Bells and Hunters – Modern Witch’s Songbook Vol I: Fairy Tales

Bells and Hunters - Modern Witch's Songbook Vol I- Fairy Tales - cover_RingMaster Review

Hailing out of Washington DC, Bells and Hunters recently recorded their debut album Modern Witch’s Songbook and has set about revealing it to us all via three instalments. The first part comes in the new and suitably titled EP, Modern Witch’s Songbook Vol I: Fairy Tales. Consisting of four tracks revelling in the diversity of sound and imagination which the band’s fans already heartily embrace, the EP is a captivating introduction for the rest of us to the Bells and Hunters temptation.

Bells and Hunters began in 2008, formed by vocalist Kelliann Beavers and vocalist/guitarist Keith Fischer who united through “a mutual love of creativity, song writing, and Jeff Buckley.” In no time their emerging eclectic sound enticed ears; its fusion of folk, blues, and varied decades of rock stirring up attention, as shown by debut EP The Static Sea in 2010. Three years later the band released their acclaimed first album Weddings and Funerals, though the next horizons of the band almost saw it all come to an end as members relocated to other cities across the US. Instead Beavers and Fischer called on long-time friends in drummer Guido Dehoratiis, guitarist Joe McMurray, and bassist Avi Walter, to be replaced later by Eric Putnam, to complete the new line-up.

It is fair to say that the Bells and Hunters sound has been in constant evolution across its releases but Vol I: Fairy Tales shows the biggest step through its quartet of offerings, a trait to be presumably continued across the remaining parts of the album ahead. Opening with Bruises, the EP quickly grips ears and appetite with the song’s fiery start veined by great spicy grooves with a touch of Rocket From the Crypt to them. Led along by thumping beats and eager riffs, those grooves and indeed song soon have hips swinging and attention quickly on board, even more so as the similarly tangy tones of Beavers show their magnetic lure. The track continues to stomp and invention romp with infectious enterprise and anthemic energy, those early hooks still perpetual bait within the controlled yet rousing character of the Morningwood meets Martha and The Muffins like persuasion of the song.

Warm and vibrant Keys bring the following Mexico into view next, the engaging entrance springing into a busier blues rock toned canter led by the vocals of Fischer this time around. Again rhythms are a pungent enticement, bold and firmly offered as the guitars spin a spicy sonic web courted by the rich addition of Beaver’s dark siren-esque vocal backing. Sultrily tantalising, the song makes a compelling proposal more than matched by that of Lady Luck. Again sticky blues air and melodic flames colour a flavoursome stroll, though a dark country spicing adding brings new ripe hues to the seductive shadows and evocative breath of the fiery croon.

The EP is brought to an end by the electronic tempting of Fairy Tails; a song merging eighties synth pop and nineties indie rock in an electro romance. It is a hug further enhanced by the primal bass resonance rumbling within the ethereal and increasingly muggy embrace of sound and vocal seducing from within the song. Reminding of Young Marble Giants in some ways, it is a mesmeric conclusion to a great first taste for us of Bells and Hunters.

The second part of their new album is released February 2016 and anticipation for that, thanks to the thoroughly enjoyable Vol I: Fairy Tales, is already impatient in us and a great many more.

Modern Witch’s Songbook Vol I: Fairy Tales is out now and available as a name your price download at the Bells and Hunters Bandcamp profile.

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Pete RingMaster 15/12/2015

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Ex Norwegian – Pure Gold

Pure-Gold-cover_RingMaster Review

There is always a sense of anticipation and indeed excitement when faced with a new release from US band Ex Norwegian, but in approaching their new album Pure Gold, there was a heavier sense of intrigue involved too. It was the first encounter since the serious illness which band founder Roger Houdaille suffered, the proceeds from the album going towards the emergency hospital bills incurred, and brings a collection of re-interpretations of tracks by other artists alongside original compositions from a new line-up to that which created the acclaimed and outstanding Wasted Lines album of 2014. So there was a wondering if the release was merely a filler in the future of the band but fair to say and straight away ears and imagination were alive whilst being immersed in the recognisable but ever unpredictable Ex Norwegian pop/indie rock sound, and the diversity of flavour that breeds to show it was anything but.

The creative union of Houdaille (vocals, guitars, keyboards, percussion), Giuseppe Rodriguez (vocals, bass, moog), Lucas Queiroz (vocals, guitars), Fernando Perdomo (drums, slide guitar), and Michelle Grand (vocals), with occasional guest organ prowess from Chris Price, tempt and grip ears straight away with album opener It’s A Game. A String Driven Thing song arguably made more famous by The Bay City Rollers, it quickly has feet in an eager shuffle and appetite licking lips with its catchy pop rock stroll. Ex Norwegian cast a vibrant energy to the song without losing its folkish charm whilst the great blend of vocals between Houdaille and Grand is almost flirtatious in its persuasion. There is also an Abba-esque hue to the great start to the release, though the fade-out is a touch annoying just to be picky.

Asking Too Much steps forward next and just as easily has attention enthralled with its melodic caresses and infectious persuasion as a healthy scent of Kirsty MacColl like folk pop flavours it. As the first, the song has a simplicity which is as inviting and enjoyable as the nuances and melodic enterprise the band inject into its design, the result another lively excuse to romp; a similar invitation given again by the feisty rock infused Beeside, a Tintern Abbey song. Sultry air and fuzzy breath soaks the song to great effect, whilst its psych rock character becomes increasingly compelling with each passing second and smouldering melody.

Already it is fair to say highlights are the order of the day so far, another provided straight away by the band’s impressive cover of the Melanie song Cyclone. Providing an inflamed melodic roar led by the superb tones of Grand, her harmonic expressive serenading ears as potently as the fiery side to her great voice, the track swiftly gets under the skin. It’s successor, the boisterous and show stealer On The Sidelines, is a match in such invasive potency, it playing like a feisty Martha and the Muffins but creating its own unique personality with every swinging rhythms, melodic temptation, and gripping hook. For us every Ex Norwegian album seems to have one song which especially hits the sweet spot, On The Sidelines that irresistible offering within Pure Gold.

A new wave essence fuels the following Other Half, a touch of Graham Parker to the song lighting up ears with a nostalgic bluesy air whilst the Paul McCartney track Keep Under Cover is given a virulent tonic of adventurous infectiousness and quite simply a tenacious fresh breath. Both tracks again leave body and emotions smiling and greedy for more, the album’s title track eager to satisfy with its mix of dark funky basslines, surf harmonies, and romancing melodic seduction. There is a less dramatic feel to the song compared to other tracks but with keys an emotive haze around the contagious lure of the bass and the lacing of spicy blues guitar, it is a robustly catchy proposal very easy to get fully involved with.

A fine take on the Jimmy Campbell song Close My Case And Move On comes next, Ex Norwegian accentuating its emotive heart and intimacy with a sturdier frame and tangy country rock colouring. A fascinating canter of a song with an element of pleasing discord to its nature too, it is maybe not as immediately impacting in comparison to the more boisterous approaches of other tracks within the album, but it matches all in persuasion before Shadow Ships and a version of Tell Me Your Plans by The Shirts brings things to an enjoyable close. The first of the pair merges Americana with sixties pop vibrancy, creating a richly satisfying if not fevered incitement; Tell Me Your Plans providing that with its again sixties hued interpretation of a great power pop offering.

From start to finish Pure Gold is a thoroughly engaging and highly enjoyable romp. It might not quite match the triumphant majesty of the band’s last album yet it is a different kind of proposition. For pleasure though, it is a rivalling success and reason enough to suggest Ex Norwegian is one of our brightest pop rock bands.

Pure Gold is released December 11th via Dippy Records @ http://shop.exnorwegian.com/album/pure-gold

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Pete RingMaster 02/12/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Murder Shoes – Daydreaming

Photo Joshua Syx

Photo Joshua Syx

After three increasingly impressive and enthralling EPs, it is fair to say that the debut album from US rock/pop band Murder Shoes has been a highly anticipated proposition, and equally honest to say that now here, Daydreaming more than lives up to hopes and the potential fuelling previous encounters from the Minneapolis quintet. Once more, the band weaves tantalising songs from strands of indie, surf, and dark pop rock, evolving from them perpetually mesmeric and at times sinisterly ethereal yet tenaciously mischievous proposals. The result is an album based on sonic flirtation and rich imagination which lights ears and appetite with a sublime hand of adventure.

From the first meeting of guitarists Derek Van Gieson and Chris White, the seeds of Murder Shoes have quickly and potently blossomed into a creatively stirring proposition. Writing a thick body of songs together bred on and blending a broad array of inspirations, flavours, and styles, the pair recruited vocalist/keyboardist Tess Weinberg to their emerging project before completing its line-up with drummer Elliot Manthey and bassist Tim Heinlein. Within a year first EP Cash On Fire was unveiled, December 2014 its release with a self-titled successor arriving the May of 2015 and the Little Lost EP two months later, all through Land Ski Records who now bring us Daydreaming.

cover_RingMaster Review     Your Friend Kimmie starts the band’s new temptation off, opening on an instantly alluring bass coaxing soon embraced by surf lined caresses of guitar. The smouldering invitation is increased as the warm siren-esque harmonic tones of Weinberg gently lay upon the spreading strands of sonic enterprise and low key but pungent rhythmic bait. A sultry serenade fondling ears and imagination, the song makes a potent start for Daydreaming but is soon overshadowed by firstly the inescapable catchiness of So What May and in turn the haunting romance of Bad Reputation. The first of the pair saunters with a spicily melodic smile and infectious rhythms, its breath carrying a nineties scent which only adds to its easy pull on a keenly growing appetite for the release, whilst the second sways with a seduction of slim but quickly gripping hooks amidst a mesh of melodic tendrils cast by the guitars.

Recent single Nineteeneightyone strolls in with an energetic and creative virulence next, beats and vocals colluding to enslave ears as sonic endeavour paints the song’s canvas with evocative and fiery imagination. Both Van Gieson and White craft a fascinating picture with their invention, holding their tempting own against the ever beguiling delivery of Weinberg. Equally though, as shown further by Secrets, Heinlein and Manthey conjure an enticement of rhythms and darker shadows which simply and skilfully accentuates the melodic humidity and elegance around them. In Secrets the pair court the flames of warmth lining the surf fuzziness with a darkly provocative prowl, offering a jazzy contrast to the more fiery aspects shimmering boldly around them.

New single Girls Named Benji marks another step up in temptation and excitement within Daydreaming, its Throwing Muses meets The Only Ones like canter, an epidemic of inciting rhythms and sonic drama around a just as keenly delivered and tenacious vocal prowess and attitude. The track is as compelling as it comes and swiftly matched by the outstanding Little Lost. Once again instantly the rhythm section captivates and enslaves, and once more the guitars create a sonic and slightly scuzzy tapestry of rich enticement to seduce the firmer enticement. There is a feel of Belly and Breeders to the song but, as expected, it is twisted and woven into the rousing and here raucous ingenuity of Murder Shoes to addictive effect.

The surf fuelled beauty of Reefer And Pizza seduces ears next; it’s romancing sway like the sun on a lively sea but with a volatility that will have its thrilling say. Another major pinnacle that provokes a hint of Martha and the Muffins in thoughts, it makes ways for the album’s title track, a crystalline kiss of light with rolling beats and fields of sonic and melodic sultriness. Again there is that steely and dramatic underbelly at play, seeping along and into the textures of the song bringing a subdued and thrilling theatre of darkness with underlying intimidation.

Can You Sea Me brings its masterful stickiness of evocative enterprise and melodic intoxication next, the song maybe eclipsed by those just before but smothering the listener in celestial and earthy contrast for great pleasure before How Does It Feel closes the album with a similar weave within its own engrossing character of sound and imagination. It is a refreshing end to another excellent and thrilling offering from Murder Shoes. The album continues where the previous EPs left off but also shares new depth in sound and exploration along the way. Daydreaming is like a musical lover you will only lay back and think about for ages after tasting its creative kiss, that a success in anyone’s book.

Daydreaming is released November 6th via Land Ski Records and @ https://murdershoes.bandcamp.com/album/daydreaming

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Pete RingMaster 06/11/2015

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The Meow Meows – Friends On Benefits EP

meow meows_RingMaster Review

Starting with one of the most flirtatious embraces likely to be heard this summer and proceeding to cast another two slices of pure aural suggestiveness, the Friends On Benefits EP from UK ska rockers The Meow Meows, puts the irresistible into virulent temptation. Three songs of the Brighton nine-piece’s increasingly renown fusion of eighties ska and even older garage rock with a more than healthy punk bred diversity, the EP is one inescapable incitement for body and imagination.

The Meow Meows emerged on the Brighton live scene around 2005, the collective rising from the ashes of several bands from the south-coast ska-punk scene. It was not long before their reputation and fan-base flourished through their energetic live presence and a sound which bewitched feet and ears with infectious ease. The years since forming have seen the band share stages with the likes of The Temptations, The Skatalites, Reel Big Fish, The Beat, The Selecter, King Blues, The Skints, and Hollie Cook amongst many, and the release of a couple of well-received albums. Debut full-length Songs From The Fridge stirred up plenty of attention but it is probably fair to say that its 2013 successor Somehow We Met, helped push the band into new spotlights. Friends On Benefits, like that album, was recorded with producer and reggae legend Prince Fatty and quickly confirms The Meow Meows as one of the UK’s truly instinctive creators of contagion.

cover_RingMaster Review     The seeds to the Friends On Benefits EP arose from the band being one of ten artists commissioned by Fuel Theatre for their Music to Move to project, its aim to create works from bands in union with choreographers which would inspire the general public to dance. Equipped with another pair of toe inciting swingers, also loaded with humour laced and snarling social /political themed lyrics, band and release swiftly set hips to work with the EP’s title track. Brass and rhythms instantly collude in a gentle but forceful sway as guitars within another breath add their sultry hues to the melodic smile of the keys. Alternating their individual vocals over the verses, both Danny and Hanna spark further hunger, the two ladies temptress like within the rousing swagger and shuffle of the song. With a whiff of The Bodysnatchers to it, as well as The Beaubowbelles and The Jellycats, the track is a spellbinding and lingering bounce of a persuasion swiftly matched by its successor.

London Road has an even chirpier gait to its stroll, brass and beats quick-footed protagonists within the key’s smouldering caress. As in the first, the music embraces the vocals with a more restrained energy yet it never loses the infectious lure ripe in its presence and enterprise, in fact springing new melodic flames with every twist of its irresistible tempting. As it proceeds with a distinctive and magnetically quaint Hammond organ tone seducing, the song gently and seamlessly evolves to subsequently emerge with a Martha and the Muffins like new wave colouring which seems to feed and accelerate the excellent ska fuelled and increasingly agitated climax of the outstanding song.

The EP is completed by Tits & Hatred, a more old school punk endeavour which echoes with essences of bands like Au Pairs and The Raincoats within its severely tantalising and eagerly varied character. The track is again primarily brewed from the band’s seventies inspired 2-tone/ska punk inspirations which of course are in turn dosed up with the band’s compelling touch and imagination; the result being one mouth-watering end to one thrilling proposition.

The Meow Meows create ska punk ’n’ roll to lose your inhibitions and body to, with Friends On Benefits the spark to lustful endeavour.

The Friends On Benefits EP is available on vinyl from July 13th via Jump Up! Records and digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/friends-on-benefits-single/id997669416 or http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00Y6EIGXO?keywords=Friends%20On%20Benefits%20EP&qid=1436784848&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

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RingMaster 13/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Feral Kizzy – Slick Little Girl

Phote by Luke Fisher

Phote by Luke Fisher

The debut album from Californian dark poppers Feral Kizzy is simply an aural playground, a landscape of musical roundabouts spinning through modern tenacity and invention and creative swings whooshing across eighties new wave and jangle pop. Slick Little Girl is soaked in originality and nostalgia, a mix providing a riveting and thrilling treat ultimately cast as something unique to the Long Beach quintet; and something very easy to get addicted to.

Formed in 2010, Feral Kizzy consists of five musicians uniting a rich variety of inspirations in the band’s sound. References have been made to Patti Smith, Concrete Blonde, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Cure, though the one band which comes to the fore more than most, whether an influence or not, is eighties US band Pylon, especially their first album Gyrate. As suggested all spices and essences are evolved into something new but there is certainly a potent and enjoyable similarity in textures, sound, and unpredictable invention. With some guest contributions from bassist Hannah Smith Keller and Hannah Blumenfeld (Jail Weddings, White Murder) on violin and cello, the five piece of vocalist Kizzy Kirk, keyboardist/vocalist Brenda Carsey, guitarist Johnny Lim, drummer Mike Meza, and bassist Kevin Gonzalez perpetually explore their and the listener’s imaginations within Slick Little Girl, and fair to say they leave major pleasure in their wake.

Opener Lapdog Apparition needs little time to lure ears and appetite with its potent charms, a thumping initial beat casting the first hook swiftly assisted by a jangle of guitar and the saucy shimmer of keys. Quickly into a magnetic stride the song swings along with sharp twists, subsequently slipping into a more fluid and mellower enticement then just as easily coming out of it and starting the cycle again. A tinge of the Au Pairs flirts with thoughts as it continues to dangle bait and enterprise through ears, though it is the delicious B-52s like detour which seals a lustful deal with emotions through its Rock Lobster like tease.

Feral-Kizzy-Slick-Little-Girl-Cover__RingMasterReview   The track is creatively irresistible, a major flirtation matched by the band’s new video/single Community Service. A throbbing Cure like bassline sets things in motions, whispers of guitar lining the entrance of vocals with Kirk alone an enthralling invitation and in union with Carsey, inescapable tempting. The song proceeds to spin a web of tantalising vocals and hooks as its rhythms offer a shadowed prowl against the more celestial flight of the keys. It is captivating stuff, an inventive weave of textures and melodic infection, with the description of Xmal Deutschland meets Throwing Muses and indeed Pylon a canny hint.

The Way We Are has a fine line in guitar jangle and spicy melodic imagination backed by another addictive dark rhythmic baiting from Meza and Gonzalez, whilst vocally a Debbie Harry like whisper clings to the expressive roar of Kirk. Matching the invention and lures, Carsey breeds a pungent waltz of persuasion with fingers on keys too, it all colluding in a busy and thick dance of jangle pop before making way for the melodic caress of Sally and the Emcee. A gentle saunter equipped with rawer, incisive edges, the song is a provocative croon which thickens with every passing chord and beat until filling air and ear like dense melodic smoke. It persistently smothers the senses and seeps into the psyche, seducing with increasing effect over every play.

With a similarly sculpted canvas Lament comes next quickly breeding its own distinct character with a bluesy tang and citric adventure of spatial keys. The track is mesmeric but with a fire in its belly leading to a feisty rock tenacity driven by masterful riffs and hooks from Lim. Again sounds from earlier decades entwine with a modern invention and freshness, culturing something as much psyche pop as it is punk rock. From one album pinnacle to another with the scuzzier Life Associates which straight away is a more forceful and rugged proposition through the snarl of bass and guitar alone. Again there is a punkish element to the song’s roar and a sultry kiss to the melodic endeavour on offer, something like Siouxsie and the Banshees merged with Martha and The Muffins a strong reference, though as across the release, songs come with Feral Kizzy originality which argues against any comparisons as much as it sparks them.

More blues bred twangs grip the guitar enterprise in Not My Mind, the spicy coaxing quickly engulfed in the melodic poetry of keys and attention grabbing vocals. Though it does not quite light the same rich fire in ears and thoughts as its predecessors, the track reveals yet another side and depth to the songwriting and invention of the band, its body a volcanic fusion of sounds and textures which never erupts but is a constantly imposing and gripping incitement unafraid to unleash the heat of its heart.

The Dinosaur flirts and sways with sixties garage pop captivation and indie rock mischief next, flirting with body and thoughts from start to finish and never relinquishing its tight vivacious hold until passing the listener over to the just as ingeniously compelling tempting of The Skin Is Thick. A darker but no less boldly imaginative encounter, the song winds around ears like a lithe temptress, constantly stirring up shadows and deep rooted instincts through heavy seductive tones of bass and enchanted keys spilled drama. With vocals also on a resourceful intent to enthral and enslave, the song makes an impressive and exciting warm-up act for the closing show stopper What Are You Doing? All the lures and creative theatre of its predecessor is taken to a new level, every second of the song a controlled but rich blaze of skilled and impassioned endeavour. It is an epic bellow from the imagination and creative depths of the band only enhanced further by the sensational presence of Kirk and the intense incitement of the orchestral coloured strings, their spicy lure bringing echoes of Sex Gang Children back in the day.

Feral Kizzy is superb at uniting slim and often repetitive textures with thick tapestries of ingeniously woven enterprise, the last song epitomising that craft and success which flows across the whole of Slick Little Girl. The album is a thrilling adventure; one bred across the years in many ways but solely of the now, and Feral Kizzy a band surely looking at big things ahead.

Slick Little Girl is available from June 26th on LP/CD/Tape/Digital via eliterecords @ http://www.eliterecords.de/#!webshop/cst1

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RingMaster 25/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Talks – Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves

The Talks 2014 photo SJM 2 landscape

You may have already found your feel good encounter of 2014 but it is never a bad thing to keep looking right up to the closing days, especially when as winter opens its eyes you get a treat as irresistible as Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves, the new album from UK ska rockers The Talks. Bringing eleven tracks to infest feet, the body, and the imagination, the release is a stomp of addictive revelry which cannot fail to put a smile on the face and emotions.

Since the release of their debut single Picture This in 2008, The Talks have been on a steady climb with the past couple of years seeing a fevered acceleration of attention for their fusion of ska, punk, reggae, and two-tone. First album Live Now Pay Later! in 2012 awoke a fresh spotlight on the Hull quartet which last year’s Westsinister E.P and singles Can Stand The Rain, which featured Neville Staple from The Specials, and Friday Night swiftly pushed to new levels. Alongside the releases, the band’s live presence has been just as dynamic in garnering acclaim and luring the passions, the foursome of Patrick Pretorius (vocals/guitars/sax), Jody Moore (vocals/guitars/keys), Iain Allen (bass), and Richard Lovelock (drums) sharing stages with the likes of Madness, The Specials, Rancid, The Beat, and The King Blues, as well as playing festivals such as This Is Ska, Mighty Sounds, and Rebellion over time. The previous EP was a highly anticipated encounter with Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves finding itself more eagerly awaited, and again the band has surpassed hopes and expectation with their contagious exploits.

The band’s sound lies somewhere between the provocative roars of The Vox Dolomites, the punk causticity of The Members, the melodic reggae and ska charms of By The Rivers and The Beat respectively, and the virulent devilment of The Jellycats. It is a proposition though which whilst embracing familiar essences develops its own unique devilry as swiftly shown with album opener Don’t Look Behind You. The initial warm embrace of keys has ears and thoughts engaged immediately, especially as riffs chop and rhythms start leaping as keys open up a new inventive flirtation whilst the pulses and strokes of the song work on the passions. Loaded with bait feet cannot resist, the song spreads its seduction further with the mischief of vocals and bass alongside the jagged majesty of guitar stabs, hooks, and beats.

The brilliant start is emulated instantly by recent single Radio, an insatiable two tone fuelled escapade with the delicious whiff of The Selector to it. Within moments its chorus is leading the Picture 156anthemic stroll, the song’s swagger as virulent as the brass flames and exotic keys colouring it. There is a punkish air to the vocals which again reminds of The Members whilst the punchy rhythms consume the vivacious dance of the encounter like an epidemic. The track is aural addiction, a breath-taking protagonist of body and emotions leaving a tall order for the following Tear Us Apart to match up to. With sultry keys and warm harmonies its first breath, the song is soon stirring up ears and imagination with its reggae bred enterprise and melodic summer. It mesmerises with its caressing canter of sound, reminding of fellow Brits Shanty as it floats and immerses the senses in its mouth-watering adventure.

Both Fire and Ceasefire keep the thrills ablaze, the first a muscular slab of ska provocation with bulky bass lines and feisty riffs pouncing on ears with antagonistic intensity and infectious rigour. The track has its nostrils flaring from the first second but the increasingly impressive vocal melodies and dramatic brass hues tempers the roar for another riveting big boned incitement; think King Prawn meets Lazy Habits and you are somewhere near the potency of the song. Its successor which features Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox of The Kings Blues, is an immediate blur of sonic drama and rhythmic provocation, a great dirty baseline aligned to agitated beats the frame for combative vocals and smouldering melodies. Teasing with dub enterprise over a ska crafted canvas, the track bounces with confrontation and climatic resourcefulness, every twist a striking reward for ears and a spark for thoughts to match the lyrical impact.

The gentle warmth and catchy romance of Light Up replaces the previous exhilarating tension of its predecessor, the swaying proposition a melody rich call with keys and harmonies embracing another irrepressible earthy bass temptation. Its masterful charm and joy is followed by the pop punk infused All in a Day, the band regaling the album with yet another thrilling slice of diverse and creative magnetism. A mix of Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish but unique again, the song bounds along with a recognisable air around a creative humidity which fires up into an irresistible persuasion, especially once the outstanding escape of deranged keys occurs.

It is a track, as all to be fair, which feet and voice of the listener are unlikely to resist, a lure across the album which is no more inescapable as in the brilliant Hacks. New wave soaked pop punk meets the spicy flirtation of Bad Manners, the track is an ingenious enslavement of ears and passions based on a ridiculously captivating rhythmic enticing and spicy guitar tempting, all matched in expression and allurement by the punchy vocals. The song tells you all you need to know about The Talks, their inflamed imagination and diverse sound, it all encapsulated in two minutes of instinctively seductive alchemy.

The equally thrilling Tune In steps up next to seize the passions, its opening jangle of chords the lead into a melodic coaxing straight out of the Martha and The Muffins songbook ,which in turn shares its space with swipes of feisty rock and ska sculpted endeavour. As punk as it is ska and adrenaline fuelled rock pop, the song stalks ears with a predacious ingenuity before making way for the smoky presence of Sam, reggae and indie rock embracing in a humid embrace, which in turn leaves for final track Alright with Me to close things up. The last song has blues flair to its keys and a choppy texture to the guitar enterprise shaping the expressive musical narrative, a transfixing croon to bring the album to a fine end and show yet more of the variety and creative depths of The Talks.

It is impossible to listen to Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves just once in one sitting, and certain tracks many more times on top. As stated at the start it is a feel good album but more than that, it is a release from a band to which invention and uncompromising adventure is as instinctive as the rapturous infectious sounds they seem to have stockpiled up inside them.

Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves is available now via All Our Own Records now @ http://www.thetalks.co.uk/store/4575625721

http://www.thetalks.co.uk

RingMaster 25/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Latvian Radio: Kill The Static

Kill The Static is a vibrant and infectious slice of power pop/rock from US band Latvian Radio. Their third album, the release offers twelve songs triggered according to its sleeve, by the complexities of the human condition. The album is a light but substantial array of sounds and ideas which easily find a home within the ear and makes for a frequent and welcome companion.

The seeds of the band go back to the solo work of vocalist and guitarist Patric Westoo. After releasing three albums he teamed up with long time friends in multi instrumentalist Kim Monday, guitarist Mark Poole (63 Eyes and Phantom Six), and Brian Porterfield (Cheap Truckers Speed), the quartet becoming The B-Sides in 2002. Their album Troubleshooting the following year met with strong responses to its short crisp punk and rock fired songs. For their second release the band decided on a change of name and became Latvian Radio. The line-up changed and evolved but the releases only increased the acclaim and attention upon the band. 2006 saw the release of Happiness Above A Hardwood Floor with Seven Layers Of Self Defense coming three years later, both drawing strong coverage and exposure in media and radio play as well as comparisons to the likes of Elvis Costello & the Attractions, the Replacements, Brendan Benson, Big Star, early REM, and the Decemberists.

Released via Belpid Records from Sweden, the new album is a continuation and expanse on its predecessors, the songs an insight into the psyche of prolific songwriter Westoo drenched in waves of melodic enterprise and dense energies. The title track opens things up and is a fully infectious and irresistible pleasure which grips the heart instantly with its jangly guitars and warm caressing vocals. Keys swarm with a heated elegance around the enthused core of the song adding to the expressive pop melodies and enchantment. One can see why people issue comparisons to artists like Costello when describing the music of Latvian Radio though this song reminded more distinctly of Martha and the Muffins in context of its melodic touch and buoyant keys.

The following Cigarettes & Soda has a Kinks lilt to its summery and inviting pop sounds and already shows the strong and impressive array of diversity within the sonic and melodic umbrella of incisive imagination the band are noted for. The likes of Sons & Daughters with its air lighting crystalline kisses, and the feistier power pop charge of Dead Weight continue the wide menu of sounds and invention giving pleasure all the while.

Again bringing another unique aural dish to savour, So, You Want To Make Me Believe takes the listener on a ride through surf pop, its layers of warm touches  siren like amongst the lapping waves. As the album settles further into the ear with the horn veined Out Of Your Mind and the blues gait of Inwood Park playing before closed eyes, one can almost drift off into a world of sun and glowing multicoloured skies.

The album is a fine example of power pop at its very best, intelligent and well crafted by musicians at the height of their imagination and creativity. If warm climes and golden melodies are your kind of distraction then Latvian Radio is definitely the soundtrack you need.

http://www.latvianradio.net

RingMaster 17/08/2012

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