Chris Mullin – Myself Fooling Me

Better known as the bassist and co-songwriter of The Sums (ex-Smaller) and bassist for nineties band Hurricane #1 who have recently reformed, Chris Mullin is set to entice his own corner of attention with his debut solo EP, Myself Fooling Me. The Liverpool bred musician bares his creative and emotional heart with a six fingered handful of songs as distinct and different from his other endeavours as they are similar in the captivation of ears and imagination; simply a collection of tracks just demanding attention.

The first of a planned series of EPs exploring Mullin’s appetite for “more experimental styles of music”, Myself Fooling Me opens up with Hard Times. As keys stroke ears and thoughts, swiftly there is a Lennon-esque quality to the song and its lively grace, Mullin’s vocal expression a heart sharing proposal accentuated by the spring of strings rising over and caressing a quickly awoken appetite for the song’s melodic suggestiveness. Catchy with increasing warm hope lining its initial melancholic tinge, the song is a captivating start to the release and introduction to Mullin’s personal creative character.

Lost At Sea follows, acoustic guitar stroking ears as Mullin’s again vocally shares his reflections being subsequently surrounded by simmering and increasingly bold flames of strings courted by celestial keys. The song laps at the senses, suggestive light shimmering on its surface before the darker hues of Colour Of Pain compellingly slip through ears. With a bluesy edge to its melodic lure and shadow hugged emotion, the outstanding track is a haunted bewitchment, melancholy and sorrow its engaging suit as Mullins reveals yet another side to his ever broadening solo journey.

From the rousing beauty of a song shouting single, Mullins shows a folkish flare with No More; a gentle melody seducing act of defiance which just grows more infectious with every passing note and word while Who Took The Beat? shows another hue to the same instinctive intent with darker emotional shadows at work. Blossoming in texture and flavour with every move, a sixties musical air from his home city as well as broader cosmopolitan scents seeping from its body, the song is one evocative serenade.

The EP closes with its title track; a song written over 20 years ago and revived after a one on one jamming session with Paul McCartney a few years back. Featuring ex-band mate, Bren Moore (Smaller/The Sums/Ella Guru) and the backing vocals of Fiona Holt O’Sullivan, Myself Fooling Me is a melody woven glide into the imagination with lyrical and vocal expression as provocative and honest as the boisterous sounds around them.

With every listen the Myself Fooling Me EP offers a richer seduction whilst sharing further depth to songwriting already part of some memorable moments with The Sums. Mullin’s solo exploration is a very different proposal to his ‘day job’, but something fans of the band and melody honed music as a whole will enthusiastically embrace.

Myself Fooling Me is available now via Nowhere Music through all major download retailers and @ https://chrismullin.bandcamp.com/releases

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Pete RingMaster 29/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Migrant – Flood

Pic by Arne Marius Skogås

Pic by Arne Marius Skogås

We all like to be romanced and seduced and that is exactly what The Migrant does with new album Flood. It is a warm melodic smile with melancholy at its corners; a collection of songs which wander through vibrant folk and pop rock landscapes with psychedelia aired exploration and magnetic intimacy. The album is gorgeous, a fascination which becomes even more irresistible with every gaze upon its aural beauty.

Hailing from Denmark, The Migrant is the creation of Copenhagen songwriter Bjarke Bendtsen, a project hugging a fine group of musicians when seducing live audiences around the globe. Critically acclaimed albums in 2011’s Amerika and Beads two years later have caught international attention already, both building on the potent start made by debut album Travels in Lowland in 2010. Recorded in a Danish summer cottage with the musicians that accompany Bendtsen on European stages, Flood simply envelops the listener in evocative and invigorating portraits of sound and vocal expression. Released earlier in 2015 in Denmark and Germany via DevilDuck Records, the album swiftly ignited the plaudits of media and fans alike and with its UK release at the tail end of last year through Cardiff imprint Rockpie, it is now finding matching success here too.

First track Climbers sets the tone and first inescapable lure, a reserved but energetic shuffle of a proposal which skips and flirts across ears with its flighty rhythms, acoustic caresses, and vocal temptation. In no time feet are bouncing and emotions dancing with the blend of poetic melodies, reflective vocals, and a dose of Sicilian laced guitar enterprise. The song is pure contagion, a gentle but bold enslavement quickly matched by the similarly tenacious charm and revelry of The Fixer. Harmonies play like the call of a steam train initially before Bendtsen serenades the imagination from within another acoustic hug. With a touch of Billy Momo to it, the track has body and energies leaping with ease and an already sparked appetite for the release greedier.

Flood-cover_RingMaster Review   The album’s title track slips in next, Flood providing a low key magnetic croon with drama waiting and building in its wings as flirtatious rhythms and a suggestive atmosphere infuse its walls. Things never reach the level of exploding but persistently shadow and add endearing shade to the mesmeric call of the song before it makes way for the outstanding Belly of a Man. Straight away it has a more boisterous air and energy to its temptation, rocking and rolling with certain restraint whilst wearing a broad harmonic grin coloured with seventies psychedelic hues. Before you know it, voice and heart are wrapped up in its rapture, eager involvement a given before half way and only increasing as its seriously catchy momentum builds to a thrilling climax.

Recent single Silence follows, it one of those songs you feel you already know without reason. With sultry sways of guitar and the ever radiant vocals and harmonies around throbbing rhythms, the track runs persuasive fingers down the spine to seduce and thrill. A shoegaze scent only adds to the sonic splendour and thick success made, the variety of creative flavouring again open within Flood and individually showing within Water as fizzy blues spices are filtered by guitars into enticing melodies across an exuberant character.

From its feisty adventure a calmer climate appears next with Give Up, the song an evocative charm of sound and provocative voice with a touch of Paul McCartney and Andy Partridge to it in songwriting and rural suggestiveness. As many tracks, within its oasis of tranquillity an eager energy brews and subsequently drives an increasingly catchy stroll.

The delicious smouldering swing of Haunted Takes over next, the song a majestic slow stepping intoxication with melancholic radiance carrying more drama and impact in its first minute than many albums can find in their whole body. The track really does haunt ears and thoughts, becoming a wonderfully lingering contemplation still working away long past taking its leave.

The duo of Tiger and Row Row bring the sublime release to a close, the first a balmy and again reserved proposition which prowls ears in its unique way whilst building up to almost overpowering and exhilarating crescendos with more than a whiff of Liverpool artists like Pete Wylie and Echo and The Bunnymen to them. Its successor simply kisses ears with slim acoustic elegance leading to psych pop sultriness, and though it arguably remains overshadowed by its stirring predecessor, the song has ears transfixed and pleasure ripe to end Flood with another fine moment to heartily devour.

Flood is simply sensational, in its subtle way as Homeric and monumental as it is intimately spellbinding, and one of last year’s real triumphs.

Flood is out now in the UK via Rockpie and available @ https://themigrant.bandcamp.com/album/flood

http://themigrant.net/   https://www.facebook.com/themigrant   https://twitter.com/themigrantmusic

Pete RingMaster 08/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Ex Norwegian – Pure Gold

Pure-Gold-cover_RingMaster Review

There is always a sense of anticipation and indeed excitement when faced with a new release from US band Ex Norwegian, but in approaching their new album Pure Gold, there was a heavier sense of intrigue involved too. It was the first encounter since the serious illness which band founder Roger Houdaille suffered, the proceeds from the album going towards the emergency hospital bills incurred, and brings a collection of re-interpretations of tracks by other artists alongside original compositions from a new line-up to that which created the acclaimed and outstanding Wasted Lines album of 2014. So there was a wondering if the release was merely a filler in the future of the band but fair to say and straight away ears and imagination were alive whilst being immersed in the recognisable but ever unpredictable Ex Norwegian pop/indie rock sound, and the diversity of flavour that breeds to show it was anything but.

The creative union of Houdaille (vocals, guitars, keyboards, percussion), Giuseppe Rodriguez (vocals, bass, moog), Lucas Queiroz (vocals, guitars), Fernando Perdomo (drums, slide guitar), and Michelle Grand (vocals), with occasional guest organ prowess from Chris Price, tempt and grip ears straight away with album opener It’s A Game. A String Driven Thing song arguably made more famous by The Bay City Rollers, it quickly has feet in an eager shuffle and appetite licking lips with its catchy pop rock stroll. Ex Norwegian cast a vibrant energy to the song without losing its folkish charm whilst the great blend of vocals between Houdaille and Grand is almost flirtatious in its persuasion. There is also an Abba-esque hue to the great start to the release, though the fade-out is a touch annoying just to be picky.

Asking Too Much steps forward next and just as easily has attention enthralled with its melodic caresses and infectious persuasion as a healthy scent of Kirsty MacColl like folk pop flavours it. As the first, the song has a simplicity which is as inviting and enjoyable as the nuances and melodic enterprise the band inject into its design, the result another lively excuse to romp; a similar invitation given again by the feisty rock infused Beeside, a Tintern Abbey song. Sultry air and fuzzy breath soaks the song to great effect, whilst its psych rock character becomes increasingly compelling with each passing second and smouldering melody.

Already it is fair to say highlights are the order of the day so far, another provided straight away by the band’s impressive cover of the Melanie song Cyclone. Providing an inflamed melodic roar led by the superb tones of Grand, her harmonic expressive serenading ears as potently as the fiery side to her great voice, the track swiftly gets under the skin. It’s successor, the boisterous and show stealer On The Sidelines, is a match in such invasive potency, it playing like a feisty Martha and the Muffins but creating its own unique personality with every swinging rhythms, melodic temptation, and gripping hook. For us every Ex Norwegian album seems to have one song which especially hits the sweet spot, On The Sidelines that irresistible offering within Pure Gold.

A new wave essence fuels the following Other Half, a touch of Graham Parker to the song lighting up ears with a nostalgic bluesy air whilst the Paul McCartney track Keep Under Cover is given a virulent tonic of adventurous infectiousness and quite simply a tenacious fresh breath. Both tracks again leave body and emotions smiling and greedy for more, the album’s title track eager to satisfy with its mix of dark funky basslines, surf harmonies, and romancing melodic seduction. There is a less dramatic feel to the song compared to other tracks but with keys an emotive haze around the contagious lure of the bass and the lacing of spicy blues guitar, it is a robustly catchy proposal very easy to get fully involved with.

A fine take on the Jimmy Campbell song Close My Case And Move On comes next, Ex Norwegian accentuating its emotive heart and intimacy with a sturdier frame and tangy country rock colouring. A fascinating canter of a song with an element of pleasing discord to its nature too, it is maybe not as immediately impacting in comparison to the more boisterous approaches of other tracks within the album, but it matches all in persuasion before Shadow Ships and a version of Tell Me Your Plans by The Shirts brings things to an enjoyable close. The first of the pair merges Americana with sixties pop vibrancy, creating a richly satisfying if not fevered incitement; Tell Me Your Plans providing that with its again sixties hued interpretation of a great power pop offering.

From start to finish Pure Gold is a thoroughly engaging and highly enjoyable romp. It might not quite match the triumphant majesty of the band’s last album yet it is a different kind of proposition. For pleasure though, it is a rivalling success and reason enough to suggest Ex Norwegian is one of our brightest pop rock bands.

Pure Gold is released December 11th via Dippy Records @ http://shop.exnorwegian.com/album/pure-gold

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Pete RingMaster 02/12/2015

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Still The Mind – Slow Dancing

Still the Mind - Band pic (2)

Going by their debut single Slow Dancing, UK rock band Still the Mind has a sound which entangles varied essences from grunge and blues rock to indie and metal based seeds. It is not a proposition which startles as it busily persuades ears yet there is striking freshness to it and a vitality which will ensure the band is not just going to be a passing interest. The song is rock ‘n’ roll in an honest and tenacious form from a band easy to assume we will be hearing a lot more of in the future.

The beginnings of the Newton Abbot, Devon quartet started with a friendship between vocalist/rhythm guitarist Matt Palfreman, who was writing and playing folk songs influenced by people like Bob Dylan and Elliott Smith, and bassist Joe Warriner who played in local reggae band Stokey at the time. Subsequently with ideas of a band lit, the pair enlisted local drum teacher and old friend Phil Hallwood and in turn guitarist Karl O’Neill into the line-up. With a band name inspired by a book on meditation by philosopher Alan Watts, Still The Mind was soon luring attention with a diversely hued sound to which their varied musical backgrounds and tastes has undoubtedly been a key factor. Recording an EP with producer Digby Smith (Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Bob Marley and Eric Clapton) towards the end of last year, the foursome now uncage their first single, a song which was recorded in a live setup and gives a big hint to the band’s live prowess as much as it pleases the senses.

The song swiftly entangles ears in a great bluesy vine of guitar enticement, rapier like beats quickly backing their potent lures. Settling down soon after, the song sees Palfreman open up his Layne Staley like vocals, his delivery an alluring texture within a spicy groove which relentlessly teases the appetite alongside the rolling beats of Hallwood. Everywhere you listen though the song is bubbling with craft and adventure, the bass of Warriner less forceful but a great throaty tempting whilst the guitars of Palfreman and O’Neill steer and inflame the song respectively with their strong craft.

Fair to say Slow Dancing does not catch fire as it might, despite numerous hints throughout, but nevertheless it is a captivating and infectious slice of rock ‘n’ roll providing a strong and enjoyable introduction to Still The Mind. It also suggests this is just the start to bigger things, a happy thought indeed.

Slow Dancing is released June 15th

https://www.facebook.com/StillTheMind

RingMaster 15/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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David Bronson – Questions

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Emotionally intimate and exploratory, with a just as expressive melodic climate, the new album from New York City singer songwriter/producer David Bronson is a warm and resourceful landscape of thought and sparkling enterprise. Consisting of songs which as its title, seems to stem from Questions Bronson has asked of himself and his life, the album is a striking and immersive caress on ears and imagination. It is not an encounter which always consistently lights personal appetites to the same strength as its finest moments, but one emerging as a lingering and thoroughly enjoyable proposition easy to recommend to those with a want of soulful and melody drenched creativity.

The successor to his acclaimed 2013 debut album The Long Lost Story, ‘a decade-in-the-making, 22-song autobiographical double album’ split into two separate releases, Questions sees Bronson looking at his life and the world right now, and drawing on the likes of vocalist Robin Clark (Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Al Green, Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, David Bowie), guitarist Carlos Alomar (David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Paul McCartney, John Lennon), guitarist Robbie “Seahag” Mangano, drummer Lautaro Burgos, and Gordon Grody to inventively colour these investigations. Whereas the first release expressed a more indie rock seeded sound around his seventies inspired songwriting, the new album embraces new adventurous flavours such as soul, folk, and gospel in its new proposals, a spicing helping the Godfrey Diamond (Lou Reed)/Bronson produced Questions become a captivating and intriguingly varied encounter.

From the opening Songbird, Bronson and album has ears and attention awake, its acoustic caress of guitar the canvas for some delicious harmonies and the lyrical prowess and insight of Bronson. Immediately there is a Paul Simon like air to the heart of the song but also plenty to make it radiate a fresh and original presence. Vibrant beats only add catchy texture to the gentle swing of the song but it is the gospel bred harmonies which steal the impressive show.

Both Move Like Water and Day By Day glide through personal balladry with Bronson and guitar again offering a sure and warm entrance to which melodies and sultry climates, not david bronson questions cover lgeforgetting a great throaty bassline in the first of the two, immerse senses and thoughts evocatively. Each pleases with their individual charms but it is with Push that another surge of greed hits ears and personal appetite. The fourth track is an instant drama with keys straight away looming and laying down a single prod before taking a pause, returning a few seconds later with the same Boomtown Rats like potency as they align to the alluring strum of the guitar. It is a mesmeric track, voice and music sketching an easily accessible and emotively connecting narrative in a dance of creative and vivacious enterprise.

The following Task is another stirring and inescapable invitation for feet and emotions to fully engage in, its sway of funk fuelled revelry a swift and fascinating infectiousness with melodic resourcefulness to match. It and its predecessor provide the pinnacle of the album, the thrilling peak to which other songs aspire but with varying success cannot quite emulate. Despite that the likes of the Lennon-esque All These Things and the smouldering dark folk theatre of Life Is long provide thoroughly enjoyable and lingering temptations whilst the melodic rock fuelled My Good Friend with its compelling seventies psyche rock keys, add another strain of bright adventure and full pleasure to album and emotions respectively.

The closing pair of Connect The Dots and Passing Fiction slip into more reserved hugs of melodic and harmonic endeavour which, without finding the same persuasive spark as their immediate predecessors, ignite ears and thoughts with consummate ease. The guitar adventure of the pair is an especially thrilling and magnetic coaxing, the twinges of discord which bless the imagination of strings and fingers as enthralling as anything on the album.

Questions is a definite investigation for certainly fans of the likes of Paul Simon and John Lennon but equally those of current talent like Seth Lakeman and Thom Bowden. The album did not quite ignite enough fire in emotions across its length but really only due to personal tastes and with some quite thrilling tracks and invention involved it is easy to assume it will spark a blaze in a great many.

Questions is available from 19th January via Big Arc

www.davidbronsonmusic.com

RingMaster 19/01/2015

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