Silhouettes – Ever Moving Happiness Machines

   Silhouettes pic

    Silhouettes last single Gold Tag offered a sizeable hint and thrilling teaser for the UK indie/electro band’s debut album, a taster which itself has continued to grow and impress since our coverage of its charms. Now that Ever Moving Happiness Machines has arrived all anticipations and expectations of the release have been fed and fully satisfied. The ten track encounter is an intriguing and inspiring slice of creative diversity and poetic imagination, a proposition which ignites the senses and thoughts in a richly varied and at times challenging way for an enthralling incitement which never leaves a moment devoid of emotive provocation or absent from riveting drama.

Hailing from Wolverhampton and formed in 2008, Silhouettes has earned themselves a sizeable reputation for their sound and live performances, a presence more than complemented by a couple of EPs. It was Gold Tag though which has arguably been the spark to a greater spotlight, its more electronic seeded presence a fascinating and tantalising evolution in the band’s sound. Created by Nathan Till (vocals, guitars), Jay Cuthill (guitars, keyboards, drums), and Ben Blewitt (keyboards), Ever Moving Happiness Machines has the potential and certainly the invention to push the band to the next level, and with a line-up completed by Xander Roberts (bass, vocals) and Ben Dargue (drums) live, Silhouettes is poised to take intensely emotive electronic music by storm.

Ever Moving Happiness Machines does not come without the occasional less impacting twist or turn but from the opening Gold Silhouettes coverTag it is an unrelenting feast of striking enterprise and emotional exploration which has ears and imagination hungry for the album’s impressive offerings. The first track immediately unveils an eighties influence, a flavouring which occurs throughout the album, as small but vivacious guitar crafted melodies entice the ears. As they find themselves joined by a magnificent and robustly throaty bassline there is a strong essence of The Farmers Boys at play, a spice which takes on a definite Orange Juice tang as keys and the great vocals of Till add to the exotically vibrant picture. The song strolls with a masterful confidence which in turn recruits a bold reaction from feet and emotions, its crystalline key sculpted melodies and expressive harmonies a seductive glaze to the contagious waltz. It is a glorious entrance which in its fullest form has appetite and imagination aflame especially through its ridiculously addictive rhythmic closing stretch.

From the lively enticement the album glides into the glistening evocative embrace of Creaking Universe. Its initial lure sparkles like sonic crystal, the keys erupting like dust in a shaft of light before a melancholic shadow and croon clouds over ears to tempt them with its darker touch vocally and musically. Slipping into a seductive breeze which soothes the ears and intrigues emotions, the song from a decent beginning becomes a potent magnet, its ever increasing pull through string orchestrated melodies and brooding textures masterful. Imagine The National meets the Walker Brothers and you have an idea of the voice and might of the track.

The next up Sacrifice is another track which needs time to grow but does so with immense success. It opens with a celestial blaze of electronic persuasion, an Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark like wind hugging the senses before the falsetto charm of the vocals lie romantically upon the ears. First impressions are strong and rewarding but as with quite a few tracks on the album, it is one which deviously works away leaving a haunting toxin which repeats time and time again, to return at any moment unannounced. The exciting track is instantly emulated by Cold Water/Grey Flesh, its chillier climate and singular expression a bewitching temptation which again is strong at first but masterful over time. With the keys casting an almost intrusive web which the guitars and vocals unveil colourful and poignant hues over, the song dances elegantly seeping a stark breath of lost hope and scenery. It is a highly evocative narrative which could be described as Joy Division meets Sigur Ros.

The intensive melancholy of I Miss You, I Want You, I Need You, I Love You carries a rich Radiohead vein to its despondent emotion and cold breath. It is an impressively crafted and presented piece of music and emotion but for personal demands fails to strike the flame other songs on the release do so easily, though the flume of strings create a resonating tempting for the imagination to immerse within. It is not a low point but one personal taste cannot connect with, something the brilliant Prufrock’s Dream has no trouble achieving. The new single from band and album is an enthralling adventure of sound and imagination. Written as the sequel to the TS Eliot poem The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, the song teases ears with a sultry guitar weave at first before expanding into an exotically rhythmic and mystique soaked flame of sonic and melodic seduction. The guitars continue to bind the senses in a psychedelic glaze of Eastern promise and thought inciting majesty whilst the voice of Till croons with potent expression and absorbing texture. As it persistently flirts with ears and emotions entwining radiance and shadows, whispers of the likes of Teardrop Explodes, The Verve, and Nick Cave make their presence known in a song which is scintillatingly original and unique to Silhouettes.

Both Scuff Marks and Ferry Me Away slip in the wake of their glorious predecessor, though again it is primarily down to preferences. The first has a pulsating core and evocative ambience which increases potently over the length of the song for an enveloping climax, but again with a Radiohead similar breath it fails to spark any real reaction, though Silhouettes is a much more exciting proposition to be fair. Its successor also carries that Thom Yorke and co breeding but evolves into an emotionally infectious play with melodic toxins which seduce with wanton ease and a folk bred gentleness which elevates it to a stronger footing. Neither are songs to pass over swiftly but possibly suffer being stuck between the triumphs of Prufrock’s Dream and the outstanding Black Within The Black, a track unafraid to show its roots in the early days of The Cure. With the bass rapturous bait and rhythms pure anthemic lure, the track is an unbridled temptress to which Till brings his own style of haunted tones and expression for exceptional success. The song invades and seduces every pore and thought to provide another heady pinnacle.

Closing with the climactic Boys, a track from small melodic and expressive seeds grows into an epically shaped tower of intense emotion and powerfully evocative colour, Ever Moving Happiness Machines is a gripping adventure which provides a kaleidoscope of invention and imagination, not forgetting creative passion. It is not an album which quite succeeds with every chapter, but is a radiant success across its whole body as Silhouettes more than delivers on their original promise.

Ever Moving Happiness Machines is available via Integrity Records now!

http://silhouettesmusic.net/

8.5/10

RingMaster 02/06/2014

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Broken Records – Weights & Pulleys

Broken Recordspic

Missing the coach the first and second times our introduction to Scottish melodic ‘emoteurs’ Broken Records came with the recently released Toska EP, a release which to be honest underwhelmed despite the impressive craft and ideation oozing through it. This made anticipation for the band’s third album less than enthusiastic but it has to be admitted that Weights & Pulleys makes a more than solid convincing to open up understanding as to why the band is so well thought of. Definitely the album does not light any major fires in our thoughts and passions but a smouldering attraction it certainly makes, one very easy to recommend to fans of the band and of the likes of Doves, Sigur Ros, and Arcade Fire.

Formed in 2007, the Edinburgh band was soon teasing in attention with their folk/indie bred textures and dense emotional enterprise, their first release the ‘gig’ EP inviting plenty of attention and excited praise. As they refined their sound the band successfully shared stages with the likes of Idlewild, Sons & Daughters, and Editors across Scotland before a series of singles including the first, If the News Makes You Sad Don’t Watch It on Young Turks in 2008, saw the band covered in acclaim from all areas of the media and led them to signing with 4AD. The following year was the canvas for acclaimed debut album Until The Earth Begins To Part and the continuation of highly praised shows and festival appearances. The Out On The Water EP also made its appearance at that time whilst 2010 saw the band line-up change into the sextet of Jamie Sutherland (vocals, guitar), Rory Sutherland (violin), Ian Turnbull (guitar), Dave Smith (piano, trumpet), Craig Ross (bass), and Andrew Keeney (drums), and the supporting of bands such as The National and Freelance Whales, as well as second album Let Me Come Home to again intense recognition and support. Three years in the making Weights & Pulleys is the ‘return’ of Broken Records and it is hard not to expect it to be swamped in the same accolade of acclaim as its predecessors from varied and wide quarters.

Released on their own label J Sharp Records and produced by Tony Doogan (Mogwai, Delgados, Belle & Sebastian), Weights & Pulleys br image005moves on from the earlier Toska whilst seemingly continuing its evocative intent. Why the album is a bigger impacting persuasion than the previous four track release is hard to exactly say but it feels like a bigger picture is explored and unveiled rather than mere scenic glimpses as offered by the EP. Also without finding major fuses to raging fires, there is a new spark to a great many of the tracks which captivates and intrigues whilst simultaneously finding an almost anthemic lure to entice senses and emotions. Opening track Ditty (We Weren’t Ready) is a fine example, its thick hypnotic rhythmic coaxing irresistible bait within an emotionally intense melodic swamp. Vocally Jamie Sutherland roars with expression and emotive endeavour, his call cradled in soft but incisive sonic arms and eventually an orchestral caress which equally fires up the senses. It is a richly potent start raising a keen appetite for things ahead, a hope soon sizeably fed by the Springsteen/Petty-esque Winterless Son. Again the rhythms grip attention as they thump out their intent seemingly spurring on the heart of another impressive song.

Toska steps up next and as on the EP fails to entice any real power to reactions even though it is a satisfying and accomplished offering. Sculpted around an evocative narrative of keys, the song merges melancholic breath with an invasion beauty, hope and reality meshed into one dramatic scenario. Musically the song is almost mesmeric but that trigger to light up the passions is a dormant factor, though awake once more with So Long, So Late. Across the release thoughts of fellow Scots Letters and also for less open reasons Josef K emerge with the richest suggestiveness coming with this fully immersive slab of emotional intensive and melodic fire wrapped in drama drenched shadows.

The title track envelopes ears and imagination with a full and heavy incitement of emotion and reflection, a consuming weight of drama and thoughtful provocation which easily pleases if without stoking that again simmering fire in the belly of the album and listener. That poke is provided by the excellent Let’s Call It A Betrayal, an agitated revelry of rampant rhythms, dark throated basslines, and sonic imagination ridden by the persistently impressing vocals. The track tempts, challenges, and simply hits the instinctive provocateur in us all, heights of dramatic expression and melodic dispute walling in the passions.

The following track, Instrumental is just what it says and makes little impression though you appreciate why it is included as it gives a breather within the torrential emotional deluge of the release. The enjoyable You’ll Be Lonely (In A Little While) strolls into ears next with a rhythmic swagger and melodic drizzling which undeniably enthrals but ultimately it is the rhythmic lure which makes the only lingering impression.

The unapologetically emotional Nothing Doubtful comes next to again absorb ears and thoughts. Its opening body and tone has a dulled and shadowed breath, a mono like air which brews up a riveting cloud of intensity before breaking into the light and expanding its full heart and stereo spawned grandeur with delicious flames of brass. Much like the album the song is a slow burner which only impresses more with each encounter to maybe not steal the passions but certainly give them a big nudge.

The album is completed by the folk bred I Won’t Leave You In The Dark and finally All Else Can Just Wait. The first of the pair makes a controlled but keen entrance, that folkish lilt to sound and vocals painting a narrative until the song erupts into another seemingly Springsteen seeded premise but with tantalising sixties pop toxicity carrying a definite sense of The Walker Brothers whilst horns again just excite. Its successor is a slow brooding ballad with a great mix of vocals and pleasingly nagging repetition to its melodies, it all working towards a climactic finale which never really materialises. It is a decent enough end though which like the album gives plenty to make a compelling encounter but not enough to make its case as a constant playlist contender.

Nevertheless Weights & Pulleys is a captivating proposition which will light up the ears of fans and draw a wealth of newcomers with its collection of skilful tracks which combined show just why Broken Records is so highly thought of and at times offer evidence that the band just might have the potential to help reshape British indie rock.

Weights & Pulleys is available on J Sharp Records now!

http://brokenrecordsband.com/

7.5/10

RingMaster 20/05/2014

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Silhouettes – Gold Tag

Silhouettes

Silhouettes

Ahead of their debut album release early next year, UK indie electronic band Silhouettes unveil their new single Gold Tag. A rich magnetic call, the release easily tickles the taste buds and lights a smouldering fire of anticipation for the band’s upcoming debut album Ever Moving Happiness Machines, a teaser which suggests the upcoming full-length will be one to pay close attention to.

Silhouettes consists of Nathan Till (vocals, guitars), Jay Cuthill (samples, keyboards, production), Ben Blewitt (keyboards), and Xander Roberts (bass, vocals), the line-up expanding to a sextet for live shows. Formed in 2008 the band has earned a strong reputation for their live performances building a potent fanbase around home town of Wolverhampton and Birmingham. Their two previous EPs also drew good attention to the band but as their sound has evolved and shifted focus to a more enthralling electronic premise, the suspicion that Gold Tag and the subsequent album will take the band to greater recognition is unavoidable.

    Gold Tag opens with a sample of a child before guitars begin casting the air with simmering melodic drizzle, the crystalline rain mesmerising around electronic beats which punctuate their effect. It is a tantalising lure taken up numerous levels by the outstanding bass dance provided by Roberts, its tone throaty, bulbous, and contagious. As keys add their flavoursome potency the vocals of Till bring an expressive emotive spice which only goes to increase the temptation of the song. With the strong bass and rhythmic bait amidst melodies and hooks which infect the passions, there is a big feel of eighties indie pop band The Farmers Boys to the track, a suggestive spice that adds to the immense contagion. It is a masterful slice of electro and guitar pop merged into something attention seeking and winning.

The release comes with a longer version of the single, its added tail a hypnotic rhythmic fascination which does not bring anything majorly extra to the single but neither leaves it a lesser enticement, and an acoustic version of Creaking Universe, a song which shows the skilled craft of songwriting and presentation of Silhouettes. With references to the likes of M83, John Grant, Massive Attack, Bon Iver, Sigur Ros, and Radiohead placed around the band and that of Bukowski, Nick Cave, and Matt Berninger of The National to the lyrical side of the band, Silhouettes is a rising presence and attraction which has taken another potent step through the Integrity Records released Gold Tag, a single well worth investing time in.

http://silhouettesmusic.net/

8/10

RingMaster 25/11/2013

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