Maths and The Moon – Familiar Strange

MATM_RingMasterReview

This month sees the release of the eagerly awaited second album from UK alternative rock trio Maths and The Moon. It has been not too many weeks short of three years since their debut full-length, Night Train Daydream caught and captivated ears and imagination with its tapestry of droning seduction and fire drenched melodies spun with uncompromising invention. Familiar Strange is the natural and bold evolution of its predecessor’s sound and character; a generally calmer proposal with fascination and maturity flowing through every pore yet still creatively, an unpredictable and forcibly adventurous exploit.

Southampton bred and made up of vocalist/guitarist/principal songwriter Andy Fielder, drummer Luke Taplin, and bassist Matt Hirst, Maths and The Moon has persistently provided sounds and sonic explorations which have challenged as powerfully as they have enthralled. Formed around 2010, the band made its live debut supporting the legendary Can frontman Damo Suzuki, building on that thick interest sparking moment thereon in before sparking rich acclaim with Night Train Daydream in 2013. The album was an experimental fusion of psych rock and post punk with plenty more involved. Familiar Strange similarly embraces those hues but with an even richer array of equally dramatic flavours involved. It provides a sound and experience which is less spiky than on the first album, even more welcoming melodically and emotionally in many ways, yet still immerses the listener in landscapes as imaginatively scenic as they are emotionally invasive.

The trio has honed their sound and ideas into aural tales, where words and notes collude to cast individual glimpses into shadowed hearts and emotive reflections whilst, to use the words in the album’s press release, losing the listener “in the forest with nothing but shadows, memories and strangely familiar characters.” It all begins with recent single Futurist, a song instantly imposing on ears through the rumbling bass and some heftily swung beats as the guitar spreads an evocative jangle. That relatively forceful first touch soon mellows into a calmer incitement, the song prowling on its rhythms as the inviting tones of Fielder croon over the web of sonic enterprise and drama. The volatility which persistently courts the track does erupt in its chorus to fine effect, arousing ears and appetite further before the song swings through its merger of all aspects while smouldering harmonies and melodic flames colour the fiercely infectious encounter.

Familiar Strange _RingMasterReviewThere is a touch of Muse about the opener, but just a passing whiff before a Pixies-esque spicing emerges in the following Magic. Again it is a scent in an offering uniquely Maths and the Moon; a track which merges a charming sonic irritability with tenacious beats and the spiny lure of the bass. As with the first, the song is inescapably contagious, inciting body and ears with equal prowess and success whilst its fuzzy air and emotive drama seals the imagination’s involvement. Across its length, it blossoms an increasingly blistered surface to its melodies and voice, flirting with a Jesus and Mary Chain meets scorched shoegaze like glazing, while superbly continuing the impressive start to the album with a success quickly backed up by Amongst Trees and its shadow grasped balladry. It is a subdued and mesmeric persuasion where poetically suggestive guitar and voice hug ears as drums and bass build a pulsating frame around them. A thicker stroll of psych rock does emerge within the track, another enticement as catchy as it is soothing in the album, which in turn breeds a rolling rhythmic incitement which provides the hook for celestial harmonies and sultry melodies to hang around.

Howling is another with that alternative meets indie rock essence to its persuasion, the Maths and The Moon seemingly inspired again by the Frank Black kind of songwriting in the creation of their very own addictive tango on the ear. A sizzling slice of dark pop, the track hits the sweet spot dead centre, an accuracy matched by the outstanding In The Ellipse. The track is a ten minute instrumental providing a rhythmic canter with suggestive melodies and lively enterprise in its creative mane. The virulent ride has the scent of The Cure to it, their kind of emotive theatre laid in a tenaciously sculpted and offered gallop though an ever shifting and descriptive landscape.

From the warm and bright emprise of the last track, The Collector envelops ears with a haunting and intimately melancholic sigh. As with the previous ballad, the song is a minimalistic proposal coaxing ears and emotions, but luring full attention with an underlying infectiousness to compliment the maudlin shadows and the great repetitive coaxing around Fielder’s magnetic vocals.

In the band’s first album, Wire often came to mind but not with Familiar Strange, not until Boomerang anyway which weaves some colder steely hues reminiscent of the great band into its low key but snarling seduction of the senses. It is simply just another texture though, taken and twisted to suit and fit what, the album continues to prove, is their most distinctive and robustly compelling sound yet.

Familiar Strange is brought to a close by firstly the solemn acoustic balladry and heart of As The Crow Flies, though a song building a pyre of emotion and sound which burns with more intensity by its departure, and finally, the haze soaked psychedelic saunter and mesmerism of Psych-Seeing. Providing a riveting end to a thrilling encounter, the track glows and resonates across the senses like charmed smog with a melody spilling lighthouse at its heart.

It is fair to say that Night Train Daydream impressed and still does but Familiar Strange is Maths and The Moon on a whole other plateau offering their most exciting and accessible but still invigoratingly experimental proposal yet.

Familiar Strange is released May 20th @ http://mathsandthemoon.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 19/05/2016

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Maths and the Moon – Futurist

Maths and the Moon _RingMasterReview

It is hard to believe that it was two and a half years ago that our ears were first bewitched by Maths and the Moon and their debut album Night Train Daydream. The fact that the album is still a potent part of our playlists obviously has made it seem like it was many less moons ago that it first arrived in ears and imagination. Now the band has some new proposals to tempt with. There is a new album about to be uncaged and ahead of it already stirring up ears and attention is its first taster in the shape of Futurist. A free to download single, the track is a smouldering slice of alternative and indie rock embracing the psych rock essences which the band is primarily renowned for. It is a new direction for the British trio and on first touch, another fascinating one.

Hailing from Southampton, Maths and the Moon consists of vocalist/guitarist Andy Fielder, drummer Luke Taplin, and bassist Matt Hirst. They formed the band in 2009, making their live debut alongside legendary Can frontman Damo Suzuki the following year. As mentioned, their sounds and subsequent debut album Night Train Daydream fused experimental and psych rock imagination with at times a just as potent tinge of post punk. It was an imaginatively hued and transfixing adventure which even in its different character, Futurist suggests the new album has the potential to emulate.

The single certainly makes a forceful entrance, a thick rumble of bass and meaty swings hitting ears as guitars magnetically jangle. Things do relax a fair touch as Fielder’s mellow and expressive tones step forward surrounded by sultry melodies, though there is a volatile air lurking around its lure which erupts in imposing kind again as the start of the song re-establishes its potent presence. That cycle continues across the song, with Hirst’s bass especially throaty and addictive as its contrasts the smouldering harmonies and an eventful blaze of melodic flames.

Atmospherically spicy too, the song has an additional Muse-esque essence to its fire which also does it no harm. It is only one song of course so too early to make any statements about new album Familiar Strange but anticipation has already gained a tingle or two thanks to Futurist.

Futurist is available to download for free @ https://mathsandthemoon.bandcamp.com/track/futurist

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Pete RingMaster 11/04/2016

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Punching Swans – Nesting

artwork_RingMaster Review

How to describe UK trio Punching Swans?

You could say they are a carnivorous groove machine, a sonically schizophrenic rumble, or a rabidly twisted siren; all applying to the creative psyche and adventure that breeds the band’s irresistible sound and now their new fiercely virulent album Nesting. Maybe the best way to describe Punching Swans is a twisted union between The Fall, McLusky, The Fire Engines, and Maths and the Moon. It is a band which despite a clutch of similarly distinct releases has remained in the shadows of the UK music scene like the black sheep of a family which gets locked away in the attic away from prying ears. Now though, the door is unlocked and the band is about to infest British rock ‘n’ roll with their tempestuously deranged math punk, courtesy of the inimitably thrilling Nesting.

Punching Swans is the ravenous creation of producer (Sunlight Studios) Greg Webster, formerly of Medway greats Houdini, the equally impressive Frau Pouch’s Joe Wise, and Pablo Paganotto from The Explorers Collective. Formed in 2011 or 2012, depending where you read, by Greg and Joe from a one-off band called Laura Palmer and the One-Eyed Jacks they got together for a Twin Peaks night, Punching Swans quickly sparked ears with a self-titled debut album in 2012, and even more so with its successor Mollusc two years later via Skingasm Records. Each has inspired potent attention and praise across fans, media, and radio shows but it is easy to feel it has all only been the taster to reactions about to be triggered by Nesting.

Telling the “story of one man’s journey from self-imposed isolation to the skies”, Nesting takes little time in gripping attention and appetite as its opener, Cuckoo Cuckold K-killed, dangles sonic bait in front of ears before the robustly contagious beats of Paganotto get to rebellious work. His swings tempt and seduce with a tenacious grin, coaxing bodily involvement as vocals walk the rhythmic web into the imagination as tangy guitar and devilish bass lures begin to stir and add to the increasingly enthralling and incendiary stroll. Unsurprisingly there is a touch of Houdini and Frau Pouch to the delicious incitement but equally thoughts of Swell Maps and inescapably The Fall also flavour the first treat.

Seriously dynamic and gripping, the album’s superb start continues with Man Nest, an even more psychotic and caustically enterprising proposition that needs mere seconds to seduce and inflame the senses too. Wise’s bass shows it has probably the grouchiest textures in British rock ‘n’ roll at its disposal whilst Webster’s guitar trespasses show no qualms about infesting the senses and psyche, acidic grooves and fiery tempting a perpetual forte.

Pigeon Street toys with more restrained energies and urgencies for its enthralling exploits next, though it is all relative to what came before as the song, with the scything beats of Paganotto an inescapable trigger to get physically involved, blossoming into an insatiable almost predatory shuffle of searing grooves, thumping rhythms, and zealous revelry. Even its calm climax has an element of off-kilter ingenuity before the infectious rock ‘n’ roll of Ovulations rumbles along with the fervent vocals of Wise and Webster holding the reins. Again hooks and grooves steal the passions as rhythms jab deeply, the song entwining post and garage punk texturing into its fearsomely alluring landscape.

That great bass tone is at its crabbiest again in the following Beak Throat and its peevish stalking of the senses within a net of guitar spun wiry hooks and sonic delights around vocal dexterity. It is hard to imagine anybody able to resist the choleric grooves of the song or possible to see the track alone avoid sending rapturous waves across post punk/noise rock pastures with its gloriously savaging and exhilarating tempest.

The brief but again irresistible invasive seduction of Ostrituals comes next to forcibly arouse the passions. If Public Image Ltd had been The Wonderstuff or Wire been McLusky, you wonder if they would have sounded like this mouth-watering predacious stomp whilst its clamorous successor Headless Chickens suggests The Dancing Did or Stomp doing salacious things with Pere Ubu or Marc Riley & The Creepers. The outcome of both and all songs though, despite suggested spices, is always something unique to Punching Swans as proven by Pecked to Death which cantankerously sits between them. Snarky in tone and unhinged in character, the track meanders and twists into unpredictable and manic detours but returning all the time to its rapacious and concussively catchy directness.

The bulging rhythms of Egg Rock is an immediate and successful infestation of the passions, its sonic tendrils and testy Mark E. Smith laced vocal strains only adding to another senses searing, lust inducing incitement before Flight brings the invasive alchemy of the album to an end. The clamant finale to Nesting is a raw soar into noise pop infectiousness and magnetic sonic caterwauling which just lights the touch paper to rapture before retiring to leave ringing in the ears and euphoria in the heart.

Nesting is the first essential album of the year and Punching Swans one of the bands set to step out of the shadows in 2016 and become seriously shouted about.

Nesting is released via Skingasm Records on 22nd January digitally and on CD with a hand numbered limited edition of 30 with a 16-page book featuring drawings and notes from the story behind the album @ http://punchingswans.bandcamp.com/

 

— Punching Swans Tour 2016 —

JAN 28 CANTERBURY w/Mass lines, Death Pedals, Negative Space

JAN 29 CHATHAM Poco Loco – MEDWAY ALBUM LAUNCH w/Girlpower & Bear vs Manero

FEB 11 CAMDEN Unicorn w/Mayors of Miyazaki + Screen wives

FEB 16 BRIGHTON TBC

FEB 21 OXFORD The Library Pub

FEB 24 BRISTOL Stag & Hounds

FEB 27 LIVERPOOL Maguire’s w/ Robocobra Quartet, Jazzhands and Cal Banda

 

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Pete RingMaster 20/01/2016

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Maths and the Moon – Night Train Daydream

Maths and the Moon pic

As soon as the opening track of Night Train Daydream, the debut album from UK band Maths and the Moon, began its tantalising flight of persuasion and rhythmic dance a broad grin emerged pushing back lips in lustful anticipation. The track took mere moments to ignite an intrigue and hunger which was last rife back in 1977 when the albums Pink Flag and more so Chairs Missing registered their instinctive temptation upon the passions. As the band unveil more of their psyche bred sounds across the release thoughts of those album’s creators Wire whisper very loudly across the imaginatively hued, transfixing addictive journey Maths and the Moon skilfully conjure. There is plenty more to the spellbinding sonic travelogue of course, all of which only teases and thralls the senses and imagination into its tense and dramatic escapade.

Hailing from the New Forest area of the south of England, the trio of vocalist/guitarist Andy Fielder, drummer Luke Taplin, and bassist Matt Hirst formed Maths and the Moon in 2009 and made their live debut alongside legendary Can frontman Damo Suzuki the following year. Night Train Daydream and its startling contents were recorded and produced by the band across 2009 through to 2012, a journey of time and internal venture for the release which finally has its departure into the thoughts and you can only suspect hearts of the country September 30th. Already preceded by the single Old Days/New Daze which was released as  free download invitation, the album provides one of the most unexpected and thoroughly, greedily consumable treats of the year.

The provocative intensive dark charms of FFWD (Fly From Danger) opens up the dramatically imposing and scenic expanse of the album.a3240501242_2 It is a riveting first stop on the imaginative travelogue of sound and invention, a brewing rhythmic virulence emerging from a sonic mist to mark its first call. A cavernous breath calls from within that evocative chilled ambience as restrained whispered vocals tempt and coax in the passions further. Submission to the deliciously claustrophobic toxic fumes is unavoidable especially as voice and rhythms darken their presence and intensity to crowd and incite the imagination and emotions further. It is a staggering entrance of repetitive discordance which strongly pushes forth that Wire reference, which is confirmed and cemented in thoughts by the following On A Knife Edge. Another bait of rhythms beckons whilst a minimalistic bass and guitar call alongside the again reserved yet expressive spoken vocals seduces with ridiculous ease. Once the narrative sends the delivery of Fielder into a more mania bred uncertainty there is a sense of The Mae Shi to the song which merges with post punk chills of again Wire for a captivating almost nightmarish wonder.

The stunning start is next taken into a schizophrenic waltz of sonic and emotional discordance in Hekyll And Hyde which challenges its own psyche and the imagination of the listener; dark and light, peace and mania all conflicting yet seamlessly united provocateurs which explores inner turmoil whether emotional or physical. The great thing about album and songs is you can interpret things into personal potent landscapes as easily as sensing the band’s intent, their aural descripts guides without dictating which ensures each continued trip with the album is unique.

It’s Okay To Be Afraid continues the incredibly addictive and immense presence of the album, the track an initial caress of melodic warmth and tender comfort sculpted by sensitive guitar melodies and bass pawing which embrace the shoegaze glaze of the chorus, the mesmeric tone adding an extra reassuring kiss within the coarser shadows of the track. Another magnetic enticement which recalls the likes of House Of Love and My Bloody Valentine in many ways, it leads the senses into the mesmeric instrumental Recurring Dream Number 13. The chilling verging on sinister atmospheric piece is the continuation of the previous narrative of dreams and sleep within its predecessor, the track a hypnotic meditative embrace with imposing edges.  The outstanding Old Days/New Daze is the awakening from this track, its busy and feisty bass stroll and rhythmic rounding up of the senses and thoughts a forceful slightly deceptive lead into new fearful yet rewarding if faced, adventures. The guitars carve a sonic storm of riveting enticement across the sky of the song whilst the drum and bass bait make a perpetually enslaving inducement alongside the monotone but engaging vocals, again so reminiscence of Wire and the early solo work of Colin Newman.

Through the likes of the air blistering menacing WWYB (The Demons March), the acoustic and starkly elegant Anxious Cats, a song which launches upon a larger intensively dramatic stance midway, and the deceptively hypnotic Monochrome which finds an invention and roving stance that is pure post punk toxicity, the album takes the passions and imagination through strikingly and intensely coloured emotive explorations which stretch not only thoughts but the boundaries of the songwriting and album.

From the slightly industrialised instrumental Lolocomo, Night Train Daydream heads to the completion of its absorbing dark ride with firstly the exceptional Light At The 11th Hour, the track a fiery garage punk infused slice of rewarding fun for the traverse of so many exciting dark stops on the journey, and lastly the electronically propelled Polychrome. The song is a scuzz driven dance of bright sonic lights and heart spawned celebration, though as now expected it does not come without dark corners and shadowed distractions to ignite even greater rapture and intrigue.

 Night Train Daydream is a brilliant debut, a mesh of droning seduction, fire drenched corrupted melodies, and uncompromising imagination. Maths And The Moon almost make you believe in musical reincarnation because though they are not the new Wire they are surely the kings of their legacy.

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www.mathsandthemoon.bandcamp.com

10/10

RingMaster 25/09/2013

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