Desert Ships – Skyliner

Desert Ships press image 2014

Four mesmeric flights flooded with celestial hauntings and shoegaze fascination, the Skyliner EP from UK band Desert Ships is as both band and release names suggest, an expansive and sultrily aired adventure. A release which is cinematic in its touch on the imagination and warmly sensuous in its lure on the senses, Skyliner shimmers and radiates like a mix of The Horrors, House Of Love, and Brian Jonestown Massacre with just a tinge of Inspiral Carpets for spicy measure. To be honest that is still a loose description of the psychedelic fuelled exploration found within the release but a good starting point for something distinct to Desert Ships.

Formed in 2012, the London trio of Mikey (vocals/guitar), Daniel (bass/vocals), and Claude (drums/vocals) swiftly sparked attention and acclaim with the release of their debut album that same year. The Mark Gardener (ex- Ride) produced Doll Skin Flag soon drew regular comparisons to the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala, and occasionally the film scores of John Barry. Its success was backed by the band’s equally praised live presence which saw them tour with bands such as The Prodigy, Band of Skulls, The Rifles, and Babyshambles as well as play numerous festivals over the past couple of years. Reuniting with Gardener again in the studio, Desert Ships now unveil their new EP, a release taking its predecessor as a launch pad for broader and more expressive aurally visual experiences.

The release opens with its epic title track, a seven minute plus excursion into magnetic harmonies, sonic exploration, and fuzzy show gaze seducing. From its first breath there is a fresh and smouldering temptation at work, guitar coaxing Desert Ships-Skyliner-artwork -Final-HRthe lead into a weave of vocal harmonies and expression from across the band. That in turn is cradled by a tapestry of keys bred elegance and enterprise. The song emerges as a gentle maelstrom of gripping ideation and aural fascination, the vocals as varied and riveting as the spatial grooves and rhythmic shuffle courting their narrative whilst every immersive note is an exotic kiss upon the senses. Like soaring through a refreshingly muggy landscape, the track is enthralling leaving body and emotions submerged in blissful exploration.

The slightly slimmer length of Shell Shock is no less eventful next, embracing ears with a synth pop spiced temptation straight away. Laying down an eighties flavoured yet modern canvas of melodic hues, bands like China Crisis, Modern English, and The Flaming Lips coming to mind, the track croons with cosmic lustre and psychedelic colour. Again the imagination is sparked by and emotions immersed in an ethereal tapestry of sound and voice, the song the perfect pop proposition. It is a description which almost applies to the following Heart Beats and it’s more grounded but no less transfixing splendour too, though the magnetic offering does not quite have the infectious glow and compelling grandeur of its predecessor. All the same the feistier track is a masterfully and enticingly grooved invitation which is hard to resist as it reveals further shades and turns in the band’s creativity.

Skyliner is concluded by another epic holding of ears with its longest and relentlessly suggestive track, Ausgang. Somewhere between cheerfully funereal and livelily meditative, the persistent breeze of sonic and melodic enticing is a vibrantly repetitive affair which probably outstays its welcome but still provides an instrumental soundscape to create imaginative tales within. Though the EP is not one of two halves, like the previous track the closer lacks something of the first pair of songs but has plenty to entice and feed an already keen appetite for release and band.

Desert Ships has provided a treat of an encounter which is at its stunning best at the start and whilst slipping a level of persuasion or two in its latter part, perpetually leaves expectations and anticipation of big things from and for the band ahead rife. Ultimately Skyliner is a gorgeous flight which more than deserves a full investigation.

The Skyliner EP is available now @ http://desertships.bandcamp.com/

http://www.desertships.com

RingMaster 11/11/2014

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Dearly Beloved – Enduro

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Hazily immersive and virulently seductive, not forgetting mouth-wateringly compelling, Enduro the new album from Canadian rock band Dearly Beloved is another unexpected treat for the year. You sense the dramatic presence and striking sounds of the release is not something new as their existing fans can surely confirm but as our introduction to the Toronto protagonists, the release comes as a potent and thrilling new adventure. Merging sultry essences of stoner and progressive rock with the creative voracity and enterprise of garage punk, Enduro is a glorious ride of sweltering textures and magnetic imagination wrapped in a scuzz kissed melodic vivacity which flirts contagiously from start to finish. It is a magnificent encounter and the start of a torrid union between the band and our passions, and a horde of many others we predict upon its uncaging.

Dearly Beloved is centred round guitarist/lyricist/vocalist Rob Higgins (ex- Change of Heart, Doctor and nephew of Rush’s Geddy Lee), and vocalist Niva Chow and from the release of their critically acclaimed third album Hawk vs. Pigeon, has been on a non-stop charge of shows, including tours with the likes of Julie Doiron, Cancer Bats, Wrong Guys, and Grimskunk as well as venturing into the UK and Europe with their renowned stage performances. Now with the successor to their previous triumph, the band is set to reap even greater success and rewards, hindsight showing that as impressive as the last album was its successor takes things to a new inventive height.

Recorded at the infamous Californian Rancho De La Luna studios (Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss), Enduro saw Higgins and Chow recruit Eamon McGrath as guitarist and co-writer for the 15-day creating and recording of the album. Also involved were Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene), Dave Catching (Eagles Of Death Metal), Chris Goss (Sound City Players) and Dave Elitch with its mixing undertaken by Adam Kasper (Nirvana, Foo Fighters). Apparently there were not even skeletons of songs prepared before the recording of the album but that obviously was in no way an issue such the sonic ingenuity which has evolved from the process. As soon as feedback soaks ears and a dulled yet intrusive resonance brews at the opening of the title track, intrigue is pricked and swiftly fed along with the imagination as rhythms roll in on rugged sinews, flames of sonic coaxing erupts, and the bass grumbles impatiently. It is a captivating start and one pushed to greater strength by the breath-taking vocal union of Higgins and Chow. Theirs is a rigorously captivating union, whether sparring or uniting in their delicious persuasion. Guitars have a mesmeric yet simultaneously raw air to their enterprise around them whilst the heavily swiping rhythms simply enslave an eager appetite for song and release. Like a rugged union of Mars Volta and Jane’s Addiction, the song is a wanton fire of craft and invention, a psychedelic seducing which is scintillating.

The following Olympics Of No Regard rides boldly in on another rhythmic enticement courted by potent hooks and grazing rubs of db COVERguitar. Its confident stroll continues unabated but still relaxes along the way for evocative shimmering surf rock twists and expressive stoner abrasing which are as unpredictable as they are engaging; a union constantly repeated across the whole album in the startlingly new characters and designs of songs, as next up Astor DuPont Payne. The track is sensational, from its initial tingling of guitar a riveting incitement which grows in presence and potency as acidic melodies entwine the senses, vocals breathe seduction with each syllable, and captivating grooves dance around thoughts like the flames on the opening credits of Tales of the Unexpected. The bass also is a tempting impossible to resist, its dark wiles a persistent shadow in an incredibly imaginative and creatively fascinating triumph. Psychedelic pop rock at its finest and most unique, the song is a new pinnacle in nothing but so far across the release.

Both the more voracious Not My Pig with its punk bred attitude and the aggressive Seven Plagues get feet and passions involved further, the first a song which stalks and abuses with a caustic toxicity across all musical fronts which is as bewitching as the ever impressing embracing vocals. The following song revels again in the punk part of the band’s heart, raging and brawling with rhythms and grooves but only within an invigorating pop tenacity and enticement which tempers and inspires equally the thrust of the track. Neither matches the heights already set but both inflame and feed ears and thoughts with full satisfaction. A sufficing pushed into gluttony with the brilliant The Guile Of Pricks and its instinctive rock ‘n’ roll. Garage punk meets psychedelic pop, the track is another raw yet fluid enveloping holding a Pixies experimentation and QOTSA stomping before making way for the desert smothered sounds of Between Finger & Thumb, where Perry Farrell and co again spring to mind in tandem with at times Melvins. Though not as instant as other tracks it is an evolving web of sound and ingenuity which steals a mighty share of the plaudits.

The smouldering beauty and melodic glances of All Sins Are Forgiven come next and simply leave passions in a pool of ardour, a mellow tempting which leads into incendiary imposing and provocative crescendos across its enthralling suasion. The song tantalises and mesmerises with intimate yet expansive radiance and reflection to cast another slice of creative alchemy into the album before the voracious canter of Run For Your Life decides to make its claim for best song honours. Pop punk with antagonistic devilry, the track is rock music as it should be; fiery, inventive, and ridiculously contagious.

Closing with the brief psychedelic and slightly psychotic smothering of Ether Binge, a song which drifts with melodic venom and seducing shadows, Enduro is instinctive brilliance. There are times where like the final track you feel songs are incomplete in some way or as they were created in short time, their ideation suggesting and unfulfilled body but it does not bring any sense of negativity to the sensational sculpting. In fact it adds to the loose and primal feel of the album, one though conjured through precise thought and unleashed imagination from all involved. Enduro is our introduction to Dearly Beloved giving us a two directional investigation of the immense band from here on in, must be our birthdays.

Enduro is out now on Aporia Records in Europe and eOne Music in Canada now!

http://www.dearlybelovedmusic.com/

9/10

RingMaster 10/06/2014

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Cave of Swimmers – Self Titled

 

CoS

Originally self-released last year, the self-titled debut EP from Cave of Swimmers now has its deserved wider release with The Path Less Traveled Records, and an insatiably magnetic treat it is. Consisting of four irresistibly flavoured tracks which are unpredictable and compelling, the release ignites ears and imagination with a contagiously adventurous and dramatically enthralling encounter. Fusing the rich essences of varied metal and rock ventures into mouthwatering landscapes, band and EP provide one surprising and wholly captivating encounter.

Cave of Swimmers consists of Guillermo Gonzalez (vocals, guitar, synth) and Arturo Garcia (drums/backing vocals), two musicians hailing originally from Venezuela who relocated to Miami a few years back. The pair met in school but it was only nine years after their first meeting when Garcia git his first drum kit that the pair started making music together. They played in a few projects including a Rage Against The Machine cover band before Garcia moved to Miami followed four years later by Gonzalez. More years passed before the pair linked up musically properly, forming The Tunnel before renaming it Cave of Swimmers.

Their debut release instantly tells you all you need to know about the pair, their influences, intentions, and undoubted musical skills. From  CoS coverthe opening track Hangman, the band unveils a superbly textured and provocatively spices weave of styles and flavours ranging from seventies heavy metal and psychedelic rock to stoner and doom as well as a stirring progressive encrusted spicery. As the first song proves it is a riveting and refreshing concoction which hits the sweet spot time and time again. Song one instantly has attention at its will with eagerly coaxing rhythms framing expressive and inventive guitar suggestiveness. It is a heavy and melodically infused invitation which losing a little of its grip when relaxing into a less surprising stride, though it soon regains its potency with the outstanding vocals of Gonzalez. His voice soars and roars simultaneously, complementing and driving the sounds around him whilst his guitar, as the rhythms of Garcia, tie up any lingering doubts with anthemic arms.  As confirmed by all songs, there is never a moment to assume you know the destination of a track, a thrilling jazz/funk like salsa of Latin rhythmic temptation and melodic seduction tripping up expectations towards the middle of the first song before excellent guitar craft entwines ears and thoughts.

The outstanding start is soon matched by the initially bewildering Materia. A sinister atmospheric embrace coats the senses first, the breath of the moog synthesizer lying provocatively upon the ears as a rhythmic hurrying pushes the listener into the thick doomy arms of the song. It is a slowly tempered prowl which courts the imagination before being torn apart by the vocal flames of Gonzalez, his delivery verging on operatic and a shock to assumptions, a very welcome and absorbing jolt to expectations. The track continues to stalk with a noir clouded ambience and heavy footed muscular persuasion. It is an irresistible bewitchment, a beautifully thought out and presented drama which explores a brighter but still doom bred scenery. Keys and guitars cast further twists in the haunting narrative as they drop into a frightening textures and sonic mystery before reaching skywards with emotive invention to close the song.

The song Cave of Swimmers steps up next instantly employing open homages to the likes of Sabbath and Pentagram in riffs and melodic grooving whilst vocally they are again sparked by a heavy metal seeding. It is only part of the song’s colour though; it’s contagious hooks and winding sonic bait offering thoughts of Kyuss and Metallic in varying degrees. Inventive and persistently shifting in its gait, intensity, and pure imagination, the song escorts the listener on a breath-taking ride across scorching melody draped scenery and sultry sonic climates, closing out in a blistering vocal crescendo.

The strikingly impressive and immense infection of the release never abates across its length, the closing Catch ensuring the EP ends on the same lofty heights as it started on. The track arguably is the least adventurous of the four but still treats with stoner visited psychedelic temptations and the ever impressing vocal suasion, whilst samples and progressive tinkering only enhance the recipe. It is a fine end to a masterful and rapturous debut by a band with all the potential to make major strides and deposits in the world of metal. Make a note of the name Cave of Swimmers you will be hearing a great deal more of these guys we suspect.

Cave of Swimmers is out on The Path Less Traveled Records now!

https://www.facebook.com/caveofswimmers

http://thepathlesstraveledrecords.bandcamp.com/album/cave-of-swimmers

10/10

RingMaster 16/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Spirits Of The Dead – The Great God Pan

Having already impressed with their self titled  debut released in 2010 Oslo progressive psychedelic rock band Spirits Of The Dead return with their follow-up The Great God Pan. Their first release stirred up the critics and listening public alike, being named in the Classic Rock Magazine’s top 50 albums-of-the-year list a notable achievement; their contemporary sound born from the electric passion of the late sixties and opening seventies years finding a home in the hearts of a growing multitude. The Great God Pan will undoubtedly expand upon that, the diverse experimental feel the band has brought to it has fused a warm inviting flow of folk rock to some striking and surprising creative detours.

Spirits Of The Dead have a sound that is impossible to solidly pin down as being in a certain genre, it has the folk rock tag but unlike their more raucous counterparts they deliver their music with a gentler and more sophisticated hand, and the same with the progressive rock label they get attached to, they certainly have that weapon in their arsenal but it is much more subtle and eloquent than from other artists. Also strapped with influences such as jazz, 70’s electric psychedelic, and simple indie rock, they keep the listener on their toes from song to song, the diversity within the six pieces of wonder on the album impressive and very satisfying.  

The Great God Pan is a more conceptual album than their debut, taking the listener on a tour of the beauties and darkest deepest corners of Pan’s Kingdom. The journey begins at Mighty Mountain, a slow ascent that builds as the guitar of Ole Øvstedal paints an immediate landscape of wonder and the vocals of Ragnar Vikse smoothly float into view. Within moments scuzzy wrong footing sounds eagerly strike before settling once more. Eventually the track reveals its full glory, opening out into a 70’s flavoured tapestry laced with a joyful Hawkwind/ELO spiced feel.  The folky Leaves Of Last Year’s Fall takes over with the same joyous cheer, its jazz prog guitar sounds tripping through the ear delightfully. The drums of Geir Thorstensen fluently guiding the track especially where it takes a more frantic turn and throughout Deadly Nightshade and his bass openly dance.

Two tracks especially stand out on the release, the first coming next in the electrified sound and feel of Pure As The Lotus. It ripples with skilful creativity bringing a Doors like kaleidoscope of melodies and wandering exotic sounds full of eastern promise, or in this case Norwegian. The other challenger for track of the album is the disturbing and slightly disorientating atmospheric Casting The Runes. With the sense of disarray and uncaged lost souls, released and brought forth with the distorted and unhinged muffled vocals, the song is a masterpiece is misdirection; the flowing mellow and melodic spine of the track keeping the darker elements hidden until they leap forth from their hiding places.

Splitting those two is the title track, its subdued but purposeful mood a gentle example that Spirits Of The Dead have versatility as their middle name. It has a slight Paul Simon feel about it, though hopefully that will not offend. The gentle summer ebb and flow of GoldBerry closes the release, its electric urgency of certain parts a seamless contrast and compliment to the slow breezy pace of others.

The Great God Pan is one of those gems that from first play there is an instant attraction and delight but also gets better with each subsequent stroll through its lands as more treasure are reveal ed. With this release Spirits Of The Dead will leap into the hearts of so many more around the world, they deserve to for creating such a beautiful piece of musical history.

The Great God Pan is released on White Elephant Records August 1st.

http://www.thespiritsofthedead.com

Pete RingMaster 17/06/2011

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