Asylums – Missing Persons

asylums _RingMaster Review

There is no escaping that UK indie rockers Asylums continue to impress and excite as they reveal more aspects to their kaleidoscope of sonic contagion through their releases. Further evidence of that success is now to be found in new single Missing Persons, their mellowest hug of melodic enterprise and off-kilter prowess yet. The song is also another tenacious roar of the energy and infection soaked revelry that the Southend hailing quartet is becoming richly renowned for and a reinforcement of the eager accusation we are not alone in casting, that Asylums is one of Britain’s truly exciting bands.

artwork _RingMaster Review     The foursome of Luke Branch, Jazz Miell, Henry Tyler, and Michael Webster introduced us to their scintillating creative credentials through the exceptional Wet Dream Fanzine EP this past February. It was a three track collection of the band’s singles to date, and a slightly deranged explosion of angular noise pop to get lustful over. Released via the band’s own Cool Thing Records, the EP was an inescapable wakeup call later backed by the single Joy In A Small Wage. Play-listed by Radio One amongst thick support and attention all round, the track opened up the more seductively mellow side of the Asylums sound whilst accentuating a busy summer of success which saw the band playing a host of UK and European Festivals including Glastonbury. Now it is the turn of Missing Persons to light a fuse to swift acclaim and hungry new appetites for more; success hard to see being escaped such the persuasion of the richly dynamic song.

From its opening strand of spicy guitar, Missing Persons simply lures ears and imagination; that initial hook replaced by similarly effective bass bait as the song slips into a Weezer meets Supergrass stroll with grinning melodies aligning with matching vocals. Bounding along with restraint and eagerness simultaneously, the song is arguably the most straight forward track from Asylums yet, but a deception as essences of Dickies like devilry and Post Adolescence meets Sonic Youth melodic revelry lines its rousing seducing throughout.

The song continues to enthral and ignite, persuading the body to swing to its canter and thoughts to breed lusty praise for its warm psych pop fun. It also confirms that Asylums have many strings to their warped pop bow and a continued fusion of all will only ensure we will all have a thrilling adventure ahead with them.

Missing Persons is released November 20th via Cool Thing Records through most online stores.

Upcoming Asylums live dates:


20th London Forum (with The Enemy)

21st Coventry Empire (with The Enemy)

22nd Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms (with The Enemy)


2nd Bristol Bierkeller (with Ash)

3rd London Shepherds Bush Empire (with Ash)

5th Newcastle Riverside (with Ash)

6th Glasgow ABC (with Ash)

8th Manchester The Ritz (with Ash)

9th Wolverhampton Leadmill (with Ash)

12th Norwich Waterfront (with Ash)

13th Brighton Concorde 2 (with Ash)

14th Cardiff Uni Students Union (with Ash)

15th Dublin Olympia Theatre (with Ash)

Pete RingMaster 19/11/2015

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Post Adolescence – Goodbye from the Future


As impressive a debut and introduction that it was, the album My Nothing from US pop rockers Post Adolescence was as much potential as it was substance. Certainly the release opened up a fresh world from the band to be explored which in turn welcomed a soaking of deserved attention from certainly the underground media. It easily awoke a keen appetite in fans too for its fusion of Brit pop, post punk, and fiery melodic rock; the band finding themselves regulars on underground radio shows including ours. You can only feel though that what came before will pale against the response to the band’s recently released second album Goodbye from the Future, an encounter which realises all the promise of its predecessor and so much more. Consisting of seven thumping incitements it ripples with a maturity and confidence which leaves anything else the band has offered in the shade, offering pop infused rock ‘n’ roll of the highest compelling order to bring another sparkling highlight in the year.

The Seattle quartet seem to have taken time to hone and explore their already captivating sound over the four years between releases, resulting in as stated that maturer craft and invention to their virulent contagiousness described as songs. Formed around 2008, the band employed influences from the likes of Placebo, Manic Street Preachers, Ash, Buzzcocks, and Suede into their own imaginative songwriting and the new release again openly shows their inspirations but within a more distinctive voice to their sound. Led by the ever emotive and passionate tones of guitarist Johnny Straube, his Brian Molko like vocal warble nestling even more comfortably within the resourceful landscape of colourful sound crafted by his stringed prowess alongside the equally impressive skills of guitarist/keyboardist Adrian Garver, drummer Brian McCrossen, and bassist Gar Hooker (who since the album recording has left to be replaced by  Siobhan McCloskey), Post Adolescence has grown into a aggressively potent protagonist for ears and imagination. There is a new spark and flame to the band, and a fiercer almost punk like energy which gives life to each song as evidenced from the first moment.

Opener Asexual takes mere seconds to intrigue and stoke up an eager appetite as its initial blaze of caustic guitar comes with almost Post Adolescence - Goodbye from the Future Album Artbrawling like intent. The immediate urgency kicks up another gear as thumping rhythms batter the ear and riffs lick their lips with stronger intensity. With infectious twists and hooks playing around the distinctive vocals of Straube, the track continues to stomp with punk mischief before throwing in another curveball through a mouthwatering lure of magnetic electro inspired keys. Additional discord and warped melodies also flavour its unrelenting stride as the song makes a brilliant start to the release, an incendiary fuse to inventive revelry to come.

The following Everybody’s Sober Nowadays is given a big task to match its predecessor but it does so with individual ease, its more controlled attack and purposeful lyrical incitement swiftly captivating thoughts as keys and guitars cast a creative web to take care of ears. The song has a thick body of sound but each element is allowed clarity to add their light and shadows, the bass of McCloskey especially an appealing cloud against the more constrained rhythms of McCrossen and the fire pit of sonic endeavour and melodic intrigue offered by guitars and keys. Melancholic with the heaviest shadows, it continues the impressive flight of the album before making way for the title track where a caress of guitar coats ears first before the bass roams emotively around the emerging melodic and vocal narrative. The strongly appealing song is a tender and reflective proposition which, as all songs, is unafraid to open up its lyrical heart and show it is looking ahead with hope from within darker corners, evidencing a description of the album by Straube, “Goodbye from the Future is a final word to all the relationships from past songs, a message that won’t occupy his thoughts anymore. It’s about moving on.”

Recent single Hindsight steps up next, instantly treating ears to an electronic web as Straube’s voice opens the entrance to another sinewed proposition of honest riffs and mesmeric melodies within a raucously catchy embrace. As with the music there is a richer antagonistic edge to his delivery which brings a new potent character to sound and songs, whilst in this particular romp a devilish pop punk element is at large to create a presence which swings somewhere between Top Buzzer and Fall Out Boy. It is a masterful persuasion which ripples with ingenuity; swiping hooks, seductive harmonies, and raw passion all adding to the tenacious triumph.

The defiance soaked Fuck Off strolls in next, its tidy and keen gait making another swift persuasion if without sparking the same depth of passion for its bounty as other songs on the release. Once again there is a noticeable pop punk/power pop element to the easily pleasing stomp, a song which goes without the originality which marks the rest of the proposition and marks out the delicious Blindsighted. To be honest there is a familiarity to the glorious breeze of melodic seducing with envelops imagination and emotions too, but it only brings richer spice to the synth pop spawned beauty. It is a fascinating and irresistible weave of evocative melodic colours and sonically sculpted hues within a spellbinding web of bracing textures and mellow elegance. The best song on Goodbye from the Future it almost alone shows the new plateau Post Adolescence walks.

The album is concluded with What You Would Call Socialism (I Would Call Civilization), a final emotionally anthemic, musically enthralling dance to spark another wave of unbridled satisfaction. A sturdy yet radiant adventure with more of the unpredictable and eagerly bristling invention which has emerged in the band’s song writing and sound, the track is an exciting finale to a thoroughly impressive and thrilling release. Post Adolescence has graduated from a strong enjoyment into a mouthwatering and breath-taking proposition; it was on the cards with their first album but expectations have been left looking pretty feeble by the brilliance of Goodbye from the Future, and you still feel it is only a step in something even greater to come.

Goodbye from the Future is available now @


RingMaster 18/06/2014

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The Horror Vacui – Scissor Crystal Eyes

Established in their home state of Tennessee, alternative rock band The Horror Vacui seem ready to take the next step into a wider recognition and spotlight. That is certainly the impression one gets from their new EP Scissor Crystal Eyes. Following up their well received debut album, the new release is an impressive and expressive collection of songs which shows a band accomplished in sound and songwriting.

The Nashville quartet of Kyle Kelly (vocals, guitars, synth, percussion), Ted Fox (guitars, piano, percussion), Rico Whitfield (bass, synth, vocals), and Jonathan Parrish (drums), from the EP alone seem a quartet with firm sights and intent on their direction musically and as a band. The impression one gets from the four songs on show here is that the band is still evolving into their own distinct sound but possess already craft and invention to create striking and fully enjoyable songs.

Formed in 2010 with their first album coming the same year, the band immediately after the release of their debut won the Ditto Music Live Battle of the Bands, a prestigious event which saw them beat 42 other established acts in Nashville. A flow of live shows and first single Melete Thanatou followed, all gathering more and more acclaim which with the release of Scissor Crystal Eyes which was recorded with Lloyd Aur Norman and Jonathan Paul Parrish at Villain Place, should only grow and grow.

The Horror Vacui, pronounced vac-u-eye, open up the release with the best song Futile Arrangements. With an immediate hypnotic hook and pulsating bass the track brings an instant heated presence before the ear. The vocals of Kelly have an expressive emotive tone and combined with the electrified atmosphere brought by the synths and guitars there is a Placebo/At The Drive In feel to the track as well as flavouring which reminds of the likes of Post Adolescence and Mind Museum. The song has an almost bristling intensity throughout which ruffles the senses whilst exposing them to excellent melodic caresses and sonic invention. As it makes its journey the song opens its slightly discordant charms to even greater effect and emerges as certainly one of the most infectious but fully rounded songs this year.

The following Million Gunshots enters on a more restrained though no less passionate swagger. Another great riff and sound from the bass fuels the song alongside incisive guitar play and firm and punchy rhythms. It has a more fluid flow than the opener though maybe lacks the jabbing intensity, but is an equally impressive piece of songwriting and realisation. It almost stalks the ear with an intimidating energy whilst distracting it with excellent melodic and sparking invention, and continues the excellent start to the release.

All In My Mind and Time To Die show a variation in the release and sound of the band. The first is an emotive ballad which coaxes the ear with crystalline melodies and crooning guitar designs. From personal preference it lacks the power and thrill of the previous song but there is no denying the beauty and passion which lights up the air within the song. The second is a similar heart borne track which tugs on the emotions with a needy plea and outstanding grace. It is rare for a ballad to have an anthemic feel but the song certainly gathers up ones thoughts and emotions to bring them into play through its ambient and feistier moments. It is a glorious song which grows and grows on the heart through each visit and finds a definite place in ones affections.

The EP closes with Ink Spills, a song which with its almost grouchy bass sounds adds further variety to the release. It has a strong and full atmosphere with again a heart spawn passion and instinctive energy. The heaviest and most intense of the songs power wise it is an excellent slice of rock which only lacks a lingering presence after its departure to truly ignite fires.

Scissor Crystal Eyes will be an introduction for a great many people to The Horror Vacui and it could not be a finer welcome to their natural and striking sounds. The band are well on the way to finding and exploring the markets further afield they seek with this excellent EP, now it is up to you to welcome them.

Ringmaster 30/07/2012

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Candidate23: Stay Awake EP

Photo @ copyright Jeb Smith

The new EP UK indie band Candidate23 graces the ear like a breath of fresh air, its masterful weave of striking melodies, expressive vocals, and heart borne invention instantly making one stand up and take a focused attentive look which many other releases fail to achieve. All bands deserve and get from music lovers a respectful attention but some demand a little bit more by offering something extra. Upon their Stay Awake EP  the quartet do just that to take one on a fulfilling emotional ride from first note to last, the vibrant experience a complete and joyful pleasure.

Hailing from North West England the band formed in 2010 and have already made a noticeable mark through sharing stages with the likes of Funeral for a Friend, Young Guns and The King Blues as well as with debut single One For You in the November of their formation year and its successor Confusion, both riding high in the iTunes Rock Chart in 2011. Their sound is tagged as indie pop but there is a height and depth to it that goes much further in sound and within the listener.

The release starts off with Mona (I’m not leaving) and an immediate engagement with the ear is achieved through its persistent yet unobtrusive guitar welcome and keys that soar with style around the ear. As vocalist Will Hayes adds his impressive tones the song takes a deep breath before swelling with a purring bassline from Ryan Dennett alongside firm beats from Jono Tringham and the expressive guitar play of Alex McIntyre and Andy Perrin. With a flavour that reminds a little of Mind Museum and Post Adolescence the song leaves the emotions pumped and eager for more.

The title track steps up next with a less boisterous flow from the first but with just as satisfying results. Vocalist Hayes within two songs shows what a fine talent he is, his vocals strongly expressive and with a depth that is controlled and easily impressive. The song does not grab as firmly as the opener or as those that follow but more than provides the evidence of the songwriting skills of the band and the realisation of their well rounded and imaginative ideas.

10 Minutes Of Fame is an emotive song which caresses the ear with a textured drama and weight that pulls one deep within its captivating heart. The song opens up the band to nothing but praise, the song though less instant as maybe the others taking the senses on an impactful stroll through the artistry and passion of Candidate23.

The best song on the release closes things up beautifully. Karma is majestic, its glowing soundscape a warm and vibrant field of sound to share feelings and thoughts with. The picky guitars play the senses like a harp whilst the rhythms and bass add a bubbling vein to the song, and the orchestral sounding expanse that washes over at times adding to the wonder and magic of the song.

Candidate23 at times remind of other bands but one can never truly pinpoint who or how but there are moments on Stay Awake when thoughts of bands like Placebo, The Verve, and Doves flit through. Their sound has a friendliness which seems familiar but has a distinction which is fully their own. We will hear a lot more of Candidate23 as they make what is surely a rapid rise and an eager anticipation is in full flight after this release.

RingMaster 29/03/2012 Registered & Protected

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Varnish: Each To Each

here has been a ceaseless flow of bands harking back to and using revitalised flavours from the post-punk bands of the 80s for a while now. Many have impressively reinterpreted those obvious influences whilst others are open in their borrowing but a few have created an instinctive sound that would see them as a major force back then and a thrilling proposition now. One such group is Seattle band Varnish, a group that mesmerises and inflames the senses of most who come across their discordant jangly charms and striking cutting melodies.

Formed in 2007 by vocalist and lyricist Amber Bird and guitarist Jason Cope the band has collected many adoring hearts whilst winning over their hometown and in past months by flexing their darkly angelic wings further afield through channels such as the Reputation Introduces Radio Show. Varnish is completed by drummer aNdi pUzL (though the recorded tracks on the EP feature Ben Crosby) and bassist Johnny Straube whose own excellent band Post Adolescence where he caresses the ear as guitarist and vocalist, is also a leading and strongly acclaimed band in Seattles vibrant musical scene. The quartet have united to deliver a sound that is refreshing and equally nostalgic and a debut EP Each To Each, that lights up the heart with clean but dirty punk sounds and intense but undemanding energy.

In their bio the bands says their music consists of “Songs about the hopes we cling to and the regrets that cling to us. Rooted in rain-soaked cities and dry mouths, Varnish want to stand by you when the lights go out and occasionally point out the stars”.  Those two sentences sum up the music and the lyrics perfectly and gives you a clear idea of the poetic but incisive writing of Bird. The songs bring out the darker sides of life and relationships, those showed corners all have or will experience at some point but there is always a spark to turn things into a hopeful positive, if even a mere glimpse of light. Lyrically and musically there is a perfect union, the words as open and dark as the sounds and the music as lively and refreshing as the lyrics.

Each To Each in a way comes in two parts, the eight track release made up of five studio recordings and three live tracks. Recorded at the world famous London Bridge studios and produced and mixed by Mark Clem (Blanco y Negro, Post Adolescence) at his own Soul Kitchen studio the five recordings are impressive to say the least. Each song is a mini classic using upright riffs and minimalistic tones that fluctuate between urgent directness and more expansive eager crescendos. Believe It opens up the release with a probing pulsating bassline and chatty guitar riffs that taunt and tease openly. The songs sounds like a hybrid of the militant punk of Au Pairs and the sparse simplicity of Young Marble Giants, two iconic post-punk UK bands from the 80s.

Not Complaining is almost predatory in its mid paced subdued beat from Crosby and Straube, the rhythm seemingly looking and waiting for the moment to pounce. Again there are unavoidable comparisons to bands like Au Pairs and the offbeat frivolity of Martha And The Muffins but all in an extremely positive and deeply enjoyable way. Bird delivers the words with confidence and a heartfelt energy showing she is living the song as she performs not just singing some words. This is especially apparent in Bruise Me where she almost spits out the words with a keenest verging on malice and bitter venom. Musically too the track has a belligerence and spite from the grumbling menacing bassline and cutting strokes of a fuzzed up guitar.

The remaining two studio tracks carry on the impressive quality and sound. Slipping comes with a Joy Division toned sound that opens into a jangling melodic warmth with Cope meandering wonderfully behind Birds spoken parts. It is the most varied of all the tracks though not as instantly addictive but that makes it a gem of a different colour. Tied To My Chair is an attitude soaked punk song with a glorious FU bassline and dirty bleeding guitars. The song has a feel of X-Ray Spex about it especially in Birds again spiteful vocal display.

The three live tracks featuring aNdi pUzL on drums are admittedly not of the best production quality but more than show a band that is worth checking out live and songs that one is eager to hear at close quarter or from the studio. Insignificant Other and Wanna are again true punk songs with the latter showing Bird giving a Siousxie Sioux like performance.

Each To Each is an outstanding release that for the listeners of Reputation Introduces is an almost greatest hits type EP, with a few of the songs being aired eagerly on the live radio shows. If there is one complaint it is that Varnish have unleashed an EP so addictive one cannot get it off the playlist long enough to review anything else.

Get Each To Each @

RingMaster 12/12/2011 Registered & Protected


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