The Slytones – Shake The Cage

slytones_RingMaster Review

There is no precise way to describe the rich sound of The Slytones and no way to stop it crawling under the skin and enslaving the psyche. This has been proven over previous releases but is at its most seductive and darkly magnetic in new single Shake The Cage. The song and the accompanying Thomas Thumb making up the release cast a kaleidoscope of ravenous flavours, styles, and warped imagination whilst their characters are as relevant to the carnival as they are to voodoo bred escapades. They both epitomise the heart of The Slytones sound whilst simultaneously creating their own new and unique imagination romancing adventures.

The British band began as a trio, expanding its line-up over time whilst quickly alluring keen appetites with their The Psychedelic Sounds of EP in 2011. It is fair to say that the Brighton hailing sextet of Ashley Edwards (vocals/guitar), Bradley Wescott (lead guitar), Chip Phillips (vocals/keys), Freddie Hills (drums), Chris Warren (vocals/bass), and Robin O’Keeffe (percussion) have drawn comparisons, in an attempt to describe their sound, as broad in the diversity of bands as the mix of ingredients colluding to ignite their individual incitements. There are few bands which can conjure such variety within a single song let alone a whole release, but as Shake The Cage proves it is child’s play to The Slytones.

The striking of a match sparks a fanfare of enticement, its blowing out the trigger to a feisty stomp built on ska clipped riffs and jazz seeded swing. Keys and guitars instantly have feet and hips involved whilst the dark tones of the bass along with the infectious hooks, simply work on the imagination. The track continues to stroll along with 12 Stone Toddler/ Mynie Moe like devilry, a flowing torrent of unpredictability lighting up and bewitching from every move taken before it all gets turned on its head for a garage rock prowl reminiscent of Th’ Legendary shack Shakers. Grisly barker like vocals leads the fresh parade of sinister carnival-esque flirtation, keys and rhythms an insatiable romp in the shadow soaked shuffle now toying with ears and brewing even thicker enjoyment. All the time the song is still weaving a virulent swing and psychotic drama, every passing minute an adventure of individual design with superbly woven styles but always leading back to the rich contagion of its original psych kissed and energetically rabid swing.

As if one irresistible treat was not enough, Thomas Thumb brings its own maze of ingenuity in sound and invention. Opening with a gospel seeded dose of harmonies and ambience around the leading edge of the main vocals and narrative, the song subsequently opens into mystique lined psychedelic scenery brimming with creative theatre and picturesque tempting. Like a blend of The Doors, Arthur Brown, Rocket From The Crypt, and Tankus The Henge, the song swarms over ears with invasive magnetism, every touch a slight evolution from the last before the track bursts into a sturdy garage rock canter which steers towards a Queens Of The Stone Age meets Faith No More/6:33 devilment.

Both tracks are glorious, a must for anyone with a taste for avant-garde and psychedelically warped adventure, but songs which flow with a natural and skilfully infectious, and wonderfully unpredictable, waltz. The Slytones is a carnival of invention, mischief, and most of all unstoppable fun so do yourself a favour and check them and especially Shake The Cage out.

Shake The Cage is out now.

Dates for The Slytones and Moulettes tour this September! :

16th September                   Southport                     Atkinson

17th September                   St Helens                       Citadel

18th September                   Halifax                           Square Chapel

19th September                     Morecambe                  Hothouse

20th September                   Ramsbotton Festival   Manchester

http://www.facebook.com/theslytones    https://twitter.com/theslytones

Ringmaster 01/08/2015

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

 

Russkaja – Peace, Love & Russian Roll

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Our own introduction to Austrian turbo polk metallers Russkaja was through their third album Energia! and there is no denying it stole our ears and lustful soul with ease. Now the septet returns with its successor Peace, Love & Russian Roll and fair to say the devilish fun continues. The album in many ways seems a more concentrated attempt at flirting with the broadest attention, songs sung predominantly in English this time around and the bedlamic nature of their songwriting turned down a touch, but it does not stop the band unleashing another manic and exhilarating stomp.

Formed in 2005 by vocalist Georgij A. Makazaria, Vienna hailing Russkaja has a sound which embraces the essences of its member’s Ukrainian, Austrian, and Russian heritage, the latter especially a potent hue in an adventure which entangles folk, punk, ska, jazz, metal, polka…well you name it and it will be in there as shown by both Energia! and now Peace, Love & Russian Roll. As suggested the band seems to be looking at stirring up a wider spotlight of attention with their new album, but in no way does it mean they are dipping into commercial attributes to cheat the imagination and fans, just that Peace, Love & Russian Roll has, well I guess it is a more mature and knowing touch to the songwriting and sound behind its magnetic schizo waltz.

The festival of flavour and adventure starts with the body igniting Rock’n Roll Today. Its opening fanfare of trumpet has ears instantly hooked, with the scythes of energy, riffs, and drum stick swipes only adding to the enticing. Within a few more breaths the track is in full throttle, stampeding through ears with a punk ferocity, multi-flavoured tenacity, and a web of rhythms which, as the sound, shifts gait and nature with every passing clutch of seconds and inventive twist. Vocally Makazaria growls as he leads the boisterous revelry, feet soon a blur in return and hips swinging to the breakout of ska seeded hooks. Like a mix of Kontrust and Tankus The Henge, the track sets the union between album and listener off in rigorously contagious and thrilling style, especially with its fifties rock ‘n’ roll detour towards its exhausting climax.

   The following Slap Your Face equally has the senses and imagination aflame, and again it all starts with an irresistible entrance which this time is blessed with the kind of blaze of brass that Roxy Music cast in their heyday. Soon metal riffs and beats back up its tempting, the mix persistently punctuating the ska seeded funk swagger which soon breaks out. As the first, the song is a flowing stroll of infectiousness and invention. Its fusion of sound reminds of Biting Elbows and Gogol Bordello at times with the added spice of King Kurt in for good measure, and fair to say that if as its predecessor, it is not luring your body and vocal involvement within the first minute, you should check you have a pulse.

Hometown Polka calms things down a touch with a restrained saunter spiced by the teasing violin strings of Mia Nova which provide a charming welcome. Its catchiness is in full flow pretty much straight away though, growing with strength as lively crescendos to the song come littered with a throaty bassline, mass vocals lures, and swinging traditional temptation. The dark allure of H-G. Gutternigg’s potete (a hybrid of bass trumpet and trombone), only brings greater flirtation to the song, complementing the spicy trumpet of Rainer Gutternigg and the melodic dance set by Engel Mayr’s guitar simultaneously.

A further breath can be taken thanks to There Was A Time, a warm yet melancholic croon of voice and sound. Once more infectiousness is as ripe as the skills breeding the total seduction, the English sung reflection making another persuasion impossible to not join within one round of its chorus. The sublime persuasion is matched by the Latin sparked El Pueblo Unido, its Spanish sung and South American coloured tones the canvas for a rousing ska infused canter complete with climatic crescendos and mariachi like drama.

597_Russkaja_RingMaster Review   Lovegorod wears its ska influences with a broad creative smile whilst Parachute guided by the pulsating beats of Mario Stübler is a folk shaped swing of melodic and lyrical romance hugged by siren-esque harmonies and trembling Mediterrean caresses. Both songs hold attention and imagination in firm and pleasing hands but each finds itself over shadowed by the theatre of the following Let’s Die Together. Arguably the most traditionally Russian bred song on the album, it is a bordering on schizophrenic maelstrom of voice and sound which boils into a familiar and addictive quickstep. Its energy and passion increases with every swaying step, its roaring catchiness of band cries over a deeply hooking swing, sheer inescapable virulence.

One major triumph is backed by another in the noir lit prowl of Salty Rain. Dark rock ‘n’ roll with a healthy spice of jazz and melodic sultriness, the song swiftly entrances body and imagination, once again hips coaxed into eager movement as the immersive narrative grabs thoughts. A core ska spine of guitar binds the outstanding track’s varied beauty together, alone manipulating limbs before letting You Are The Revolution flick the switch to another raucous outpouring of sound, attitude, and energy. Metal and punk collude to create the raw and gripping stomping with the bass of Dimitrij Miller, not for the first time, a prime protagonist in song and ears. Of course as volatile as it is, there is a contagion to its tempest which is just as mouth-watering as the turbulence around it.

Peace, Love And Russian Roll concludes with firstly the country rock/folk croon of Radio Song, a serenade as lyrically mischievous as it is musically tangy, and finally its title track. The last song’s name just about sums up it and the album’s contents, Russian rock devilry spawned by the theme of uniting in the good things to make life and the planet a better place. It is a glorious end to another delicious slab of unpredictable and inimitable aural festivity. If pushed previous album Energia! with its less polished and more of a raw toning still edges it as our favourite Russkaja moment but Peace, Love & Russian Roll is right up there leaving so many other offerings this year in its wake.

Peace, Love & Russian Roll is available now via Napalm Records http://shop.napalmrecords.com/russkaja

http://www.russkaja.com/    https://www.facebook.com/russkajaofficial

RingMaster 26/07/2015

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 Meow Meows – Friends On Benefits EP

meow meows_RingMaster Review

Starting with one of the most flirtatious embraces likely to be heard this summer and proceeding to cast another two slices of pure aural suggestiveness, the Friends On Benefits EP from UK ska rockers The Meow Meows, puts the irresistible into virulent temptation. Three songs of the Brighton nine-piece’s increasingly renown fusion of eighties ska and even older garage rock with a more than healthy punk bred diversity, the EP is one inescapable incitement for body and imagination.

The Meow Meows emerged on the Brighton live scene around 2005, the collective rising from the ashes of several bands from the south-coast ska-punk scene. It was not long before their reputation and fan-base flourished through their energetic live presence and a sound which bewitched feet and ears with infectious ease. The years since forming have seen the band share stages with the likes of The Temptations, The Skatalites, Reel Big Fish, The Beat, The Selecter, King Blues, The Skints, and Hollie Cook amongst many, and the release of a couple of well-received albums. Debut full-length Songs From The Fridge stirred up plenty of attention but it is probably fair to say that its 2013 successor Somehow We Met, helped push the band into new spotlights. Friends On Benefits, like that album, was recorded with producer and reggae legend Prince Fatty and quickly confirms The Meow Meows as one of the UK’s truly instinctive creators of contagion.

cover_RingMaster Review     The seeds to the Friends On Benefits EP arose from the band being one of ten artists commissioned by Fuel Theatre for their Music to Move to project, its aim to create works from bands in union with choreographers which would inspire the general public to dance. Equipped with another pair of toe inciting swingers, also loaded with humour laced and snarling social /political themed lyrics, band and release swiftly set hips to work with the EP’s title track. Brass and rhythms instantly collude in a gentle but forceful sway as guitars within another breath add their sultry hues to the melodic smile of the keys. Alternating their individual vocals over the verses, both Danny and Hanna spark further hunger, the two ladies temptress like within the rousing swagger and shuffle of the song. With a whiff of The Bodysnatchers to it, as well as The Beaubowbelles and The Jellycats, the track is a spellbinding and lingering bounce of a persuasion swiftly matched by its successor.

London Road has an even chirpier gait to its stroll, brass and beats quick-footed protagonists within the key’s smouldering caress. As in the first, the music embraces the vocals with a more restrained energy yet it never loses the infectious lure ripe in its presence and enterprise, in fact springing new melodic flames with every twist of its irresistible tempting. As it proceeds with a distinctive and magnetically quaint Hammond organ tone seducing, the song gently and seamlessly evolves to subsequently emerge with a Martha and the Muffins like new wave colouring which seems to feed and accelerate the excellent ska fuelled and increasingly agitated climax of the outstanding song.

The EP is completed by Tits & Hatred, a more old school punk endeavour which echoes with essences of bands like Au Pairs and The Raincoats within its severely tantalising and eagerly varied character. The track is again primarily brewed from the band’s seventies inspired 2-tone/ska punk inspirations which of course are in turn dosed up with the band’s compelling touch and imagination; the result being one mouth-watering end to one thrilling proposition.

The Meow Meows create ska punk ’n’ roll to lose your inhibitions and body to, with Friends On Benefits the spark to lustful endeavour.

The Friends On Benefits EP is available on vinyl from July 13th via Jump Up! Records and digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/friends-on-benefits-single/id997669416 or http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00Y6EIGXO?keywords=Friends%20On%20Benefits%20EP&qid=1436784848&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

http://www.themeowmeows.com/     https://www.facebook.com/themeowmeows

RingMaster 13/07/2015

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

 

 

LaBrassBanda – Europa

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To support and celebrate the band’s recent UK tour, German nine-piece LaBrassBanda have re-released their acclaimed 14-track album Europa, and if like us you missed it first time around, now is the time to join their compelling festival of sound. Uniting the richest contagious elements of everything from techno to funk, reggae to ska, and punk to alternative rock pop, the Bavarian outfit take ears and imagination on a euro stomp of irresistible creative revelry.

LaBrassBanda was formed in 2007, one of its founders, vocalist/trumpeter Stefan Dettl inspired by the Youngblood Brass Band. With a few line-up changes and an expansion of personnel, the band has persistently ventured across Europe with their sound, becoming renowned for their high energy live performances. As mentioned the band’s sound is bred on styles and flavours as diverse as the different musical backgrounds and tastes of its members. Originally released in 2013, Europa gets a fresh UK concentrated unleashing to accompany their just completed and highly successful tour and before the full complement of trumpeters Jörg Hartl and Korbinian Weber, trombonist Manuel Winbeck, bassist Mario Schönhofer, drummer Manuel Da Coll, percussionist Tobias Weber, tuba player Stefan Huber, and guitarist Fabian Jungreithmayr alongside Dettl hit the festivals of Europe.

The album fires up ears and thoughts straight away with opener Tecno, its sound as you would expect from its title a vibrant enticement for feet and dance-floors aligned to a great throaty shadowing of bass and tuba. The expressive vocals of Dettl are equally low in tone but as magnetic as the flames of brass which flirt with the senses across the relatively restrained but tenacious encounter. Thoughts of eighties bands like Pigbag and Mouth spring up as the song dances with ears before passing the baton of infectiousness over to the following Jacqueline. Immediately more feisty and energetic than its predecessor, the song swings and grooves with a funk bred air and gypsy folk devilry, again body swerves and lively feet the target.

0888837022521     The album hits its pinnacle early with the exceptional Holland, the track a slightly deranged waltz of hip hop tinged vocals and an accompanying mashing of syllables courted by a soundtrack of busy and psyche seducing brass. It is just the start of the fun and lustful persuasion though, a fluid step into a reggae spiced, punk hued romp reminding of bands like Asian Dub Foundation causing pure addiction. A track to bring graveyards alive and lungs exhaustion, the track is pure manna for body and soul. What it is about who knows, being Bavarian illiterate we fail you on that aspect as there is not an English word spoken across the whole album but we are led to believe plenty of songs are about beer, girls and partying.

Schweden next nudges and entices the listener with an electro beat based offering equipped with a potent seduction of bass which blossoms into a sultry croon of brass and melodic persuasion. It also has a whiff of nostalgia, parts of it reminding of Dalek I Love You whilst it’s more feisty and lively exotic catchiness has a sense of Mano Negra to its enterprise. The freely flowing encounter never erupts into a blaze but relentlessly seduces before allowing the agitated adventure of Z’spat Dro to tease and bounce with ears and appetite. A punk tenacity and energy surges through the infectious anthemic romp, think Biting Elbows meets Les Négresses Vertes and you have another treat of a track.

The punchy Nackert with is rock pop croon keeps the energies and thorough enjoyment in top gear whilst Sarajevo takes a gentler but no less enthralling flight across a boldly simmering but reserved scenery of melodic craft. The elegant instrumental has the imagination casting its own travelogue of adventure, brass and guitar providing the colour and rhythms the drama for thought sculpted exploits.

Entering into the second half of the album, Europa evolves into a more evocative and suggestive persuasion than the more forceful devilry of its opening half, though first of all the cosmopolitan soundscape of Frankreich reveals itself as another instrumental with bold rousing hints for ears and thoughts to play with. The colder climate of the melancholically charmed Russland comes next, its slow haunting an immersive caress whilst Western straight after saunters along with a jazz funk smile and brassy mysticism as vocals unite in harmonic, almost shamanic prowess.

Though admittedly there was pining for the outright devilment of a Jacqueline of Holland at this point, the album still has the listener firmly departed from the real world attention wise with each proposal, a success continued with the warm and dark theatre of Griechenland and following that, the folk lined shuffle of Vogerl where that gypsy folk/punk tempting returns to take feet and emotions on another flirtatious dance.

Europa ends with firstly the highly persuasive Opa and lastly the melancholic, funereal like sigh of Hymne, arguably the one time not understanding the spoken narrative is missed, though the wake like reverence of the music explains plenty.

It is fair to say that Europa is easily one of our favourite encounters this year and at times offers songs sparking a lust which borders on illegal. To bring your summer and year to life, if you have not already, time to join the LaBrassBanda festivities we suggest.

Europa is available now via Sony Music/RCA @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/europa/id651995604

http://www.labrassbanda.com   https://www.facebook.com/LaBrassBanda

RingMaster 12/05/2015

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

Grassroutes – Subliminal

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Breathless and basking in a ska shaped incitement which never tires however it comes, we eagerly suggest checking out the new single from UK rockers Grassroutes. Drawing on the ska/ indie fusion which goes to good use by numerous bands, the Leamington Spa quintet give it their own unique flavouring and rampancy to leave ears excited and knees buckling under the weight of the enthusiasm it inspires. Subliminal is a devilment, an insatiable persuasion which if you have a penchant for ska and the likes of Madness, The Vox Dolomites , and The Talks all rolled up into one new adventure, the closest we can come up with to describe their sound, then Grassroutes is for you.

There is plenty more to the Grassroutes sound to that suggested above of course, one additional spicing maybe coming from the Jamaican descent of vocalist/rhythm guitarist Jay Hall and certainly through his reggae inspirations. Linking up with lead guitarist Ben Knight, a long time school friend, the pair started indie rock band The Royal Players. It was the seed and gateway to the emergence of Grassroutes, with line-up changes over the years subsequently bringing bassist Justin Bygrave, keyboardist/guitarist Levi Washington, and drummer Jimmy Barnwell into the band’s fold. Year and a half on from its start, the band is still earning a potent reputation for their live performances and now working on their debut album, to which Subliminal is a teaser Grassroutes - Subliminalalready brewing up impatient anticipation in some quarters.

The first breath of the song brings an earthy bassline and charming melodies cast by guitars and keys. It is a catchy entrance enhanced further by the slightly gravelly tones of Hall and an increasingly stronger swing to the song which infects bass, riffs, and keys alike with every second. An anthemic chorus with full band vocal participation sparks another wave of rich pleasure; its punk lined revelry flirted with by great Mike Barson like mischievous and infectious keys. It all combines for slavery of feet and emotions. A bustling riot and temptation of sound is never an offering to turn away, but especially in a track like this where from its infectious and relatively restrained moments, it ignites with increasing virulence on its way to an exhilarating climax.

Listening to Subliminal again and again, a whisper of King Prawn shows itself within the single, a scent which can only ever be a good thing at any time though again like all colouring it only adds to a proposition which is solely Grassroutes. The single is primed to set the year alight, to bring the summer in early though thoughts and emotions are left with just one thing to say…bring on the album.

Subliminal is available from Feb 9th.

https://www.facebook.com/grassroutesband

RingMaster 03/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from http://www.thereputationlabel.today

 

The Cardboard Crowns – Global Citizen

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There are treats, there are triumphs, and there is undiluted devilry, and in the case of Global Citizen there are irrepressible riots of combining all three. The album comes from Canadian rockers The Cardboard Crowns, a band creating a mischievous maelstrom of adventure from the raw tenacity of punk, the majestic swagger of ska, and the sultry charm of reggae, not forgetting a very healthy dose of pop. Formed in 2009, the band has been a relative secret outside of their home borders but it is easy with a little bit of luck to see that changing thanks to the thrilling stomp of Global Citizen.

Hailing from Aylmer, Quebec and now Ottawa based, The Cardboard Crowns’ seeds begin in high school with Joel “Rat” Kuehn (vocals/guitar), David “Tokyo” Speirs (drums), and Matthew “Googles” Megannety (lead guitar), the first two already strong friends before meeting the third in that place of learning. They formed a trio of garage bands, The Madd Fizz, The Fog Pilots, and The Rocket-Propelled Space-Fish along the way of their musical journey, potent steps which have laid the seeds for what they offer today. It was with the link-up with bassist Franks “Mystery Skunk” Cuningham around five years ago though that the spark for Cardboard Crowns was ignited, and from that point it has been full steam ahead for the band and its insatiable revelry.

It does not take long to realise the eclectic and inventive expanse of sound and imagination which fuels the album, the first three songs enough to reveal the wonderfully unpredictable and infectious variety at play. Opener Pulling Teeth sets things off, its opening and immediately engaging acoustic caress and alluring vocals folk like with a summery breeze to their relaxed temptation. It is just the gentle coaxing to bigger and bolder things though, energy building towards a rampant stride of punchy rhythms and tangy grooves driven by equally tenacious vocals from Kuehn and band. The song reminds of British band Knots, its emerging instinctive and anthemic stomp inescapable flirtation for feet and passions. The track is exceptional, fiery blazes of raw guitar only adding to the drama and power of the brilliant encounter.

Its might is soon backed up as the album’s title track and the following Hats Off unveil their distinctive and diverse designs. The first of the two strolls in on a smiling stride of reggae seeded Album Cover (Small)riffs and a rhythmic swing which soon has body and imagination swaying in unison. There is a just as vibrant pop punk enterprise to the song, bands like Smashmouth and Reel Big Fish coming to mind as it swerves and entices with vivacious melodies and bubbly chords, though the track ultimately evolves a unique identity. It’s smiling gait and devilry is matched by its successor, ska bred stabs igniting ears within seconds as a punkish air sets in motion another contagious persuasion. The song though not flawless, the band shouts not working for personal tastes, manages to smoulder and bounce simultaneously, like an exotic temptress with seductive curves and voracious appetite.

Sun And The Stars winds around ears next; its tone equipped with a country twang aligned to smoky keys and Southern kissed sonic flaming. Again sound and vocals provides a seriously catchy and excitable devilry and even though it lacks the final persuasive spark which ignited its predecessors, the track leaves appetite hungrier and satisfaction fuller. It is a level of pleasure straight away thrust to new levels by the outstanding Shut My Mouth, another incendiary romp of piercing hooks and devilish enterprise allowing pop punk and ska to collude in a virulently infectious rascality which might even have the power to bring the feet of the lifeless to dance.

The thrilling adventures and diversity just keeps coming as Olé brings its Latin ska tempting to tease and excite ears and imagination. The cosmopolitan shuffle is a festival of swarthy rhythms and rosy faced melodies, a lively footed canter merging the rebellious charm of Mano Negra with the seductive zeal of Les Négresses Vertes. At the song’s end its gentle hug allows a breather to be taken before the rugged brilliance of Your Son has body and emotions leaping again. Adding new causticity to vocals and chords, the track switches its roars and croons for the album’s most ferociously captivating offering. Pop and punk collide, virtually brawling throughout as they breed some of the sharpest appetising hooks and rhythmic provocation you are likely to devour this year.

The release is brought to an end by firstly the seriously magnetic Bounty On His Head, a part punk and part folk romp, and lastly through the carnival-esque tempting of Generations. The final song is a mix of gypsy punk and folk vaudeville, like a mix of Tankus The Henge and Flogging Molly, and a sensational end to one scintillating tapestry of sound and invention.

It is hard to imagine The Cardboard Crowns remaining a relatively unknown proposition once Global Citizen works its alchemy around the world. The album offering music just as it should be; imaginative, passionate, and pure fun.

Global Citizen is available now @ http://thecardboardcrowns.bandcamp.com/

http://www.thecardboardcrowns.com/

RingMaster 04/12/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Talks – Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves

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You may have already found your feel good encounter of 2014 but it is never a bad thing to keep looking right up to the closing days, especially when as winter opens its eyes you get a treat as irresistible as Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves, the new album from UK ska rockers The Talks. Bringing eleven tracks to infest feet, the body, and the imagination, the release is a stomp of addictive revelry which cannot fail to put a smile on the face and emotions.

Since the release of their debut single Picture This in 2008, The Talks have been on a steady climb with the past couple of years seeing a fevered acceleration of attention for their fusion of ska, punk, reggae, and two-tone. First album Live Now Pay Later! in 2012 awoke a fresh spotlight on the Hull quartet which last year’s Westsinister E.P and singles Can Stand The Rain, which featured Neville Staple from The Specials, and Friday Night swiftly pushed to new levels. Alongside the releases, the band’s live presence has been just as dynamic in garnering acclaim and luring the passions, the foursome of Patrick Pretorius (vocals/guitars/sax), Jody Moore (vocals/guitars/keys), Iain Allen (bass), and Richard Lovelock (drums) sharing stages with the likes of Madness, The Specials, Rancid, The Beat, and The King Blues, as well as playing festivals such as This Is Ska, Mighty Sounds, and Rebellion over time. The previous EP was a highly anticipated encounter with Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves finding itself more eagerly awaited, and again the band has surpassed hopes and expectation with their contagious exploits.

The band’s sound lies somewhere between the provocative roars of The Vox Dolomites, the punk causticity of The Members, the melodic reggae and ska charms of By The Rivers and The Beat respectively, and the virulent devilment of The Jellycats. It is a proposition though which whilst embracing familiar essences develops its own unique devilry as swiftly shown with album opener Don’t Look Behind You. The initial warm embrace of keys has ears and thoughts engaged immediately, especially as riffs chop and rhythms start leaping as keys open up a new inventive flirtation whilst the pulses and strokes of the song work on the passions. Loaded with bait feet cannot resist, the song spreads its seduction further with the mischief of vocals and bass alongside the jagged majesty of guitar stabs, hooks, and beats.

The brilliant start is emulated instantly by recent single Radio, an insatiable two tone fuelled escapade with the delicious whiff of The Selector to it. Within moments its chorus is leading the Picture 156anthemic stroll, the song’s swagger as virulent as the brass flames and exotic keys colouring it. There is a punkish air to the vocals which again reminds of The Members whilst the punchy rhythms consume the vivacious dance of the encounter like an epidemic. The track is aural addiction, a breath-taking protagonist of body and emotions leaving a tall order for the following Tear Us Apart to match up to. With sultry keys and warm harmonies its first breath, the song is soon stirring up ears and imagination with its reggae bred enterprise and melodic summer. It mesmerises with its caressing canter of sound, reminding of fellow Brits Shanty as it floats and immerses the senses in its mouth-watering adventure.

Both Fire and Ceasefire keep the thrills ablaze, the first a muscular slab of ska provocation with bulky bass lines and feisty riffs pouncing on ears with antagonistic intensity and infectious rigour. The track has its nostrils flaring from the first second but the increasingly impressive vocal melodies and dramatic brass hues tempers the roar for another riveting big boned incitement; think King Prawn meets Lazy Habits and you are somewhere near the potency of the song. Its successor which features Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox of The Kings Blues, is an immediate blur of sonic drama and rhythmic provocation, a great dirty baseline aligned to agitated beats the frame for combative vocals and smouldering melodies. Teasing with dub enterprise over a ska crafted canvas, the track bounces with confrontation and climatic resourcefulness, every twist a striking reward for ears and a spark for thoughts to match the lyrical impact.

The gentle warmth and catchy romance of Light Up replaces the previous exhilarating tension of its predecessor, the swaying proposition a melody rich call with keys and harmonies embracing another irrepressible earthy bass temptation. Its masterful charm and joy is followed by the pop punk infused All in a Day, the band regaling the album with yet another thrilling slice of diverse and creative magnetism. A mix of Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish but unique again, the song bounds along with a recognisable air around a creative humidity which fires up into an irresistible persuasion, especially once the outstanding escape of deranged keys occurs.

It is a track, as all to be fair, which feet and voice of the listener are unlikely to resist, a lure across the album which is no more inescapable as in the brilliant Hacks. New wave soaked pop punk meets the spicy flirtation of Bad Manners, the track is an ingenious enslavement of ears and passions based on a ridiculously captivating rhythmic enticing and spicy guitar tempting, all matched in expression and allurement by the punchy vocals. The song tells you all you need to know about The Talks, their inflamed imagination and diverse sound, it all encapsulated in two minutes of instinctively seductive alchemy.

The equally thrilling Tune In steps up next to seize the passions, its opening jangle of chords the lead into a melodic coaxing straight out of the Martha and The Muffins songbook ,which in turn shares its space with swipes of feisty rock and ska sculpted endeavour. As punk as it is ska and adrenaline fuelled rock pop, the song stalks ears with a predacious ingenuity before making way for the smoky presence of Sam, reggae and indie rock embracing in a humid embrace, which in turn leaves for final track Alright with Me to close things up. The last song has blues flair to its keys and a choppy texture to the guitar enterprise shaping the expressive musical narrative, a transfixing croon to bring the album to a fine end and show yet more of the variety and creative depths of The Talks.

It is impossible to listen to Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves just once in one sitting, and certain tracks many more times on top. As stated at the start it is a feel good album but more than that, it is a release from a band to which invention and uncompromising adventure is as instinctive as the rapturous infectious sounds they seem to have stockpiled up inside them.

Commoners, Peers, Drunks and Thieves is available now via All Our Own Records now @ http://www.thetalks.co.uk/store/4575625721

http://www.thetalks.co.uk

RingMaster 25/11/2014

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