Ghouls – RUN

Though it is hard to exactly pin down the precise reason, it is very easy to find a connection with the music of UK outfit Ghouls. Whether it is the fusion of familiar essences with something fresh and individual, the lyrical themes drawn from being on the outside of the assumed norm, or the refusal to be pigeonholed in life and style, probably all three, the London based sextet make for an instinctive pleasure in ears and imagination.

The release of new album RUN epitomises that union; a dozen tracks bred in a fusion of pop and core punk, alternative rock, and numerous other flavours which has the body dancing, ears pleasured, and spirit defiant. The successor to debut album Ten Thousand Words On released a year after the band’s emergence in 2013, RUN is a band relaxed in its musical skin and bold in its creative ambition. Since their first album, a release striking the spark for the band to sell-out The Monarch in Camden and earn the continuing praise of Frank Turner, Ghouls have become a potent lure on the UK and European live scene and at festivals such as 2000Trees, Jera On Air, The Secret Garden Party, Mighty Sounds, Hit The Deck and many more. Last year alone saw them undertake a two week tour of the USA, play THE FEST in Gainesville, Florida, and successfully light up Brixton Academy as part of the Fireball Fuelling The Fire Tour.

Now it is RUN ready to push the band and its reputation on again and does a fine job of both from its very first moments courtesy of opener Seasonal Affective. Infectious from its first breath with strolling riffs and keen beats, the track soon blossoms again with fuzzy squirts of guitar and the potent voice of guitarist Benedict Goold. With emotion and energetic expression in his strong delivery, his presence makes an early focal point backed by heated melodies and the swinging jabs of drummer Jay Swinstead. The track never erupts as it suggests it might but rather lets its lining of grumbling shadows led by Sam Mussell’s growling bass add rich intrigue as hooks and catchy exploits engage.

It is a great start to the album which Autophobia continues with its fiery bounce. Quickly revealing the inviting flames of Ben Maz’s sax and Russell Spencer’s trombone, the song rumbles along with a pop punk eagerness. Like a mix of The Hostiles and Neck Deep, it grabs ears and appetite with ease though it is still eclipsed by the rousing revelry of Better Places straight after. With an initial blast of brass stirring the spirit, the encounter soon reveals a great landscape of instinctively catchy bait whether the song relaxes into a thoughtful calm or leaps to its toes and grabs hips and feet in a tenacious bounce. That earlier mentioned familiarity is already open across the three songs and like an old inspiring friend within the third before helping fuel the contagion of next up Facebook Friend. With a hip hop lilt to his delivery, Goold acts like a ringmaster to the confident mischief and subsequent boisterous swagger and aggression of the outstanding song.

The pair of Salt with its sultry brass infusions and rhythmic rumble especially alluring and The Difference through its impassioned heart keeps things bubbling nicely even if neither quite scales the heights of those before them for personal tastes. The first of the two though is as memorable as anything upon RUN and equalled in that attribute by the reflective voice and tenacious canter of Home. Another proposition drawing on the “daily grind of real life and the struggles faced in the modern day” for its spark, it has the body a lively blur in no time.

Antagonist has funkiness in its swing as it forges another moment within the album firmly sticking in thoughts; its body a tapestry of controlled and volatile enterprise which never leaves a dull moment before Hard Days captivates with its lively croon and infectious pop fuelled romp and in turn Disavowal prowls and catches alight with emotive intensity. More of a slow burner than other tracks around it, it similarly grows into one of the hearty episodes returning at will in the imagination.

Completed by firstly the acoustic caress of voice and guitar of Expect Greater Things, a song which just grabs the passions from the off, gripping even tighter as the track eventually ignites into a full fire of sound and infection and finally Oxytocin which closes things with melodic flaring in an excitably catchy escapade. The pair provides a fine end to a release which has enjoyment bubbling over from start to finish.

RUN carries the potential of even greater adventures ahead with Ghouls where an appetite for the bite which this album hints at but never quite delivers may be satisfied. The album though ticks all the right boxes for forty odd minutes of rich pleasure and physical animation, its new maturity in songwriting and sound declaring Ghouls ready for big attention.

RUN is available now through 1471 Records @ https://www.1471records.com/store and https://ghoulsuk.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ghoulsuk   https://twitter.com/GhoulsUK   https://www.instagram.com/ghoulsuk/

Pete RingMaster 10/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Late Night Fiction: Polar

Polar the new EP from UK melodic post hardcore band Late Night Fiction is one of those slow burners which needs a little extra time to unveil and expose its excellence. From receiving an initial appreciative nod without truly understanding its intent the release evolves into a stirring and perpetually intriguing gem. To be honest it never quite manages to ignite any ferocious or lingering fires within but is without doubt one of the more interesting and appetising releases of the genre and UK rock in general this year.

Late Night Fiction formed in 2007 as an acoustic duo of vocalist guitarist Phill Morris and guitarist James Thompson. Their need and desire for a heavier sound led to the addition in 2009 of bassist Reece Britton and ex-Alison Angus drummer Josh Meredith. Drawing on influences like Biffy Clyro, Yourcodenameis:milo, Hell is for Heroes and Brand New, the Hull based quartet released their debut EP Hands & Numbers the same year to strong responses. Shows with the likes of Grammatics and the Xcerts followed as well as sessions for BBC Introducing and their first single Horsefight. Since then the band has gone from strength to strength with this year alone already seeing the band playing alongside Twin Atlantic, , Dinosaur Pile Up, Flood of Red, run, WALK!, and Sucioperro. It has also seen Nat Lawson taking over with the sticks though Meredith is the man building the impressive song frameworks on the EP.

Released on their own Grey Man Records, Polar does not take too long into first song Black Watch to show that beneath the aggressive and high charged melodic scorching the band is not interested in merely making tidy, unassuming, and predictable music. This ensures songs which are at times volatile and insistently dynamic but also adventurous and continually surprising. The opener alone marks the songwriting as thoughtful yet unafraid to venture beyond its expected borders, something refreshing certainly in a genre which seemingly is veering towards wearing predictability as a uniform. The song ruptures the air with its first notes through striking and hungry guitars alongside openly earnest clean and shouting vocals. As the track surges with twisting switches from thrashing almost venomous intent to restrained melodic elegance which has its seeds in the acoustic intricacies from the roots of the band, it is a refreshing journey which leaps and gently strolls alternatively and persistently across the senses. It does not  get the blood surging through veins and the heart running fast but it certainly has one engrossed and grinning with delight.

The outstanding Exits, Pursued By A Bear steps into view next upon delicious atmospheric guitar weaves, their gait warming the air even with the exposure of coarse vocal grimaces within the otherwise smooth emotive delivery. As the song spreads its arms the bass of Britton virtually swaggers within the brewing ambience generated whilst Meredith leaves one on the verge of punch drunk with his powerful jabbing beats. Another exercise in musical adventure punctuated with explosions of incendiary energy and burning melodic intrusions, the song is a masterful piece leaving one deeply satisfied and with a desperate need to dive right back in to its heart to discover more of its textures and veiled invention.

The excellent and expressive instrumental Smashy “Smashy Beast” Beast is just the band laying out their musical ability and vision to wonderful effect, the dramatic and highly tensioned heart of the song much more than a mere interlude between the other tracks.

     Dialetics and Relax Please complete the line-up of songs to equal and impressive success. The first is more restrained than the other tracks but has a rawness to rile up emotions just as effectively adding further variation and imagination to the songwriting whilst the latter is a seven minute encapsulation of what the band is about, its presence an inciteful and compulsive exploration of their limits. Though arguably the least accessible song it has the most depth and imaginative canvas for thoughts and emotions to play with on the EP. It also has a melodic hook at times which shouts out Altered Images, but  do not let that put you off.

Polar is an exceptional release which just requires some fuller attention before it truly shows its qualities. The rewards though are very satisfying and with the album Ethics scheduled for late 2012, Late Night Fiction is a band to watch very carefully.

https://www.facebook.com/latenightfiction

RingMaster 11/07/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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