Bird Don’t Sing is the second EP from UK band Rooster Cole and confirmation, if we needed it, that the man behind it all is one of Britain’s finest atmospheric and emotive song-smiths and vocalists. It offers four diverse and intensely provocative songs which just grab ears and imagination, transporting them into the heart of a sound described as ‘Bluesman Mariachi Soul’, a term which really does sum up the mouth-watering experience on offer.
Rooster Cole is the solo project of Black Black Hills frontman Mark S. Aaron, a band which itself was an acclaim garnering and feverishly devoured proposition which still has many hoping and waiting on a hint of a return. Last year saw Aaron unveil a couple of songs which swiftly whipped up keen attention, including ours, but it was debut single More Than You at the beginning of the year which nudged real focus on The Brighton based singer-songwriter’s emerging presence. That poke became a rich wake-up call as the single revealed itself to be the lead song from the similarly named first EP from Aaron. The April released More Than You EP, was a creative web of intrigue and dark adventure with a general climate as sultry and romantically dangerous as the mix of impressive and individual songs within it. Now five months on, another quartet of spicy encounters have arrived within the new EP to whisk the listener off into flirtatious shadows and emotionally haunting landscapes, and it is easy to suspect, even greater attention and rewards.
The release opens with the instantly warm and lively Head Over Heels, and a dazzle of crystal melodies against the darker tempting of bass and guitar. Almost as quickly, the distinctive tones of Aaron cup ears with rich expression shaped by mariachi honed theatre. It is a magnetic sound and presence the man has; a cross between a melancholic Elvis and a mournful Roy Orbison yet with an instinctive swing and smile that simultaneously tempers and accentuates the shadows at the soul of the words and music. The song continues to bloom as guitar strings cast a weave of variety and enterprise matched by the vocals with bewitching effect. Delicious elements of unpredictable discord also come out to play whilst electronic beats, with a dulled sharpness, knock on the door of the song trying to get in. Theirs is a strange resonating touch which just works and though they would not be missed if not there such the potency of the track, they add a little more drama to contemplate.
The title track of Bird Don’t Sing follows, pulsating beats and tender melodies the first touch, the inviting voice of Aaron the second. In moments it has ears and thoughts firmly engaged, electronic tweets sparsely reverberating within the sombre but again welcoming ambience of the song. Like a fusion of The Walker Brothers and Nick Cave, the track seduces with a noir charm and elegance spiked by scuzzy eruptions which smother the senses in brief and quickly passing, but almost smoggy crescendos. It is a creative collision between textures, even if in swift moments, which unleashes the sorrow of the song in gentle persuasion and devouring intensity, again a blend which just works around the dark tale and heavy enticing voice of Aaron.
If the second song is awash with melancholy, O Darkness Come For Me right after is drenched in it, and similarly simply captivates. There is a fifties hue aligned to gothic sadness which drips from every pore of the song whilst wistful keys and a solemn piano melody court each other’s emotive beauty. It is absorbing stuff and with the ever sullen and enthralling voice of Aaron casting the narrative’s sorrow, also quite irresistible.
In saying that, it still gets outshone by final song and rousing stomp, Waiting Place. The track was one of the two songs first revealed by Aaron before the first single, and a glorious bewitchment which slowly washed over ears as its piano led walk embraced discord kissed melodies and sombre yet emotionally incendiary textures and vocals, it was too. Between its first appearance and now though, it seems like Aaron has fed it Viagra as it has returned as a far more boisterous and refreshed encounter, bouncing with the sultriness of a temptress and romping with the tenacious canter of a stallion. The track still lies under a red skied climate of suggestiveness over a dustily emotive landscape, but like a bold Ranchero baring his soul with troubadour revelry it now infests ears with a funky, discord lined and noir folk adventure in word and sound. The track is superb, managing to go from being something truly special to revealing a whole new character and intent which is still nothing less than magnificent. Simply it is dark rock ‘n’ roll at its most resourceful and invigorating.
Fair to say the final song steals the show, but from first maudlin note to its lingering last, the Bird Don’t Sing EP is majestic. If Rooster Cole has still not reached your personal playlists yet…you really are missing out.
The Bird Don’t Sing EP is available from September 18th via the Rooster Cole Bandcamp.
Pete Ringmaster 18/09/2015
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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