Stillman – We Are The Trouble EP


Stillman is one of those propositions which you find it difficult to fathom why a wider recognition is not in place around it. The band is the solo project of Londoner Chaz Craik, a musician which is no stranger to certainly acclaim with his previous releases but yet to find that fuse to a bigger spotlight within British rock. Whether new EP We Are The Trouble can be that trigger is arguable, though only time can tell, but certainly the three track release makes for an exciting and accomplished encounter of classic rock with eager essences of blues and plenty more to its vibrant persuasion reinforcing the potential and inventive quality of its creator.

Stillman released his first album on the TRL Music label in 2007, moving away from but still finding inspiration in his roots in the post-Britpop years. From the well-received People Like a Happy Ending, the release winning the Album of the Year award at the Glasswerk New Music Awards, Craik has continued to build and earn a potent presence and reputation in the rock underground earning good media responses and fan acclaim. The independently released Blood Dark Sea two years later garnered eager praise whilst the EPs Eton Mess and On Bended Knee, in 2012 saw the artist venture deeper into his rock passion and craft, again to very positive responses. We Are The Trouble takes it all further, creating a creatively engaging and skilfully crafted blaze of melodic rock which grips attention.

The title track starts things off, an immediate guitar croon spiralling to the top of the muscular coaxing. The fingers of Craik tease and stroke we-are-the-trouble-500 the strings of his guitar and thus ears with an instant temptation, the inventively designed suasion easily awakening imaginations and appetites. A throaty bass presence and crisp beats court the striking endeavour as does straightforward but attractive riffery aligned to the constant weave of melodic emprise. Increasingly potent the more you engage in the adventure, the song makes a thoroughly appetising starter with the smooth vocals of Craik gliding over and through the sounds to add to the colour of the song. Though personally a bit of a snarl to his tones would be welcome, his delivery only embraces and adds to the texture of song and release.

After the strong start, the release takes another upturn with the blues bred swagger that is Checking In. With swinging guitar clad hips and a keen rhythmic energy provided again by drummer Jason Emberton, the song strolls with a grin on its melodic face and mischief in its creative intent. Though the bluesy voice of the guitar is unmissable, the song is still a rocker at its core and has little difficulty in enlisting feet and emotions in its fiery persuasion whilst furthering the evidence of Craik’s skills.

The EP’s strongest moment is left till last. While Rome Burns emerges from similar blues bred seeds to its predecessor, its groove and lilt similar but with a stronger burn to its magnetic heat and virulent enticement. In full flight the irrepressible stomp has a Deep Purple like spice to its sound and a southern twang to its melodic voice. The song is a riveting urgent stroll which adds blues flames and the occasional and exceptional flume of Eastern mystique across its landscape to irresistible effect. It all makes for a glorious romp which alone shows why the wider rock world should pay attention to Stillman.

We Are The Trouble EP could be the spark to give Stillman a fuller spotlight to embrace, a greater audience to take his creative and inventive not forgetting very skilful adventure to. If not it still provides a thoroughly pleasing and vivacious slice of honest rock ‘n’ roll for us in the know, classic rock to feed the fullest needs and you cannot ask for much more than that really.


RingMaster 25/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

Stillman: On Bended Knee EP

Consisting of four varied and imaginative tracks, the On Bended Knee EP from Londoner Stillman is a more than solid piece of melodic rock. Following up the acclaimed Eton Mess EP, the new release is an arguably feistier and heavier collection of songs but just as thoughtful and well crafted to leave one wholly satisfied.

Stillman is the project of Chaz Craik whose roots are set in the post-Britpop years. This release though has a rock and blues breath to its shape, a mixture of rock n roll, progressive rock and blues jazz with essences of guitar and folk rock offering their sparks too. As well as the aforementioned EP, Craik has impressed with his self-released EP The Weightless and album Blood Dark Sea of 2007 and 2009 respectively, each garnering strong positive reviews and responses, and with the first awards too. On Bended Knee is possibly his best yet, certainly the one to light up harder rock tastes.

Lyrically the release looks at those who pay the price for others mistakes, whether in world or personal issues, with anger, sardonic bemusement, and an understanding of and sympathy for the victims. The music does not necessarily match the at times venom laced words with aggression but instead makes a strong melodic and hooked invitation which is hard to refuse to lead one into the heart of the songs.

The title track opens up with instantly engaging blues laced guitar strokes, their mesmeric swagger complimented by lovely sixties bred keys. The vocals of Craik are smooth with an easily digestible tone which lies upon the ear as engagingly as the accomplished technique and guitar teases. It is the hard rock groove which seals the deal and ensures the song is one which ignites the appetite and pleasure.

The snarling breath of Swollen Air follows, the pulsating fuzzy lilt of guitars and enveloping melodies instantly captivating thoughts and senses. The classic rock lacing to the sound and a quite sizzling solo immerses the ear in fine craft and textures which only thrill and though it does not quite have the infectious touch of the first the song is strong and absorbing.

Next up Small Deaths steals top honours with ease. It is a song which just captures the imagination, its eastern grooves and funk swerves quite delicious. It reminds a little of UAE band Absolace, the mix of enticing melodies and provocative teasing perfectly and fully contagious. It is not a demanding track but without doubt the most exhilarating and satisfying, the song alone showing why Stillman has pulled such strong acclaim its way.

The closing expressive stroll of The Debt finishes the strong release, the track initially a gentle companion before evolving into fiery progressive expanses. It is song which fully airs the skilful play and craft of Craik and makes for a rich ending to a more than pleasing release. One could argue if it had more bite On Bended Knee would have been even more striking but nevertheless only gives pleasure with its fully enjoyable and stylish songs.

RingMaster 03/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright