Spark The Sail – Sapphire Deep

Spark The Sail Promo Shot_RingMaster Review

There has generally always been a strong underground scene spreading out in Bristol but right now the British city seems to be at a new high in excitement and potency. There is a vast horde of artists catching ears and attention with, for us, bands like The St. Pierre Snake Invasion, who just released their exceptional debut album, Jesuits, Left Side Brain, and the currently quiet Mind Museum leading the way. To that list we can now add rock popsters Spark The Sail, a quintet releasing a debut EP that simply leaves ears and pleasure aflame.

The Sapphire Deep EP is a rousing romp of pop ‘n’ roll, a feel good contagion built on open craft and fresh imagination. Every one of its five songs has the body and emotions leaping, the appetite for its boisterous beauty greedier by the second, with the psyche lost in its web of virulent catchiness. To local fans this is no surprise and now the UK and further afield can wake up to magnetic rock music as virulent as it comes.

Spark The Sail initially began as the duo of vocalist Jodie Davies and vocalist/acoustic guitarist Ryan Moore. Then as 2013 called it a day, the band had grown to a quintet with the addition of electric guitarist Robbie Rowe, bassist James Killackey, and drummer Mitchel Lucas. Honing their unity and sound, the band subsequently hit the live scene and were soon adding the sharing of stages with the likes of The Hoosiers, Dub Pistols, and Tinie Tempah to their quickly expanding CV. Successful appearances at The Isle Of Wight Festival this year and a host of other shows across the south of England has only added to their reputation and fan base; both now set to explode as Sapphire Deep unveils its rich revelry.

Spark The Sail Cover Artwork_RingMaster Review     The band’s inspirations include bands such as Panic! At The Disco, The Skints, and Paramore; fair to say open influences in varying degrees from the first track onwards though equally there is an energy in the songwriting and melodies which has a feel of Irish bands The Radioactive Grandma/ K.N.O.T.S. As opener Sapphire reveals, it is potent flavouring to something, if not unique to Spark The Sail quite yet, easily allowing them to standout as something highly promising and special. The song opens on a melancholic piano cast melody, around it the atmosphere hazy and slightly distorted. Energy brews simultaneously, erupting in a stroll of punchy rhythms and coaxing riffs led by the excellent dual vocal persuasion of Davies and Moore. Alone their voices entice but together enthral and ignite ears as easily as the weave of acoustic and electrified enterprise aligning to their creative theatre. Like a gem, the song has a host of faces to its adventure, each having a moment to shine and tempt before the song concludes on another boisterous roar of pop devilry.

The following Never The Moment keeps ears and enjoyment flying, the opening bait of rhythms from Lucas setting the template of the song with its anthemic shuffle soon joined by smiling melodies and hooks. Again the vocals transfix and bewitch, side by side or hand in hand a thrilling colour to a track again twisting and turning with perpetual imagination. The glorious encounter leaves rich hooks in ears and memory, its character a lingering friend but as Outlook shows next, that also applies to each song. Like its predecessor, the swinging slice of fun has meaty rock ‘n’ roll at its core and spicy pop melody in its heart, both wrapped in a swirling folk pop scent for a riveting and lively drama with a good whiff of Fall out Boy to it.

   Trust Me is next and with elegant melodies as its first caress, swiftly has the imagination floating away with its atmospheric and emotive air. A relatively more restrained and intensive affair than the first trio of tracks, it still weaves a rosy hug of vocals, harmonies, and expressive melodies around a firmer lure of rhythmic bait.

The release is brought to an energetic and tenacious end by Pieces, another easy to get physically and mentally involved in proposal bouncing round with creative enthusiasm and melodic flirtation. The track sums up the whole of the EP in its closing dance of passion and sound to light up any day and shadow.

Spark The Sail is now firmly installed as not only one or our favourite Bristol exports but of our pop /rock joys. Mark our words; this band is going places if Sapphire Deep is the sign of things to come.

The Sapphire Deep EP is released November 6th through all stores.

Pete RingMaster 06/11/2015

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Niamh Crowther – Little by Little

NC_RingMaster Review

Folk rock/pop with a beaming smile, that is Little by Little, the new single from Irish singer/songwriter Niamh Crowther. Gripping feet and imagination from its first vibrant breath, the song is one of those feel good moments which continues to linger, warming the soul long after it has taken its physical leaves. The successor to the well-received single Origins, Crowther’s new flirtatious shuffle suggests she is well along the path to big rewards.

Crowther first came to prominence in Ireland when aged sixteen she beat over 15,000 other young people to claim the prestigious Irish Youth Music Awards. Concentrating on her school exams first, with most of 2014 devoted to successfully completing her Leaving Certificate (A Levels), Dublin hailing Crowther eventually went into the studio with Tim Martin (The Corrs, The Commitments, Declan O’Rourke), emerging with both Origins and Little by Little. Her eighteenth birthday also saw her on stage with Richie Sambora at the Olympia theatre in Dublin; so it has been a heady time on all counts for the emerging talent over the past couple of years or so, the garnering of over 130,000 streams on Spotify whilst having her music play listed on national Irish radio further success; all adding to good times sure to continue with the release of Little by Little.

A stroke of Crowther‘s guitar leads in her immediately alluring voice, the pair uniting as understated but firm beats add to the rising infectiousness of song and craft. Soon into a lively stroll which has feet tapping as if on puppet strings, the song seems to relish the tangy lilt of Crowther’s enticing voice and her instinctive melodic prowess, raising its energy and heart with each passing kiss of harmony and tenacious canter of rhythmic catchiness.

Though not necessarily in sound, there is a definite Kirsty MacColl like poise and invention to the songwriting and swing of the song too, a rich lure making up part of the refusing to go away majesty of the single, that and simply the organic virulence cast and fuelling the festivity.

Niamh Crowther is the name; expect to hear a lot more of it wherever you are in the world.

Little by Little is released on October 23rd.

Pete RingMaster 22/10/2105

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Postcards From Jeff – Modern Language

Postcards from Jeff _RingMaster Review

Modern Language is the name of the new single and album from UK artist Postcards from Jeff, and both propositions which capture the imagination in a mix of dusty Americana, alternative rock intimacy, and dreamily emotive atmospheres with cinematic landscapes. Killing two birds with one stone, we are taking a look at the ten-track full-length, a serenade of reflective charm and melancholic isolation which takes the listener into the heart of relatively undisturbed scenery as calm and rich in beauty as it is loneliness.

Postcards From Jeff is rural Yorkshire hailing, Manchester based Joss Worthington, the band a project living and breathing between the artist’s work in the studio producing for other artists. Last year Worthington released Postcards From Jeff’s self-titled debut EP, it and the pair of award winning filmmaker Steve Glashier directed videos it spawned, sparking potent attention towards the band. With the single Suburban Girl already successfully making its mark on 2015, and another trio of videos, again with Glashier at the helm, to accompany the album, Modern Language brings a fresh and alluring escapism for ears, imagination, and most likely the artist himself from the mundane of every day.

Postcards from Jeff - Modern Language _RingMaster Reviewart   That previous single opens up the album, Suburban Girl quickly engaging ears and appetite with its caress of eighties bred melodies and keys honed tempting. Soon joined by the plainer but no less persuasive vocal tones of Worthington, the song wraps around and tenderly engulfs ears and attention with its warm catchiness and emotive substance. Guest drums appear courtesy of Chris Smith, his rapier like beats an organic prompt within the flowing charm of the song where not for the last time on the album, musically the song invites thoughts of bands like China Crisis and The Bluebells whilst the songwriting and rich layer of hooks and melodies within the track have an Ian Broudie like feel, essences which only add to the captivation of song and release.

The following Japanese Man O’ War is similarly infectious and gently energetic, additional vocals from Clare Stagg adding to the provocative warmth soaking the rhythmic drama crafted by Smith. Worthington’s keys provide an emotive narrative which is a worldly as it is personal within a song simultaneously projecting out of the way life and cosmopolitan business in the imagination before making way for the fuzz dreamscape of A House. With electronic beats almost primal in their organic presence, the track is a sonic soundtrack to a sepia clad outlook with tantalising glides through shimmering radiance triggered by provocative keys. More of a smoulder initially compared to its predecessors, ears and thoughts are nevertheless firmly and eagerly involved.

The country scent of Tired Wings brings a clearer, less fuzzy ambience with it which accentuates the tang of the guitar and the inviting rumbles of rhythms. Stagg also returns to kiss the senses with her reserved yet siren-esque harmonies, the combination a glow within the romancing, very slightly Smiths like, body of the song. It is a masterful tempting swiftly backed by the same potency of Goddess Of The Sun, its enterprise as resourceful and adventurous as its voice is sublimely persuasive.

New single Modern Language comes next spreading an oriental/worldly flirtation from its first touch on ears. Keys again conjure a hug of multi-cultural reflection whilst the Mike Doughty like texture of Worthington’s vocals provide a great grounding to the melodic flight leading the imagination and emotions into bold and insular adventures. The song is spellbinding, simply a fascinating and infectious doorway into the craft and world of Postcards From Jeff.

Both Samaritans and Wide Eyed Wonder keep satisfaction rich, the first with its enthralling Lightning Seeds like melody fuelled ambience around punchy rhythms and spicy hooks and its successor through a more of a low key but no less hook stocked tempting. The second of the two misses the spark of the first but is still only pleasing and the same can be said of Lay Low, a croon which gets under the skin emotionally and atmospherically but fails to whip up personal tastes in the same way as those before it.

Modern Language comes to a close with Awake, a pulsating dance of crystalline keys and shadowy rhythms infesting feet and ears with relaxed zeal against the contrast of the plainer dustier delivery of Worthington’s vocals. There is also an undefined familiarity to the track which adds to the pleasure and brings the album to a potent conclusion.

Postcards From Jeff creates songs which manage to be as visual for the imagination as they are vibrant for the ears, the band name itself the perfect representative to the emotional travelogue of the songwriting and indeed Modern Language.

Modern Language is released on October 23rd.

Pete Ringmaster 21/0/2015

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Whitecliff – Young Lovers EP

cover_RingMaster Review

There has been a flowing amount of praise and expectations of big things ahead for Whitecliff since the release of their first single Everybody Knows a year ago, and the Liverpool based band can expect plenty more thanks to their excellent debut EP Young Lovers. The first band signed to 25 Hour Convenience Store, the label of Gary Powell from The Libertines, Whitecliff have crafted and delivered a new exploit to which acclaim is set to be a given. Three tracks of virulent and inventive indie pop rock, the Young Lovers EP is simply a tonic for the ears and imagination.

Consisting of vocalist Olli Nagy, guitarist Jonny Ball, bassist Paul Bates, and drummer Tom Taylor, Whitecliff recorded the Young Lovers EP with producer Ken Nelson (Coldplay, Paolo Nutini, Badly Drawn Boy), its mixing taken care of by Dan Grech (Lana Del Rey, The Vaccines, Circa Waves), both also scheduled to work with the band on their first album scheduled for recording next spring. The latest release opens with its title track, and an instant blaze of warm melodies and enticing hooks tempered perfectly by a moodier bassline. The voice of Nagy is just as swiftly enticing, his tones gentle yet forceful in their expression and power to match the potent rhythmic jabs and sonic seducing masterfully and creatively at play across the song.

It is a rousing rock pop incitement to start the EP but straight away eclipsed by The Talk. From its opening tease of guitar and accompanying groove, the song is a virulent stroll which just gets more flirtatious and compelling with each vocal harmony around the potency of Nagy and every catchy twist slipping easily into ears with lingering effect. There is a feel of Black to the song and the overall songwriting of Whitecliff, in the blend of emotive passages and inescapable melodically honed hooks which just light up ears and appetite with increasing effect over every listen.

Final song Say What You Want is the same, but individual in character with its emotive croon through crystalline melodies in a creative romance of the imagination. On first listen the previous two songs outshine the third but time and plays has seen it bloom into an irresistible serenade to rival all whilst revealing more of the depth and substance to the Whitecliff sound.

As we predicted the quartet will be no strangers to acclaim over the next weeks and months but already there is the thought that we have barely tapped into their potential, even with the strength of Young Lovers so exciting times for them and us.

The Young Lovers EP is out now via 25 Hour Convenience Store / Believe Digital through iTunes and Amazon

Pete RingMaster 13/10/2105

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Mala Ruckus – Make the Monkey Watch

MR_RingMaster Review

We have a new unexpected treat to share with you, a band and release from the modern seaport of Dalian in China. They are Mala Ruckus and they have introduced themselves to us with debut EP Make the Monkey Watch. The band is a quintet which formed in 2013 with members hailing from Canada, America, Ireland, and a pair from Britain; expatriates creating their own unique captivation of alternative and indie rock with healthy essences of folk and pop. It is a sound which flirts with ears, sparks the imagination, and in the form of Make the Monkey Watch, has triggered a keen appetite and anticipation for the band’s first album which they are currently finishing up.

Since emerging the band has played in a host of Chinese cities earning a reputation and following for their energetic live shows and irresistibly engaging sound, now rife on their EP. Times are a changing though with the band now not allowed to play live in the country but if their upcoming album sounds as full and flavoursome as Make the Monkey Watch, new spotlights and openings might and should begin stirring elsewhere.

COVER   The EP opens with Run, a song quickly engaging ears in a lively melodic coaxing courtesy of the guitars of Alex Montyro and Caolon O’Neill Forde. The song quickly slips into vibrant stroll with Francis Carlisle’s smiling keys alongside intricate guitar flirtation cupping the distinctive voice of Montyro as darker rhythmic hues spun by bassist Ian James and drummer Sean Rollins provide the shuffle to entice feet and hips. It is a ridiculously catchy proposal, like Jim Jiminee meets Arctic Monkeys but with its own original voice and mischievous air, which as the music, just gets more infectious with each passing chorus and tenacious swing.

A great start is backed and eclipsed by Hoverboards, its medieval spiced mandolin entrance already a wink on the appetite and imagination before things get hectic. A rousingly anthemic slice of folk /rock pop, the track leaps and bounds on rhythmic revelry and vocal enterprise, a success matched in prowess and adventure by eager riffs, teasing hooks, and another great pulsating bassline. The band continues to tenaciously canter through ears until taking a side step into a harmonic daze, drifting with a smile on their faces before taking the listener back to the irresistible ride it came in on.

Words is the third of the songs making up Make the Monkey Watch, another captivating encounter though with more reserve and urgency to its nature than its predecessors. What it lacks in physical dynamism it more than makes up in adventurous vocals and melodic enterprise, saving outbursts solely for a loudly vivacious magnetic chorus.

It is a fine end to an excellent first look/listen with Mala Ruckus; the first of many we are already eagerly hoping. They might be living in a restrictive musical place and time right now but given the chance the band, and we suspect album, could be inciting wider spotlights very soon.

The Make the Monkey Watch EP is out now @

Pete RingMaster 06/10/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Ilana J – Free Falling From The Ground Up

Ilana J_RingMaster Review

Make a note of the name Ilana J as you could be hearing and enjoying plenty more of the British singer songwriter if her promise driven debut EP is anything to go by. Consisting of six tracks which embrace a sense of adventure and at times even bolder uniqueness, Free Falling From The Ground Up is a highly pleasing introduction to a new highly engaging talent.

Though turning down the opportunity to enter the prestigious London College of Music at thirteen in favour of a more traditional academic education and pursuing a successful healthcare career, it is fair to say that music remained the potent tempting in a craving for a more creative outlet for Birmingham hailing Ilana. It was with an extended visit to the US in 2008 that she decided to devote her life to songwriting and recording, quickly embarking on an intensive musical training on both the guitar and the piano whilst exploring her lyrical side. A chance meeting with Mark Alexander, ex-keyboard player with Meat Loaf led to him becoming her producer and in turn the recording and now release of Ilana’s first collection of songs.

cover_RingMaster Review     With a title inspired by how she feels now that music is back in her life, Ilana when talking about her music saying ” I am letting the music and the lyrics ‘free fall’ out of me and am growing every day from the ‘ground up’ which is intensely fulfilling on a whole new level“, Free Falling From The Ground Up offers a lively embrace of energy and intimacy, the latter no more evident and powerful than in its opening song. Also the new single, Paper Planes was inspired by the tragic death of Ilana’s younger brother when she was a teenager and is in dedicated to his memory with a message of hope and peace. A chilled breeze cups ears firstly but is swiftly dispersed by the melodic coaxing of keys and the immediate allure of Ilana’s potent voice. There is a feel of Holly Walker to her delivery and indeed the melodic enticing which flows through the growing air and body of the magnetically captivating song, and indeed its equally vibrant successor

Smoke has a swing to its stroll which is irresistibly catchy whilst darker hues provided by bass and the slight melancholic whisper to melodies in its quieter moment , bring a richer breath to the immediately engaging enticement on offer. It is another track which would make a captivating single to rival its predecessor and the outstanding England which comes after. Definitely emerging as the favourite song within the EP, the third song is a jungle of rhythmic festivity and melodic infection with a chorus surely inspired by Bow Wow Wow, Ilana even managing to get a scent of Annabella Lwin in her tenacious tones. Contagiousness flows through the rousing encounter, creating pop in its most boisterous and anthemic form.

There is a small but noticeable shift to a more regular pop based template over the next song, I Believe in Love stepping forward with an emotive sway of keys and glowing harmonies. Something is missing in relation to its predecessors, a distinct element needed to push the track away from a crowded landscape of pop songs yet it easily involves ears and imagination with its flirtatious air as also does the more folkish Sing. An opening union of voice and acoustic guitar which blossoms further as provocative textures and transfixing harmonies emerge, the track drifts over and warms ears and thoughts for a gentle romance of the senses.

Free Falling From The Ground Up is aptly concluded by In the End, another kiss of voice and acoustic enterprise which serenades with its intimate lyrical and melodic croon. It is an alluring end to a fine first meeting with Ilana J and another indication to the variety she has in songwriting and its creative portrayal. The live feel to its performance, which is just as apparent in the other songs especially vocally, gives honesty to the air and charm of the proposals and definitely enhances the whole enjoyment.

Listening to Free Falling From The Ground Up you just know there is plenty more to be discovered within Ilana J and that only adds to the thick promise and pleasure of her debut.

The Free Falling From The Ground Up EP is available from September 14th.

Pete RingMaster 14/09/2015

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Cléo – Pinball Machine


A song which leaps through ears with all the energy and excitement of a carnival, Pinball Machine is one of those singles which simply gets under the skin. The new release from rock popper Cléo, the track with its tenacious punk like character and full on fun attitude is not necessarily a brand new adventure for the pop world but certainly makes for an enjoyable and captivating escapade.

Cléo is a Brazilian bred singer/songwriter/ actress/dancer who now resides in London. The list of inspirations on her creativity and music is long and includes the likes of Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, No Doubt, Pat Benatar, Britney Spears, Spice Girls, Green Day, Foo Fighters, and Linkin Park. These are flavours at times openly colouring her shapely sound but equally, and certainly with Pinball Machine, Cléo has her own rich vein of distinctive creativity lighting up her music too. 2013 saw the release of the extremely well-received Unlucky Girl EP, an encounter converting more fans, media, and pre-assuming critics to the visually and aurally vibrant presence of Cléo. Now Pinball Machine is poised to stir up ears and attention once again and such its charismatic and mischievous enterprise, it is hard to imagine it luring a new rush of interest.

Cléo is the initial temptation in the single, her raucous call the spark to short choppy riffs, jabbing beats, and a thickly provocative bassline. It is a potent coaxing with a great almost predatory nature to it, an edge leading ears and appetite into the swiftly looming frisky chorus where harmony soaked vocals and melodies bounce with energetic eagerness.

As it continues to flirt with its more shadowy side as well as magnetic festivity there is that constant, almost Gwen Stefani like, familiarity to the song yet tempering that, Pinball Machine offers subtle twists of attitude and latent aggression which turns the offering into something personal and invitingly individual to Cléo. Quite simply Pinball Machine is a persistently alluring proposition from a lady we can expect to hear much more of in the future.

Pinball Machine is available now @

RingMaster 01/03/2015

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