KynchinLay – Dark Age

File 05-03-2015 13 00 08

It is fair to say that indie rockers KynchinLay made a potent impression on a great many with their Drink Me EP but now they return over a year later with its successor showing that as tasty and impressive though it was, the last encounter was only the appetiser to a mightier meal of invention and creative imagination. Dark Age is a compelling slice of shadowed drenched rock ‘n’ roll, five tracks which manage to roar, vent, and intimately seduce within their individual lengths and characters. If the last EP had you licking lips in enjoyment, the new offering from KynchinLay might just have you bellowing in delight.

Hailing from Liverpool, the core trio of vocalist/guitarist/songwriter K G Wilson, bassist Mal Williams, and drummer Damien Welsh has openly pushed on in songwriting, sound, and imagination with their new release. There is a fresh maturity and roundedness to all songs providing a consistent incitement of temptation across the release which arguably was lacking or certainly less imposing with Drink Me. The previous encounter also had a healthy and enjoyable essence of artists like Echo and the Bunnymen and even more so Pete Wylie to it but Dark Age is something hard to reference to anyone with its own unique personality of sound.

Again their music offers a mix of rock, punk, indie, and power pop but it is a much darker and aggressively gripping tonic of sound this time around, as instantly evidenced by the explosive start to first track I Be Hopin. Drums immediately descend with a lively swagger of beats, an anthemic lure swiftly embraced by a sonic wind and an almost rabid scourge of industrial bred riffs. Once a tangy hook emerges too persuasion is a done deal though the sudden relaxing into a mellow vocal and melody clad hug takes ears and thoughts by surprise. It is also initially disappointing see the passing of such an outstanding start but KynchinLay soon has new this intimacy of sound and expression strolling with contagion and alluring enterprise. The air of the song also openly moves along, intensifying with every passing chord and sonic flirtation to create a tempestuous landscape of sound and emotion employing the essence of that tremendous opening again. The result is a climax which is as menacingly fiery as it is feistily captivating.

The following Wide Awake opens on an acoustic guitar and vocal croon, a gentle tempting which has little difficulty courting satisfaction and intrigued attention to its evocative rock pop shuffle. It is another song which builds up a more volatile atmosphere and intensity as sultry flames colour the emotive walls of the song around the great mix of vocals from across the band. The track enthrals, holding ears and appetite easily before departing for Back To What She Knows. Entering on a deliciously throaty bassline scythed through by evocative sonic invention, the encounter twists into a mouth-watering dark rock ‘n’ roll enticement. Its touch is spicy and it’s bewitching climate a sweltering embrace of tangy melodic drama. Wilson‘s vocals bring a great tempering to the sizzling heat of the song though, his tones flirting with a monotone, deceptively expressionless delivery but he gets it spot on and only accentuates all the surf rock like theatre around him. The best track on the EP, it leaves a smile on the face and in the emotions with ease.

Another round of infectious rhythmic bait opens up BatJazz next, a proposition evolving from a psychobilly like lure of grooves and hooks into a lighter pop rock stroll with a funky reggae infused gait. There is still a shadow rich air and presence to the song though which only adds to the adventure, a toning which inspires the subsequent sinister climax which sees the return of that irresistible opening sound this time in hand with a great exotic and mystique wrapped ingenuity.

The EP ends with Shudder, a classic slab of rock ‘n’ roll in anyone’s book. It is fair to say it is not a track designing new templates but holds heavy satisfaction in its hands with rock music crafted and energised in passion and more essential flavours than found on a recipe card. It is old school and modern rock ‘n’ roll united and a thoroughly enjoyable climax to one thrilling encounter.

In many ways KynchinLay has come of age with Dark Age yet you still sense there is plenty more still to be discovered and explored within them. Good exciting times ahead we suspect.

The Dark Age EP is available now via

RingMaster 02/04/2015

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Sleep of Monsters – Produces Reason


pic: Niklas Kapanen / Nakkertton Photography

With dark beauty and compelling drama oozing from every note and syllable, Produces Reason is one of those creative emprises which almost deviously seduce ears and imagination. It is a proposition stocked to the rim with rapturous melodies and harmonies but of often within a frame of predatory rhythms and voracious intensity which intimidate as they entrance. Released by Finnish metallers Sleep of Monsters, the album is gothic rock in its most accessible and fiercely inventive incitement. Already available and greedily devoured in the band’s homeland, the album recently had its worldwide release through Svart Records and it is fair to say that already passions are submitting and appetites becoming greedy for album and its creators.

To be honest it is no surprise, Produces Reason is a riveting collection of individual dark dances united in the creative theatre cast by the Helsinki band. Equally there is maybe no shock due to Sleep of Monsters being the brainchild of ex- Babylon Whores vocalist Ike Vil. Other than his startlingly distinctive tones there is no real similarity between the two bands though, the former a raw and voracious death rock confrontation and Sleep Of Monsters a blazing seduction of melodic grandeur and tenacious gothic temptation, but experience and adventure never loses its potency. Alongside Vil, the band sees the equally skilled invention of guitarists Sami Hassinen (formerly of Blake) and Uula Korhonen, bassist Mäihä, drummer Pätkä Rantala (who played on HIM’s acclaimed debut album), and Janne Immonen on keys. It is a creative powerhouse but to that there are also The Furies, a trio of vocal sirens going under the names Hanna Wendelin, Nelli Saarikoski, and Tarja Leskinen, who soar across and spice songs with a part angelic part devilish seduction. As evidenced by the Pekka Laine (LAB, 45 Degree Woman) produced album, it is a combination blurring lines between the darkest romances and the brightest emotional consumptions in enthralling songs which have little problem igniting the imagination.

Produces Reason begins with the brief ethereal harmonic lure of Holy Holy Holy, thirty five seconds where The Furies seduce ears and thoughts into the arms of the album and the following Nihil Nihil Nihil. A mesmeric guitar sculpted melody opens up the song before the bulging sinews of rhythms and imposing riffs join its coaxing. As ears swiftly come to realise, every moment is just that in a passage of a song, a breath in a continual evolution which here sees a mellow yet fiery stroll with infectious arms surrounding the impressing tones of Vil. At its darkest twists and especially the chorus, Sisters Of Mercy come to mind and in its most charming mellower moments the song is simply fresh and spicy ingenuity. With pungent beats and the haunting harmonies of the ladies as potent as the fiery guitar endeavour and lead vocals, the track is an immense start to the release swiftly matched by Abomination Street.10689922_618393148275006_5434782575254450074_n

The third track is another unafraid to show its sinews but also explores a flavoursome eighties synth pop adventure, keys and vocals combining at numerous points to brings thoughts of Blancmange to mind. The accompanying press release describes the album as bulging with “radio-friendly” songs and as much as that term annoys, it is easy to see where they are coming from with this and its predecessor alone. Every moment is an anthemic and ridiculously catchy proposal yet not to the detriment of venomous shadows, dark places and thoughts explored as swiftly shown again by Murder She Wrote. There is a Victoriana air of danger and dankness to the opening bass resonance, the suggestiveness soon joined by the expressive tones and narrative of Vil within the emotional embrace of darkly dramatic keys. As the song expands and grows so does the tension and sinister theatre of the track, as well as noir lit adventure in the imagination. It is a glorious proposal, guitars adding mesmeric flames whilst vocals croon with depth and elegance.

The tense atmosphere of Christsonday comes next, its classic metal colouring a rich flame within the gothic breath of the song. Again, and it is fair to say it pleasingly toys with most songs, there is an eighties tinge to essences within the imposing and descriptive ambience of the track. It provides a canvas for thoughts to colour and an aural painting for ears to immerse in, before making way for the sweltering heat of Our Savage God. Striding resourcefully within a sultry climate with contagious enterprise, the track is irresistibly sensational. Think Chris Isaak and Helldorado meets Pete Wylie and equipped with one of the most ridiculously catchy and inescapable choruses possible, the track puts its head above the rest of the peaks filling the album.

Horses Of The Sun grips body and mind next, its opening tribal coaxing as shamanic as it is satanic, The Furies’ enticing aligned to an intimidating rhythmic baiting as menacing as it is hypnotic. The song evolves from here into an intensive impassioned croon with vocals and keys a prominent seduction, the track like a merger of Walker Brothers and Poets of the Fall as it unveils another beauteous aspect to the landscape of the album.

The engrossing adventure and drama of Through A Mirror Darkly is next, the song infusing Eastern mystique in a fiery melodic flight with has a loud whisper of The Mission to it. Its triumph is followed by the fascinating melodic and vocal evocation of Cobwebs Of Your Mind, another song also recalling elements of Wayne Hussey and co. It should be stated though that for all the references offered every song emerges as something unique to Sleep of Monsters, just they come with excitingly familiar whispers.

The album closes with the magnetic smouldering of Magick Without Tears, a track which ebbs and flows like waves lapping the senses, every strong wash of sound and emotions bringing thick resonance and virulent drama. Produces Reason does have an additional bonus track not on its Finnish release, the song being I Am The Night Color Me Black which continues keeping the appetite contented though it has yet to convince as successfully as the other songs on the album.

Babylon Whores was an underrated and for many an undiscovered confrontation but it is hard to imagine Sleep Of Monsters slipping under the broadest radar, especially after releasing easily one of the year’s best debuts in the transfixing shape of Produces Reason.

Produces Reason is available now via Svart Records @

RingMaster 05/12/2014

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Ste McCabe – Brains of Britain


Punk rock for body, imagination, and the passions to relish and parade their wanton sides, the vivacious sound of singer-songwriter Ste McCabe has been a constant source of acerbic lyrical prowess and salacious musical enterprise since his emergence. His virulently contagious and biting political pop songs have provoked and thrilled across three absorbing and acclaimed albums, and his unrelenting hunger to gig, but with his new full- length Brains of Britain, McCabe has brewed up a new pinnacle in his creatively mischievous and lyrically striking assault on thoughts and emotions. It is a glorious stomp of punk, art-pop, and electronic devilry, an incitement which never gives the senses and imagination time to lay dormant.

With the vocal magnetism and melodic flair of Pete Shelley, the inventive agitation and social snarl of Mark E Smith, and the infection spewing invention of Pete Wylie, McCabe brews up a presence and sound which is individual yet carries a familiarity to gloriously feast upon. There is an inescapable charm and raw honesty to his confrontations, an almost anthemic call which finds even greater irresistibility and strength within the Maneki-Neko Music released Brains of Britain.

It is fair to say as that as soon as the big bulging electro pulse of opener Fool hits ears a lustful twinge shot through thoughts and emotions, its resonating call pungent bait reminding of Blancmange. It is a forceful and vibrant lure which is lifted further by the distinctive tones of McCabe, his expressive toning as always an easy liking to the Buzzcocks frontman. The initial electro beats soon break into a thumping stride beneath the vocals whilst synths spread a melodic breath and glaze over the brewing abrasion of punk guitars, it all creating an irresistible blaze of electro punk loaded with lyrical causticity.

The thrilling start is continued by Cockroach, a darkly shadowed, post punk spiced slab of provocative expression which features Billy Bragg who superbly alternates his equally distinctive presence and lyrical antagonism with that of McCabe. It is a song which crawls over senses and psyche, bass a lingering toxicity upon which light but scarring riffs and the outstanding vocal mix flourish. There is no avoiding the fallout of the exceptional song, its heavy radiance and gripping drama a lingering spark in thoughts and passions from the very first infestation.

Mantos ’99 moves in next with dark electro flirtation aligned to slight but potent scythes of guitar. It is another song with a minimally dressed landscape and intensive attraction, though it just misses the heights of its predecessors, even a2655639157_2with the increasing confrontation of its manner and energy. Again a post punk tempting ingrains the electronic wind of the song for a fulfilling helping of sonic bewitching around vocal devilry but it is soon left in the shadows of The Family Values Song. Imagine Swell Maps in league with Buzzcocks for a far too brief and exhausting but most of all scintillating blast, and you get sense of this riotous treat.

The pair of Chinless Wonders and Don’t We Have Nice Hair spark ears and imagination on new thrilling escapades next, the first a flight across an exotic climate of synth melodies and an evocative narrative painted by vocal variation, both aspects around a spine of heavy pulsation. Glistening before and creeping over the senses it is a magnetic prowl and seduction setting up an already greedy appetite for the second of the two. The track is a punk growl coated in a post punk chill of melodic melancholia. Barely two minutes long but flying by within a blink of the eye, the track croons and infects like a delicious mix of Television Personalities and Magazine with an OMD emotional discharge.

The spiky I’ll Do It sets up its contagion next, again a short burst of electro punk irreverence immediately irresistible to feet and emotions but no more so than the gripping PiL like sonic tempest of Go Polski Boy! Thrusting that caustic sonic radiance into a voracious electro and ravenous trance bred stomping, the track flexes and pulsates with creative gluttony and glorious insatiability. It sets another plateau for the album but itself is surpassed by the brilliant Them There Different People, the most potent art punk song you could wish to be seduced by. With a more than passing whisper of The Vibrators to it and the rawer agitation of 999, the track stomps and swaggers with an almost primal persuasion, leaving ears through to the heart enslaved.

The album finishes with the equally epidemic temptation of What Are You Worth, a track which has control of body and soul from its first predatory bass hook and electro niggling. Also expelling a moment of corrosive energy and sonic causticity, the song is a repetitive and merciless baiting which leaves the release on a high and fingers eager to press start and set in motion the whole thrilling adventure again.

Brains of Britain is easily one of our favourite albums of 2014 but also one of its best. Venomous and naughty, challenging and irrepressibly addictive, Ste McCabe has cast punk alchemy in its most creative and inspirational form. If there is one album you get before the year closes its eyes, it is easy to recommend that it is this one.

Brains of Britain is available from October 20th via Maneki-Neko Music @ or

RingMaster 13/10/2014

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KynchinLay – Drink Me EP


Five uniquely different songs but related through the imagination of one exciting band, the Drink Me EP is one of those unexpected and eagerly accepted treats which come around once in a while to surprise and invigorate the emotions. Crafted by UK rockers KynchinLay, the release is a fun and stimulating encounter from a band you sense will be making many more impressive ventures for our ears to greedily devour in the future.

Led by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter K G Wilson with drummer Damien Welsh and bassist Mal Williams alongside him as seemingly the core of the band, KynchinLay have brewed up a fine and feisty reputation across their home of Liverpool. They have an essence to their sound which reeks of the prime musical time of their city from the late seventies and across the eighties, their vague similarities to Echo and the Bunnymen in certain places a hint to their birth town but more loudly is the very appetising feel of Pete Wylie to their creativity. It makes for an immediately flavoursome presence which fires up the juices which the band then twist and treat with their own distinctive and highly tempting designs.

The release gets off to a tremendous start with Leave Me Alone; a single guitar teasing the ears with its gentle strum before combining with an eager vocal sigh and another coaxing of strings for a highly magnetic entrance. There is a riveting surface discord to the emerging sound which glances off the brewing melodies, a tempting added to by punchy beats, a wonderfully dark bass stroll, and the excellent vocals of Wilson. Instantly that air of familiarity welcomes ears and imagination into the unveiling heart of the song, backing vocals from Ian McIntyre lighting up the background at times as the track evolves into a ridiculously addictive proposition. Everything about the bait of the song is irresistible, from the fluid sonic enterprise and the guitar bred colour permeating every turn of the song to the deliciously heavy throated basslines and rampant yet controlled vocals. It is a scintillating start to the release which sparks a certain hunger for more.

The following Live Free Or Die brings an acoustic led protest with emotive keys and expressive harmonies wrapping their own potent narratives around the lyrical core of the song. Though it lacks the spark and impact of its predecessor, the song easily grabs its own slice of attention with its skilled composition, accomplished presentation, and resourceful passion before making way for the superb Public Execution. From a distant siren like squall overlaid by defiant voices of the people, the track evolves through a hazy ever increasing wind of sonic dissidence which comes into full focus with a web of guitar sculpting, the band aided by the skills of Dave Scott for the song, and the ever moody voice of the bass, all painting an imposing image of shadowed and dissatisfied times. Vocally Wilson drives the lyrical intent home strikingly; his distinctive tones a gripping ‘narrator’ whilst around him a throbbing nagging of The Cure in their early years and that previously mentioned McCulloch and Wylie essence invigorates ears and imagination. The track is glorious, an aural Orwellian painting with the chilled breath of Joy Division to its charm which incites and inspires as well as inflames mind and emotions. Like the first track, each individual element of the song combines for a formidable and impacting triumph, guitars especially inflammatory on the passions alongside the similarly potent vocals.

Dogfathers swiftly cements those thoughts as its jagged stomp of reggae seeded riffs dance with the imagination as mischievous harmonies play within the flight of the song. There is also a greater revelry to the vocals of Wilson whilst musically the song waltzes with the passions like a fusion of The Members and Tankus The Henge, the keys of Wilson and the guitar endeavour of again Scott bringing rich evocative hues to the devilish smile of the song, a grin fuelled by the excellent fiddle niggling provided by Ste Rothwell. With the only the less potent strength of the chorus against the tremendous ingenuity of the verse and courting twists of the song a vague dip, it is a captivation to raise the stock of the band once more.

The closing My Heart with its opening and slightly choppy range of riffs and the always welcome velvety call of the bass continues the richly pleasing might of Drink Me. More restrained than previous songs in its adventure but easily as contagious and addictive in its presence and structure, it is hypnotic stroll which simply draws the listener into its provocative script. Less dramatic than maybe other songs of the EP but right to the fore as a persuasion it brings a fine release to an outstanding end.

Drink Me took a few passages to unveil all of its bait and lures but once absorbed provides all the evidence to suggest that KynchinLay is something all melodic/alternative rock fans need to check out though they may have no choice in noticing them anyway if future releases build on this tantalising start.

The Drink Me EP is available now!


RingMaster 13/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Julian Cope: St Julian


    Musically many great things have spawn from the city of Liverpool with some obviously making major impacts on the direction and life of music. One giant moment is often overlooked or under- appreciated though and that is the formation and subsequent demise of Crucial Three. The punk rock band was a swift breath in the history of UK music which left without posing any footprint in the dirt of rock or a live note explored in its six weeks of existence. What it did do was make the first step for three important figures to ignite their creative imagination. From its brief life came forth singer Ian McCulloch obviously to be famed with Echo & the Bunnymen, guitarist Pete Wylie who went on to make equally impressive sounds and flavours through the varied guises of Wah and his solo work, and the ‘genius’ Julian Cope. The future Teardrop Explodes frontman maybe a flawed genius but lyrically and musically deserves to be placed within those realms. Equally there will be as many who will offer the other extreme of opinion on the ‘eccentric’ artist but for those he ignites the passions of he is one of the true greats.

The re-release of his St Julian album in a deluxe edition triggers all the rapture and pleasure which was rife around the man at the time and through those heady Teardrop Explodes days of the late seventies. Bringing forth arguably his finest moment as a solo artist certainly commercially, complete with a second disc of B-sides and re-mixes which graced the singles from the album, the release is a potent reminder of the often puzzling but always dramatic imagination and intriguing talent of a man who turned pop rock into an art form, even if often it was not seemingly appreciated sadly.

From those fleeting moments at the very start Cope formed UH? and A Shallow Madness with McCulloch which led to a permanent rift and antagonistic relationship between the two when Cope sacked the latter from the group, and also Nova Mob with Wylie, all again short lived bands. 1978 saw the formation of The Teardrop Explodes with drummer Gary Dwyer, organist Paul Simpson and guitarist Mick Finkler. Cope was the principal songwriter and bassist with a vocal delivery which was as magnetic as it was striking. Two impressive albums and a clutch of acclaimed singles, including Reward which achieved their highest chart entry of 6, followed as did instability in line-up as well as an indulgence in drugs. Cope himself verged on teen idol from the enterprising and successful debut album Kilimanjaro but the band failed to replicate the same triumph with the darker and more expansive Wilder and after a failure to make a third album and a disastrous tour, they split in 1982. The following year Cope began working on his first solo album World Shut Your Mouth, a release which left fans satisfied but failed to spark great positivity from elsewhere though it contained songs which generally held the pop spark of the Teardrops releases whilst being something which seemed to expose personal depths and the struggles of Cope whilst attempting to clean himself up. The 1984 record failed to sell with any strong purpose as did its successor Fried which arrived six months later. It offered a rawer side of his creativity and something new but repeated the lack lustre performance of his first in drawing appreciation and sales outside of his core fan base. Its failure led to Cope being dropped by Mercury Records who had released both albums.

With a new manager Cally Callomon encouraging his final clean-up and a new image and attitude, Cope signed with Island Records UMG_CD_BOOK_SADDLE_JUL00.qxtand released in 1986 St Julian. With a line-up of guitarist Donald Ross Skinner, drummer Chris Whitten ( ex-The Waterboys), and bassist James Eller (ex- Teardrop Explodes) beside him, Cope emerged with a ‘rock god’ persona though even at the time there seemed a delicious tongue in cheek mischief to it all. The songs within the album were big hearted encounters with bulging rhythms, insatiable hooks, and a drama which was compelling. It is one of the classic pop records of the era and anyone who begs to differ should indulge in the rampaging energy and swagger of World Shut Your Mouth, the sultry and compelling elegance of Planet Ride, and the belligerent rock track Pulsar with its Stranglers like snarl all over again. Singles like the fiery Spacehopper, a track which was borne out of writing sessions with Ian McCulloch years earlier, and the pulsating Trampoline, as the album as a whole, stood tall and above the majority of the other now termed classic eighties pop tracks of the time without puzzlingly retaining the retrospective and deserved grand acclaim the rivals bask in.

In hindsight surveying the mass of work from the man since and his apparent and exploratory ‘drive’ to go against the grain and stretch the underground pleasures of sound and creativity, as well as the B-side tracks which supported the singles from St Julian, one wonders if Cope was truly comfortable in this period though with songs rich in his always dramatic and evocative lyrics and sounds which invigorate and thrill with intelligence and instinctive contagiousness, you could never tell. The second disc at times supports the thought with songs like the Celt folk rock voiced Disaster, the mesmeric Almost Beautiful with its ambient majesty , and the dirge toned post punk challenge Warwick The Kingmaker delving into other provocative areas of Cope’s songwriting and invention. A mention for the brilliant cover of the Pere Ubu track Non-Alignment Pact has to be made, the song a classic already given an equally towering breath from Cope to have the passions sparking.

The years and releases since has seen Cope rightfully not compromising in his artistic vision and invention whilst keeping to the shadows to produce music which has ebbed and flowed in stature but is always riveting. Real success has eluded him musically though one senses he is not bothered and is more at ease with his creative powers than in those earlier times. He has also carved out a big and probably more recognition soaked career as a writer of underground music critique/ exploration and on the wide investigative scope of Archaeology and antiquarianism. St Julian is his finest moment for a great many and as the tracks swoop like gods to rile up and split open the heart into rapture it is hard to disagree.


RingMaster 04/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Damn Vandals: Done For Desire

pic Marcus Maschwitz

Anticipation for the debut album from UK rock band Damn Vandals was on a real high after their widely acclaimed Beautiful Mind EP earlier in the year. Could the band match or even improve on what was a remarkable release? Quite simply the band has not only stepped on from the release but to our mind they have with Done For Desire blown it out of the water. The release is a certain front runner for album of the year and is destined for classic status once its might and sheer excellence dawns on the music world.

The London based quartet of vocalist Jack Kansas, guitarist Frank Pick, bassist Adam Kilemore Gardens, and Chris Christianson on drums, has pulled in comparisons which range from Echo and the Bunnymen, Buzzcocks, Pavement, and he band has been suggested as the English version of Queens of The Stone Age. As Done For Desire sent surges of euphoria through the heart with each and every song though the main thought for us was that surely Damn Vandals are the reincarnation of the Fatima Mansions. With the same sharp and imaginative craft lyrically and musically as the outstanding Irish band Damn Vandals add to the carefully shaped caustic and ingenious breath the irresistible addictive hooks of a Teardrop Explodes and the earnest incisive passion found in the previously mentioned Echo and the Bunnymen. This makes for stunning songs and sounds which trigger the fullest thrills and evoke the deepest pleasure whilst vocally Kansas, his voice a glorious hybrid of Cathal Coughlan, Pete Wylie, and Ian McCulloch, adds emotive tones drawn from deep within his heart to wonderfully ignite the already impressive lyrical invention.

Produced by Julian Simmons (Midlake, The Phenomenal Handclap Band, Ed Sheeran, Guillemots, and Goldheart Assembly), Done For Desire immediately leaves one breathless with excitement through opener Revolution / Rehearsal. The lead single from the album leaps upon the ear with slashes of guitar and a bass which prowls the tune like a wolf licking its lips. As Kansas asks questions and provokes with razor sharp lyrics through his impassioned vocals the track boils the air with high voltage energy and scorched melodic strokes to trigger aural addiction, something the album eagerly and persistently builds upon.

The following As Seen On TV bristles with electrified rock intensity whilst again the bass of Kilemore Gardens invites tingles with its dark and burly tones. There is a slight Max Raptor feel to the song and alongside its predecessor the song soon unveils a thrilling diversity within the music of Damn Vandals.

As the likes of the provocative Kids Want Guns and the darkly wanton Sex It Narcissus tease and throb within the ear there is nothing but compliance before the mesmeric presence of the band. The second of the pair takes one on an edge of the seat journey through shadows and a hugely charged musical imagination as potent as it is impassioned.

Though every track is a masterpiece the brilliance of This Amazing and The Revenge Of Spider Toothy hold the heart with an orgasmic power. The first swerves and sways with deliberate mischief within its pulsating energy and the perfectly gathered siren driven hooks and melodies. The track ignites the atmosphere with such fiery enterprise and rhythmic hypnotism brought with immense skill it is hard to see why the song as a single a while ago did not see the band instantly elevated to essential listening.

The second of the pair is a brilliant blend of garage punk and psychobilly. Sounding like the secret offspring from a union of The Cramps, The Horrors in their formative years and Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, The Revenge Of Spider Toothy stomps over the senses with sheer majesty. The guitar of Pick always outstanding throughout the album leaves trails of flames with his magnificent play on this song whilst the drums of Christianson stalk the ear like a caged animal.

Closing track Beautiful Mind taken from the previous acclaimed EP makes an end as irresistible as the beginning of the album. It swirls around and through the ear like a stunning sunset of sound, its heated magnetism leaving one bursting to the seams with adoration for it and the release as a whole. As much as one looked there is not a single element which the band can be pulled up on within Done For Desire, it is as near to perfection as one can get. If this does not make Damn Vandals one of the biggest presences in UK music then something is seriously wrong with the judgement of people.

Ringmaster 26/07/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Secret City : Self Titled

The bio for Australian band The Secret City states ‘they create dreamlike adventures that will take you to places of sweet serenity, or throw you into the pit of a nasty nightmare. You will be entertained, shocked, inspired and awed by this original and unapologetic band.’  To be honest it is hard to be any more accurate than that. Most bios and info sheets accompanying releases over play and exaggerate to varying degrees and they would not be doing their job if they did not, but in this case the words are right on the mark. The self titled album from the Sydney trio wraps itself around the senses and thoughts with cloaks of mesmeric charm, a provocative strength, and at times with a challenging intrusion but it is an experience from first note to last which engages every aspect of a person to bring forth imagery, emotions, and as they claim a sense of adventure.

Vocalist Rusty Lynch and guitarist Brendan Morello have collaborated as songwriters for over a decade but it was say the band, with the addition of keyboardist Alex “Ted” Cape that The Secret City found its true unity. Their time together again from their own words says it has been ten years of writing songs, the forming of five different bands which one presumes means line-up wise, and the release of four EPs and two albums plus a continual multitude of gigs. This has brought an evolution within the band and to their craft accumulating in this their third album and a release which is they say superior in every aspect to what came before. Never having come across the band before we have to take their word on that but the fact that this release is so impressive and strikingly created and comes with such imagination and passion it is hard to offer any doubts.

Produced, engineered and mixed by Michael Carpenter at Love Hz Studios, he also contributed bass, drums and percussion and more to the album, The Secret City captivates attention and feelings from its very start. The opening song My View From Here saunters in with a confidence in its melodic grace and a sure intent to mesmerise its recipients. With an eager yet restrained pace it slowly envelopes the ear gradually expanding into a full and vibrant impassioned piece of songwriting. Vocally Lynch reminds a little of Pete Wylie though with a wider range and his delivery is a seamless and complimentary energy within the now vast charms of the song. Without exploding into a full charge the song ignites feelings and an enthused energy within, an uplifting and evocative track which has one drooling.

The excellent and equally compelling Souless follows and is even more impressive. With an open warm heart and a keen swagger it takes one on a journey of warm and honest reflection. Whether the songs and lyrics are borne of personal experience from Lynch and Morello only they can say but there is definitely the feeling that the revelations are spawn from a real and emotional life. The song is wonderful, vying for one of the best heard in recent times anywhere and one of a few on the album making a very inviting entry into The Secret City.

The likes of the pop laced Considerable Love, the Coldplay liked spiced Where Will It End?, and the folky and elegant This Is For You, embrace with a tenderness and defined invention that leaves nothing less than mesmeric satisfaction. They also as with each song on the release bring diversity and an intriguing unpredictability as well as a continual question of who the album reminds of. As the dramatic and bold power of the first single from the album Barrage of Absence stomps into view with its bulging melodies and epic atmosphere,  the revelation of who The Secret City remind of breaks through. Not so much in sound but the striking atmospheres and revelatory depths the music reaches is a close cousin to those created by nineties band Fatima Mansions, and with reflection there is also a similarity in the way Lynch expresses the heart and poetry of songs to Cathal Coughlan and a no finer compliment can be given to band and music.

The finest track on the album A Call confirms our comparison as well as being an invigorating and blood pumping treat to feast upon, its rock driven intensity and catchy freshness sheer joy and easily a rival for best song. To be honest the album did not fully engage until its third play onwards though the initial introduction was full of intrigue and open invitation to return but given more company the album unveils an immense imaginative craft and invention for a fully rewarding experience. The Secret City is a band that does not just make music and songs but creates evolving light and darkened gests.

RingMaster 12/05/2012 Registered & Protected

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