Paul Menel and The Essentials

Paul Menel pic 1_RingMaster Review

Having teased us all in regard to their new album with recently released single They Call Her Leaf, Paul Menel and The Essentials have offered a bigger insight into in their forthcoming full-length with a five track sampler. Primarily a promotional tool to awaken media attention, all we can say is if the five tracks within its walls are an indication of the album to come, the band has a sure-fire success on their hands with Spare Parts for Broken Hearts.

Led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Paul Menel, an artist who fronted prog rock band IQ from 1985 to 1990 and whose previous solo albums in Carpenter From Nazareth Seeks Joiners and Into Insignificance I Will Pale have met with increasing success and acclaim, the band is proving itself to be one of the bright winds on the British rock scene. The line-up is completed on the Gav Monaghan produced Spare Parts for Broken Hearts by bassist Steve Swift and drummer Tim Churchman but also sees numerous guest appearances including Vix Vox of Fuzzbox who features on the opening song from the sampler, that latest single They Call Her Leaf.

From its initial tingle of melodic guitar the song is perpetual captivation, escalating its potency as the strong vocals of Menel join rich melodies and resonating beats. Shadows come from a tasty, if understated, bassline whilst atmosphere and suggestive expression oozes from every aspect of the aural fascination. There is no escaping a Peter Gabriel essence to the flowing folkish charm and dramatic colourful of the song it has to be said, but it is a hue only adding to the refreshing imagination and originality flowing freely around and in the vocal roar of Menel. With the siren tones of Vox equally entrancing within the richly flavoured fusion of progressive and classic rock, The track is a master of ears, and just as powerful and irresistible after a torrent of plays as it was first time around.

The second song on the sampler is Walk In My Shoes, a glow of voice and emotive melodies spread further by harmonies and keys. The song quickly reveals a different shade to the sound and songwriting of Menel and band, its classic elegance and emotive intensity a warm slice of thick balladry. It is a potent and powerful proposition but not one which sparks with personal tastes and that is the only issue it has, just trying to please someone missing an appetite for its kind of temptation.

There is going to be plenty of rock ‘n’ roll diversity across Spare Parts for Broken Hearts going by this early taster too, the third song Strife strong evidence with its glorious post-punk/Bond like hook and steamy blues toned flame of guitar. Equally there is a theatre in the jungle of rhythms and expressive vocals which leave their addictive bait across the fifties/sixties laced rocker, all uniting in a glorious incitement as individual as the rest of the songs and equally riveting.

The title track from Spare Parts for Broken Hearts is another striking tempting on the sampler. Opening on a worldly chorus and also developing a bassline and stirring core as much punk as it is melodic rock, the track soon breaks into a feisty canter enveloped in a tapestry of melodies and varied styles; all the time increasing its virulent persuasion. Strings, brass, and keys serenade as robust rhythms lead the unpredictable and addictive waltz into igniting ears and imagination.

The final early look at the album on this release is Let’s Do It, another Gabriel-esque seduction loaded with a cosmopolitan air and world bred rhythms bred with shamanic hypnotism. There are glimpses of almost every flavour and corner of the globe somewhere within the scintillating party of the song, its title a suggestion you can only embrace and apply to checking out the full Spare Parts for Broken Hearts album when it is soon unveiled.

We will be there and hopefully you too as this sampler more than hints that there is something very special awaiting us.

The single They Call Her Leaf is out now via most online stores.

https://twitter.com/MenelEssentials     https://www.facebook.com/Paul-Menel-123117397706360

http://www.paulmenelessentials.co.uk

Pete RingMaster 30/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Paul Menel & The Essentials – They Call Her Leaf

Paul Menel pic 1_RingMaster Review

It is always a great move to tempt intrigue for your album with a slice of irresistibility, whether in single form, a video, or whatever and that is certainly what Paul Menel & The Essentials have down with new song They Call Her Leaf. Taking from their forthcoming album Spare Parts for Broken Hearts, the new single is a mighty lure of melodic, progressive, and classic rock that just captures ears and imagination.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Paul Menel is no newcomer to the rock scene. He was the frontman of prog rock band IQ from 1985 to 1990, and for two of their albums in the shape of Nomzamo and Are You Sitting Comfortably? in 1987 and ’89 respectively. After leaving the band he ‘rested’ for a few years, concentrating on a growing family and writing new songs. These subsequently became his debut album Carpenter From Nazareth Seeks Joiners, an encounter earning great plaudits amongst many. Its release and success in reviews led to producer Gav Monaghan (Robert Plant/Jack White/Peter Gabriel) getting in touch and persuading Menel to record at his Magic Garden Studio from where the acclaimed Into Insignificance I Will Pale emerged in 2012. Now with a new band also consisting of bassist Steve Swift and drummer Tim Churchman, Menel is poised to releaser their first album, Spare Parts For Broken Hearts, and before it this new rousing single.

The forthcoming album also features a host of guests including Monaghan, Julianne Bourne, and on They Call Her Leaf, Menel’s long-time friend Vix Vox of Fuzzbox. Inspired by the sense of hope when all seems hopeless and portrayed through Leaf, an “ethereal spirit who drives us on, unseen but ever present”, the song opens on a melodic coaxing which swiftly builds into a rich and pungent blend of crisp beats, dark bass tones, and elegant melodic endeavour. Already though there is enthralling thickness to the textures and flavours combining to fascinate ears and grip the imagination, an enthralling blend vivaciously embracing the vocals of Menel which bring a Peter Gabriel like hue to the colourful affair just to add a little more captivation to it all..

With folkish dew dripping off certain moments and the siren-esque tones of Vox a perpetual seducing throughout as her warm tones perfectly mix with the restrained but open roar of Menel, They Call Her Leaf just ignites body and thoughts. As suggested, there is a depth and extensive weave of sound and instrumentation to the song which ensures it proceeds to grow in strength and persuasion with every listen, musically and vocally.

They Call Her Leaf is pure temptation and if Spare Parts For Broken Hearts has more songs to match its beauty and anthemic roar, then we might potentially have a modern classic on our hands.

They Call Her Leaf is out now via most online stores.

Pete Ringmaster 14/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Manumit – Digital & Hostile

Manumit Online Promo Shot

Creating a sound which is fresh and striking whilst employing a wealth of familiar essences from a healthy array of genres, Welsh solo artist Manumit follows up the success of and acclaim for his previous singles and EPs with debut album Digital & Hostile. It is an enthralling proposition which entangles rich elements of heavy rock and electronic invention with equally potent strains of amongst many dubstep, drum n bass, and post hardcore. Released via Lost Generation Records, Digital & Hostile is a thoroughly compelling proposition which ebbs and flows a touch in its still success but never submits to predictability whilst exciting ears.

Brought to life in 2012, the Bridgend, South Wales hailing project took little time in grabbing attention and keen recognition. Manumit’s first EP F**k Genres, Love Music soon woke a hunger in fans and potent interest from the underground media upwards for his sound whilst the music video for the track Walk Away soon become a centre of attention on the likes of Scuzz TV. Subsequent singles and videos emulated that early success and bred a stronger anticipation for the band’s first full-length. Bringing those earlier singles together with a host of new songs, Digital & Hostile is a ten track adventure which from start to finish intrigues and flirts with the imagination.

The release makes a gentle opening with the intro of Sacrifice, a guitar making a lone evocative coaxing within a colder atmospheric drift of sonic whispers. It is a thoroughly engaging start to the track soon making an even stronger seduction with the excellent vocals of Manumit. The song simmers in the warmth of melodic rock at this point with a folk lilt to the vocals and melodies yet all the time in the background you sense something is brewing and moving towards the foreground of the song. It arrives in a fiery blaze of electro rock, Pendulum immediately coming to mind as the track bristles and rages within the pulsating embrace of its electronic invention. It stops itself from being a replica of existing propositions though with the continuing of the excellent melodic rock enterprise unveiled earlier in the song and the great vocals which also employ post hardcore antagonism in their delivery.

The track is a strong and appetite sparking start which the following Walk Away easily continues. It also opens with a gentle emotive stroking, a piano this time casting its melodic beauty over ears and imagination swiftly joined by the Manumit Cover Artworkagain deeply impressive vocals. There is a touch of Coheed and Cambria to the start and it too is brought into an electro maelstrom of temptation though with a stronger lilt to the heavier rock side of the track this time. Vocal squalls add to the wide texture of the song whilst the aligning electronic endeavour brings a mesh of Nine Inch Nails meets Skrillex to its striding triumph. As with its predecessor, it does feel like the track is one spark too short in its fire, never exploding into the rigorous tempest you expect and hope but it does not stop either from making a thoroughly enjoyable and impressive start to the album.

Do The Right Thing also glides in gracefully, its exotic tempting on an electronic breeze almost Peter Gabriel like. In no time it erupts with raw emotionally charged vocals within a thick and inventive weave of electronic incitement, all veined with heavier rock riffs and rhythmic provocation. Vocally the song is as superb as those before and after, the strength and expression of Manumit a striking given success across the album, whilst the expectations evading twists of the song and the classical elegance of keys within the bustling sonic storm is at times bewitching. It is another very potent proposition for the main matched by both Everything Changes and When I’m Gone. The first of the two is a flowing persuasion of electro rock with plenty of tenacious essences from both sides of that mix in its evocative stroll whilst the second is a gentler but no less busy croon of emotive keys and electro radiance splintered by an array of punchy beats and incendiary guitar designs. Maybe the least impressive track so far it nevertheless is an infectiously captivating song showing the strength of the album.

Another diverse twist comes with the album through the magnetic balladry of Your Body Giving Up. Fronted by the glorious and seductive tones of Tanyth Roberts, the song is a sultry flame of atmospheric tension, melodic drama, and electronic intrigue which makes more of a lingering impression and success than an upfront persuasion but emerges as one of the most riveting songs on the album. Its enslaving provocative charm is followed by the energetic stomp of Can You Hear Us? From a nintendo-esque opening, the song bursts into a rampant charge of electronic and heavy rock tenacity, merging the electro punk roar of a Jensen with the more mischievous virulence of a Hadouken or Axis Mundi. It is an irresistible contagion which is as antagonistic as it is anthemic, and the best track on the release.

The raging urgency continues in Abuse Of Power, its raw challenge lyrically and musically tempered by the melodic vocals and electronic designs which seduce the imagination as much as the quarrelsome textures and hardcore tones within the proposition. Elegant keys also add to the drama and though the track does not grip as many others, it is still a masterful persuasion before making way for The Passing Of Nothing. It is a track which starts much like the opening pair on the album, from its delicious harmonic and melodic initial touch evolving into an electronic and vocal blaze around a stirring sinew sculpted slice of rock. You are never too far from thoughts of Pendulum with many songs but with the numerous other flavours flowing through them, here a Spineshank like industrial metal spicing at play, Manumit takes every song into a distinctive corner.

Closed by the transfixing Afterflow which from a underwhelming start emerges as another engrossing incitement, thanks predominantly to Manumit’s fine vocals and a steely anger to the song’s body, Digital & Hostile is a formidable and richly pleasing release. Whether it is as intrusive and raucous enough to match its undoubted potential is one for the individual but Manumit has shown himself with the album, to be one of Britain’s more creatively dynamic and exciting prospects.

Digital & Hostile is available via Lost Generation Records on 1st September @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/digital-hostile/id883699098 and other online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/manumitofficial

Live Band line-up: ( Manumit – Vocals/guitar/keys/samples;Skullfunk – Vocals/MC;Larusso – Guitars, Bandit – Drums.

8.5/10

RingMaster 01/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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parker BOMBSHELL – The Hours Down EP

parker BOMBSHELL The Hours Down

Ahead of a new EP due towards the end of June, we catch up with its predecessor The Hours Down EP which came out just three or so weeks ago. Consisting of five magnetic encounters from the individual imagination of Canadian band parker BOMBSHELL, the release is a captivating eighties bred dance which leaves feet eagerly agitated and thoughts thoroughly engaged. The band has evolved dramatically since its early days as just Parker, but has always reaped the richest essences of original synth pop and modern indie pop for a contagious enticement, which easily sums up The Hours Down EP.

The adventure of Toronto duo singer/songwriter Tom McNeil (also renowned for his podcast Addictions & Other Vices at Audioburger.com) and songwriter/singer/producer Thomas Ryder Payne, parker BOMBSHELL bring inspirations of the likes of Peter Gabriel, Elvis Costello, R.E.M., Billy Bragg, The Cure, The Smiths, Squeeze, Blondie and many more into their own elegant offerings. The latest release is the first in a series of four EPs which will make up debut album The Hours Down, each examining the five steps of recovery from depression and trauma. On the evidence of The Hours Down EP its full-length namesake promises to be an intriguing and absorbing experience.

Latest single Dust opens up the EP, and immediately casts a celestial sparkling of key spawned notes. The enchanted air is soon thickened with coaxing melodies and welcoming harmonies as a brewing energy builds behind the temptation. The track is soon settles into a slow but purposeful stroll, McNeil laying down his rich baritone yet mellow tones upon the musicianship of Payne to great effect and success but it is when the mesmeric voice of guest Rebekah Higgs comes into view that the song truly catches the imagination. With echoing harmonies and robust pulsating beats accompanying her entrance, tingles are sent down the spine as a seductive tempting spreads its bait before being embraced by the full weight and enterprise of the encounter again. The song as potent as it is initially is also a slow burner which just gets stronger and more welcomingly intrusive over each taking of its riveting creative emprise.

The following Long Drawn Out Goodbyes has a task indeed to follow the impressive start and it does itself no harm with an initial jangle of China Crisis like guitar amidst expressive breath of keys. The song moves into a potent stride soon after led by again punchy beats under an umbrella of evocative melodic expression sculpted by keys and synths. As expected that eighties spice is a prevalent enticement, elements of OMD and again eighties synth pop seeping into the colour of the song. Like a few of the tracks on the EP it does not explode or erupt as expected, and at times hoped, but gently smoulders with a melancholic like allure until reaching its more pungently enriched climax, a finale soaked in an enthralling drama and intensity.

Another Great Depression sweeps in next, a dark resonance the breeding ground for shadowed keys and great niggling guitar to beckon over which synths tantalise and tempt. Through the heart of it the vocals of McNeill smoothly unveil the narrative and emotive shadows of the song, his voice holding sway against the evolving textures and enterprise of Payne, whose darker throated tones add a menacing depth to the emerging landscape of the song. Like the first track it is a proposition which only grows and impresses more over time, and even though its initial encounter is not as impacting as that of Dust, it eventually puts that right to add another rich aspect to the release.

The brief but decent ballad Stuck Here comes next; voice and keys primarily casting emotive hues for thoughts to run with. It does not spark the same appetite as other songs, feeling like it is either unfinished or an intro to a song, though not its successor on the EP I would suggest. It is strong and appealing but out of place where it is, neither working as an interlude nor as mentioned as a lead into the last track Sucking Retail. The closer is a mixed bag of irresistible magnetism and towering temptation, but an offering which ebbs and flows in potency and success at times. Its crescendos are magnificent, contagious enticements which enslave the passions with nostalgic but fresh enterprise and vivacity but the moments in between, whilst laying out engaging bait, lack the dynamics and sheer drama of its better moments.

Nevertheless it is a fine end to a very appetising release which fans of organic synth pop will find plenty to enjoy in. It is a strong start to the emerging debut album from parker BOMBSHELL; time will tell if it is sustained but right now it is easy to be confident about that.

The Hours Down EP is available now @ http://parkerbombshell.com

7.5/10

RingMaster 18/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Charlie Winston: Running Still

CW

    The opportunity to review the new single from British singer-songwriter Charlie Winston came up recently, a track which is easily one of the freshest dazzles of elevated pop to come along recently, but such its impressive heart and sound the urge to check out instead the recent album it came from burned brighter and what a rewarding decision it was. Running Still is exceptional, an eclectic feast of sounds and passion which ignites the heart.

France based Winston took to music at an early age, learning the drums at age eight, moving to the piano at ten, and within two years was writing his own songs. Growing up in a Suffolk hotel, which had a constant tide of itinerant artists, orchestras, actors, and thespians, added to his love and understanding of the performing arts so really it is no surprise his heart fuelled accomplished and imaginative creativity can openly be seen on his album. At seventeen he relocated to London to join brother, Tom Baxter, whilst studying music at Brunel. The next three years saw the pair playing in their band Baxter, with Winston on bass, and finding him writing and playing music for short films, dance productions, and TV adverts as well as producing and recording records with various artists. He continued to sing or play with many different bands on either bass, piano or percussion, whilst for the first time exploring the guitar.

In 2003 whilst recording bass on his brother’s album at Real World Studios, Winston was introduced to Peter Gabriel. Friends with his daughter, Winston eventfully decided to introduce his new EP to her father which led him to being signed to Real World Records, the label of Gabriel, for debut album Make Way, as well as supporting the man on his 2007 European tour. Moving to France next, Winston caught the attention of record label Atmosphériques, and through them linked up with to Mark Plati (David Bowie, The Cure, Louise Attaque) who produced his acclaimed second album Hobo. Released in 2009, the album topped the French charts and drew intense attention and responses in France and adjacent European areas though still back home he was and arguably still is an unknown, well until Running Free, via Real World Records, touches on the nation one suspects.

The album coaxes the listener in with opening guitar strokes and expressive vocals from Winston as first track Hello Alone gently AlbumArt_{8ECE16C4-E3E6-4B3E-81E4-2EB0AEA1118E}_Largesaunters into view. With shimmering sonics and a folk swagger, the song leads the ear and emotions into a mesmeric dance of heated brass, tingling keys, and excitable melodic sultriness. It is a compelling and glorious beginning which instantly raises the anticipation of what is to follow.

Immediately the flirty Speak to Me takes over, a mesh of big pulsating rhythmic seduction and semi-rapped vocals skirt the senses before engaging them in an enthralling unexpected big boned stomp. The track instantly reminds of Gabriel to be honest with additional elements of Talking Heads and though arguably it is an easy unchallenging composition for the listener it is nothing less than incitingly absorbing.

The previously mentioned single, Where Can I Buy Happiness?, ignites a furnace of pleasure and passion, its smouldering heat and sexiness a lure of the richest potency and fired elegance. It has a familiarity about it which is hard to pin point and certainly only adds to its triumph whilst its soulful plea connects with an inner understanding all can relate to. The quizzical bassline is exceptional and strolling within the glaze of emotive keys and again fine vocals adds to the compelling breath of a quite stunning song.

Already the diversity of the album is loud and continues throughout each subsequent track. The Great Conversation is a wonderful encounter of the dramatic, its weave of nostalgia and modern sensational. The song is a quirky English stroll through European classical intrigue complete with whispers of steampunk and totally delicious. The piano driven ballad She Went Quietly without sparking the passions of previous songs is a thoughtful evocative caress whilst Unlike Me is another tender amble across thoughts with its padding of rhythmic feet and mournful yet smiling strings, guitars, and harmonies.

The balmy soul of Until You’re Satisfied lifts the passions again to previous elevations, though they never ever dip into anything less than excitable at any point, before the southern blues soaked steamy encounter Wild Ones trips the light fantastic over the senses with steamy melodics and insatiable mischief. It is another major highlight which makes the perfect invitation and companion to another piano ballad in Making Yourself so Lonely, a song with a big breath and grander emotion.

Rockin’ in the Suburbs with its breathless excitement ,which transfers to and erupts within the listener, begins the closing straight for the album, the infectious and agitated rock n roll within its walls undemanding and generous with its rewards. Completed by the pop romp of Summertime Here All Year, a song with a touch of Julian Cope/Black about it, and a final emotive hug from Lift Me Gently, the magnificent Running Still is a lingering and continually returning treat which swirls around thoughts and memories long after its final kiss. If after its release Charlie Winston is still a mystery to the UK even the world at large, than something is seriously wrong.

http://www.charliewinston.com/

9/10

RingMaster 27/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Apples – Fly On It

The best apple is always a crisp and juicy one which is exactly how you can describe the new album from a band with the same name. Israeli post-funk nine-piece instrumental band The Apples simply light up the senses with latest album Fly On It, which is unleashed on August 6th. It is a collection of instrumental based tracks which twist and turn with relish whilst carrying a wicked glint in their eye to y thrill consistently.

The band and album brings sounds which are a hybrid fusion of jazz and funk with an enormous squeeze of multi flavoured essences veined with Middle Eastern influences. To be honest we do not have a great knowledge of this area of music but at times The Apples takes our thoughts and ears back to bands like Pigbag and Rip Rig and Panic whilst also bringing tints of the likes of De Staat, Les Negresses Vertes, and Mano Negra into view. The release is perpetually intriguing and exhilarating throughout to leave a permanent grin in the heart.

Released through Audio Montage, Fly On It was originally commissioned by Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios for Bowers & Wilkins’ Society of Sound and was recorded over two days in Wiltshire at legendary studios Big Room. The setting and resulting tracks saw The Apples able to bring their explosive live sound and feel into the recordings bringing an irresistible energy to the album. Since forming in 2002 the band has gathered increasing acclaim with their albums Attention! (2006), Buzzin’ About (2008), and Kings (2010), not to mention their singles, EP, and a critically acclaimed version of the Rage Against the Machine track Killing In The Name. The new release is set to draw an even greater response one feels, its invention and vibrant creativity it is hard to imagine many not falling for.

The album opens with the stomping funk sounds of Preserve. Tribal with feisty rhythms and mischievous horns, the track teases and excites the ear with flickering melodies and beckoning near wantonness. Excitable and intent on exploding in every corner of the senses the song ignites a heated infection to set the release off to a great start.

The following title track ruffles the air with a sinister flicking of its tongue seemingly inspired by the trade mark Rage Against The Machine sound before opening up into an enveloping melodic atmosphere. All the time though the track winds up the senses taking them through darkened features and offshoots within the overall breath of the track which glows like a full sunset. It is another stunning irrepressible piece of music which leads into the vast soundscape of Sixth Stream.

This track is a musical world of its own bringing a slow prowl lit by Eastern promise and glowing fires of melodic imagination. Its journey is a fully contained episode to inspire evolving imagery and thoughts, a cinematic experience with an eccentricity which warms every pore. Nothing is expected or predicted on the album but this song especially is a wonderful mystery which reveals its heart note by note yet still able to offer more with each visit to its mesmeric terrain.

The brooding and pulsating funk soaked Thang and the fractious Rhinocerize keep things fully absorbing whilst the provocatively attitude dripping Looking For Trouble with its carefree belligerence, sets the heart racing with even more enthusiasm. It is the closing duo of Powder and Do The Car Horn which add extra heightened highlights to the release. The first is a swaggering weave of soulful beauty, the bass and keys prompting full engagement whilst the horns once more help build an atmosphere to fire up the passions.  The second of the two is the clear favourite from the album here, the busy, frantic, and at times niggling drive of the song overwhelmingly contagious. As the title suggests it is an industrious brew of heated mayhem and unrelenting energy brought with a wonderful cartoon/psychotic ambience to leave the most lingering pleasure on the album.

Fly On It is just wonderful and without doubt The Apples has created one of the great soundtracks for the summer if not the year.

http://www.theapples.net

Ringmaster 30/07/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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