Medicine – Scarred For Life

photo by Beatrix Zilinskas

We have always had the appetite for covers as B-sides, part of EPs, or as bonus tracks on albums but never quite as keen on complete albums just providing versions of other’s songs and don’t get us started on the merit of cover bands finding great success on the back of others songwriting talent but there is always an exception and the new album from LA based Medicine is one such captivation.

The brainchild of guitarist/multi-instrumentalist/producer Brad Laner, Medicine was one of the most potent bands to shape the emerging shoegaze/noise pop sound and scene in the nineties. After a hiatus of several years they have returned with Scarred For Life, as mentioned a collection of covers which take on new character with the touch of the band. Each song though does not feel like Medicine has deliberately dissected and rearranged them instead they feel like they have simply evolved through an organic and instinctive embrace of the band’s distinctive imagination. It brings potent diversity and rich fascination to the release alongside pleasure which is only escalated with the return of original vocalist Annette Zilinskas (also originally of The Bangles and later Blood On The Saddle, Weatherbell, and 3 Hole Punch).

With a line-up completed by guitarist Matt Devine and drummer Jim Goodall, he again one of the original Medicine members, the band opens up Scarred For Life with its title track and their take on the Slapp Happy song. Immediately a thick jangle of guitar descends as rhythms infectiously manipulate. Within the clamour a melodic breath lures with its temptation in full bloom as Zilinskas’ magnetic tones blossom within the muggy treat.

It is a compelling start to the release which Sentimental Lady more than reinforces. The Fleetwood Mac track similarly has a certain clamour which rises around the entrancing melodic invitation which initially preceded it. It is sonic smog as intense as it is ravening but with a composed trespass around the melodic sun which warmly beguiles before Dead Time Bummer Blues hugs and incites the senses with its luxuriant if raw breath and folkish swing. As all songs within the release there is nothing less than captivation on the agenda with the Judee Sill written track amongst the most irresistible.

Neil Young’s Expecting To Fly follows, resonating on the senses before melodic misting envelopes all and its romancing heart shares harmonic smouldering amidst bracing fuzziness. Enthralling from first to last breath but with increasing effect as keys, provided by Solo Goodspeed, weave their noble threads, the track becomes something truly individual to Medicine, the same easily said about both Absolutely Free and Listen To The Band straight after. The Mothers of Invention original is pure infection, its carnival-esque undercurrent bound in a cast of esurient enterprise and theatrical drama as the band develop the tracks original seeds into their own unpredictably creative parade. It is a glorious encounter followed by another which had the imagination bouncing. The more familiar second of the two is engraved on ears by The Monkees and Medicine simply emphasize its more feral aspects though when we say simply there is nothing less than instinctive adventure in every revisited note and syllable.

Through the rich almost suffocating and inescapably infectious pop fuzz of Sally Go Round The Roses, a hit originally for The Jaynetts, and the pure contagion of The Sweetest Girl, band and album only got further under the skin. The second of the two proved a definite favourite here, the Scritti Politti track bred here on an electronic shimmer with dub instincts cradling sheer captivation in the band’s vocals. It is aural romance, melodies and harmonies rapturous caresses within walls of sonic anxiety and scuzz fed anticipation.

The Green Country provides a canvas for the imagination next, it’s electronically bred instrumental wired by just as intimate and suggestive guitar quick food for thought and emotive interpretation while Pickup Song with its sepia lit keys and atmosphere is an evocative embrace of shadows and melancholic magnetism around and inspired by the slowcore droned air of the Codeine original.

Both tracks simply fascinated as the album moved into far darker corners which are further engaged in album closer, Black Satin. The Miles Davies composed track is a jungle of sound and textures, a heated and slightly imposing yet addictively virulent incitement of sound and enterprise on body and emotion.

It is a great end to a release which has increasingly had us absorbed and pleasured. As we hope new material is on the horizon from Medicine, Scarred For Life is a spellbinding return to be getting on with.

Scarred for Life is out now through Drawing Room Records; available @ https://bradlaner.bandcamp.com/album/scarred-for-life-4

https://www.facebook.com/medicinebandsfv/   https://twitter.com/BradLaner   https://bradlaner.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 31/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Men In The Sky – If I Go

Men In the Sky_RingMaster Review

Dipping deeper into the pop rock infectiousness that lurked within the highly enjoyable walls of 2014 released EP, Version 1.0.1, UK electronic rockers Men In The Sky now unveil their new single If I Go. Still hugging ears with the electronic and synth sculpted prowess which marked that first encounter, the new track also shares open inspirations from eighties guitar pop to brew a virulence that has feet and hips as eagerly engaged as ears.

Men In the Sky cover_RingMaster Review   Men In The Sky is a Liverpool based British-Canadian collaboration consisting of band founder Gary Roberts (guitar and synths), Simon Mawson (vocals), Gavin Thomas (vocals), and Chad Montgomery (guitar). Last year saw the quartet joining Factory Records’ Michael Johnson in the studio to record and co-produce the Version 1.0.1 EP, a link-up repeated for If I Go with a freshly different but equally captivating result.

Whereas the EP sparked, across its diverse mix of songs, thoughts of bands like Depeche Mode, Visage, and Pet Shop Boys in varying degrees, If I Go invites thoughts of a Howard Jones, Scritti Politti, and Erasure with its melodic virulence and catchiness, though the potent whispers of Depeche Mode in the keys and New Order in the rich ambience seducing throughout the song are just as open.

An initial caress of guitar has ears quickly enticed, its invitation soon joined by a broader vision of its melody and a swift expressive weave of vocals and synths. The engaging swing of the song is a just as rapid temptation, its sway never relinquishing its alluring bait as melodies and sonic imagination flow effortlessly from guitars and keys. There is maybe an understandable familiarity to the track but that too only adds to the attraction and rosy colour of the song and its mesmeric persuasion. An electro pop tempting which you can imagine being as at home in the midst of its eighties inspirations as it is as a new flirty protagonist in the modern electro pop landscape, the single leaves ears and energies hungry for more.

If I Go is the best song to date from Men In The Sky, a venture into poppier climes it is easy to suggest could lead to rich success, if not now at some point ahead if its direction is continued to be explored more.

If I Go is released November 2015.

https://www.facebook.com/Men-In-The-Sky-291917267514298 http://men-in-the-sky.com/ https://twitter.com/SkyMen_offic

Pete RingMaster 02/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Rosenthal – Heart EP

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Managing to sound invitingly nostalgic and refreshingly new, the Heart EP is a captivating full introduction to Rosenthal, a Danish band already drawing a healthy buzz around themselves. Consisting of five tracks which can be described as being bred from a merger of new wave, dream pop, and shoegaze with a psychedelic colouring, the band’s debut EP is an intriguing and increasingly enjoyable embrace for ears and imagination.

Rosenthal is the brainchild and project of Copenhagen-based songwriter and producer Jeppe Kiel Revsbech. Last year saw the release of two singles, both Lashes and Afraid of Stairs sparking keen attention and enthused reactions to the band’s presence and sound. Now fresh off their successful first UK tour, the band is set to reinforce and push forward again their emerging presence in a wider arena with the Magnus Vad produced Heart EP, and with Ask Kjærgaard (guitars) and Kasper Nyhus Janssen (drums) alongside Jeppe Kiel Revsbech (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Rosenthal is continuing 2015 in fine style.

The EP’s title track starts things off and sets an early pinnacle for the encounter. The resonating yet earthy bass tone which opens the track is alone an instant irresistible persuasion. It has the same dark flavouring which gave depth and potent shadows to the early sounds of The Cure and equally Joy Division. In no time guitars add their minimalistic but expressive colour too whilst the floating vocals of Kiel Revsbech glance over ears like Green Gartside of Scritti Politti. The emerging melodic elegance of the song is a radiant hue, uniting with the mellow and sizeably infectious air of the song to incite an eager appetite in response. It is a fabulous start to the release, mesmeric yet holding a slight agitation which only adds to its compelling presence.

The following April Eyes has a lighter and airier breath to its bouncy energy and presence. From the off melodies are caressing ears whilst the bass toning again carries a dark shade to its otherwise less heavy tempting, both courted by an imagination and unpredictability throughout which sees the song easily slip from its energetic stroll into a reflective calm. This peaceful passage though is soon at the centre of a brewing emotive and sonic tempest, a brooding climate which never erupts but certainly brings an edge and drama to its landscape.

The acoustic charm of the brief instrumental An End to the Trial comes next, the stringed caresses of guitars an evocative spark for the imagination before Void wistfully seeps into ears and thoughts, again guitar expression the leading colour. Its folkish, provocative simplicity makes the perfect canvas for the similarly reserved yet vibrant vocals. It is a simmering sunset of sound and emotion but as darker hues add their tints it evolves into a tempestuous atmosphere of dark alternative pop. From a potent start it grows into a bewitching proposal for ears and thoughts, spicy hooks and tangy melodies expelling mouth-watering noir bred temptation. The song is an enjoyable slow burner but grows even more thrilling in its latter climatic stages.

The closing A Dream is like the first song, one seeded in the post punk and dark pop of previous days whilst casting its own fresh character of sound. Resourcefully bred from a New Order/Bauhaus seeding, dark wave shadows ignite the passions instantly whilst the emerging Billy Momo like folk charm and Cocteau Twins like ethereal melodies, simply absorb and accentuate the whole unique adventure. Keys also add suggestiveness to the mix, an OMD spicing working within their poetic ambience. It is a tremendous song and end to the EP, Heart bookended by its best two tracks but with plenty to eagerly embrace in between.

As the final song slowly drifts away it leaves ears and thoughts keen to immerse once again in the Rosenthal sound. Heart is not exactly going to bowl you over with listen one but it lingers, luring the listener back time and time again, a rich success in any one’s book.

The Heart EP is available now via Afterimages via most digital stores.

https://www.facebook.com/rosenthalsite

RingMaster 10/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Teenage Wildlife – The Last Great Love Affair/ Most Beautiful Thing

photograph by John Wright

Teenage Wildlife is the musical project of renowned British film maker and photographer John Wright. Based in Shoreditch, the multi-instrumentalist has been making music for years alongside his visual work, creating pieces which have been used by Fendi and Dior whilst his photography has been employed by the likes of Louis Vuitton, Dior, GQ, Vanity Fair, and Sony Music. Wright created Teenage Wildlife for his musical side and expression whilst using the funds raised by this side of his talent to support charities that help underprivileged young people, the artist himself coming from a background which can be described as the same. September 1st saw the release of his new double A-sided single, The Last Great Love Affair/ Most Beautiful Thing, two melodically charming and electronically infused songs which without lighting fires make for a captivating and richly enjoyable proposition.

The Last Great Love Affair is a shimmering flight of melodies and soft vocals wrapped in a mesmeric embrace which either gently caresses ears or come in a feistier flame of enterprise. It is an instantly pleasing encounter, its electronic twists and temptation as intriguing as the mellow sounds hugging the senses. Warm and creatively smiling, the track is like a mix of Scritti Politti and China Crisis, a smouldering transfixing breeze which takes the imagination on an emotive summer cruise through melody coloured waters.

The accompanying Most Beautiful Thing, which is sung by an unnamed female vocalist, is a less mesmeric track but to be fair no less enticing for ears. Also carrying a gentle smouldering in its belly rather than a fire, the song is electronic pop and R&B rolled into a pleasing and elegant croon of sound and vocal emotion. Impressively crafted and gracefully attractive, the song merges jazz spiced keys and sultry melodies which in turn clasps the romantic tone of the vocals. It does not quite match the potency of The Last Great Love Affair but still leaves thoughts engrossed and satisfaction beaming.

Both songs intrigue and avoid simply feeding expectations to make for a release which does not startle but lingers welcomingly and rewardingly. With great causes also benefitting from the release, this is a single worthy of intensive attention.

Most Beautiful Thing/The Last Great Love Affair is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/most-beautiful-thing-last/id913694600

www.teenagewildlifemusic.com

www.johnwrightphoto.com

8/10

RingMaster 02/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Glory Glory – So Long

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Seemingly holding a torch for eighties new wave and indie pop, Canadian band Glory Glory unveil their new tantalising EP, a release which mesmerises and tempts with a melodic seduction which is hard to find any resistance to. So Long is an encounter which makes a pleasing impression on first listen but evolves into an irresistible and essential breeze the more you allow it to stroke and coax the imagination. There is a smile to the music of the band which radiates incessantly from within the release, an enticing charm which caresses senses and thoughts whilst an understated but rich invention blossoms deep within the songs. It all adds up to a rich persuasion which maybe does not give its recipient a blood rush but certainly leaves them smouldering with content.

Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Glory Glory was formed in 2006 with a sound which was said to be more post punk sculpted. They create a brew though which merges a wealth of styles and essences to defy any exact labelling, So Long just as its slightly rawer and darker predecessor, the You Need a Heart to Live EP of 2011, providing the richest evidence. The new three track proposition was mixed by Grammy nominated producer Justin Gerrish (Vampire Weekend, The Strokes), and pushes the band’s presence into an even greater potent spotlight which is sure to open up wider attention on the band. The trio of Adam Warren, Ryan Brown, and Gavin Maclean has already drawn references to the likes of Rush, Grizzly Bear, Caribou, and Twin Shadow their way but as So Long wraps its suggestive arms around the ears there is a definite feel of China Crisis and Scritti Politti to the offerings.

The first of those two comparisons is loud in opening track Take My Time. From its opening lure of dark bass tempting the track has GG coverintrigue and attention gripped and primed for the swiftly following tangle of guitar crafted melodies, they having a ABC whisper to them, and excited percussive endeavour. It is a gentle but lively start given extra warmth by the flowing mellow vocals and occasional backing harmonies. The song strolls with relish through the ears, casting a dream bred elegance and glaze over its captivating narrative, whilst a slight Two Door Cinema Club air adds to the textured beauty of the song.

The impressive start is backed up by the slower gaited but equally absorbing and immersive Indigo Son. The atmosphere of the song is part celestial and part sultry, its melodic romance nestling provocatively with thoughts whilst the poised joyful swagger of the song provides that Scritti Politti enticement to its enthralling textures. Though not as dramatically gripping as its predecessor, the song holds imagination and appetite firmly in its resourceful enterprise whilst providing a hazy climate to the emotively engineered suasion.

The closing Everybody Lies envelopes and dances with the senses much as the opening song, it’s certainly individual adventure wrapping a refreshing weave of invention and evocatively hued melodies around body and reflection like a graceful temptress, one as across all the tracks driven by a dance seeded pulsing and rhythmic ensnaring. Though much like the surface of the music lyrically everything seems a peaceful soar, beneath shadows and flirty twists play their part in trapping imagination and emotions. It is a clever and imaginative underbelly which only adds to the overall caressing whilst forging deep textures and colour to the songs.

Though So Long is the first we have heard of Glory Glory, a swift look at their previous and also thoroughly appealing EP shows the evolution in progress within the band’s songwriting and sound. It is an exciting emergence which is increasing its potential to spark a greedy anticipation for their forthcoming horizons. Glory Glory looks like being a band we are destined to hear and enjoy for a long time to come.

The So Long EP is available now @ http://gloryglory.bandcamp.com/

http://www.glorygloryband.com/

8/10

RingMaster 20/04/2014

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