Patriot Rebel – Cynics Playground

PatriotRebelPromo_RingMasterReview

With their first new slabs of muscle bound rock ‘n roll since the Two Worlds EP in 2013, UK quintet Patriot Rebel take another attention grabbing and impressive step to the fore of the British rock scene. Quite simply the Cynics Playground is a thumping collection of rousing incitements, a multi-flavoured EP that stirs up the spirit.

Formed in 2011, the Nottingham hard rockers have constantly honed their sound and lured greater focus the way of their ear pleasing creative roar. Drawing on inspirations ranging from Alter Bridge, Shinedown, Black Stone Cherry, and Avenged Sevenfold, Patriot Rebel poked at acclaiming attention with the aforementioned Matt Elliss (Black Spiders, Terrorvision, Skarlett Riot) produced Two Worlds. Live the band equally earned a potent reputation, taking in shows with the likes of Y&T, Tesseract, The Treatment, Jettblack, and Skarlett Riot along the way. Last year saw the release of the similarly striking video single Propaganda, a track taken from their first EP. Now with Ellis again at the helm, the band returns with Cynics Playground and a sound which has noticeably grown in maturity, power, and downright magnetism.

Patriot Rebel Cover Artwork_RingMasterReviewOpening up with Digital Mannequin, the EP hits the ground running. Led by the most irritably growling bassline to get an appetite for, the song is soon driving through ears with the riffs of guitarists Danny Marsh and Dave Gadd stirring the senses as vocalist Paul Smith roars. It is a thick and almost muggy assault with every element crisp and precise within the infectious tempest, throughout Marsh’s grooves entwining the imagination, binding the sinew swung beats of Aaron Grainger and the persistently grouchy tone of Will Kirk’s bass.

It is an outstanding start, with at times a whiff of System Of A Down to it, which leaves a lingering impression and pleasure before being matched in creative kind and potency by Self Hate. The second track similarly has ears and eagerness devouring its robust throes of riffs and rhythms, presenting another imposing yet inviting entrance which commands attention and enjoyment with swift success. Smith again stands magnetic within the boisterous energy and aggression offered, his delivery a fiery snarl with contagious prowess to match the virulent enterprise of the guitars and rhythms, which in turn means one stirring encounter.

Two songs in and the Patriot Rebel sound while never afraid to reveal some of its influences, shows itself to be at its most unique and individual yet, the emotive power balladry of Dying Breed continuing that welcome trend as it ebbs and flows with emotional and physical intensity amidst sonic invention. More a smouldering success than its predecessors, the track emerges as another highlight within Cynics Playground, being quickly equalled by the rhythm swinging, antagonistically riffed All I Wanted. It is a beast of a proposal, that irritability of bass in the opener fuelling every aspect of the mighty incitement. The song takes no prisoners, guitars and beats biting as they entice and land alongside the predatory nature of the bass which in turn courts the catchy lead of the vocals and the infection sharing instincts of the track itself. Equally though, there is room for some sonic and exotic melodic imagination to be seriously tempted by.

The EP closes with Miss-Guided, a song which reveals all the Patriot Rebel attributes with consummate ease while sharing the new depth and adventure in the band’s sound. Though it might not quite live up to those before it, the song is an impressing finale to a thrilling release. Cynics Playground is Patriot Rebel on a new plateau yet the feeling is that the band is still working towards their true creative heights; so happy days for UK rock ‘n’ roll ahead we suggest.

The Cynics Playground EP is out now through all stores.

https://www.facebook.com/patriotrebel    https://twitter.com/patriotrebeluk

Pete RingMaster 24/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Victoria+Jean – Divine Love

V-J-_RingMasterReview

From the gorgeous artwork by Russian artist Oleg Dou through to the cinematic seducing which escapes each and every song, Divine Love is creative beauty involved with an imagination which simple leaves the listener lost in fascination. The imagination comes from Victoria+Jean, the episodes of aural drama from their debut album, and the brooding romance between listener and artist from instincts that just know when something transcends just ear food.

The band is the artistic and romantic union of Swedish born vocalist Victoria and Belgian guitarist Jean. Brought up in London and moving to Paris where she began her first career as a model, Victoria was a musician at heart and was signed as a solo artist aged 16 by a French major label, though she broke her four-album deal before releasing her debut, unable to make the compromises demanded upon her by the label. Moving to Belgium she met Jean and the couple began a career “motivated by encounters, travels and sound.” We have simplified the background for and leading to the project and union of the pair, with not for the first or indeed last time, Divine Love demanding to be the focus of attention.

art_RingMasterReviewIn creating the album, the duo sent their 12 tracks to their favourite producers with the request of collaboration for the release. The list included the likes of John Parish (PJ Harvey, Goldfrapp), Rob Kirwan (The Horrors, Depeche Mode), Christopher Berg (The Knife), Ian Caple (Tricky, Kate Bush), Joe Hirst (Stone Roses), Alistair Chant (PJ Harvey & John Parish), and Lucas Chauvière (De La Soul). As evidence of things being meant to be, each freely chose the same track Victoria+Jean had intended and hoped for them; a move and success which only adds to the album’s vastly diverse and eclectic character.

Divine Love opens with its title track and the duo’s new single. Within seconds the electronic mystique and ambience of the track has ears and imagination enthralled, the sixties cinematic drama in tone and air providing a great sense of mystery reinforced by the celestial caresses of Victoria’s mesmeric vocals. The gentle and elegant jangle of guitar equally brings rich suggestiveness to the enveloping theatre of dark charm and atmospheric tempting. There is no escaping a Portishead like essence to the bewitching encounter though equally artists like Propaganda and in a small way The Sugarcubes also offer their scent to its evocation.

It is a glorious start followed by the ridiculously irresistible Holly. From an initial lure of fuzzy guitar and mischievous beats, the song soon swings along with a virulent infectiousness which barely needs a handful of seconds to have hips swaying and spirit smiling. Victoria’s voice dances upon the compelling strands of sound, mixing composed moments with soaring harmonics as rhythms dance with addictive tenacity. As provocative in word as it is in sound, the track is sensational; growing with each twist of its musical theatre and lust inspiring alchemy.

Big Billie comes next, coaxing ears with raw blues guitar before thumping rhythms surround the tangy expressive tones of Victoria. Jean’s imagination continues to weave a sultry web of sound and enterprise to surround the tribal beats and descriptive vocals; a provocative blend playing like a mix of The Creatures and My Baby. Enthralling and igniting the senses it makes way for Until It Breaks and its brooding climate of sinister shadows and electronic espionage. As all songs, it has the imagination casting its own adventures to align with that of the song itself, sparking closer involvement between ears and song which is echoed again by Why Won’t You and its delta blues laced tango.

Across the fiery sonic and rhythmic trespass of Your Baby Don’t Know Me and Firecracker, things only get more boldly flirtatious and grouchily confrontational. The first is a prowling beast of a track with a touch of De Staat to its predacious noise rock infested waltz whilst its successor, while employing a similar dark rhythmic throb, courts techno fuelled ingenuity. It is a collusion which just gets more dynamic, agitated, and schizophrenic across its three body involving minutes, like its predecessor inciting a greedier appetite for Divine Love before a haunting beauty cast with a vibrant calm hugs ears through Härligt Sverige. Tantalising harmonies float around the poetic tones of Victoria, they skirted by resonating beats and the low key repetitive niggle of guitars. Winy tendrils vein the piece too; Jean creating an increasingly climactic drama matched by the vocal emotion equally gripping attention.

Ears and pleasure become engrossed in more blues bred invention through Takes You Like A Rose and Where We Belong next, the latter tempering the flavour with a bewitching folk seeded hug of melody and harmony before creating a tempestuous showdown of sound and emotive theatre. It is a glorious slice of aural cinema, again visual interpretation quickly inspired by the song and indeed Pull The Trigger which follows. Rhythms and percussive enterprise tease and play with ears before hitting an imposing stride entangled in sonic and vocal imagination. Anthemic and intimate within every writhing twist and turn of its excellent proposal, the track is like a hex on body and thought.

Closing with the epic spatial and atmospheric romancing of Define Love, an immersion into electronic and vocally harmonic reflection, Divine Love is one of the most enthralling and in turn invigorating releases heard in a long time. Every song provides an individual and compelling exploration still revealing fresh rewards after numerous listens. The album has plenty for fans of blues and rock ‘n’ roll, ambience and electronica, pop and dance and with a host of videos also accompanying each song, Divine Love is nothing less than essential listening and viewing.

Divine Love is released April 29th via FY Records at https://itunes.apple.com/be/album/divine-love/id1089239770?app=itune and across most online stores.

http://www.victoriaplusjean.com   https://www.facebook.com/victoriaplusjean

Pete RingMaster 26/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Midday Veil – This Wilderness

MiddayVeil_new1_RingMaster Review

The release of Midday Veil’s third album, This Wilderness could possibly not come at a more apt time in the course of mankind and civilisation. In a world of beauty being ravaged by its occupants, in a time when worldly community is being questioned, tested, and shown up, perfectly epitomises the stark reality but also beauty, globally and intimately, we all are an integral essence of. Vocalist Emily Pothast describes it best with “Lyrically, the songs on This Wilderness are a cycle that explores the self-destructiveness implicit in the civilizing impulse. It comes from a place that is critical, but ultimately acknowledges its complacency in this beautiful, terrifying culture that we all participate in whether we want to or not.

The release goes deeper than that in many ways too but ultimately the biggest thing about the Seattle band’s new proposition is that it is simply virulently glorious, a musical travelogue of spatial sound, mystique lined textures, and sublime beauty. It is a feast for ears and the imagination, a perpetually giving confrontation that sublimely seduces as it incites thoughts and emotions. The successor to the band’s acclaimed 2013 full-length, The Current, the seven track exploration is Midday Veil creating a new plateau for themselves and for others to seed ideas from.

This Wilderness opens with Babel, the keys of David Golightly immediately conjuring a cosmopolitan weave of sound and suggestion. Initially minimalistic, beats are soon throwing off their restraint to dance engagingly on ears in union with electronic vivacity and the swiftly seducing tones of Pothast. In no time, the song is a busy bubble of sound and activity with the bass of Timm Mason exploring the shadows lining the vibrant scenery, sparked by Jayson Kochan’s guitar, revelling around it. The track is sheer magnetism, a feisty serenade on the senses which just gets funkier, more diverse, and increasingly compelling with every invigorating minute.

midday veil this wilderness_RingMaster Review     There is a darker lining to the song though and equally the lure of Pothast’s lyrical narrative. Her voice alone is siren-esque if in an understated way but though all radiance provides, as the song, a vehicle for brooding shadows which are a stronger presence in the following Cages. Straight away there is a more melancholic feel to the song, in its air and tone even as keys pulsate with melodic light around the mellower and more sombre heart of the song. The percussive coaxing of Garrett Moore adds to the warmer side of the track’s flowing landscape whilst between them Golightly and multi-instrumentalist Mason create a tapestry of melodic suggestion within an evolving sound which as good as besieges the imagination.

The irresistibility of that song is intensified in Empire Is No More, the pinnacle of the album. Around a chilled sonic lure, crystalline shards of keys transfix, enticing the listener into an emerging exotic and sultry stroll. Rhythms quickly have feet and bodies involved as Eastern mystique lines the melodies oozing from keys and voice. There is a flirtatious nagging to the encounter too which through Kochan’s bass, he switching his string prowess on different songs, and Moore’s beats never lessens in potency as the song slips through the sense of past empires, and with an increasingly volatile energy, subsequent turbulence and discord. The song is rousingly mesmeric, at times igniting ears like a mix of eighties band Monsoon and the colder infection of a New Order, whilst persistently inflaming the senses and imagination.

Assumed Stockhausen inspirations prowl the dark elegance of The Water which follows, its haunted atmosphere a cavernous but again intimate embrace of primal rhythms and percussion within slowly revolving, melodically bred aural luminance. Pothast’s voice is dreamy and slightly shamanic, an external lure to inner reflection and accompanying instincts in the sonic, almost erotic, pool of sound cast by band and song. It is pure bewitchment which again has thoughts working feverishly before Circle takes over with its bolder electronic pulses and temptations within a lofty flight of vocal caressing and provocative enterprise. Closing eyes adds to the sense of soaring inspired by the track; celestial warmth soaking the senses’ wings as vocals fly alongside and over darker rhythms amongst sizzling textures cast by keys and the inventive strains of guitar and additional strings.

I Am The War has the body swaying with more urgency next, it’s still restrained but more tenacious energy and melodic resourcefulness touching on essences of artists such as Cybotron, Ladytron, and Propaganda. Lighting ears and appetite with its more classically honed wash of strings, a swift immersion into evocative depths and poetic incitement is unavoidable; and it is the same with closing track Universes. Both songs are individually ethereal beauty; the final track a gorgeous gloom lit haunting wrapped in Siouxsie and the Banshees like, or maybe more so The Creatures, bleak but golden seduction. With ghostly harmonies and limbo-esque sounds, it is simply majestic and another massive peak in the stunning landscape of the album.

Also featuring guest appearances from musicians such as Bernie Worrell (Parliament, Funkadelic), Eyvind Kang, and Skerik amongst a few, This Wilderness is a major moment in 2015, in fact it is possibly the album of the year.

This Wilderness is available from September 11th via Beyond Beyond Is Beyond.

Pete RingMaster 11/09/2015

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Patriot Rebel – Propaganda

Patriot Rebel Promo Shot_RingMaster Review

British alternative/hard rockers Patriot Rebel provide raw and rousing rock ‘n’ roll as virulent as it is ravenously aggressive. They proved it with their outstanding Two Worlds EP in 2013 and do so again with new single Propaganda. The song is a raw and explosive confrontation, an anthem to get fully involved in straight away but emerging even stronger and more impressive with every listen.

Though formed around 2007, it was arguably when the current line-up of vocalist Paul Smith, guitarists Danny Marsh and Dave Gadd, bassist Will Kirk, and drummer Aaron Grainger came together that the Nottingham hailing Patriot Rebel found the truly potent spark to their sound and in awakening eager attention. Inspired by the likes of Stone Temple Pilots, Alter Bridge, Black Stone Cherry, and Velvet Revolver, the quintet created a musical proposal which was soon invigorating ears and appetites, shows with bands such as Tesseract, Jettblack, Skarlett Riot, Cornerstone, Earthtone9, Spirytus and Violet over the years the live proof and Two Worlds the potent studio evidence. The Matt Elliss (Black Spiders, Terrorvision, Skarlett Riot) produced EP certainly drew acclaim and keen focus from old and new fans as well as the media upon its uncaging, which the band’s live presence has only driven on and now Propaganda can only kick into greater reaction again.

Patriot Rebel Cover Artwork_RingMaster Review     The single is taken from that earlier EP but manages to hold a fresh breath and character now standing alone as the band’s new protagonist. It is also a teaser of sorts for things to come, Patriot Rebel most likely in the studio, again with Ellis, as you read this. Sometimes tracks show a new light upon their depths and presence when taken away from an album or EP, and fair to say Propaganda, for whatever reason, manages to do the same as it roars from its opening second through to its last. From an initial sonic lure of a second of two, thumping rhythms prowl and riffs stalk the senses; their intimidation crouched over by the distinctive tones of Smith. The predatory start of the song and his croon subsequently triggers the embedded contagious might and stride of the encounter, grooves and melodies entangling in an irresistible tempting still graced by the formidable and throaty nature of bass and drums.

The song is a blaze of anthemic rock ‘n’ roll, luring the listener with its verse and leads into the irresistible chorus where full involvement from band and listener is a given. There are no truly major surprises within the song, the band’s influences open spices, yet it has a resourcefulness and enterprise which leaves expectations empty and enjoyment full to bursting.

Patriot Rebel continues to impress and though Propaganda is taken from their previous release it only thrills and ensures anticipation for the band’s next exploit will be greedy. Completed by a great acoustic version of Propaganda too, and accompanied by one equally enjoyable video, this is one single for new and old fans to spend a riotous summer with.

Propaganda is available from 3rd August.

https://www.facebook.com/patriotrebel        https://twitter.com/patriotrebeluk

Read our interview with Patriot Rebel @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/rousing-spirits-the-patriot-rebel-interview/

RingMaster 01/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

 

Rousing spirits: the Patriot Rebel Interview

Patriot Rebel Online Promo https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/rousing-spirits-the-patriot-rebel-interview/Shot

Having impressed and staked their place as one of the best emerging rock bands on the British music scene with debut EP Two Worlds last year, Nottingham quintet Patriot Rebel release brand new single Propaganda August 3rd. Between releases the band has reinforced and increased their stature with numerous tours and festival appearances, playing with the likes of Tesseract, Jettblack, Skarlett Riot, Cornerstone, Earthtone9, Spirytus, and Violet along the way. Having been one of many bowled over by their debut, the news of a new single meant we had to know more, so we cornered the band to talk beginnings, Propaganda, Matt Ellis and much more…

Hi guys and welcome to The RingMaster Review. Many thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

There may be still some yet to discover Patriot Rebel so can you give an introduction to yourselves?

Yeah we are a five piece hard rock band from Nottingham. Our sound is heavy and riff based with melodic vocals which is rare these days as most frontmen just get up there and make a noise as if they are clearing their throats in some cheaply made Lockets advert

Your sound is drenched in flavour and variety at its core, what are the predominant inspirations for band, its sound, and you as a musician?

I think our sound benefits from the fact that we all like very different things musically. We can regularly be overheard telling each other how shit each other’s music is as we pull up to our practise studio. But it’s all in good fun and actually when it comes together really helps the song writing process. If everyone came up with the same stuff week in week out I can imagine it would get boring pretty quickly.

I believe the band started around 2007 but is it fair to say that things truly clicked and began sparking attention when the current line-up came together a few years later?

Yeah it was 2007 that the idea came about after a couple of us had been doing a few open mic nights around Nottingham performing cover songs. As we started writing our own songs we wanted to expand and round up a drummer and bassist to get the sound we wanted and Patriot Rebel was born. We fluttered around many different band members for a good few years and it wasn’t until just before the Two Worlds EP that we finally settled with five members that really clicked together.

How did you all meet, was it solely because of the band or is there history before and away from it?

Two of us were good friends from school and that was why we started doing the open mic nights. We were out in Nottingham most nights getting drunk and stumbling onto various karaoke bars before we decided to find a guitar and do it properly. We advertised on various websites and even scattered some posters around the local rock bars for band members. We were actually surprised at how quickly we managed to throw a band together but it rarely stuck until the final members were found. It can be very difficult to find five lads that can all get along and have the same sense of humour but we did and it’s been great ever since.

With those early days of the band; what was the spark predominantly bringing Patriot Rebel to life?

Mainly alcohol…..and of course it was all new to us. Playing at just a local pub felt as if you were playing something much bigger and just a group of 15 people felt like a crowd. It was very exciting to play your own music to people that wanted to listen and that’s why we do it still now today.

Patriot Rebel_Reputation Radio/RingMaster ReviewWe discovered you through your excellent debut EP Two Worlds in 2013, a show stopper it is fair to say without blowing smoke up your egos ha-ha. August 3rd sees the release of new single Propaganda, how have you filled the time between releases?

We have been gigging the Two Worlds EP all over the UK. Edinburgh was a particular favourite of ours not just because of the show but the experience. We’ve modified an old transit van into a makeshift tour bus and it has made touring much more enjoyable than packing into numerous cars. Although sleeping in it wasn’t the best experience. It was very snug and it’s difficult to look each other in the eye after you’ve been ‘spooning’ the night before.

The new song is a beast of an anthem for ears and emotions, and a potent evolution to that first release. Where are the biggest differences between both encounters?

Well actually we have cheated a bit because Propaganda was recorded as part of Two Worlds. We are basically releasing it as a thank you to everyone who has supported Two Worlds and made a video to go with it.

Have you changed any specific elements in songwriting since the first release or is it just an organic progression fuelling your new endeavours?

Our song writing is always done on a feeling. If we feel like we are struggling to come up with something we tend to leave it be. Our best stuff tends to flow immediately and just clicks straight away. Sometimes we revisit old stuff and that works too.

Can you give some background to the lyrical side of the single?

It was written about an old work colleague of mine who would always try to belittle the younger lads and shit stir just to cause trouble. So Propaganda was my way of looking at it. People generally presume its war related but it’s not in the slightest…Although it’s good that some people take out of songs what works for them.

And musically any particular sparks brewing up elements?

Not so much musically. We tend to come up with various parts and then write the lyrics over the top. It’s not often the lyrics/song come first. But the music certainly matches the mood lyrically.

You recorded Two Worlds with Matt Ellis (Black Spiders, Terrorvision, Skarlett Riot), and the same again with Propaganda?

Yes definitely. Matt is brilliant at what he does. He doesn’t just record what we play; he actually makes suggestions and has ideas of how certain things could be done differently. I think that it is important to have this whilst recording. Sometimes a non-biased ear can help the way things sound without actually changing much at all.

He seems to have the touch in luring out every essence of your sound and its nuances?

He literally does it exactly how we imagine it should sound. We’ve used a couple of other producers over the years and none have come close to the sound quality that Matt gives us.PatriotRebel live_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

People might imagine one song would be a quick in and out of the studio to record and perfect. Give us the real insight to the single’s creation and journey.

To be fair Propaganda was quite quick in relation to some of the other songs. It has quite a raw sound and sometimes too much production can kill a song. It went really well but yeah recording can sometimes be quite tedious especially for the vocalists who have to wait until the end.

Is Propaganda the teaser for bigger things ahead too; another EP or album maybe?

That’s exactly what it is. We are booked in with Matt again at Axis studios for late July where we will be recording our next EP. We have a couple of potential titles for it but I’m afraid that’s classified information at this time. We will be working on more videos, merchandise and tour dates to coincide with its release which we hope will be early 2016

You said the song was recorded around the EP but does it still offer a real hint of your new songs or are there plenty of new surprises to anticipate?

A bit of both really. We will always have the unmistakeable Patriot Rebel sound but we have worked on new things which we think are sounding great. We are really excited about some of the new stuff and we think you should be too.

You mentioned it earlier so tell us about the video accompanying Propaganda.

It’s basically a mixture of band performance and storyline. We worked with our friend Chris Clough on this one and we are glad we did because his work is excellent…Really professional record quality. We also got the help of model Katie Wainwright to accompany the storyline sections of the video where she takes newspaper clippings and sticks them on the wall to create a twist at the end. We used Katy because what’s the point of making a video without a girl in a corset and short skirt right?

patriot rebelHow was that experience in the making compared to the recording of songs?

It was really enjoyable for us; we had a great time making the video. We have done videos before but not to this quality. The last one we did was just taken from various live performances so it was an experience for us to do it properly. We shot the video on two separate occasions and the second part was done in the basement of a pub which is always good. The first part which was the band performance was actually shot at my workplace. Which is weird for me but it came out really well.

You touched on the next release but anything else ahead for Patriot Rebel and its fans you can share with us?

We’ve got plenty in the pipeline, some of which we can’t reveal yet. But we will be back gigging very soon. In fact we have a show in Nottingham as main support to Jett Black on the 29th August. It’s part of Degeneration fest and will also include The Treatment so it’s a great line up.

Once again big thanks for chatting with us. Any words or thoughts you would like to leave us with?

Always a pleasure…We would just like to thank your readers and anyone else that has supported us over the years. Cheers

https://www.facebook.com/patriotrebel   https://twitter.com/patriotrebeluk

Thanks to Garry at SaN for arranging the interview.

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 19/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Candy Says – Not Kings

candysays

Not Kings, the debut album from UK electro-tinged pop collective Candy Says, is a bit of a puzzler but a mesmeric mystery you cannot help being entranced by. Minimalistic and lo-fi whilst wrapped in flourishes of melodic charm and seductive harmonies, the release tantalises and enthrals from start to finish but you end up wondering why the attraction does not spark a fire in the passions as successfully as it does in the imagination. Usually both go hand in hand and certainly at times the band offer a fuse which is just irresistible but the ebbing and flowing of the album seems to escape a constant supply of that rich reaction. Nevertheless Not Kings is an absorbing flight of sound and adventure which increases its temptation with every venture.

Candy Says is the project of lead vocalist/guitarist Juju Sophie and keyboardist/vocalist Ben Walker, a duo from Oxford who sparked strong attention with a pair of sold out cassette singles via Cool For Cats last year. Recorded entirely in the garage of lead vocalist Juju Sophie’s bungalow, Not Kings confirms all the promise of and buzz around the band and even without setting a blaze inside, gives potent evidence of the real potential of the pair.

The title track gets things in motion with an initial coaxing of handclaps and restrained electro caressing. It is a welcoming start but one a4253926693_2which is pale until the sirenesque tones of Juju Sophie lay their warm glances and bewitching charm over ears and imagination respectively. Like a hint to the album as a whole, the song laps over ears like a gentle sea, its aural waves coming and going in strength and relish to offer a persistent suasion which captures thoughts with ease. There are no climactic moments or startling textures to the track just an on-going inviting glaze of synth and vocals aligned to magnetic surges of guitar. It makes for an intriguing proposition with plenty to spark an appetite for the release, a taste soon reinforced by the delightful Favourite Flavour. As the first its touch is reserved and tender without raising a temperature but like a summer breeze the song swarms around and engages the senses with perpetual ease and warmth. The backing tones of Walker add another texture to the golden voice of Juju Sophie whilst musically the song brings potent adventure to instantly lift the profile of the album.

The following C’est Pas Comme Ca is a provocative folk tinged slice of balladry pop with a sixties voice to its seductive temptation which continues the strong and varied start to the album. There is drama and evocative emotion to its absorbing sounds and harmonies whilst the vocals which already guarantee a seductive embrace to the album make no exception here or in the next up Lord’s Mistake. The fourth track is the first major peak of the release; its funk bred stroking of guitar immediate contagious bait which is enhanced by the vocals and the eager dance of the keys. Like a mix of The Mouth Of Ghosts, Tom Tom Club, and Propaganda, the song is a glorious vivacious stroll with more colour and richly exciting hues than the previous trio of songs put together.

Hummingbird graces ears and air next, its pungent beats and fluid keys a potent canvas for the vocals of the band members to contrast and unite in a poetic painting which smooches and flirts with the imagination. There is an additional celestial tone to the ambience of the song which adds to the vivid incitement of the imagination, as most of the tracks achieve, but like its predecessor the croon also works as potently on the passions.

Both the resourceful dance bred Dreamers and the similarly sculpted Melt Into The Sun provide a pleasing presence to immerse within but neither explore the emotions beyond mere satisfaction either even with their superbly crafted and intricate weaves of synths and harmonies whilst Chad straight after unveils a captivating atmosphere of melodic reflection over a rich evocative palette but again that earlier mentioned spark which certainly is burning feverishly in the likes of Favourite Flavour and Lord’s Mistake merely smoulders.

The simultaneously melancholic and vivacious Dead On Arrival brings the release back to an irresistible peak; its sultry climate and emotional elegance an invigorating infection upon the woven scenery of flowing keys and vociferous and alternately mellow vocals, Juju Sophie once more revealing the quality and depth of her voice.

A wonderfully dark and seductive tempting wraps the following Understand The Night, its noir kissed Parisian shadows under street lamp spotlights another enthralling premise to bask in and investigate. It is impossible to resist, leaving a lingering call from the album which the inviting but underwhelming Cool Sensation cannot match. To be fair the song shimmers and lures like a summer soaked lake, its surface a refreshing glow but its depths lack the potency to take the listener into deeper waters of pleasure, an issue the closing Camilla has no problem with. The best track on the album with ease, it makes a gentle offering initially though the vocals have a greater power and passion to them than previously found on the album. It is a striking and lip licking entrance which only deepens its potency with the restrained but wholly infectious almost anthemic stroll of the chorus. The track goes from strength to strength the more it courts ears and thoughts, harmonies and keys alone smouldering kindling to the respectfully flaming heart and expression of the outstanding encounter.

If the album was full of songs like the last it would be a certain classic, but it has enough to make itself a tremendously appealing treat which sounds better the more you venture within it. As we said at the start, the passions might not be set ablaze by Candy Says but the imagination is happily fired up which can only lead to a solid recommendation for Not Kings.

Not Kings is available now digitally, on cd, and on vinyl @ http://candysays.bandcamp.com/album/not-kings

http://candysays.it/

7.5/10

RingMaster 09/05/2014

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Mono Inc. : Nimmermehr

     MONO INC._Bandfoto

     Nimmermehr sees German rockers Mono Inc. follow last year’s acclaimed and successful album After The War with another slab of expansive gothic rock that takes the listener on an eventful and thrilling ride of sound and adventure. It is an album which employs the essences of numerous eager styles and their dynamic devilry whilst creating a fun and ultimately pleasing romp of invention and imagination.

Formed around 2000-2001 by then drummer Martin Engler (moving to lead vocals in 2006), guitarist/vocalist Carl Fornia, and original vocalist Miky Mono, three musicians who had played together previously in  both Wild Thing and Mono 69, the Hamburg band soon built a strong reputation for their stadium rock type of gothic bred sound. Albums such as debut Head Under Water of 2003 and re-released a year later, Temple Of The Torn in 2007, and Pain, Love & Poetry the following year all earned the band strong attention and impressed responses. The previously mentioned After The War set the band upon another level of world awareness which the vibrant Nimmermehr (meaning Nevermore) will only cement. Released via NoCut Entertainment it is a collection of tracks which tease with unpredictability and persuade with open passion and distinct charm, the line-up of Engler and Fornia alongside bassist/vocalist Manuel Antoni, and drummer/vocalist Katha Mia creating a shadowed sun of melodic and atmospheric breath with darkly emotive and tantalisingly provocative enterprise.

Opening track Heile, Heile Segen instantly cups the ear in roaming keys and a romping bassline, guitars brewing a scratchy invitation MONO INC - Nimmermehr - Artworkwhilst the German sung vocals of Engler bask in the great electro embrace punctuated with a breath of elevated energy. It is an infectious stomp which seizes the senses from the first second and leads them into a potent dance of electro contagion and pop rock urgency guided irresistibly by not only the vocals of Engler but the teasing sultry tones of Mia alongside. Arguably there is nothing particularly new going on but when it sounds this good and enjoyable there is not issue to be raised, the song a great mix of Konstrust and Hanzel Und Gretyl.

The following Seligkeit continues the great start, its muscular electro pulses a potent incitement going hand in hand with the cracking beats of Mia which vein the magnetic weave and drama of the keys, they driven hard by the sinewy riffs which spark up in mini crescendos throughout. As in its predecessor the vocals are a warm hug within the sturdy presence of sound, the combination an incendiary call for the passions. Again as the first song and across plenty of the album, there is a familiarity at seductive work which whilst pointing to an absence of ground-breaking ingenuity going on undoubtedly makes an imaginative use of existing and diverse rich spices.

The excellent My Deal With God is an irresistible anthem for the passions, the surprising seemingly Irish lilt to chorus and even the vocals at that moment just scintillating whilst the dynamic weave of melodic and electronic sound with a gothic emotive embrace, are pure virulent infection. A plea to limbs, voice (luckily it is sung in English to enable a full persuasion), and energy, it is an early major highlight of the album but just one in many as shown by the following Kein Weg Zu Weit with its sultry air and ambience washing a stern rhythmic pulse and evocative guitar narrative. As in evidence now the ability of the band to create choruses which resonate and ridiculously tempt is almost regal, this song a slow evocative walk with refined elegant twists as contagious as the riotous devilment of the previous song.

Both the outstanding Euthanasia and its mighty equal The Clock Ticks On cast accomplished fusions of symphonic winds within gothic rock expanses, the first a bewitching chalice of glowing melodies and enriching imagination whilst the second is a heavyweight stomp bringing the intensity of a Rammstein into the pop suasion of an Ace Of Base or Propaganda. It is a riveting melodically fuelled waltz smouldering with eastern mystique and driven by insatiable revelry, and in league with the first and the melancholic beauty that is Alles Was Bleibtnergetic which splits them, makes for another stunning stretch of triumph Nimmermehr.

The great gravel kissed vocals of Engler marks the impressive sorrowful croon of A Better Way To Die next whilst the invitingly busy lures of Herzschlag and the impossibly contagious Days Like This leave the senses and passions exhausted but invigorated, The third of the trio is a stirring and galvanic blaze of rock and pop. Like a union between Bryan Adams and the more pop spiced era of The March Violets, and much better than that sounds, the song is a fire of glorious anthemic enticement, quite irresistible and totally enslaving.

Completed by the electro rock pop provocation of Ich Teile Dich Nicht and the decent enough piano and vocal led title track, Nimmermehr is a powerful treat which shows no mercy in its capturing of the imagination and emotions. It is one of those bait loaded releases which simply leaves you full and basking in deep satisfaction.

www.mono-inc.com

9/10

RingMaster 09/08/2013

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