Punching Swans – Faces

If you have allowed the boisterous noise and feral enterprise of Punching Swans to trespass ears before you will not be surprised to read that as maturity and a new bold touch embraces their latest release, their cacophony of sonic devilment is just as insatiable. Faces is a collection of tracks which stalk the imagination, manipulate the senses, and send the body into blissful spasms whilst courting a whole new level of adventure with the British trio.

Bred in the ever fertile round of the Medway region of Kent, Punching Swans is the creative union of vocalist/guitarist Greg Webster (Houdini), bassist/vocalist Joseph Wise(Frau Pouch), and drummer/vocalist Pablo Paganotto (The Explorer’s Collective). Formed in 2012, apparently “as a dare”, alongside their other projects, the band has simply grown in a sound, taking on inspirations from the likes of from The Fall, Sonic Youth, Bogshed and Mclusky as well as the dark realms of John Carpenter, The League of Gentlemen and The Evil Dead films, their imagination ensnaring releases perpetually earning bigger and keener acclaim. A self-titled debut that first year was a kind of warm up for the greater exploits inside Mollusc two years later. The album reinforced the band’s inimitable sound and creative mischief but flourished as the threesome in many ways ’took things more seriously’ with the project. Its qualities and success was only eclipsed by its successor Nesting in 2016 just as its seriously impressive character and adventure has been put in the shade by Faces.

The new album’s theme is a dark and compelling proposition; the release made up of eleven faces (tracks), each referring to the faces of serial killers. As Webster explains, “They each have a stupid feature for a face which is related to their story… so people who look kinda stupid and are unlikely killers. But then again, who is a likely killer? Can you really tell by appearance? As we wrote each new song they seemed to fit into a particular image of a face and from there we wrote what their particular background story was. We were picturing a kind of Dick Tracy rogues gallery of villains. “

The album opens up with Blood Face, gradually looming up on the senses in a sonic shimmer before a raw wash of voice and sound explodes on ears. The scything beats of Paganotto pounce and swing as a sonic swash of guitar colludes with the rapaciously dark mumblings of bass, a fiercely magnetic union completed by eager vocals. Slipping melodic teasing amongst its ravenous discord, the track is a magnificent and quickly addictive start to an album which only escalated every lure heard with imagination thereon in.

The following Areola Face instantly had hips swaying and appetite’s tongue licking lustful lips as Wise’s throaty bass strolls with dark but infectious intent, a catchiness only accentuated by the more ‘violent’ animation of guitar and beats. Ebbing and flowing in its volatility, vocals following suit, the track provides a caustic flirtation before Strobe Face licks at the senses with a rapid flicker of beats and a sonic sunspot which in turn sparks a slightly corrosive but fully captivating trespass; a captivation only boosted by the singular dance of vocals and beats which escapes before things become more psychotic yet tenderly seductive.

Through the calm but predacious post punk militance of Batter Face and the reserved siren-esque psychosis of Coral Face, animated temptation richly soaked ears; Paganotto’s kinetic swings as conniving and irresistible as the intimation shredding exploits of Webster and Wise’s skilful rhythmic dark saunters, traits fuelling the whole album from start to finish. The latter of the pair has a definite Houdini meets The Fall feel before making way for the simply glorious murderous drama and inharmonious beauty of Cliff Face. Featuring Dan Toms of Bear vs Manero and the biggest treat out of nothing but, the track is simply manna for ears and spirit, unscrupulous rascality at its best.

The following pair of Grater Face and Lady Cheese Face refers to each other, the songs “Romeo and Juliet-style lovers who simply could not be.” The first is a wild slice of post punk ‘n’ roll with a personality something akin to Mclusky meets The St Pierre Snake Invasion while its companion of sorts shows a devious side to its more tamed incursion on the senses. Discordant yet with a sonic elegance which is as threatening as it is alluring, the track is a true predator of a song, getting under the skin with subtlety and flirtation before gnawing away with bloodthirsty relish.

Raw and wolfish, Carpenter Face infiltrates ears next with an almost industrial like hue to its expanding tapestry of lawless noise. A low key serenade with a portentous breeze of sonic duplicity inserts itself in the breaths between it and Face Face straight after, the piece brief and never quite breaking the surface of its limbo before the penultimate track careers in on a rhythmic canter with a sonic mane spraying in its trenchant winds.

God Face completes the release, the song a lure of shadow bound celestial scheming simultaneously  tenebrific and radiant round another simply rousing rhythmic incitement from Paganotto and Wise alongside the melodic dissonance of Webster.

It is an enthralling end to a quite superb and increasingly addictive release. Punching Swans has never been as so damn manipulative or devilishly rousing as they are within Faces. It is not only a band at its momentously best but noise rock/post punk too.

Faces is released October 26th via Skingasm Records; available now for pre-order @ https://punchingswans.bandcamp.com/album/faces

Upcoming live shows:

OCT 26th LEEDS, Chunk

OCT 27th LIVERPOOL, Invisible Wind Factory

NOV 9th LONDON, Aces & Eights

https://www.facebook.com/PunchingSwans   https://twitter.com/punchingswans

Pete RingMaster 23/10/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Exoskeletons – We Are Here To Make Things Better

Two years ago, British outfit Exoskeletons caught the imagination with their first release, the Get Lost EP. It was a striking almost rabid slice of punk infused noise rock which excited as it whetted the appetite for the band’s emerging sound. Since then the band has been in a process of “writing, gigging, destroying and rewriting material in an effort to find something new and more challenging.” The upcoming release of debut album We Are Here To Make Things Better is undeniable evidence in their discovering and exploring that new and individual incitement which most importantly is rather irresistible.

From Kent, Exoskeletons consists of members of Punching Swans, Bear vs Manero, and Houdini; all three bands which has certainly lit our fires in their own rights. Embracing inspirations from the writings of Greg Egan and Philip K Dick, especially on themes of Artificial intelligence, We Are Here To Make Things Better was recorded over 9 months between the September of last year and this past June. Released through Skingasm Records, the album is an adventurous mix of alternative rock with the band’s punk/noise origins which develops a distinct but connecting character over its ten tracks but brings an unpredictable quality and imagination to each.

Face In The Rock starts things off, the track merging from subdued sonic disturbance with beckoning beats and soon after the throbbing lure of bass. As the guitar entangles both with its acidic melodic vines, Greg Webster’s vocals step in, his distinctive tones inevitably bringing a Houdini feel though his guitar and the rhythmic imagination of bassist Peter Bevan and drummer Tom Bonner swiftly sculpt Exoskeletons unique textures and invention. The song continues to pounce and romp on the listener’s imagination, its kinetic gait and lively energy firmly gripping attention.

Even so, it is soon outshone by the following track and new single House Of Disappearing Bricks. It is pure virulent infectiousness, its firmly rapping beats and gnarly bassline instinctive manna to these ears even before the punk soaked attack of chords and vocals add to the trespass. The track’s post punk antics swiftly hit the spot, its noise punk devilry inflaming the passions as swinging rhythms and spiky hooks wake up a lustful submission to their angular bait. It is sublime stuff, pop discordance at its best and surely alone an unstoppable lure into the world of Exoskeletons for a new flood of fans.

Kuiper swaggers in next, again beats and bass casting an enslaving web as vocals across the band infest the psyche within another guitar woven tapestry of enterprise as belligerent as it is psychotic. Kind of like a mix of Shellac and The Mai Shi, the song traps ears in a compelling maze of sound before the more even keeled stroll of In Real Life takes over. In saying that, it pleasingly too has a rhythmic skeleton which jerks around with dervish like agility around which melodies with a caustic hue blossom. Passages of even calmer energy has a great feel of UK band An Entire Legion to them but again what emerges is a track distinct to its creators.

Through the catchy clamour of Crash Symbols and the crunchy prowess of Holes pleasure only escalates; the first, maybe without the striking quirkiness of those before, a magnetic cauldron of sonic imagination and rhythmic dexterity which seals the deal even before the brilliance of the irritable bass and great dissension of the vocals enslave. Its successor is a wonderfully dirty and cantankerous proposal with an addictively contagious swing which continues to infest an evolving landscape of adventure. There is a definite Melvins like ingenuity to the track but similarly echoes of the great music scene in the Medway area of Britain which the band’s line-up has been a major part of in recent times.

Again ultimately, the track is individual to Exoskeletons, a trait all songs process as shown yet unsurprisingly by next up Cicadas which is a more subdued proposition in nature to its companions but one rich in enticing hooks and dramatic ideation. Attention is putty in its hands and a greed for more overwhelming and fully fed by successor Show. It’s almost tempestuous start quickly turns to a bold saunter with another highly flirtatious bassline and spirited beats aligned to Webster’s suggestive guitar weaving and vocal dynamics. It too is low on the aggression of previous tracks but high on imposing enterprise and a flavoursome mix of imaginative post and noise punk tenacity.

The penultimate track is Dust; an expected atmospheric indeed haunting piece of sci-fi bred AI suggestiveness. Minimalistic but very potent, it has the imagination at play before the album reveals its best track to bring things to an enthralling close. Wild Swimmers is simply immense and for personal tastes leaves everything before it, and a heady collection of songs they are too, in its wake. From a distance it flows in with bass and sonic intrigue to the fore; both essences soon uniting with the most delicious hook nurtured melody. Alongside, a nagging tide of riffs work away, always there enticing even as the track twists through its unpredictable landscape. Bevan’s bass is once more manna to ears, its grumbling exploits as eventful and persuasive as the lithe rhythmic craft of Bonner and Webster’s resourceful sonic painting. Add the ever captivating vocal strengths of the band and you have a feast for the ear and a song which suggests we, as the band, have so much more to discover ahead with the Exoskeletons imagination.

Because of the Get Lost EP and the previous exploits of its band members which we previously got hooked on, we expected to find plenty to enjoy within We Are Here To Make Things Better but not to the lustful extent we did. Quite simply the album and band back up the declaration of its title in one of the year’s major highlights.

We Are Here To Make Things Better is released November 10th on Skingasm Records.

UpcomingTour Dates

19/10 – Maidstone – Drakes

03/11 – Ramsgate Music Hall

17/11 – Manchester – Fallows Cafe

18/11 – Leeds – Tbc

23/11 – Camden, London – Our Black Heart (album launch show)

22/12 – Chatham – Poco Loco

http://weareexoskeletons.com/    https://www.facebook.com/weareexoskeletons/    https://twitter.com/weexoskeletons    https://weareexoskeletons.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 25/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Frau Pouch – Fairymares

cover-image-social_RingMasterReview

I am sure we were not alone in eagerly anticipating a first album from British no wave post-punks  Frau Pouch. They are a band which captured and ignited our imagination on our introduction to them in a split release with fellow Kent outfit Houdini back in 2012. Their sound is a sonically and creatively gurning fusion of post and garage punk with other feverish forms of wonderfully irritable and imaginatively twisted rock ‘n’ roll. Each release, since that first meeting, has seen the Medway trio stretch, twist, and inject their imagination with new creative psychoses, nurturing their most irresistible outcome yet in debut album Fairymares.

Released via Skingasm Records and recorded with Greg Webster of Houdini/ Punching Swans, Fairymares is warped manna for the ears especially if they have been nurtured on a diet of post punk seeded bands such as The Fall, Pere Ubu, and The Victorian English Gentlemens Club. The album swiftly enforces the fact that Frau Pouch has its own sound though, even with essences reminding of others, it stands boldly unique and creatively salacious to the threesome of vocalist/guitarist Joe Wise(also of Punching Swans), bassist Ollie Crook, and drummer Suzanne Freeman.

As previous tracks and the All Hail Space Chicken EP before it, Fairymares swiftly entangles ears in a web of sound and invention, opening up with the band’s lust breeding single of last year Biscuit Beard. From the glorious carnivorously natured, bestial toned growl of Crook’s bassline setting things off, the track infests body and soul. Wise’s riffs are just as carnal in touch and sound, his flowing grooves equally rapacious as Freeman’s controlled swings punch further subservience to the song’s call on an instantly lustful appetite. The track is pure addiction, its Gang Of Four soiled rhythmic tempting alone irresistible and the wiry web of sonic endeavour and vocal nagging Mekons like.

It is just the start of the album’s insane grooving and rhythmic baiting with the following Dracula Pukes revealing its own nest of creative vipers as cutting scythes of guitar and punch happy rhythms challenge and enthral for a mere fifty seven seconds; a gripping minute of cantankerous confrontation leading to the virulently infectious stroll of Ham Planet. Like Pere Ubu on steroids as Turbogeist writhes under the punk influence of The Fall, the track dances with pop infused boisterousness though every swinging movement of its creative hips comes with seductive venomous intent as Wise declares his vocal desires.

The exceptional Burn Baby keeps the lust hungrily burning next, its lo-fi canvas a tangle of steely petulant grooves, intimately flirtatious beats, and crabby bass groans as vocals install their own brand of psyche trespassing persuasion. It is aural corruption leaving a lingering touch though Witch Fingers straight after soon steals all attention. With we assume Freeman taking vocal lead, the track is like a demented fusion of Daisy Chainsaw and The Fire Engines, off kilter toxic melody and dancing vocals uniting in an adult nursery rhyme like trespass of sanity.

Ghost Fire offers its own cranky invention, stabbing riffs and sonic vining shadowing Wise’s compelling stabbing vocals as another gloriously testy and intrusive bassline sparks feverish submission across its single minute before the repetitive prowess of Erotic Clocks has ears tempted hook, line, and sinker. With a slight whiff of Spizzenergi to it, the track is another sure fire infestation of body and psyche with its rhythmic nag and caustic expulsions.

With seductive danger to its cartoonish and creative loco, Gotham Piper lures the listener in next, continuing to lay a certifiable creative hand on the senses before intermittently uncaging its inner meshuga in ferocious style. The Cardiacs comes to mind within the thrilling encounter, Mark E. Smith and co even more so in successor Cat Curfew though once more as Wise lords over his own weave of sonic wiring and the rhythmic union of Crook and Freeman, Frau Pouch imprint only their own uniqueness.

Sleepstalker completes the line-up of treats, its sombre yet vibrantly magnetic fingering of the senses the stuff of nightmares; Crooks’ grievous bassline the stalker, Freeman’s beats the trap, and Wise in voice and sonic intrusion the swamp impossible to escape from. They are all delicious ingredients in a thrilling end to not only the best thing to come from Frau Pouch but potentially 2017 as a whole.

Fairymares is released 27th January via Skingasm Records.

https://www.facebook.com/FrauPouch/    https://fraupouch.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 24/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright