Mid Reflection – Outcast

Reaping the rich essences of punk, rap, ska, and heavy rock for a sound which echoes the heart felt honest words it surrounds, UK quartet Mid Reflection have just released their debut EP. Outcast is a four-track incitement of creative intent and open emotion with plenty to please fans of those genres just mentioned and equally those looking for something fresh and hard to truly pigeonhole.

Drawing on inspirations ranging from Linkin Park and Sublime to Gorillaz and House of Pain, London based Mid Reflection emerged in 2016. In no time they were making a strong impression on the London and South East live scene, their reputation constantly increasing as they shared stages with the likes of Imperial Leisure, New Town Kings, and Karl Phillips. The Outcast EP is their introduction to broader attention and quickly incites that inescapable success with its opening title track.

An initial guitar melody wraps ears first, rhythms soon adding their inviting yet dark hues as frontman Matthew Bishop, aka 2T’z, raps his open reflection on some of the battles in life he has overcome. Just as quickly is an instinctive catchiness in sound and vocal delivery to which guitarist Martin Velicky spins a captivating web of melody as bassist Nathan Neumann provides a suggestively brooding shadowing. The beats of drummer David Bean add to the dark edge surrounding Bishop’s recollections of being bullied whilst Velicky’s guitar also carries a certain melancholy in its melody and defiance in its enterprise as the song makes an impressive start to the release.

Nevertheless it is soon eclipsed by the bouncing [Spunge]-esque ska pop stroll of Illusions. The track had ears and appetite hooked within seconds, its familiar yet individually fresh infectiousness and invention surrounding another lyrical probing inspiring fiery bursts of rock ‘n’ roll trespass. The old school punkiness which escapes some of its moments just adds to its strength and imagination, and the pleasure before Legalise It springs its own raw edged rock ‘n’ roll speared headed by the machine gun rap delivery of Bishop. With repetitive riffs and hooks, the song is not the most boldest on the release yet every thrust of its rhythmic incitement, blaze of sonic electricity, and roar of vocal carousing hits the spot.

Foes brings things to a close, offering up a thicker dose of The Kennedy Soundtrack spicing hinted at in the EP opener. Centred on betrayed friendships, the song is a melodic tapestry of emotion and intensity which seems to only further blossom listen by listen.

It is a great end to a release which may not forcibly put Mid Reflection on the ska/punk/rock map but will surely awaken a great many more to their presence and a rich potential which rather excites.

Outcast is out now through iTunes and Amazon.

http://www.midreflection.com/    https://www.facebook.com/MidReflection/   https://twitter.com/midreflection

Pete RingMaster 29/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Richie Campbell – In The 876

Richie campbell_RingMaster Review

With the release of third album In the 876, Richie Campbell shows exactly why he is revered in his homeland of Portugal and becoming one of the most greedily devoured propositions in global reggae. Also infusing rich essences of soul and Latin flirtation into an array of individually distinctive songs, Campbell and album has the body bouncing and ears smiling.

Already drenched in acclaim and rabid attention which has seen the album hit the top of the Portuguese iTunes Charts within 2 hours of its European release in May, In The 876 now gets its UK unveiling with anticipated similar reactions going its way. Recorded between Kingston and Lisbon, and with a title referring to the telephone area code of Jamaica, In The 876 features numerous guests and is the next potent step in the seemingly unstoppable rise of Campbell and his creative stature. The Lisbon hailing singer/songwriter began concentrating on a solo career from 2010 having played in bands over the previous six years. Debut album My Path came out as a free download and subsequently amassed over 250,000 downloads which in turn led to Campbell playing a sold-out show at Lisbon’s Campo Pequeno Bullring. Second album Focused was just as well-received and successful, gaining a nomination in the Portuguese Golden Globes of 2013 and seeing its lead track, That’s How We Roll, awarded Song of the Year at the National Radio Awards.

Now is the turn of In The 876 to arouse thicker spotlights and awareness, in the UK and around the globe, and it gets off to a mighty bang, after its intro like title track, with I Feel Amazing. One of the singles from the album which has already earned potent radio play, the song is pure reggae flirtation. Its rhythms swagger with infectious beats aligned to bass spawned hips whilst guitars and vocals swing with virulent contagion and melodic seducing. From the off, the warmth of sunny skies around optimism rich emotions swim through ears and into the psyche, the whole song quickly an irresistible incitement to dance and smile. Though three and a half minutes long it is seemingly over in a flash, leaving exhausted but over flowing enjoyment behind to be whipped up again a by another single from the album in Best Friend.

cover_RingMaster ReviewThe second song has a mellower gait but is no less insistently catchy and melodically glowing, vocally and musically. Again keys and guitar incite a vibrant canter which has the body swaying incessantly whilst, as in its predecessor, a familiar but refreshing character only adds to its seriously persuasive climate. Vocally Campbell allows his naturally harmonic tones to entangle a more expected reggae seeded delivery resulting in something, as the music, instantly friendly and recognisable yet individual in character to most others.

The impressive start continues with Feels Like which features the wonderful gruff growl of Agent Sasco (also known as Assassin). The song is sublime temptation, its flow and melodies smooth over a canvas just rippling with character and diversity. There is a touch of New Town Kings and UB40 to the encounter and an instinctive romance between ska keys and ears. It is glorious and as it has body dancing and voice crooning, the lead thought is that this surely is a done deal as the next single.

The broader flavouring of the magnetic 25 to Life comes next, its emotive shuffle employing richer rock textures to a soul/reggae blending whilst Man Don’t Cry slips into a smouldering embrace graced with sultry backing vocals around another infectious rhythmic collusion of bass and beats. At times across the album Richie Campbell casts a sound which has familiar seeds in a musically hard to pin down landscape, and here that quality is at its most captivating best, with the song vocally and musically almost kaleidoscopic.

That’s Not Mine sees Jesse Royal guesting in its intimate yet wide social statement which has ears as absorbed by its lyrical jaunt as its aural jabbing and melodic tantalising. Thoughts of The Skints emerge as the song shows, like so many, glimpses and clearer twists of invention and imagination in all aspects before leaving full enjoyment in its wake which Get Over You uses to take ears and limbs into its own flirtatious dance. With the siren-esque beauty of Toian’s voice joining the scintillating escapade, the track boils like the surface of an aural heat wave, its relentless shimmer sizzling and pulsating surface unstoppable.

Both Give It All Away and Knock Me Out provide reasons for the imagination and body to rejoice, though neither can spark the same lusty responses as the tracks before them with personal tastes. The first is one of those songs which have the listener unconsciously lost in movement whilst its successor, which includes the guest appearance of Sara Tavares, is an embrace of soul and Latin elegance. Each fully engages but as suggested lack the same spark as the earlier adventures, something to a lesser extent which applies to the tenaciously lively and colourful Rise From We Fall and its reggae/rock pop samba.

In The 876 is concluded by firstly the excellent Standing Firm, a more formula reggae romp but given plenty of the Campbell Latin spice and vocal soul to fascinate and excite before Better than Today brings it all to a soulful close with provocative keys, emotive vocals and harmonies, and a melancholic jazz lined air. In many ways the song does not quite fit the rest of the album, or shouldn’t but it only provides a powerful end whilst revealing more of the impressive depth within Campbell’s writing and invention.

Exciting us most in its first half but only offering a thickly enjoyable time from start to finish, In The 876 shows exactly why the reggae world is excited over Richie Campbell. It is the UK’s time to explore and get involved with his riveting sound and songs now, and no doubt to get excited too.

In The 876 is released in the UK on August 28th via Chet Records.

RingMaster 27/08/2105

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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New Town Kings – Pack Up Bye Bye

newtownkings-packup_RingMaster Review

New Town Kings has more than earned the reputation as one of the UK’s most exciting new reggae propositions, through their irresistible live presence and just as potently last year’s outstanding Pull Up & Rewind EP, which drew as much rich attention upon its reboot earlier this year. Now the Essex based nine-piece are poised to grip national awareness and energy with new single Pack Up Bye Bye, a contagion of Jamaican reggae/ska pop which if there is such a thing as the sound of summer, has it ingrained in every vibrant pore.

Pack Up...cover_RingMaster Review   Formed in 2007, New Town Kings has lit up the UK and European live scene with their inventive and tenacious sound. They have been declared Britain’s greatest traditional Ska band, a claim backed up by shows with the likes of Reel Big Fish, The Slackers, The Skints, Congo Natty, and just recently Neville Staple. Acclaimed festival appearances have also only reinforced and increased the Colchester band’s stature over the years whilst the Pull Up & Rewind EP, as suggested earlier, set out a new statement of creative intent and success for the band. It was a declaration and ascent in sound which is now poised to whip up a new surge of fresh and broader appetites through Pack Up Bye Bye.

From its first rhythmic click the song flirts with ears and imagination, quickly taking them on a warm dance of catchy hooks, warm bubbly keys, and a vocal enticing from Dabs Bonner which just lures closer attention. Swinging with a reggae groove lined with choppy ska clips of guitar, the track just commands involvement from the listener, especially when unveiling its anthem of a chorus. The song is pure addiction from start to finish but that crescendo of virulence is simply irresistible, a sultry temptress offering the richest seduction within the lively simmer fuelling the rocksteady sculpted alchemy.

With a summer ahead of exciting festival and show endeavours, Pack Up Bye Bye with its open look at the angst of relationships, is the strongest, most vocal reason why New Town Kings should be on the agenda for all event goers and your new daily soundtrack.

Pack Up Bye Bye is available now as a free download @ https://soundcloud.com/newtownkings/pack-up-bye-bye-1

Upcoming New Town Kings live dates…

August 1st – Brightlingsea Music Fest (UK)

August 6-9th – Rebellion, Blackpool (UK)

August 13-16th – Boomtown, Winchester (UK)

September 11th – Colchester Arts Centre (UK)

September 12th – Norwich Arts Centre (UK)

September 17th – Cluney2, Newcastle (UK)

September 19th – Borderline, London (UK)

September 22th – Lille (F) – Venue tbc

September 23rd – Berlin (GER) – SO36 (w/ THE SLACKERS)

September 24th Hamburg (GER) – Hafenklang (w/ THE SLACKERS)

September 25th Cologne (GER) – Underground (w/ THE SLACKERS)

October 30th – Skalloween, New Cross Inn, London (UK)

October 31st – Aalst, (Belgium)

https://www.facebook.com/newtownkings      http://www.newtownkings.com/

RingMaster 24/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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New Town Kings – Pull Up & Rewind EP

NewTownKings colour

Released earlier this year, UK band New Town Kings give their Pull Up & Rewind EP a reboot on December 8th, a second outing for the thrilling encounter sure to mop up the appetites of those missing its first coming. Consisting of four tracks combining traditional Jamaican reggae and ska adventure with fresh invention and enterprise, the release shows exactly why the Colchester nine-piece band are no strangers to rich attention and acclaim.

Formed in 2007, New Town Kings has become an eagerly devoured live presence, playing shows across the UK and Europe on their way to being acclaimed as Britain’s greatest traditional Ska band. Shows with the likes of Reel Big Fish, The Slackers, The Skints, Congo Natty and numerous more, as well as this past summer successful appearances at Boomtown Fair and Rebellion have only seen the band’s reputation and stature grow whilst their two albums, Sounds Of The New Town in 2008 and M.O.J.O 4 years later, have potently reinforced their captivating presence and adventure. The first release featuring new vocalist Dabs Bonner, Pull Up & Rewind persistently smooches with the imagination musically whilst thoughts are engaged with more politically aware lyrics from the band, and feet well they have no escape from the EP’s flirtation of rich reggae spicing.

The release opens with Changes, a song which as soon as its first flame of brass crosses ears has full and keen attention. Jabbing prods of guitar from Stuart McClung and John Maynard soon add their potent bait whilst the throaty bass lure of Tommy Marchant makes an instant temptation as the song strolls with vibrant energy. The warm tones of Bonner ensure that though his words challenge with provocative lyrical bait they are a firm but gentle persuasion rather than a demand which suits the sultry climate of the track perfectly. Erupting further with the heated craft of Rory Sadler’s sax and Rob Landen’s trumpet, the song is an irresistible anthem with the power to ignite thoughts and inflame passions.

As impressive as it is though, Luna Rosa soon adds a bit of shade to its success, the second track sheer melodic and infectious beauty. Rising on a brass coaxing which in turn sparks a jumpy Digital-Artstride of spiky riffs and another delicious bassline, the song is soon riding the passions with an impossibly contagious chorus amidst a pungent waltz of colourful Hammond sculpted temptation from Scott James. It is an inescapable enticement aligning to slightly more aggressive vocals from Bonner and the wonderfully skittish yet controlled beats of drummer Sky Roskell-Cheale and the percussive enterprise of Rob Band which themselves simply captivate. The song is a party in the ears and emotions, a sultry temptation with Latin hues and addictive intent.

Things mellow with Grabbed My Hand, a smouldering reggae bred kiss on the senses with enough lively vivacity to it making a just as potent persuasion on swaying bodies before it. Bonner again simply impresses, his addition to the band opening up new textures to explore with as here robustly flavoured and inventive sounds. The dark tones of bass contrast perfectly with the summer tones of the keys and harmonies whilst between them, jangling guitar hooks and thick soulful brass calls only intensify the unveiling emotion clad lyrical narrative.

Closing track Cool The Pressure Down is another with little trouble stirring up lustful movements in the listener, Marchant’s bass Barry White to the warm Four Tops seducing of guitars, keys, and multi-flavoured vocals. It is a festival of humid summer sounds and as its predecessor, though not matching the brilliance of the opening pair, leaves ears wholly enraptured with its ska fuelled temptation.

New Town Kings is one of those feasts greed was invented for with Pull Up & Rewind making a very tasty snack as we await the next full plate of the band’s distinctive and irrepressible invention.

Pull Up & Rewind is available from December 8th

http://www.newtownkings.com/

RingMaster 04/12/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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