The Gaa Gaas – Self Titled

There is no sense of understatement when we say that the debut album from UK outfit The Gaa Gaas has been one long awaited and highly anticipated release, to the band as much as fans, but now finally here there is no sense of an anti-climax in its arrival and triumphant presence.

We admit we have been hooked on The Gaa Gaas sound since discovering the Jersey hailing, often Brighton/ London based outfit over a decade ago, the band itself emerging from the imagination of vocalist/guitarist Gavin Tate and co in 2003 after meeting at a garage punk club night called ‘Bomp’ in St Helier, Jersey. Subsequent singles, EP’s and live shows across the UK and Europe have only brought greater acclaim by the year and richer reputation by the creative escapade but as all artists know it is a perpetual struggle to realise the next step or ignite greater attention. The Gaa Gaas have met all obstacles and hold ups with resistance as the years have sneaked by but the determination to release their album and breach major spotlights has now found its moment with the latter of the two surely to deservedly follow.

The Gaa Gaas sound is as individual in its character and enterprise as it is unique in its voice. It is bred on the nutrients of post punk, punk, psych rock, noise and much more but as suggested emerges as its own senses menacing, imagination seducing sonic virus. From within a drone enlivened nagging, hooks bite with creative rabidity as rhythms tease with serial killer like intent. That alone proves an irresistible trespass but add the infernal melodic toxins which the band just as easily conjure, it all makes for one rapacious addiction which is no more enjoyable and compelling than within their self-titled debut album.

The album opens with Close Your Eyes, a lone strum of guitar providing a lingering scent of sonic jeopardy from within which a rhythmically swinging clamour bursts. Instantaneously it is a contagious affair, the bass of Jamey Exton leading the rhythmic infection further driven by drummer Stewart Brown’s bold strikes. The sonic smog escaping Tate’s guitar smothers as it seduces, his vocals dancing with almost contempt on the wires within that enveloping incitement. Resistance to the track’s bounce is non-existent as the track manipulates limb and spirit alike, a glorious start to the release firmly declared.

In its own Bauhaus hued architectural landscape, Statues proves just as gripping, bass and beats setting a virulent lure as guitar and vocals express their twisted psych breath upon industrial and post punk honed intimation. Tate’s keys are just as invasive and animated as the ravening sounds escaping his guitar, the track as magnificent as its predecessor and indeed the following V.O.L.T.A.I.R.E. A track we devoured years back, it is still as powerful and irrepressible now, from its first citric sighs through the rhythmic stroll which invades every instinct to move, and the tart melodies which wrap its pure contagion, the song devours ears and appetite like a swing loaded creative plague.

The Type Of Mood is just as insistent in its groove and infection, the keys of Peter Hass a tangy sweetness in the more caustic but no less tempting commotion expressed by Tate’s guitar. Again there is a vocal eighties post punk air to the track, a cold nostalgic din given greater depth and adventure by The Gaa Gaas’ senses trespassing imagination while the ever rousing Hypnoti(z)ed provides a less intrusive but equally as overwhelming and manipulative not forgetting delicious incitement. The bass of Ali Cooper is at its core temptingly harassing as beats bite and Tate’s vocals holler, everything off kilter and bewitching like an especially devious cobra before it strikes.

C.U.T.S. is built of the same devilment, every aspect niggling at the senses and each strand of its web crawling under the skin before unleashing its predacious rabidity and sonic fermentation. Drowned in its tide and blissful in its maelstrom, the track just had us lost in our own physical and emotional eruption before The One Eyed Stranger took ears and imagination on a stroll through dark avenues of enterprise and addiction. The sax of Luke Georgiou lights the way with delicious drama, its enterprise echoed in the tones of Tate and the persistently swinging rhythms of Cooper and drummer Matt Maguire. Once more Bauhaus come to mind in many ways across the track and though there is no real comparison to The Gaa Gaas’ sound, Pete Murphy and co are the closest to give some inkling of its identity.

In the 2018 version of Entertainment which graces this release, punk rock is the fuel to its discontent and creative agitation, the track biting back at a landscape as prevalent now as any previous time as the beats of Maguire take lethal pot shot. It is a song which in its early writing hints at the eventual wonderfully nagging quality of the band’s sound which is fully employed by next up Perception within its scuzzy senses haunting, habit forming rapture.

The album concludes with Indian Giver, a beguiling psych rock nurtured instrumental as potent on the imagination as it is the ears. There is a Cure like scenting to the track, especially in its rhythmic saunter, and dour breath which manages to be as radiant in beauty as it is dark in suggestion. It is a fascinating and enslaving end to a release which even with our already in place eager expectations of pleasure left us basking in richer joy, invasively impressed, and expecting the band to finally find deserved recognition in far broader and intense spotlights.

The Gaa Gaas album is out now on Movement-2 Records; available @ https://thegaagaas.bandcamp.com/album/self-titled-album

http://www.thegaagaas.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/TheGaaGaas   https://twitter.com/The_Gaa_Gaas

Pete RingMaster 05/12/2019

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Maven – Am I Awake?

Maven is a band which since emerging back in 2012 has earned an increasingly potent reputation for their alternative rock sound loaded with big rousing choruses, captivating melody, and emotive intensity. Increasingly individuality has also been a growing aspect in its persuasive character and all are in full roar within new EP, Am I Awake?

London hailing, Maven has endured a host of personnel changes over the years but with a stable line-up now established, the quintet has built their way towards the encroaching of major spotlights. Their previous well-received EP, Closed Doors, Open Minds, ignited a strong underground following and support and it is easy to see its successor nudging the band towards even greater success and exposure.

Embracing inspirations from the likes of Don Broco, Mallory Knox, Breaking Benjamin, and Story of The Year in their sound, Maven offer up a proposition which is still to find uniqueness but openly comes with individual imagination and bold enterprise as proven by the first and title track of Am I Awake? alone. The song initially wraps ears with a melodic caress, its voice evocative and melancholic as similarly respectful beats court its solemnity. An eruption of guitar and intensity then breaks before another calm reflection of keys as the potent tones of vocalist Dan Nash share their hearts; this in turn leading to another impassioned roar of sound and emotion from which an infectious stroll ripe with tempestuousness breaks. Barely half way and already band and song reveal an unpredictable and fascinating landscape of imagination reflected in sound and enterprise, the guitars of Joe Marshall and Rob Barlow weaving a striking mix of melodic drama and sonic turbulence around the rhythmic agility of bassist Sam Tindal and drummer Josh Stillwell.

The following Stronger Than You is cast in the same theatre of thought and prowess, turning calm reflection into aggressive declaration and rousing intensity into melodic intimation with craft and ear grabbing instincts. Though it just misses rivalling the heights of its predecessor, the song is an inferno of anthemic passion and drama within an infectious landscape of successful sonic persuasion while its successor Heart Time, prowling a similar trail to those before it, strikes out with its own agitated and arousing emotions and contagious melodic rock fertility. As with the previous track, it too lacks the rich unpredictability of the first but only provides a compelling invitation and adventure within a volatile body.

Am I Alive? brings the EP to a close, deep thought and reflection soaking its heart and words as the maturity of the band’s earnest sound and songwriting erupts with poignant intent and sonic power. As the EP started, it ends with a striking and stirring proposal while across its compelling length it increasingly suggests that Maven are heading the right way to sparking eager recognition.

Am I Awake? is released December 6th

http://www.mavenband.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/MavenBandUk/   https://twitter.com/MavenbandUK

Pete RingMaster 05/12/2019

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Rational Youth – Cold War Night Life

photo by Marc de Mouy (1982)

This December sees the release of a deluxe expanded edition of Cold War Night Life, the debut album of Canadian synth pop outfit Rational Youth. It is the second time the acclaimed album has had a fresh outing since its original unveiling and with rare memorabilia and photos, new extensive liner notes, and a host of extended remixes and singles related to the original full-length it provides nothing less than rich and thick pleasure.

Formed in 1981 by Tracy Howe and Bill Vorn, the Montreal hailing band was as notable as releasing one of the first all-synth pop albums released in Canada the following year with Cold War Night Life as they simply were for highly flavoursome songs. The following years only saw their music and releases find more success and further afield alongside arrivals and departures in personnel. Even so Rational Youth came to an end in 1986 but twice the band has returned, the first in 1999 seeing third album To the Goddess Electricity released with the 2009 re-uniting of Howe and Vorn leading to the extremely well-received Future Past Tense EP seven years later when Gaenor Howe stood alongside Tracy. It is fair to say though that throughout, Cold War Night Life has continued to be an inspirational moment for new fans and artists so it will be no surprise if its fresh return finds new appetites and plaudits feasting.

Kraftwerk was a major inspiration upon both Howe and Vorn and openly embraced within their early sound though still no more than a rich spicing to their own imagination as revealed across Cold War Night Life. The band’s second gig was supporting Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and it is easy to suggest they too provided a strong influence listening to the album, especially in moments like City Of Night, a track which dances with ears and imagination half way in to the release. Melodic hooks flirt like cousins to those found within the UK duo’s Enola Gay, luring and seducing with inevitable success such their infectious potency highlighting why the track was one of the bands most memorable and successful.

Before it within Cold War Night Life, opener Close To Nature sets the tone and electronic pop landscape, its dark air and alluring shadows draping the instinctive catchiness of the track’s enterprise and heart. The song has a certain Fad Gadget-esque breath to its breath and character which only adds to its swift beguiling of ears before Beware The Fly strolls in with a more Thomas Dolby meets Landscape like personality and infectiousness to match its success.

With both alone proving that good songs can be fresh and current to newcomers no matter when they were written Saturdays in Silesia soon joins the pair in casting synth pop contagion as melodies and nagging rhythmic enticement reign over ears and imagination. The track is pure virulence before drifting off to allow Just A Sound In The Night to share its richly emotive air and drama within a less urgent but just as magnetic pop embrace which lies somewhere between the John Foxx and Midge Ure fronted eras of Ultravox.

The likes of Le Meilleur Des Mondes with its darkly lit almost menacing instrumental and otherworldly laced intimation and the Visage evoking Ring The Bells further reveal the broadening landscape of Rational Youth’s emerging sound, its own fertile enterprise and suggestiveness an easy involving of the imagination while Dancing On The Berlin Wall, a song which only eclipsed its original success around Europe with its re-release as a single when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, breaths cold war drama and sinister intrigue within its infectious theatre.

For all its pop agility and prowess, the album is just as notable and potent in its instrumentals, Power Zone another almost sinisterly too easy to immerse within and have the imagination conjuring with its disquieting air and haunting electronics. We have many favourite moments within the release but this remains one of our big pleasures and soon rivalled by the equally ominous and haunting Coboloid Race. It too is soaked in a dark magnetism while suggesting a DAF like influence and only captivates from start to finish.

With the album offering Cité Phosphore, the French version of City Of Night, a Danse mix of City Of Night, and an extended versions of Saturdays in Silesia and City Of Night, as well as the crystalline radiance of the band’s debut single, I Want To See The Light, the ever thrilling Cold War Night Life only confirms itself as one of synth pop’s finest moments as it delights fans and newcomers to Rational Youth alike.

Cold War Night Life is released December 6th on CD and digitally via https://rationalyouth.bandcamp.com/album/cold-war-night-life-expanded-and-remastered with a vinyl version available to order via Music Vaultz.

https://rational-youth.com/   https://www.facebook.com/RationalYouth   https://twitter.com/tm_howe

Pete RingMaster 05/12/2019

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Rainium – Sounds Of Berlin

Having thoroughly enjoyed their new single, the offer from Rainium themselves to check out their debut album was easy to take up. So with thanks and help to guitarists Rainer Krenzke and Jay Parmar we did just that and discovered in Sounds Of Berlin another of this year’s pleasures.

Rainium is an Anglo/German endeavour created by Krenzke in 2017. With a swift link up with vocalist Michael Voss (Mad Max, Casanovo, ex-Bonfire), the emerging project was soon the host of new songs, demos, and a line-up subsequently completed by bassist Marco Tardanico (ELA) and British lead guitarist Jay Parmar (Eden’s Curse, Iron Knights, The Inner Road). Musically, Rainium weave a sound bedded in a fusion of classic and hard rock and alive with individual craft. As that first single and its title track revealed, the album revels in a blend of familiar and wholly fresh ingredients though across a dozen tracks Sounds Of Berlin quickly and firmly unveils a far richer adventure of sound and enterprise.

The brief attention luring invitation of ET (Et Toujours) leads eagerly into the waiting arms of Two Friends which welcomes ears with big swinging beats amidst rapacious threads of guitar. Quickly it opens up a web of melodic threads and vocal incitement, both as persuasive on ears and body as the continuingly infectious rhythms. Edging on the side of snarling, riffs drive the song’s catchy stroll whilst the melodic prowess of Krenzke aligns with Parmar’s skilled intricacies and invention until it all rousingly unites with the anthemic incitement of the band’s combined vocals.

It is a potent start to the album which the band’s current single wraps itself as it shares its own individual enticement. From the enclosed theatre of the subways, Sounds Of Berlin hits its catchy stride with a boisterous appetite, setting up classic rock nurtured riffs and hooks in a catchy and tempting embrace at the same time. Tardanico’s bass throbs magnetically under the song’s skin as Parmar’s stylish weave wraps a body teasing with almost industrial hued flavours at times though its chorus is pure eighties rock natured.

In The Dead Of Winter strides in next, confident in its temptation and indeed it takes mere seconds to get under the skin as rhythms pounce and vocals hook. It is a wicked start which softens a touch as its equally contagious chorus shares keen energy, the cycle just as virulent the second time around. With Parmar again enthralling in his craft and enterprise, the track lays down a strong best track claim before Farewell slows things a little but adds greater intensity and emotion in its metal infused canter. Melodically haunting as drama lines every moment entangled in the emotive intimation of the guitars, the song makes for one of the album’s most absorbing moments.

Another big highlight of the release comes with Right Here Right Now, a song which starts with almost predatory intent as its initial riffs strike but soon simply seduces attention as the instantly captivating tones of Ilo Schnittchen (Isle Of Rock) nestle in the melodic embrace of the song. With rousing eruptions in the heart of the temptation, the track proved increasingly irresistible and firmly one of our favourite moments.

Both Just The One with its open nineties rock seeding and the wild almost salacious antics and suggestiveness of Gypsy had the body bouncing if neither could quite rival the success of its predecessor while Wake Up stakes its own claim on one of the album’s major moments with its prowling intrigue and drama. From the compelling throaty lures of Tardanico’s bass to the subsequent almost new wave nurtured melodic captivation which wraps the imagination, the song enthralled and embroiled us in its gentle swing.

With Parmar’s steel strings as poetic as ever, it is a fine close to the collection of seriously engaging and forcibly memorable songs though Sounds Of Berlin still has the pleasure of three bonus tracks to please ears with. The first is another version of Right Here Right Now which sees Schnittchen and Voss in more of a duet across its highly magnetic body, its treat followed by an instrumental demo of In The Dead Of Winter and a demo take of Just The One.

From the moment an idea, which was to become Rainium, escaped Krenzke’s imagination it has been three years of inspiration, passion, and endeavour from all members, traits shaping and fuelling a release we can only suggest needs a lusty checking out.

Sounds Of Berlin is available now.

 http://rainium.com   https://www.facebook.com/RainiumBand   https://twitter.com/jayparmarguitar

Pete RingMaster 05/12/2019

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Austerity – Anarcho Punk Dance Party

There is something wrong with the year if the creative landscape of Brighton has not provided one major moment for us to greedily devour and 2019 has not let us down. Not only is the long awaited debut album from The Gaa Gaas finally here there is the introduction of Austerity to lustfully feast upon courtesy of their first album, Anarcho Punk Dance Party.

Bred from the discourteous instincts of post punk and anarcho-punk, the Austerity sound is a virulent fusion of numerous flavours honed into confrontations which bite as they manipulate as they infest with viral precision. It is a proposition which would easily have made a major impact back in the time when many of the band’s inspirations were in full roar but firmly is an incitement of the now as fresh and compelling as anything around. Those influences include the likes of Gang Of Four, Swell Maps, The Fall and early Devo, all flavours which appear as strong spicing within Anarcho Punk Dance Party to enhance its very own inimitable antics.

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Tommy Vincent, bassist/vocalist Stu Chaney, and drummer Sam Luck, Austerity have no qualms about attacking the political and social injustices and bigotry bred issues infesting the UK and world right now. Every track is a blatant attack and snarl but each also a puppeteer on jerking bodies and instincts to defy.

The album opens up with the increasingly clamorous Aaaaaaaaarrrrrghhh, the vocal pairing of Vincent and Chaney painting the stark background of the people betraying political landscape with increasing venom matched in sonic dissonance. It is a sonic trespass which demands and received full attention but a start from which band, album, and listener really get down to business.

We’re Not Evolved follows, bounding in on a rhythmic enticement and swiftly uncaging irregular and urgent dynamics spawned by the threesome. That Gang Of Four reference is a quick thought within the track, The Redskins arising through its punk challenge and The Three Johns in its sonic contortions. Even so the track stands bold as something individual to Austerity, a bruising and seductive blend which drags limbs and thoughts to life before Occupation unveils its own unique shuffle. Like a mix of Shockheaded Peters, Essential Logic, The Slits and Frauds, the track twists and turns snapping at ears and the country.

Fiddling with and infesting appetite and imagination from its first breath, Nice Guy needs mere seconds to get under the skin, bass and guitar hungrily picking through defences with their rapacious enterprise as Luck’s beats tenaciously nag. Vincent’s tones and words only add to the captivation and provocation, words stalking sexual predators and their delusion on their exploits. A song you can guide to specific protagonists and broad misogyny equally, it unleashes an infernally addictive swing easily devoured before White Men courts similar devotion with its corruptive dance. As in Occupation previously, the sax of Vicky Tremain is compelling additional incitement and pleasure to the song and its Artery/Fire Engines lined ingenuity.

As Rinse And Repeat flirts with and engages Gang Of Four hued instincts in its dextrous moves and The City Is Dead revels in punk causticity for its raucous holler it is fair to say we only found greedier appetite for the album which was only further intensified as Glass House had us twisting like a pretzel in the making with its rhythmic manoeuvres whilst roaring with its vocal and angular sonic tension lined turbulence. All three tracks explore a fresh aspect to the Austerity sound within a distinct character increasingly individual to the band though the trio are soon eclipsed by the outstanding One Man Terror Dance. If we suggest there is a bit of The Mekons, a slither of Delta 5, and a pinch of World Domination Enterprises in its creative theatre you may get a sense of its glory.

Herded provides a slightly calmer moment to only get further hooked up on Anarcho Punk Dance Party though it too is an animated rhythmic shuffle from the off with increasing volatility in its breath and busy agitation while Capital springs a virulent dance of fertile manipulation again reminding of The Fire Engines as well as the likes of Tones On Tails, Big Black, and Cabaret Voltaire whilst setting its own uniqueness.

Lambrini Anarchist concludes the release, a track to turn any dance floor into a feral playground whilst provoking disorder and mutiny; a description applying to the whole of Anarcho Punk Dance Party, one of the year’s major highlights.

Anarcho Punk Dance Party is out now via Every Man His Own Football Records digitally and physically through Quiet Backwater Records: available @ https://austeritypunk.bandcamp.com/album/anarcho-punk-dance-party

https://www.facebook.com/austeritypunk   https://twitter.com/austeritypunk

Pete RingMaster 26/11/2019

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Meshiaak – Mask Of All Misery

Pic/copyright Karina Wells

Three years back we, as so many, more than enthused about the impressive debut album from Australian metallers Meshiaak and now we find ourselves doing the same again with even greater rigour for its successor, Mask Of All Misery. Everything striking about that first album has been intensified and melded with even richer and bolder adventure resulting in an encounter which left us simply greedy for more.

Calling the band’s sound as metal is the easiest option but does not explore the richness of its tapestry. Thrash and groove metal collude with progressive and voracious rock ‘n’ roll across its unpredictable body with plenty more involved in its imagination. Equally familiar textures invite and tease alongside the band’s own uniqueness as songs rise drenched in drama and invention as well as contagious endeavour.

Formed in Melbourne by Danny Camilleri of 4ARM and Teramaze’s Dean Wells, Meshiaak’s line-up is completed by bassist Andrew Cameron and drummer David Godfrey who has replaced original rhythm caster Jon Dette between albums due to logistical reasons. Together the quartet snarl at and trespass, seduce and fascinate the senses across the ten tracks of Mask Of All Misery bringing reflections on toxic  issues, intimate and worldly, to the fore.

It begins with the enthralling Miasma, a piece of music which instantly hooked the imagination with its mournful orchestration and melodic melancholy. Its initial portentous breath is soon a tempest of sound and intensity cored by a groove which just seeped under the skin. The predominantly instrumental track provides a deluge of craft and suggestion within its polluted air, closing with the same captivation it rose from before the album’s title track launches its own turbulent contagion.

There is no escaping a Metallica tinge to the track as it expands yet we can only say it is one mere hue in the Meshiaak web of imagination shaping this thrash bred but diversely woven gem. Camilleri’s tones are as commanding and gripping as the sounds around him as the track reveals its drama and infectiousness, grooves and hooks breeding the magnetism which melodies and atmospheric intimacy exploits with matching prowess.

Bury The Bodies is next up, strolling in with a tempestuous if controlled breath which vocals echo within the melodic wiring of Wells. It is an absorbing encounter only more fascinating with its haunting strings, open emotion, and classic metal lining; eclipsing its impressive predecessor through every drama filled second though its pinnacle moment within the album is quickly matched by the equally thrilling City Of Ghosts and its hardcore bleeding rock ‘n’ roll. As with all tracks, it soon evolves in enterprise and flavour, its body a flood of styles and textures honed into one predacious and thickly rousing incitement.

There is something Bloodsimple like to the following Face Of Stone, certainly initially but it too evolves its own character and web of diversity while Tears That Burn The Son finds an industrial edge to its thrash/groove bred trespass of the passions. There is a climatic tone to the track which only accentuates its catchiness and seductive irritancy, volatility that fuels an anthemic dispute and urgency swiftly contrasted by Doves and its melodic drama though the fire in its heart is a perpetual eruption across its serenade, the sparks raised by both the stirring tones of Camilleri and the sonic calm of his companions in maybe the album’s most majestic and darkest moment.

Through the aggressive defiance of In The Final Hour and the predatory instincts of Adrena, the album only entrenched itself deeper under the skin even if neither quite matched the heights of those before them. Truthfully though both songs left a lingering impression and manipulation with the second a ferocious insurgence we keep finding ourselves drawn to.

Godless brings the album to a fractious close, its dirty toxic breath and tetchy exploits raw magnetism and a great splenetic end to the album though it makes room for some just as arousing emotively embroiled vocal dexterity and melodic temptation.

If Meshiaak impressed and thrilled fans the first time, their second album will have them drooling; it did us and continues to as it lingers in the speakers keeping the exploration of new discoveries on delay.

Mask Of All Misery is out now via Mascot Records / Mascot Label Group.

http://meshiaakband.com/   https://www.facebook.com/meshiaak

Pete RingMaster 26/11/2019

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

The Tea Set – Back In Time For Tea

Like all those with horniness for music, over years of finding encounters which spark extra love, lust, and addiction within the heart there are some moments which rise even above that in the passions. It is fair to say that from the moment punk rock erupted we have discovered a horde of such essential triggers to eternally drool over but of those that reign over the passions most a certain two remain to the fore. One is the single, Sex Cells by The Table and the other was provided by The Tea Set in the shape of their 7”, Parry Thomas. The first of the two only produced two singles before their shall we say chaotic and certainly uncompromising existence finally came apart but the latter over their three years left a host of further adventures which indelibly left their mark on ears and passions. So it was major excitement that we jumped on the opportunity, thanks to our friend Andy at Perfect pop Co Op, to check out Back In Time For Tea, an album bringing all of The Tea Set recordings together in one place with two new rich brews to sup on.

Hailing from Watford, born within its art college to be exact, The Tea Set emerged in 1978 out of punk band, The Bears. Initially called Screaming Ab Dabs until they realised that was an early name of Pink Floyd they renamed themselves The Tea Set, though weirdly the guys found out that Tea Set was another incantation from which the Floyd would rise. The name stuck this time and with a line-up of vocalist Nic Egan, bassist Ronny West, drummer Cally, and keyboardist Mark Wilkins, the band quickly released the Cups and Saucers EP, upon which Stewart Kinsey played guitar.

We discovered the EP and its glorious vinyl wrapping art work after being seduced by its successor, Parry Thomas and it is the quartet of tracks making up Cups and Saucers which opens up Back In Time For Tea. The four songs revel in the punk instincts which made The Bears a well-loved proposition but more so reveal the broader post punk meets art school sound the band were developing. On Them steps up first, from its first breath the song daring the listener to jump upon its ear nagging canter for a ride of unbridled enterprise and mischief. There is something akin to bands like Television Personalities and O’ Level to the song but already and across its companions you could hear something individual brewing and across following releases standing unique to The Tea Set.

The hectic punk ‘n’ roll of Sing Song is one of those songs which just sweeps you up in its swing and antics, revelling in the creative nagging which marks out all the band’s songs, that a persistent urging which only ever led to eager participation while Grey Starling revealed the experimentation which also grew and became ingrained in their sound over future songs. The Swell Maps meets Wire-esque B52G completed the EP and already it was easy to hear the inimitable character of the band’s sound and the defiant imagination which only blossomed by the release as evidenced by the perpetually irresistible Parry Thomas single.

Its two tracks are next on the album and a release which again came bound in just as imaginative and pleasing packing, the punk DIY ethic fuel to The Tea Set’s own independence in all things, and yes we still have the tea bag which was included in its body, unused of course. The single saw Ronny on guitar with Duncan Stringer now teasing and taunting with the bass, and Parry Thomas sparking one of the major addictions in music we have spawn. Written about John Godfrey Parry-Thomas, a Welsh engineer and motor-racing driver who at one time held the land speed record, a subsequent attempt taking his life, the track’s engine idles over initially with drama lining every shimmer of keys, suspense of guitar, and low rumble of rhythms that emerges. Eventually it sets off, Nic’s vocals narrating the disaster to happen with the fascination all moments, massive and small, like that seem to trigger in us all. The song is superb and has never lost its magnificence and slavery on ears for so many.

Tri X Pan which accompanied the track is just as addict forming, it’s developing shot of choice punk hooks and manipulative rhythms another trigger to eager participation, one only further strengthened by the beckoning tones of Nic.

Though Parry Thomas is suggested as the band’s biggest moment we suggest it is their next single which is the one those outside fan love might know them for. Certainly it is the one song that outside of John Peel, which seemed to get radio airplay of some sort most often. Keep on Running (Big Noise From The Jungle) is a song written by Jamaican ska and reggae singer/ songwriter Jackie Edwards and another one of the delicious moments when The Tea Set simply refuses to let go of your ears and attention. Produced by The Stranglers Hugh Cornwell, the song strolls in on a rhythmic swagger knowing that your body is going to instinctively bounce to its throb and voice sing to its infectiousness.  As much pop punk as it is post punk devilry, the track just harasses and entices until you are hollering to its controlled yet wild endeavours and swinging with its virulence.

The single saw Ron back on bass with guitarist Nick Haeffner now part of the band, both just as tempting in their part of single B-side, Flaccid Pot, a psych pop instrumental seducing the senses around the first’s  masterfully pulsating bass before it bursts into an inescapable sing-a-long inducing punk ‘n’ rocker.

The band’s next single was no stranger to certain radio shows either, the again wonderfully wrapped two song line-up of South Pacific and The Preacher simply one more memorable and again irresistible moment with The Tea Set. South Pacific is another track which just swings on the passions like a simian tease, the song a contagion of tantalising hooks and ravishing devilment getting under the skin as quick as a blink of the eye and an incitement even a bag of bones surely could not resist the urge to swing their inhibitions aside for.

The Preacher arrives on a cosmic mist of psych rock, a spatial missionary for the imagination and again nothing less than full pleasure as the band weaves another flight of originality and captivation.

Back In Time For Tea is completed by that couple of never heard before tracks, the first being Walk Small. It is a song recorded just before the band broke up sharing the same seeds as the previous track in many ways to blossom into a fascination of ethereal pop. There is a tinge of The Monochrome Set to it but so uniquely The Tea Set and so majestic you wonder if it had been released back in time theirs might just have become a name on the lips of so many more.

Pharaohs was recently recorded, a fan favourite which we can only feel blessed has found the light of day to light up speakers and ears alike and a song which sums up everything wicked, disobedient, and wonderful about The Tea Set and their idiosyncratic sound and indeed imagination.

So that is the recording history of The Tea Set, a band which has lit up stages alongside the likes of The Clash, U2, Iggy Pop, The Stranglers, and The Skids and been one big reason why music has been essential to so many, and that is Back In Time For Tea, the biggest treat for fans and newcomers alike.

Back In Time For Tea is out now via Cleopatra Records @ https://theteasetuk.bandcamp.com/album/back-in-time-for-tea and https://cleorecs.com/store/shop/the-tea-set-back-in-time-for-tea-cd/

https://www.theteaset.net/   https://www.facebook.com/left12/

Pete RingMaster 29/11/2019

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright