furnace of emotion and intensive sonic design in a song which catches the imagination though again maybe not the passions as forcibly as elsewhere. It does provide a richly satisfying end to an openly outstanding release all the same, an album which declares Of Us Giants as one rather exciting and impressive rock proposal destined to bright horizons.

 

http://ofusgiants.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ofusgiants

9/10

RingMaster 27/01/2104

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This Devastated Fan – Plot And Debauchery

This Devastated Fan Promo shot

This week sees the re-release of Plot And Debauchery, the debut album of UK alternative rock band This Devastated Fan. It is a captivating album which certainly deserves another airing before the ears of the nation, its offering of thirteen evocative and passionate songs a compelling brew of invention and melodic persuasion. Nicely varied and impressively sculpted the release takes emotions and thoughts on a magnetic ride through heart bred adventures, and though arguably it fails to ignite the passions enough times to be classed as a classic introduction, it leaves satisfaction and pleasure the overriding emotion within a fuelled hunger towards the stylish songwriting and presentation of the quartet.

Formed in 2006, the current line-up of brothers vocalist/guitarist Robbie and drummer Jamie Cavanagh, guitarist Will Rogers, and bassist Steve Alday has spent the past 18 months hitting the UK and Europe hard with their live shows which has seen them play alongside the likes of Public Image Limited and The Birthday Suit. With a sound which seemingly combines inspirations from the likes of Manchester Orchestra, Alexisonfire, Biffy Clyro, and Idlewild in to something fresh and potent, the album has the richness and promise to exploit the stronger awareness and stature of the band this time around.

From the opener Shoulder The War, band and release grabs attention with ease, the song itself a smouldering persuasion that deals in This Devastated Fan Cover Artworktender emotions and passionate crescendos rife with incisive guitar work, firm rhythms and the excellent vocals of Robbie Cavanagh. There is a great niggle to the throat of the bass too which tempers and compliments the melodic flames honed by the guitars, it all combining to create a track thick with expression and enterprise. It is a strong start which fluidly evolves into Calvery Cemetery, NYC; another song where gentle coaxing from sound and vocals leads to multiple climaxes of explosive passion and melodic fire. Lyrically the band has a depth and impact which talks thoughts and feelings into creating reflective connections, and certainly this track creates richly hued scenery for their narratives.

Through the more than decent REM like Contingency Plan, the album reaches higher pinnacles with the pair of aural beacons, Sounds Like Sirens and Bambi Woods. The first of the two is a mesmeric beckoning with whispers of Green Day and Brand New to its warm brew of tangoing rhythms, melodic charm, and teasing basslines. Once again the band proves themselves majestic in creating infectious hotspots and choruses within songs, here the brighter burn of melodies and tantalising lures striking and tempting to secure a place in the rapidly growing hunger for the album. Its successor is an excellent blend of hard rock sinew and taunting indie rock feistiness, the result a song that swaggers with a firm prod of confrontation and riveting invention leaving senses and emotions leaping to join its pleasing canter.

The likes of the enflamed An Assembly Of Witches, the closely hugging Carnivore, and the slightly sinister Conversation Killer, wrap the ear and thoughts in weaves of passion and emotional colour, each track and across the whole album to be honest, dripping with incandescent heart and inciting personal observation. Though the songs fail to make the same lingering impact as some of the earlier tracks they all leave a welcome bait in place for a return, the last of the three and the impressive Murder which lies amongst them, creative fascinations that hook you back to the album and ignites the appetite with skilled and instinctive majesty. The same can be said of Barricade, a track which has a feel of Placebo to its steely yet mellow sonic claws and melodic engrossment.

Completed by the final emotive call of the ballad Heathen Rage, the album is a vibrant coaxing which defies any real criticism even if it fails to send the passions into overload as much as it probably should have. Plot And Debauchery is so full of promise and imagination though that you feel it will only be a matter of time before This Devastated Fan creates that undeniable classic. Watch this eager space we say whilst enjoying a rather satisfying album.

http://www.tdfhq.co.uk/

8/10

RingMaster 12/08/2013

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