Katsuo – Creators

Katsuo Online Promo Shot

    Rife with more ideas than occasionally and debatably it knows what to do with, it is fair to say that the Creators EP from Katsuo is a feverish dance of sound and imagination which is impossible to ignore. Five tracks of electronic pop merged with dubstep, alternative rock, and just a whisper of j pop, the release is an undulating, in success, and rousing inciter of the dancefloor with just enough to suggestively infect even the more hardened resistance. First listen raised doubts and a strain of antipathy but it has to be admitted over time Katsuo and EP became a deviously addictive proposition with moments which just had to be enjoyed more and more.

     Katsuo is the project of multi-instrumentalist Alex Larkman which he formed in 2012. Gaining experience in numerous bands, the musician wanted to ‘create something edgy, contemporary, and innovative’ so taking inspirations from the likes of Fall Out Boy, 30 Seconds to Mars, Skrillex, and Prince into his invention created Katsuo. The first year saw debut EP Silver Tongue released as well as the single Warrior a little later. Their well-received success was built upon last year by the release of the Stereo Jesus video which featured Suicide Girl and Front Magazine cover girl Rebecca Crow (Katherine Suicide). Again it only enhanced the presence and hunger for the sounds being unleashed, something the Super Happy Records released Creators can only emulate and drive on.

     The title track kicks things off and immediately has pulsating beats resonating through the senses whilst an electro rummaging Katsuo Cover Artworkingrains an even deeper alluring presence. As much a contagious agitator on feet as a bed of hot coals, the song is soon striding with a hungry energy alongside the compelling vocals which have been laying down their particular infectious bait from the first second. Assumptions soon kick in that this rampant electronic taunting and enterprise is the way of the track but Larkman is soon dismissing expectations as from the vibrant brew of electro pop urgency with guest vocalist Nakisha Esnard adding her glorious harmonic tones to the mix, a burst of swing and jazzy temptation with delicious dark piano enticement included breaks free from the feisty melodic waltz. Fusing it all in a continuing anthemic seduction with virulently addictive endeavour and adventure, the track is an excitable and exciting start which like the whole EP feels like a bit of a guilty pleasure for more heavily boned and aggressive tastes but simply is predominantly irresistible.

     The following I Wanna Know continues the enthralling start, its industrial bred entrance a reserved yet keen coaxing which welcomes and wraps around the strong and smooth vocals of Larkman. Again there is sense of ‘should I be liking this so much?’, but as the mischievous and provocative slice of electro pop rock continues to embrace the ears there is little resistance to its uncomplicated and radiant presence. Carrying an essence of eighties synth pop to its magnetic croon the song is another thoroughly appealing highlight on an already satisfyingly teasing release.

    From here on in the EP loses some of its potency on personal tastes though the next up Secret Supervillian featuring US singer songwriter Zoe Ann still recruits feet and appetite in its richly catchy web of electro rock infestation ripe with melodic craft and vocal harmonies. There is the spark missing which ignites the previous pair of songs though, and especially with the seductive voice of its guest bringing the strongest temptation it feels like a missed opportunity. With a tantalising brief interlude of cheerleader driven tribal toxicity embraced by electronic groaning sitting between this track and the following As Good As Mine, which itself hosts another guest appearance this time from Mark Bolton, the EP still nestles nicely in the emotions but here without sparking and igniting the imagination as it started out achieving so easily. The second of the two songs is too boy band like for these hungry ears and is a soon forgotten encounter though this is down to personal tastes only. It is a pop song to be fair which has all the tools to capture the passions of teen girls and day time radio whilst to its latter melodic narrative the emerging growl will satisfy soft rock pop enthusiasts. Well-crafted and presented the track is a straightforward flight of pop sound spreading the charm of the release if not the kindling for a fire in the emotions.

   The closing song The Wicked hints at the same results with its acoustic opening and vocal harmonies but it saves itself with dark electronic revving and a bewildering yet inviting mix of ideas and sounds. Just when you think the song is about to fall into a bland pop abyss it comes up with a twist to nudge attention though equally when you hope it is about to expand those elements it slips back into the uninspiring caresses. Arguably messy in its mesh of ideas but persistently nagging with shards of temptation it is a more than decent if not inspiring end to the release.

    The Creators EP is two scintillating long term incitements and three generally pleasing if not lingering pieces of pop kissing. The release will not be for everyone though certainly it offers enough at its start to entrap and enslave all imaginations at least once but with promise soaking every step it is easy to see Katsuo emerging into strong acclaim and greater potency within dancefloors and electro pop appetites over the time ahead.

http://www.theycallmekatsuo.com/

www.facebook.com/theycallmekatsuo

7/10

RingMaster 17/01/2014

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The Welcome Matt – POPJUNKFLUFF&HYPE

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Without one of our favourite albums of last year was The Panhandle Years from The Welcome Matt, an album which compiled a wealth of tracks taken from the project’s previous seven albums to introduce a very talented sound and presence to the wider world. It was a refreshing and exciting introduction for us to the band and San Francisco based musician Matt Langlois who is The Welcome Matt. Following up its impressive persuasion, comes new album POPJUNKFLUFF&HYPE, a release which quite simply carries on where its predecessor left off, inflaming the passions and creating some quite irresistible and enterprising rock pop.

Finding success and acclaim with his work with Members Of Sound from 2009 through to 2011, a musical project which released a new song every month for two years and resulted in two major CD releases from this work with an array of Bay Area musicians and producers, Langlois in many ways brought his solo project into its strongest limelight, certainly in respect of an emerging world awareness with The Panhandle Years. It was a kind of summing up of his adventure and creative journey to that point which POPJUNKFLUFF&HYPE now extends with its own delicious stomp of imaginative infection.

The Welcome Back opens up the ‘return’, lightly jagged guitars coaxing attention as the distinctive expressive vocals of Langlois wait for a moment before beginning their narrative. Into its full stride the song unveils a bluesy melodic embrace aligned to sixties tinted harmonies and melodic temptation. Lifting its knees the track eventually moves from an inviting walk into a feisty stomp, one weaving tendrils of contagious seventies pop rock and sixties charm into a gait which never truly explodes into riotousness but leaves the senses energised as the sounds toy with them. It is a mesmeric start which awakens a healthy appetite for the release and immediately feeds the anticipation bred by the album’s predecessor.

The following Key of G opens with Bolanesque strumming and vocal harmonies, the influence unmistakable and a pleasing lure into a song which evolves the inspiration into a compelling striding of inventive persuasion, guitars and keys almost wanton in their temptation whilst a throaty bass sounds has their back, it bringing shadows into the equation. It is impossible to resist its enticement; it like many of the songs breeding a familiarity within a fresh and magnetic wash of imagination. Its successor Let It Lead You, the new single from the album, is very much the same, its presence and teasing that of a recognisable friend but in a brand new enterprising suit. The rhythmic beckoning at the start instantly has feet and hunger on alert whilst the keys and vocals alongside, not for the first time upon the album, a virulently addictive groove littered with potent hooks seduces with every note and touch. It is a deviously effective pop song and catchy doorway into the album and The Welcome Matt for newcomers.

Pop Junk Fluff and Hype steps up next, a funk fed introduction taking little time in recruiting thoughts and emotions as it romps eagerly around the ears. Fiery rock guitars flame over the pop canvas whilst vocals and keys leap with energetic rigour and enterprise. It is a spellbinding mix of styles and flavours, electro and alternative rock adding to the insatiable and outstanding toxicity. Just as epidemically enthralling is Mode Of Transportation, a fusion of power pop and indie/electro rock which plays like a mix of The Motors meets Cockney Rebel with a splash of Cheap Trick. The song almost prowls around the senses and imagination even in its radiantly hued stance leading the listener into yet another impossible to ignore or resist piece of excellent rock ‘n’ roll.

A Hail Mary mischievously teases from the outset with a discord bleeding caress of chords and electronic nagging, its suasion early XTC like with a little Hot Hot Heat festivity to its riveting coaxing whilst Get Shameless is a foot stomping dance of hypnotic rhythms and frisky melodies. Keys and bass add their individual textures to the electric dance as Langlois immerses the listener in a skilled and adventurous addiction.

Both Mind Control and Lets Really Go continue the impressive exploits within the album, the first with a seemingly Sparks bred form of pop punk with hooks and a bass pulse which stick welcome barbs in deeply and the second through a devilishly compelling transfixing slice of country rock sing-a-long with slithers of punk and rock ‘n‘ roll adding their teasing.

Cast A Line brings POPJUNKFLUFF&HYPE to a Bolan/Kinks tasting and enjoyable end to conclude a thoroughly thrilling and incredible contagious encounter. It is a storming blaze of pop rock which feeds every want and need with accomplished infectious ease, and an album all should pay attention to.

http://www.welcomemattsf.com

9/10

RingMaster 18/11/2013

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Through Colour – Somnium

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The first of a concept-based 2 EP release, Somnium is a potent and passionate release from a band who after many years of making good impressions, has seemingly come to that point where impressions have become strong recognition. The five track release from UK rock/pop band Through Colour is a striking and accomplished introduction, though also one which only fleetingly ignites real fire in the passions for its undoubted impressive songwriting and excellent delivery. There is very little to hold up against the release, if anything at all but there is just a lack of that extra spark to make a lingering heart erupting declaration.

Nevertheless Somnium is a formidable release from a band which formed in 2004 in North Wales. Initially called My Turn To Kill until 2009 when they felt a change was needed to suit their style and evolution of sound, Through Colour next released the well-received debut mini album, Dream In Black And White which was recorded with Romesh Dodangoda. Its success and shows alongside the likes of Enter Shikari, Fightstar, We Are The Ocean, and The Misfits only added to the stock of the band. Then in 2011 the Manchester based quintet took a break to work on new songs but now the line-up of vocalist Steve White, guitarists Lee Crimes and Jazzy Bones, bassist Kieran Joyce, and drummer Shaun Humphreys return with Somnium, a release sure to bring further stature and awareness to their potent sound and songwriting.

Opener Daydream immediately takes attention by the hand and carries it and emotions on a vibrant dance of heart bred adventure and20212_10151367174122185_1827981421_n melodic colour. Instantly pleasing with a fresh breath which is coated in the kind of anthemic lure which is impossible to ignore let alone resist, the song thrusts jangly riffs and strong vocals through the ear from its opening second. The temptation is elevated with the fiery chorus and subsequent almost teasing twist before the verse, the rhythmic juggling especially impressive within the strong wind of sonic expertise and lingering hooks. The track makes a stirring start and remains the major pinnacle of the release despite the valiant efforts of the other songs.  Lyrically it has a passion to match the vocals and music, all combining for an infectiously memorable and deeply satisfying entrance into the EP.

The following Lost takes a gentler caress to the ear to open its account, the excellent vocal style and tone of White again a compelling inducement. Into its stride the tugging on the emotions is brought on a more restrained gait compared to its predecessor but one with plenty of sinew sculpted energy and eagerness whilst the rhythms of Humphreys cast a muscular and pleasing frame to the guitar scythes and melodic persuasion. A slow burner of a song in many ways it is a good confirmation of the promise oozing from the opener if without finding the heights of the first song.

Both Ink and Broken hold a seemingly personal aspect, certainly taking the potency and strength of the emotive tone on White’s delivery, and feel linked, not as a two part offering but in tone and emotion. The first is an absorbing encounter, the keys and vocal harmonies delicious hues to the provocative canvas of the track though there are elements which sound too familiar for comfort but from an unrecognisable source to be fair. It makes for a song which ebbs and flows in the passions though like the previous track it is one which makes a stronger call and suasion the more you share its colourful flight. The second of the two tantalises with riveting rhythms and again the excellent harmonies the band bring to their songs so skilfully and effectively. Once more it is a song which at times is pure scintillating mesmerism and in other moments finding things to annoyingly feed expectations. Nevertheless it is an excellent track which like the rest shower the ear and thoughts with a wave of promise and adventure which makes the future of the band one to anticipate hungrily.

The closing Till The End is the weakest on the release but yet again has plenty to feed an awoken appetite for the band. The orchestral embrace of the song makes for a dramatic but thoughtful presence whilst the evocative wash of the song is a magnetic caress but ultimately the track in comparisons to the rest of the EP is lacking the trigger to bring the imagination and emotions to the boil.

Somnium is a fine collection of songs though and a companion which leaves a healthy intrigue and intent towards its forthcoming companion EP. Through Colour has the craft and sound to make big waves in UK rock pop, they just need that final fuse or trigger to make it a long term enthralling one.

http://www.through-colour.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ThroughColour

8/10

RingMaster 30/09/2013

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Savage Nomads – Jaded Edges

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Ever since coming across their debut single The Magic Eye, UK rock band The Savage Nomads has continued to impress and ignite the imagination with each and every release. At the same time they have evolved their presence and sound into one of the most impressive and exciting, yet weirdly still widely unrecognised, forces around today. From their starting point their debut album the inventive and thrilling Coloured Clutter, and the stylishly imaginative Tension In The Middle EP of last year, only continued to establish and elevate the London quintet in the passions of a great many whilst picking up strong acclaim along the way and drawing the eager attention of the likes of Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Matt Johnson (The The), and Robyn Hitchcock. Supporting The Jim Jones Revue as well as Big Audio Dynamite on their Justice Tonight tour, at the request of Mick Jones, has done them no harm either but the band still remains in the shadows for a great many, well until they release new single Jaded Edges we suggest.

The song is exceptional and sees the band leaping up not just another level but many with the development and  honing of their already distinct sound into an even more potent and mesmeric persuasion. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Cole Salewicz, guitarist Josh Miles (who has moved from bass within the band), bassist Rory Jones, guitarist/keyboardist Benjy Miles, and drummer Petr Matousek, The Savage Nomads has stretched their imagination and invention to compelling lengths to sculpt their finest moment by far. If the single does not trigger a wave of mass hunger for the band then maybe the nation truly has gone too far into the Cowell dark side.

Whereas previous releases were more post punk clad, Jaded Edges brings a stronger new wave essence into what is basically straight rock ‘n’ roll with a taste of garage rock. Imagine Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster and Baddies in a creative riot with The The and Lloyd Cole and The Commotions whilst Department S and Nick Haig add their thoughts and you get a strong flavour of what the single offers. From its opening bass groan and reserved yet swirling keys, the song instantly infects the ear and beyond. The vocals of Salewicz stand out straight away also as they rest easily on the senses, his almost Tom Verlaine like persuasion a smoother and richer textured temptation showing another evolution from the more Mark E. Smith offerings in the early days of the band. The song itself has a swagger which is deliciously confident and teasing whilst the melodic dance and coaxing of the song is gleefully mischievous within the addictive rhythmic cage.

Despite all of their previous glories, Jaded Edges is easily the most enthralling and masterful piece of songwriting and invention to come from the band’s imaginative creativity, and as it is just one of apparently 25 songs penned by the band in a 9 month immersion in their south London studio, anticipation for what is to follow which includes a series of videos and further singles, is already hungrier than a shark on land. If Jaded Edges does not start the rise of the band to greater plateau of awareness and recognition there really is no such thing as justice.

Jaded Edges is available mid-September from http://savagenomads.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/thesavagenomads/

10/10

RingMaster 05/09/2013

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Warehouse Riots – Skimming Stones

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The musical loves of the four members making up UK band Warehouse Riots is as distinctly varied as the flavoursome sound of their new single Skimming Stones. From electro/dance through metal and onto jazz/blues and indie, their likes and influences are wide and though not all spices are openly evident on the song there is a brew conjured that is diverse and irrepressibly invigorating.

From Manchester, the foursome of vocalist/rhythm guitarist Mark Maclean, bassist Andrew Maclean, drummer John Maclean, and guitarist/vocalist Anthony Critchley linked up in 2011. The band itself comes with strong experience from its previous incarnation Francis and Master, a band which won the Streetwaves Unsigned competition in 2009 and got to the final of Live And Unsigned 2010. With a band name inspired by the abandoned building in Wigan where they practised and honed their sound, Warehouse Riots has earned good acclaim for their live shows which recently included supporting American rock band Jeff The Brotherhood on their UK tour. Currently completing their provisionally called Uncomfortable Polar Bear Face debut album with producer Mark Wainwright, the band have unveiled a real temptress for the release with their new single.

Swinging in with its hips swerving to a dance of drum beats and a funk clad bassline, the song instantly beckons full attention and when the guitars add their tease lips are licked in anticipation. The vocals of Mark soon add to the infectiously pleasing sound being unveiled and as the song saunters with warm inviting caresses upon the ear and melodic kisses upon the senses the encounter just gets more exciting and contagious. There is a slight indefinable familiarity to the track which only adds to its appeal and temptation whilst the imaginative enterprise which has the song bringing further unpredictable and magnetic persuasion fuels a real sense of immense promise and future heights for the band.

Irresistible and raucously invigorating with its blend of indie and pop rock with a funk breath, Skimming Stones declares that Warehouse Riots’ album cannot come soon enough.

https://www.facebook.com/WarehouseRiots

9/10

RingMaster 24/08/2013

 

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Wheatus – The Valentine LP

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    Wheatus is one of those bands which continually has the shadow of their greatest/memorable hit looming over their subsequent songs and releases in the gaze of those outside of their potent fanbase, and like many it is an unavoidable shame as they certainly have much more to them than the raging success of one song, as shown upon new album The Valentine LP. Teenage Dirtbag for a great many will always be the sign post for the band but the ten tracks making up the new release stand as a clear creative marker, as so many tracks across their previous releases, to the greater strength and adventurous depths of the potent songwriting of the band.

The first full length release since TooSoonMonsoon of 2005, though there have been the Pop, Songs & Death: Vol. 1 – The Lightning and the Pop, Songs & Death: Vol. 2 – The Jupiter EPs of 2009 and 10 respectively, The Valentine LP  takes thoughts and senses on a warm and evocative ride through melodic and expressive imagination. It takes mere moments for opener The Fall In Love to draw out full attention, the metronomic beats of Kevin Garcia a persistent lure behind the coarse touch of guitar and the provocative bass. The distinctive vocals of Brendan B Brown as expected lay down the narrative and heart of the song with expressive style whilst the backing vocals of Gabrielle Sterbenz and Karlie Bruce offer a wash of sunlit harmonies to warm up further the pleasing temptation of the song as the keys of Mark Palmer dance around and court the ear with additional enticing splendour.

It is a strong start soon surpassed by Fourteen and Holiday, the first immediately catching the ear with the raw scuzz lined call of the guitars of Brown and bass prowl of Matthew Milligan before once again the vocal combination spark up the emotions and pleasure, whilst its successor is a vibrant pop rock flame that ebbs and flows with restraint and unbridled fun linked as tightly together as the melodic shimmer and sinew bursting bass are whilst being egged on by the deeper voiced keys of on this track Ken Flagg. It is a tantalising song which casts essences of the band’s debut upon the awareness of the world into their now firm songwriting maturity.

    Break It Don’t Buy It keeps the brewed heights of the record washing eagerly over the ear, its sultry and exotic suggestiveness a magnificent companion to the lively and contented stroll of the song. Once again the whole vocal aspect is as infectious as the sound but undoubtedly it is the ehru provided by Jack Hsu from The Hsu-nami which steals the honours and elevates the song into another sphere.

The next up title track is a smouldering caress with the ever striking and provocative discordantly attitude guitar and bass sound providing a potently hued canvas for the vocals and the combined keys of Flagg and Michael Bellar to colour its heart. It enchants and absorbs thoughts throughout, even if it lacks the final temptress glaze of the previous songs, whilst the excellent Mary Mary Sea Serpent evokes emotions with a soulful and passionate embrace. Such the strength of song lyrically and in delivery you sense there is a rich and deep personal element to the composition which only increases its captivating persuasion.

     Marigold Girl is another highlight, its again smouldering seduction bringing the prime Wheatus sound into a flourish of melodic and slight post punk discordance across the guitars and keys. There is also an open Beatles breath, to the chorus especially, that works depending on your appetite for such things but to be fair only flavours further an already enchanting and thrilling suasion.

The bedlamic opening to Lady Adelaide wets the appetite for the song ahead, its teasing mesh of noise and unbalanced energy a scintillating hook into a song which continues to allow the ‘chaos’ to share its glory amongst the melodic haze of energy and imagination. It is the least accessible track on the album but the most thrilling and ingenious with distortion and discord the perfect playmates for track and passions.

The Valentine LP is completed by firstly That’s True, a tender ballad sculpted by acoustic guitar and stalked by the brilliant rhythmic insistent alchemy of Garcia. If the track had stayed this way throughout it would have been a pinnacle on the album but with the additional adventurous twists of bass and harmonies alone it rises to another level. It is followed by Love Is Too Expensive, a closing fire of a pop song with again enterprise in its construction and direction. It completes a strong and pleasing album though it also adds a little irony in that as great as the release is it fails to ignite enough fires inside the passions to be a major triumph which suggests maybe the band has been overtaken by others openly inspired by Wheatus, such as the excellent Late Cambrian whose vocalist/guitarist John N Wlaysewski provides a sizzling solo on the concluding song. The Valentine LP is without doubt though a richly satisfying release and one which inspires plenty of wishes to return again and again to its body.

http://www.wheatus.com/

7.5/10

RingMaster 20/08/2013

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The Super Happy Fun Club – All Funned Up

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Having already been seduced and recruited into their high octane fun and ridiculously infectious pop punk/rock world through the Go Fun Yourself album, The Super Happy Fun Club make a deeper slavery of the passions with new release All Funned Up. Consisting of ten explosive and contagiously skilled slices of passion, the new album simply steals the heart as the band shows how impressively it and its sound has evolved.

The first notable thing is a seemingly more intense attitude and presence to songs. It would not be right to say it is a more serious approach as the Chicago sextet have only produced the most accomplished thoughtful music but certainly their emotive hearts lead the way through the album rather than the mischievous fun which marked its predecessor. That is not to say that trait is absent as throughout All Funned Up smiles break out alongside an increased ardour but definitely there is a shift in stance and intent.

Consisting of vocalist Stubhy Pandav, guitarists Phil Kosch and Dave Swick, bassist/vocalist Jeremy Galanes, drummer Chris Mason, and Pat Gilroy on keyboards/vocals, members with experience gained through bands such as Lucky Boys Confusion, Treaty of Paris, The Waiting Game, Logan Square, and One Life, the already impressive The Super Happy Fun Club has stepped up another few levels with the new album and stand poised to rip a big smile and hug from the heart of the world.

Like a link between this and the last release, opener Who Drank My Beer slaps ears and appetite in action with a riotous blaze of punk _All_Funned_Up-albumcoverrock loaded with riffs and rhythms riding the ear like a rodeo participant. Instantly infectious and commanding of feet, head, and voice, the brief punch of rock ‘n’ roll makes the perfect starter; urgent, boisterous, and impossibly contagious. Its rapid swipe is followed by Move On another song that leaps upon the listener with all the energy and eagerness of a nun concluding her last day of celibacy, only in my dreams then? Great opening harmonies are followed by the thumping keys of Gilroy stomping around with big intent and attitude whilst the excellent vocals of Pandav explore the drama with his outstanding style and expression. The song is an enterprising and continually evolving slab of rock pop, discovering an almost Three Days Grace like evocation as its climax brews up into a potently emotive fire.

The catchy and passionate song is matched by the more deliberately paced and sculpted Enemy, the song a tide of vibrant melodic hues clad upon stirring rhythms and again unbridled emotion in its heart on sleeve declaration. A track which seems to gain greater stature and power the more you share its presence, the delicious piece of songwriting openly shows the new fervour and musical hunger of the band. With just enough time to catch a breath after the dramatic persuasion of the song, the senses are than thrust into another charge of sinew driven rock with pop punk insatiability to its call. Okay Okay gallops, stomps, and sways through its ever shifting course, the band mixing in a terrific blend of spices and textures to the already mentioned core sound. There is a definite early My Chemical Romance feel to moments of the song whilst in other parts you think of a Fall Out Boy or The Living End, but all employed in the distinctive recipe of The Super Happy Fun Club.

The following Blinders swamps the senses next with big hearted melodies, equally energised harmonies, and passion drenched vocals sandwiched between just as scintillating slower emotion led pieces of personal commentary. It is an epic track with keys and guitars as skilled in the painting of the heart spawned conviction as the vocals and sonic paintwork alongside. It is a towering track which gives the following likes of Fine Distraction (LAX) and Good Year a dilemma to contemplate. Both songs though take it in their creative stride to follow such a pinnacle of the album, the first unveiling an energised stroll of provocative basslines and teasing guitar invention coaxed into greater potency by the ever impressive keys and vocals. It maybe fails to emulate its predecessor but only by a whisper of a wind whilst its successor places a melancholic beauty and absorbing temptation before the ear to also reap only deep recognition and ardour for its elegant persuasion.

Way Back (The Conflict) steps forward to raise a quizzical look on thoughts; the Billy Joel like key prodding wrong footing before the again muscular passion of the song breaks free. It is a strong track which again gets better with each encounter but does fail to grab the success the other songs achieved. Not a problem for next up tender ballad Angels Cry though as it strikes deep and impressively whilst the closing Plus One brings a final burst of energetic revelry delivered with a Sick Puppies like feistiness. They conclude an immensely thrilling and enjoyable release which announces The Super Happy Fun Club as the real potent deal. Pop rock has never sounded better.

http://www.thesuperhappyfunclub.com/

9/10

RingMaster 15/08/2013

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The Heights – Drag Race On The Moon

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Hailing from Toronto, Canadian pop rock band The Heights are set to make the summer a warmer and more melodic place with their new EP Drag Race On The Moon. Made up of five vibrant and enterprising alternative/melodic rock songs which flirt with the ear from start to finish, the release is sure to bring the band to a stronger and wider spread attention.

Initially a solo project for Gavin Sutton (vocals / guitar / piano), The Heights soon expanded to a full encounter with the addition of guitarist Nick Dooley, bassist Colin Jacques, and Tyler Jones on drums. The self-titled and Bonacres EPs from the band set appetites alight but it is Drag Race On The Moon which looks set to make the quartet a name on a greater array of lips and passions. Employing inspirations from the likes of Coldplay, City and Colour, and John Mayer, which are open whispers in their clean cut and honed sound, there is a freshness and invention to the band which is impossible to dismiss even if they do not find the spark to ignite your passions. Earning further acclaim for their live performances which has seen them play with bands such as Set Your Goals, Silverstein and Fireworks to name a few, The Heights with the release of the EP stand at the door to greater recognition, whether it is the actual key the next months will tell but certainly the band offers everything available within them to provoke success with their new offering.

Opening song Soldier is an immediate rich attraction, its initial atmosphere brewing behind the emotive and excellent vocals of drotmcoverSutton as intriguing as the keys which also add their voice. Those impacting lures open up a deeper bait for the senses as drums and bass walk around and cage the melodic flames beginning to lick at the ear. Once its chorus erupts for the first time there is a contagion at large which wraps tightly around thoughts and emotions and continues throughout the rest of the song. Reminding of UK band Candidate23 though arguably not quite as virulently addictive, band and song add further drama and energy to the excellent track and secure certain acclaim well before its final note kisses the ear.

The following Some You Give Away has a sense of The Wonder Stuff to its first melodic caresses but then evolves into a boisterous and energy fuelled pleasure complete with jangly guitar strokes and evocative keys. Again the vocals are outstanding and ably aided by the rest of band in voice and inventive sound. A track which prods and leaps through the ear at times,  it is a heated blaze of melodic imagination and impressively crafted songwriting continuing the strong start with ease.

Both Devil and Spinning Webs unveil their feisty yet elegant depths, the first another song with punchy rhythms and sonic crescendos which ignite around the chorus as the keys spread a resourceful and smouldering ambience to the emotive tones of vocals and words. With an element of Doves to it the track passes the baton on to its successor who runs with a piano led narrative which is coated in a melodic beauty which demands total clarity. That the band gives as harmonies lead in sultry bass persuasion and rhythmic tenderness to support another great vocal and keys invitation. Maybe not as impacting as previous more energy driven songs it is still a treat of honed and sculpted excellence.

Closing song You Make Me is the weakest on the release, though still a more than satisfying encounter, which lacks the individuality of earlier songs to set the band and release apart from the rest but with strong craft and passion coaxed enterprise it makes a more than decent conclusion to a fine EP nevertheless. It is hard to say that Drag Race On The Moon got our passions excited enough to ignite any lingering ardour but undoubtedly it got feet dancing and sparked lively reactions in its eager company which is not a bad thing.

www.theheightsofficial.com

8/10

RingMaster 09/07/2013

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Sparrow & The Workshop – Murderopolis

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Sparrow and the Workshop is one of those bands that music always needs, a temptation which is as beautiful as it is shadowed and as expansive as it is intimate. Previous albums, the debut Crystals Fall of 2010 and Spitting Daggers the following year, marked the Scottish band as melodic entrepreneurs of imaginative weaves fusing indie folk and rock pop, songwriters creating rich and emotive escapades soaked in aural colour and resourceful enterprise. The Glasgow trio return with third album Murderopolis, a release which explores their invention for greater and deeper adventure whilst sculpting a kaleidoscope of passion tingling elegance. It is a seduction of evocative textures and mesmeric caresses which quite simply is rather special!

The band consists of Jill O’Sullivan (vocals, guitar, violin), Gregor Donaldson (drums, vocals), and Nick Packer (bass guitar, electric slide guitar, basstard), a threesome which have not been strangers to acclaim certainly since their debut album. The name of Sparrow & The Workshop has equally been wrapped in hungry responses for their live performances which across the time has seen them play alongside the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre, British Sea Power, Idlewild, Broken Records, Sivert Hoyem, The Lemonhead, Thee Oh Sees and more, as well as numerous festivals to great success. Released via independent label Song, by Toad Records, Murderopolis strolls through another potent plateau which matches the virulent seduction of previous album Spitting Daggers, whilst walking further diverse adventures.

The band arguably unleashes their greatest shadows at the start of the album, though those dark tints are always teasing the senses MurderopolisHiResand thoughts throughout the album musically and lyrically. Opener Valley of Death is a smouldering triumph, a track which instantly sets the release into the strongest wash of acclaim. Bold yet reserved beats and moody melodic provocation pokes the ear first, opening up attention for the as ever sirenesque tones of O’Sullivan. Her voice is one which seduces and caresses the senses but has a nip in its caress which allows darkness to play with the enchanted emotions already inspired. Like a sun in the skies of the dramatic she guides the listener into a warm soak of colour fuelled melodies and harmonies for the chorus, the track then returning to that provocative hypnotic enticement which started things off for the verses. Those dark and expressive leads have the same kind of wanton visual and emotive sway that marked the opening credits to eighties UK TV show Tales Of The Unexpected, a tempting yet menacing seduction. It is a powerful and riveting track, a song with a sixties call to its breath and vocals, which alone seem like a mix of Helen Shapiro, Kristin Hersh, Chantal Clare, and Debbie Harry.

From such a potent start the album retains its compelling grip with the following Darkness, another shadowed call for the passions which sows the seeds with an opening throaty bass beckoning and reined in male vocal chants. It is a slowly prowling encounter, the song walking with intent around thoughts with lone strands of melodic taunts riling up the appetite further. With a touch of The Passions to it the song widens its lure with the again excellent vocals of O’Sullivan before sealing the lustful deal with heated flames of soaring vocals and acidic mastery, crescendos which ignite the fullest appetite. Like the first, the track explores the depths of light and dark with breath-taking craft and imagination leaving an already awoken hunger for more seized by rabid urgency.

The album continues to show it is as diverse as it is absorbing, starting with the stunning Odessa, a song as different to the opening pair as it is a continuation of flawed light and emotional incitement. A melancholic mesh of vocal, keys, and dark strings gently wash through the ear at first before a strong pause makes way for an equally rich narrative of guitar and rhythms which turn up the heat a touch more. It is a vibrant passion sculpted song which haunts thoughts with classy enterprise and emotional exploration, its latent energy brewing up and exploring the limits of the impressive songwriting, its realisation becoming more intense and magnetic the further towards its fiery climax the band drive.

Through the likes of the first single from the album Shock Shock, a meeting of The Pixies and The Shangri-Las in a folk rock atmospheric haunting wrapped in a sonic senses courting ambience, and the tantalising Water Won’t Fall with its scenic paint and crystalline touch, the band raise new emotive adventures whilst the title track is a noir tinted flame of seventies spiced melodic rock and Wicker Man laced folk which transforms the landscape of the album into a new distinct dance of mystique.

Released the same day as the album, May 27th, new single The Faster You Spin sets another pinnacle for the album. Another song rippling with an almost predatory intent through heavier melodic rock feistiness, it conjures the strongest contagion with searing flames of sonic and melodic… well eroticism seems the best word to describe it, complete with an ardour inducing addictiveness to its suasion.

Further songs in the scintillating Avalanche of Lust with its wonderful bass itch and the deliciously incendiary Flower Bombs, a song with an array of bewitching infectious climaxes around slow post punk taunting ingenuity, push the boundaries of the album and listener’s greed yet again whilst the closing pair of The Glue That Binds Us and Autumn to Winter leave an irresistibly effective temptation to start the whole emotive course of triumph again.

Murderopolis is a scintillating release from a band which walks beauty and darkness like no other. If Sparrow and the Workshop have yet to guide you through your and their invigorating passions than this album is the perfect introduction.

www.sparrowandtheworkshop.co.uk

9/10

RingMaster 26/05/2013

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The Tax – Eternia

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Combining evocative essences of indie, rock, and electro pop into a refreshing and infectious sound, The Tax is a band set to garner major attention nationwide especially with the forth coming release of debut album Eternia. The London quintet certainly set attention and enthusiasm in motion with the release of their first EP Someone Is Watching You nearing the end of last year and with their full length release confirm and push all the positive thoughts and emotions already gathered towards them into fully blown acclaim.

Formed in early 2012 and featuring ex-members of successful group The Betarays, a band which wowed audiences at such places as the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool and became the Famegames and Meer music band of the year in 2011, The Tax offers an intelligent and contagious brew of irresistible pop and synth warmth with a sinewy spine from the towering rhythm section. The new album is an easily accessible release but one which is rich in thought and carefully crafted, using defined washes of melodies and inciting invention rather than easy cheap tricks to capture the heart. The more you listen to it the better it sounds too making it one of the first essential releases of the year.

Produced by acclaimed producer Tim Hamill, who has worked with the likes of The Manic street Preachers, Duffy and the Stories, the album instantly lures you in with the opening dawn of groaning synths of first track Am I Ever Gonna Get You Back. Turning into a melodic stroll which echoes eighties hard rock and new wave electro pop of an Aha, an uncertainty is initially brewed but soon dispelled as the vocals of George Hill and their renowned quality adds real expression to the now intriguing song aided wonderfully by the warm vocal tones of bassist Katy Zee. With all elements in place the track expands into a pop rock journey of imagination. The keys of Peter Jennings dominate the song without defusing or overriding the pulsating bass strokes of Zee or the punchy beats of drummer Peter Randazzo and the guitar textures of Stevie Watts. It is a strong start to the album which like the release grows on the emotions but in hindsight after the following charge of excellent creativity, is a mere tasty appetizer.

The following Heartbreak. London. UK leaps at the ear with its vibrant chorus starting things off. It immediately has one The tax 2infected and ready to join the cause as Hill steps forward to paint a lyrical picture accompanied by thumping rhythms. The keys bring light to the shadows told before unleashing a heated dazzling with the great vocal harmonies and returning anthemic chorus in tow. The song is a masterful slice of indie pop which never rests on its laurels, the sizzling guitar solo and multi vocal sweeps simply immense flourishes.

The chilled ballad like I Am Never Alone continues the growing diversity of the album, its emotive breath an initial whisper over the senses from the impressive vocals and tender weaves of keys. Moving into a stronger almost sinewy presence the track envelopes and draws willing thoughts and emotion into its expressive heart with ease. Though a less forceful and more provocative track The Tax still wrap it in an infection causing air which will not take no for an answer. The same goes for its successor We Tell You A Lie, one of the towering highlights on the album. Again the eighties new wave/rock elements shine especially with the explosive chorus and harmonies though it is the caging beats of Randazzo and the sensational bass resonance and darkened elegance conjured by Zee which earned the greatest acclaim. As with many songs the band forges a mesh of rock and melodic pop which is stunning, each element allowed free rein within a mutual and equally sharing companionship.

Through the likes of the South Of The Border with its heated passion and the piano led ballad You Have Justified Me, the album enthrals and pleases generously but keeps its greatest moments for the tracks There’s No Time, Young, Empty And To Blame, and I’m A User. The first is a romping irresistible surge of eager riffs, jabbing rhythms, and hungry energy which recruits feet and voice early on into its vibrant rock pop dance. The second of the three is equally as compulsive, the vocal duelling outstanding and the synths a swirling weave of golden caresses and thrilling beauty. The bass of Zee again sends tingles where they should not be and the song explodes in the heart like a mix of Betarays, Secret Affair, and dare one whisperings of The Kinks and The Beatles. I’m A User is a delicious track of energy and warmth with again a sixties wind to its pop sails which just lights up emotions and the senses.

Ending on the first single from the album, Motorway, which is released on BYmonster records on the 21st of January and marked by a gig at Broadcast in Glasgow on the 24th, Eternia is a striking and thoroughly impressive piece of true pop music. The track itself is a satisfying and catchy encounter which will recruit a great many and it is easy to see why it was chosen to lead though personally with stronger and even more infectious tracks to be found on the fabulous album another track would have been our choice.

Eternia is a forceful recommendation from us and the proof that real pop is not found in the force fed mire of blandness brought by the popular media and giant labels but alive and innovatively kicking in the underground sounds of the country with The Tax right to the fore.

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RingMaster 12/01/2013

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