Shriekback – Why Anything? Why This?

In music it is so easy to be adulterous to one’s first love; to gather a harem of lustful attractions just as fevered though the one is always the prime affection. For us XTC was and is that irreplaceable ardour but the years obviously have seen hordes of infidelities seducing across a multitude of sounds and styles. One of the earliest sprung from that virgin ardour and one of its former members Barry Andrews. It was Shriekback which following one of its founder’s ear grabbing solo sounds teased with its debut EP, baited with the singles My Spine (Is The Bassline) and Lined Up, and enslaved through their first two albums in Care and Jam Science. Admittedly over the following three and a half decades we have dipped into their creative escapades more than been relentlessly attentive but never shy to explore. That initial hunger for their sound has just been truly re-ignited now though with the release of new album Why Anything? Why This?; one of their finest encounters ever.

Shriekback was formed in 1980 by vocalist/ keyboardist Andrews and ex- Gang Of Four bassist Dave Allen, the pair quickly enlisting guitarist Carl Marsh from Out On Blue Six into the fold. The ear grabbing Tench EP and those aforementioned singles introduced the band’s unique sound which blossomed further upon the 1982 released Care. The next year saw drummer Martyn Barker (King Swamp, Billy Bragg) brought into the band’s line-up with Jam Silence coming in 1984 followed by a move to Arista Records and the release of their acclaimed third album Oil & Gold. The band’s next couple of albums over the subsequent two years or so centred around Andrews with Allen and Barker linking back up with him for the 1992 full-length Sacred City, a release which appeared to be the band’s last breath. They returned though in 2000 with Naked Apes and Pond Life, following it three years later with Having a Moment, the album seeing the band’s original line-up in place again with Barker, and Lu Edmonds alongside. Four more albums over a decade, seeing numerous musicians involved, leads us up to Why Anything? Why This? the band’s 14th studio album coming three years after its predecessor and what can only be suggested as one of the band’s most compelling adventures.

Around the core prowess and imagination of Andrews, Barker, and Marsh, the album also features bassist Scott Firth of P.i.L and regular Shriekback backing vocalists Wendy and Sarah Partridge. Instantly it had its fingers in ears and appetite, teasing and tempting as opener Shovelheads inserts a heavy infectious lure led by deceptively flirtatious rhythms. The vocals stand just as magnetic upon the strands of sound and words, electronic currents lapping the sizzling threads of guitar as the rhythms continue to throb. It is a great start, an imposing hint of things to come which rather than hungrily infesting ears and imagination inescapably nags them.

The band’s latest single And The Rain follows, a virulent slice of dark rock with atmospheric seduction and manipulative rhythmic shadows. It is a tenebrific contagion matched in voice and word; an intrigue loaded proposal getting under the skin like Tone on Tails meeting The Filthy Tongues. The track is superb, drama and deviously catchy enterprise colluding in dark temptation before the equally tantalising Catmandu preens its own darkly nurtured theatre with melodic elegance and revelry amidst electronic and rhythmic devilment.

Such, Such Are The Joys is a serene yet tenacious  funk ‘n’ roll croon, its slow swing hypnotic to hips and darksome air pure intimation to the imagination only aided by lyrics, tone, and the siren call of the backing vocals. Pure seduction with the beauty of danger in its lining, the song just bewitched while Wriggle And Drone swiftly showed itself a puppeteer with its rhythmic suggestion and percussive scenery alone. The song took us back to those early tracks of the band which had us hook, line and sinker; infusing that instinctive bait with fresh ingenuity.

Next up The Painter Paints is just poetry from start to finish in sound and lyrical invention, conjuring just as its protagonists might with every fibre,  its captivation more than matched by the brooding post punk kissed sway and raw dark folk balladry of Useless Treasure. Even so, their major allure is only eclipsed by the album’s final trio; each creative alchemy.

The Church Of The Louder Light is first, rising from distant mists with vocal enticement and in turn rhythmic and sonic flirtation. Its hearty roar grows from a simmer to full voice in no time, its spirit and passion uncaged to inspire the same in the listener. It is a glorious trespass which after a momentary breath just returns bigger and bolder and more influential as Sons Of The Dirt also shows itself to be, it too building its energy and infection with increasing boisterousness as its predacious rock ‘n’ roll sizzles and blazes.

The album concludes with Thirty Seven, our favourite moment within Why Anything? Why This? with its gothic glaze over dark folk intimation and post/garage punk drama. The track is simply total fascination, aural witchery as seductively claustrophobic as it is mercurially radiant.

Since day one Shriekback has been pretty much a magnet for our ears, as for so many others, and to high praise from fans and media alike; perpetually a source of captivation but it is hard to say they have been any more compelling and essential than right now with Why Anything? Why This?.

Why Anything? Why This? is out now across most digital stores and @ https://www.shriekback.com/store

https://www.shriekback.com/   https://www.facebook.com/shriekback    https://twitter.com/shriekbackmusic

Pete RingMaster 28/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dearly Beloved – Admission

 

beloved-12_RingMasterReview

It would have been hard to imagine Canadian band, Dearly Beloved majorly outdoing their last album Enduro at the time of its release, it one glorious slice of garage rock inspired sound built on instinctive and striking imagination, but they have done just that with its successor Admission. If there is such a thing as the perfect record, Dearly Beloved come so close with their new offering. Yet again the band recruits and manipulates the imagination with their sonic tapestries, embracing even greater adventure and variety whilst fully uncaging their rock ‘n’ roll instincts. If the last album was glorious, Admission is majestic; quite simply a primal and ingeniously conjured, addiction sparking roar.

As with its predecessor, the Toronto based band leapt upon and recorded fifth full-length Admission in quick time, using up fourteen days at Dave Grohl’s Studio 666. As ever centered around the vocal pairing of bassist Rob Higgins and Niva Chow, the quartet linked up with produced Daniel Rey (Ramones and Misfits) to record the album, using the famed, 70s era Neve 8028 analogue console that spawned Nirvana’s Nevermind. The result is a proposition which grips ears with vice like tempting while taking feet, hips, and rock ‘n’ roll instincts on a ride of their life.

RIP kicks things off, instantly chaining attention and an eager appetite because of previous successes with a grumbling yet vibrant bassline matched by senses rapping beats. A momentary breath uncages a torrent of hungry riffs and antagonistic rhythms, that in turn the prelude for a controlled yet ferocious rock roar. It is a fiery incitement perfectly contrasted rather than tempered by the warm inviting tones of Higgins and Chow, together a riveting lure in the creative storm. More virulent than the common cold, the track is pure dominance, irresistibly enslaving hips and feet as easily as ears and emotions.

The sensational start is more than matched by These Data, it too fleecing the passions with an opening lure of bass, a swinging groove woven coaxing infesting the psyche as a sonic shimmer sizzles around it. Beats dance with creative tenacity around that prime draw, Higgins again vocally captivating with Chow a similarly magnetic support as the track rumbles and grumbles. It is riveting stuff with guitars adding a great sour spicing to the mix as punk and grunge essences join the garage rock natured proposal.

admission1_RingMasterReviewI Tried To Leave brings a lighter poppier tone next though bass and drums still have that enjoyable crankiness as the pair explores a more Jane’s Addiction flavoured adventure. Every twist and turn in its intoxicating blaze brings fresh ingredients to devour, a psych rock invention only adding to a mouth-watering stomp before Who Wants to Know turns the album’s charge into a prowling, dark toned trespass. Vocally Higgins and Chow conjure a bewitching union whilst sonically the song sears the senses as rhythms dance on the debris with ridiculously infectious wantonness. A subsequent passage of relative calm enables a blues laced groan to emerge, its restrained air remaining as the track expands again until its volatility surges through ears as Chow’s harmonic lures beckon like a siren.

Through the kinetic punk ‘n’ roll of Strobe-Dosing and the abrasive funk of Currents, band and release use the listener like a puppeteer, the first as much pop natured as punk belligerent as it courses relentlessly like blood through veins into the psyche and passions. Its successor holds back its instinctive urge to career through ears, allowing its rhythmic heart and harmonic beauty to entice the senses like a raw blend of Shriekback and Ex Norwegian though as ever, a Dearly Beloved song is never slow in developing new detours and twists to enjoy.

The garage punk devilry of Blood In The Water provides the next major highlight of Admission, its dark heart and tantalising slow rhythmic prowl almost crawling over the senses as electronics atmospherically play and guitars toxically simmer. As vocals and harmonies radiate and yet another wicked bassline from Higgins grips, the track moves and burns like gothic lava.

Its startling presence is matched by that of Boxing Days straight after, the song aural seduction from its bewitching vocals and crabby bassline to its harmonic romancing and infectious tempestuousness. From a fascinating simmer it grows into a conflagrant eruption of sound and intensity impossible to evade not that you will wish to.

It is fair to say there are no weak moments within Admission; no times it comes close to loosening its masterful hold and creative success as proven once more by the closing creative outcries of When You Had The Choice and Future Shock. The former is a romping slice of rock ‘n’ roll with an unmistakable Foo Fighters like boisterousness and aggression in its punk heart while the latter skilfully blends calm and clamour in its own garage rock/punk driven trespass, each entwining a host of flavours in their spirit rousing traps.

It is very easy to keep heaping more praise upon Admission but the evidence is in the sound and time shared with it, though Dearly Beloved need little of either to convince and prove themselves one of the most exciting bands out there.

Admission is out now via Aporia Records across most online stores and @ https://dearlybeloved.bandcamp.com/album/admission-2

http://www.dearlybelovedmusic.com/    https://www.facebook.com/TheBeloveds/    https://twitter.com/thebeloveds

Pete RingMaster 31/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

WE-ARE-Z – Easy

Wearez _RingMasterReview

Yet again showing themselves the puppeteer of hips and funk in induced revelry, UK based indie poppers WE-ARE-Z release new single Easy this month, a song that pulls you to your feet to share moves probably best kept under wraps. The song is a virulently persuasive little number, something for ears to wear and inhibitions to depart for from a band making a habit of turning the world into an eager dance-floor.

Formed in 2012, the London based Anglo/French quintet merge individual experiences of playing with artists such as Beyonce, The Waterboys, Pharell Williams, and James Morrison with inspirations ranging from David Bowie, Serge Gainsborough, Talking Heads and Blur to The Clash, Devo, XTC, and Sparks. The band’s debut track Airbrush sparked potent interest in 2014 though fair to say Walkways the following year was the real attention grabber. With its success backed up by tracks like Knucklehead and a live presence which leaves everyone out of breath, you might say that WE-ARE-Z and their songs have become one of UK pop’s eagerly anticipated adventures.

art _RingMasterReviewThe new single pulsates into view, its initial electronic tempting soon joined by rhythmic throbs and vocal bait. The ripe coaxing, speared by the purposeful swings of Guillaume Charreau, increasingly grows as sultry hues caress ears, their lures aligning with a just as potent melodic and harmonic drama. In no time body and imagination are lost in the flirtatious and riveting theatre of the song with the dark rhythms, led by a gorgeously throat bassline cast by Marc Arciero, alone just irresistible. The keys and guitars of Clément Leguidcoq and Drew Wynen sparkle and dance as they entangle with each other around the ever welcoming and tenacious vocals of Gabriel Cazes, he like the ringleader to a band of sonic mischief makers with a delivery which simply lures the listener deeper into the party playing with their ears.

As with previous songs from WE-ARE-Z, our thoughts bring the likes of Shriekback and Franz Ferdinand coming to mind but also there is a touch of Sparks and Talking Heads to a song which, at the end of the day, really only sounds like another highly enjoyable and rather naughty WE-ARE-Z soirée.

Easy is released April 8th via Sputnik Records.

http://www.we-are-z.com/    https://www.facebook.com/WeAreZmusic   https://twitter.com/WeAreZmusic

Pete RingMaster 06/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

We-Are-Z – Walkaway

pic by@AndyWillsher

pic by@AndyWillsher

The song might be about “taking a journey into the recesses of consciousness, exploring perceptions and angles that don’t add up”, but musically Walkaway is just one inescapable funk ‘n’ roll devilment of indie pop come new wave virulence. The song is the new single from We-Are-Z, a UK band which on the evidence of their new release, springs a sound on the senses as agitated and warped as it is infectiously magnetic. It incites body and imagination with tribal like rhythms amidst paranoia kissed sound, each racked with St. Vitus dance like activity within theatrical melodies and mellow washed vocals. The track is pure temptation, like Shriekback meets Late Cambrian in a Two Door Cinema Club embrace, yet different again.

The London based Anglo/French quintet formed in 2012, with its line-up already seasoned musicians bringing experiences of playing with the likes of Beyonce, The Waterboys, and James Morrison into the mix. Debut track Airbrush swiftly drew strong attention and support from media and fans alike, whilst the band since then has lured in diverse comparisons from Vampire Weekend to Devo and Franz Ferdinand to XTC. Inspirations are equally varied within We-Are-Z, the likes of David Bowie, Serge Gainsborough, Talking Heads, Blur, The Clash, and Static cited but as their new single shows, the band ultimately emerges with something yes a little familiar but perfectly peculiar to them.

Walkaway from its first touch is a rampant shuffle of jabbing beats and a dark flirty bass lure from Guillaume Charreau and Marc Arciero respectively. The guitar of Drew Wynen adds a lively temptation to the attention grabbing start also, little but gripping hooks and slithers of melodic spices a flirtatious tempting adding to the instant magnetism. Seductive and quirky keys are colouring the song further next, Clement Leguidcoq bringing a smouldering coaxing seeping around and within all the other tenacious textures at play whilst vocalist Gabriel Cazes has a drama and flirty quality to his insatiably vibrant tones and harmonies. There is no escaping the enslaving effect of the song, the puppeteer like lure of rhythms on limbs and the addictive contagion of everything else on voice and emotions, a proper feel good treat.

According to reliable sources, with an energetic and irrepressible live presence to match the adventure of their new single alone, it is easy to suggest we will all be hearing and devouring a lot more of We-Are-Z from hereon in.

Walkaway is available via Sputnik Records from May 18th

http://we-are-z.com/   https://www.facebook.com/WeAreZmusic

RingMaster 17/05/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

The Machismo’s – Good Things About To Happen

Sam Marsh portrait by Michael Smith

Sam Marsh portrait by Michael Smith

Earlier this year we were treated to the re-releases of the first EP and album from the mighty under acclaimed early 90s alt-rockers Jacob’s Mouse and now if that was not enough to feast upon, also via Sturm Und Drang Recordings we are being blessed by Good Things About To Happen, the solo album of Bury St Edmunds-based songwriter/producer Sam Marsh, and the vocalist/drummer of said previous band. Under the name The Machismo’s, Marsh started writing and recording around the time of the demise of Jacob’s Mouse in 1995. He recorded two full albums in his home cassette portastudio subsequently whilst assembling a live band to take the music to the masses. It was seemingly not a ‘serious’ intent as Marsh moved onto other projects and the songs and albums were put aside unreleased. Thankfully twenty years on the man re-looked at this work and realising their quality and worth has brought 1996 debut album Good Things About To Happen to the world, a gift to us all with its exceptional songs and invention, the release easily one of the most enjoyable encounters this year.

The Machismo’s is very different to the almost psychotically arranged sounds of Jacob’s Mouse, but like that band the album has a seed of discord brilliance and startling yet thoughtfully composed simplicity that is just riveting and the spring board for thoughts and passions, from him and in us. Also like his previous band, the presence of The Machismo’s is impossible to place just in one box, or at times even find a pigeonhole for. A blend of acoustic and folk caresses placed in an experiment of noise pop and synapse teasing enterprise, the best we can do in description, Good Things About To Happen instantly tells you all you need to know about album and artist with its opening title track, and it has to be said that its seductive sting is instant and lingering.

The first song almost lumbers into view as heavy acoustic riffs and equally weighty rhythms introduce themselves but there is a vibrancya0731346688_10 and energy to it that draws limbs and emotions to their eager feet. Composed and performed by Marsh alone, as is the mixing and production, the song takes a mere breath to impress, the range of guitar tones and vocal invention side by side each other irresistible whilst the dark twang of chords and the almost sinister throaty bass stalking of the senses just delicious. As mentioned discord adds its fingertips to the surface of all aspects too, adding a richer tang to the aural spice that tempts reactions into aural lust. Infectious and hypnotic, the track is a thrilling introduction to something which expectations and hopes came nowhere near in assumption.

The following Macho Theme and Jilt compliment the start potently, even if they miss gripping the opening plateau set by a whisker. The first is a sonic wash of caustic garage rock with punk shadows, guitars slashing across the ear with fire bred intensity and sinew clad rhythms caging senses in an enslaving web of beats and intimidation. Its successor then comes in to slowly swarm over the body with slightly acidic melodic hugs aided by a rhythmic shuffle. As with most songs, Marsh offers a twin vocal attack that is quite riveting and here mesmeric in its charm and persuasion, matching the mix of beauty and cutting invention veining the sounds. With a barbed groove that is rich in familiarity and a melodic toxin, the track is a slow burner that creeps up on and steals the passions over numerous plays. The great thing about the album and emphasised by this track alone, is that the seeming familiarity is so often from songs and bands coming after the writing of the never released album two decades ago, coincidence can be a tease at times.

From the immense start there is another elevation in excellence starting with Down The Drain, the track a sauntering slice of sonically sculpted R&B with the individuality, in not so much sound but unique composition and fusing of discordant fuel and melodic fire, that marks the solo work of Frank Black, and also the contagiousness. There is dark blues sultriness to the track too which brings Black Keys/Jack White essences to bear. After next up Ickworth Park Song, another track which took time to persuade with its noir elegance, Loosen Up strolls down the senses into the heart with its rhythmic trot. Across its stroll the guitar forges a repetitive coaxing that is irresistible whilst the UB40 like prowl of the song carved by the excellent bass lure and dark almost carnivorous second guitar is a blissful counter to the again excellent dreamgaze like vocals of Marsh, though they too have a steel and raw edge.

A pinnacle though it is, Good Things About To Happen only moves on to greater things as surrounding the supremacy of the tautly harmonious New Start and the intriguing Rogue Males, there are the show stealers When You Know It’s Real and The Storm. The first of the two struts with an opening reggae seeded lope of guitar cuts and roaming heavy bass drawl, both ridden by the drifting vocals of Marsh. Teasing upon dubstep, the song evolves into an imagination capturing leisurely drift that has thoughts climbing all over the idea that the song is like World Domination Enterprises and Shriekback playing together under a summer haze with Dalek I Love You and The Gist. It is a glorious amble for the passions easily matched by the final song. The Storm is sheer brilliance, a track which again suggests others though damned if they come to mind within its familiar presence.  Crafted with a virulently addictive heart stroking mesh of repetition, vocal evocation, and rhythmic conjuring, it is a stunning end to an equally majesty release.

We may have unknowingly had to wait a long time to devour creativity of this quality but Good Things About To Happen is now here to make our hearts and the world a better place. Roll on album two.

www.facebook.com/themachismos

9.5/10

RingMaster 04/08/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com