Dark Stares – The Lightning Echo

Darkly haunting and persistently mesmeric, The Lightning Echo is the new album from UK rockers Dark Stares. The successor to their acclaimed debut, Darker Days Are Here to Stay, the new release provides twelve tracks which lure the listener and imagination into the realm between warm and portentous dreams; each a siren of intimation and reflection which enjoyably proved rather hard to escape.

St Albans hailing, Dark Stares has been a persistent captivation from their early tracks and EPs such as Octopon and Soul Contract through to that creatively potent first full-length of last year. Looking back to Darker Days Are Here to Stay, there is no doubt that The Lightning Echo is the natural progression to its predecessor but equally it has evolved its own fascination and unique character of sound; a nagging seduction which wraps the senses like a crepuscular animal.

The album immediately strides through ears with You Know Me, the track’s high kneed beats stamping authority on attention as the fuzz bred grooves of Harry Collins wind around them and the equally magnetic tones of vocalist Miles Kristian Howell. From the single song alone it is easy to hear why Queens Of The Stone Age is often used as a comparison though there is no escaping the singular identity of the Dark Stares sound either.

The highly rousing start is prolonged by the similarly anthemic Dance, a tenacious command on the body bound in the dark climes of surf/desert rock. Again the imposing yet contagious lure of Brett Harland Howell’s bass and Taylor Howell’s spirited beats manipulate song and listener, the Middle Eastern lures cast by Collin’s guitar quite irresistible in one of the album’s major peaks.

Next up Spell You’ve Cast is a similarly beguiling temptress if a slightly sinistrous one, its body a writhing tease of grooves and enticing vocals across almost predatory rhythms while the following Crusader brings a dustier desert rock landscaped croon with volatility in its rich fertile earth. Each made for a riveting proposition if the first with fiercer temptation as too Mr Midnight with its rapacious crawl and tantalising menace. As those around it, the magnificent encounter spins a web of flavour and suggestion sparking imagination and appetite for its tenebrific charm and bait.

There is something of a Doors meets Muse shimmer to The Shadows and Faceless Man, the first with its mercurial climate and compelling sonic grumble breeding sheer dark captivation and through the second wrapping an emotive melodic shroud around ears before breaking out into its pensive musing. Sandwiched between them is Today, a song edging more firmly to the sixties psychedelia of Morison and co. and though it does not quite match up to those alongside one that only grips attention and enjoyment.

After them, In My Pocket initially shimmers before catching flame, repeating its persuasive melodic cycle with greater intensity as Zedi Forder-esque hues bring earnest breath to the increasingly compelling encounter while in turn intrigue soaked and with disquieting glamour Misty Lanes makes its potent play for best track honours.

The album concludes with the radiantly rapacious saunter of Dead and Gone and lastly the hearty rock ‘n’ roll of Rebel Angel. Both tracks hit the spot with the first another simply adding to the numerous reasons as to why The Lightning Echo should not be ignored.

Easily The Lightning Echo is the finest moment with Dark Stares to date, one which for us only gets more thrilling and addictive by the listen.

The Lightning Echo is out across most stores May 31st.

https://www.darkstares.com/   https://www.facebook.com/DarkStares/   https://twitter.com/dark_stares

Pete RingMaster 30/05/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dark Stares – Darker Days Are Here To Stay

With a clutch of praise wearing EP’s already under their belt UK outfit Dark Stares have now raised the ante with their debut album. Continuing the open evolution of their sound across those previous encounters, Darker Days Are Here To Stay is a release which maybe smoulders more than roars but like the band’s previous releases, just captivates but with an even greater depth of adventure and seduction.

The St Albans band’s individual alternative rock tempts like a fusion of Muse and Queens Of The Stone Age but equally has drawn references to the likes of Wolfmother, Royal Blood, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles. Formed in 2011, the quartet released their first EP, Tell Your Friends, the following year. Its well-received introduction to the band has been built upon in sound and success across the likes of Octopon and Soul Contract as well as a host an eagerly supported singles. Self-produced, Darker Days Are Here To Stay continues the band’s DIY intent with a raw magnetism and organic radiance which just commands attention.

The album opens up with Liquid Reign and a sonic limbo from which a swagger gaited groove, firm beats, and the tantalising voice of Miles Kristian Howell emerge. The track settles into an infectious swing entwined in heated sonic vines as that initial groove continues to wind around ears and appetite. Crystaline in its melody, crisp in its rhythms, the song is a warm yet invasive seduction as catchy as it is hauntingly provocative.

The following Sweet Rider 5 is also the band’s new single, a track similarly woven to the first but with a fiery lining to its golden glaze and a whiff of latter day Depeche Mode to its air. The guitar of Harry Collins casts another alluring web of sound and heat; tendrils of enterprise which tease rather than entangle the imagination but have it alive all the same as the dark tone of Brett Harland Howell’s bass and the urge of Taylor Howell’s beats tempt the body.  So absorbing it feels much shorter than it really is, the track still ends too quickly but Pedal Pusher soon has all focus on its fuzzy, enticing saunter. An electronic grumble adds inventive shadow to the mesmeric charms of guitar and harmonies and equally a raw edge courting intrigue and dark melancholy to contrast the radiance on offer.

Darker Days is next, its electronic scuzz even deeper and dirtier than in its predecessor to accentuate the candescent sounds wrapping broad and intimate shadows. Richly captivating with its own individually bold sway, the song wears the scent of post punk and neo-psychedelia in its creative sigh; a The Jesus and Mary Chain meets The House of Love kind of wash adding to its rich pull before Animal floats in on a sonic breeze. Its climate is soon a sweltering embrace easily luring ears and imagination to its exotic heart and bluesy drama. It is a track which epitomises the album, making a strong and potent first impression but only glowing brighter with every listen.

Across the likes of the more volatile rock ‘n’ roll of Ordinary Way with its scuzzy touch and unpredictable air and the irresistible Hips Don’t Shake the album just drew us deeper into its grasp. The first of the two did not connect as thickly as other tracks but its successor more than compensated with its addictive twists and infectious almost mischievous character. There is a constant Josh Homme like hue to songs if mostly a mere dash of colour but makes for a compelling ingredient in the album’s best moment.

Cruise Control equally dips into that spicing for its raw harmonic roar, Muse-esque spatial hues fusing with the song’s sonic fuzziness while So Good serenades from within its cavernous heart. The second is a tapestry of imagination, every move unexpected yet instantly embraceable as the lucent croon of the song envelops ears and a by now greedy appetite.

The pair of Their Game and Feels (So Sad) bring the album to a beguiling close with their respective indie rock and hypnotic glow of melancholic yet lustrous beauty. They complete a release which just captivates but with moments that had us drooling. Even so we still have the feeling that Dark Stares has not come close to finding the boundaries of their sound and that makes the anticipation for their next release as strong as the enjoyment found with Darker Days Are Here To Stay.

Darker Days Are Here To Stay is out now through iTunes and other stores.

https://www.darkstares.com/   https://www.facebook.com/DarkStares/   https://twitter.com/dark_stares

Pete RingMaster 22/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dark Stares – Soul Contract

Dark Stares - Promo Picture

Their debut was a web of flavoursome inspirations woven into a striking introduction, its successor a more honed proposition with a less expansive but more singular and enthralling character to its sound, and now with their third EP, UK rock band Dark Stares has explored another captivating evolution in their sonic adventure. Soul Contact is a fiery and sonically spicy encounter, a handful of tracks which intrigue with a psychedelic air and feisty tenacity. It is a release which pushes the St Albans quartet and their sound on again whilst confirming the band as one of the UK rock scene’s finest emergences in recent times.

Formed in 2011, Dark Stares have been no strangers to keen attention and support since the release of the Tell Your Friends EP the following year. Its success was swiftly backed by outstanding singles Bad Machine and Shinigami later in 2012 with the former subsequently finding itself personally selected by Dave Fanning and Bono for a U2-single publicity stunt. Influences from the likes of from Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Muse, Royal Blood, and Jack White openly flavoured their early sound and still spices its openly unique invention now, as shown by Soul Contact,. As second EP Octopon began to reveal this potent evolution through its unveiling in 2013, the foursome of lead guitarist Harry Collins, and the Howell brothers, Miles Kristian on vocals and guitar, bassist Brett Harland, and drummer Taylor, continued to lure national airplay and press coverage with the likes of Metal Hammer, Rocksound, Powerplay, and XFM whilst live sharing stages with bands such as Enter Shikari and The Darkness. It is easy to expect more of that eager attention to follow the release of their excitedly anticipated new release, and an even hungrier appetite for its impressive sound.

Dark Stares - Cover Artwork   It is fair to say that Soul Contact does not dramatically leap at ears and thoughts at any time, but seduces with an unrelenting and tantalising temptation which ultimately is just as effective. There are times when it misses the spark needed to explode on the senses but with imagination and emotions of the listener thoroughly involved with that of the band’s and every encounter on the release, it is more a showing of the potential still left to be explored within Dark Stares than anything lacking. Opener Liquid Reign is the perfect example, a track which never erupts with a voracious impact but smoulders with warm melodic flames and bubbles with imaginative twists. Its initial touch is a distorted tease which leads to a slow but swinging stroll under a psyche kissed climate. The bass instantly conjures that gentle swagger, backed perfectly by crisp beats and shadowed yet inviting riffs. The effect wrapped vocals of Miles Kristian offer a mellow seduction of their own, his tones gliding over the magnetic and lively sonic enterprise of Collins. The song is as immersive as it is gently catchy, and a great start to the release.

The band’s new single Hypnotize comes next and swiftly has ears basking in a blues bred, scuzz lined temptation aligned to muscular rhythms. The most aggressive and intensive song on the release, it still merges a sultry and welcoming persuasion with a rugged and imposing rhythmic landscape. Virulently contagious and inescapably addictive, especially around its gorgeous croon of a chorus, the song also brings a rich familiarity to it. Over time it is realised as being just of the increasingly established Dark Stares sound, though with a healthy wash of QOTSA to it too. It is a great gateway into band and release, an obvious and gripping single matched by the following Ordinary Way. It too instantly hits like a previously encountered friend with another fuzzy beckoning at the start sparking recognition before a rumbling bassline and rolling beats sculpt an engrossing cage to enclose it all. It is a trap soon coloured in excellent vocal expression and texture within a sunrise of melodic wine and sonic drama. Cavernous and inescapably immersive but intimate and emotionally provocative at its heart, the song is a spellbinding embrace.

Animal floats in next on a sonic croon under a sweltering atmosphere, again easily luring in ears and imagination with bordering on exotic colours and invention. The track truly comes alive with its blues rock fire of scarring riffs and dynamic energy, an intermittent but hunger igniting expulsion across the song led to and tempered by a just as emotive melodic humidity. It is a slow burner compared to the previous pair of songs but slips firmly into thoughts and passions before the closing Cruise Control reinvents its finest Josh Homme and co inspirations for a melodic and harmonic roar coated in Muse like spatial hues and lined with compelling scuzz fired drama.

The track is an excellent end to another great and compelling offering from Dark Stares. It is not a massive leap forward from Octopon yet everything about it from songwriting and sound to imagination has been stretched with fresh creativity and passion. Dark Stares continue to impress and remind that the British rock scene has some strongly creative hands at its tiller.

The Soul Contract EP and new single Hypnotise are available from 6th April on EP and digitally through all digital platforms.

http://www.darkstares.com     https://www.facebook.com/DarkStares

RingMaster 06/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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