The Eastern Swell – One Day, A Flood

the-eastern-swell_RingMasterReview

If one word had to be used to describe One Day, A Flood, the debut album from Scottish quartet The Eastern Swell, it has to be spellbinding. From the first listen the tapestry of genres which shape its songs catches the imagination but it is with subsequent listens that the real bewitchment blossoms. Inspired by and weaving together essences from the likes of progressive folk, experimental rock, and neo-psychedelia among numerous other flavours, The Eastern Swell combines poetic storytelling and melodic suggestiveness in one impressive captivation.

Edinburgh formed, The Eastern Swell emerged in 2014; the Anglo-Scottish foursome of guitarist/vocalist Chris Reeve, vocalist Lainie Urquhart, bassist/vocalist Neil Collman, and drummer Andy Glover first going by the name of Lainie & The Crows. With a well-received EP, name change, and the signing with excellent Scottish label Stereogram Recordings under their belts, the band set about creating their debut album with producer Pete Harvey (Modern Studies, Meursault, and King Creosote) in his own Pumpkinfield Studios. Themed by tales of “about vulnerability and the frailties of being human”, One Day, A Flood casts individual reflections linked by the underlying premise and a fluid movement from one song to another. Enjoyably working individually, the album’s tracks also impressively create a single experience which is just as potent, maybe even more so, taken in one listen. With self-admitted inspirations to the band, when creating One Day, A Flood, including the likes of Syd Barrett, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Fairport Convention, King Crimson, Pixies, Thee Oh Sees, Cat Power, and Gillian Welch, it is fair to say that the album is a rich collusion of styles and flavours honed into one kaleidoscope of imagination.

The album opens with the outstanding Rattling Bones, a track drenched in drama and emotive intensity. A sonic mist first encases ears, this quickly followed by a gloriously evocative riff soon joined by an equivalent lure from the bass. A sudden drop into a sombre air of melancholy with a dour but tempting melody, as the warm tones of Urquhart caresses ears and thoughts, then enjoyably wrong foots. Soon though, the track develops a lively stroll to its gait, marked by the bold roll of rhythms as provocative strings from guest Pete Harvey further toy with the imagination. The song is superb, a seamless patchwork of enterprise and creative hues setting the scene and character of the album.

the-eastern-swell-one-day-a-flood_RingMasterReviewWhat’s Done Is Done is next up; sharing the dark throated riffs and bass tone of its predecessor as essences of psychedelia and late sixties/early seventies melodic rock merge and the great blend of harmonies across Urquhart, Reeve, and Collman embrace. It oozes a seductive touch with every exotic sigh, warm surges and electric impulses uniting in a gentle but dynamic rousing of ears and spirit. The excellent proposition is followed and matched in temptation by 1000 Yard Stare where the vocal mix again grabs attention as they immediately cradle ears while psych and folk pop streams of enterprise kiss the imagination. Crescendos of lo fi intensity contrast and work perfectly with this golden glow of voice and melody, the compelling encounter almost tempestuous at times in its Wicker Man like climate and emotion.

The acoustic grace and warm melancholy of Temples is next, Urquhart’s voice uniting with the evocative strains of the cello before brighter guitar melodies and quaintly lit keys dance in ears. Its captivating low key proposal is echoed in the individually bold serenade of Muckish Mountain straight after before Too Little, Too Late reveals its own swing of rhythmic hips and melodic gaiety. Once more the fine and contrasting blend of male and female vocals seduces, a match emulated in the dark throes of the rhythms and radiant smile of guitars and keys. With a subsequent hook to lust after, the song is an intimate yet all-embracing festival of sound and energy providing another major highlight to One Day, A Flood.

The fuzzier air of Quick As A Whip makes a swift engaging between song and ears, harmonies and warm textures only reinforcing its potency before the album’s best moment arrives in the shape of Dancing Zombie Blues. Like a devilish concoction bred from The Dead Weather, Bird Blobs, and Old House Playground, the song rattles and rolls with gothic folk majesty, coming to an abrupt end from which a sonic wash brews and develops into closing enticement Run Down Country Palace. Its nature is of similar breeding though once its raw climate is set, the track’s electric veil parts for the reflective charms of vocals, strings, and a folk honed melodic appraisal. As all tracks though, things are never straight forward, The Eastern Swell creating tapestries that perpetually move and evolve.

Another reward provide is that One Day, A Flood never seems to stop growing in ears and imagination listen by listen, creating an adventure very easy to recommend from a band in The Eastern Swell that we will surely be hearing much more of ahead.

One Day, A Flood is out September 16th via Stereogram Recordings.

 http://www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk/artists/the-eastern-swell  https://www.facebook.com/theeasternswell/   http://www.theeasternswell.com/

Pete RingMaster 15/09/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Old House Playground – 21st Century Glory

OHP_RingMaster Review

Having already seduced 2015 with their dark blues honed rock ‘n’ roll courtesy of The Great Escape EP, UK homed Old House Playground do it again with their new single 21st Century Glory. Continuing the compelling and fiercely alluring sound of their last release, the Manchester based trio take ears and imagination into another shadow built and gothic aired adventure, a creative escapade as seeded in “the songwriting culture of traditional Greek folk music” as it is the noir spawned recesses of modern blues rock. The result is a pair of songs which bewitch and inspire, and a single sure to add pressure on the richest spotlights to wake up to the impressive band.

Athens bred, Old House Playground relocated to Manchester in 2009, to “experiment with new musical paths and forms of expression.” Consisting then of vocalist/guitarist Tryfon Lazos, drummer Andreas Venetantes, and bassist Conor Loughran, the band drew on inspirations from the likes of Tom Waits, Django Reinhardt, Nick Cave as well as Greek artists Psarantonis and Marcos Vamvakaris as their sound’s character and voice evolved. After the departure of Loughran, the remaining pair recorded debut album God Damn That Gold with producer/musician Chris Evans, its release coming in 2013 through Evening Economies/Fat Bob Records. Well received and praised, the full-length led to a collaboration with Durutti Column, that leading to Lazos singing onstage alongside Vini Reilly. The addition of bassist Jago Furnas was made in 2014, with the threesome going on to record, and earlier this year release, The Great Escape.

21st Century Glory Artwork_RingMaster Review   Now it is the turn of 21st Century Glory to whip up ears and appetites, a success quickly in motion as the track opens with flames of brass upon strolling rhythms and fiery guitar coaxing. The distinctive tones of Lazos are soon adding to the temptation as the song itself entwines strands of blues and jazz into its emerging sultry swing within an imagination driven intent. As with their previous release, strong hints of artists like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and The Doors collude with the scent of others like Eighties B-Line Train Disaster and Bernaccia, yet what emerges is a mischievous proposal that stands alone as an Old House Playground incitement. The virulent nature of the song continues to enslave, even as the guitar at times creates a fuzzy sizzle of persuasion; that underlying catchiness perpetual and inescapable bait throughout.

The song is bewitching; a lively shuffle of gothic intrigue and tenacious sultriness, matched in kind by the accompanying Love And Other Demons. A slower rockabilly coloured saunter, the song courts ears and imagination with the guile of The Stray Cats and the tangy noir scent of Chris Isaak, whispers of Gene Vincent and Harry Connick, Jr. also lighting its presence as it swaggers along with poise and charm. As restrained as it is in comparison to its companion, there is zeal to its persuasion and presence which seems to know it is something special as it infests the psyche.

Like a great many, Old House Playground is proving to be a band we cannot get enough of, so if you have yet to be infected by their majestic dark alchemy, we suggest 21st Century Glory is the perfect way to be first bitten by them.

21st Century Glory is out now via Horus Music.

http://www.oldhouseplayground.net/   https://www.facebook.com/oldhouseplayground  https://twitter.com/oldhouseplay

Pete RingMaster 17/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Cave Mouth – Deep Water

cavemouth_RingMaster Review

Devon is not renowned for its swamps but they must be there as only that kind of landscape could have bred the deliciously sinister and addictively magnetic hues soaking the new single from UK band Cave Mouth. Quite simply Deep Water is a glorious slice of dark rock ‘n’ roll; swamp meets delta blues in the arms of instinctive funk swing and knowledgeable seduction of century old sirens.

cover_RingMaster Review   Influences to Cave Mouth (or CaveMouth, both used by band and all) come from the likes of Prince, ESG, Busta Rhymes, Leadbelly, Jack White, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Jethro Tull, with lyrical inspirations found in the world around the band from politics and religion to nature, and we would suggest the darkest delights to be found anywhere. There are so many potent attributes to the almost primal air and spellbinding invention of the band’s sound, from the bewitching dual vocal union of guitarist Sketchy Lex and bassist Ms. Mo to the primal rhythms stomped down by she and drummer Wreckless Richie, and equally the psyche twisting web of salacious coaxing cast by the flaming saxophone of Mr. Duncan ‘The Hook’ Hook and Lex’s guitar, everything smoulders with temptation. Deep Water is the darkest and most thrilling proposal from the band to date, but one in a line of simply spellbinding traps laid by the band’s mix of blues, funk, and African music infused adventures which includes last year’s excellent Pagan Blues EP.

Bass and beats instantly grab ears, as too the smoky breath of guitar and sultry caress of sax with their almost immediate evocation of the senses. The slight snarl to the voice of Lex perfectly colludes with the rich texture of Ms. Mo’s, whilst in the irresistible chorus a gnarly additional voice evokes dark bordering on demonic mischief from the heart of the song. Like My Baby meets Kobadelta in a coven lorded over by Old House Playground, the song swaggers from chord to thick chord and beat to wicked beat with the instinctive knowledge that it will have the listener enslaved and in rapture from its first touch, and fair to say it does with its melodic tonic and darkly hued resourcefulness, and especially that incendiary chorus and vocal union.

We have many lusts going on at The RR, and Cave Mouth has just become the cause of another.

Deep Water is available from August 19th

RingMaster 19/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Old House Playground – The Great Escape EP

Picture 49_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

Listening to The Great Escape EP, thoughts wondered whether if Edgar Allan Poe was around today creating dark literary masterpieces, would he be listening to and most likely involving the music of UK based Old House Playground somewhere. Four tracks of dark rock ‘n’ roll bred with provocative blues climates and gothic imagination, all “with roots in the songwriting culture of traditional Greek folk music”; the band’s new seriously compelling EP suggests quite possibly yes as it thrills with its ripe bewitching drama and imposing atmospheres.

It was in 2009 that Old House Playground moved from Athens to Manchester to, in the words of their bio, “experiment with new musical paths and forms of expression.” Vocalist/guitarist Tryfon Lazos, drummer Andreas Venetantes, and bassist Conor Loughran were soon weaving inspirations from the likes of Tom Waits, Django Reinhardt, Nick Cave and Greek artists Psarantonis, and Marcos Vamvakaris into their own unique vision of an alternative rock/blues sound. The departure of Loughran before its recording saw debut album God Damn That Gold the creation of the remaining duo overseen by producer/musician Chris Evans. Its 2013 release via Evening Economies/Fat Bob Records was keenly received and praised, as too a UK tour in support of its unveiling. The band also ignited the attention of Vini Reilly through the band linking up with Sugar House production, leading to a subsequent collaboration seeing Old House Playground and Durutti Column together for the latter’s first Manchester performance for five years and Lazos singing onstage alongside Reilly that night. With bassist Jago Furnas enlisted last September, Old House Playground now release the magnificent tempting of The Great Escape, an encounter to inspire the imagination and feed a greedy appetite for dark treats.

Picture 47_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review   Opener Polite Fiction immediately has ears and attention sparked with its initial psychobilly coated groove, and gripped with the quickly joining blend of vocals and spicy guitar enterprise. The tones of Lazos are a rich enticing and attention grabber, even as the song becomes a perpetual awakening of new sounds and textures sparking ears with embraces of fiery sax and brooding basslines amongst many things. An unbridled captivation with a predatory stride, the song blossoms into a sultry, jazz kissed seduction of Bernaccia and Tom Waits like essences courting the warped swagger of Eighties B-Line Train Disaster and the raw croon of Nick Cave. It is a delicious web of temptation, ears and thoughts embroiled in the swinging lures and smouldering drama cast by the openly inventive and descriptive craft of the band.

The exhilarating start is followed by Stardance, a similarly potent slavery of blues intoxication and rhythmic devilry bound in tangy grooves and vocal enterprise. Like its predecessor, the song has a flirtatious devilry to its sauntering gait and swinging energy, and like the first track provides an irresistible tapestry of darkly cultured hues entangled in delta bred blues persuasion. It is the devil’s music for sure and even more ridiculously addictive when exploring off kilter twists of sonic and melodic ingenuity aligned to the perpetual noir lit jazziness fuelling its inventive breath.

A western twang creeps in with the inviting caress of guitar bringing All Day Today into view next, the song’s country-esque acoustic folk charm enhanced further by the ever potent and alluring vocals of Lazos. Reminding in some ways of Swedish band Billy Momo and in others of Milton Star, the song is three minutes of dark seduction sparking ears and thoughts further before making way for the EP’s closing title track. Sweltering with sultry melodies and heated sonic mystique, the song is pure aural alchemy conjuring a majestic tapestry of wiry chords and acidic grooves within a suggestive landscape as intimate as it is evocatively expansive.

The track is a brilliant end to a seriously thrilling release. Old House Playground may have been in the shadows for many before the release of The Great Escape EP but it is easy to suggest the only dark hues around them will be those they seed, blossom, and embrace their music with from hereon in.

The Great Escape EP is available via Horus Music from 22th June @ http://oldhouseplayground.bandcamp.com/album/the-great-escape, digitally and as Limited Edition 10″ vinyl with 2 bonus tracks!

http://www.oldhouseplayground.net/   https://www.facebook.com/oldhouseplayground

RingMaster 22/06//2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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