Houdini: Into The Woods

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    Alternative rock/noise rock conjurers Houdini has for a long time been one of the most inventive and promising bands in the UK, not only with their impressive releases and live performances but also in helping and working with other upcoming bands in the Medway area in Kent where they reside. As to date deserved national awareness has eluded them but with new single Into The Woods the time of change just might have been triggered. The track is a magnetic and fiery slice of imagination and enterprise dripping with the now established Houdini sound but at the same time shows another strong step in songwriting maturity and sound contagion.

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Greg Webster, bassist Giles Barrett, and drummer Tom Bonner, the band since forming in 2009 has made a strong name for themselves with fans, the critical media, and extensive radio play with the likes of The Bone Orchard and 2951561600-1Audioburger. Their first two singles What A Fire and especially Smokers Cough, in 2009 and 2010 respectively, captured the imagination of a great many whilst their debut EP a year later, Deadlines, elevated the band to one expected to make a major impact on the British rock scene. Admittedly things have not exactly exploded to that point yet but as a split release with Frau Pouch last year showed, it was not down to any lack of invention or inspiring creativity from the band.

Into The Woods as mentioned takes the band nearer to that breakthrough, and though arguably it has misplaced the catchiness which marked tracks like Smokers Cough and Deadlines, the song has evolved a richer and more expansive breath which offers an equally irresistible encounter. Opening with a sonic tease and delicious restrained guitar lashes, the song settles into a keen romp with bass and drums inciting an immediate union between ear and the lure of the more serious nature of the song, though alongside there is constantly the teasing melodic mischief and swagger which marks any Houdini songs as theirs. The vocals of Webster has an expressive tinge to them as expected, but also carries a difference to their presence which matches the sound, a growing of style and intent.

Across its flank the track twists and investigates a variety of gaits and corners within its overall strolling engagement, each adding extra intensive flavour and intrigue to a song which wonderfully never settles down into expectations or presumed stances. The single is an exceptional release and without question the most accomplished and inventive release from the band so far.

If you have yet to discover Houdini you have missed out, but hit up their Bandcamp and you can eagerly catch up and feast upon a band which brings a fresh and invigorating to British rock.




RingMaster 21/03/2013

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Houdini/Frau Pouch: Split EP


May 28th sees the return of an irresistible friend and the reason for a new bout of infatuated stalking. Let us elaborate. That date is when the simply stunning new split EP from UK bands Houdini and Frau Pouch is unleashed upon the world and it is destined to leave ears and hearts blistered and awash in salacious wanting. Houdini is a trio which are no strangers to RR and a band who without fail always ignites the hottest fires with their scuzz punk creations. Frau Pouch though are completely new in name and sound here and easily the sexiest and most essential conjurors of sadistic dirty post punk scratchings heard in a very long time, and the instigators of energies and wicked desires that we never knew existed.

To say the EP is impressive is an understatement, alone the duo of songs from each band would bring excitement and heaps of enthused attention but together it creates a release which shows the deep quality within UK indie music if you go beneath the artificial surface.

Houdini set a flurry of ears and emotions blazing with their brilliant second single Smokers Cough though their first release What A Fire, and its more singular punk sound was not exactly slow in announcing the promise of the band. Smokers Cough was stunning, an instant contagious pull into their inventive and addictive garage punk scuzz rock sound which still has the same magnetic power two years on. The following Deadlines EP only confirmed the acclaim their debut release deservedly earned but with the two songs on the new EP the band has brewed all their invention and ability into a blitz of garage/punk rock triumph. Don’t Look Down leaps upon the ear with vindictive riffs and intimidating rhythms, guitarist Greg Webster, drummer Tom Bonner, and bassist Giles Barrett all taunting with energy and intent whilst crafty melodies wind themselves around the senses from underneath the powerful and muscular attack. Once more the band find a chorus and line of hooks as infectious as any germ to make a mockery of what most pop punk bands come up with.

The siren pull of that song is replaced with a bristling cloud of electrified scuzz in Your Dog Is Not A Horse. With a meaner heart and darker intensity the song mugs the senses with heavy riffs and smog like energy to outstanding effect. Imagine Reuben, The Fall and first generation Faith No More and you get an idea, it is immense.

Frau Pouch is a different beast entirely though from the same overall stable as their partners in crime. Another trio in the irrepressible shape of Joe Wise (guitar/vocals), James Thompson (bass), and Suzanne Freeman (drums), the band incite all the wrong feelings and mischievous intent, and it is wonderful. The best way to describe them is as the bastard evil offspring from an illicit intrusion between The Fall and The Victorian English Gentlemens Club with some fingering from The Cramps and Turbogeist. The band thump and bruise the senses with highly charged melodies and belligerent riffs all soaked in vintage discord and infected defilement, the result pure magic. Their first song Sexy Architecture quizzes and attacks synapses with unbridled choppy serpentine riffs and insane melodic scrapings lighting them up like fireworks whilst the  vocals come over like an over exited Mark E Smith as they tease and twist the words through the ear.

Second track Sexy Mittens is even better as the band add some psyche punk to the mixture. The song prowls and sways with hypnotic posture, its energy a wanton violation upon the ear with tempestuous acidic ingenuity. Still reminding of the previously mentioned bands you can add some mesmeric noise tease from the likes of The Gaa Gaas and Engerica to the frenetic bedlam of discord. With both songs barely seeing two minutes in their binoculars it offers up the only gripe as one could listen to this for hours and not find a lull in the pleasure.

If there is only two bands you check out over the weeks ahead make it these two. Houdini and Frau Pouch have combined for one of the most stirring and invigorating, not to mention brilliant releases so far this year and most likely for the months and months ahead



RingMaster 25/05/2012

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