Gifted Kings – Lose What Makes You

gifted kings pic

    It is hard to say that Lose What Makes You, the debut album from Scottish rockers Gifted Kings, ignited a fire in the passions for their accomplished and soulful sound, but certainly the 2012 formed band sparked an appetite and satisfaction with their enjoyable release which many emerging bands can only dream of. Consisting of eleven impressively crafted and expressive songs, the release makes a potent and promising introduction to a band we are sure to hear and enjoy a lot more of in the future.

    Hailing from Glasgow and consisting of two sets of brothers, Derek (guitar/vocals) and Andy Murray (lead guitar) alongside Gary (drums) and Paul Smith (bass), Gifted Kings build on the undeniable potential and presence of first single Dead End Road, which has just received its video release also, in fine attention grabbing style with the album. It is not unfair to say that the band’s sound has a rich familiarity to its presence right now, not of any specific band but in general which defuses some of its ability to surprise and stoke those emotional flames, but there is little else to raise a quizzical and disapproving eyebrow over. Recorded with producer Nick Brine (Oasis, The Darkness, Bruce Springsteen) at the same studio which housed the making of Oasis’ What’s the Story Morning Glory and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, and mastered by Pete Maher (U2, Depeche Mode), the album proves its case with a stirring presence and potency which easily awakes positive reactions and attention to match that already brewing as far afield as Russia, Ukraine, Thailand, and India over the band. With their music already gracing several shows on Channel 4, S4C, ITV1, and Sky Sport as well as being adopted for advertising campaigns by Ripcurl and O’Neill Sports targeting the USA, Australia, and Asia, the quartet are on a rapid visible ascent which What Makes You Lose has all the qualities to accelerate.

     The album makes an instantly engaging and gripping start with Rains Will Come, its opening a sonic intrigue of guitar which expands with a rhythmic jabbing and fiery melodic glaze as company. It is not a startling entrance but one which secures full focus especially as the expressive vocals of Derek Murray joins the already pulsating lure of the song. Thoughts of Bristol band Mind Museum offer a suggestion whilst essences of Placebo also hint throughout the increasing emotive brewing of the track; all to a positive effect. The only strange thing about the song is that it never explodes, just simmers as if an intro to the album rather than a stand-alone proposition. Nevertheless it is a great start matched right away by The Last Time. A heavy throaty bass sound and imposing rhythms make the initial temptation as the guitar’s thoughts crowd around in a sonic breeze before making inviting weaves of melodic endeavour around the incoming vocals. Again there is something recognisable about the encounter, though it just makes it an easier ride to immerse within, which with its especially persuasive rhythmic enticement just infects.

     Both No One Knows and Drive keep the album bubbling in thoughts and emotions if missing the heights of the previous pair. The first is embraced by powerful emotive melodies and crescendo like rises in energy and passion as melodic veining arguably inspired by the previously mentioned Mancunians works away, whilst the second strolls with a reserved and enticing alternative rock weight and texture to draw in the imagination. Neither sets sparks to tease the passions into major action but definitely each provides a healthy offering for the appetite to chew over and enjoy, as equally does Dead End Road with its alluring and richly expressive narrative and sound. Though definitely not the best song on the album it is still easy to see why it has drawn such eager responses the band’s way since being released as the first single from the album.

     The following pair of Tell Me Something and Fortune In The City return the release to the commanding and contagious levels it started on, controlling rhythms and rich melodic fire rigorously and anthemically tempting the senses within the first whilst its successor explores another evocative climate with an inventively gripping groove and an infection clad chorus within an unpredictable exploratory landscape. Both tracks alone reveal the depth and potential of the band in sound and songwriting, reach easily lighting keen anticipation for future endeavours.

   From the pleasing and very decent creative exploits of Last Trace Of The Sun and the sonically colourful, not forgetting contagious Wait, the album’s best moment is brought with Neon, a song built on addictive nagging riffs and crisp rhythms which persist until full submission is given for their vivacious bait. Once more the band casts a virulent infection over the ears and imagination which is impossible not to find a lingering hunger for, it’s dramatic touches and blues kissed strikes quite irresistible. Alongside the closing and strong if underwhelming in comparison Written On The Wall, the pair bring Lose What Makes You to a thoroughly entertaining conclusion.

     Gifted Kings has laid the strongest base with their debut, the first of many potent and impressing encounters ahead you suspect.

http://www.giftedkings.com/

8/10

RingMaster 23/02/2014

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Sisteray – She Likes The Drama

sisteray

     Since forming in 2012, British rock band Sisteray has been building a rather potent fan base and appreciation through  their live performances and releases, an eagerly followed presence which their new EP She Likes The Drama gives plenty of evidence to the reason why. The four track release is an engaging proposition which from making an initially decent if unsure persuasion emerges as a magnetically appealing enjoyment. It is fair to say the EP does not quite reach in to ignite a flame in these particular passions but from the sure satisfaction definitely found you can easily see that it will be a different proposition for a great many others.

    Hailing from London and consisting of Niall Rowan (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), the Connolly brothers Daniel (lead guitar/vocals) and Ryan (drums), and Michael Hanrahan (bass), Sisteray take influences from the likes of The Kinks, The Beatles and The Who but equally from 70’s Mod Revival bands such as The Jam and Blues bands such as Dr. Feelgood, The Yardbirds, and The Rolling Stones. Those spices are open in the Sisteray sound as are also inspirations from more recent bands like The Stone Roses, The Arctic Monkeys, and Oasis. It is a striking mix which despite that rich soak of inciting flavours, does find a voice distinct to Sisteray as loudly evident on She Likes The Drama.

    The title track kicks things off, a single guitar tempting luring in attention and imagination before being joined by a nice dark 1536716_554607001299650_1249032493_nbassline and melodically sculpted riff strokes. It is a clean and precise persuasion of sixties blues kissed rock ‘n’ roll with a seventies garage rock breath and nineties indie endeavour. The song never explodes into the fire it hints at, especially around the chorus, but it is as infectious and compelling as you could wish for and undeniably makes a pleasing impact. The vocals of Rowan like the song are expressive with a strong buoyant tone whilst the prime hook of the song is irresistibly potent and with the other enticing elements of the song it all adds up to make the track an increasingly enticing offering over time.

      The following Rollin’ Over also offers a highly coaxing entrance into the song, a lone throaty and slowly parading bassline beckoning ears before the subsequent flame of melodic guitars and crisp rhythms joins the tempting. There is a stronger blues aroma to the song right away which the group vocals around the chorus accentuate into a quite inflammatory suasion. Again the band never erupts into the assumed and hoped to come unleashing of anthemic energy within the track, which does disappoint slightly, but there is plenty in the swagger and voice of the song to draw in appetite for and enjoyment in the encounter.

      I’m Free emerges on a fuzz ball of sonic intrigue increasing further the blues fire which smoulders and burns in each song, whilst a certain Oasis bred croon equally impacts on the ears. Not as tantalising and ultimately impressing as the other songs, it still captures the imagination especially with the constant almost brawling blaze of sonic scowling which cores the musical narrative. Providing the heaviest rock ‘n’ roll moment of She Likes The Drama, the track keeps momentum and strength of the release strong and engaging before making way for the closing Coming Up.

     The song ensures the release ends on the same high as it started, actually an even greater success with the track the best on the EP. It takes a mere second before the irresistible hook of the song steals the imagination, its call switching with a more sobering but inviting swipe of riffs. Into its stride the song is soon urging feet and emotions to partake in its revelry, its presence a mix of the mod power pop of Purple Hearts, the raw punk simplicity of The Fall, and the addictive nature of Arctic Monkeys. It is a masterful and wholly contagious thrill which alone confirms that Sisteray is definitely a choice emerging force in UK rock.

     As previously stated She Likes The Drama fails to spark up the strongest emotions in our personal reactions, well until the excellent final song anyway, but it is impossible not to hear the potential and already toxic strengths of the band which has captured so many hearts already, with plenty more to follow you can only suspect. A release if any of the previously mentioned comparisons take your fancy, to give a big slice of attention to.

http://www.sisteray.com/

7.5/10

RingMaster 15/02/2014

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Exit Calm – The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be

Exit-Calm-550x366

After a relatively quiet couple of years since the release of their debut album in 2010, UK rock band Exit Calm returned earlier this year with the well-received single The Promise and now fully step into view with the new album The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be. The nine track release of soaring epic melodies and matching textures continues on where its predecessor left off though finding a stronger emotive and compelling depth to wrap the senses and lose the imagination within. It is a skilfully crafted and beautifully imagined collection of songs, and though a release which ultimately does not ignite any real sparks and fires inside, leaves the listener with a healthy appetite and easily provoked satisfaction.

The South Yorkshire quartet of vocalist Nicky Smith, guitarist Rob Marshall, bassist Simon Lindley, and drummer Scott Pemberton, certainly stoked up a strong wealth of acclaim and hunger for their previous album and live performances which has seen them play alongside the likes of Modest Mouse, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Boxer Rebellion, and Soulsavers as well as lighting up stages at the likes of the V Festival and Tokyo’s Liquid Rooms. Embroiled in the inspirations of the likes of the moodier guitar led bands of the nineties, the sound of Exit Calm has a calming yet provocative effect on the ear and the new album is primed with plenty of fire hot impacting sounds. It is probably not too harsh to say that there is not a wealth of moments and songs which linger in the memory past their company but within their embrace the listener is immersed in some striking and potently enterprising adventures emotionally and aurally.

The first single from the album The Rapture opens things up, guitars conspiring to raise tingles with their resonating voices and sonic ec_album_covercaresses. The throatier call of the bass brings welcome shadows whilst the melodic and sonic flames lick with restraint but potency at the ear awaiting the entrance of the excellent vocals of Smith. With a scorching breath to the climactic spires of melodic and passionate intent, the song swamps the senses in a pleasing and heated hold of imaginative narrative and impacting reflective sound. There is an early U2 whisper to the track especially vocally which does it no harm, and a feel of My Bloody Valentine to its body that makes for a satisfying and beckoning temptation.

Both Albion and Fiction continue the strong start, the first a reserved but heated flame of melodic textures and evocative hues and its successor a wash of jangling guitar teases and bass shadows around a vocal and melodic expression which pulls in the essences of Jesus and Mary Chain into the band’s own distinct poetic sound. Though neither song reach the heights of the first, both cast an absorbing and magnetic lure over ear and thoughts, the second of the two almost finding a presence which leaves a mark on the memory away from its caress.

New single When They Rise adds a little Oasis like confidence to its energetic yet reined in swagger and with an Inspiral Carpets gaited infectiousness makes an obvious lure into the album for newcomers even if the track is not the strongest on show, that honour belonging with ease to Holy War which follows the quietly contagious and slowly persuading Higher Bound. The simmering ballad is ripe with tender and descriptive melodies which outshine the vocals but against the pinnacle of the album The House Of Love toned song has a fight to stand out. Holy War instantly has a drama and imposing presence to its entrance and progress, a guitar scripted blaze and rhythmic mystique making a sirenesque plea to the passions whilst the band offers an invention and entrapment which dances and incites the imagination. The melodically colour strewn song stands head and shoulders above the rest of the album and is the one time the release repeatedly makes a suggestive and vibrant return away from the record.

The Promise slips in to a sixties wrapped elegant glaze upon a shoegaze wash, though one which is unafraid to add some muscular tempting especially through the drums. This brings a Birdland toned fire to the smouldering though without the scuzzier raw aspects they were renowned for. Glass Houses equally grabs attention with an intense heat to its sonic ceiling under which guitar and bass around the fine vocals paint an emotive picture, whilst the closing Open Your Sky provides a final nostalgic tease with its opening melodic gambit raising thoughts of The Walker Brothers to evolve into an Echo & The Bunnymen sounding embrace with psychedelic flames kissing the surface.

There is no doubting that The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be is a fine and impressively crafted as well as presented release, but apart for one maybe two moments it fails to grasp and find a memorable hold on thoughts and passions away from its body. In its arms though the album is a satisfying pleasure which confirms if not stretches the already impressive status of the band.

http://www.exitcalm.net/

8/10

RingMaster 22/09/2013

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City Reign: Another Step

cityreign-anotherstep

    Another Step the debut album from UK indie alternative rock band City Reign, is a release which leaves one mutually satisfied and dissatisfied. Consisting of eleven excellently crafted and presented slices of guitar driven passion the album has all the ingredients and invention needed to ignite the passions but lacks the fire and uniqueness to achieve that intention. The band from Manchester has the promise and craft to forge a formidable place in UK indie music, and has already for a great many people, but Another Step falls short of being the trigger.

The band was formed by songwriters and guitarists Chris Bull and Mike Grice, who met six years ago at a Ryan Adam concert at the Manchester Academy. The following years saw them writing and playing in bands together before starting up City Reign whose name the pair took from an Adams song, City Rain, City Streets. The past three years has seen the band release their debut single Making Plans on their own label Car Boot Records, the song gaining the support and enthusiasm of Steve Lamacq, and the Numbers For Street Names EP in 2011. As with following singles Out InThe Cold and Daybreak, the band received strong reviews and responses from online press and bloggers from their releases and soon embarked on their first UK tour and ventures in Europe.

With drummer Duncan Bolton and bassist Michael Glaze completing the line-up, the quartet recorded Another Step with producer Sam Jones (Band on the Wall, Alex Turner) in Salford’s Sacred Trinity Church, making full use of the building’s natural acoustics and not allowing being interrupted by a funeral the priest had double booked at the same time, to slow their creative momentum. Musically the band has a sound which to simplify things is an intriguing mix of Oasis and The Mighty Lemon Drops which possibly shapes the personal indecision towards its potency from a dislike of the former and love of the latter. Certainly from opening track Anchor through to the last rich note of the release the album enthrals and evokes with its honest impassioned voice. The first track opens with sturdy riffs and rapid rhythms around a sonic groove which plucks at the senses with infectious engagement. The vocals of Bull releases the heart of the track with strong expression and is ably aided by the good group harmonies across the chorus, whilst musically there is a slight Inspiral Carpets whisper to the pulsating track. It is a grower too, the initial encounter leaving mild content with evolved into strong admiration and pleasure, something which can be applied to the whole album.

Making Plans, Out In The Cold, and Sleep Easy follow to warm the ear with stylish melodic enticement and an overall raw honest energy. There is a familiarity to the songs which even with their individual moments of compelling invention means they do not leap out at the ear or rip attention from the world but all are accomplished and well- crafted companions.

After the slow melodic melancholy of The Line, a track which brings Doves and Mighty Lemon Drops to thoughts as well as seductive strings from Maya Kashif, Graham MacKenzie, and Ailsa Hoyle, the album truly hits its strides and moves into its strongest moments starting with Retaliate. The song opens with guitar caresses brought with a delicious kiss of discord and wraps its emotive arms around the listener with warmth and plaintive passion. Again Oasis is a predominate spice with the rich lush strings again elevating things to an absorbing grandeur to leave ear and thoughts engrossed from start to finish.

The excellent See What It’s Worth with its sinewy rhythms and bulging energy is the prime highlight of the album, the rock track bringing vibrant diversity to what is at times a singularly gaited release whilst musically the band show they can pump up the pulse rate as easily as they can tenderly coax it. The big boisterous beats of Daybreak introduce another pinnacle upon the album, the song a sculpted melodic brawl for the ear to devour. Contagious in every note and rhythmic persuasion, the track is a pleasing restrained riot of sound which like many other tracks shows the deep potential of the band.

With further songs like the first single from it, the sensitive Ahead of Ideas and closing track Anywhere, Anyway offering strong ideas, the album is a satisfying if at times underwhelming release which certainly deserves investigation. With a more distinct character to its songs and diversity to the vocals of Bull to break up the similarity which puts a glaze upon the album, Another Step would have convinced the passions much more but nevertheless it still sets City Reign firmly on the radar of bands to watch.

http://cityreign.net/

Another Step 6.5/10 The promise of City Reign 8.5

RingMaster 25/02/2013

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In Search Of Fire – Serotonin Storm

In a year of strong debuts UK rock band In Search Of Fire announce themselves to the world with another in the shape of the excellent Serotonin Storm EP. The six track release is an impressive introduction of fiery guitar driven songs and impassioned heart which captures the imagination and fires up the senses. The release is a tightly crafted and openly thoughtful collection of songs which either explode with adrenaline fuelled energy upon the ear or seduce with emotively charged sonic caresses, either way the band accomplished and impactful.

The promo for the release said for fans of Muse, Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, and Led Zeppelin, a list which did it no favours here to be honest. Some of those essences can be heard within Serotonin Storm as strong whispers, but for the main it offers something clearly different for a fresh invigorating new presence in UK rock.

Since forming, The Chatham quartet of vocalist and lead guitarist Andy Malet, rhythm guitarist Anthony Vandongen, bassist Connor O’Connell, and Rob Dowsett on drums have lit up stages across the southeast and breaking into London more than once or twice, with supports for The Wombats and Missing Andy under their belts. Recorded alongside Arthur Walwin, Serotonin Storm is their first big step to wider recognition and an attention receiving leap it will surely be.

Blood is pumping right from the off, opener Indie Rock n Roller storming through the ear with driving rhythms and a twisted groove to light the fires. Returning to comparisons one band did come to mind as the riot of a song blistered the air and grazed the senses wonderfully, Psychedelic Furs, well if they had evolved into a dirty punk n roll band. There is a similarity to the emotive breath created but again a whisper. The hook which permeates the song is as acute and delicious as any spawn by the Buzzcocks and the track itself is a bruising piece of punk rock brought with flair and invention. The slip into a piano touched respite is glorious and unexpected, just the first of many times the band impress similarly, before shifting back to the rampant charge of the song for its eager climax.

It is a brilliant start giving a tall order to follow for the following When In Rome and No Shit Sherlock. Though both arguably miss the target set it is by a mere hairs breath, the pair igniting further passions and enthusiasm for their creative and energy stoking sounds. The first explores the ear with caustic guitar flurries over rumbling drums from Dowsett, both Malet and Vandongen sending shards of flaming melodies and tight riffs across the ceiling of the song. It is an intensive piece of songwriting which has a stadium rock type energy, thus the Muse comparisons though it has to be said of any other band they are the ones which share the closest flavour at times. Ending with a slow reggae spiced climax which works well even if it feels like an added idea at the end, the track passes over to the fierce intent of No Shit Sherlock. Attitude soaks every word and note bringing spite to the song, further evidence of the inventive diversity within band and sound. As the track evolves you can only be in awe of the subtle way the band fit so much into their songs without disturbing their balance and natural flow, this song alone an evolving feast of imagination and melodic flare.

The potent Memory Loss lyrically and musically sends another charge of electrifying pleasure through the ear; its blues classic guitar sounds the spine for the bristling coarse kiss upon the ear whilst Dead Men’s Eyes just leaves one gasping within its scouring energy and burning might. The vocals of Malet, as everywhere just wring every passion and emotion out of the words to bring extra intensity to the tracks and none more so effectively as in the closing slow burner Moving On. A power ballad of sorts, the track initially did not find a connection, the opening razor like guitar jangles clashing with the vocals but given time the song spreads into another smart and well crafted piece of composing. It could not ignite the levels achieved elsewhere but it easily won over any doubts.

Serotonin Storm is an outstanding debut from a band which has all the credentials and talent to go a long way, watch this space.

www.facebook.com/insearchoffire

RingMaster 10/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Hotel Diablo: The Return To Psycho, California

With a deliciously evocative name, Hotel Diablo still had a little work ahead to inspire as much enthusiasm with their music as their style in hard rock is not a flavour which generally lights too many fierce fires of anticipation within our personal preferences. The Californian quartet though had little problem in leaving a satisfied and enthused listener in the wake of their debut album The Return To Psycho, California, a fine release of melodic and muscular rock n roll. As said the band has a sound rooted in hard and melodic rock but there is a strong and impressive metal pulse which results in a meaty and formidable release, even the slower more reserved songs having a steel to capture as much imagination as the well crafted melodic breath. The album admittedly does not wear away existing boundaries to set new parameters or sounds for rock but it certainly brings a fresh and feisty appealing presence to the genre which is impossible not to reap plenty of pleasure from.

The band formed in 2011 when vocalist Rick Stitch and guitarist Alex Grossi returned home from a world tour with Adler’s Appetite, the band of original Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler. Departing the band the pair set about looking for a fresh project to get their teeth into and when they played a one off show with bassist Mike Duda and drummer Mike Dupke (the rhythm section of W.A.S.P.) the unmistakable chemistry and excitement generated led the four to writing songs and the formation of Hotel Diablo. Entering the studio with Gilby Clarke (Guns N’ Roses, Rockstar Supernova) as producer, the band unleashed a collection of dark true stories experienced by the artists, twisting them into compulsive and captivating songs which make up the album. With further production by underground LA producer Matt Starr, The Return To Psycho, California taps into the Hollywood shadows with incisive skill and magnetic energy making for an album to thrill and get the blood pumping faster whilst treating the ear to enterprising rock n roll.

Released via Scarlet Records, the album rampages with mischief from the off with opener Taken. The song grinds at the ear with tight riffs within seconds with hard rapping rhythms forcing the issue further. The growl of the track is constant; continually gnawing away at the senses whilst the great melodic tones of Stitch coaxes deeper attention and the guitar play of Grossi leaves sizzling spires of sonics through the air. The persistent groove of the song is addictive and offers a good bite to the smoother flowing harmonies and energy. It is a catchy yet riotous start which sets the rest of the album up perfectly.

The following All These Years and What You Do To Me are less forceful but still retain an intimidating snarl through the excellent bass of Duda. They are easy on the ear melodic weaves which only impress with the again sharp and slightly acidic melodic play of the guitar and impossible not to admire vocals. Though neither triggers deep passions as the first they only leave one relishing hearing more.

The heart of the album begins with Psycho California, a tasty brew of wicked intent, chopping riffs, and anthemic energies and vocals. From this point things on the album explode with even greater quality and triumph. Twisting one around its teasing grooved finger the song is an infectious surge of acutely styled yet rampant rock music. Bury You goes even better, its slow intense first breath expanding into a stunning wave of passion and shadowed emotive caresses. With more than a whisper of Soundgarden to it, the track is easily the best on the album and one of the best songs heard this year anywhere. The melodies sizzle on the senses whilst the rhythms insistently jab to add extra energy to the drive of the song.  The lead song on the release, it alone will ensure mass attention the way of the album and band.

Songs like the stirring Set It Off and the impassioned Wicked Lines continue the great imagination and sounds leaving one fully engrossed in the release. There is the inclusion of a cover of Wonderwall which we will swiftly skate over, not because the track is poor in any way but just because personally Oasis and that song are like aural lime upon the senses, and no band could make it sound passable for these ears.

Ending with enjoyable alternative versions of What You Do To Me and Bury You, the album is a thoroughly satisfying release to spend plenty of rewarding time with, and Hotel Diablo a band one wants to hear so much more form.

www.thehoteldiablo.com

Ringmaster 24/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Varese’s: Self Titled EP

The debut EP from British indie rock band The Varese’s is one of those sneaky little blighters which upon hearing for the first time sparks keen interest and impressed responses. All the time though it is working away with its tight melodies and vibrant energy, not to mention catchy presence, to return in unexpected moments when one least expects it, to share its heart once again. Listening over the initial times only pleasure and growing respect flies its way but one is not expecting hours later for certainly two of the trio of songs which make up the release, to return in the shadows of night to party in the mind. It is a limited club to belong to when artists are sowing their sounds in these ears day in day out, but The Varese’s are a full and determined member indeed and use their membership to return when they please, not that there is any complaint.

From Liverpool, the quintet is a band still young in its life, their music merging melodic and heart borne sounds with sharp and edgy lyrics carrying the rawness of the streets and lives the band comes from. Their music is a thoughtful and poetic mix of potent soulful lyrics and vocals from Jonny Andrew, heated and irresistible guitar craft from Danny Hayden and Paul Tallant, alongside the emotive rhythms from bassist Adam Murray with the firm attentive beats of Bob Gaul. It is music to evoke images and personal thoughts whilst lighting up the shadows of the day with melodic charm.

Weary Dream is the song which neglected to make extra appearances beyond its aural company but easily marks the band as accomplished and deep in promise. With a slight groan to the bass as it brings the song into view, the track begins to explore its emotion with well lit guitar caresses and sizzling thrusting chords, the two guitarists igniting an emotive air through different approaches linked with craft and thought. The vocals of Andrew weave in and out of the music, finding and adding extra depth to the passion of the song. It is not a song which personally lit major fires but alone easily ensures the band has close attention upon them.

The other two songs on the EP though are eager companions and welcome returnees, both Strangers and Spotlight songs which would be irritating in their persistence if they were not so masterfully created and superbly sounding. The first of the two has a confident swagger brought through crisp jangling guitars and pulsating basslines. Again Andrew is an impressive voice for the lyrics, his delivery impossible not to be captivated by. The track is devilishly infectious, the chorus alone a familiar buddy after only one listen which you cannot resist joining in with. Shadows is indie pop at its best with an air of Oasis to its spark, but do not hold that against them, and a subtle essence of The Loud and Wah in its breath.

Spotlight is a more laidback song with a twang to the guitars with again more than a slight jangle to their flight. It is a reflective piece of passion which tugs on the emotions as much as it fires up the ear. Driven by keen drums and the strolling bass sound, the guitars leave smoking trails in their sonic melodic wake whilst Andrew spreads his range out for all to see and approve, the man a vocalist already of impressive stature and sure to grow into a major voice, as the band itself.

Listening to the EP, one still gets the feeling there is so much more distinct and powerful things to come, their depth still in evolution and discovery by the talented musicians. We for one will be there to reap the rewards as The Varese’s grows into their sound and lights up new realms, our suggestion is you should be there too.

www.facebook.com/thevareses

Ringmaster 18/09/2012

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Interview with Ian Barnes from The Longsands

If anyone gets the notion that invention and quality within UK the indie/rock scene is lacking need to go no further than listening to the debut album Meet Me In Spanish City from The Longsands. It is a release which is passionate, mesmeric, and easily one of the more impressive and essential albums to come out this year. The Newcastle quintet ignite thought and emotions with their and impassioned and infectious blend of rock, pop, and indie sounds for a full and lingering pleasure. Given the opportunity to talk with guitarist Ian Barnes from the band we delved deeper into and behind the band and album.

Hi Ian and thank you for taking time out to talk with us.

Firstly please could you introduce the band members?

We are The Longsands from Newcastle (well Northumberland if you wanna get technical!) we serve up rock n roll tunes with great melodies and honest lyrics.

Singer: Trev
Guitar and songwriter: me (Ian Barnes)
Lead guitar and songwriter: Stan
Bass: Gaz
Drums: Paul

What was the beginning of the band?

Started mucking about with a few tunes in 2006 and it was more of a hobby then, but we won a national unsigned competition and put a single out which made us take things more seriously. Myself and Trev quit work to get us off the ground. We then got a collection of early songs and got out there gigging as much as possible around the UK at the end of 2007. We sold out The Sage in Newcastle and then went on a few tours of Greece commissioned by Sony music and Jack Daniels.  At this point our old drummer Sean (and he was old) decided sunshine, free whiskey and rock ‘n’ roll was not for him!  Haha! Well I think it was more the commitment, really… After that tour we took things far more seriously through 2009 and began working on a debut record with a new drummer (Paul) and an agenda of world domination! There have been a few curve balls since then but we are still here and I believe we have one of the best records this year.

Is there a musical history before The Longsands?

Yeh 4 of us at some point between the age of 15 and 21 were in a band called Lotus.  We had some good tunes and it was the most fun I’ve ever had, but although we had ambition it was really just about getting off your tits and playing music in shit holes! Without management we were young, drunk and lacked direction.  We were a great band though! We made a few demos and at some point I’d like to get all the former members together and re-record an album just for myself! And maybe do a show for a laugh! God knows when though! Very busy with The Longsands at the mo!

It seems like The Longsands was grabbing attention almost from the start, was that the case?

Partly, live we have always performed well and drummed up fans but there are parts of the British music scene that I don’t think will ever warm to us.

It’s a funny old place – 2012 – for bands, but great music will pull through I hope and something has to give.  I have no doubt that there are tons of talented people out there, but for whatever reason it’s getting tougher and tougher for new artists to get noticed.

Now we have a record out though, no-one can argue with that and it’s getting to the stage now where we are getting in people’s faces whether they like us or not!  And I think whatever peoples’ initial thoughts, if you give this record the time it deserves you’ll love it!

Which are the major influences that shaped your personal musical directions and the band sound?

Musically, the most important band for me were Oasis. Without them I would not have picked up the guitar or wanted to be a songwriter.  They opened the door to a lot of other music as well.  The Stone Roses, The Jam and the most important band of all time, the Beatles.  As a 12 year old kid I would never have listened to a band my dad liked if Noel Gallagher hadn’t told me too!  I’m so pleased he did… We could go on and on – The Doors, Tom Petty, Neil Young…

More currently bands like The Streets and The Courteeners have made me really improve lyrically which I always thought was my weak point as a writer.

You have just released your new album Meet Me In Spanish City which we loved. What has been the early response towards it?

Unreal, let’s put this into perspective… We are an independent band with our own label.  We pay for the manufacturing, recording, touring, PR the lot! Our marketing budget wouldn’t buy you a pack of cigarettes at today’s prices!

We have had 3 five star reviews, Dave Stewart championing the record, plays by Bob Harris and Alex Lester on BBC Radio 2 and the response from fans on iTunes, Twitter, etc. has been fantastic. I always believed in the record but peoples’ comments really made the last 5 years feel worthwhile, and let’s be honest the fans are the real critics.  Let’s just hope enough people get to hear about it to fall in love with it.

Obviously as a band you had great confidence in the album but how much is that tempered by trepidation whenever you release something?

This is not the game to be in if you fear the response to something you do.  We write music for ourselves and hope others like it and we would never put out anything that we don’t think is good. I think our b-sides on the singles show that. You can’t worry about things like that. Obviously nerves are natural, you want things to do well and reviews to be good etc., but we are big boys and can take the rough with the smooth! I’m more worried if the fans think something is shit, but that’s not happened yet and the more you do good things the more belief you have in your music. I think that is natural!

How long was the album in the making?

It was written over a period of about 5 years with some songs being ones I’d had for years i.e. North South Divide and Worlds Collide. I spent about 6 months from summer 2008 to early 2009 with Stan writing the gaps so I was happy with every track.  We demoed and recorded it in about 4 months and produced it by the end of 2009 just before The Jam tour.

With record labels talking to our management and a debut album ready to go, we went into that major tour with high hopes.  We nailed that tour; we were brilliant probably better than them if I’m honest. But a few things out of our control occurred, and by the end of 2010 we had split with the management and had two deals go sour.  As you can imagine we were deflated and an old fan and friend of the band Steve Wraith of Player Inc events management offered us a no nonsense management deal.

We regrouped, and after following up a few leads decided to set up Unknown Soldier records and began releasing things.  We could have put the record out then but we wanted to test the water with a few single releases to get to grips with a side of the record industry we knew little about.  Both Little Britain and Streets and Pavements were released last year and helped us raise some funds to plough into the album release as well as contributions from our sponsors VW Pullman and DT contacts.  By early this year we set the release dates for June giving us time to organise everything. So far so good!

Did you have an exact outcome for songs which were realised going into the studio or did the tracks evolve as you were inside?

The songs were written and picked and we had played them all live, so everything we could do live went down 1st.

Obviously in the studio you can layer further tracks, so we were able to build on areas of guitar work, keyboards (which we don’t have live) and also percussion.  The producer also changed the rawness of the live takes with all the fairy dust and effects to make it sound like a proper record not a demo.

How does the songwriting happen within the band?

It’s mainly my bag at the moment, and Stan and I collaborate now and then, but that tends to be instrumentally. All the lyrics on the record are written by me. Trev is writing for the next record and has a couple of corkers up his sleeve as well! It’s nice, I hope the lads chip in more as long as the tunes are good enough they are all welcome to write.  The best songs will always be picked though, no matter who wrote them, there is no ‘you get 4 and he gets 4 ‘to keep it fair! Obviously, judging what are the best is where the fighting begins. They are fun sessions! Haha!

Your songs are infectiously anthemic is this a deliberate part of the songwriting or just how your music emerges organically?

There is nothing deliberate about any of my songs. An idea can start with a hook, a chord progression or a melody, and from there the creativity serves the song. If it’s an upbeat idea then you build on how it feels, if it’s a slower song then the music will have more dynamics and feel. I usually write the lyrics last, and they can be inspired by anything, from a headline I read in the paper to my own personal thoughts and feelings. Again the lyrical content matches the musical style.  If the song sounds anthemic it’s ‘cause it should do!

What is the biggest inspiration for your songs and lyrics?

It’s nothing specific.  As I said above I write about my own life and personal experiences sometimes but I try not to do this too much as I’m probably not that interesting!

I love politics, although we are not a politically driven band as such, I just like writing about current issues that affect us all.  Things you hear on the news, things that people react to. Sometimes people watching or conversations spring an idea. Quite often I will sing random words to a chord progression just to get an idea of the melody and then a line may stick. Streets and Pavements was like that, I had ‘and it’s happening all over’ in my head and then thought ‘what’s happening all over?’ That week I read 3 articles about knife crime in different parts of the UK and I found them shocking, worrying, and thought it was an important issue. I also tried to suggest some reasons as to why kids end up in gangs, as it was something I studied at university.

Are you a band which road tests your songs on stage before unveiling them in the studio or vice versa?

Other than maybe 1 b-side, we have always played things live before recording and releasing them. It’s not a rule, I think it’s just because this is our debut record and to drum up a fanbase you have to play live.  There may be a point where a record comes first and then a tour, once we are more established.

Is there any particular part of the album you are most proud of or feel things really hit the sweet spot for you personally?

The climax for me is where Trev sings ‘it’s just you-oo-oo-oo who can change the world’ on Let Love Rain On You. Hairs on the neck moment!

But they are all great songs, and everyone will have their favourites. A fan came up to me last week and said ‘This is the first album I can listen to back to back in a long time. I never skip a track!’ that made me a little bit pleased, as you can imagine!

You led up to the release of the album with the single Shut Your mouth, can you tell us about the song and its inspiration?

I could but it might split the band up! Our video company came up with an idea of domestic violence against men after reading the lyrics and listening so we ran with that for the video. But really it’s about another band member who I was really angry with a few years back!  It was only for a day or so and was written in the heat of the moment, so is not really a true reflection of how I feel about him! Thoughts and moods are temporary and change quickly, but songs stay in that moment forever so should never be taken too seriously! I think it has great attack for it though and you can really feel the intensity. Songwriting is often a great way to make something positive come out of anger and frustration, and helps you deal with stuff. Just for the record, we are all mates now!

Amongst your continually growing army of fans you have the likes of Steve White of The Style Council and Bruce Foxton of The Jam as notable followers the latter of the two inviting you to be the main support for The Jam’s winter tour in 2009 as you mentioned before. Do you know how he came across you and how inspirational was the tour?

First of all let’s just clarify that Bruce has never ‘came across me’ !  If you mean where did he hear about us, it was through Russell who is the singer in From The Jam.  He saw us live and recommended we contact their agent and that was that.  We had a great tour and made a lot of friends.

You have gained a great reputation for your live shows; you are a band that ensures all have a good time as much as simply hearing great songs?

I’m not really sure! We don’t really do much apart from play and sing our songs as well as we can!  We are not the type of band who has visuals or jumps about, but it doesn’t stop the crowd going for it! Guess you could say we let the music do the talking!

Please tell us about the series of sporting challenges videos you have made ‘The Longsands Challenges’. How did the idea of those come about?

It wasn’t really planned as a series, it just kind of happened! We knew we were playing at the Tyson event and Trev suggested we try a PR stunt.  We were having a round of golf and we were in the trees looking for a ball (as usual). Trev was under a conker tree and said that’s it I’ll fight him at conkers, thinking it was a very English game and he would find it quite random! Which he did! He wouldn’t let anyone have the conker after he was besotted with it!  The response was so good to the clip that we contacted other sports stars and once Tyson has done something everyone wants a crack! He’s over in the UK again this year, so the re-match may be on! Who knows!?

Was it easy to get the likes of Ricky Hatton, Steve Harmison, Shay Given and Mike Tyson involved?

Yeh they are all contacts of our manager, Steve. His sports events company use these guys a lot for charity do’s and so we were lucky we had their details!  They still had to agree to it tho’ and we thank them all for being up for a laugh!

Did you sell them a copy of the album too?;)

The winners got a free one! Sorry Shay!

Will this be an on-going thing if the opportunity arises or was just part of the album build up?

Like I said, it wasn’t really planned but worked well in the build up!  At the end of the day we are a band and it’s mainly about the music, but our style of music sits well with sport and sports fans for some reason.  We won’t continue to flog a dead horse just for a bit of cheap PR though as it would not be interesting! People would have to demand more, and if our fans are enjoying something and it’s helping push the music to new places, then never say never!  I think the Tyson rematch is most likely, as Trev has been winding him up on Twitter!

Are you all sporting fans?

Yeh, all Newcastle Fans and fans of most sports really!

What s next for The Longsands?

2nd single out at the beginning of September, hopefully with 4 big UK tour supports and just work our way up the ladder with radio, press, etc.  We are also working on a new record in between everything and releasing a live DVD for Christmas.

Again thank you for sharing your time

Have you any last words for the readers?

Just thanks for reading and hopefully listening! The word is spreading and we need their help to get out there and tell the world about The Longsands :-)

And lastly did anyone take ‘a dive’ out of fear of facing Mike Tyson in conkers? :)

No, but Gaz bottled British Bulldog against the Newcastle Falcons due to a shoulder injury!

Read the review of Meet Me In Spanish City @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/the-longsands-meet-me-in-spanish-city/

The Ringmaster Review 08/07/2012

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Interview with Peter D’Chisholme of The Sea

If you thought all forms of op music was insipid and oppressively bland you have not come across the new album Rooftops from UK indie band The Sea. Consisting of brothers Alex and Peter D’Chisholme the band released a collection of songs which were infectiously imaginatively inventive and distinctly varied pulling in essences of pop, rock, show tunes, soul, and the blues to name a few of the flavours bursting from within Rooftops. As soon as we were offered we jumped at the chance to speak with the band to find out more, asking Peter about them, the album and life in The Sea.

Hello and welcome to The Ringmaster Review. Thank you for talking with us.

Firstly for those still not aware of you, please introduce yourselves and describe the band.

Hello there, we are two brothers (Alex and Peter), guitar and drums – making rough pop music. Lots of energy and lots of love.

What inspired you to make music and your sound in particular?

Couldn’t tell you what actually inspired us to start, it’s always been there with us and we kinda fell into it. The sound just came naturally and due to the fact there are only two of us. Whatever we’d lose from there being only two of us we more than match with the energy of our live show.

 At what point did you think your music had something that would appeal to others as much as you enjoyed creating it?

Haha, when other people told us?! It’s never really been a major issue for us; we’ve always made the music we wanted to regardless of what others say.

Did you grow up with music, always music in the family household?

Yeah absolutely, our Dad is a guitarist and was in several covers bands when we were kids. There was always a guitar in the house and The Beatles were always on the stereo.

Was the band name pretty inevitable with your other love haha?

Er, yes I suppose it was really. We were sat on the beach one day talking about what we should call ourselves, when Alex said, “How about ‘The Sea’?” and that was that.

As surf fanatics too how hard was it to blend the two and to initially give your music the dedication it needed when the waves were calling?

Very hard indeed, and us moving to London pretty much says it all really doesn’t it? There are no waves here, man! So the band took priority. However we do watch all the ASP contests when we’re on the road – for us it’s our football.

You began in 2007 out of your parents garage your bio said, was that the point you actually started making music or the point you decided you were a band?

The point that The Sea came about… We were in another band before, that fell apart and we found ourselves just jamming at Mum and Dad’s place and we were like “yeah this works”.

Your acclaimed debut single Love Love Love came out as 2009 started on your own Lusty Records, as have your releases since. Was doing it DIY always your preference or the only way at the time to get something released so no real option?

Well, we were advised if you want to keep full control of your output you should set up your own label so we did. Since then we’ve licensed the releases to various other labels all over the world so I don’t think we were worried about not getting signed to other labels.

Could you see Lusty Records widening to help other artists at some point?

Yeah don’t see why not. Not yet though.

2008 and 09 seems like they were very hectic and full years in many ways for you, though most years could be classed the same it seems for you haha. Was it as much of a whirlwind at the time as it seems from the outside?

It’s more of a whirlwind now I’d say. Fuck man, it’s all a blur to be honest (not in a druggy way, just constantly touring or recording). It’s been a great few years that’s for sure.

You were invited to play the MJ Festival in the US during this period, please tell us how that came about.

Really don’t know. We’ve played twice actually. They just contacted us and asked us. This has happened a lot to us, most unsigned bands don’t tend to believe you, but most of the good stuff that has happened to us is not through us pushing for it. Getting signed in Europe, supporting big bands – all of it is because others have contacted us.

Your debut album Get It Back was released in April 2009 also again to strong and eager acclaim. In a time already going very well what impact or extra difference did it make to the already impressive responses you were getting critically and at your constant shows and touring?

I think it was a case of the gig attendance went up massively, almost overnight. People just started turning up! Haha!

It seems like the album came out in the middle of touring was that actually what happened or there was a lull around it?

No, it happened mid-way through touring. It was very hectic. We didn’t really have any management in place in those days, so we were running everything. It’s a lot more organised for this album. Kind of had to be because we’re touring even more this time!

Moving on to your excellent new album Rooftops. How has it and the sound you have now, changed and evolved from your debut?

Well, if we have changed it’s more of an unconscious decision in the sense that we just gave each song what we felt it demanded. If we heard horns or strings in our heads we’d put it down. I guess this record is more pop than “Get It Back”. That’s not to say the next album will be like “Rooftops” though.

Did Rooftops emerge exactly as you envisaged going into it or did it bring an extra breath and depth that even surprised you a little?

Good question! I guess it did surprise us a little bit. The songs seemed to take on a life of their own. It was like they were speaking to us saying “give me strings, give me horns”.

Listening to the album there are so many flavours that suggests many influences without sounding exactly like any either. As songwriters how aware or how much thought if any goes into wondering where some chords or riffs come from and how much they may sound like something else or is that never an issue?

I don’t think that’s ever really been an issue to be honest, if it sounds good then we’ll do it and just hope that someone tells us before we release it if we’ve ripped off someone else! Our merch guy is like a musical encyclopaedia he knows every riff ever written, when in doubt ask Ben. That’s our motto!

Rooftops is very varied too, from the big glorious sounds of New York, the wonderful soulful ballad Cry, to the garage punk energy of Panic On The Streets Of Dalston. How have you created this diversity but made it fit seamlessly within the overall charm of Rooftops without it being disjointed?

That’s a big compliment, thank you! We spent a lot of time in the studio discussing how the songs were put together – months in fact. Our producers Julian Diggle and John Cornfield wanted to get the story of the songs to flow into each other. In many ways it’s a concept album of falling in love in London and the whole album maps out that summer when it all happened.

Could you give some background to Panic On The Streets Of Dalston our favourite song on the album?

I (Peter) was at the time living at my friend’s house in Shoreditch and my friend turned up early from work saying, “Have you heard about the shooting in Dalston?” At that time The Smiths song ‘Panic’ was on the TV, so I just went into my room and out it came! I also wrote ‘Where’s The Love’ on the same day!

Also tell us about the distinct and hypnotic closing track to the album is Emily’s Waltz?

Well that’s THE song for us on this record. It’s the realisation of falling in love and letting everything else in your life just disappear. I still ‘well up’ when I sing it live sometimes. It’s about hope and the risk of starting a new life.

As you mentioned you got producer John Cornfield (XTC, Muse, Supergrass, Oasis, Razorlight) in to work with you on Rooftops. Why did you feel he was the right man to help realise your new ideas and sounds?

Well he’s a fellow Cornishman, so we knew each other and love all the albums he’s ever done. He’s got a real ability to get the best out of you.

You were writing the album in 2010 and you recorded it then too?

Yeah the recording, mixing and mastering went through 2010 and 2011. We were lucky to be given such a long time to make it.

Rooftops has taken quite a while to be released then and obviously that is also down to the terrible accident Alex had whilst surfing in 2011. That must have put music well away from the thoughts at the time?

Yeah, the accident put the release back by pretty much a whole year. But to be honest it was the last thought in our minds at the time. We were told by various industry people that this could really damage our career (such a long time between albums). But any suggestions to continue without Alex were met with a very swift ‘FUCK OFF’. There are more important things than what some wanker in the music industry thinks.

Can we ask the extent of Alex’s injuries and the prognosis for him at the time?

OK, as I (Peter) am doing this interview I can only tell you the facts. The surf was pretty average, certainly not big; a freak accident ‘duck diving’ (look it up) pushed Alex’s neck into the shallow sand, rendered him unconscious underwater, breaking his neck and slipping a vertebra out of place. It looked for a while that he’d have to have surgery and initially at least we were not sure if he’d ever walk ever again let alone play the drums. He’d lost the use of his left arm totally.

Could anyone other than a drummer have made the remarkable return to strength and the drum kit that he did haha?

Haha, probably not! Even the doctors were astounded by his recovery. As the swelling reduced the vertebrae slipped back into place, his left arm started working and he slowly got back to normal.

Is he back to full strength now, and has surfing take a back seat now?

Yes, thank God! You’d never know now, everyone that saw The Sea before the accident that sees us now will tell you he’s playing better than ever. It’s truly incredible. He still goes just as hard when he surfs as he did before too!

Before and after the accident The Sea were touring extensively and I believe the same is ahead for 2012?

That’s right. This year is the biggest ever!

 I believe you played 250 gigs in just two years, was this a target you aimed for playing as many shows as possible or just how it turned out from the demand for your music?

Demand really, but can’t say we were complaining. I think we’re doing more this year though.

I have to ask how do you get the large and majestic sound to your songs like on the single New York to translate live though just a duo?

Well mostly it’s the energy we put into the performance. The horns are on laptop (I don’t think there is any shame in it, everyone does it these days). Come and see us and then you’ll know!

After the album what are the next plans for The Sea?

Touring in UK, Europe, USA and Canada. Release another single in the summer. Supporting some bigger acts in the summer too. Recording album no. 3 in the winter, and repeat the whole thing again next year.

Thank you again so much for talking with us.

Would you like to leave any final words or thoughts?

Our pleasure. Final thoughts – no matter what is put in your way don’t stop believing in your dreams, it can happen. Take it from someone that knows.

And lastly with New York following previous single Don’t You Want Me by being featured on UK TV show Hollyoaks; do you have a fan on their production crew haha?

Haha! Honestly, I don’t even have a TV that works so it’s rare that we even see it. But it’s very flattering. The money is of some comfort too.

Read the Rooftops review@ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/the-sea-rooftops/

The RingMaster Review 11/05/2012

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The Sea: Rooftops

Having been bowled over by previous single New York the anticipation for the new album Rooftops from UK band The Sea was eager and impatient, and the band has fulfilled and exceeded all hopes and expectations placed upon the release. Rooftops is a triumph of big melodies, larger than life songs, and music that lifts and lights any day or heart. It is a refreshing new breath and a familiar friend all at once, its sounds infectious and instantaneous whilst being imaginatively inventive and distinctly varied. Pop, rock, show tunes, soul, blues, the album has essences and veins from all and more fused into songs that easily rouse the spirit.

Brothers Alex (vocals, drums) and Peter D’Chisholme (vocals, guitar, piano) from emerging out of their parents garage in Newquay, Cornwall in 2007, have instilled themselves as one of the most thrilling bands in the UK. From the off the duo took no time in grabbing attention and acclaim from their shows through to their debut single Love Love Love and album Get It Back, both released on their own Lusty Records in 2009. Tours around and across the UK and Europe surrounded their recordings and took up the following year, 250 gigs in less than two years. Summer 2010 saw the band enter the Sawmills Studios in Cornwall to record Rooftops with producer John Cornfield (XTC, Muse, Supergrass, Oasis, Razorlight) and bring their evolving lush, rich, multi-layered sounds to new songs. The following year saw The Sea tour Europe extensively as the USA and Canada but also witness a freak surfing accident in the summer to Alex which left him with a broken neck and serious doubts he would walk again let alone play the drums. Like their music though the band and its members do not lie down quietly and Alex returned within months to tour Europe again as well as undertaking shows in North America. The heart, strength and passion showed echoing that of the music which strides with a power and depth of feeling that is irrepressible and impossible to shy away from.

The single New York opens up the album and it could not have a finer entrance. The song is immense, a buoyant and boisterous track that towers over the ear with confident expansive energy, eager guitars and rhythms all brought within the glorious arms of dazzling horns and grand harmonies. Its anthemic grace and senses stirring heart opens one up for what follows with drooling anticipation, and the album makes sure satisfaction is guaranteed with a lively and eclectic flurry of ideas, music, and imagination.

Where’s The Love with its rolling hypnotic drums instantly pulls in attention to hear expressive vocals and matching emotive guitars weave and wind their warm and earnest passions around the soul. The song provokes emotions in a different but just as distinct way to the opener and as the next in line Silly Love Song and its mischievous twinkle in the eye shows, the band never rest or stand still making a release that is mesmeric, unpredictable and lovingly attentive. The third song on the release has a wonderful show tune type feel bringing large sure and bold melodies whilst the piano and harmonies all stroll with an air of the dramatic and more than a dose of wicked humour.

As the songs unveil their beauty and pulsating diverse charms it is impossible not to sink deeper within the luxurious waters of impressive songwriting, equally skilled craft, and consuming pop rock sounds. The likes of the pulsating slow burning Rooftops Of London with its blues inspired guitars and Doors like keys and melodies, Need Breath Dream with its heart boosting ELO keyboard pomp, and the excellent and beautiful acoustic soulful ballad Cry where Pete tugs more than gently on the emotions, three more perfect examples of the distinct and stunning treasures to feast upon.

Alongside from New York, the track Panic On The Streets Of Dalston fights for the honour of flaring up the senses most of all, its garage punk fuelled riffs and direct electrified rock aggression revealing yet another side to the band and their creative sound. To be honest it is impossible to pick a top song. The whole release is strong and impressive with the likes of another blues rock track in Shake Shake and the closing Young Knives like anthemic wonder that is Emily’s Waltz which leaves the listener with a final heart pumping and life warming lift, just as glorious and pleasurable as those previously mentioned.

Rooftops is simply outstanding and should be on the playlist and shopping list of all who enjoy big, vibrant, and deeply inspiring pop rock songs. The Sea is an incoming tide you will wish to be consumed by.

RingMaster 25/04/2012

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