Stoor – Self Titled

stoorJosef K meeting Wall Of Voodoo at the behest of Dead Kennedys with the rhythmic virulence and discord of The Fire Engines

No idea what is in the water over at Stereogram Recordings but this past twelve months has seen the label release a clutch of albums that simply ignite ears and connect with the imagination like no others. Amongst them have been encounters with bands such as St. Christopher Medal, The Filthy Tongues, and The Eastern Swell. Now adding to that adventurous collection of treats is the self-titled debut album from Dundee based outfit Stoor, a release which just might be the most impressive and ridiculously addictive of the lot.

The Stereogram Recordings offering is actually a full re-release of the band’s first album which was self-released on vinyl last year but sure to be the first real engagement for a great many with a quartet which rose up back in the first breaths of the nineties. Musically Stoor seem to embrace post punk/new wave sounds found in the couple of decades before their emergence, and though it is bordering on impossible to pin down their sound imagine Josef K meeting Wall Of Voodoo at the behest of Dead Kennedys with the rhythmic virulence and discord of The Fire Engines and the warped imagination of Pere Ubu in close attendance.

Centred around the off kilter invention of bassist/vocalist Stef Murray, drummer Scott McKinlay, and guitarist Ross Matheson with guitarist Davie Youngblood completing the current line-up, Stoor get straight into ears and psyche with album opener Secret World Of Cement. It is an instrumental which gets right into our already existing passion for post punk devilry, sparking the imagination with its cinematic urban soundscape. Hips and feet are swiftly indulging in its virulent Fire Engines hued strains as hooks and melodies tease and tantalise within something wonderfully akin to the most addictive sixties TV theme tunes.

It is a wonderful start quickly matched up by Liberator, a track just as rapid in its persuasion as spicy lures of guitar link up with the tenacious rhythmic bait laid down by McKinlay. The vocal tones of Murray attract like a mix of Jello Biafra and Pere Ubu’s Dave Thomas, expelling their earnest cries from within another seriously catchy stretch of invention before the brilliant Aye, No raises the ante. A fiercely seductive bass line invades first, strolling from the initial clash of sound to be quickly joined by equally salacious guitar hooks following the same route as Murray’s grooving. Like a pied piper the union draws the listener into an explosive crescendo, riffs and rhythms colliding before the temptation begins all over again with even greater strands of delicious discord involved. All the time Murray places a potent vocal grip on an already eager appetite, backed by the band within what is one gloriously repetitive and enthralling swagger of a song.

art_RingMasterReviewInfect Me steps forward next to keep the enslaving of ears tight, its Gang Of Four like rhythmic escapade chaining attention alone, the brooding basslines and stabs of guitar extra chains to trap attention and ardour. Bursts of raw rock ‘n’ roll only adds to the magnetism as too the distinctive and increasingly flavoursome vocals of Murray, here finding a Stan Ridgway flavour to his excellent theatre of voice. Between them Murray and McKinlay rhythmically have the passions chained up like Houdini, though no escape is possible especially as Matheson and Youngblood create a web of melodic intrigue and deranged drama.

Through the heavier almost muggy escape of Devil Rides Out, a song with a touch of Scars meets again Pere Ubu to it, and the pulsating psych rock infested instrumental of March Of The Molluscs, the album adds further diversity and creative theatre to escalate an already established habituation to its additive prowess, backing their success up with the punk rock of Frack where thoughts of bands like Swell Maps and television Personalities are sparked, though, as constantly across the release, Stoor conjure up proposals unique to their own senses entangling invention.

The calmer saunter of Open The Box comes next, its character a more stable affair but prone to Devo-esque twists and turns before making way to allow the psychedelically spiced Hold That Thought to serenade ears. To its warmer and gentler nature though, there is an underlying tempestuousness which channels its energy into a swinging post punk canter a la The Three Johns.

The bands new single Witchfinder General has ears and lust over excited next, its rhythmic romp alone an unshakeable grip with Murray’s bass swing a predacious seduction reinforced by the tangy weave of guitar and the eager dance of the vocals. Dark and mischievous, compelling and shadowy, the track is superb, a certain doorway into the album come its release though fair to say any track is a suitable invitation.

Going out as it came in with a mouth-watering, imagination stoking instrumental going by the name of Sure Beats Me, a piece which plays like B-52s engaged in carnal knowledge with The Shadows, the album leaves only an urgent urge to dive right back into its body of fun.

Stoor may have been around for a fair few years now but this is the moment they should be enveloped by the biggest spotlights, courtesy of an encounter which has to be considered as an album of the year contender.

Stoor the album is released October 28th on Stereogram Recordings digitally and on CD with the single Witchfinder General out on October 21st.

STOOR are supporting Brix Smith & The Extricated on Sunday 30th October 2016 and The Membranes on Friday 27th January 2017, both nights at Beat Generator in Dundee.

https://www.facebook.com/stoormusic/   http://www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk/artists/stoor/

Pete RingMaster 19/10/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Fuse – Alamein

the fuse_RingMaster Review

It is fair to say that the journey to the release of Alamein, and that of its creators The Fuse themselves, has been a platform of trials and issues to which many other bands would have probably thrown the towel in over long ago. Eight years on the UK rock scene has seen the band suffer member instability and changes, label collapses, and their manager struck down with cancer. The band’s new album in the thoughts of many was destined to never see the light of day, but with an attitude matching and title seemingly inspired by the Winston Churchill quote, ‘Before Alamein, we never had a victory. After Alamein, we never had a defeat’, the London band’s offering is ready to captivate grip ears.

Formed in 2006, The Fuse soon began enticing ears and interest for their alternative/indie rock sound, and within a year they was heading over to LA to record their debut album after Russ Regan, who discovered and signed Elton John, had heard their single Everybody Knows The Way and signed the band up. In the financial crisis of 2008 though, his Velocity Entertainment went bust leaving no release ready and the band returning to their home city. Back in England, The Fuse continued to lure attention and support with their shows, especially after playing one with Coldplay cover band Coldplace. This triggered more gigs around the UK and in 2010, a tour of Holland supporting Coldplace as well as the sharing of a stage with UB40 and numerous festival spots. More tours and shows in Europe were followed in 2012 by the band headlining the Pembrokeshire Fish Week Festival and Richmond World Music Festival, and the next year playing a couple of shows with Foreigner. Now the quartet of Alex Lato, Simon Bowker, Ed Thorne, and Simon James White have their first album on the launch pad, an fair to say, the Javier Weyler (ex-Stereophonics) produced album reveals a collection of songs which just grab the imagination.

CD_CBwallet_The Fuse_12_06_2015_RingMaster ReviewAlamein opens with the outstanding Black Lion, a song tantalising with almost tribal enticing from its first breath and a cascade of harmonic vocal roars, which in turn sparks a seductive stroll of meaty rhythms and tangy grooves. The song is soon strolling with a swagger and mischievous enterprise, drums and bass a prowling shadow against the bright temptation of the guitars and quickly alluring vocals. The full result is a contagious and increasingly compelling romp inventively setting the album off on a major high and setting a lofty bar for the following Misfit to match. It is a test quickly passed as an electro shimmer of an entrance evolves into a dark Stan Ridgway like pop canter, the track proceeding to flirt with spicy hooks and sparkling melodies over another tenaciously rhythmic adventure. Its colourful mix of sound is matched by a great variety of vocals across the band too, their unions a festival of creative revelry around a lively reflective narrative.

Oxygen steps up next, treating ears to a post punk bass line and matching ambience before the vocals, with melodies in tow, awaken a ray of energy and warmth. As in the first pair of songs, imagination is soon adding little twists of sound and character to the engaging and increasingly emotionally inflamed proposition. Feet and appetite are simply bewitched by the track and indeed Sleuth which shares its resourceful vivacity next. Inside once more contrasts unite, the snarl of the bass and punch of drums tempering but more so complimenting the bubbling keys and vocal vibrancy, it all bound in fiery guitar endeavour. It is a fresh breath of drama and aural heat which is continued through the mellower White Shark and the elegant croon of Rainbows. Neither song quite spark personals tastes as strikingly as their predecessors to be honest, but each, and especially the increasingly rousing latter, grows into a potent and provocative blossom of sound and persuasion.

A twangy tone of guitar quickly makes 3AM an inviting proposal, the song growing with every passing chord into a magnetic blaze, still cored by that great initial bait and increasingly breeding a catchiness which lingers long after its boisterous departure. There are many tracks which wear single on their temptation, this certainly amongst them as too Paint This Town which actually has already had that position and unsurprisingly drawn a great many newcomers to The Fuse. Bounding in on a Blondie-esque dance of melodic flirting, the song swiftly builds its own distinct, infection soaked incitement for body and emotions. Its body of hooks and pop leaded tenacity has the musical shine of bands like Super Happy Fun Club and at times The Killers, whilst providing another pinnacle for Alamein.

The album closes with firstly the emotive and melodic smouldering of Phantom, a song which suggests that Coldplay is certainly amongst the band’s inspirations, and lastly In This World. The final song opens with a Lennon-esque tone to vocals and piano, subsequently growing into another of the slow burning persuasions on the release which builds into a richly satisfying theatre of sound and emotion which finds a potent resemblance to Queen like adventure.

Both songs offer an enjoyable end to a highly pleasing album and long last, proper introduction for the world to The Fuse. There is no doubting their journey to now has been worthwhile and creatively well spent, Alamein emerging as a very rosy addition to the melodic/indie rock discography of 2015.

http://www.thefuse.london/    https://www.facebook.com/thefusemusic/

RingMaster 05/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

Desolation Yes!: Out of Orbit

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Reaping the essences of electro, pop, punk, and rock with many other fiery whispers of sound in the mix, Scottish / Slovakian band Desolation Yes! has released their new album, a collection of songs which rampage with a hunger and instinctive need to provoke and confront. Out of Orbit is a release which perfectly satisfies with infectious enterprise and compelling energy, though at times it struggles to truly ignite the passions. Upon it though the band is experimenting and stretching their diversity with open imagination which is never a bad thing.

The Glasgow based quartet found an escalation in interest in 2008 when the band began working on their debut album, CyberNation with Scottish independent record label Neon Tetra Records, which was released in 2010. The singles Templeton/Instinct (2007) and Future Pop (2008), which subsequently appeared on the album, found a strong reception and soon found extensive radio play to set up the album release as well as a wealth of impressive reviews whilst the band shared stages with the likes of The Whip, Crystal Castles, Alec Empire, Howling Bells, NoMeansNo, Simian Mobile Disco, Jubilee, and Mortiis. 2011 saw the current line-up of Paul Elliott (vocals/synth/programming), Jagged (guitar/programming), Miro Cuba (drummer/percussionist/synth), and Shisho (bass), begin work on Out of Orbit which easily gives evidence of the time and thought the band put into it.

The album explodes with a bang in the ear through opener Shivers and the following Atrophy, both sinewy charges of electro rock with industrial and pop teasing. The opening song initiates contact with electro pulses and taunts before stretching into a rampant surge of bulging basslines and coarse riffs loaded with the expressive vocals of Elliott. The song brings restraint to its charge at times to allow a breath to be taken before the high tempo riot resumes but by its end the listener is found breathless and enthused about the prospects of the album ahead. The following Atrophy unleashes a more electro voice though throughout the guitars and bass add a snarl and bite to the synth driven wash whilst the beats of Cuba resonate with power across bone and senses. Both songs have an over powering feel of Wall Of Voodoo about them, in sound and in inventive use of aural colours.

From such an impressive start maybe a drop in intensity and temptation was to be expected and despite the likes of One and Silence being accomplished and satisfying songs they do suffer alongside their predecessors. It was a tall order to contend with and the first with its slight Placebo/ Stan Ridgway tasting stroll and the second with its emotive lure both are pale in comparison though as stand-alone songs find a firmer hold.

Repent with its Axis Mundi like mischief and industrial/trance like rock and frantic gait lifts things once more though lyrically it passed by only raising an eyebrow at its lyrical intent. Musically the song is an urgent and forceful agitator to get the pulse rate up once again, if still adrift from previous heights, and is soon backed up by the growl of Radio. From this moment the album slips in a punk attitude vocally and bite musically which fully grabs a returning intensive attention and appetite.

Army Of Flesh is an intriguing soundscape of militant drums and dramatic keys with image evoking cinematic samples filling its suggestive air. It is an excellent track which firstly exposes further diversity in the song writing and imagination of the band whilst its climactic vocal repeat of the title offers a Theatre Of Hate inspiration which in turn ignites thoughts and emotions in the listener.

Hitting the dancefloor with a brewing tempest of electro pop and thick imposing ambience, Psychoelectrical coats the senses in a testing expanse of industrial/synth rock with rich rewards showering from its melodic skies and burly veins whilst the closing pair of Tech and America ensures the release departs with a couple of challenging and provoking slices of punk electro power.

Desolation Yes! and Out of Orbit leave strong satisfaction and enjoyment behind if also a sense it missed an opportunity to exploit greater heights and fires within the listener. Very worthy of checking out though followed by multiple returns

www.desolationyes.com

7/10

RingMaster 04/03/2013

Theatre Of Hate

Radio Drive – This is Our Time

Radio Drive is the solo project of Minneapolis singer songwriter Kevin Gullickson, though it was a full band earlier in its presence with the artist continuing with the name in 2009 after the band disbanded. Gullickson writes music which can be classed as melodic rock but which carries an eclectic breath and essence which has captured the imagination of a great many. This is Our Time is his fourth album following on from the acclaimed releases Dream The Impossible (2009), Life Today (2010) and I Can See The World From Here (2011). The artist has garnered strong interest from labels, producers, and media, let alone a blossoming army of fans, but remained an independent artist with a strong appetite for creating and sharing his sounds.

This is Our Time is an eleven track strong collection of well structured and infectious rock n roll brought with accomplished skill and vibrant ideas.  It does not stretch boundaries or leave the soul smouldering with adoration but makes its company a pleasing and easily repeatable experience. Its heart has a definite eighties beat with expansive ideas incorporating many eras of rock over subsequent decades. It is a undemanding ride which shows off its glorious sights and warm landscapes with an infectious breath and respectful nods to classic sounds.

The opening Rising makes no secret of its eighties seeds, the soaring electro melodies lighting up the more raucous energy below its weaves. Though a rock track there are easily essences of bands like Tears For Fears and A Flock Of Seagulls to its sturdier rock drive which makes it openly engaging and intriguing. There is an instant attraction inspired by the track which importantly lasts across the diverse release whatever the style songs are steeped in.

The blues/country rock toned Borders and the pulsating melodic rock fuelled title track continue the variation and pull of the release. Both are easy to absorb songs which keep the engagement with their passion high and keen without sparking any major fires within, a friend to share time with without making a deep commitment.

By the time tracks like Light and the resourceful Money You Don’t Own Me have lit up the ear the one real niggle was answered, who does Gullickson sound like? The answer is Stan Ridgway, their vocal tones quite similar and at times even the music has a slight whisper of the solo work of the ex-Wall Of Voodoo man.

Further highlights on the album come in songs such as Life Is For Living and closing stomper Hardwired, though no song leaves one disinterested or willing to move on to another. This is Our Time is a strong and enjoyable release which all melodic rock fans should take a look at. Though passions were not lit here it was a satisfying friend to spend time with which will be a full on engagement for many others.

http://www.radio-drive.com

RingMaster Review 09/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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